February 11, 2008, - 10:36 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Very sad news. The longtime California Democratic Congressman and Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos has died of cancer, AP reports. He was Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
I was not a fan of the Congressman Lantos’ recent doings–his trip to fete Syrian leader Assad, his excuses for it, and the like (he also recently joined the pressuring-Israel mob, after decades of standing against them). And I didn’t agree with him much on domestic policy.
But until recently–ie., the Syrian trip et al.–I was a fan of his foreign policy views, particularly in the Middle East, until recently. After he announced, in January, that he would not run for re-election and had cancer, I chalked up to his suddenly changing views on these issues to his illness.
Among the files from my late father are many reports of hearings Lantos held against dividing Jerusalem and exposing Islamic terrorist groups in our midst and around the world. He was ahead of his time on these things, recognizing the Islamic threat decades before 9/11–and holding steadfast to those views for most of his Congressional career while the rest of his party moved farther left and marched more in step with embracing Islamism.
It is because of Lantos’ right-thinking on issues of terrorism and foreign policy that earned him a great deal of respect from those on the other side of the aisle. No less than Tom Delay, as then-Republican Majority Leader, said on the floor of the House:
No man knows the battle between good and evil like Tom Lantos. It’s an honor to once again have worked with him on this resolution, and I am proud to call Tom Lantos my colleague and my friend.
Among the many causes Lantos championed (until the Assad trip, last year):
* Sanctions on Syria and demanding its ouster from Lebanon. He put holds on aid to Lebanon because of Syrian hegemony over the country.
* Reforming the anti-American, anti-Israel United Nations or withholding U.S. funds from it
* Tough sanctions on Iran
* An undivided Jerusalem
Tom Lantos never missed an opportunity to rightfully blast the PLO and point out its actions to the world.
It is scary to note that someone far to the left of him on foreign policy will likely assume his chair atop the House Foreign Affairs Comittee.
Like most of those of my family who survived, Lantos came here from Europe for a new life away from Hitler’s savaging:
Lantos, who referred to himself as “an American by choice,” was born to Jewish parents in Budapest, Hungary, and was 16 when Adolf Hitler occupied Hungary in 1944. He survived by escaping twice from a forced labor camp and coming under the protection of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who used his official status and visa-issuing powers to save thousands of Hungarian Jews.
Like I said, I did not agree with Lantos on a lot of things. But on enough of them to respect him a great deal and note that he will be greatly missed, especially in a party where his kind is as rarer than a Faberge egg.
Tom Lantos, *Zichrono LiVrachah [Blessed Be His Memory].
Tom Lantos trivia: His wife, Annette, is a cousin of Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor. (She and Lantos’ two daughters converted to Mormonism.)
Tags: Adolf Hitler, Annette, Assad, Budapest, California, cancer, Chair, Chairman, congressman, Debbie Schlussel Very, Democratic Congressman, diplomat, Europe, Eva Gabor, Faberge, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Hungary, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Jerusalem, leader, Lebanon, Majority Leader, Middle East, Palestine Liberation Organization, Raoul Wallenberg, Sweden, Syria, Tom Delay, Tom Lantos, United Nations, United States, Zsa Zsa