While the AIPAC resolution was moving through the Congress and was overwhelmingly approved, a counter resolution was introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D) Ohio. The Lobby resolution was passed in the Senate by simple voice vote and in the House by an overwhelming margin. But the resolution from the Lobby, HR Con.Res 34, was totally our of step with the incoming Obama administration that wanted a permanent cease fire as a basis for Senator Mitchell's mission to the Middle East.
Surprisingly, nine representatives spoke strongly against the AIPAC resolution on the floor of the House. Five eventually voted against it, and 22 abstained. That was a record for a resolution of this kind backed by the full-power of the lobby. Congressman Kucinich's resolution did not come up for a vote before the inauguration. He did acquire seven sponsors in the twenty-four hours after he appeared at a CNI Sponsored public hearing. That also was a new record.
On January 9, the US House of Representatives passed by a vote of 397 to 5, H. Res. 34, basically endorsing Israel's massive and brutal attack on Gaza that was in full bloom. The resolution states that Israel has a right to defend itself, and blames Hamas launched rockets (in reality not much more that enhanced fireworks) for the Israeli attack. Fifty-eight House members gave floor speeches on the measure. Most obediently and obsequiously gushed in favor of America's "strong ally" Israel, and blamed evil "Islamic-radicals", as well as Hamas for the plight of the starving and imprisoned, yet stubborn (because they just won't evaporate), Palestinians.
While the rest of the world witnessed unbelievable horrors unfolding, the US Congress was spontaneously endorsing the horror. The Senate had passed the same resolution on January 8, by a voice vote.
There was one positive factor that emerged from House consideration of the resolution: five members voted against it, and 22 abstained. That means that 27 members of the House (all except one are Democrats), have a conscience and may be looking at the true national interests of the US, as opposed to those of a foreign country. Some may have been influenced by the immorality of allowing Israel to use US supplied weapons to kill at will, without justification, and in violation of US law.
Also, nine representatives gave floor statements expressing opposition to the resolution, or stating that they would abstain. Most called attention to the defects in the measure related to its failure to call for an immediate cease- fire and immediate humanitarian relief to Gaza.
Please note that such pro-Israel measures are never subject to the normal full and objective committee hearing process. When there are hearings on matters pertaining to Israel, they are orchestrated as "cheerleading" sessions, led by pro-Israel "think-tankers". Real hearings would clearly debunk the numerous myths that glorify all things pro-Israeli and vilify all things other.
The timing of Israel's attack and the ensuing H. Res. 34 were intended to take advantage of the fact that Bush was on his way out, and Obama was not quite in. This was a congressionally endorsed message to the US public, the Palestinians and the world, that while "change" may be in the air, AIPAC is still in charge, and "change: will not apply to this matter. And with the Israeli elections coming up in February it was a perfect opportunity to use US supplied weapons and ammo to trade Palestinian lives for votes.
Few in the House bothered to mention the fact that the Israelis have kept the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza in a virtual prison for years, and have deprived them of food, fuel, medicine and even water for many months. Much was made of the designation of Hamas as a "terrorist" organization, notwithstanding the fact that Israel originally helped create Hamas, and that it was democratically elected in Gaza in a process essentially forced by the US in 2006.
The ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed in the brutal onslaught (80 to one) was less than a footnote in the measure's consideration. Ditto the number of woman and children killed (hundreds).
Members who voted against or abstained should be congratulated and thanked for their courage and conscience.