Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Rep. Jim Moran, Liberal Critic of Israel, Plans to Retire From Virginia Seat

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), a longtime congressman from northern Virginia who repeatedly clashed with pro-Israel and Jewish groups, is retiring.

Moran, 68, told media Wednesday that he would not run again in his district, which comprises Arlington, Falls Church and parts of Alexandria and Fairfax County, because it has become strongly Democratic, , making his vacant seat safe for the Democratic Party. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.

Moran had repeated clashes with pro-Israel groups and with Jewish members of his Democratic caucus over claims he made in 2003 and 2007 that without Jewish support, the United States would not have launched the war with Iraq.

A blunt speaker who never got the hang of holding his tongue, he got into deeper trouble with his apology in 2003, when he seemed to accuse Jews of controlling who gets elected.

His district includes one of the fastest-growing Jewish populations in the Washington area, and in the 2002 election he solicited a letter from Jewish lawmakers praising his support for Israel.

A year later, after his claim at a town hall meeting that “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,” a number of the Jewish lawmakers who had signed the original letter repudiated him and said they would no longer support his election.

Referring to that repudiation and other calls for him to step down in an interview with a newspaper in which he also apologized for the original offensive remark, he said: “It’s unhealthy for the American political process for any group within our society to be able to decide who should and who shouldn’t represent a constituency.” That occasioned another round of condemnations.

His notoriety was such that in 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama welcomed Moran’s endorsement, which was routine – and simultaneously reassured the Jewish community that he disagreed with Moran on who was to blame for the Iraq War, which was not.

Whenever he was faced with such complaints, Moran would note that one of his daughters had converted to Judaism.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.