With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support

Republicans and Democrats rally in Washington to support IDF campaign in the Gaza Strip


Members of Congress are falling over one another to show their support for Israel.

Israeli soldiers at a deployment area near the border with the Gaza Strip, on July 28, 2014, (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a ceasefire, US lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations, which began July 8 to stem rocket fire on Israeli civilians and counter a vast network of tunnels used to launch cross-border attacks.


Many have criticized the administration’s effort to stop violence that Gazan sources claim has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, along with 53 Israeli soldiers and three civilians. Israel says that the Palestinian casualties include hundreds of armed operatives.

“At times like this, people try to isolate Israel,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday. “We are here to stand with Israel, not just as a broker or observer but as a strong partner and a trusted ally.

“What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean issuing vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements. No, it means backing up our words and showing solidarity with our friend.”

This week, legislators will discuss a $225 million request from the Defense Department to urgently bolster Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Republicans and Democrats are clashing over whether to approve the funds in a larger spending bill or separately, though no one publicly opposes the payments. Senate appropriators already have approved doubling next year’s money for the system.

Whereas the Obama administration and lawmakers agree on Iron Dome, other actions in Congress are more contentious.

Until Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz was hindering the appointment of several US ambassadors to key allies by vowing to block all State Department nominees awaiting confirmation.

The Texas Republican said he was releasing his holds after the Federal Aviation Administration answered his questions about its 36-hour ban last week on US airline flights to Israel. Cruz had claimed the prohibition was an “economic boycott” of Israel to pressure it into a ceasefire with Hamas.

In a weekend call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama stressed the need for an “immediate, unconditional, humanitarian ceasefire.” Obama, a White House statement said, suggested larger questions would then come later.

Such talk has alarmed lawmakers of both parties.

In a letter last week to Obama, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said a ceasefire must eliminate Hamas’s ability to fire rockets and place no restrictions on the Jewish state.

“Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats,” the senators wrote — a position that presaged by two days the Israeli government’s unanimous rejection of Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal.

Over days of intense diplomacy, Kerry has tried to secure commitments from both sides that would lead to peace. Congress, by contrast, has focused its energies on Palestinian actions and critics of Israel.

Cardin and Graham joined three Republican senators — Marco Rubio of Florida, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — in sending a sharply worded letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after he described Israel’s military operations as an “atrocious action.”

House Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., have a resolution condemning Hamas’s use of human shields. Cruz and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, followed Monday in the Senate.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, formerly the bane of the pro-Israel lobby for suggesting a US aid cutoff, has said no one should question Israel’s actions in a time of war.

The ebullient bipartisan support for Israel is also leading many House and Senate members to rev up their opposition to the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Those talks were extended through November after a series of meetings in Vienna earlier this month that coincided with the first week of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Israel opposes any nuclear deal that would ease pressure on Iran while allowing it to maintain a uranium enrichment program.

As part of the extension, Tehran is gaining access to $2.8 billion in Iranian funds that have been frozen in overseas bank accounts.

Kirk, Ayotte and fellow Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas last week proposed a series of conditions on the money.

Their bill demands Obama block transfers until he certifies the money won’t fund terrorism, nuclear or ballistic weapons development, or human rights violations. It would be almost impossible for Obama to certify those elements. The administration has rejected similar efforts as attempts to derail diplomacy.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and other Republicans introduced separate legislation requiring congressional approval for any deal with Iran, or even another negotiating extension.

Not to be outdone, Cruz filed his own Iran bill.

Calling the talks a “historic mistake,” the same description Netanyahu has used, Cruz seeks the reinstatement of all Iran sanctions suspended in the diplomatic effort. He’d block funding for any US-Iran talks undertaken without Congress’s approval.

Senate and House panels were holding hearings on the Iran diplomacy Tuesday. Wendy Sherman, the State Department’s negotiator, and David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s sanctions chief, were to testify

Rice, Dermer talk up US-Israel ties, Kerry’s ceasefire efforts


July 29, 2014 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. yamit82 Said:

    At this point, Obama interrupted the Israeli leader, stating, “the ball is in Israel’s court, and it must end all military activities.”

    As TX says,” What do you expect out of an AH” [ TX does not use initials ]. The problems is will BB obey?

    Glad to see your post and still know you are well. I think I wrote before 25miles is not all that far.

  2. It is astounding that Hussein is overtly working on behalf of a US designated terror entity, Hamas.

  3. yamit82 Said:

    the president reportedly demanded that Israel should immediately and unconditionally end the operation.

    I beleive the tapes are true.
    That explains why a Hamas does not accept a cease fire because his ally Hussein has told him that he will pressure Israel for hamas. Obama now is allied to a US designated terror org, he appears to be breaking all US laws he is meant to uphold.
    also, the PMO release, using the exact wording, is the signal that the tape is true. Obama is destroying all the US relationships and allying with terror orgs and terror sponsors.

  4. Report: Obama Was Rude and Hostile During Phone Call With Netanyahu

    The conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama was tense and tough, according to a report on Channel 1 Tuesday evening.

    Based on a transcript of the conversation, obtained by Israel’s channel 1, Obama “behaved in a rude, condescending and hostile manner,” the network’s foreign correspondent concluded.

    During the 35-minute conversation on Sunday, the president reportedly demanded that Israel should immediately and unconditionally end the operation.

    When Netanyahu asked what Israel would get in return for unilaterally ending the strikes, Obama replied: “I believe Hamas will stop firing rockets – quiet in return for quiet.”

    To which Netanyahu responded that Hamas has already violated 5 cease-fires and is committed to the destruction of Israel.

    “I repeat and expect Israel to stop all of its actions against Hamas in Gaza,” Obama said. He added that despite Netanyahu’s objections the United States trusts Qatar and Turkey’s mediation. “Israel is not in a situation that it can choose its mediators,” the president told his Israeli counterpart.

    BB is nothing but a weak ass kisser and he brought all of this on himself and us. Yamit

    Netanyahu in response: “Hamas will continue firing rockets on Israel and use their tunnels to attack our people.”

    At this point, Obama interrupted the Israeli leader, stating, “the ball is in Israel’s court, and it must end all military activities.”

  5. @ Avigail:

    Yes Darlin, [ I call people darlin, Texas thing] I know. Kerry always reminds of the undertaker in a western movie.
    I call liberal “Jews” , “as a Jew”. Cause their always saying ,” as a Jew I disagree with Israeli policy on*******” , fill in the blank yourself.

  6. @ honeybee:
    Liberal Jews are not Jews anymore: they converted to a religion called “Liberalism” long ago. Same for their Christian peers.

  7. It sure won’t make a difference in what’s happening. It’s an election year so what do you think they are going to do? Even if it’s not an election year, the politicos are always willing to pay lip service (although there may be a few who actually do like Israel) to please their constituents. When they start actually taking real action to do something about the funding of terrorists and the long-dead “piece” talks, then it’s worth a post.