Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, November 2009
US Congress Endorses Israeli War Crimes
By Nima Shirazi
PTT, November 21, 2009
Goldstone's impeccable and unimpeachable credentials cannot be
overstated. As a member of the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry
Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, Goldstone was responsible for
uncovering and publicizing allegations of the extensive violence committed
by Apartheid South African security forces, paving the way for subsequent
investigations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after South
African democratization. He served as a judge for the Constitutional Court
of South Africa, chairman of the Independent International Commission on
Kosovo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and was a member of the International Panel of the
Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina (CEANA),
tasked to identify and prosecute Nazi war criminals who had emigrated to
Argentina. In 2004/5, he was a member of the Volker Committee investigation
into the UN’s Iraq oil-for-food program.
Not only this, but in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, his own daughter Nicole (once a resident of Israel) even described Goldstone, who is Jewish, as "a Zionist" who "loves Israel." Goldstone currently serves as a trustee at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, the harrowing conclusions and reasonable recommendations of the UN commission were quickly denounced by many US officials (not to mention the pathetic 'who, me?' outrage and phony self-righteousness exhibited by their Israeli counterparts), most of whom had not even read the report in its entirety; their smug derision of the dispassionate facts presented in the report made perfectly clear their intention to cover-up Israeli war crimes and, in so doing, legitimize and endorse Israel's ongoing suppression, dehumanization, starvation, occupation and slaughter of the Palestinian people.
As it has in the past, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), rushed to Israel's defense. This is the same team that, almost two weeks into the Israeli bombardment, co-sponsored House Resolution 34, a Pelosi-led non-binding declaration that "recogniz[ed] Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza" and "reaffirm[ed] the United States strong support for Israel." H.Res.34 called upon the House of Representatives to express "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 [to recognize] its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas's unceasing aggression," in addition to claiming that Israel had "facilitated humanitarian aid to Gaza" during the assault. The resolution also called on "all nations" to "condemn Hamas for deliberately embedding its fighters, leaders and weapons in private homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and otherwise using Palestinian civilians as human shields, while simultaneously targeting Israeli civilians" and "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."
The resolution made no mention whatsoever to the crippling Israeli blockade, the devastating and ceaseless air and ground assaults by the Israeli military, or the fact that it was the IDF that had, in fact, broken the ceasefire in the first place. The resolution passed almost unanimously (390-5) on the very same day that the Palestinian death toll in Gaza reached 765, half of them children and women, with thousands more wounded, including hundreds in critical condition. As Congress affirmed its "vigorous support [of] and unwavering commitment" to Israel, municipal buildings, homes and mosques in Gaza were shelled relentlessly by the Israeli military using US weaponry. Five days earlier, the Israeli Air Force had launched an attack on a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya, killing over 40 people and wounding over 100 more.
Over seven months later, when the Goldstone Report was released, Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen returned to the drafting table.
Howard Berman, the self-described liberal who voted for the invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003 as well as the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, was described in an article in the Jewish Daily Forward as a "staunch supporter of Israel" and "a cautious backer of the peace process" whose "interest in the Jewish state was one of the main reasons he first sought a seat on the [House Foreign Relations] committee." Berman, possibly in an effort to one-up Joe Biden, boasts that "Even before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist." Larry Weinberg, an AIPAC board member, confirms Berman's ethno-supremacist credentials saying, "I have known Congressman Berman for many years, and I am continually impressed by his personal commitment to strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel…He is not only a leader on our issues, but he is a friend to many in the pro-Israel community."
Berman is adamant about placing harsh sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, which he constantly mischaracterizes as a "nuclear weapons" program. He, along with his trusty sidekick Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has recently proposed HR 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which seeks to impose sanctions on companies that help Iran to import refined petroleum products or that help it to increase its domestic refinery capacity. In a September speech, Berman claimed that the United States "will be in a much stronger position to maximize our ability to obtain crippling sanctions because of our sincere effort to engage [Iran]." What an enticing proposal for Iran to engage! The speech also contained this brilliant nugget regarding the terrifying menace of a nuclear-armed Iran: "We’re not talking about a regime that has the same calculus – that same sense of restraint – as we do about the use of such a weapon." Perhaps the Congressman forgot that, in addition to being the biggest stockpiler of nuclear weapons on the planet in clear violation of its obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the United States is also the only country in the history of the world to ever use nuclear weapons. And it used them on innocent civilians. Twice.
