It seems as though at least one of the 54 signatories on the “lift the Gaza blockade” letter is having second thoughts. This report explains that U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY) is pulling her support after a meeting with Jewish activists:
The result was an “open letter” issued by Clarke’s office disavowing her signature on the letter accusing Israel of collective punishment in Gaza. The open letter also disavowed her participation in another letter she had co-signed in support of the Goldstone report. The second letter came out against last November’s Congressional resolution calling on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to unequivocally oppose the United Nations’ Goldstone Report accusing Israel of guilt in committing war crimes in Gaza.
“These letters are uneven in their application of pressure and do not sufficiently present a balanced approach/path to peace,” Clarke wrote in her new letter. The Congresswoman claimed that the two earlier letters did not “reflect [her] record with regards to Israel” and “have a provocative and reactionary impact, as they do not provide a complete, and therefore accurate, picture of the situation.”
It will be interesting to see if others follow suit. If so, the J Street gang (which reportedly worked quietly behind the scenes on the Gaza letter) will be once again disappointed. It seems, just as we saw with the J Street “host” list last fall, that it is unfortunately easy to lure uninformed and distracted lawmakers into signing up for thinly disguised Israel-bashing gambits. It is not, however, so easy to keep them on board once they hear more about just what they are supporting. The question remains: how many more of the remaining 53 will jump off the Gaza letter? Stay tuned.
UPDATE: A helpful reader points out that all five of the members of Congress going on J Street’s jaunt to Israel — Representatives Lois Capps (CA-23), Bill Delahunt (MA-10), Bob Filner (CA-51), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), and Donald Payne (NJ-10) — were signers of the Gaza blockade letter. Once again, J Street and the usual crowd of Israel-bashers seem to have a very cozy relationship.