Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tom Lantos

Tom Lantos and Hillary Clinton AIPACI met California Rep. Tom Lantos at the AIPAC Policy Conference this year. Rep. Lantos introduced Sen. Hillary Clinton before she spoke at her candidate's reception at the policy conference, where I took the photo at right.

Tom Lantos announced today that he will retire from office and not seek re-election following his being diagnosed with cancer. The JTA article states that in "his 27 years in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Tom Lantos had two constituencies -- California's 12th District, encompassing parts of San Francisco and its suburbs, and the ghosts of the Jews who perished in his native Europe."

The 80-year-old Lantos was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House and is known as "the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress." Tom Lantos has been a strong advocate for humanitarian rights during his long career in politics. He has been a strong supporter of Israel and a voice of conscience on the situation in Darfur.
I pray for a refuah shleyma (speedy recovery) for Tom Lantos. His career as a U.S. Representative has been an honorable one.


Rabbi Jason Miller said...

Here are the last two paragraphs of Tom Lantos's speech at the 2007 AIPAC Policy Conference:

Now those of you who were here last night were as thrilled as I was to hear about Buffet’s magnificent $4 billion investment in an Israeli company which I strongly advise you to visit; Annette and I did sometime back. All of you were thrilled with the spectacular historical panorama of the US involvement in the Middle East, a historical perspective of unprecedented proportions and all of you were as moved as I was by that spectacular Evangelical Christian Pastor’s commitment to Israel [John Hagee].

But none of those things will matter; Israel’s economic success will not matter; the historical relationship will not matter; the support of the Christian Evangelical community will not matter if Iran develops a nuclear weapon. I cannot do it alone; I need your help. Please take this assignment as seriously as I do. And if we do it together – and if we do it together there will be countless AIPAC annual conferences celebrating the triumph of Israel as a democratic and peaceful State and we’ll all be able to say Am Yisrael Chai [The nation of Israel lives].

Rabbi Jason Miller said...

Tom Lantos died today.

"We lose a voice for human rights, which was in his case unique. He spoke always against oppression, against persecution, against racism."
-Elie Wiesel

"Having lived through the worst evil known to mankind, Tom Lantos translated the experience into a lifetime commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism, Holocaust education, and a commitment to the state of Israel."
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

"As the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, Tom was a living reminder that we must never turn a blind eye to the suffering of the innocent at the hands of evil men."
-President George W. Bush

"Israel lost one of our greatest friends."
-Sallai Meridor, Israeli Ambassador