Ros-Lehtinen, meanwhile, is not only the most senior Republican woman in the US House, a hawkish Zionist, and a supporter of the Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq, the Military Commission Act, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the military coup in Honduras. She is also against the funding of stem cell research, affirmative action (scoring a 31% favorability by the NAACP), and civil rights (scoring a dismal 14% by the ACLU) encourages continued sanctions against Cuba (the country of her birth), and has openly called for the assassination of Fidel Castro.
Additionally, as journalist Franklin Lamb
Ros-Lehtinen, along with Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, is a
pillar of the “fake US Congressional Human Rights Caucus, founded in 1983
which in its quarter century of self congratulatory investigations of Human
Rights abuses has yet to find a single human rights abuse by Israel,
irrespective of any murders, slaughtering of innocents, home demolitions,
political incarcerations, religious bigotry, illegal use of American
weapons, illegal siege of Gaza and serial invasions of Lebanon, and the
continuing theft of Syria’s Golan Heights. Over the past few years the CHRC
has become an Iran-bashing forum for all manner of Zionist zealots and kooks
spreading falsehoods and defamations against Islam and the Islamic
The resolution itself neither addresses nor disputes any of the Goldstone
Report's actual findings or conclusions. Instead, via a series of
deliberately misleading, factually inaccurate and unrelated "whereas"
clauses, it seeks to delegitimize the entire Fact Finding Mission as a
whole, oftentimes personally attacking its members in an effort to show
anti-Israel tendencies or bias. What the resolution actually amounts to is a
repetition of Israeli propaganda and Zionist apologia masquerading as a
legal and moral defense of indefensible Israeli military aggression.
The text of H.Res.867 is rife with blatant inaccuracies, decontextualized
mischaracterizations and a thorough lack of historical perspective. Many of
these factual errors were addressed and corrected in a
letter written by Judge Goldstone himself to both Berman and
Ros-Lehtinen on October 29.
Palestinian rocket attacks, in addition to Israeli military operations, were clearly included in this mandate. Additionally, had those who wrote and supported the House resolution actually read the contents of Goldstone Report rather than simply making things up, they would have been well aware that, in addition to Palestinian rocket attacks and their consequences being mentioned at length in the report's Introduction, there is also an entire 20-page chapter (XXIV, p.346-366) entitled "The Impact on Civilians of Rocket and Mortar Attacks by Palestinian Armed Groups on Southern Israel," which practically begins with the following statement: "Since April 2001, Palestinian armed groups have launched more than 8,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel."
After exhaustively documenting the impact of these rocket attacks,
including Israeli fatalities, physical injuries, psychological trauma,
mental health, damage to property, the impact on the right to education and
on the economic and social life of affected communities (both Israeli and
Palestinian within southern Israel), the Mission
states that "There is no justification in international law for the
launching of rockets and mortars that cannot be directed at specific
military targets into areas where civilian populations are located" and
concludes that because these rockets cannot be aimed at specific targets,
"one of the primary purposes of these continued attacks is to spread
terror," an act which it explicitly states is "prohibited under
international humanitarian law." (A/HRC/12/48, p.365) It
The Goldstone Report is perfectly clear. The House Resolution is
deliberately false. Furthermore, as Jeremy R. Hammond of Foreign Policy
points out, the resolution "ignores the fact that even if Israel’s
military operations were justifiable as 'defensive measures,' Israel would
still be legally obligated to conduct its operations in accordance with
international law, and to conduct investigations into alleged war crimes
conducted by its own forces."
