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Congress Responds to the Flotilla: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

June 8th, 2010

Congress is back in session today from its Memorial Day recess, and is weighing in on Israel's assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Here's a review of some Congressional initiatives and ways for you to take action:

The Good

On June 2, Rep. Dennis Kucinich began circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter, which states, in part, "Israel must account for our support, for the lives of our soldiers, for the investment of billions from our taxpayers.  Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people."

Ask your Representative to "sign on" to this "Dear Colleague" letter and ask him/her also to have the State Department initiate an investigation into whether Israel violated the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) by clicking here.

(By the way, our campaign to initiate an investigation into Israel's violation of the AECA is gathering momentum. Former UN Assistant Secretary General Dr. Peter Bourne wrote Secretary of State Clinton a letter based on our research. Read about it on our blog.)

Also, of note, on June 3, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Keith Ellison sent President Obama a letter, calling on him to support an investigation into the attack and a lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

Thank Rep. Lee by calling her at (202) 225-2661 and Rep. Ellison by calling him at (202) 225-4755 or emailing him here.

The Bad

On June 4, Rep. Ted Poe, who was featured in our recent video, "'The Twilight Zone' on Capitol Hill" began circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter which states that Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was an "act of self-defense" against "extremist terrorists".

Although Rep. Poe has not posted the text of his letter to his website and its language is reportedly still under consideration, there is no doubt that it should be opposed. Ask your Representative not to "sign on" to this letter by clicking here.

The Ugly

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has posted a compendium of Congressional statements in support of Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

As wretched as many of these statements are, none are quite as disturbing as remarks reportedly made by Rep. Brad Sherman during a conference call organized by the Israel Project. On the call, Sherman invoked the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and reportedly stated that he "will be asking the Attorney General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization."

No mention of this incendiary remark can be found on Sherman's website. However, you can call him at (202) 225-5911 to oppose his plan to prosecute U.S. citizens for participating in a legitimate humanitarian aid mission. While you have his office on the phone, you can ask him instead to direct the Attorney General to prosecute Israeli military and political leaders who are responsible for the deaths of Furkan Dogan, a U.S. citizen, and eight other Turkish citizens killed during its attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

43 Years of Occupation

This week marks 43 years of illegal Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. As our emergency response to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla illustrates, the work of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is needed now more than ever.

Please make a tax-deductible contribution of $43 to support the work of the US Campaign by clicking the donate button below.

Your $43 donation helps sustain the sort of emergency responses, media coverage, and movement-building victories that the US Campaign and its member groups have organized over the past week.

If you appreciate our work, then please make a tax-deductible donation by clicking below:

Can't afford to donate that much? Then please consider making a donation of $19.19 to "offset" your tax dollars going towards military aid to Israel by clicking here.