‘The Times’ lies about Charles Percy’s record

on 14 Comments

I noticed this obit in the NYT, which omits surely one of the things Charles Percy’s life will be remembered for, AIPAC’s successful tilt against then-Senator Percy in 1984 when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. How could they leave that bit of the story out?!?!

1. The Times:

But just as Illinois voters had tired of Mr. Douglas by 1966, Mr. Percy was old goods by 1984. In a strong Republican year, with President Ronald Reagan campaigning for him, he could not overcome his Democratic opponent, Representative Paul M. Simon.

His position as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee seemed remote to Illinois voters, as did his manner. The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal all described him as “pompous.”

2. From Walt and Mearsheimer’s book, The Israel Lobby:

Perhaps the most renowned example of the costs that can befall a politician who crosses AIPAC is the defeat of Senator Charles Percy (R-IL) in 1984. Despite a generally pro-Israel voting record, Percy incurred AIPAC’s wrath by declining to sign the AIPAC-sponsored “Letter of 76” protesting President Ford’s threatened “reassessment” of U.S. Middle East policy in 1975. He also made the mistake of calling PLO leader Yasser Arafat more “moderate” than some Palestinian terrorists. Percy’s opponents in both the primary and general election in 1984 received large sums from pro-Israel PACs, and… Michael Goland… a major contributor to AIPAC [from California], spent $1.1 million on anti-Percy advertising in Illinois… As [AIPAC’s] Tom Dine boasted after Percy’s narrow defeat, “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians–those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire– got the message.”

3. From Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

Former Illinois Democratic Sen. Paul Simon reveals in his newly published autobiography how he came to run against former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Charles Percy in 1984. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel’s principal Washington, DC lobby, has long considered Percy’s defeat by Simon a high water-mark of its influence on Congress. Simon, who was in the House of Representatives at the time, said that first “two longtime friends, Bob Schrayer and Stan Weinberger,” begged him to run (read pledged financial support) against Percy, who not only had voted to permit Boeing to sell Saudi Arabia AWACS aircraft (which later served the U.S. and Saudi-led coalition so well in the Gulf war), but also had suggested that not only were there Palestinians, but also that they had “rights.” Then, Simon wrote, he received a call from “a nationally respected Jewish leader from Chicago, Bob Asher” (an AIPAC board member).

14 Responses

  1. edwin
    September 17, 2011, 1:24 pm

    The Times’ lies [snip]

    So what else is new.

    OT: +972 is back temporarily at the following address.

    link to

    Sounds like they became too big for their service provider. Anyway they say they should be back at their old name in a little while.

  2. Whizdom
    September 17, 2011, 2:04 pm

    In that race two young guns cut their teeth on the Simon Campaign. David Axelrod and Rahm Emmanuel. Axelrod was co campaign manager. Simon was a great legislator.

  3. Proton Soup
    September 17, 2011, 2:27 pm

    “Letter of 76” ? so is that the source of the crowing comment from the new yorker? –> “You see this napkin?” he said. “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”
    link to newyorker.com

    • Whizdom
      September 17, 2011, 4:15 pm

      Not sure it is noteworthy, but last letter from congress was only signed by 58 dems. Another Ileana Ros-Lehtinen missive, critical of palestininian aspirations at the UN.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 5:39 pm

        i wonder how many, if any, congresspeople up for reelection didn’t sign.

  4. irishmoses
    September 17, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Here’s a portion of the much more balanced WaPo obit. Percy could have been a great president, McCloskey as well. That makes 3 potential presidents the lobby has deprived us of: RFK counts since Sirhan was motivated by IP. But, who’s counting.
    “Sen. Percy was widely viewed as a conscientious but less-than-commanding committee chairman, and though he took a keen interest in the Middle East, he was not always careful about how his statements might play to powerful constituencies, especially supporters of Israel.

    In 1975, five years before he became committee chairman, Sen. Percy dismayed members of the Jewish community after he described Palestine Liberations Organization leader Yasser Araft as a “moderate.” Sen. Percy explained that he used the term “relative moderate” and only in contrast with George Habash, whose radical PLO faction was notorious for terrorist attacks.

    Sen. Percy insistence on his “devotion to Israel” did little to quell anger among voters upset by his criticism of the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and of settlement building in the occupied territories — actions he saw as contrary to U.S. interests and disruptive of efforts to maintain peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

    He made himself increasingly appetizing to challengers, and, in 1984, he lost the Senate election to then-Rep. Paul Simon (D-Ill). whose campaign was spearheaded by aggressive political consultants David Wilhelm and David Axelrod. Axelrod later was a top presidential campaign adviser to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). ”

    David Axelrod, gee, what a coincidence.

    p.s. Would someone explain me how to do block quotes. Cheap seats Shanty Irish don’t get no block quote training.