It is doubtful that Berman would also conclude that past testimonies given by Israeli soldiers regarding the gross misconduct and war crimes committed in Gaza were also the result of militaristic intimidation, most likely agreeing with the aborted military probe that, unsurprisingly, found the allegations to be "based in hearsay" and "rumors," and declared an end to the probe. According to Congressman Berman, the only apparent trustworthy source on what happens in Gaza is the Israeli government. What a relief.
In reality, the Goldstone Report's findings are unequivocal and unambiguous. Among many other conclusions, it found that Israel's "repeated failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians appears to the Mission to have been the result of deliberate guidance issued to soldiers, as described by some of them, and not the result of occasional lapses" and that "the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces. It was not carried out because those objects presented a military threat or opportunity, but to make the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population." (A/HRC/12/48, p.407)
The Mission found that Israeli operations, in many cases, constituted "an assault on the dignity of the people" and included not only "the use of human shields and unlawful detentions sometimes in unacceptable conditions, but also in the vandalizing of houses when occupied and the way in which people were treated when their houses were entered. The graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often racist slogans, all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanization of the Palestinian population." (A/HRC/12/48, p.407)
Because the Israeli government has consistently claimed that all phases of "Operation Cast Lead" were thoroughly and extensively planned, that legal opinions and advice were given throughout the planning stages and at certain operational levels during the campaign, and that, according to the Government of Israel, almost no mistakes made during the planning or operation itself, the Goldstone Report concludes that "what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability." Furthermore, "Whatever violations of international humanitarian and human rights law may have been committed, the systematic and deliberate nature of the activities described in this report leave the Mission in no doubt that responsibility lies in the first place with those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations." (A/HRC/12/48, p.408)
Clearly, these revelations are far too damning for the US Congress, which funds the Israeli military apparatus to the tune of $3 billion each year and provides devastating weaponry with which to slaughter Palestinians by the hundreds, to bear and therefore must be buried. With this in mind, it is all too obvious that H.Res.867 is meant to be a distraction from the truth; it is a deliberate and disingenuous deflection of well-documented, substantiated, and widely corroborated evidence of Israeli war crimes that, in its reflexive self-righteousness, reveals itself to be no more than a study in double standards, moral relativism and selective outrage.
As such, the resolution and its uncreative backers in the House, resorted to obvious repetitions of hasbara in a well-coordinated effort to silence all criticism of Israeli actions, cover-up evidence of Israeli war crimes, and condone any and all military aggression, invasion, and occupation – no matter how illegal, inhumane, or truculent – committed by any so-called "democracy" in the name of "self-defense."
When the resolution made it to the floor of the House on Tuesday afternoon, Congress members from all over the country lined up to lend their vocal support to Reps. Berman and Ros-Lehtinen and the resolution. They all basically said the same thing: that the wicked, blood-lusting terrorists of Hamas used Palestinians as human shields and that a victimized, peace-loving, democratic Israel, via the findings of the Goldstone Report, is being unfairly condemned for merely acting out of self-defense.
Ros-Lehtinen, in her defense of H.Res.867, called the Goldstone Report a
"575-page hatchet job" that "persecut[ed] Israel for defending herself,"
claiming that the Mission "disregarded evidence that Hamas and other such
groups in Gaza used innocents as human shields and deliberately launched
attacks from schools, from hospitals, from mosques." (Congressional
Record H12234 11/3/09)
In this respect, the operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support. The Mission considers this position to be firmly based in fact, bearing in mind what it saw and heard on the ground, what it read in the accounts of soldiers who served in the campaign, and what it heard and read from current and former military officers and political leaders whom the Mission considers to be representative of the thinking that informed the policy and strategy of the military operations." (A/HRC/12/48, p.406)
In response to the unsubstantiated, albeit constantly repeated, claims that Hamas militants hide behind innocent civilians as a defensive strategy, Goldstone notes that the Mission found no conclusive "evidence that Hamas forced civilians to remain in their homes in order to act as human shields. Indeed, while the Government of Israel has alleged publicly that Hamas used Palestinian civilians as human shields, it has not identified any cases where it claims that civilians were doing so under threat of force by Hamas or any other party."
