12 thoughts on “11 Courageous Democrats Criticize Gaza Siege, Where Have You Gone, Barack Obama? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Unfortunately, I fear that too many people on either side still hope to get revenge for whatever the other side has just done. A childish p***ing match! Peace will be possible when each side becomes war-weary, gives up hope of revenge. Greece and Turkey seem to have done so, so it’s not impossible.

  2. Thanks Richard! I didn’t know about this. I just sent a thank-you to the representatives.
    It’s true 11 is a shamefully small number, but it is a heck better than 0.
    I hope others will thank them, because we know they will be bombarded by the other side.

  3. On Monday, I had a very pleasant conversation with Obama’s Legislative Assistant Elizabeth Holsom. I told her at first that I’m a staunch Obama supporter, and that I’m doing work for him in Chico. I told her that I’m a Jew who disagrees with the letter that Obama wrote to the U.S. Ambassador, and as I said I would, I stated that Obama should simply emphasize in his campaign that he will make it one of his highest priorities to settle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and attack Bush and the Repugs for their failure to do so. Elizabeth said that actually her office doesn’t deal with what Obama says on the campaign trail, and that the place to call is his campaign, and I told her that I did make a call there. She did say that she would pass my remarks along to someone who deals with what Obama says on the Senate floor. Elizabeth did mention that Obama has spoken out about the conditions that the Palestinians live under including the people in Gaza, and has stated that he would make it a top priority to settle this dispute. I suggested that Obama emphasize those points more in his campaign, and that AIPAC and the rest of the Israel Lobby does not represent the majority of American Jews. Elizabeth did say that she has received many calls from people in California, expressing the views that I expressed. I also told her that when I speak with people that I tell them that I strongly believe that as President, that Obama will in fact make it a top priority to settle this dispute and that will include putting pressure on Israel. She actually said that is true. Also as what might be considered a canned response to my the call that I made to Obama campaign that I mentioned, this was part of that response. “The best solution to this difficult conflict is two states living side-by-side in peace and security. I believe the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians support this outcome. What is needed is a far more vigorous U.S. diplomatic effort to help them achieve it. But the current administration has sat on the sidelines for far too long. As president, I would make a personal commitment to this effort.” But I agree. I wish that Obama would emphasize this more in his campaign.

  4. “Let me make clear that both sides should be criticized for their behavior, the Palestinians launching Qassams and Israel for its siege.”
    So why would you sign a statement that is so clearly one-sided?

  5. To expect Obama to be critical of Israel in any way (even if he is critical of the Palestinians as well) is completely unrealistic. The Israeli Lobby would go after him like they have gone after all the others who criticize Israel in an way whatsoever. Only old men with no future (like Jimmy Carter) can afford to criticize Israel.

  6. Yes the Israel Lobby would condemn Obama if he even criticized both sides, but just about every Jew who would vote against Obama for that reason would vote against him anyway. They are among the 20% of Jews who vote Republican. Most of the other 80% of Jews who vote Democratic do so based on issues other than the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. I think that they understand what’s fair. Years ago, a rabbi of a major synagogue in San Francisco told me about a candidate for Lt. Governor who asked the rabbi for his support because of his support for Israel. The rabbi replied to him that he wouldn’t give him his support simply based on that, and that he was interested in the candidate’s views on other issues. This was in 1974, pre-Manachem Begin. If a President ever put the necessary pressure on Israel resulting in a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, that President will be highly popular and that includes among Jewish people.

  7. Ok, big Wallt, let me ask you this. If you were PM of israel, what would you do to wind this conflict up. Since in your mind this is all a matter of putiing pressure on Israel. Therefore its all in Israels hands. So surely if you were in charge you could wind this up by the super bowl. Tell me the plan.

  8. So why would you sign a statement that is so clearly one-sided?

    I didn’t say that I would sign it. I would sign a statement that more clearly expressed condemnation of the rocket attacks as well. But the truth is that the U.S. government including Congress has already criticized these attacks endlessly. What has NOT been done–& this letter does–is condemn the disproportional violence against Gaza’s civilians. That NEEDS addressing.

  9. Richard – you should add my Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) to the list of Jewish Congressmen in the Leadership. She is the Chief Deputy Whip in The House… She was notably absent from that list

  10. Dan:

    Jan is my rep. too (I’m from north Evanston; you? :D) and I hate to say it, but alas, her absence from a list like this is far from notable–although I’m thrilled to say she’s one of the most reliably progressive members of Congress, especially on Iraq, civil liberties, etc. (not to mention domestic issues…we love you Jan!), her votes on Israel/Palestine have never made me proud. A shonde (shame), really.

    Now, anyone know why Rep. Capuano isn’t on this list? My impression is that he’s pretty good on these issues, often taking his cues from Brit Tzedek. (Then again, I guess they probably wouldn’t back a letter like this…?)

  11. “Let me make clear that both sides should be criticized for their behavior, the Palestinians launching Qassams and Israel for its siege.”

    That is the message that needs to be out on the TV.
    A war crime is a war crime, no matter who commits it, or under what extenuating circumstances.

    And deliberately targeting civilians, whether by Kassam rockets, or by an economic blockade, is a war crime.

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