Wilson’s Statement on Senator Hollings’ Remarks

May 3, 2002
Press Release
Today, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC made the following statement in response to remarks made by Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-SC, on the Senate Floor yesterday. Sen. Hollings made the remarks before voting against passage of S. Amdt. 3389, a resolution saying that the United States and Israel were “engaged in a common struggle against terrorism,” and condemned Palestinian suicide bombings. Sen. Hollings and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, were the only two votes against passage of the resolution. “Once again, Senator Hollings proves he is out of touch with South Carolina and the nation,” said Rep. Wilson. “He compares Ariel Sharon, our ally and Israel’s democratically elected leader, with Saddam Hussein, an evil and brutal dictator. This type of logic is out of step with the overwhelming majority of Americans,” said Rep. Wilson. “Hollings also called Ariel Sharon ‘the Bull Conner of Israel,’ and for those who remember, Bull Conner was the Police Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 who unleashed attack-dogs and fire hoses on the peaceful civil-rights protestors, the movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems to me that the Senator is comparing Arafat to Dr. King, and comparing the evil suicide-bombings being carried out by Palestinian terrorists to the peaceful protests of the civil-rights movement. This is beyond ridiculous, it is cruel and malicious.” “And before voting against a bill only Sen. Byrd joined with him dissent, Hollings called the measure ‘simplistic and one-sided’. On that point, he is correct. The moral clarity of the U.S. is simple; we are against terrorism. And this is a one-sided issue; Israel is our ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. We stand with Israel.” “Israel is up against terrorists who practice a culture of death, where parents raise their children to take joy in murdering innocent women and children by strapping explosives to their bodies to bomb supermarkets. In response, Hollings urges us to ‘listen awhile, set this aside, and move on.’ I ask the Senator, how many more children must die before Israelis gain the right to defend themselves?” said Rep. Wilson. Rep. Wilson voted in favor of a similar resolution in support of Israel in the House of Representatives, H.R. 392, as did the rest of the South Carolina delegation. Rep. Wilson is a member of the House Israel Caucus, and the first of the current South Carolina delegation to join. Remarks by Sen. Hollings on Senate Floor, May 2, 2002: “Now the U.N. formed a team to investigate the incursion into Jenin. Sharon refuses to let the U.N. investigate, so in a way he’s acting like Saddam Hussein.” “I made a comment in the earlier part of the year that I thought Ariel Sharon was the Bull Conner of Israel.” “We ought to do like Richard Cohen (columnist for The New York Times) says: Let’s listen awhile, set this aside, and move on and continue our 100-percent solidarity with Israel.” ###