The Democratic Party’s embrace of the New Cold War and New McCarthyism – to counter President Trump – has spread to Rep. Barbara Lee, a brave voice against the post-9/11 war frenzy, as Norman Solomon notes in an open letter.
By Norman Solomon
Dear Congresswoman Lee:
More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust.
Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I’ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you’ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives.
Your longtime wisdom is antithetical to the tweet that you sent out after the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin from your official “Rep. Barbara Lee” Twitter account: “Outraged by President Trump’s 2 hr meeting w/Putin, the man who orchestrated attacks on our democracy. Where do his loyalties lie?”
In mid-September 2001, when you implored the Congress and the country to “think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control,” the words of your speech were beacons of sanity in a propaganda storm for war. But now, as I watch a video of those two transcendent minutes, some of your old words echo in a newly haunting way.
Now it falls to peace advocates who read your new words to urge you to “think through the implications” of the political line you’ve just taken, “so that this does not spiral out of control.” And now, peace advocates must remind you of other insightful words from your historically prescient speech nearly 16 years ago: “Some of us must urge the use of restraint.”
Your declaration on Friday that you are “outraged” by a meeting between the presidents of the world’s two nuclear-weapons superpowers is the opposite of restraint. Likewise, your baiting of Trump with the question “Where do his loyalties lie?” echoes the accusations of treason hurled at you for years. Such rhetoric is far beneath you — and beneath any leader with a responsibility to encourage diplomatic discourse, especially between two nations brandishing huge arsenals of nuclear weapons.
Let’s not forget that past top-level diplomacy between Russia and the United States was hardly led by saints. Fifty years ago, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was the leader of a government far more repressive than the one headed by Vladimir Putin today, while President Lyndon Johnson was in the midst of escalating a mass-murderous war in Vietnam. Yet their Glassboro Summit was notable diplomacy that reduced tensions between the two countries and reduced the dangers of nuclear war.
Now, for whatever reasons, you have opted to participate in a profoundly irresponsible meme that castigates instead of encourages diplomatic discourse between the highest levels of the American and Russian governments. To use a word from your historic 2001 speech, it’s essential that we think through the “implications” of such a political line of attack. They include increasing the likelihood that escalated tensions between Russia and the United States could “spiral out of control.”
I’ve long thought of you as a heroic champion of pursuing alternatives to war and, quite possibly, helping to prevent a nuclear holocaust that scientists believe would render the Earth “virtually uninhabitable.” But now, you seem to have lost your way.
To counteract what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism,” we must get off a partisan bandwagon when it is heading toward military catastrophe. That requires — as you so wisely urged in 2001 — supporting diplomacy, urging restraint and thinking through the implications of our actions today.
Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
I’m typing in the heart of her district right this second. It is full of Resistors and one of the most heavily Democratic and Most Politically correct spots in the USA/California. North Oakland. College Avenue. This is where you can have your cake and eat it too and since Oakland has become the New Brooklyn and is still the beacon for the last remnants of Zombie Investment it is attracting new rich liberals and techies from all over this nation every day. , You wouldn’t believe how much real estate is selling for. It doesn’t even have to hit the market, Multiple offers of cash deals tens of thousands over asking price. This is not an exaggeration. It’s true. , This is where milk and honey flows right now so don’t take it out on Barbara if she is a bit hypocritical when being self righteous and partisan. It plays to her constituency. If she had the strength of her convictions she would have quit a couple terms ago . She’s no rebel. There are some anarchists and rebels around here, lots of tattoos and skateboard riders and beer gardens but it’s really pretty expensive here now . It’s actually a nice place to be if you’re not threatened by empowered woman..
I’m sure she appears somewhere in the flight logs of Jeffrey Epstein.
That would explain the shift from reasoned peace promoter to Israel firster.
I heartedly agree with the writing of Norman Solomon above as I have long admired Barbara Lee. I hope she has second thoughts and changes her position.
