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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon:
"Like many of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, I am deeply troubled by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's recent criticism of Israel and his characterization of Israel's defensive actions against the terrorist group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon as 'aggression,' as well as his failure to criticize the premeditated, unprovoked and indiscriminate attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas.
"I have every intention of raising this matter with the Prime Minister on Wednesday when Congressional leaders meet with him, and stressing that other Arab leaders have been critical of these unjustified attacks. Mr. Maliki should do the same.
"Furthermore, I believe the Prime Minister should condemn and repudiate the recent offensive comments by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani. Mr. Mashhadani reportedly told a United Nations-sponsored conference on Saturday that, 'The U.S. occupation is butcher's work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice.'
"This comment is as offensive as it is unacceptable. The United States has spent more than $300 billion and more than 2,500 of our bravest sons and daughters have sacrificed their lives to throw off the chains of Hussein's tyranny and to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to establish a democratic government and the promise of a new beginning. Mr. Maliki must not associate himself with such comments through silence.
"Similarly, I believe the Prime Minister should condemn and repudiate the vicious anti-Semitic comments made by Mr. al-Mashhadani. Such comments only inspire hate and intolerance, and have no place in responsible discourse."