Mondoweiss - The Senate is warning Palestinians against undertaking any “negative” unilateral actions re Israel at the United Nations, and look who isn’t signing on to the letter that AIPAC has endorsed: Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Folks have been pressing Warren and her staffers not to sign this letter – and she didn’t. Neither did Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Maybe the national publicity and pressure on these progressives over their Israel-Palestine positions moved them? Maybe they’re tacking ahead of 2016? Here are the 12 non-signers, from both parties:
Bernard Sanders (I), Bob Corker (R), Elizabeth Warren (D), Harry Reid*, Jeff Sessions (R), John D. Rockefeller IV*, Lisa Murkowski (R), Patrick J. Leahy* (D), Rand Paul (R), Tammy Baldwin (D), Tom Coburn (R), Tom Harkin* (D).
(*Majority leader/ senior committee chairs who don’t usually subscribe to these things)
Is this the beginning of a Senate “refuser caucus”? We can only hope. A friend who emailed the office of one liberal northeastern senator who did sign the letter got back this note:
Thank you for sharing your concerns with the Senator. I would like to share with you the J Street perspective on the letter if that helps.
J Street supported the letter, right alongside AIPAC. Another sign of JStreet as “AIPAC Lite” giving liberal cover for the Israel lobby agenda.
The text of the letter is up at New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte‘s site. It urges the State Department to keep Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities and governing Gaza, and to prevent the Palestinian Authority from going to the International Criminal Court.
Letter Presses Administration to Prevent Hamas from Rebuilding Military Capabilities and Calls for Gaza Demilitarization Sep 23, 2014 Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the National Security Working Group, announced that they’ve led a letter signed by 88 senators to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Administration to take steps to ensure that no assistance is diverted to Hamas, support the Palestinian Authority’s effort to govern in Gaza, and discourage Palestinian unilateral measures at the United Nations and International Criminal Court that bypass direct negotiations and undermine the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Senators wrote, “As we look ahead to the next few months, we urge you to focus on three key objectives: (1) preventing Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities; (2) enabling the Palestinian Authority to move toward becoming the Palestinian governing authority in Gaza; and (3) preventing negative developments at the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, and the International Criminal Court that could derail any prospects for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.” The full text of the Senators’ letter is below: September 23, 2014 The Honorable John Kerry Secretary of State U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry, We were pleased to see that Hamas finally accepted an Egyptian cease-fire plan last month. Sadly, Hamas continued its attacks on Israel for weeks after Egypt’s initial proposal, leading to unnecessary and increased suffering in Gaza and Israel. As we look ahead to the next few months, we urge you to focus on three key objectives: (1) preventing Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities; (2) enabling the Palestinian Authority to move toward becoming the Palestinian governing authority in Gaza; and (3) preventing negative developments at the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, and the International Criminal Court that could derail any prospects for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. First, we fully support the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. We must also condition reconstruction assistance on the establishment of a system to prevent Hamas from rearming and rebuilding its military capability. In the past, Hamas has diverted construction materials intended for civilian use to the construction of the tunnel networks that were used during this last conflict to smuggle weapons and attack Israelis. We must support Israeli and Egyptian efforts to implement strict, comprehensive controls so that no assistance is diverted to Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. The international community has twice spent billions to rebuild Gaza, only to see Hamas transform economic assistance into the means of war. For the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike, we cannot let this happen again. Ultimately, we must seek Gaza’s demilitarization. Second, we must support efforts to enable the Palestinian Authority to exercise real power in Gaza. Hamas has demonstrated conclusively both that it has no interest in peace with Israel and that it has no concern for the well-being of Gaza residents. Meanwhile, the West Bank has experienced periods of significant relative economic growth and stability, in part due to cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces there. All Palestinians deserve a government that will seek to advance their safety and prosperity-not use them as human shields. Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will require a Palestinian partner that controls the West Bank and Gaza, is focused on economic development and stability in both areas, and will accept Gaza’s demilitarization. We must start this process now. Third, while we work with the Palestinian Authority to extend its effective jurisdiction to Gaza, we must work equally hard to ensure that Palestinian officials do not take further harmful steps at the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, or the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Authority must avoid steps that would undermine the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. We must let Palestinian Authority President Abbas know that America’s willingness to cooperate with him will continue to depend on his willingness to return to the negotiating table with the Government of Israel and avoid unilateral measures that bypass direct negotiations. We look forward to working with you on these critical matters, as our nation strives both to prevent another Hamas-instigated war and to create the conditions that will allow Israelis and Palestinians to move closer to peace.