I hope a lot of folks change their thinking. Criticizing people does not mean condemning them.
To Bernie: Very good comments on Russia and economics, but Gaza is an open air prison because of the policies of Israel’s government, not directly because of Hamas or the PLO, which are reactive to Israel’s policies. The criticism of Israel is because of their hard-line policies since the inception of Israel. Whatever you may think of Hamas shooting rockets into Israel in anger, or the PLO policies, it is because of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians. You can Google maps of the territory lost by Palestinians since their expulsion in 1947, the Naqba (or Catastrophe, as they call it). The 1967 6-day war caused a huge loss of territory for them. And Israel keeps taking territory in the West Bank whenever it wants to.
The “vitriol” expressed on CN is criticism that is a result of the manipulation of US politics for Israel through the Israel lobby, AIPAC, which always gets yearly aid and a free pass no matter what Israel does. There is no criticism of Israel tolerated in US government.
I personally take issue with the overuse of “freedom” as a euphemism. It is a much overrated propaganda word that is used to manipulate people.
Real freedom exacts a high price. It’s not for the go along to get along crew.
I take it that the Right of Individual Conscience has been suspended for this particular issue. The party line demands it. It’s a bit like the Israel-Palestine issue, i.e., even Elizabeth Warren felt constrained to publicize a statement entirely in accord with AIPAC and Bibi Netanyahu. Barbara Lee, like Warren, may be a progressive Democrat, but she’d be shunned by her colleagues if she didn’t do her part in support of the current propaganda program aimed at ridding Washington of Trump so that everyone can get back to the status quo
The status quo!??? That’s worth defending?? These folks can’t stand alone against the majority? We need folks who can do that, not cave in to group pressure. Most who share here on CN left that conformist bullshit a long time ago.
It now appears to be crystal clear that Representatives Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, among others, have TAKEN LEAVE OF THEIR SENSES, especially as it pertains to diplomacy and avoiding nuclear holocaust — which would be devastating for ALL of humanity. Partisan politics has NO PLACE in toying with opening the Pandora’s Box of nuclear winter and the concomitant destruction of our precious Mother Earth.
Black Activist Writers Guild
I agree Larry. There is no excuse for progressives selling out their most precious principles just to get rid of Trump. What will they do when Pence proves to be just as bad or worse? Do they want to destroy our democracy (what’s left of it) in order to oust any leader they don’t approve of?
Larry they really believe they can hunker down in bunkers and ride out the winters.
What they don’t realize is that the few of us that survive on the surface will make it our dying pledge to pull everyone of them from their hidey holes and execute their entire blood lines.
Russia is getting stronger and making inroads on many diplomatic fronts including the EU. The EU needs and wants Russian petroleum and sees the US and the US sanctions on Russia as a hindrance to their power needs. Also, Russia is crushing ISIS where other countries including the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia were either helping them or were ineffective against them. On top of that, climate change is a positive thing for the Russia economy and things can only get better for them. The US is scrambling to reverse these trends but the momentum is against it. NATO will get weaker, the Ukraine neo-Nazi government will get more corrupt, and many countries will go to Russia for help.
However, the vitriol expressed in some of the comments here against Israel are perplexing. The ignorance of what it takes to survive in a world of violence only creates more ignorance, more intolerance, and more violence. I suggest all the Israel haters take a trip to Israel, talk to some Palestinian Christian community leaders, and ask them if they would like to see Hamas or PLO take over. Visit Gaza and see what happened to freedom once Hamas took over. Then visit some universities in Israel and talk to some Palestinian students and get there position on the state of Israel.
You should read “Why Palestine is Still the Issue” by John Pilger, published today July 11, 2017. Then you wouldn’t say something as ignorant as “…the vitriol expressed in some of the comments here against Israel are perplexing.” Perplexing? You haven’t been paying attention which is surprising as you are commenting on one of the best news sources writing today.
Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia together are the “axis of evil” if ever there was one. I already took that trip to Israel you advise and what I found was a police state and the IDF is the most well-funded and well-trained terrorist organization in the world. The Israelis are taught from birth that they are the “chosen people;” in their summer camps as children, they are awakened to play war games. They never acknowledge Palestinians as humans. There are guns everywhere. I know people who take their families there to live and it’s a mystery to me why they want their children to be raised in such an atmosphere of privilege and hate. When I asked Israelis if they ever go to the West Band or Gaza, they looked at me with horror, of course they won’t…they’ve been taught that Palestinians want to kill them. It’s quite the other way around. I was in Ramallah when IDF soldiers skunked-bomb a grade school…little kids! I saw an Israeli soldier shoot a Palestinian and take out a knife from his own uniform and place it beside the fallen man. Two soldiers threw a little girl’s bike over a bank into the rubble because she was riding on a “Jews only” road. They told her it’s the rule. This cruelty is constant and surprisingly the Palestinians are warm, welcoming and friendly towards everyone. Such hospitality; at the same time the Israelis were cold and distant. The good Israelis are terrorized themselves if they speak of peace with the Palestinians.
The US and Israel are determined to take out any middle east country that dares to not kowtow to them and they endlessly make up “false flag” propaganda to fool the Americans….who can be easily fooled, as witnessed in all the MSM who refuse to ever interview Palestinians when discussing Israel. Odd, huh? Notice they don’t interview Putin either, only Oliver Stone did that and he was vilified and the interviews trashed by Washington Post, the NYTs and broadcast news stations, just as they continue to press “Russiagate” onto all of us without a shred of proof of any meddling.
BTW, Hamas and the PLO are not alike. PLO have over time collaborated with the Israelis; Hamas has not. Hamas when attacked in Gaza (Hamas never strikes first; the IDF does to “mow the lawn” regularly with eventually forcing out or killing all Palestinians), takes great care to not hurt any Israeli citizens and target only military, unlike the IDF who murder with impunity Palestinian citizens of all ages. Those IDF soldiers are praised in the media and are asked for their autographs.
You need to research more and deeper.
P.S. As for formerly respected congresspeople, as has been pointed out, they fall into the trap and trappings of Washington, D.C. and finally are misled, though they often (not always) began their careers with good intention. Note that Bernie and Elizabeth both have clay feet after all. The one person I can think of who hasn’t been a disappointment is Dennis Kucinich; he left the DC game without becoming corrupted. Too bad, because who is left to speak as he did?
Rob Roy– I think that’s the point: no one will be left to speak out because the neo libs who hate BL will get the gullible, perfectionist Left to start the circular firing squad and demand that people who have done good things for the US do even more and do it without compromise. In the meantime, the venal Clintons and the repulsive Third Way and the savage war mongering corporate interventionist DLC will go smirkingly on, loving Obama, and Perez and Lockheed Martin, while laughing at the lefty take-down of the Left.
Of course Kucinich has nothing to say anymore–he’s the perfect example of left-wing never-sell-out rigidity.
We have met the enemy and it is us.
Congressional Black Caucus has deliberately allowed its members to be controlled in exchange for longer careers in Congress; the careers partially funded by taxpayers $$ and subsidized by $$$ flowing pockets from those elites whose issues they religiously support and constantly vote as directed.
CBC cares less about their constituents because these are not the people whose concerns they are in Congress to represent!
This morning, I was watching C-Span when the CBC member Gregory Meek from New York popped up on the screen! He was talking Donald Trump Jr. and how Russia attempted to damage his corrupt sweet heart, Hillary Clinton! Mr. Meeks has been “brought to heel” :
I never heard this guy appearing in any media joint to raise his bloody voice when residents of Flint Michigan being poisoned by toxic water. In actual fact, CBC and other black elites have become useful tools through which people of African descent are railroaded and pushed permanently off the cliffs! They get handsomely compensated playing these kinds of roles.
