ZOA Criticizes State Dept Officials For Trying To Delegitimize Opponents Of Their Soft-On-Syria Policy
April 28, 2003

New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its shock and dismay at the attempts by State Department officials to delegitimize and humiliate critics of the State Department’s soft-on-Syria policy.

Last weak, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich suggested that secretary of state Colin Powell should delay visiting Syrian dictator Basher Assad until Assad stops harboring terrorist groups and Iraqi war criminals.

Deputy Secretary Of State Richard L. Armitage publicly questioned Gingrich’s mental stability, asserting that Gingrich is “off his meds and out of therapy.” Now another State Department official, Assistant Secretary of State A. Elizabeth Jones, has likewise tried to delegitimize and publicly humiliate Gingrich, by telling an interviewer that Gingrich “is an idiot and you can publish that.” (Washington Post, April 28, 2003)

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “it is appalling that officials of the Bush State Department are engaging in such vile public attacks on the former Speaker of the House. Every American has the right to disagree with the State Department’s soft-on-Syria policy without being subjected to public attacks and humiliation. President Bush should publicly denounce these vicious attacks, and Syrian dictator Assad should not be rewarded with a visit from a U.S. official until he expels all ten terrorist groups from Syrian territory, stops transferring Iranian arms to Hezbollah, removes Syria’s 40,000 occupation troops from Lebanon, and surrenders all Iraqi war criminals.”

At the same time that the State Department is attacking critics of Syria, the Syrian government has been reaffirming its support for terrorist groups. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Bouthana Shaaban told Fox News an April 27, 2003 that Hezbollah has “never targeted any civilian in Israel” and is “not a terrorist organization.”

Hezbollah, which is actively supported by the Syrian government and operates from Syrian-occupied Lebanon, is on the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations because it has murdered hundreds of Americans and Israelis, including the car-bomb attack that killed 241 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1903 and the massacre of 29 people at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992.

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