Sunday, November 15, 2020

Continuing my series of major quotes from Joe Biden in JTA and elsewhere:

Secretary of State James Baker told a congressional panel Tuesday that he supports the Justice Department’s policy to grant refugee status on a selective basis to Soviet Jews wishing to enter the United States.
Jewish groups have criticized the Bush administration for continuing a policy started last fall by the Reagan administration of refusing to give refugee status automatically to all Soviet Jewish emigrants wishing to enter the United States.
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the INS, said during Baker’s testimony Tuesday that the United States should “keep in context the position we have taken for such a long time,” that “Soviet Jews have demonstrably been victims of persecution in the Soviet Union, and I see no evidence of that changing.”
“I hope we would not make the mistake of concluding that, until we have a total standard that all can agree on, we are not going to deal with a group of people who have for thousands of years, from czars to commissars, been clear victims of persecution in their country,” he added.
“Despite the remarkable changes under (Soviet leader Mikhail) Gorbachev, I have not seen convincing evidence that, in fact, Soviet Jews within the Soviet Union are no longer persecuted,” Biden said.
Two senators criticized President Bush on Tuesday for moving too slowly to waive trade sanctions against the Soviet Union. But a third said he did not necessarily disagree with the president’s judgment.
The subject came up during a Capitol Hill news conference during which the three senators proposed a $511 million aid package for Eastern Europe.
Responding to a question, Sens. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) and Paul Simon (D-Ill.) said they felt Bush should have moved more quickly to issue a waiver of trade sanctions under the 1975 Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
But Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) said it was a “close call” as to whether Bush should issue a waiver of the amendment, which denies most-favored-nation trade status to Eastern European countries until they improve their emigration policies.
... During the news conference, Biden was asked about the recent proposal by Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.) to cut U.S. foreign aid to the largest recipients, including Israel, by 5 percent. The savings would be reapportioned to Eastern European countries and Panama.
Asked about Senate support for Dole’s proposal, Biden said, “I think the prospects of it passing are zero.”
“The Dole proposal is particularly insidious, in my view,” he said. “It pits longtime allies against emerging, potential democracies.”
“I think it would be particularly dangerous if the Poles and the Hungarians” thought that the reason why they were not getting additional assistance was because of Israel, he said.
Three major Jewish defense agencies testified before the Senate on Tuesday against a federal appeals court nominee who until last week was a member of private country club in Florida that allegedly discriminates against blacks, Jews and other minorities.
The groups also opposed the nomination of U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Ryskamp because of what the American Jewish Committee called the “gross insensitivity to civil rights concerns” reflected in his court rulings to date.
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said Ryskamp had issued some “erroneous rulings” and that he had concerns about his sensitivity to minorities. But he told the nominee, “That doesn’t mean you won’t be confirmed.”
Biden speaking at AIPAC in 1992, an excellent speech, where he disparages the notion that Israel is an obstacle to peace, that there would be peace in the Middle East without Israel, and that it is ever appropriate for the US to publicly criticize Israel for anything.

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