It is obvious Mr. Meeks is on strict script, handed to him by his Legislative Assistant, not to touch the truth values DNC establishment corruption revealed by Wikileaks!
Thank you, Norman!
Isn’t it about time three are term limits on senators and congress people?
The longer they are in office the deeper their roots of corruption. This plea
by Norman Solomon is laughable and shows how easily he was fooled.
These journalists should be careful with their misplaced praises because
they will always bounce up and bite them in their butts. When are they going
to get it through their heads that they are dealing with “politicians” which is a
euphemism for the “legal Mafia.”
Giovanni: I completely agree. Barbara Lee, Carl Lewis, Maxine Waters and others in CBC – and just about all of them in Congress – are corrupt, uneducated in world affairs, and so far removed from reality that one can just expect anything these days. Don’t they go back to their neighborhoods they come from and have a good look what is happening: boarded businesses, homes fortified with iron rails, Drugs, gangs take over neighborhoods during night, gunfire, schools barricaded with ten feet high fences with armed guards patrolling in and around the schools. These fenced schools are more fortified and armed than those Kremlins Russians built in the cities of ancient Russia to protect them from the invaders. And Barbara Lee is tweeting about Trump – Putin meeting ! And Maxine Waters, Carl Lewis, and the rest of the gang are badmouthing Putin.
Why do these Congresspersons need all these legislative assistants and tons of staff. President Lincoln did not need any of these assistants, and he was directing the Civil War. These Congresspersons live in Luxury at taxpayers expense, wined and dined by the lobbyists, in that fantasy world. Appealing to these people! Do we really believe that these congresspersons have any honesty, integrity, and conscience left in them!
It only takes one voting session to start a war in which millions and millions of foreign civilians are either killed or permanently displaced.
These elites need thorough vetting by voters before they set their feet in Congress and do the damage!!!
Typingperson, excellent statement, I’m with you! No more of putting up with this b.s. These phonies such as Lee have to get some really nasty letters from their constituents. And maybe other than their constituents. We need some coordinated campaign to get public attention about the endless drivel dominating our lives. US “superpower” politics has become the number one destructive business on Planet Earth, aided by the Orwellian media.
This letter is way too flowery, vague, repetitive and long. Doesn’t clarify your beef to Congresswoman Lee at all.
Congresswoman Lee: Per your tweet that Putin is “the man who orchestrated attacks on our democracy,” what are you even on about?
What “attacks” on “our democracy” did Putin “organize”? Specifics, please–and evidence.
No idea what you’re twittering about. And it’s bizarre that you don’t want the leaders of the world’s 2 largest nuclear superpowers to sit down and talk to each other in a civilized, adult fashion. When Armageddon looms.
That’s irresponsible, juvenile and UnAmerican.
I don’t have any more time for these willfully ignorant, duplicitous Democrat fools bleating about Russia hacking last November’s presidential elections. That’s a bald-face lie. Unproven. And won’t ever be–because it’s b.s. Zero evidence. Total horseshit propaganda from desperate Clintonista Dems.
Anyone still pushing this crap is either stupid or corrupt. Or just a fool.
Particularly irresponsible and foolish coming from a longtime elected official, who’s making a very good salary plus excellent benefits–far beyond the reach of the average American–courtesy of tax dollars from the American people.
I’m out of patience with this juvenile, masturbatory, puerile nonsense from the Democrats. There is far too much at stake right now for such self-indulgent, lying idiocy.
Putin distinguishes himself as a responsible, well-informed, reality-based and competent adult, who’s shown admirable restraint and top-notch diplomatic skills for years in the face of arrogant, irresponsible and continual provocations from the world’s most exceptional and, perhaps, dumbest nation ever.
I’m done. Bye, Dems.
–former loyal Dem voter of 30 years.
