â€œI believe that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government. They control both members of the House â€¦ and the Senate, they have us involved in wars of which we have little or no interest â€¦ If they donâ€™t beat you at the polls, theyâ€™ll put you in prison…. Theyâ€™re controlling much of our foreign policy, theyâ€™re influencing much of our domestic policy.â€
Such were the inanities that former congressman James Traficant (D-Ohio) uttered during an interview with FOX Newsâ€™ Greta Van Susteren on Thursday, just eight days after having completed his seven-year prison term for bribery, tax fraud, and racketeering. For good measure, Traficant blamed Paul Wolfowitz, a Jew (though not an Israeli), for the Iraq War. He also blamed his prison stint on a laundry list of enemies, most prominent among which were AIPAC and Israel. (Remember, Traficant once worked to defend accused former SS concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk. And while the disgraced congressman was in prison, one of his more notable supporters was David Duke.)
â€œThey [Jews] control much of the media, they control much of the commerce of the country, and they control, powerfully, both parties of the Congress,â€ Traficant added. â€œThey OWN the Congress.â€
Traficant’s statements became so incendiary that at one point, Van Susteren asked him bluntly if he was an anti-Semite. In response, he struck the classic â€œIâ€™m-not-an-anti-Semite-Iâ€™m-just-anti-Israel-so-that’s-TOTALLY-differentâ€ pose.
Sadly, this is just another example of a prominent political figure who feels quite comfortable blaming a host of ills, both real and imagined, on Israel (read: the Jews). Over the past thirty years, the most reliable and vocal support for Israel has been offered by moderates and conservatives (read: the real liberals). In a Thursday piece in the Wall Street Journal, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz pondered the enigma of why fully three-quarters of the Jewish electorate tends to vote Democratic.
Of course, Traficant conveniently forgot to mention that the reason he was incarcerated in 2002, after having served in the House of Representatives for nearly 20 years, was because of the bribery, tax fraud, and racketeering convictions. Then again, maybe it was just the Jews.