Lawrence Eagleburger dead at 80

Former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, who enjoyed particularly good relations with the pro-Israel establishment in Washington, died on Saturday at the age of 80.

Eagleburger took over as acting Secretary of State after the 1992 resignation of James Baker III, who left to honcho George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful campaign for a second term .

He was also popular with Israel leaders, some of whom jokingly called him “Yigal Burger.” In 1998 he became head of the newly created International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims. His tenure there was not without controversy; the commission was frequently criticized for excessive administrative spending.

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, called Eagleburger a “strong advocate for Soviet Jewry and steadfast supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Harris noted that Eagleburger was the official the first Bush administration sent to Israel in 1991, when that country was the target of Scud missile attacks during the first Iraq war.

An AJC statement on his death said his message was “to assure Israelis of American determination to stop the missiles, as Washington had asked Jerusalem to refrain from its own response to the missile onslaught.”

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.