By Danny Freedman, April 26, 2002
WASHINGTON — Ninety-nine senators expressed concern Friday over
anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Arab media and urged President Bush to
address the issue.
“As a democratic nation based on the freedom of religion for all people,” they
wrote in a letter to Bush, “it is imperative that the United States condemn
anti-Semitic actions and rhetoric wherever they may be found.”
The letter outlined recent physical and verbal attacks on Jews in France,
Germany and Belgium and anti-Jewish statements by parts of the media in
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Palestinian territories.
The only senator not signing the letter was Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who
underwent open-heart surgery Thursday, when the letter was circulated.
Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John Warner, R-Va., said at a news
conference that they would seek a meeting with Bush to discuss the issue
when he returns from Texas next week.
“The ugly face of anti-Semitism is appearing with greater frequency in
many parts of the world,” said Levin. He said the trend began several years
ago, and the letter points to incidents that predate the current Israeli-Palestinian
He said it is important the United States not remain silent. “There should
be consequences where we have leverage,” he said.
A number of bills relating to U.S. policy in the Mideast have recently surfaced in
Congress, but congressional leaders have been cautious about bringing those
measures to a vote. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, agreed Friday at Bush’s request
to delay House consideration of a resolution expressing support for Israel.
“We have every right to express ourselves as an independent branch of
government, but the coordination of this policy has to be left with the
president,” Warner said.
The senators’ letter says that between Nov. 9, 2000, and Nov. 20, 2001, there
were more than 330 “anti-Semitic acts” in Paris, and Molotov cocktails were
thrown at a synagogue last month in Brussels.
The letter also cited claims in the Arab media that the blood of non-Jews was
used in cooking Jewish holiday pastries, implicating Jews in the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks on the United States, and incitement to: “Fight (Jews),
wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”