Rep. Brian Baird (D, WA) is now in Gaza speaking truth to power. He in effect told our president: “Mr. Obama, tear down this siege!” What a profile in courage:
A U.S. congressman says the United States should break Israel’s blockade of Gaza and deliver badly needed supplies by sea.
Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington state, also says President Barack Obama’s Mideast envoy should visit Gaza to get a look at the destruction cause by Israel’s offensive last year.
The U.S. shuns Gaza because the territory’s Hamas rulers refuse to recognize Israel or renounce violence.
Baird, who has announced his retirement from Congress, spoke Sunday evening to a group of Gaza students.
Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza’s borders largely sealed since 2006, and have not allowed building supplies into the area. Baird said that U.S. vessels should anchor off Gaza and deliver what’s needed.
Here is one House member who has a conscience and isn’t afraid to express it. I should add that for his troubles the Israeli government and its operatives in this country closely monitor his trips to Gaza along with those of Keith Ellison, who has accompanied Baird on previous visits. Thus it is no accident that the recent letter from 54 House Democrats to the president calling on him to pressure Israel to ease the siege has been attacked by the Republican Jewish Coalition and others by falsely featuring Ellison as its author: not true, that honor goes to my own House representative Jim McDermott.
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Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.