Since defeating an incumbent in Florida’s Republican-heavy 8th congressional district, Rep. Alan Grayson has emerged as one of the progressive movement’s most vocal champions. His attacks on Republican obstruction of healthcare reform and staunch opposition to escalation in Afghanistan have earned Grayson effusive praise from many liberal bloggers and activists.
Even before his election, Grayson gained recognition from the Wall Street Journal for being a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq” who sported a “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker on his car. Recently, Grayson boasted to CNN, “People want to see a congressman with guts. And America likes to hear the truth.”
Grayson has battled for the public option and opposed the wars Obama has inherited from Bush, but these positions are upheld by a broad swath of congressional Democrats and, at least in the case of the public option, are supported by a majority of Americans. But when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, Grayson is fully programmed by AIPAC and the pro-war, pro-settlements wing of the Israel Lobby.
In an interview in March with the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, Grayson revealed two meetings he held the previous week with AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr. In the interview, Grayson explained how Kohr helped to “educate” him about Israel-related issues, then misquoted the Abba Eban line, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
GRAYSON: I met with Howard Kohr, the head of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee], twice last week.
PJV: And what was the gist of the conversation?
GRAYSON: The gist of the conversation was that Iran is a tremendous threat to Israel and needs to be stopped. And I agree with that.
PJV: And what about what is going on in the Gaza Strip; was there any conversation about that?
GRAYSON: Yes, we talked about that. I think what AIPAC often tries to do is to educate Members of Congress who frankly follow this a lot less closely than I do. In my case, I read Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post online four or five times a week, so I am pretty familiar with the circumstances and why the war took place. As a famous Israeli once said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Grayson’s January 8th statement explaining his vote in favor of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip read like a mimeograph of those released by other AIPAC-friendly members of Congress. However, its introductory line stood out: “Congressman Alan Grayson, one of three incoming Jewish members of Congress, issued the following statement on the situation in Gaza.”
Why did Grayson feel compelled to advertise his religion in a statement in favor of a war that would ultimately kill 1400 people, including at least 400 women and children