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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tom Lantos, R.I.P, Zichrono L'Vracha

The world is a poorer place. Representative Tom Lantos died yesterday. Here is the NYT obituary . And here is an excerpt from some remarks made upon his recent announcement to retire from Congress:

It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress... I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.

After the jump, excerpts from the AJC's statement on Lantos' death.

(The AJC, American Jewish Committee, is a century-old non-partisan human/civil rights organization where some friends of mine work.)


February 11, 2008 – New York – The American Jewish Committee mourns the passing of its dear friend Congressman Tom Lantos. His singular contributions to his adopted land, the United States, to the defense of human rights, to the advancement of democratic values, and to the Jewish people will forever be remembered with gratitude.


"Tom Lantos was a truly unique individual whom I had the privilege of knowing for over two decades," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.


"He was a man of immense moral passion and indefatigable energy,” said Harris. “His life was profoundly shaped by the tragic historical events of the 20th century. Against this backdrop, he was all the more determined to shape a brighter future for all by his steadfast commitment to human freedom, human dignity and human development. Tom Lantos will be sorely missed."


During his fourteen terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, spearheaded advocacy for basic civil and human rights of all peoples, supporting Israel’s efforts to achieve peace and security, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and ensuring a robust public education system. He was the founder and long-time co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.


AJC partnered with Rep. Lantos and his wife to promote Holocaust awareness and education, especially recalling the heroism of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat whose personal intervention saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, including Lantos and his beloved wife, Annette.


As the Ranking Member and, most recently, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Lantos stood out among Israel's most consistently enthusiastic supporters. He was one of the most outspoken critics of Israel's enemies and of the hypocritical treatment of Israel in the UN and other international bodies. AJC recalls how Lantos confronted the hateful invective directed against Israel and Jews at the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001.


AJC was preparing to honor Rep. Lantos at its 102nd Annual Meeting in May with one of its highest honors for his lifelong leadership. He received in 2003 AJC’s Congressional Leadership Award.

Posted by Administrators on February 12, 2008 at 01:25 PM in Law and Politics | Permalink


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He was my congressman until we moved last year. He was far more visible and active than any representative I've had.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Feb 12, 2008 3:52:13 PM

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