Democrats and the Bloodbath in Gaza: In Sync with the Bush Administration

Support for Israel in her time of need, from both Democrats and Republicans, is not just the logical choice. It is both a strategic and moral imperative.

— Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

I want to commend the Bush administration for its support of Israel during this difficult period.

— Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Since Israel launched its massive, deadly, and completely asymmetric blitzkrieg against the impoverished population of the Gaza Strip, an operation that represents a continuation of Zionist policy since the British mandate period and has so far left over 900 Palestinians dead including some 400 women and children, Ohio Congressman and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has carried on his practice of consistently speaking truth to power, reprimanding both Israel for its criminal behavior and the United States government for enabling it. In addition to sending letters of protest to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Kucinich has also made numerous public statements about the massacre, and on January 7, he rose to his feet on the House floor to deliver the following words:

Wake up America. We have trillions for a war machine and banks while our government stands by and sniffs at the slaughter of innocents in Gaza, where Israel is blocking aid for wounded Palestinians. […] Today U.S. tax dollars, U.S. jets and U.S. helicopters provided to Israel are enabling the slaughter in Gaza. The [Bush] Administration enables Israel to press forward with the attack against defenseless civilians; blocks efforts promoting a cease-fire at the UN; and refuses to make Israel comply with conditions that arms shipments not be used for aggression. Israel is going to receive $30 billion in a ten-year period for military assistance, without having to abide by any humanitarian principles, international laws or standards of basic human decency. Wake up America.

While Kucinich’s urgent pleas seem to have fallen mostly on deaf ears, he has managed to arouse the ire of at least one pro-Israel organization. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder of the Washington-based NGO The Israel Project, chastised the Ohio Congressman saying, “He is not a friend of Israel; he doesn’t understand the security concerns of the Israeli people; he doesn’t understand what it’s like to live under rockets that are coming down constantly. If Dennis Kucinich were at all consistent with what voters wanted, he would be the president-elect as opposed to one of many people who tried to be the president-elect.”

But what exactly is it that American voters want? Do they, as Ms. Mizrahi insinuates, fully support Israel’s wanton destruction of the defenseless in Gaza? Do the American people truly stand behind the butchery of innocents including police school graduates, ambulance drivers, and sleeping children?

Despite the entirely slanted and dishonest coverage the calamity has hitherto received by mainstream media outlets in the United States, it turns out that, contrary to what Ms. Mizrahi would have us believe, a substantial segment of the American population does not actually support Israel’s criminal actions. A recent Rasmussen poll has found that Americans are almost evenly split on the issue with 41 percent against the operation compared to 44 percent in favor.

The divide, of course, is even starker when examined along party lines; while some 62 percent of Republicans polled support Israel’s actions, a clear majority of Democrats oppose them by a 24 percent margin. One can only assume that, were the treatment of the ongoing calamity by the mainstream US media not so horribly skewed against the Palestinian victims, these numbers would reveal an even stronger rejection of Israel’s iron-fisted militancy by the American people.

Unfortunately, opposition to Israel’s shock and awe campaign by a majority of Democratic voters does not translate into action or even rhetoric by Democratic leaders. In this respect, Kucinich stands virtually alone amongst a party of Democrats — or, for Denis Perrin, a party of “Savage Mules” — who seem to be vying with their Republican colleagues to see who can best cater to the demands of Washington’s pro-Israel lobby.

President-elect Barack Obama, whose entire campaign hinged on the vague notions of hope and change, has refused to weigh in on the subject, claiming that he is not in any position to take a stand until after taking office on January 20. Anyone with any degree of influence or power who remains silent while masses are slaughtered is a coward, and indeed, Obama’s shirking of responsibility in this time of upheaval and gross injustice is cowardly in the extreme. Moreover, the fact that he felt free during the primaries to ponder invading Pakistan and did not hesitate to condemn the recent attacks in Mumbai only reveals the extent of his hypocrisy.

