I’ve run a couple posts knocking the late Steven Solarz for his support for Israel and the Iraq wars. MJ Rosenberg says I’m missing the real Solarz:
Steve was a close friend of mine. On I-P, he was one of the most progressive guys in Congress. He was the first House member to meet with the PLO (it was a secret although it doesn’t matter now) back in the 70′s. He did support the Gulf Wars BUT not because of Israel. He honestly and mistakenly thought they were in the US interests.
He was constrained by his [Brooklyn] district, true, and there were certain things he had to say.
But he did so reluctantly and then hurried off to places like the Phillipines or issues like non-proliferation where he could do some real good. He was sometimes criticized for taking campaign contributions from ethnic groups –Indian-Americans and Turks. Not the lobby, which could not stand him. (They like their Jewish Reps to keep the eye on the only ball that matters: Israel).
He built a home in Turkey and spent as much time there as he could. He was about as unparochial as any Jew I ever met. The concept of “my people” was alien to him.
And the Israel-firsters in Congress repelled him, personally and privately.
Bottom line: yes, he was a hawk on the Iraq wars. But not because of Israel, a country that he tried not to think about too much because, for 20 years now, it was a source for him of nothing but aggravation.
He was a great man. The fact that he was defeated and his nemesis, Chuck Schumer, went to the Senate is a small-scale version of the defeat of John Quincy Adams by Andrew Jackson: a victory for a crass mediocrity over a global visionary.