Noting the Lantos Shift on the Middle East: He Agreed with the Hagel “No False Choice” Approach


I’ve just written this remembrance of Tom Lantos for TPMCafe.
His shift on Israel-Palestine negotiations and American engagement with Iran and the Middle East writ large can’t be called a full-on conversion, but his shift in a progressive direction was significant and should be remembered.
I once talked to Lantos about Senator Chuck Hagel’s “no false choice” approach to the Middle East and the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman told me that Hagel was on exactly the right course.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “Noting the Lantos Shift on the Middle East: He Agreed with the Hagel “No False Choice” Approach

  1. Dick fFzgerald says:

    Did you vet this piece w/ the Israeli embassy? In fact, Lantos was an apologist for the entire Israeli colonial occupation and all its atrocities. Like that other hypocrite Elie Weisel, Lantos found human rights violations everywhere, but never in Israel.


  2. Carroll says:

    I won’t say “transcending”,
    Posted by DonS at February 12, 2008 09:15 AM
    Actually “transcending” is a good term.
    It seems to me that in all kinds of horrors from the large events like a holocaust to individual private sufferings some people transcend their own suffering and come out with a grander larger understanding of good and evil while others come out with only feelings of revenge or fear and their own personal loss.
    You see this in a lot of things, like the poor guy who became rich and uses his wealth to help others who are in the position he came from and then there is the poor guy who became rich and won’t give a dime to a unfortunate like himself because he resents that one helped him. It’s all in the indidivual I suppose.


  3. DonS says:

    As far as I know, free speech is still alive on this blog. Not that all comments are comfortable for all people.
    My mother’s family, Hungarian Jews, was basically wiped out in the holocaust. Not unique, but a fact.
    It is interesting how members of the same “community” react differently to the same conditions. Among those Jews who identify with Israel in some way, the distinctions are pronounced, often rigid.
    Some Jews find a comfortable home supporting Israel in all things; kind of like “my country right or wrong”. “Never again”, in its most militant form. One can imagine such a reaction from such a history.
    Others have chosen a different, I won’t say “transcending”, path that derives from the holocaust the meaning that nations, Israel equally or even more, must attempt to exemplify everything that the Nazis transgressed. “Never again” would evoke a more universal, reflective, challenge.
    It is possible, to analyze the differences further, but I’m not sure it helps much. Each would think they are honoring and actualizing the memory of their martyred relatives and friends.
    There are no doubt many in between. And there is the Zionist movement that seeks to manipulate, Jews and non-Jews alike, for political ends, finding in this sad history fertile ground for their cynicism. They have their lackeys among the neocons, and politicians who are either too credulous, lazy, corrupt, or lack the conscience to think and speak for themselves.
    I don’t know much about Tom Lantos but, if he had an active conscience, he may well have struggled with these questions. That’s the best construction I can put on it.


  4. Anna says:

    Carroll above, great post.
    By the way, the NYTimes can go on ad-infinitum @ Darfur, but never @ Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories for the last 5 decades!
    Slow strangulation of the Palestinians in their Bantustans so that Israel can better steal their land.
    The US media (NYT, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC etc.) have no shame.


  5. albertchampion says:

    it is regrettable that the zionist fascist tom lantos failed to die 40 years ago.


  6. JohnH says:

    Yehuda Shaul, Breaking the Silence, former IDF commander spoke to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace today. It was carried by C-SPAN and will hopefully be aired again soon.
    Too bad it wasn’t publicized here. It should be required viewing for all Senators and Representatives.


  7. Carroll says:

    I know it is not nice to speak ill of the dead but since I am not in a position where I have to be diplomatic and careful about topics let me ask …. how does one reconcile Lantos’s supposed humantiaran concerns with his enabling and defending Israel’s murderous approach to the land grab of Palestine?
    When one honors a US congressman who spent most of his career putting the interest of a foreign country ahead of country he was a citizen of because of his personal ethnic backgound are you saying this is O.K.?
    How much damage, to the US and to the real lives of other poeple, have Lantos and others like him done? How much blood and treasure has been spent because of the personal tribal and ethnic prejudice and mentality of this one man and the others in his group?
    I marvel every day at how Orwellian DC has become…giving medals of honor to people like the failed CIA chief and honoring a man like Lantos.
    There is a disease in Washington that comes from being so involved in the ‘game’ of policy and politics that they have convinced themselves there are no basic moral or ethical truths that have to be addressed and everything is a complicated matter of politics, not of truth and real lives. There are standing on sand with their mouths full of sand.
    I don’t believe in hell but if there is any kind of karma Lantos will come back as a Palestine dying of cancer in a hospital where there aren’t even any drugs to ease his pain because his true homeland won’t let any thru their blockade.
    You don’t get to save one life in Durfar and kill six in the ME without having to tally up and see what you owe…at least not anywhere but Orwellington DC.
    This is not O.K. with me, someone has to start telling the truth. Orwellington must cease to exist.


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