Rhode Island--111th Congress (2009-2010)


Senator

S.Res.10

Dodd Letter

Bayh/Risch Letter




Total

Jack Reed (D)







0

Sheldon Whitehouse (D)


-1





-1

Senate

1. S.Res.10. Title: “A resolution recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” Comment: In the midst of Israel’s brutal war and siege of the occupied Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and injured thousands more, this resolution placed exclusive blame for Israel’s attacks on Hamas; called on Hamas but not Israel to end acts of violence; asserted falsely that Israel is facilitating humanitarian aid to Gaza when it is in fact besieging it; and deemed Israel’s acts of collective punishment and attacks on Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure to be self-defense. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent, 1/8/2009.

2. Dodd Letter. Comment: This AIPAC-initiated “Dear Colleague” letter to President Obama urges him to “take into account the risks” Israel will take in signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians, as if Palestinians face no risks in signing an agreement with an Israeli government that consistently violates human rights, international law, and even previous agreements it has signed. The letter is also premised on the biased notion that only Palestinians and Arabs bear responsibility for bringing about peace, and that Israel is free of any responsibility to take steps in that direction. The letter reads as if these Senators are stuck in some parallel universe where Palestinians are occupying Israel. The letter is clearly designed as a rebuke to the Obama Administration for its clear insistence that Israel end settlement building. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to President with 76 signatures, 5/18/2009.

3. Bayh/Risch Letter. Comment: This “Dear Colleague” letter urges President Obama to pressure Arab states to normalize relations with Israel prior to it ending its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory and dismantling its apartheid polices toward Palestinians. Member states of the Arab League have rightfully agreed to normalize relations with Israel only after Palestinians have achieved their individual and national rights. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to President with 71 signatures, 8/10/2009.

Representative

Capps Letter

H.Res.
34

H.Res.
66

H.Con.
Res.29

Olver Letter

H.Res.
130

H.Con.
Res.111

Hoyer Letter

H.Res.
867
Moran/Inglis Letter

McDermott/Ellison
Letter


Total

Patrick Kennedy (D-1)


-1







-1




-2

James Langevin (D-2)


-1






-1

-1




-3

House

1. Capps Letter. Comment: This letter expresses concern about the breakdown of civilian infrastructure, including electricity, medical care, water, and sewage treatment, in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s siege. The letter also expresses support for an immediate ceasefire. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to President with 24 signatures, 1/9/2009.

2. H.Res.34. Title: “Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” Comment: In the midst of Israel’s brutal war and siege of the occupied Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and injured thousands more, this resolution placed exclusive blame for Israel’s attacks on Hamas; called on Hamas but not Israel to end acts of violence; asserted falsely that Israel is facilitating humanitarian aid to Gaza when it is in fact besieging it; and deemed Israel’s acts of collective punishment and attacks on Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure to be self-defense. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor or yes vote, 0 not voting, +1 present vote, +2 no vote. Last Major Action: Passed the House 390-5, 22 present (Roll Call Vote #10), 1/9/2009.


3. H.Res.66. Title: “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives concerning the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Comment: This resolution is refreshingly accurate for an Israel-Palestine piece of legislation. It mentions the impact of Israel’s attacks on Gaza on Palestinian civilians, notes Israel’s bombing of UN facilities, elaborates on the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and cites Israel’s responsibility for the welfare of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip under international law. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/15/2009.

4. H.Con.Res.29. Title: “Expressing the sense of Congress that the United Nations should take immediate steps to improve the transparency and accountability of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East to ensure that it is not providing funding, employment, or other support to terrorists.” Comment: Couched in the seemingly benign terms of “transparency” and “accountability,” this resolution is part of a long-standing, concerted effort by a few Members of Congress who vocally oppose the right of return of Palestinian refugees to de-fund UNRWA and attempt to resettle Palestinian refugees outside the borders of their homeland. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/28/2009.

5. Olver Letter. Comment: This letter acknowledges the acute humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and urges the United States to play a leading role in alleviating it. The letter also advocates for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with U.S. aid and directly led to the Obama Administration’s decision to release $20 million in emergency aid for the Gaza Strip. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to Secretary of State with 64 signatures, 1/28/2009.

6. H.Res.130. Title: “Expressing support for the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, and for other purposes.” Comment: President Obama’s appointment of Senator George Mitchell was applauded by many analysts who view him as an even-handed mediator, especially compared with many previous Bush and Clinton appointments to similar positions. The resolution quotes Senator Mitchell on the resolvability of conflicts and points to his experience in successfully brokering peace in Northern Ireland. The resolution also quotes President Obama on his concern regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 2/4/2009.

7. H.Con.Res.111. Title: “Recognizing the 61st anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel.” Comment: Where should we start with this resolution chocked full of hyperbolic gushy sentiments about how Israel is the best thing since sliced bread? Suffice it to say that the resolution mentions not one word about how Israel ethnically cleansed and dispossessed Palestinians in 1948 to establish itself as a “Jewish State.” A “shining model of democratic values,” indeed. These types of resolutions are beginning to feel quaint as even President Obama publicly acknowledged in Cairo that “For more than 60 years they've [Palestinians] endured the pain of dislocation.  Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.” Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Passed the House 394-0 (Roll Call Vote #230), 5/4/2009.

8. Hoyer Letter. Comments: This AIPAC-initiated “Dear Colleague” letter to President Obama urges him to “take into account the risks” Israel will take in signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians, as if Palestinians face no risks in signing an agreement with an Israeli government that consistently violates human rights, international law, and even previous agreements it has signed. The letter is also premised on the biased notion that only Palestinians and Arabs bear responsibility for bringing about peace, and that Israel is free of any responsibility to take steps in that direction. The letter reads as if these Representatives are stuck in some parallel universe where Palestinians are occupying Israel. The letter is clearly designed as a rebuke to the Obama Administration for its clear insistence that Israel end settlement building. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to President with 328 signatures, 5/28/2009.

9. H.Res.867. Title: Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ in multilateral fora.” Comment: This resolution condemns the Goldstone Report as “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy” and instructs the Obama Administration to oppose consideration or endorsement of the Goldstone Report. The resolution is replete with inaccurate information about and misleading characterizations of the Goldstone Report and undermines the commitment of the United States and the Obama Administration to the universality of human rights and the principle of holding accountable human rights violators. Scoring: -2 sponsor, -1 cosponsor or yes vote, 0 not voting, +1 present vote, +2 no vote. Last major action: Passed the House 344-36, 22 present (Roll Call Vote #838), 11/3/09.

10. Moran/Inglis Letter. Comment: This “Dear Colleague” letter urges Secretary of State Clinton to pressure Israel to allow students from the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip to attend school in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. As part of Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza, it has prevented Palestinian students from attending school in the West Bank. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to the Secretary of State with 33 signatures, 12/22/2009.

11. McDermott/Ellison Letter. Comment: This “Dear Colleague” letter to President Obama draws attention to the devastating humanitarian consequences of Israel’s illegal blockade of the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip. It terms Israel’s blockade of Gaza “de facto collective punishment,” which is a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention. Scoring: +2 sponsor, +1 cosponsor. Last Major Action: Sent to the President with 54 signatures, 1/21/2010.


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