  5. Whizdom
    September 17, 2011, 2:30 pm

    High water mark? Not so sure. More of the beginning of direct influence of down ticket races by the lobby. Steve Rosen was a brand new Political director at AIPAC, started in 1982 in heady Reagan years. The Percy/Simon race was really an experiment. I really think he was shocked at the success of the strategy, knocking out an incumbent and a sitting committee chair.

  6. PeaceThroughJustice
    September 17, 2011, 2:51 pm

    “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy.”

    We all know there is no possibility that this quotation could ever be included in any article in the US media. What are the mechanisms that ensure this? Is it ownership? Is it editorial control? Polictical correctness in the broader society? Advertising money? Career paths in journalsim? Messages taught in journalism schools? How does media work?

    (And what ever happened to that movement a generation or so back that tried to educate our youth in “media literacy,” that tried to equip them with the tools to fight back?)

  7. pabelmont
    September 17, 2011, 4:55 pm

    Moshe Ahrens’s brother was a professor in the USA, a human rights advocate, and a board member of “SEARCH for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel” (of which I was a board member) (1980-1990, roughly). When he died, the NYT omitted his pro-Palestine work but recalled his brother’s importance in Israel.

    Typical NYT hiding of important but to-them-inconvenient truth.


  8. DICKERSON3870
    September 17, 2011, 7:47 pm

    RE: “I noticed this obit in the NYT, which omits surely one of the things Charles Percy’s life will be remembered for, AIPAC’s successful tilt against then-Senator Percy in 1984…How could they leave that bit of the story out?!?! ~ Moloney

    MY COMMENT: Cut the New York Times a little slack. After all, they have that swank new skyscraper designed by Renzo Piano to pay for. Consequently, they can’t risk antagonizing their readers and/or advertisers by publishing inconvenient/unpopular/embarrassing truths (that engender cognitive dissonance).

    DEFENSE MECHANISMS & COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (“non-Jews want to talk the issue, Jews don’t”) – link to mondoweiss.net

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 18, 2011, 9:38 am

      P.S. RE: “they can’t risk antagonizing their readers and/or advertisers by publishing inconvenient/unpopular /embarrassing truths…” ~ me, above

      FROM GLENN GREENWALD, 9/18/11: “…those who voice prohibited truths are always more hated than those who spout obvious lies.”
      SOURCE – link to salon.com

  9. Sand
    September 18, 2011, 10:42 am

    Talking of the Times. Rub my eyes and blow me down with a feather.

    h/t: MJ Rosenberg twitter

    Op-Ed Columnist – Israel: Adrift at Sea Alone
    Published: September 17, 2011
    link to nytimes.com

    “…U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the **powerful pro-Israel lobby** in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.

    …by **mobilizing Republicans in Congress to box in Obama** and by **encouraging Jewish leaders (including religious leaders) to suggest that Obama is hostile to Israel** and is losing the Jewish vote. And meanwhile, get the Israel lobby to hammer anyone in the administration or Congress who says aloud that maybe Bibi has made some mistakes, not just Barack…”

    link to nytimes.com

    Next, maybe W&M in the NYtimes?

    However, when Friedman talks sense you still have Bibi’s defenders in the States.

    <blockquoteWhen To Apologize, And When Not To
    Gary Rosenblatt (Editor And Publisher of 'The Jewish Week') – Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    "…**The compelling case being made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu** is that an apology would not be enough to restore good relations with Turkey, whose leader increasingly is seeking to align himself with Israel’s enemies, including Iran and Hamas, and who insists that Israel end its blockade of Gaza.

    Moreover, an apology would undercut the blockade, give legitimacy to Turkey’s behavior and prompt bolder efforts to delegitimize Israel, including bringing legal cases against its political and military leaders in international courts.

    Even on Yom Kippur, the holiest and most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, when we repeatedly ask God for forgiveness for our sins, we also pray: “Our Father, our King, avenge, before our eyes, the spilled blood of your servants.”

    There are limits, then, to compassion, Judaism reminds us. Suicide, for an individual or nation, is forbidden. As King Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for war and a time for peace.”

    We pray for peace, and do all we can to achieve it — short of weakening our core beliefs, mission or future. But there are times, like now, when Israel must say to those who make excessive demands, “enough,” not out of stubbornness or pride but self-respect — and self-preservation…"

    link to thejewishweek.com

    Shear self-righteousness and arrogance more like.

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