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US Campaign Condemns H.Res.951

March 6th, 2008

On March 5, the House of Representative passed by a vote of 404-1 H.Res.951, a biased, one-sided resolution on the situation in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip.

H.Res.951 condemns Palestinian rocket fire into Israel and appropriately expresses sympathy with Israeli civilians subjected to it.However, the resolution fails even to mention that since last Wednesday, Israel has killed at least 117 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, more than half of whom were civilians and at least 22 of whom were children.In the same time period, one Israeli civilian was killed by Palestinian rocket fire.

As is typical of many biased, one-sided Congressional resolutions on Israel/Palestine, the House leadership put this resolution on the calendar at the last minute so that organizations such as ours could not mobilize against it.Then they called the resolution up “under suspension,” meaning that the resolution could not be amended.Both the Democratic and Republican “managers” of the resolution supported it, meaning that no Members of Congress were given the opportunity to speak against it.In fact, only a handful of die-hard apologists for Israel were even in the chamber while the bill was discussed.These apologists then cynically called for a recorded vote to give each Representative time to rush to the chamber to cast their vote to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel in its genocidal campaign to commit an even “bigger holocaust” against the Palestinian people, in the words of Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister.

While the US Campaign is committed to human rights, international law, and equality for all and condemns all attacks against civilians, the House of Representatives sadly demonstrated its commitment to racism and inequality by expressing its concern for only some civilians.Worse yet, the resolution actually blames Palestinians for Israel’s wanton acts of violence and destruction against them.

Why does Congress insist on rushing such votes through the legislative process with no debate and no time for genuine reflection on the profound human tragedy endangering civilians in the Gaza Strip and in Israel (although not nearly to an equal degree)?Because it knows that such blatant one-sided endorsements of Israel’s violence and human rights abuses will not stand up to public scrutiny.

It is a supreme irony that the US Campaign and all advocates of human rights for Palestinians are attacked as being “one-sided” when Israel’s supporters push such morally blind resolutions through Congress.Who is committed to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principle embodied in these documents that all human beings are created equal?Certainly not Israel’s supporters in Congress who devalue the lives of Palestinians and then blame the victims of Israel’s genocidal policies.

Meanwhile, Congress continues to add fuel to fire by supplying Israel with more weapons, in contravention of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, to commit additional human rights abuses against the long-suffering Palestinian people.This year, U.S. taxpayers are being asked to provide Israel with $2.55 billion in arms shipments, a 9% increase over actual spending in 2007.This is the first installment of a ten-year memorandum of understanding to increase arms shipments to Israel by 25%, totaling $30 billion.War profiteers such as Motorola, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics and the rest of the bunch grow fat off of billions in U.S. tax dollars to fuel illegal military occupations and human rights abuses in Iraq and Palestine while domestic needs go unmet.

Although the US Campaign was not able to mobilize against H.Res.951 for the reasons mentioned above, we wanted to give our supporters our analysis of it, to provide you with some ideas for action, and to let you know what we did do to protest this resolution and thank the few Members of Congress who did not support it.

To read the US Campaign’s press release on H.Res.951, click here.

To read the US Campaign’s thank you note to Rep. Ron Paul (the only no vote) and the four Members of Congress who abstained from voting, click here.

To read the final version of H.Res.951 as passed by the House, click here.

TAKE ACTION

1. Thank the Members of Congress who voted against or abstained from voting on H.Res.951:

* Rep. Ron Paul, 202-225-2831
* Rep. Neil Abercrombie, 202-225-2726
* Rep. Michael Capuano, 202-225-5111
* Rep. Jim McDermott, 202-225-3106
* Rep. Jim Moran, 202-225-4376

2. Join us in our campaign to challenge U.S. military to aid to Israel by clicking here.

* More than 200 organizations have endorsed our sign-on letter to the Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs calling for a cut off of arms shipments to Israel.We’ve extended the deadline for signing the letter to March 11.To view the list of endorsing organizations and to have your organization endorse the letter, click here.

* Each Member of Congress on the Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs has received close to 2,400 letters from individuals calling for a cut off of arms shipments to Israel.To send your letter to these Members of Congress today, click here.

* Nearly 150 people from all over the United States have signed up to educate and organize people in their communities to challenge U.S. arms shipments to Israel.To receive your organizing packet with fact sheets, petitions, and postcards, click here.


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