Republican Rep. Ted Poe and Democrat Rep. Gary Peters have released a letter on the flotilla , the counterpart to the Reid-McConnell letter, we are told. Except it’s not the Pelosi-Cantor letter (for reasons I will try to divine below) and it’s not the same as the Senate version — it’s much better.
Unlike the Senate letter, Poe-Peters avoids praising the noxious UN statement that Obama agreed to, which left open the option of an international inquiry. (Reid-McConnell: “We commend the action you took to prevent the adoption of an unfair United Nations Security Council resolution, which would have represented a rush to judgment by the international community.”) Instead, the congressmen challenge Obama “to make every effort to thwart international condemnation and focus the international community on the crimes of the Iran-backed [note: Reid-McConnell doesn’t explicitly make the Iran connection] Hamas leadership against Israel and the Palestinian people.”
And rather than the softer formulation of the Reid-McConnell letter (“The United States has traditionally stood with Israel because it is in our national security interest and must continue to do so”), the congressmen implore Obama to “unequivocally reiterate that the United States stands behind its longtime friend and ally.” Unfortunately, the congressmen don’t call for withdrawal of the U.S. from the UN Human Rights Council, but it’s certainly an improvement over the last effort.
Why the improvement? First, rather than negotiating with the House’s Democratic speaker, who’s going to play defense for Obama at all costs, a Democrat unconcerned with running interference for Obama was rounded up. Good move. Lesson for the future: if you insist on bipartisanship, find more candidly pro-Israel Democrats. And second, I can only imagine that pro-Israel groups were rightly embarrassed by the senators’ endorsement of the UN statement and implored the congressmen not to repeat the error.
So it seems possible to set the bar a bit higher for pro-Israel letters and resolutions, obtain a more effective statement, and avoid enabling the Obami’s mischief. Let’s hope it’s the start of a trend.