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Mr. Lantos, he said, “wasn’t just pro-Israel. … Tom was anti-communist.”

And then he went on.

“Their support for Israel … also tends to make them more hawkish on foreign affairs than the vast majority of their Democratic colleagues,” he said. “A large part of the Jewish Democrats tend to be more hawkish in terms of representing the interests of the United States in dealing with terrorism than do the progressive caucus of the Democratic Party.”

He contrasted his own love of labels with other lawmakers who display an inordinate fear of the word “communist.”

“I sit with people in the United States Congress that have told me to use the phrase ‘communist China’ is offensive and ridiculous and no longer appropriate. I then point out to these people that they call themselves communists.”