Away from Twitterland and the evening news, where some politicians like Ritchie Torres (D-NY) have been vociferously pro-Israel, some politicians have quietly been nice enough to reply to my emails and share their thoughts about the latest fight between Israel and HAMAS. To not be accused of bias or taking people out of context, I have included their full remarks below.
But to summarize:
- Both New York State Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilligrand did not respond to numerous emails. Neither did Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) who took over Eliot Engel’s seat. Quite a disgrace.
- Two Republican congressmen – Mark Green (TN) and August Pfluger (TX) – were not only nice enough to respond (I am from NY) but wrote some wonderful pro-Israel statements.
- Progressive Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY) broke with many alt-left wing colleagues and supported Israel.
- Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was pathetic. He equivocated about Israel’s defense before a terrorist organization.
- Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) offered nothing but a canned short statement.
- Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) just offered her letter which she penned with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) but it was thoughtfully pro-Israel.
Congressman Mark Green (R-TN)
Thank you for contacting me about U.S. support for the State of Israel. It is an honor to represent the people of Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn your thoughts on this issue.
From my three deployments to the Middle East with the U.S. Army, I know that Israel is a stabilizing force and our most reliable ally in the region. Israel is one of the only nations in the region genuinely committed to a democratic system of government and the protection of individual freedom. Our two nations have shared an enduring bond since the United States was the first to recognize the State of Israel in 1948, and we find common cause today in our fight against terrorist groups and the aggression of the Iranian regime that supports such movements.
I was proud to stand with President Trump in defense of our ally Israel, especially with regard to his Administration’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I also strongly oppose the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to shame and isolate America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to reaffirm American support for Israel as it seeks to defend its security and sovereignty.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Your comments and opinions are a vital source of information to assist me in carrying out my duties as your representative in Congress. Please visit my website at markgreen.house.gov, where you can sign up for my newsletter updates and learn more about my work in Congress on your behalf.
Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX)
It was a tragic week for the Jewish community around the world. Though a ceasefire was declared between Israel and Palestine, the resulting civilian casualties and the destruction of sacred land is heartbreaking.
It has never been more important to stand in solidarity with Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East and the only democracy in the region. Israel is a beacon of freedom in the Arab world – we must defend our important ally.
I am horrified to see Anti-Semitic violence breaking out in our country in the wake of the conflict, as Jewish Americans are being assaulted, terrorized, and threatened in cities across the U.S. These attacks are reprehensible and evil. Targeting a religious group is antithetical to who we are and what we stand for as a free nation. I am calling on all of my colleagues in Congress to stand up and condemn anti-Semitism and all forms prejudice.
Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
Like you, I am heartbroken by the toll inflicted on innocent civilians by this ongoing conflict. I am deeply committed to the strong relationship between Israel and the United States, and believe we must pursue a permanent, diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis that addresses the underlying, decades-long conflict. I urge both parties to take steps that move both sides closer to a permanent two-state solution that preserves the self-determination and dignity of both peoples.
I have strongly condemned the rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israeli cities, and my heart goes out to those under fire. Such attacks only deepen the ongoing suffering of both Israeli citizens and Palestinians living in Gaza. Thankfully, on May 20, Israel announced a mutual ceasefire after 11 days of the worst violence the region had seen in years.
I am committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of this longstanding conflict, and I believe the United States will play a critical role in achieving this goal. I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee expressing support for the full funding of $3.8 billion in security assistance to Israel as authorized in the 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding. Reducing or conditioning assistance to Israel, which President Biden has dismissed, would adversely impact U.S. security priorities in the Middle East and undermine Israel’s ability to defend itself from threats in the region. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel is a vital ally for the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues to maintain our strong, special relationship with the state of Israel.
Thank you again for sharing your perspective with me. If you or your family need assistance with federal agencies or in response to COVID-19, please call my office at (914) 323-5550 or visit jones.house.gov to learn more about the resources and services available to you. To follow my work in Washington, I urge you to sign-up for my e-newsletter, and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Thank you for contacting me about the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concern over the recent level of violence.
On May 21, Israel and Hamas entered into a cease fire agreement after more than ten days of the highest level of violence in years. The violence between the Israeli and Palestinian people is the culmination of decades of neglect and lack of political will to find a lasting peace that provides an independent state for the Palestinians and lasting security for the Israelis.
