US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on Gaza

The US Senate on Thursday passed a non-binding resolution promoted by the influential Israeli lobby AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee), effectively endorsing Israel’s war on Gaza. The resolution, entitled “A resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in Israel’s defense against terrorism in the Gaza Strip” recognizes “the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” and reaffirms “the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas”.

The resolution does not recognize the right to self-defense of the Palestinian people.

The resolution criticizes Hamas for refusing “to comply with the requirements of the Quartet”, which include to “recognize Israel’s right to exist” and to “renounce violence”.

It makes no mention of Israel’s continuing settlement expansion in the West Bank, also in violation of the Quartet requirements. Nor does it call upon Israel, which illegally occupies the West Bank and has held Gaza under siege for three years, to recognize the “right to exist” of a Palestinian state or to renounce violence.

The resolution condemns the use of “human shields” by Hamas, but says nothing of the indiscriminate killing by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) that is taking a devastating toll upon civilians in Gaza.

The resolution, quoting from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, blames Hamas “for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there”.

It makes no mention of the fact that Hamas had strictly observed the cease-fire until it was violated by Israel on November 4, when Israel launched an airstrike into Gaza that killed 5 and injured several others.

The resolution notes that “the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including shortages of food, water, electricity, and adequate medical care, is becoming more acute”.

It neglects to point out that this is the direct result of Israel’s policy of blockading Gaza, and that the humanitarian crisis has been greatly exacerbated by Israel’s aerial bombardment and invasion of Gaza, instead praising the minimal amount of humanitarian aid Israel has allowed into the territory.

The resolution also states that “a sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will allow for a viable and independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel … will not be possible as long as Israeli civilians are under threat from within Gaza”.

It says nothing about the impossibility of such a two-state solution so long as Palestinians live under occupation and threat from Israel.

Members of Congress Voice Support for Israel

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) voiced her support for the resolution by saying that Israel’s war on Gaza was “a phase in a war against Iranian terror”. She said she looked forward to being able to visit Israel when its citizens were no longer under threat, presumably from rockets fired from Gaza.

She said nothing about wanting to visit Gaza or looking forward to its citizens living no longer under threat from Israel.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) characterized Israel’s war as “self-defense” and said it was well within its rights to engage in such action. He said he supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but added that such a solution would only be tenable if Israel is “secure”. He added that “Israel can always look to the United States for support and that this will continue to be true “when Barack Obama becomes President”.

He said nothing about the security of any future Palestinian state, or of the security of the territories at present that are illegally occupied by Israel. He offered no suggestions as to where the Palestinian people could look to for support.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) expressed having “every confidence that the incoming administration would continue the unwavering support of the United States of America for the state of Israel. She said her own opinion, “as a Jewish member of Congress” is that Israel has “every right to defend itself” and that Israelis “have been too patient” in responding to rocket attacks from Gaza. She expressed that it was unacceptable for tunnels to be used to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

She failed to note that it was Israel, not Hamas, that first violated the cease-fire. She expressed no similar empathy for the Palestinian people, who have lived under oppression and terror on a much greater scale, and who have been killed in far higher numbers by Israeli military actions. She made no mention of the fact that tunnels are also used to avert a complete humanitarian catastrophe, to bring in food, fuel, medical supplies, and other humanitarian goods because Israel’s blockade has prevented such basic necessities from being delivered into Gaza.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) condemned Hamas’ firing of rockets into Israel because they were intended to kill civilians even though only a small number had been killed. He said the US looks forward to “supporting Israel through its difficult time now”.

He did not condemn the Israeli killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians or express any empathy difficult time the Palestinians are going through.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NV) said “if you don’t want to be hit back, don’t hit. That’s really the message” of Israel’s war on Gaza. He blamed criticism of Israel on “anti-Semitism” and called it “blaming the victim”. He said “Israel has that right, to protect itself”.

He neglected to mention that it was Israel, not Hamas, which broke the cease-fire. Nor did he offer any indication that this standard applied equally to both Israelis and Palestinians. He expressed no support for the right of Palestinians to protect themselves.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) expressed that weapons should not be made available to Hamas.