Nevertheless, because the issue of Hamas using civilians as "human shields" is so deeply ingrained in the Zionist propaganda talking points of both Israeli and American apologists for Israeli atrocities, any contradiction of this assumed justification for the willful murder of vast numbers of innocent Palestinians by the Israeli military is brushed aside as an absurd fabrication and distortion of reality. As such, despite relevant facts and evidence to the contrary, it is repeated again and again by Israeli and American officials, parroted by an uncritical media, and in entrenched in the psyche of the gullible public to become indisputable doctrine.
Desmond Travers, who was one of the four members of Goldstone's UN
Mission, addressed the "human shield" allegation in a recent
Harper's Magazine. A retired Colonel of the Army of the Irish Defence Forces
and the former Commandant of its Military College, Travers has also served
in "command of troops with various UN and EU peace support missions." In
response to a question regarding whether "Hamas deliberately inserted its
fighters among civilians" and therefore was responsible for deliberately
increasing the civilian death toll of the conflict, Travers
"The Goldstone Report ignores the facts," Klein continued. "The terrorist threat surrounding Israel's defensive actions in Gaza require a decisive response, and any sovereign nation would have and should have done what Israel did," adding, "I would urge U.N. member states to devote time and thoughts to the realities of human rights around the world, not Israel." (CR H12233 11/3/09) Clearly, for Ron Klein, the 'realities of human rights around the world' and 'Israel' are mutually exclusive.
Eliot Engel (D-NY) claimed that the Goldstone Report is "part of an ongoing effort at the U.N. to single out Israel and to deny Israel the same rights accorded to other nations" and that it "equates Israel's long-delayed acts of self-defense [sic] with Hamas' 12,000 intentional, indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians since 2001." He closed his comments by urging Congress to "stand by" Israel. (CR H12235 11/3/09)
Eric Cantor (R-FL) claimed that "For years, without provocation, Hamas
and other terrorists in Gaza launched thousands of deadly rockets at Israeli
civilians. The attacks laid siege to entire swaths of Israelis. By last
December, Israel said enough was enough." (CR
…There shouldn’t be one vote, not one vote in this place against Israel.
And the people who are making these comments on the other side of the aisle really bother me, because Israel has been such a great friend of ours and they have been trying to reach peace over there forever [sic]. And, instead, they keep getting rocket attack after rocket attack, and then they are criticized for human rights problems because they defend themselves [sic].
If we launched missiles into Michigan, I guarantee you, Michigan would be
really ticked off at us and would want to stop it and would do everything
they could to stop it. We ought to support Israel." (CR
A quick look at the facts reveals a very different perspective of what
"disproportionate" really means. The Goldstone Report states that, in the
mere fourteen months from the September 2005 disengagement until November
2006, "the Israeli armed forces fired approximately 15,000 artillery shells
and conducted more than 550 air strikes into the Gaza Strip. Israeli
military attacks killed approximately 525 people in Gaza. Over the same
period, at least 1,700 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel by
Palestinian militants, injuring 41 Israelis." (A/HRC/12/48, p.51-52)
In all of 2007, five Israelis, none of whom were children, were killed in Israel in incidents involving Palestinian violence. The same year, over three hundred Palestinians in Gaza, 29 of which were children, were killed by Israeli violence (another 91, including 14 children, were killed by Israeli or settler violence in the West Bank). The following year, up through October 2008, a total of 30 Israelis, including 4 children, were killed by Palestinian violence. In contrast, in the first ten months of 2008, 389 Palestinians, including 69 children, were killed by Israel in Gaza alone, not to mention the 56 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and Israel. Between December 27, 2008 and January 21, 2009, the Israeli air force, navy, and army murdered 926 Palestinian civilians, including 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wounded over six thousand, and left tens of thousands homeless. 236 Palestinian combatants were also killed. Disproportionately, 10 of the 13 Israelis killed in those 26 days were Israeli soldiers, four of whom died by friendly fire.
