December 17, 2012 -- New York -- AJC mourns the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye, one of the country’s most distinguished legislators. The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee was 88 years old.
“For 50 years, Senator Inouye was one of the United States Senate’s most energetic advocates for Israel’s quest for peace and security, and the mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel relationship,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "More broadly, throughout his career, he stood tall and steadfast for the values of freedom, justice and compassion in our nation and around the world."
A decorated and wounded World War II hero, Inouye’s appreciation for the Jewish state began nearly 60 years ago, when, in 1951, he sold Israel Bonds in his native Hawaii. During nine consecutive terms as a Democratic Senator from Hawaii, Inouye was a consistent supporter of foreign aid, and co-sponsored legislation to both support Israel and advance the cause of peace.
In recent years, among other Senate measures, Inouye co-sponsored a resolution condemning Hezbollah and Hamas and their state sponsors, and supporting Israel's right of self-defense. He also co-sponsored a congressional initiative urging the President to assert clearly United States opposition to any Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood.
During an official visit to Israel last January, Inouye was praised by Israeli President Shimon Peres. “You stood by our side in the most demanding and difficult moments,” Peres said.
The senator was also a strong supporter for many years of the campaign to free Jews from the Soviet Union, and of the needs of Holocaust survivors.
"The last time I saw Senator Inouye was when he came to the AJC Washington office for a memorial service for the late Hyman Bookbinder, our legendary Washington Representative,” said Harris. “The senator had been close friends with Bookie, as he was affectionately known, and spoke movingly about their friendship and cooperation on a range of domestic and international issues. We will miss Senator Inouye, and shall always cherish his memory."