Foreign Policy

Of course, we should stand with Israel

I am alarmed that our long-standing solidarity with Israel has been thrown into doubt by a White House that seems to be playing a proverbial game of jump ball, whereby the world wonders on which side America will stand. Of course, we should stand with Israel. Doing otherwise sends a dangerously emboldening signal to Israel’s enemies.


Israel exercised her legitimate right of self defense (Sen. Joseph Lieberman)

We should be very clear about who is responsible for the unfortunate loss of life in the attempt to break the blockade in Gaza.  Hamas and its allies are the responsible parties for the recent violence and the continued difficulties for the people of Gaza.  Israel exercised her legitimate right of self defense.


Too early for accusations (Rep. Jane Harman)

"I join President Obama in expressing my deep sorrow at the loss of life aboard the Marmara, and hope for a speedy recovery for the wounded flotilla members and Israeli soldiers. However, until the facts of this complex and tragic episode are fully investigated and understood, it is premature to assess blame or call anyone a murderer. The focus now must be on preventing events from escalating and leading to more violence, or scuttling the peace process."


Statement on Gaza flotilla incident (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer)

“As we wait for all the facts to emerge about Monday’s events, several things are already clear.  First, the loss of life was tragic.  Second, Israel – rightfully so – invoked its right to self-defense on the Mavi Marmara. While the majority of ships in the flotilla – 5 out of 6 – reacted peacefully when approached by Israeli Defense Forces, activists on board the Mavi Marmara were clearly bent on a violent confrontation.  They further chose this path despite two week’s worth of repeated warnings from Israel that the ship would not be allowed to come ashore, and despite Israel’s offer to instead receive the humanitarian goods at Ashdod, inspect them there for weapons, and ensure their distribution to Palestinians in Gaza.  Finally, to the extent that this act was in protest of the Gaza blockade, let’s be clear: Hamas could end the blockade at any time by recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence, and releasing Gilad Shalit.


Congress must act now on Gaza: International investigation needed

I urge every member of Congress to immediately pass a resolution calling for an international investigation into the Israeli assault on the Free Gaza flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies and to demand an end to Israel's brutal blockade of Gaza that imprisons over a million Palestinians, almost half of them children demonized for their geography.


Restoring U.S. foreign aid to health

President Obama, his foreign policy team, and Congress are on the cusp of redefining how the United States approaches foreign assistance. As they undertake their aid reform effort this year, they're promising to get serious about ensuring that American funds are used wisely.

They're right to focus on results. And one of the best ways to guarantee that our aid dollars actually deliver for those in need is to use them to develop innovative new tools for combating the health problems that plague the developing world.


I refuse to join the "blame Israel first" crowd

Any loss of life is regrettable, but I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself.  Supporters of the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist group clearly would like to find a way to deliver weapons to Hamas in Gaza.  Israel has a right to stop ships to prevent this from happening.  Israel offered the ship a port and promised to deliver the humanitarian aid, but militant activists on the ship intentionally provoked a battle instead.  Although much of the world community wants to deny it, Israel has a legitimate right to self-defense, and it is exercising that right in the waters near Gaza.  

I refuse to join the ‘blame Israel first’ crowd.  America must stand by its ally in our mutual fight against international terrorism.


Time to call out Israel's bad behavior

The Obama Administration's equivocation over Israel's outrageous deadly assault on humanitarian ships headed for Gaza ,while not surprising, is nevertheless unacceptable. Once again Israel's bad behavior has dug a deep hole for itself, and we're left debating whether or not to jump in with them. Responsible governments behave responsibly. In its dealings with Gaza over the past 43 years, Israel has been anything but responsible, and we need to clearly distance ourselves from their actions.

For decades Israel occupied Gaza reducing its people to total dependency as day-laborers in Israel. No infrastructure was built (no sewage, no paved roads, no sanitation system, no modern power grid etc). During the Oslo years, Israel remained in control of Gaza, allowing no independent Palestinian commerce to develop with the outside world. When Israel evacuated Gaza, they did so unilaterally and yet retained total control over all access and egress, thus insuring that the strip's economy would remain stunted -- with more than 65% of the population living below the poverty level and youth unemployment averaging 80% since the mid 1990's.


The Big Question: How should the U.S. respond to Israel?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest news of the day. ...

Israel storms an aid ship and cancels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington.

How should the U.S. respond?