Senator Lindsey Graham: Everything That Starts With ‘Al’ in the Mideast Is Bad News

Speaking at an AIPAC dinner, the likely Republican presidential candidate reiterated threat to cut UN funding if Security Council acts against Israel.

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Senator Lindsey Graham talks with reporters, Washington, Dec. 13, 2014.
Senator Lindsey Graham talks with reporters, Washington, Dec. 13, 2014. Credit: AP
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Haaretz

"Everything that starts with 'Al' in the Middle East is bad news," said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina at an AIPAC dinner in Boston on Monday. "Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula," said the senator, who may be running for president.

Graham, who was the keynote speaker at the AIPAC New England Leadership Dinner in Boston, also told the approximately 1,000 pro-Israel attendees, “You will see me in New Hampshire,” former Haaretz investigative journalist Uri Blau has reported on his blog.

The problem - linguistically - with Graham's comment is that "Al" is the definite article in Arabic (i.e. equivalent to English's "the"), and usually appears before most Arabic proper nouns, especially place and personal names.

As for relations between the U.S., Israel, and Palestine, Graham said: "If the Palestinians will sue one Israeli soldier who risked his life securing Israel, the US will cut all aid to Palestine." Reiterating a pledge he made to AIPAC a few months ago, he also threatened to cut off U.S funding to the UN if the UN Security Council pushes through action on behalf of the Palestinians. "I’m gonna put the United Nations on notice," Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee said in March, adding that he would go after its funding if the organization "marginalized" Israel. "All the money that goes in to support the State Department comes through my committee."

Attending the dinner were Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Charlie Baker, and Israeli Consul General for New England Yehuda Yaakov, who posted pictures and comments about the event, according to the report.

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