Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cantor should put his mouth where the money is

The writer of this letter to the editor is our very own Mike Coogan, the US Campaign's Manager of Finance and Administration, speaking on behalf of only one of hundreds of congressional districts throughout the United States losing money that they "don't have" for a military occupation that is claimed by Republican Congressman Eric Cantor to not exist.

Recently a delegation of 12 Virginians and I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Eric Cantor's office.  A member of our group expressed our main concern.  Our "ask" was that Cantor use his position of leadership to ensure Israel respects the human rights of Palestinians and pursue a strategy that could end the Israeli occupation. The legislative director responded: "We don't refer to it as an 'occupation.'"

Rep. Eric Cantor addresses AIPAC conference.
Not an occupation?  Is there Internet access in this office? The occupation has been going on for 43 years. It seems Cantor formulates policy like a child who hopes that putting his hands over his eyes will make the boogey monster disappear. Furthermore, if it's not an occupation, then there is probably no reason for the United States to give Israel $30 billion of military aid in the next 10 years.

The people of the 7th District of Virginia deserve an explanation as to why our district is paying an estimated $73 million to provide weapons to the Israeli military over the next nine years. As Cantor has said, "We believe this government must stop spending money that it doesn't have." We agree.

Perhaps he should start by cutting funding for an occupation that he doesn't think exists. Most people I have met would rather spend that $73 million on tax breaks for small business, investments in higher education or paying down the deficit. Instead, we're subsidizing Israel's illegal occupation and gross human rights violations.

Mike Coogan,
Co-chair, Virginians for Middle East Peace