In recent days, both houses of Congress have passed resolutions expressing the utmost approval for Israel’s aggressive acts with overwhelming bi-partisan support. These shameful resolutions represent two of the first acts of the new Congress. The contentiously worded resolution passed by the House of Representatives expresses “vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’s unceasing aggression” and calls on all countries “to lay blame both for the breaking of the ‘calm’ and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas.” Only five congressmen voted against the measure: one Republican (Ron Paul) and four Democrats (Kucinich, Gwen Moore, Nick Rahall, and Maxine Waters).

The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has celebrated both of these legislative victories by posting on its website a 104-page pdf file containing quotes from over one hundred American politicians — including such leaders as Representatives Steny Hoyer and Barney Frank and Senators Evan Bayh, Bob Casey Jr., Christopher Dodd, Dick Durbin, and Bill Nelson — who support Israel’s “right to self-defense” against the downtrodden and dispossessed in Gaza. The voices gathered together on this document are almost identical in the intensity of both their boisterousness and their ignorance, and one can be forgiven for being unable to distinguish between Republicans and Democrats. Once again, it seems that AIPAC has provided further evidence to Jack London’s disparaging characterization of lobbies as “peculiar institution[s] for bribing, bulldozing, and corrupting the legislators who were supposed to represent the people’s interests.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi — once so feared and vilified by the right — has proven herself to be lockstep behind the Israeli occupiers, saying that the Gaza Strip “cannot be allowed to be a sanctuary for attacks on Israel” and that “[t]he United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally.” Similarly, California Congressman Henry Waxman proclaimed that “Israel’s operation in Gaza is an act of self defense. It is a blatant double standard for those who criticize Israel to expect any nation to stand idle as its cities and citizens are indiscriminately shelled.”

By placing the blame for the current escalation of violence squarely at the feet of Hamas and the Palestinians, our elected Democratic representatives are repeating that old charade of blaming the victim for the actions of the victimizer. In the words of New York Congressman Joseph Crowley, “Hamas had a choice this past December: extend the cease-fire or continue hostilities. They chose war over peace.” Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. too has weighed in on the conflict saying, “We in the United States must continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of our friend and ally Israel as it defends itself against Hamas’ unrelenting rocket attacks from Gaza.”

Can our Congressmen be any further removed from reality? Unfortunately, it appears that they can. In one of the more revealing statements of support, New York Congressman Eliot Engel points to cultural affinity between the United States and Israel as a justification for his pro-Israeli sympathies. On the House floor, he declared, “I rise this afternoon in support of the beleaguered people of the State of Israel. I rise in support of the only democracy in the Middle East. I rise in support of the country in the Middle East that has the same values that our great country, the United States of America, has: principles of democracy and principles that are so important to every man, woman and child.” Apparently for Mr. Engel, the people of Gaza living under Israel’s iron heel do not share such values, and his callous dismissal of them only goes to prove Howard Zinn’s assertion that “[i]t is easier to explain atrocities if they are committed against infidels, or people of an inferior race.” The late Samuel Huntington would be proud.

Not to be outdone by their colleagues in the House, our country’s Democratic Senators have likewise risen up to express their solidarity with the occupational forces. New York Senator Charles Schumer finds it “naïve and unrealistic that some say Israel should ‘sit down and talk’ to Hamas, a group sworn to Israel’s annihilation, that broke the recent ceasefire by flinging missiles at Israeli cities.” Similarly, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez communicated his support for Israel’s bombardment of Gaza by way of an analogy: “If I am sitting in New Jersey, and rockets are landing around my house, near my children, and near our schools, my number one goal, my immediate goal, is to stop the rockets. So in December of 2008, Israel sent its military to Gaza to achieve a direct goal: stop the rockets.”

One cannot look to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for any courageous leadership on the issue. Reid, who cosponsored last week’s Senate resolution condemning Hamas, was recently featured as a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press. During the course of his interview, he expressed his solidarity with Israel saying that the Israelis “gave it [Gaza] to the Palestinians as a gesture of peace, and all they got are a bunch of rockets in return.” When asked if he was “in sync with the Bush administration” regarding the conflict, Reid responded succinctly: “Yes, I am.”