For too long, efforts to win short-term political gains have come at the expense of a desperately needed solution. I fear further neglect of this issue, combined with a failure to address militarized Hamas and continued Israeli settlement expansion, will doom any chance for an enduring two-state solution.
Earlier this year, I wrote to Secretary Anthony Blinken in support of renewed US involvement in the peace process. I know he and President Biden understand the importance of finally addressing these critical needs for our Israeli and Palestinian friends whose children deserve to grow up in peace.
I will continue to monitor any developments on this issue and keep your thoughts in mind should Congress address this matter.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Thursday released the following statement on the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas:
“I’m relieved by reports that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire, and I commend President Biden and Secretary Blinken for the role they played in bringing a halt to the violence. However, I am deeply concerned that without meaningful progress towards a two-state future, the conditions of despair will deepen, further fuel extremism and lead to a tragic renewal of the cycle of violence,” said Murphy.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)
President Joe Biden has made his intentions to return to the failed foreign policies of the past very clear. This includes the Biden administration’s intent for the United States to “re-engage immediately and robustly” with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without receiving any commitments for much needed institutional reforms.
The U.N. General Assembly created the UNHRC in 2006 to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights globally and address the most pressing human rights crises. Since then, the very essence of the UNHRC has been corrupt, with some of the world’s worst human rights violators as sitting members, including China, Russia, Venezuela and Cuba.
Both of our families know firsthand the human cost associated with repressive regimes. Our families had their beloved homeland taken over by brutal communists, and their experiences shaped our lives and gave us a special appreciation for the freedoms and values we have as Americans. It also gave us the understanding that America has to stand in support of human rights across the globe.
More than 60 years later, the basic rights of the Cuban people remain nonexistent. Shamefully, Cuba is a current member of the UNHCR, where they are given a platform to speak on human rights. This is an absolute slap in the face to the Cuban people. Similarly disturbing is Venezuela’s current membership on the council. Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro made an address at the opening of the council’s 46th regular session this year.
This is an insult to the millions of Venezuelans who are suffering, including the approximately five million refugees and migrants who have been forced to flee due to the humanitarian catastrophe brought on by Maduro’s corrupt narco-regime.
In a matter of years, Maduro transformed Venezuela from one of the wealthiest countries in South America into an economic catastrophe, where Venezuelans cannot access basic essentials. The illegitimate regime has killed and tortured dissidents, independent reporters, university students and civilians. This is the same regime that was found to have committed crimes against humanity by the U.N. Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela.
Current members on the council also include Russia, where Vladimir Putin and his cronies target dissidents, invade neighboring countries, and are working to stamp out independent media from the country.
And the most egregious of all might be a sitting member that is actively committing genocide. One of UNHRC’s longest-serving members, China, under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is currently waging a brutal campaign of crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghur Muslims. Their crimes include forced abortions and sterilization, forced labor, and detaining over one million Uyghurs and other Muslims in camps.
The Council has also made no effort to mask its contempt for the Jewish state of Israel. The obsession and hostility toward Israel has led to a permanent agenda item – number 7 – focused on condemning Israel. No other country is subject to such perpetual harassment. Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East that respects human rights and the rule of law. Yet, over half of UNHCR resolutions target Israel.
The Human Rights Council is a broken institution. Any country that egregiously violates the basic rights of its citizens should not have a role on an international body tasked with ending human rights abuses. It is a mockery to human rights everywhere and the United States should not participate unless real reforms are met.
America’s presence on the council, alongside these nations, only legitimizes the hypocritical abuses that have plagued this body for years. For the sake of those suffering under repressive regimes, President Biden must make the right choice and stand for human rights.
The Biden administration should not follow in the footsteps of the Obama administration and so-called experts who prioritized meaningless “engagement” over impact.
Biden proudly proclaimed “America is back,” but America should not go “back” to international organizations that undermine our interests and human rights globally.
The bottom line is this: returning to the UNHRC would require a dramatic overhaul of this corrupt body to implement its founding mission. Oppressed peoples around the world are watching in the hopes that America will stand with them and against their oppressors.
Do what is right, Mr. President.
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