Sunday, September 18, 2011

Congress Sees Middle East Through AIPAC-Colored Glasses

By Medea Benjamin (about the author)

This article co-written by Allison McCracken, the DC Coordinator of CODEPINK.

During August recess this year, 81 members of Congress went on a junket to Israel funded by the Israel lobby group AIPAC (well, funded by the American Israel Education Fund, but they are really one and the same ) to "learn first-hand about one of our closest friends and allies." While the representatives insist they got a balanced view, their itinerary belies that claim: 95% of their time was spent hearing the Israeli government point of view, with only one token meeting with Palestinian reps.

CODEPINK has filed a complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee stating that these trips -- and the upcoming ones scheduled for December -- violate the Congressional prohibition on traveling with a lobby group. We feel these Potemkin voyages are part of AIPAC's grand plan to control and monopolize Congress, which is not just unethical, but dangerous. Their bias reinforces a disastrous U.S. policy of unconditional support for Israel that obstructs peace and runs counter to our national interests.

At a recent Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, entitled "Promoting Peace? Reexamining US Aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA)," we got a glimpse of what happens when Congress views the Middle East through AIPAC-colored glasses. Here are a few of examples of their tunnel vision:

* Asking the wrong questions: Congress is intent on looking into the $600 million a year U.S. taxpayers give to the Palestinian Authority, especially at a time, as a few members brought up, of economic hardship in the United States. But they would not dare hold a hearing about the more important issue: the $3 billion a year we are giving to the Israeli government -- which is five times what we give the Palestinian Authority. The question they should be asking, but won't, is: How can American taxpayers afford to give "military aid" to the wealthy government of Israel, especially when that government uses our funds to drop white phosphorous on civilians in Gaza, kill international humanitarians on boats trying to break the Gaza siege, bulldoze Palestinian homes and orchards, and imprison peaceful protesters?" CODEPINK was in the hearing with signs saying "No More $$ to Israel," but we were not even allowed to quietly hold them. [more from source]

* * * *

Steven G. Erickson's comment to Medea Benjamin's article:

Israel, banksters, and offshore corporations are represented for our tax dollars. Some citizens who contact state officials and their US representatives can end up on an an arrest on sight list.

It is all out war and most Americans don't realize we are under armed occupation. Why should we be a puppet regime for Israel, the corporations, and banksters. Why should Americans allow themselves to be ripped off, made homeless, having their family and community unity under siege? Why should Americans who request representation for their taxation lose their homes, jobs, and be railroaded to prison? How does that help the economy? How does that foster respect for government?

Why are we paying for wars most Americans don't want and can't afford? Why don't we take back our country?

-stevengerickson At yahoo Dot Com

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