Despite protests in every major city in the United States, and thousands of phone calls, faxes, letters and emails sent by US citizens to their Senators in Washington, the US Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to support Israel’s aggression against the population of the Gaza Strip.
A rollcall has not yet been released by the US Senate, so it is unclear whether there were any abstentions. The US Senate has historically overwhelmingly given its support to all of Israel’s attacks, even when those attacks are in direct violation of international humanitarian law, governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention, and even when the attacks have been condemned repeatedly by the United Nations.
Most US Senators and Congress have taken all-expense-paid trips to Israel, sponsored by the Israeli government and US-based Zionist groups. During these trips, members of Congress report being subjected to tours and propaganda that promote a Zionist version of the history of Israel, with no presentation of the continuous disenfranchisement of the indigenous Palestinian population, or the continuous expansion of the Israeli state further into Palestinian land. Although trips are usually considered gifts and are banned under corruption and graft laws, the trips to Israel have always been exempted from these laws. This is just another symptom of the deep rooted political and economic integration of key power bases in Washington and Tel Aviv
The US House of Representatives is set to vote on an equivalent bill on Friday, introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner. The House bill “expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, an oxymoron by any realistic democratic standards, with secure borders and a recognition to its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’ unceasing aggression.”
Critics have challenged the wording of the bill for its misrepresentation of the conflict, given that the democratically-elected Hamas party had abided by an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire for nearly six months, even through numerous Israeli violations, including the Israeli-imposed siege warfare that resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinian patients, due to a lack in medical care and food.
The US Campaign to End the Occupation also challenged the notion of Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic state’, saying that the Jewish nature of the state of Israel has resulted in an inherent apartheid system that privileges those of Jewish origin above non-Jewish residents. They say that this makes the state of Israel inherently undemocratic, in that its entire legal system discriminates against non-Jews. Israel cannot be a Jewish state while claiming to be a true democracy, by the very definition of what democracy entails
The Senate voted on the bill, S.6, with a voice vote. No abstentions were noted.
Democratic Senator Harry Reid, a co-sponsor of the bill, told the Reuters news service, “I ask any of my colleagues to imagine that happening here in the United States. Rockets and mortars coming from Toronto in Canada, into Buffalo New York. How would we as a country react?”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, and also a co-sponsor of the bill, stated, “The Israelis … are responding exactly the same way we would.”
No Senator chose to address the reports detailing the Israeli targeting of Palestinian civilians (human rights groups have estimated that 90% of casualties over the last three days have been civilians), the censorship of the media by Israel, the Israeli military’s use of unconventional weapons against civilians, indcluding depleted uranium cluster bombs – supplied by the United Sates – and the targeting of schools, hospitals, mosques, ambulances, journalists and humanitarian aid convoys by the Israeli military during the current aggression against Gaza.
But, critics have pointed out that McConnell may be right about a hypothetical US response, given the US military’s widescale attacks against civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq, after going to war on intelligence that has not only since been poed to be false, but specifically manipulated to serve as a pretext to wage pre emptive military campaigns on these particular sovereign nations.