AJC Letter to Rep. Tom Lantos

 January 2, 2008 – New York – The American Jewish Committee sent a letter to Congressman Tom Lantos today to express sadness of his illness and his plan to retire from Congress.

“Your retirement will leave Congress a poorer place,” wrote AJC President Richard J. Sideman and Executive Director David A. Harris. “Your congressional career has been, and continues to be, an evocation of the proudest American ideals, and in the noblest tradition of public service.”

The full text of the AJC letter to Rep. Lantos follows:

The Honorable Tom Lantos

Chairman

Committee on Foreign Affairs

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Tom:

As devoted friends and admirers, we were greatly saddened to hear today of your illness and to learn that you plan to retire from Congress at the end of your current term.  Please know that as you and Annette and your family confront the challenges ahead, we and our American Jewish Committee colleagues hold you firmly in our thoughts and wish you continued strength and a full recovery.

While we – and all who value the causes of international human rights, democracy and justice – will count on your ongoing role in public life, we cannot help but observe that your retirement will leave Congress a poorer place.  Your congressional career has been, and continues to be, an evocation of the proudest American ideals, and in the noblest tradition of public service.

Three years ago, as one token of our esteem, AJC was privileged to present you with our Congressional Leadership Award.  At the time, we celebrated your bold and singular record as a champion in the struggle against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, your powerful advocacy for human rights, your consistent support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, and your unequaled impact as a voice of conscience in the conduct of American public policy.

The qualities we celebrated in that award are qualities we continue to celebrate – as we continue to honor your vital and ongoing contributions to our nation, our world, and our community.

We look forward to continuing to work with you, and to following your lead, through the remainder of your term in Congress and in the years ahead.  With best wishes to you and Annette at this difficult time, we remain,

Respectfully,

Richard J. Sideman, President

David A. Harris, Executive Director

American Jewish Committee

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