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U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) presided over the first U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing since the death of Tom Lantos. Berman, who is Jewish, opened the hearing with a moment of silence for Lantos.

“History will remember Tom for his unwavering support of Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Berman said. “His life experience instilled in him a deep and abiding commitment to that tiny state, an island of democracy and a true partner of our country.” Berman was second in seniority to committee chairman Lantos (D-Calif.), the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress, who died Monday at the age of 80. The hearing Thursday had as its sole witness U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who testified about President Bush’s foreign affairs budget request.

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