In his classic text The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon wrote that “the European masses must first of all decide to wake up, put on their thinking caps, and stop playing the irresponsible game of Sleeping Beauty” if the criminal and racist practice of colonialism were ever to end. The same can also be said today of those in the United States who seem to believe that the answer to today’s problems lies in the triumph of one establishment party over the other on election day. The shameful Democratic response to the ongoing bloodbath in Gaza illustrates this point; it is a tragic reminder that the two-party political system of the United States is fundamentally flawed. In the words of Congressman Kucinich, perhaps the sole voice of reason and integrity remaining the Democratic Party, “Wake up America.”

Greg Burris is based in Santa Barbara, California. His other writings have appeared in CineAction, CounterPunch, Electronic Intifada, and Jadaliyya. Read other articles by Greg.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on January 15th, 2009 at 11:11am #

    interesting, 44% of amers support latest crimes against humans while 100% , minus one or two, condemn nazi crimes.
    41% oppose the raid on gaza. i’m glad for this. i did not expect that much opposition. thnx

  2. Monkismo said on January 15th, 2009 at 2:51pm #


    Chalk it up to two things: anti-Arab racism and religious nuts who think the Bible justifies Israel’s claim to the land by any means necessary.

  3. DavidG. said on January 15th, 2009 at 3:03pm #

    There is a strong correlation between Israel and the Nazis, Bozh!

    Call by my blog and read my latest post. It’s controversial I warn you.

  4. bozh said on January 15th, 2009 at 3:04pm #

    long ago khazars accepted the judean cult. they evaluated the nonsense as the word of god and ever since represent danger to the goyim.
    but any other cult also endangers us. the difference btw cults being that the number of people of the hebraic cult grew by 18th century from whatever number to several mns.

    at the time of the holocaust they may have numbered at least 15 mn.
    and they set out to rob another people of their land and reestablish a euoro-khazarian empire in the middle east.

    of course it was easy to dupe or convince christian empires to help this nonjudean people establish a country. the only empire which didn’t endorse the judeo-christian soyuz was germany.
    germany had been lobbied but kaiser declined to be positive.

    euros were happy to free selves of these cultists. but who wasn’t? imagine a US with just two nationalities: let’s say italians and ‘jews’; or ‘jews’ and english; or ‘jews’ with any other nation.

    how long wld it take to make wasps hate the ‘jews’ and thus be antisemitic and not so fierecely prosemitic as now? a few months, years?
    whatever, anglosaxons wld be even bigger antisemites than palestinians.
    hebraic cult is not a religion. it is madness. there is nothing wrong in believing in an henotheistic god. but once one begins to talk for a diety that, to me, is a cult! thnx

  5. bozh said on January 15th, 2009 at 3:20pm #

    i wasn’t able to answer your comment on your webpage. but i can do it on DV.
    at least few times i have said on DV that some of the israeli crimes can be compared with some of the nazi crimes. also Mein Kampf can be compared with the torah. so, one cld also say that the nazis have learned what to do from torah.

    hitler understood better that anyone else that germans cannot get along with any cult (and who can?; remember waco, texas?)
    and hitler was at first not in favor of extirpating ‘jews’; he did offer them madagaskar.
    socalled zionists refused madagaskar, uganda (UK), and argentina. thnx

  6. Alex said on January 15th, 2009 at 7:37pm #

    I think there are some interesting points being made here and my heart goes out to the people of Gaza at this pressing time. But, all religions started off as a cult. And culture (cult – ure) is based largely on religious sources – most but not all stories have a biblical theme. To me, all ideologies that survive the ‘test of time’ are morally sound which includes all of the great religions of this world such as Judiasm.

    On the other hand, various rulers are all trying to expand their empires using force and hide or mask themselves behind religion. For an example, please see the movie “Kindgom of Heaven” where the lead character realizes the crusades were not about religious ideals but about conquest, wealth and control of land (empire).