More proof that corporate Dems would rather lose to Republicans than win with progressive candidates. In fact, they’d
rather blow up the world.
to mike k….bingo
Anybody who is interested understanding who controls the members of the Congressional Black Caucus must start by examining where CBC members get their marching orders whenever they (a) cast their votes (b) speak on any issue on the floor of the US Congress. In other words, these folks are spoon fed and they barely speak for their constituents!
CBC members are the most controlled elected officials in the country we call the United States of America. That control is applied through (i) membership in Democratic Party (ii) funding of their campaigns (iii) the Congressional staffers (Legislative Assistants) attached to them during their entire careers in Congress.
These Legislative Assistants are responsible for preparing and writing the contents of all the bills voted on by all Congressional members and all speeches uttered by these elites during the Congressional debates before the votes are cast! Most, if not all, of these Legislative Assistants are not picked/hired by individual Congress person.
Concerned Americans should want to understand why elected officials in Congress always say one thing during elections and turn 180 degrees after elections. There needs to be thorough examination about where these Legislative Assistants get the information they feed to Congress men and women and upon which all the policies governing the US domestic and foreign policies are based. Otherwise, we are all doomed.
The time to start this important inquiry is right NOW while numerous variables that do not make sense are being thrown around by the media personalities like Joy Ann Reid and Congresswoman Maxine Waters! The voices of African American elites are on demand right now like never before because their paymaster need them to deliver results for those campaign contributions!
To understand the precarious nature of the representation by Congressional Black Caucus one needs to read about why the former Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney, was ran out of Congress and why she cannot find a job in USA!
Ms. McKinney was replaced by Congressman Hank Johnson. The Legislative Assistant for Congressman Johnson was none other than Mr. John Ossoff, the dude who, recently, was defeated during his attempt to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in US Congress! Mr. Ossoff worked as a national security Legislative Staffer and an aide to Rep. Hank Johnson for five years where he drafted and managed legislative initiatives that passed the House and Senate!
Understanding the role of Congressional Staffers (Legislative Assistants) in Congress. Could this be one of the ways the Congress is subjugated?
Thanks, Akech! I was just about to write a comment concerning Cynthia McKinney when I came across your comment. Our great media will never inform us of the singular bravery of people like Ms. McKinney who had the strength and courage to stand up to the bullies attempting to force her to sign a pledge to a foreign entity!
For those who are curious, read Mckinney’s foreword to Gilad Atzmon’s brave new book, BEING IN TIME.
This is an excellent letter. Too bad so many of the earlier anti-war heroes have jumped the fascist shark on this phony Russia conspiracy theory, particularly since the logical end point of this viewpoint is a world-ending nuclear war. Barbara Lee has joined the Black Mis-Leadership class as defined by the excellent blackagendareport.
Exiled–I thinks it just shows the massive power of the”defeated” clintonistas, that honorable and courageous people are lining up behind Killary’s behind. There must be incredible power to cave, esp since there has been no weakening of the DNC cabal that took down Bernie–who still remains the most popular politician in the US but is thwarted at every turn by a 3rd way that would rather destroy America than lose money and power. And money. And money. This whole Russia-gate is killary shit, and we’ll see that more and more clearly in this next 12 months.
Disappointed in Lee. :(
To witness otherwise excellent Afro-American progressive congresspersons being a part of perpetuating all this Russophobia by championing the non-story of Russiagate is one of the most disheartening and dismaying paradigms I’ve ever experienced in my decades of following socio-economic issues and policies.
The great erstwhile black civil rights leaders of the 1960s — who constantly pontificated on global peace — are rolling over in their graves! One can almost hear Malcolm X speaking with exasperation about how these black congresspersons have been hoodwinked and bamboozled by the militarist-Zio-media cabal.
Barbara Lee mimics Bernie Sanders in more ways than one.
Like Sanders, Lee supported Israel’s “right to self-defense” during its brutal attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Gaza. She continues to support robust military aid to Israel.