Kelly A. Ayotte Robert P. Casey, Jr. James M. Inhofe Richard Blumenthal Susan M. Collins Edward J. Markey Mike Crapo Joe Manchin III Pat Roberts Jeanne Shaheen Jeff Flake Tim Kaine David Vitter Michael F. Bennet John Boozman Kirsten Gillibrand John Thune Tim Johnson Jerry Moran Debbie Stabenow Roy Blunt Patty Murray John McCain Kay R. Hagan James E. Risch Mark Begich Marco Rubio Ron Wyden Patrick J. Toomey Barbara Boxer Dean Heller Benjamin L. Cardin John Barrasso Mark Udall Richard Burr Mazie K. Hirono Lindsey O. Graham Brian Schatz Mitch McConnell Amy Klobuchar Thad Cochran Heidi Heitkamp Deb Fischer Jon Tester John Cornyn Sherrod Brown Rob Portman Mark L. Pryor Michael B. Enzi Barbara A. Mikulski Mark Kirk Maria Cantwell Lamar Alexander Martin Heinrich Orrin G. Hatch Mary L. Landrieu Tim Scott Tom Udall Roger F. Wicker Tom Carper John Hoeven Charles E. Schumer Mike Lee Joe Donnelly Chuck Grassley Al Franken Ted Cruz Christopher A. Coons Johnny Isakson Sheldon Whitehouse Mike Johanns Cory Booker Ron Johnson Carl Levin Saxby Chambliss Bill Nelson Dan Coats Mark R. Warner Richard Shelby Angus S. King, Jr. Claire McCaskill John Walsh Richard J. Durbin Chris Murphy Robert Menendez Jack Reed Dianne Feinstein Jeff Merkley
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Posted In: Israel Lobby US Policy in the Middle East US Politics 121 442 Google +0 Reddit3 0 12 Responses
just September 26, 2014, 3:36 pm
12 Senators who may believe in human rights (including the right of self defense) for the Palestinian people.
That’s just sad. Ayotte and Casey should be ashamed of this. So should the rest of the signatories. Log in to Reply American September 26, 2014, 3:39 pm
Kay Hagan has yet to show her face in this part of her district–we’ve been laying in wait for her. She going to lose to the republican candidate–not any better but who cares , at this point the goal is to just .keep throwing them all out Log in to Reply HarryLaw September 26, 2014, 3:54 pm
All the things Abbas has said he would do if the UNSC do not agree to the ending of the occupation within a time frame of 3 years, are legally, morally and above all politically necessary, indeed a duty which the Palestinian leadership must not be blackmailed into abandoning. Applying for membership of the UN Agencies and the ICC are political actions which should have been taken as soon as Palestine was recognized [officially by the UNGA and UNESCO] as a state. Netanyahu has declared that there cannot be a separate Palestinian state between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean, that being the case Abbas trying to negotiate one is futile. As the Prosecutor at the ICC said “the ball is in Abbas’ court” he needs to take action, otherwise the Palestinians have no hope. Log in to Reply Jenin Younes September 26, 2014, 4:06 pm
I’m glad to see Warren and Sanders resisted the pressure.
it’s upsetting to see, once again, so many of our other senators tow the AIPAC line. Log in to Reply Citizen September 26, 2014, 6:38 pm
My senators do it like clockwork. Log in to Reply Annie Robbins September 26, 2014, 4:37 pm
The Senate is warning Palestinians against undertaking any “negative” unilateral actions re Israel at the United Nations
with all due respect phil, it is the word “unilateral” which should be in scare quotes. the idea of approaching a world body for international consensus as “unilateral” is an oxymoron. for is it not the opposite of unilateral? unilateral is what israel does by annexing or appropriating (stealing) territory unilaterally. this framing is a propaganda tool/hasbara coup and it should be called out for what it is.
