Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Should Not Pass

Over a month ago, I discussed the Goldstone Report, which correctly identified war crimes on both sides of the Israeli attack against Gaza.  The Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have co-sponsored a resolution trashing that report.

congress_goldstone The House of Representatives on Tuesday is poised to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning a controversial U.N. report on alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip that has become a major complication in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's diplomacy in the Middle East this weekend.

Clinton will meet in Abu Dhabi on Saturday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has seen his popularity plummet since he initially agreed under pressure from the Obama administration to defer U.N. consideration of the report. He later shifted course, and now the U.N. General Assembly will consider it on Wednesday. But Israeli officials have warned that any effort by the United Nations to add further legitimacy to the report will undermine the administration's efforts to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians.

The resolution, co-sponsored by the two senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), charges that the report by South African jurist Richard Goldstone for the U.N. Human Rights Council is "irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy," in part because it was based on "a flawed and biased mandate," and that the militant group Hamas was able to "significantly shape the findings of the investigation." Lawmakers expect it to win easy approval under a fast-track procedure that allows for no amendments.

The White House has taken no position on the House resolution, which is supported by many major Jewish organizations. The administration has previously said that the report is flawed but raises "important issues and serious allegations," and it has urged Israel to investigate its conduct in the conflict more closely.

"AIPAC, in concert with every mainstream pro-Israel organization in the United States, supports this important resolution," said Josh Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "In echoing the administration's condemnation and calling for concrete action, Congress will be sending the strong message that the United States will not stand for turning the victim into the perpetrator."

However, a new Jewish organization, J Street, has taken a sharply different tack, saying it could not support the resolution as drafted. "The resolution will pass in its current form," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street. "Yet it puts members of Congress in an uncomfortable box because it is factually inaccurate and contains gross misrepresentations" about the Goldstone report… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

I was rather surprised at such easy “bipartisanship”, so I did a little more digging.  Berman is progressive on most issues, but he does tend to be very hawkish on foreign policy, especially where Israel is concerned, as this quote clearly demonstrates: “Even before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist.”  Lehtinen, like most GOP goose-steppers is a strong Israel supporter.

I’m quite pleased with the J Street reaction.

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