Lee consistently favors bills promoted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the US-based lobby that supports the policies of the Israeli government.
In 2011, Lee voted for funding Israel’s deployment of the so-called “Iron Dome” missile system:
“the greatest impediment to advancing new US policies that could help bring peace and justice to the Middle East come not from the Ros-Lehtinens and Chuck Schumers and Steny Hoyers of Congress, but from ‘friends’ in Congress who sometimes say the right thing, but their actions often perpetuate a deadly status quo. […]
“Barbara Lee presents herself as an opponent of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian lands. She has, after all, packaged herself as a ‘renegade for peace and justice’, the title of her autobiography. To that end, Lee has shown a willingness to not support some of the most egregious of AIPAC resolutions supporting Israeli oppression of Palestinians that come through congress on a regular basis, and on rare occasions even actively opposes them. […]
“It seems, however, that political expediency often gets in the way. […] Barbara Lee continues to play it safe for the most part, working, as she says, ‘behind the scenes’. Instead of aggressively going after the truth of what happened and showing a willingness to hold Israel accountable for its actions, she calls for support for the policies of President Obama, which are clearly a failure.
“Obama’s muted criticisms of Israeli policies are accompanied by unprecedented generous rewards while Israel ignores these ‘concerns’. It is no wonder that Israel is then bulldozing Palestinian homes at a record pace, at the same time building and expanding settlements contrary to international law. Israel knows it will get all it wants from President Obama and congresspeople like Ros- Lehtinen and Lee.
“This was made crystal clear to us when Barbara Lee supported Obama’s extra gift to Israel under the guise of ‘Iron Dome’, a program of dubious military value that meant an extra $200 million (for starters) from US taxpayers for the Israeli military, above and beyond the regular $3 billion annual subsidy. The vote […] was one of the rare times that military aid to Israel was standing alone, and not part of an overall foreign aid package. Barbara Lee refused to join progressives like Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers and Pete Stark in opposing this further subsidy to a state that refuses to end its military aggression against the Palestinian people. With this vote, she did not look like a renegade, but rather like a conformist supporting militarism and occupation, while we live at an ‘hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists’, as Martin Luther King said years ago.
“Lee’s policies (and Obama’s) are reminiscent of those who called for ‘constructive engagement’ with apartheid South Africa. We know, however, that there is an alternative; namely a call for human rights, a call for the rule of international law, and the end of US military aid that supports an unjust system of oppression.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and the silence of friends
By Jim Harris
It’s so obvious now that the democrat party betrays the people it pretends to serve, that it is an indication of the zombie-like state of many Americans that they still religiously support the moribund corpse of the party that continues to sell them out.
Sad, but so true.
Black Activist Writers Guild
“It’s good to be the king.” – Mel Brooks, “History of the World, Part I”
Barbara has had sixteen years to become accustomed to the “perks” – status, privilege, great salary, a healthcare plan that can’t be beat, a staff that kisses her butt, media attention, a great pension, probably a well-lubricated investment portfolio, if she has kids, they can go to college practically for free, a paid vacation that lasts longer than monsoon season in Bangalore.
So, with that one little “tweet”, she has garnered the accolades of every neocon pundit that NYT, WaPo, CNN and MSNBC can deploy. Rachel Maddow is squirming with repressed ecstasy, and AIPAC is already lining up bundlers for her next campaign. Andrea Mitchell, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Mika Brzezinski will praise her fearless resolve to enter the forbidden cave and confront the hideous beast. Endorsements will roll in from every corner.
Yep, it’s good to be the king. Or the queen. What’s not to like? All you gotta do to keep the job is play the game. Just ask Cynthia McKinney. Nuthin’ to it!
F.G. Sanford: Very true. You have summed it all in two very short paragraphs what it usually takes a ten page essay to tell.
