What happened today in Congress was a disgrace. I really don’t know any other word for it.
The Israeli Prime Minister comes to our Capitol, thumbs his nose at a two-state solution and receives no less than 29 standing ovations from Congress?
A few pieces that speak my heart perfectly right now. First, Akiva Eldar, writing in Ha’aretz:
Netanyahu’s peace plan, if that is the right phrase for the collection of unrealistic terms he presented to Congress yesterday, leads straight to the burial of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, an international crisis and a UN declaration of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu today essentially returned to the policies that Israel pursued before Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat agreed on mutual recognition and the joint pursuit of peace.
And the worst part is not the appalling things Netanyahu said, but how Congress received them. Even Netanyahu’s declaration that there is no Israeli occupation was met with thunderous applause with the Democrats joining the Republicans in ecstatic support. Every Netanyahu statement, no matter how extreme, was met with cheers.
How can an Israeli prime minister dare to say his country “fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely” without spitting out the entire bitter truth – as long as they aren’t Palestinian. Suddenly Netanyahu marvels at the Arab Spring, but where was he when it began? He was on his standard scare campaign, warning of the dangers of an extremist Islamic regime and rushing to build a fence along our border with Egypt. And yesterday, suddenly, it’s “the promise of a new dawn.” Apparently there is no end to hypocrisy.
And finally, please read Justin Elliot’s invaluable piece in Salon, where he counts 29 standing ovations for Bibi (more than Obama got in his State of the Union Address) providing important commentary for each and every one.
At this point, I’d usually urge you to call your senators and congresspeople, but I really don’t see the point any more. Today the overwhelming majority of Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – have made it embarrassingly clear that they are utterly irrelevant to the search for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
If there were any redemptive words uttered in that chamber at all today, they came from my friend Rae Abileah – a courageous young Jewish activist – who interrupted Bibi’s speech from the gallery with “No more occupation, stop Israeli war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” Rae was immediately assaulted by spectators who caused serious injuries to her neck and shoulders. She was then taken to George Washington Hospital where she was promptly arrested.
Said Rae from her hospital bed:
I have been to Gaza and the West Bank, I have seen Palestinians homes bombed and bulldozed, I have talked to mothers whose children have been killed during the invasion of Gaza, I have seen the Jewish-only roads leading to ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank…
As a Jew and a U.S. citizen, I feel obligated to rise up and speak out against stop these crimes being committed in my name and with my tax dollars.
Amidst the abject hypocrisy demonstrated in Congress today, Rae’s courage should be an example for us all.