He offered no similar comments about weapons being made available to Israel.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was a lone voice in the Congress expressing any kind of empathy for the plight of the Palestinians. In remarks from the floor of the House, he said:

“Wake up America. We have trillions for a war machine and the banks while our government stands by and sniffs at the slaughter of innocents in Gaza, where Israel is blocking aid for wounded Palestinians. Here’s today’s Washington Post. It says, ‘The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that it found at least 15 bodies and several children emaciated but alive in a row of shattered houses in the Gaza Strip and accused the Israeli military of preventing ambulances from reaching the site for 4 days. 12 corpses lying on mattresses in one home, along with 4 young children lying next to their dead mothers.’ That’s a quote. Today, US tax dollars, US jets, and US helicopters provided to Israel are enabling the slaughter in Gaza. The administration enables Israel to press forward with the attack against defenseless civilians, blocks efforts at promoting a cease-fire at the UN, and refuses to make Israel compliant with conditions that arms shipments will 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.”

Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor of Foreign Policy Journal, a website providing news, analysis, and opinion from outside the standard framework provided by government officials and the corporate media. He was among the recipients of the 2010 Project Censored Awards for outstanding investigative journalism and is the author of The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination. You can contact him at: Read other articles by Jeremy, or visit Jeremy's website.

17 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Tevye said on January 9th, 2009 at 11:50am #

    Every one of them who voted for this should be prosecuted just as Hitler’s generals were.

  2. Deadbeat said on January 9th, 2009 at 12:12pm #

    And who says AIPAC is just another lobby group?

    It is time for the Left to confront Zionism and out these “representatives” for their unwavering support of a racist ideology and expose their own blatant racism.

  3. Erroll said on January 9th, 2009 at 12:46pm #

    Contrast Kucinich’s honest assessment of what is going on in Gaza with Obama’s tepid comment that he is “deeply concerned” with Israeli and Palestinian deaths while never making a moral distinction between the miniscule Israeli deaths compared to the many more Palestinian deaths that have occurred from Israeli missiles and bombs that have been sold to them by the United States.

  4. Garrison said on January 9th, 2009 at 1:27pm #

    Sorry the US Senate got it just right! I contratulate them doing the right thing as Israel is acting in self defense. War is ugly and Israel did not start this war!

  5. Jack said on January 9th, 2009 at 1:38pm #

    …and now, Israeli propagandists are taking, to the lackey heavy corporate press, the “discovery” of a defensively booby trapped neighborhood, in Gaza as an after-the-fact pretext for the invasion of Gaza.

    If the Palestinian people if their young sons and daughters ever decide to fight in earnest, in perfectly reasonable rage against this Israeli moloch of slaughter…

    …will they reap the maelstrom for that, too?

  6. Transplanted NY'r said on January 9th, 2009 at 1:47pm #

    Anyone who supports a well-known terrorist organization is guilty by association in league with that terrorist organization. Israel is clearly defending itself – and it has been providing aid to the region since the war had began. Hamass has put the civilians into harm’s way. Israel had warned Hamass they will no longer be sitting still while the rockets are invading her. Hamass, like other well known terrorist organizations fire from schools, hospitals, houses putting the civilians into harm’s way. Also, why are you so silent when children are butchered in the name of honor? Why are you so silent when the handicapped or disabled are put into harm’s way? Just like the partners of the Muslim Brotherhood, 65+ years ago (the Nazis) the same had happened. The mentally challenged, handicapped, sick, people who were considered to be inferior were put away so they can be exterminated. Yet you are supporting this ideology.

    Never Again! If you want to believe the lies of Prophet Arafat and his friends, then you are of the same ilk.

  7. Elisabeth said on January 9th, 2009 at 2:24pm #

    As Robert Kennedy once said, upon ascending from a coal mine in Chile, “If I had to work in that mine, I’d be a communist, too.”

    Why does no U.S. press talk about the 18-month siege? Why does the U.S. press ignore the fact that it is ISRAEL who broke the cease-fire on election night? (their timing is impeccable!). Why is ONLY Hamas to blame and not Israel. Why doesn’t ANYONE in this country care about Palenstinians? I keep posting stories on my Facebook and I just get nasty comments from people. It’s making me sick. And all the bullshit about “never again.”