While serving President Grant, a Cabinet officer informed Henry Adams:
“You can’t use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!”,
Whereupon Adams asked the Secretary “If a Congressman is a hog, what is a Senator?”.
The Education of Henry Adams
Mr Solomon, if it helps, please use my comment here, as support for your letter of appeal to Congresswoman Lee. I too feel like, by Congresswoman Lee’s recent comments condemning U.S. relations with Russia, that this is a certain let down. We Americans need more peace advocates speaking up for our concerns, and by losing Congresswoman Lee we all lose a champion for peace, as you said Mr Solomon.
In support Joe Tedesky
Particularly as ‘Russia-gate’ is an obvious lie.
“No longer any debate” about pro-Israel boilerplate “et cetera, et cetera” from Bernie Sanders
Lee pushes Sanders real good
Abe, thank you so much for this video. I knew Sanders has disappointed those who voted for him in the primary. I find this shocking information, that Sanders
actually believes in this #RussiaGate story.
I saw gradually build a following on his Vermont site and watched him as he spoke at Judson Memorial Church, after The People’s Climate March in 2014. He didn’t
seem familiar with all the people on the panel, who were very familiar to me.
“To be sure, the CBC’s subjugation by what is generally referred to as the pro-Israel Lobby is not unique. Thanks largely to American Jews having long been the Democratic Party’s major source of funds, estimated by reliable sources to be at least 60% in every election cycle, the Israel Lobby has been not only able to shape the party’s’ Middle East agenda but, of equal importance, determine who will be the chairs and the ranking members on the Congressional committees and subcommittees that have an impact on US-Israel relations. (The same thing can be said about the Republicans but there we see more variety among the donors.) […]
“As chair of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz was in a position to make the critical appointments to the Democratic Party’s platform committee. From Congress, with Hillary Clinton’s pro-Israel position in mind, she selected two members of the CBC, Berkeley-Oakland’s Barbara Lee, a favorite of the liberal Left, and Baltimore’s Elijah Cummings, making the latter the committee’s chair. Their votes turned out to be instrumental in insuring there would be no criticism of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine and its construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the party’s 2016 platform while maintaining Democratic Party support for Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.
“Cummings’ genuflection to Wasserman Schultz’s demands was expected since the 65 year old congressman is the very picture of the “faithful family retainer” from Old South novels and films when it comes to his relations to Israel and Baltimore’s Jewish community.
“[In February 2016], with Israeli Ambassador, US-born, Ron Dermer, Cummings co-hosted a celebration of Black History Month at the Israeli Embassy. It was Dermer, a former Republican functionary from Florida, who had collaborated with House Speaker John Boehner to have Netanyahu speak before a joint session of Congress in March, 2015 in a last ditch Israeli effort to sabotage Washington’s negotiations with Iran.
“Most of the more senior members of the CBC, including Cummings, were obliged by their constituencies to view it as a slight against the first Black president — which it clearly was — but while joining some other Democrats in boycotting the Israel prime minister’s appearance, they made sure that their decision to do so was not viewed within the Jewish community as diminishing their support for Israel but as a criticism of Boehner. […]
“Barbara Lee is not in Cummings’ league when it comes to public bowing and scraping before Israel’s domestic supporters but, like her predecessor, Ron Dellums, for whom she served as an aide, Lee has shown herself willing to do just that when called upon by the likes of Wasserman Schultz. Dellums, a Teflon coated living legend among most Bay Area Left activists, managed to serve 13 terms in Congress without losing their support while maintaining the backing of AIPAC and the Jewish voters in his district.
‘Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against giving President Bush the war authority after 9-11, for which she was justly praised. That act, apparently, took less courage than criticizing or withholding praise for an Israeli head of state as she had previously sent messages of congratulations to Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut, on his election and, later, re-election as Israel’s prime minister.
“At the height of Israel’s arm sales to its sister apartheid state, South Africa, the Congressional Black Caucus was so cowed by AIPAC and the Jewish political establishment that it agreed to utter not a peep about it in public.
