Weiner Bangs Arab Bucks

Categories: Citystate
Mayoral hopeful hits Arab Bank as terrorist piggy-bank

With less than two months to go before the Democratic primary, Rep. Anthony Weiner is going after none other than . . . the Arab Bank? Yes, the Arab Bank. And it's not because the Bank is proposing a taxpayer-funded stadium or ignoring the high dropout rate in city schools. It's because the bank "has well-documented ties to terror." Weiner wants the Treasury Department to expel the bank from its midtown offices, which the congressman says is the bank's only branch in the country.

The Arab Bank has been the target of allegations that it is a conduit of terrorist money—handling accounts for people tied to terrorism and sending payments to the families of suicide bombers. But according to Weiner, "The Arab Bank has repeatedly saved the Palestinian Authority from bankruptcy by providing bridge loans when revenues ran short," which doesn't sound like a terrorist act, since the United States government also sends dough to the PA.

But it wouldn't if the congressman from Borough Park had his way; Weiner has tried to block aid to the Palestinian Authority. When the House ended up passing a foreign aid bill that included $150 million for the PA, Weiner said, "Until Palestinian leaders demonstrate a real commitment to ending the violence, they should not be subsidized by the American taxpayer." The same law included $240 million in economic assistance and $2.28 billion in military aid to Israel.

The fact is that while he's campaigned as a progressive on city issues and social matters like gay marriage, Weiner is a hawk when it comes to foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. He voted for the Iraq war, wants clemency for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, pushed to close the PLO office in Washington, and pushed for sanctions against Syria as early as 2002. He urged Columbia University to fire Professor Joseph Massad, who a handful of students had accused of anti-Semitic moves. At the death of Yasser Arafat, he declared, "The world is better off without him." In June 2003, when Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the Mideast to support what Weiner dubs the "so-called 'road map' to peace," the congressman said, "The moment Powell's plane touched down was a victory for Hamas."

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