Story By Ken Krayeske • 11:30 AM EST
John Larson addresses supporters of Jim Himes in Hartford in February, 2008. All members of Connecticut's House delegation voted in favor of the H. Res. 34 discussed in the following letter.
Ed's note: I was going to email this to Congressman Larson, but when I clicked on the link that says "Why don't you have a regular email address?" it says "You are not authorized to view this resource." So, I sent it via Write Your Representative.
To the Honorable John Larson -
I see that on January 9, 2009, you voted in favor of H. Res. 34, officially titled "Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
I understand that Israel enjoys bipartisan, near unanimous support in Congress, stained only by token opposition. In fact, the vote for H. Res. 34 was 390 to 5, with 22 voting present and 16 not voting at all. Clearly, Israeli policy represents one place where Republicans and Democrats agree. But my conscience makes me wonder: What exactly does Israel have to do to merit a rebuke from the United States government?
Much of what Israel does I understand we can’t criticize, lest we be thought international hypocrites. For example, should we be critical of Israel’s use of white phosphorous on civilians, we would call attention to our use of such banned munitions in Fallujah in 2004. And if we suggest Israel’s use of experimental weaponry like dense insert metal explosives is illegal under international law, our use of radioactive artillery like depleted uranium probably merits more than a frown, too.
Putting aside the fact that the U.S. and Israel employ similar methods of warfare, what does Israel have to do to draw condemnation from members of the United States Congress like yourself? Does your vote reflect that you feel the following is civilized behavior:
- Bombing civilians through the practice of roof-knocking?
- Firing on medical convoys?
A bombed Red Crescent Society Ambulance in Gaza.
- Ramming, firing on, and capturing ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza?
- Lying about the deliberate targeting of civilians and infrastructure?
- Engaging in an offensive kill rate of almost 100-to-1 Palestinians to Israelis?
- Censoring press coverage of an armed conflict so that independent observers cannot verify the accuracy of either the Palestinian body count of more than 1,300 - 500 adult civilians, 410 children non combatants, and at least 400 police and alleged militants or the Israeli tally guessing more than 1,100 dead - 700 Palestinian militants and 250 civilians?
- Accepting that only 14 Israelis died during this invasion of Gaza, four of them by “friendly fire”, versus the 1,300 Palestinians?
- Punishing media outlets that do focus on the invasion? - Denying running water to 400,000 people in a densely populated ghetto?
- Constructing a wall to maintain "peace"?
- Concealing for 20 years or more the existence of a nuclear arsenal?
These potential violations of international law and decency boggle the mind, and would provoke stinging rhetoric in response if committed by other nation-states. Please tell me why Congress gives a loud cheer of “Self-defense” when Israel flagrantly, willfully ignores global moral norms? Your vote does not represent me.
Please help me understand how you can justify supporting the military that perpetrated something called “The Massacre of Black Saturday”? Saturday, December 27, 2008 is so named because in the 60 years of conflict between Israel and Palestine, it was the bloodiest day of fighting, with more than 200 Palestinian deaths. Not only did we sit back and say nothing, but America provided the F-16s and Apache helicopters to Israel to carry out the bloodletting. What would lead you as a Congressman to think that this is acceptable behavior by anyone, friend or enemy? Why is it okay for armed forces to kill children and not suffer a condemnation by the House of the People?
How are you not going to come to rue your vote in favor of mass murder of civilians committed by a vastly superior military force? Please, curb your regrets now and use your leadership position in the House of Representatives to inject sense and debate into our relationship with Israel. We must condemn war crimes when our alleged friends commit them, which means that we too must stop committing war crimes, too.
Thank for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your response, which I hope doesn’t take a month to get to me, and which I hope isn’t a standard, canned response to the Israeli-Palestinian issues at hand. A decent respect to the opinions of mankind fosters a well-considered response to this letter.