I spoke on the phone with Rep. Peter King today. I asked whether he was surprised that the Obama team went along with a UN resolution on the flotilla, even a watered-down one, rather than vetoing it, as past administrations have done in similar situations to hold back the tide of Israel bashing. He replied bluntly, “No.” He continued, “This is basically what we have seen from day one – [the administration] putting distance between itself and Israel.” He believes there is a conscious effort by Obama to deny Israel the “privileged status” it has enjoyed as a close, democratic ally of the United States. This is part and parcel, he explains, of the “apology tour, how Netanyahu was treated, and [asserting] the moral equivalency between housing construction in Jerusalem and Iran constructing a nuclear weapon.”
What does King intend to do when Congress returns tomorrow? He announces that he will send a “Dear Colleague” letter out on Monday, calling on all House members to join in a resolution that will be introduced in the next few days. The resolution will include “many paragraphs on Israel’s right to defend itself,” take issue with the critics of Israel, call for the U.S. to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, and demand that the administration oppose any UN investigation of Israel.
Rep. King is right and deserves immense credit for summoning Congress to get into the discussion. For a week the administration has straddled, hemmed and hawed, and left Israel to defend itself. It is shameful, and Congress should make it clear that this is not acceptable and does not represent the concerns of the American people, who aren’t confused about who the good guys and who the bad guys are in this incident and in the Middle East more generally. Each member of Congress as well as candidates on the ballot this year should be forced to take a stand: do they approve of the Obama approach to Israel? Thanks to Rep. King, we’ll find out soon.