  7. Magarulian said on January 15th, 2009 at 8:45pm #

    Alex says: “To me, all ideologies that survive the ‘test of time’ are morally sound which includes all of the great religions of this world such as Judiasm.” Are you nuts? The people who actually believe that any of the texts related to the old testament bible are a source of wisdom and are divinely-insipired are developmently disabled (no offense meant to the folks who are officially described as “developmently disabled”).

    The test of time? The only thing in this particular arena that has withstood the test of time is the brainwashing of the masses with organized, religious beliefs – for the interests of the elites. Personally, I align myself more with people who believe that Santa Claus, Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner are real, supernatural beings.

    As for the right-thinking, but very misguided, Dennis Kucinich: Dear Dennis, why in hell are you still affiliated with the Democrats?! Those phony-ass, pieces of shit are even worse than the Republicians – because they pretend to represent the American people.

    Dennis says: “Israel is going to receive $30 billion in a ten-year period for military assistance, without having to abide by any humanitarian principles, international laws or standards of basic human decency. Wake up America.” Excuse me, Dennis. Wake yourself up! Where do you think this amount of money and this American-destroying alignment comes from? From YOUR incoming president – the half-white on the outside, fully-white corporate/militarized man on the inside, B.O., who had this to say in June 2008:
    “Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. That starts with ensuring Israel’s qualitative military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from any threat — from Gaza to Tehran. Defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is a model of success, and must be deepened. As president, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade — investments to Israel’s security that will not be tied to any other nation.” (

    And let us not forget that: “The first of 20,000 to 30,000 additional U.S. troops are scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan next month to re-win the war George W. Bush neglected to finish in his eagerness to start another one. ” Read The Afghan Scam at

    So why the hell are you still in this “Democratic” party Dennis? You are only continuing to make a fool of yourself!

  8. DavidG. said on January 15th, 2009 at 10:45pm #

    Alex, religion always has been about conquest, wealth and control of souls. The aristocracy, now the wealthy and the political, added land to the other three.

    We are entering a Dark Age. We won’t emerge from it!

  9. Tom Westergaard said on January 16th, 2009 at 5:36am #

    You’ve noticed that Rachel “Sayan” Maddow and Keith “Shabbat goy” Olbermann of MSNBZ, not to mention that braying, insufferable dimwit and faux-democrat Chris Matthews have been slipping in quite a few quickie one-liners about Hamas “terrorists” lately. In addition the whole MSNBZ crew has been lamenting the fact that democratic elections are not always desirable because those can get awkward. Democratic elections can lead to political parties being voted into office that the israelis and the americans don’t like (Hamas).

    Sayan Maddow had the $25 million whore Arianna Huffington on her program Thursday night. Arianna was there to display her bona fides for the Israel Über Alles crowd. Rachel and Ari were chuckling and yukking it up, obviously quite pleased with themselves. They chatted briefly and did make it a point to mention that those nasty Hamas ghetto dwellers were indeed deserving of everything they’re getting from the israelis with their latest american death technology. After all Hamas broke the ceasefire (Wrong) and the Hamas “terrorists-KZler” were threatening the israeli population with their glorified firecrackers.

    Is there any Establishment Media, print or broadcast that is not israeli/zionist controlled territory? I’ve heard more than a few “democrats” and “liberals” say that if it weren’t for MSNBZ there wouldn’t be a single sane voice in the media matrix. The fact is any progressive, or indeed reasonable person who thinks MSNBZ is on our side and shares our ideology is deluded. That cable network is just another Borscht Belt production and the on-air talent are employees reading scripts approved by management.

  10. Josie Michel-Brüning said on January 16th, 2009 at 8:08am #

    I’m appreciation this article, as well as, the following discussion. However, “There is nothing godd, unless you do it!” [originally from Erich Kästner, “Es gibt nichts Gutes, außer man tut es!”]
    What about joining A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
    National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
    New York City: 212-694-8720
    Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
    San Francisco: 415-821-6545
    Chicago: 773-463-0311 ?

    What about sharing your ideas with the “Obama-Biden Transition Team” inviting all of us to do so. Allegedly, there is the chance to tell Mr. Obama directly, at ?