‘Sharon had been given that title in the wake of crimes committed by the Israeli forces under his command following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and his having given the green light to Lebanese Christian forces to enter the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital in September of that year and, with Israeli soldiers backing them up, slaughter up to 2,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. This led to him being sacked as Israel’s defense minister. Why would a Black member of Congress congratulate him under any circumstances?
‘Like everyone else in Congress, Lee has consistently supported military aid to Israel. The closest she came to actually casting a vote critical of Israel was in 2006, following Israel’s most recent invasion of Lebanon when she voted ‘present’ on a House bill strongly supporting Israel’s brutal actions.
‘In January, 2009, she had been one of five members of Congress, including one other CBC member, Keith Ellison, to send a letter to Hillary Clinton after her appointment as Secretary of State, calling for humanitarian aid for Gaza without saying a negative word about the country that was responsible for the need of such aid.
‘In August, 2014, in the midst of Israel’s last assault on Gaza, she was reproached by some of her pro-Palestinian constituents for approving an additional $626 million appropriation for Israel. In a written response to her critics she justified doing so as a life-saving measure:
“’Last week, I cast a vote in support of Iron Dome, which is a defensive anti-rocket missile system that saves civilian lives.
“’I would not have supported funding for offensive military weapons in the midst of this horrific crisis. I continue to mourn the tragic loss of innocent lives in Gaza and Israel.
“’I have called and will continue to call for a sustained ceasefire to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, end the blockade of Gaza and stop the loss of civilian lives.’
“Unless asked to do otherwise by Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“When I phoned Lee’s Oakland office to complain about her vote, I was told by a member of her staff that they had already received 150 similar calls. Lee, he said, was actually against Israel’s occupation and settlement building. Her reason for voting the way she did, he told me, was ‘complicated’ and that Lee would put something up on her website explaining her decision. She never did and we can guess why.”
Congressional Black Caucus: Deep in the Israel Lobby’s Pocket
By Jeffrey Blankfort
Keep your eye on this bill —see if it passes—–would ‘require’ any US President to consult with Israel before selling any weapons to the ME.
H.R. 2833: Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017
The text of the bill below is as of Jun 8, 2017 (Introduced).
H. R. 2833
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 8, 2017
Mr. Schneider (for himself and Ms. Tenney) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
The President shall seek to consult with appropriate officials of the Government of Israel for information regarding Israel’s qualitative military edge before making a determination under paragraph (1).
Thank you, Abe. Most edifying.
Jeff Blankfort is a wonderful source—he has forgotten more on Isr and the Lobby and the Zionist and their history than most of us will ever know.
Yep, at one time she would go her own way in congress but she has since join nancy p. and the corp. owned demodogs. Another sales out.
I googled “Barbara Lee” and found she is a typical Israel robot.
I’d expect that having a reputation as a “maverick” is a great thing for a politician, especially when the Important People know it is a fake one.
So the only surprise to me about the current affair is that she decided to go public with her Standard Democrat position.
BL works for the military industrial banking complex. Always has, near as I can tell. Grasp this and save time on draining, time-consuming, wonderful writing. (Based on my attempts to communicate with her when I ran against Hatch.)
ON BARBARA LEE….
Those of us who advocate for perfection on every issue will
find no solace in either house of Congress.
The criticism of BL is warranted.
Should I not vote for Elizabeth Warren for Senator in my state
because she is a Zionist robot? Should I give up supporting her for
her excellent achievements?
Needless to say, there is no officeholder in the State of Massachusetts
who has or will take on Israel.
My cowardly response has been to urge support where
warranted and not to mention my outrage at other positions.
(I could never support a Warren bid for President!)
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Thanks, ZS, for pointing out she’s pro-Zionist. The dumb, dishonest anti-Russia b.s. makes perfect sense now.