WASHINGTON (JTA) — Convicted U.S. congressman James Traficant said Israel has a "powerful stranglehold on the American government."
Speaking in an interview with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, the former nine-term Ohio Democratic congressman said that Israel is "controlling much of our foreign policy" and "influencing much of our domestic policy." He charged that former Bush administration official Paul Wolfowitz had "manipulated" President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.
"We're conducting the expansionist policy of Israel and everybody's afraid to say it," Traficant said. "They control much of the media, they control much of the commerce of the country, and they control powerfully both bodies of the Congress. They own the Congress."
He also claimed that Israel gets $15 billion a year "from the American taxpayers, while people in my district are losing their pension benefits." Israel will receive $2.775 billion in aid from the United States in the 2010 fiscal year.
Traficant was released from prison earlier this month after spending seven years for racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion. He told Van Susteren that he was thinking about running again for his old seat in the House of Representatives, and that he was "targeted" — although he did not specify by whom — because he was critical of Israel and supported accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.
After the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Demjanjuk was not the notorious Nazi SS camp guard "Ivan the Terrible" in 1993, Demjanjuk returned to the United States but was deported earlier this year to stand trial in Germany on charges of being a concentration camp guard, just not "Ivan."