Color Congress blue

(Israeli blue)

“At the State Department we used to predict that
if Israel’s prime minister should announce that the world is flat,
within twenty-four hours
Congress would pass a resolution congratulating him on the discovery.”

-- former State Department official Don Bergus,
quoted in paragraph 2.0.8 of They Dare to Speak Out by Paul Findley,
citing a letter from Bergus to Findley dated July 10, 1984

[This post initially created 2006-01-06.]

Has any U.S. congressman, ever,
sponsored a resolution which says,
to Israel:

“You are not getting another nickel from us
until you establish a definite schedule
for pulling back to the pre-1967 boundary.
Continued American support, financial and political,
will be conditional on your sticking to that schedule (no excuses!).
Feel free to build a fence, if you think that will help your security.
In fact, we’ll even help to pay for the fence.
But just build it on the internationally recognized boundary,
not on a boundary that you have unilaterally asserted.”

I certainly didn’t know the answer to that question until last night,
when I had the opportunity to ask it of a current U.S. congressman,
who shall remain nameless
because I don’t know if he wants his answer to be public.
(Hey, if the MSM can have their anonymous sources and blind quotes
(or is it anonymous quotes and blind sources?)
why can’t I?
Also, the question as posed above
is a slight refinement of what I originally asked him.)

Here’s my memory of what he said:
And if you want to know why,
the reason is because of what happened to Bryant,
who sponsored an amendment opposing
the $10 billion housing guarantees for Israel back in the early 1990s.”

For those who may not be aware of the situation that he was describing
(I certainly wasn’t)
here’s a description, in former Congressman John Bryant’s own words
(but reformatted slightly).

The Bryant Amendment
To Paul S. Larudee, Richmond, CA, Aug. 13, 1991

Thank you for contacting me to express your support
for my amendment to the Foreign Assistance Authorization bill
for fiscal years 1992 and 1993.

I believe the policy of the Likud government of Israel
to rapidly expand settlements in the West Bank and Gaza
  • is a serious threat to Israel,
  • is wrong,
  • is an obstacle to peace, and
  • endangers America's reputation for fairness.

I offered my amendment because
it is no longer possible not to conclude that these settlements are wrong.
They are wrong because
  • it is always wrong to take the land of a neighboring people,
  • this policy is undermining the historic American consensus of support for Israel, and
  • they constitute a serious obstacle to peace,
    which is the only way to ensure Israel’s security.

The principal obstacles to peace in the region remain, of course,
the refusal of the Arab regimes
  • to recognize Israel,
  • to negotiate with Israel, and
  • to abandon their economic boycott of companies that do business with Israel.

But the Likud government cannot use these adverse circumstances
to justify creating an additional obstacle.

I submit that the US has an obligation
not only to spend tax dollars for Israel’s benefit,
but to spend a little of our own political capital
  • to protect the moral foundation upon which support of Israel has always rested,
  • to protect the people of Israel from an ill-conceived policy of the Likud government,
  • to protect the reputation for fairness of the United States, and
  • to protect the possibility of peace in the Middle East.

Rep. John Bryant (D-TX), Washington, DC

[end of letter from former Congressman Bryant]

Who can not hear former Congressman Bryant’s words without saying “Amen!”?
The years from 1991 to 2006 have only reinforced
the validity and importance of what he said.
And if you need an example of what that means, practically, for America
consider these words of one O. bin Laden:
Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers.
But after it became unbearable and we witnessed
the oppression and tyranny
of the American/Israeli coalition
against our people in Palestine and Lebanon,

it came to my mind.

But there is a shocking gap in American politics.
Where is the American politican today
who is willing to say what Bryant said,
and take a stand against America’s financial and diplomatic support
for the policies of Israel of which Bryant spoke?
There is no one.
There is a vast silence, of those who would oppose the Jewish juggernaut,
which crushed all opposition
to these policies which have caused America such grevious harm,
without the slightest compensating benefit.
Let Israel’s loyalists at the Weekly Standard prattle on
about a “moral foreign policy.”
How does their “morality” justify Israel’s conquest of the West Bank?
Oh, of course.
Jewish morality means that Jews can take what they want,
as long as the Torah can be invoked to justify it.
And our political system offers no opposition to this conquest,
with the American congress servilely serving as Israel’s ATM.