besides, if israel is serious about negotiations, 3 years gives them plenty of time to put their cards on the table. when one party consistently refuses to even name proposed borders of their own state how can negotiations be taken seriously? Log in to Reply Mooser September 26, 2014, 8:47 pm
Did you take note of the fact that Warren was recently lambasted in Commentary and/or Tablet for being insufficiently Zionist. Or saying something they interpreted as meaning Israel should follow the law or something, and they didn’t like it. Oddly enough, I think it was another sentence in the same quotes that Warren was criticized for here, as being blindly pro-Israel! Maybe she’s tired of never being able to satisfy Zionism, and is reaching her limits. Anyway the Warren Commentary thing was covered at (of all places) TPM. Log in to Reply ckg September 26, 2014, 5:01 pm
I see neither Tammy Baldwin nor Bernie Sanders signed. I wonder if Chris Hedges was an influence. Two weeks ago the progressive ‘Fighting Bob Fest’ took place in Wisconsin with Baldwin and Sanders the headline speakers. But Chris Hedges–who is no PEP–also spoke. And he spoke of Gaza as only he can:
And in this charnel house, this open-air prison where 1.8 million people, nearly half of them children, live trapped in an Israeli ghetto, I have witnessed the crimes of occupation—the food shortage, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. As I have witnessed this mass of human suffering I have heard from the power elites in Jerusalem and Washington the lies told to justify state terror.
An impoverished, captive people that lack an army, a navy, an air force, mechanized units, drones, artillery and any semblance of command and control do not pose a threat to Israel. And Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill hundreds of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war. It is state-sponsored terror and state-sponsored murder.
The abject failure by our political class to acknowledge this fact, a fact that to most of the rest of the world is obvious, exposes the awful banality of our political system, the cynical abandonment of the most vulnerable of the earth for campaign contributions. Money, after all, has replaced the vote.
The refusal to speak out for the people of Gaza is not tangential to our political life. The pathetic, Stalinist-like plebiscite in the [U.S.] Senate, where all 100 senators trotted out like AIPAC windup dolls to cheer on the Israeli bombing of homes, apartment blocks, schools—where hundreds of terrified families were taking shelter—water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals, and of course boys playing soccer on a beach, exposes the surrender of our political class to cash-rich lobbying groups and corporate power. The people of Gaza are expendable. They are poor. They are powerless. And they have no money. Just like the poor people of color in this country whose bodies, locked in cages, enrich the prison-industrial complex.
I wonder how Baldwin and Sanders reacted to being called out as “AIPAC windup dolls”. link to madisonrafah.org Log in to Reply just September 26, 2014, 5:14 pm
In Hedge’s speech there is much that could give any Rabbi some ideas for a Rosh Hashanah sermon. They could dip it in honey if need be.
Thanks, ckg. Log in to Reply seafoid September 26, 2014, 5:06 pm
” to ensure that no assistance is diverted to Hamas, support the Palestinian Authority’s effort to govern in Gaza, and discourage Palestinian unilateral measures at the United Nations and International Criminal Court that bypass direct negotiations and undermine the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.”
And Abbas spoke at the UN to say that bullshit is over. Rich nihilistic Jews can go suck on it. Log in to Reply Horizontal September 26, 2014, 6:39 pm
When I see so many politicians sign on to something like this, which is outside the bounds of reality, much less decency, I’m always left wondering how many of our representatives are actually aware of how out of touch they are? Not that it matters that much in the end — a vote to arm Israel is a vote to arm Israel, after all — but just on the human level, how many know it’s BS and support it anyway for political reasons and how many actually believe in it? Log in to Reply Citizen September 26, 2014, 6:41 pm
It would gladden my heart if Warren and Sanders stood up for the Palestinians; they’d be standing up for authentic American values–but I fear they won’t hold up. Log in to Reply
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