Just like clockwork, the U.S. Congress has disgracefully genuflected again to the State of Israel.
Every January, one of the first resolutions introduced in our august Capitol is AIPAC‘s loyalty test to determine which members of Congress might be straying from Israel’s tight leash.
Just like clockwork, the majority of both Republicans and Democrats lined up this week, including New Mexico’s three members of Congress. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-NM), Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM), and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) each want you to know they are unwavering in their loyalty to Israel.
Israel′s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The substance of the U.N. resolution was not remarkable because the international community has recognized the illegality of Israel’s settlement activity for decades. What WAS notable is that the United States did not exercise its veto to thwart the Security Council’s resolution.
In a remarkable display of independence, President Obama broke with our country’s track record of providing diplomatic protection for Israel at the United Nations. The news sent shock waves on both sides of the Atlantic. Netanyahu gave the U.N. his proverbial finger and said Israel would continue to build settlements in the occupied West Bank, while the Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) expressed support for Obama’s abstention.
Statement by Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson on UN Security Council vote to condemn Israeli settlements.
There is an increasing understanding among U.S. political leaders, thanks to ongoing grassroots pressure, of the need to hold Israel accountable to international law.
The U.S. abstention from this resolution is a welcome sign in that regard. As the only country that abstained, the evidence of the U.S.’s isolation from the global consensus during the vote was stark.
Unfortunately, JVP’s optimism about U.S. political leaders was premature, as we learned on Thursday, January 5, 2017. The final vote on AIPAC’s creepy resolution was 342 to 80.
Why is it creepy? Because the votes of a clear majority of both Republicans and Democrats (including the three from New Mexico) indicate they oppose international law, oppose holding Israel accountable for breaking international law, and oppose President Obama’s tepid action (a mere abstention) which only reflected the official U.S. foreign policy of past Presidents.
Fortunately, there are some thoughtful members of Congress (both Ds and Rs) who rejected AIPAC’s H.Res. 11, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), and others. The messages from constituents who want the U.S. government to break with its lapdog fealty to Israel are finally making a difference.
Now it’s time to turn our attention on the other AIPAC-sponsored measures introduced in the first week of the new Congress. Constituents need to be heard loud and clear.
H.Res. 27 – Rejecting the “two-state solution” as the United States’ diplomatic policy objective and calls for the Administration to advocate for a new approach that prioritizes the State of Israel’s sovereignty, security, and borders.
S.Res.6 – A resolution objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 and to all efforts that undermine direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for a secure and peaceful settlement.
H. Res.14 – Disapproving of President Obama and his administration’s refusal to veto the anti-Israel resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016.
S.Res.5 – A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate in support of Israel.
S.15 – Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act
H.R.265 – To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to relocate to Jerusalem the United States Embassy in Israel, and for other purposes.
H.R.257 – To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer to Jerusalem the United States Embassy located in Tel Aviv.
S.11 – Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act
H.Res.23 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives and reaffirming long-standing United States policy in support of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.