    Americans are too busy talking about Michelle Obama’s inaugural dress and which balls Obama is going to …because we need a “break” from our economic crisis. it’s SHAMEFUL.

    Anyone who congratulates anyone for war – is disgusting.

  8. opeluboy said on January 9th, 2009 at 3:24pm #

    The American Knesset speaks.

  9. Brian said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:22pm #

    Way to go, Dennis.

    Sadly my member of Congress, Tammy Baldwin, usually excellent on almost everything hasn’t been too good on this issue.

  10. opeluboy said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:29pm #

    “…and now, Israeli propagandists are taking, to the lackey heavy corporate press”

    Jack, you are repeating yourself.

  11. Ramsefall said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:31pm #

    And the surprise is what again? Of course these spineless pieces of shit in ties are in support of their Zionist masters, why would that possibly change? Barack’s gonna be stepping it up, despite international opinion and outrage against Israel. Brace yourselves for even more marginalization America the Terrible.

    As for Garrison’s warped comment;

    and I suppose that the colonists of America (the continent, your shortsightedness) were acting in self-defense against attacks from the indigenous people? You might do very well in US politics, or are you already a politician? Sad schmuck.

  12. Ramsefall said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:42pm #

    PS Israel supporters:

    open the f#cking history books and pull your heads out of the sand — the US govt DOES NOT support noble leaders or countries, they always back the unjustified, guilty aggressors who violate human rights and international law.

    Kucinich couldn’t have been more accurate, “Wake up America!”

    Thanks Jeremy.

  13. Tree said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:54pm #

    The email I received from an Ohio state senator. It was hardly a shock, to say the least.

    Dear Ms. :

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the current situation in Gaza.

    Israel has a right and a duty to defend its people from terrorism. For too long, Hamas has used Gaza as a staging ground for terrorism, including the recent escalation of rocket launches against Israeli citizens, to the detriment of the Palestinian people.

    I am deeply concerned by the growing number of civilian casualties. All sides must work towards an immediate resolution to the crisis. The Bush Administration must work to bring about a ceasefire and an immediate removal of all obstacles for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

    I am monitoring this situation and will continue to promote direct action by this and the next Administration to develop a lasting peace for the region.

    Thank you again for contacting me.

    Sherrod Brown

  14. bozh said on January 9th, 2009 at 4:59pm #

    right, grozna america much more gruesome than ivan the grozni. the word “grozni” has the same root as gruesome and grizly. also novi, nova, novo, novosti is similar to latin “nova” , meaning new.
    while novosti means news.

  15. Alex said on January 12th, 2009 at 9:28am #

    Wake up people! stop denying Israel’s crimes. They broke the ceasefire yet many people chooses to ignore this FACT and throw a bunch of senseless rhetoric. Yes Hamas is a terrorist organization, but so it is the Israeli govt. It is of no use trying to blame one side for the root of the problem. But Israel is guilty of the massacre of the palestinian people. How is denying the humanitarian aid not terrorism? How is shooting at UN relief workers and ambulances not terrorism?. People write to your congressman/woman as many times as necessary. Remember these rats only care about popularity, AIPAC is no match for the power of the people, tell your congressperson that you will not vote for him/her if they do not start speaking for their constituents. Shame on the US senate and praises to the Israeli peace movement that in this very moment are holding protests against the genocide of the palestinian people. We are all one people, we all want the same thing. Peace

  16. Tree said on January 12th, 2009 at 1:21pm #

    Here is the response to the email I sent my congressperson last month.

    Dear :

    Thank you for contacting me with regarding the present conflict in the Gaza. It is good to hear from you.

    Israel has the right to defend its citizens and territory, as it is doing. The current outbreak of violence is the result of Hamas’ decision to break the ceasefire agreement on December 19. On January 9, 2009 the House passed a resolution recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The only way for the violence to end is for Hamas to stop its attacks on Israel immediately, honor the ceasefire agreement and work in good faith to establish a peaceful resolution.