The actual "asymmetry" of Israel's bombardment of Gaza is also evident when considering that, as Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups fight with conventional weapons, homemade rockets, and thrown stones, the IDF employs tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, unmanned drones, howitzer artillery, as well as the illegal use of such destructive weaponry as white phosphorous, flechette missiles, dense inert metal explosive (DIME) munitions, and even depleted and non-depleted uranium. (A/HRC/12/48, p.194-199)
Although resolution advocates like Eric Cantor describe Palestinian rocket attacks as being initiated "without provocation," the truth reveals something completely different. It is clear from such New York Times, Reuters, Ha'aretz, Guardian, Yediot Ahronot, The Times (UK), BBC, and Amnesty International reports that Israel broke the ceasefire, leading to an escalation of events eventually culminating with Operation Cast Lead. It has even been conclusively proven that, with regard to who breaks ceasefires more often, the Israeli military or Palestinian militants, "a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week."
Even the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a governmental think tank
that, according to its own
shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress" and whose
"experts assist at every stage of the legislative process" providing
"Congress with the vital, analytical support it needs to address the most
complex public policy issues facing the nation" found in a February
Israel and Hamas: Conflict in Gaza (2008-2009):
Essentially, the Congressional claims of relentless and unprovoked Palestinian aggression against a peaceful Israeli population are not only unfounded, they assume the exact opposite of the truth. The "What-if-Mexico or Michigan" analogies also fall short under even the most cursory scrutiny. All real evidence turns such suggestions into a preposterous joke at which no one is laughing.
At one point, during the Congressional debate over H. Res.867, Maryland
Rep. Steny Hoyer's effort to place the blame for Israel's brutal blockade,
deprivation, starvation, collective punishment and massacre of Palestinians
in Gaza squarely on the democratically-elected leadership of Hamas took a
tellingly racist turn. "Tragically, civilians in Gaza suffered and continue
to suffer. They suffer in major part from the determination of their imposed
leaders to pursue indiscriminate terror," he began.
Gary Ackerman (D-NY), who actually traveled to Israel with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly (on the Mayor's private jet) during the Gaza Massacre to show his support for the murder of hundreds of defenseless Palestinians by the Israel military, entered his remarks into the Congressional Record, calling the Goldstone Report "a pompous, tendentious, one-sided political diatribe" that, for all its "facts" and "context" contains "very little truth" and "very little wisdom." (CR H12244 11/3/09)
Ackerman makes clear his contempt for the authors of the Report by
stating, "In the self-righteous fantasyland inhabited by Judge Goldstone and
his colleagues, there's no such thing as terrorism; there's no such thing as
Hamas (and if it does exist, it's certainly nothing to fear); there's no
such thing as legitimate self-defense; and war is like a sporting event,
rather than the most ghastly, destructive, chaotic phenomenon we human
beings are capable of creating." Ackerman himself could benefit from a
reality check in the form of testimony by a young Israeli reservist who,
upon reflecting on his role as a remote operator of Predator drones
conducting airstrikes on civilian centers and residential neighborhoods in
Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison led the opposition, stating that the resolution "should be opposed because it suppresses inquiry, inquiry that is the hallmark of democratic societies" (CR H12234 11/3/09) and asking, "Why are we going to pass a resolution without holding a single hearing? Why is the House voting for a resolution which condemns a report that few Members have fully read?" (CR H12235 11/3/09)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) addressed Palestinian rocket attack and the
humanitarian crisis in Gaza, remarking, "The urgency and the gravity of
these harsh realities on both sides require that Congress act always with an
eye toward peace and reconciliation." She concluded that supporting
H.Res.867 "doesn’t lead us to securing Israeli peace and security nor
Palestinian peaceful coexistence and for their citizens a life of respect."
Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) called the resolution "a deliberate diversion" and challenged Congress "and the committees of jurisdiction to invest their time and resources into more constructive efforts that further the cause of peace." (CR H12236 11/3/09)
Rep. John Dingell (D-NY) rose to oppose the resolution by stating,
simply, "This is a bad bill. It’s a bad resolution. It is unfair. It is
unwise. It contributes nothing to peace. It establishes a bad precedent, and
it sets up a set of circumstances where we indicate that we’re going to just
arbitrarily reject a U.N. finding and a U.N. resolution and that we’re going
to have that as a precedent. This is bad." Dingell spoke to the universality
of international law:
This is about much more than just another imposed political litmus test that we are all too often asked to perform. This is about whether we as individuals and this Congress as an institution find it acceptable to drop white phosphorous on civilian targets, to rocket civilian communities, to destroy hospitals and schools, to use civilians as human shields, to deliberately destroy non-military factories, industries and basic water, electrical and sanitation infrastructure. This is about whether it is acceptable to restrict the movement, opportunities and hopes of more than a million people every single day."
On the floor of the House, Baird, who has visited Gaza and seen first-hand the affects of Israel's assault, made one last appeal to his colleagues. "Do not pass this resolution. Support this fine jurist," he said. "Give justice, true justice, a chance to be heard." (CR H12237 11/3/09)
Kucinich reprimanded fellow Congress members for their suppression of the truth in supporting H.Res.867, declaring, "Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist," continuing, "Behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian." The Ohio Representative stated that "if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read concerning events it has totally ignored about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution." He accused resolution supporters of "tacitly approv[ing] violations of international law and international human rights" and warned that "if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?" (CR H12237-8 11/3/09)
Nevertheless, despite the noble objections of these representatives and the call of numerous human rights organizations to oppose the bill and support the Goldstone Report's findings and recommendations, Congress voted overwhelmingly to pass H.Res.867, thereby white-washing war crimes in a successful bid to allow Israel to unconditionally slaughter Palestinians with impunity.
Brooklyn Representative Yvette Clarke was one of only 36 members who voted against the legislation. The day after the vote, a statement appeared on her website, explaining her position. "Consideration of this resolution completely circumvented the legislative process, preventing an accurate and thorough vetting of the findings of the Goldstone Report," she wrote. "This highly unusual legislative maneuver, which denied members a single subcommittee hearing, raises questions regarding the claims in this resolution." She also stated that the "language stating that it should be U.S. policy to 'oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration…in multilateral fora' is excessively broad and inconsistent with our national commitment to human rights and the rule of law."
This national commitment to human rights and the rule of law was recently
affirmed by Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of
International Organization Affairs in her September 14, 2009 remarks to the
High-Level Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, in which Brimmer
the United States was pleased to rejoin the community of nations on the
United Nations Human Rights Council due to the Obama Administration's
renewed efforts to advance "one of the most fundamental roles of the state:
to protect and advance human rights." Brimmer continued,
The United States Congress, at the bidding of AIPAC and the Israeli government, did not heed this call, nor did they act as true representatives of their constituents. A Rasmussen poll from December 31, 2008, taken just days after Israel launched its devastating assault on Gaza when Israeli propaganda was at its height and revelations of war crimes were far from being exposed, found that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip." While the American public at large slightly favored Israeli aggression (44-41%, with 15% undecided), Democratic voters overwhelmingly opposed the Israeli offensive – by a 24-point margin (31-55%). Despite such a majority of Democratic disapproval of Israeli military action at the time, a staggering 70% of Democratic Representatives (179 out of 255) voted in favor of H.Res.867 on Tuesday.
On January 2, 2009, Salon.com commentator Glenn Greenwald
the following query:
The late Edward Said wrote, "The paramount thing is that the struggle for equality in Palestine/Israel should be directed toward a humane goal, that is, co-existence, and not further suppression and denial."
The Goldstone Report came to the same
conclusion, echoing the voices of those struggling for the universal
values of human rights, social justice, legal equality, and basic morality,
when it stated:
Not only does the United States House of Representatives not accurately represent the views of the American people, let alone those of the rest of world, it is – unequivocally – no home to morality.
He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and books.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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