One would like to call today’s congressman cowards,
but that hardly seems fair:
it seems fairer to call them (political) realists.
As the anonymous (but very real) congressman has pointed out,
along with former congressman Paul Findley,
opposing Israel’s fifth column in the United States
is a political death warrant.
For further proof of this,
I really encourage reading Findley’s book,
The Dare to Speak Out.
Note also how much the Israeli lobby does to discredit that book, and its author.


Original Question
The original formulation of the resolution I posed to the congressman was:
“You are not getting another nickel from us
until you meet two criteria—
that you establish a definite schedule for pull back to the 1967 boundaries,
and stick to it (no excuses!).”?
With further time to think about what I believe the resolution should say,
I have refined it to what appears in the main body of this post.
But I think that the congressman would have given the same answer.
His central point seemed to be that Congress, at present,
is simply unwilling to use its power of the purse
to make the slightest attempt to disassociate America from Israel’s behavior.


Mearsheimer, John J. and Walt, Stephen M., “The Israel Lobby”

Congress Cautioned On Support of Israel
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post, 2006-07-26

[An extract from the article (emphasis is added):]

Even as the fighting continues and the civilian casualties mount in Lebanon, sentiment in Congress is overwhelmingly on Israel's side.
Last week, the House passed a resolution,
410 to 8 [roughly 50:1, or 98%],
that went even beyond the Bush administration
in support for Israel

in its battle with Hezbollah militants.

A bid by the four House lawmakers of Lebanese descent
to add language urging restraint against civilian targets
was rejected in negotiations.


"Israel obviously dominates the House,"
said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) [one of the congressmen of Lebanese descent]....
"The House tilts so far toward Israel and so far against anything else,
I knew it would be like going into a tsunami."


Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) said that
language urging restraint to protect civilian life
would have been interpreted as a slap at Israel --
and that at a time when world opinion is predictably against the Jewish state,
the United States must stand firmly on Israel's side.
[Standard Jewish logic--
if the whole world is against Israel,
that's reason enough to support Israel.
In other words, Jews are always right.]

"I am very sensitive to Lebanon's budding democracy.
I'm very sensitive to the delicate balancing act we're in,
and I grieve for civilian casualties,"

Engel said. But he added:
"I don't want to be an honest broker.
I want to be a friend and ally of the only democratic government in the Middle East that is besieged by its enemies."


Dems’ Disdain For Palestine
by Michael F. Brown
TomPaine.com, 2007-02-20

Lawmakers Sign Protest on Palestinian Aid
by Nathan Guttman
Jewish Daily Forward, 2007-03-30

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Seventy-nine senators signed a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
urging the Bush administration to maintain its policy of
denying financial aid and refusing to meet with the Palestinian government
until it
recognizes Israel,
renounces terrorism and
accepts past agreements with Jerusalem.

A similar letter to the European Union’s high representative, Javier Solana,
was signed by more than half the members of the House of Representatives.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
pressed lawmakers in the House and Senate to sign the letters.
Thousands of delegates to the Aipac convention in Washington two weeks ago
raised the issue in meetings with congressmen.

The House letter was written by two Jewish Democrats,
Robert Wexler of Florida and Gary Ackerman of New York,
and by two Republicans,
Elton Gallegly of California and Mike Pence of Indiana.


[Howard] Berman, Congressional Foreign Affairs Boss,
Cites Israel as a Prime Motivator in His Politics,
Then Calls Israel Lobby a 'Total Canard'

by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2008-02-22

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Can you imagine what journalists would do
if an evangelical Christian took the chairmanship of a committee
that controlled funding for abortion, or stem-cell research?
The papers would be all over it.
They would laugh when that congressmen said that
the issue of a religious agenda re stem cells is a “total canard.”
Yet here we have a genuine religious interest,
genuinely engaged (until Berman has to throw up all his defensive denials),
on issues that today have far more consequences for Americans
than the (fading) social conservatives’ agenda;
and the press is silent.
I don’t blame Berman here so much as the press.
Berman is the Religious Left in American life,
an important component of our politics, our foreign policy,
and the distorted thinking behind the Iraq debacle.
And so far

the Religious Left
has successfully silenced scrutiny of its actions

by saying that
even to bring it up
is to be antisemitic.

America is better than that.


Unanimous Consent
By Glenn Greenwald
The American Conservative, 2009-01-26

When Israel acts, Congress applauds. No debate required.