    I am a strong supporter of Israel and always have been. This besieged nation is the oldest democracy in the Middle East and its stability and ability to defend itself are essential to a lasting peace in the region. Israel is surrounded by many countries which have never recognized its right to exist (with the exception of Egypt). These neighbors have gone to war with Israel five times with the sole purpose of annihilating the Jewish state and have pledged time and time again to maintain this adversarial position.

    My support for Israel does not mean that I ignore the tragic loss of life on both sides. I can assure you I am closely monitoring this situation. This is a matter Congress is paying a great deal of attention to, and we will continue to support President Bush’s efforts to encourage and facilitate peace.

    Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on legislation addressing this issue in the 111th Congress. Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future. To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at

    John A. Boehner

  17. Andy Lee Parker said on January 21st, 2009 at 12:49pm #

    Here is the letter I received from my congressperson on this issue: My response to it follows.
    Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Oregonians have long watched the momentous changes in the Middle East with hope and concern. One fundamental lesson has emerged: without political processes that aim for peace, violent events and the acts of extremists can overpower the desire of people across the region to live in security.

    I share your deep concern about the hundreds already killed during this recent conflict and the increased rocket attacks into Israel. Any country facing such attacks would wish to respond firmly and decisively, yet it is frustrating to witness the region locked into a downward spiral of conflict. This path will give neither side what it wants, but will continue to destabilize the situation and further impede efforts at a resolution. Since I first visited Israel 10 years ago, the economic, environmental, and social challenges have only escalated and the region’s ticking demographic clock further threatens to undermine stability.

    This cycle of violence must be broken.

    Forceful U.S. diplomatic re-engagement is critical to support peace and to protect innocent civilian lives. Yet, nearly a decade of failed Bush policies has left America in a weakened position abroad. Remaining on the sidelines has not delivered peace nor improved the humanitarian situation on the ground. The Bush administration should use its remaining days to renew our commitment to this region and forcefully advocate for a path towards peace.

    At this moment, a secure Israel and an independent Palestinian state living side by side seems less likely. Yet I have high hopes that the new Obama administration will exhibit a strong reversal of course and re-engage the region. And I believe that there are leaders in the region who are willing to take the necessary risks needed for this peace. To make this path ready, I have strongly urged all parties to usher in this New Year with a renewed ceasefire agreement. We must continue to work for a peace process that recognizes the legitimate needs of both Israelis and Palestinians. This is the only hope for a better future.

    Thank you again for voicing your concerns. You can be sure I will continue to monitor this issue closely.

    Earl Blumenauer
    Member of Congress

    Wow. Congratulations to your form-letter writer for using the most words possible to convey the least precise meaning possible. Zionists are participating in the disgusting practice of manifest destiny, an insanity which the U.S. is only recently recovering from. Or, at least one hopes it is recovering, considering the recent election of a mixed-race goy, once considered sub-human in much the same way Israelis consider Palestinians sub-human to justify their theft and enslavement. Manifest destiny is a philosophy consisting of circular reasoning in which God’s favor is “proven” by virtue of the success in stealing land and resources and enslaving others through the use of superior weaponry with apparent divine impunity, since divine intervention is not forthcoming. Israel was created by Britain through the use of force. Britain drew politically expedient borders with complete disregard of the populace within those borders, much like the borders of Iraq. It is time that borders created by racists for purposes of exploitation of those they consider sub-human and worthy of existence only to serve as hosts for their parasitic existences are ignored out of existence. Let us be truly democratic and put continued aid to Israel up for a referendum to be voted on directly by the people. I trust that the growing power of alternative media will allow the voices of those who refuse to be controlled by the threat of worldwide nuclear war to be heard. Israel is the only nuclear threat in the region, and they are being paid off to protect U.S. oil interests and destroy all democratically elected governments in the region, which oppose the practice of usury, which is destroying America. Peace without justice is just submission to tyranny and the death of dignity.
    Regions are not locked into downward spirals of conflict by themselves. This is passive unaccountable language and an insult to the intelligence of any individual capable of rational thought. In reality, Israelis are committing atrocities against those who object to being robbed of their land and their dignity.