  11. Josie Michel-Brüning said on January 16th, 2009 at 8:12am #

    Sorry for my mistakes:
    I meant: I’m appreciating …
    and: “There is nothing good, unless you do it!”

  12. Josie Michel-Brüning said on January 16th, 2009 at 8:30am #

    I’m appreciating this article, as well as, the following discussion. However, “There is no good, unless you do it!” [originally from Erich Kästner: “Es gibt nichts Gutes, außer man tut es.”]
    What about joining A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
    National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389 ?

    What about sharing your knowledge and ideas with the Obama-Biden Transition Team?
    What we have to overcome seems to be all “ism” from zionisms, socialdarwinism, patriotism, lobbyism to egoism, if mankind has a chance to survive at all.

  13. Michael Hureaux said on January 16th, 2009 at 9:27am #

    I don’t know from cults but I do know that recent Zionist atrocities are only the most recent demonstration that the idea of any state based upon a religion is vicious and reactionary. We either find our way back to ourselves without God in the sky or we’re toast.

  14. scottk said on January 16th, 2009 at 12:04pm #

    Magarulian, read Crashing the Party by Ralph Nader and you will understand Dennis Kuchinich.

  15. DanE said on January 16th, 2009 at 3:24pm #

    Hmm. Well-focussed article, some interesting comments.

    Texarkana to Byzantium, eh? That should get a mind out of any ruts:) BTW, Gregory, you aren’t by chance related to the distinguished Dr Val Burris who maintains the Power Structure Research site at the U of Oregon? Roots in Domhoff & the original Insurgent Sociologist of the seventies, nothing to say about Petras or the Zionist Power Config.

    Yes, by all means do focus on the Demockrat Party, and especially on the components of it that claim to be “workingclass”, “minority”, “pro-Gender Equality”, “antiwar” etc. One bunch needs to be helped to see through the Obamas, Hillarys, Barbara Boxer et al. A slightly hipper bunch needs to realize that outfits like UFPJ, CCDS, “Progressive Democrats of America” (sic) are just as much Arms of the State as the Republican National Committee.

    My own view of characters like Dennis Kucinitch & Maxine Waters is that it is conceivable that they are sincere, but if so they are misguided. If they really constituted a threat to the status quo/Zionist Consensus, they’d have gotten the Cynthia McKinney treatment by now. As I see it, Kucinich and three or four other incumbent congresscritters serve the status quo by blurring the lines between the rest of the Democrats and genuine opposition to the wars and the lies. “If Dennis K is a Democrat, and a genuine opponent of this phony “war on terror”, doesn’t that prove that you can be a sincere & trustworthy advocate for Peace & Justice while remaining a member of the Democrats?”

    “Margulian” has it just about right, IMHO: “Wake Up, Dennis”. Except my guess is that Dennis knows damn well what his role is, & which side of the bun gets the mayo. This based on an abortive attempt to relate to his 2004 psuedo-“campaign”, which soon revealed itself to be a total farce. Psychedelic Reader’s Digest, Christic Institute, PDA, 2nd International.
    Re “Why not the ANSWER Coalition”? I think this is a very timely question. But one that can only be addressed once you’ve worked your way past UFPJ, The Nation, Amy Goodman etc.
    The short answer to the ANSWER question might be that they side with Chomsky rather than Petras. While they take the lead in organizing protest about Gaza etc, they seem to want to avoid the q. of US Jewish Establishment involvement. They seem to prefer to promote the Antonia Juhacz version of the Current Conjunture, in which Big Oil is the main culprit behind the War On Terror, invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and main determinant of US Mideast policy.
    Now “Big Oil” has displayed plenty of worldscale criminal behavior, listing in its “jacket” things like the coup which installed the Shah, & creation of the US/Saudi special relationship.

    But you can go on any college campus and talk about Big Oil like a dog as long and as often as you want. Try finding a campus where you can hold an open even focussed on the Power of “Israel” in the US, or on the US Zionist Power Structure — hehe, go on, try it:)

    Richard Becker said he doesn’t think US Jews have any significant role in determining US Mideast policy: “Jews just don’t have that kind of power”.