Israel lobby presses Congress to soften Obama's tough stance on Netanyahu

American Israel Public Affairs Committee circulates letter
urging White House to 'reinforce' relationship with Israel

by Chris McGreal
Guardian (UK), 2010-03-30

Aipac has persuaded
more than three-quarters of the members of the US House of Representatives
to sign a letter calling for an end to public criticism of Israel.

Israel Support Letter Unsupported by Reality
by Jay Barr
Antiwar.com, 2010-04-20

The Boxer-Isakson "Israel Support Letter" addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
and currently signed by 76 senators ...
contains a slew of Likud talking points,
few of which are supported by reality.


On Israel, Congress Still Obedient
by MJ Rosenberg
politicalcorrection.org, 2010-06-15

Right-Wing Israel Lobby Riding High in Election Run-Up
by Jim Lobe
IPS News, 2010-06-23

Despite the growing international condemnation and isolation incurred by
the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
the right-wing leadership of the so-called “Israel Lobby” here
is riding high in the U.S. Congress.

So far this week, it has chalked up a key victory on Capitol Hill
in its longstanding effort to impose “crippling sanctions” against Iran.


While privately critical - often scathingly so - of Israel’s recent behaviour,
especially the May 31 commando raid,
top officials of the administration of President Barack Obama
are increasingly reluctant to air their complaints in public
lest they harm Democratic prospects

for retaining control of both houses of Congress
after the mid-term elections in November.



House G.O.P. Tightens Its Bond With Netanyahu
New York Times, 2011-09-21

[Your Zionist Occupation Government at work.]


As senators work on Iran sanctions bill, White House lobbies lawmakers not to act
By Karen DeYoung and Joby Warrick
Washington Post, 2013-12-01

As much as any other foreign policy issue during President Obama’s five years in office,
the question of Iran sanctions now finds him at odds
with a hefty portion of his own party’s lawmakers,
as well as most Republicans.

A bipartisan juggernaut of senior senators
is spending the remaining week of the Thanksgiving recess
forging agreement on a new sanctions bill
that the senators hope to pass before breaking again for Christmas.

The administration believes the legislation
could scuttle the interim nuclear agreement reached with Iran on Nov. 23
and derail upcoming negotiations on a permanent deal —
scheduled for completion in six months —
to ensure that Iran will never be able to build a nuclear weapon.

“If you want to hold our feet to the fire on the final deal, fine, do that,”
a senior administration official said.
“If people have concerns about elements of a final agreement,
come in and tell us. . . .
But that is a separate discussion from
passing a sanctions bill in the middle of negotiations.”

The administration contends that
new sanctions not only would violate the terms of the interim agreement
which temporarily freezes Iran’s nuclear programs
and modestly eases existing sanctions —
but also could divide the United States from its international negotiating partners across the table from Iran
and give the upper hand to Iranian hard-liners in upcoming talks.

“The purpose of sanctions from the outset was to create a dynamic
so that you can get a change in policy from the Iran­ians,”
David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
said in an interview.
“It’s not sanctions for the sake of having sanctions.”

The White House has organized a full-court press between now and the Senate’s return Dec. 9
to persuade lawmakers not to act.
In addition to briefings for anyone who wants one,
Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry,
national security adviser Susan E. Rice and other top officials
are making personal calls.
Kerry sent a video to his former Capitol Hill colleagues explaining the deal,
“because some people are putting out some misinformation on it.”

On Friday, the National Security Council distributed to reporters
a 25-page compendium of what it called “welcoming” comments about the agreement
from lawmakers, foreign policy experts and editorials.
A separate 19 pages listed foreign governments,
from Afghanistan and Albania to the United Arab Emirates,
that have said anything remotely positive.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy
at the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America,
said he listened in on three White House conference calls last week —
two to pro-Israel groups and one to a broader collection of faith-based groups —
during which officials stated their case.

“This is going to make the president’s Hanukkah party very interesting,”
said Diament, whose group favors new sanctions.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
has declared passage of a sanctions bill
its top current priority.

Obama has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Net­an­yahu,
who has called the interim agreement a “historic mistake,”
to shift attention to the terms of the final deal still under negotiation.
Netanyahu’s top national security advisers are due in Washington this week
to express Israel’s concerns and hear the administration’s arguments.


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