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Opinion, California, Santa Monica, Politics

Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein: Different Routes In Backing Israel

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Posted Aug. 9, 2014, 8:49 am

Tom Elias / Mirror Columnist

Few things in a rather absurd world are more deserving of ridicule than the United Nations Human Rights Council, a 47-nation group that includes some of the world’s leading human rights violators, from China and Cuba to Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to take just a few in alphabetical order.

Thus it was completely appropriate when Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer recruited a bipartisan group of 35 fellow senators to sign a letter to the U.N. secretary general protesting the Human Rights Council’s announced investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel during its latest campaign in Gaza.

It was equally unsurprising the U.N. group would single out Israel, as it often has. What else would you expect from an outfit that includes China and Saudi Arabia, among the leading suppliers and financiers of Hamas, designated a terrorist group by all recent American presidents even as it rules the 25-by-seven mile Gaza Strip?

The surprise was the absence of California’s other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, from the signers of the Boxer letter.

Every senator had a chance to sign this letter, and it was inked by some of the most liberal, like Boxer and Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, as well as some of the most conservative, like Utah’s Mike Lee and Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn.

But the Senate’s top brass, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky did not sign. Maybe Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, didn’t want to break with Reid. Foreign Relations Committee Chair Robert Menendez of New Jersey also did not sign.

Feinstein’s non-explanation: “I strongly supported passage of (a resolution) which condemned the U.N. Human Rights Council vote...which made no mention of Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks and policy of using Palestinian civilians as human shields. I believe support for this resolution is the correct course of action in this case.” The resolution, passed three days before the Boxer letter was sent last week.

Feinstein, long a steadfast Israel supporter, did not quarrel with anything in the far more specific Boxer letter, co-written by Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

The open letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “The fact that there was no call for an investigation into actions by Hamas – including indiscriminate and deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and intentionally putting Palestinians in harm’s way – is …wholly unacceptable as it turn(s) a blind eye to Hamas’ brazen and depraved use of civilians as human shields (and) the tunnels it has built to cause mayhem in Israel.”

The letter also noted that the U.N. group ignored the missiles other U.N. personnel discovered hidden in some of its schools in the Gaza Strip, along with those stored or fired from homes, hospitals and mosques. Nor, the letter said, did the Human Rights Commission mention that Hamas officials have stopped Palestinian civilians at gunpoint when they tried to leave areas Israel warned them to evacuate prior to strikes or artillery fire.

The questionable council also claims most Palestinians dead have been civilians, an allegation based wholly on Hamas’ reports. One analysis of the fatalities by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting instead shows 57 percent of all war dead have been males aged 17 to 39, which that group says suggests most of the dead have really been combatants.

The Boxer letter also stresses that it’s Hamas which has repeatedly broken cease-fires and put Palestinians in danger. It notes the entire campaign started with persistent rocket fire from Gaza that did not stop despite numerous warnings from Israel. “The fact that Israel has effective defenses against the rockets aimed at its citizens is no excuse to overlook Hamas’ hostile behavior,” Boxer said.

Hamas’ behavior, of course, has been consistent with its charter, which states that “Israel will exist (only) until Islam will obliterate it” and that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight and kill the Jews.” Not just Israelis, the charter says, but all Jews.

The behavior of Hamas is no mystery, nor is the bias of the U.N.’s ludicrous Human Rights Commission. The mystery is why Feinstein didn’t join in calling both of them out in very specific terms, as did Boxer and dozens of their fellow senators.

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Comments

Aug. 9, 2014, 9:10:16 am

M McL said...

the Sykes–Picot Agreement and the Balfour Declaration may have reached their sell-by date. In any case concerning HAMAS, does that give Israel the right to shoot fish out of a barrel? Seems reckless.

Aug. 9, 2014, 10:33:00 am

Jan DeBont said...

I found your letter ill informed and completely inappropriate. The U.S attitude toward Israel has to change as Israel has changed. The blind approval by most of the government of the pro Israel movement has become part of the problem as no-one will even consider that Israel has changed. In their own words, the prime minister and the Israeli government they are out on revenge, they have now fully turned into what they see as the enemy. They say Hamas ( who are bad) but they mean Palestinians, all of them. Now we have two nations who cannot see each other in the eye and have developed into two nations who want to kill each other. The Israel prime minister has become a proto type of the modern day dictator. Seemingly educated, seemingly pretending to look for diplomatic solutions, smiling all along when he needs something from the US, but at the same time incredibly arrogant. Seeking his support in extremists groups in Israeli, society, he has now secured a place in the modern day dictators, amongst which you can also find Hamas and many other potentates in this world. His constant lying about missing soldiers was meant for only for one reason, to continue demolishing a state that has the same rights to exist as Israel does. I am a liberal democrat, but the US attitude toward Israel and Israel's new found hatred has made me decide to stop all my donations to all democrats in Congress. You are also reason for that as you seem living with blindfolds on and are only able to see one side, you now belong to a part of a pro Israel movement that has become unacceptable in an American society.

Aug. 10, 2014, 6:03:04 pm

Hakuna Matata said...

From what I have read (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International) from this war and operation Cast Lead, the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be able to find plenty of BOTH Hamas and Israeli commanders/leaders to put in the dock. One example from many: the killing in cold blood of the brothers of Amer Shurrab from operation Cast Lead. Another example: the shooting of civilians carrying white flags in Khuza'a.

Aug. 11, 2014, 12:04:35 pm

wolflen said...

tom..we agree...to the pro Hamas folks...your guys fired rockets meant to kill those in Israel..Israel responded..when there is a "ceasefire" who has broken it..(more than once).. hamas is the bully in the schoolyard...which sadly has some supporters..all they want to do is kill all the jews..hmmm..I think I saw this movie..

Aug. 12, 2014, 6:25:40 pm

I.moskovitz said...

Thanks for this. Somebody had to say it and you did.kol ha kabob I. Moskovitz pacific palisades

Aug. 12, 2014, 6:25:43 pm

I.moskovitz said...

Thanks for this. Somebody had to say it and you did.kol ha kabob I. Moskovitz pacific palisades

Aug. 12, 2014, 6:25:46 pm

I.moskovitz said...

Thanks for this. Somebody had to say it and you did.kol ha kabob I. Moskovitz pacific palisades

Aug. 14, 2014, 4:37:43 pm

L. Griffith said...

Here! Here! Thank you for the courage to state the truth!

Aug. 19, 2014, 4:42:17 pm

Meg said...

Stop it with your lies and whining. Israel has shown the world what a Nazi state it is. It has brought shame on all Jews. Feinstein and Boxer are Zionists. Very different from a true Jew. The world denounces them, you and the state of Israhell.

Aug. 20, 2014, 2:57:05 pm

Tina K. said...

For a week or more, your article has been traveling with me till I could write you. As individuals I am sure we could be friends despite your support for war and occupation. The winds of change have finally arrived and will continue to gain power over the IDF, it's propaganda and the capitulation of media in the States. Congress fears saying no more war, stop the defense industry, Palestine is not Hamas, Hamas was created by Israel; believe it. Both our old rusted Senators need to be replaced, Boxer even holds dual citizenship to Israel. She blocked an American boy from being heard on CSPAN about his beating while visiting family in Israel / Palestine in June 2014. We have been under a spell of sorts, the NRA and AIPAC are political groups that have had their way with us. No More, not ever again. I for one, will never vote for another Democrat that can't stop this chain reaction. I hope you keep well, and look into JVP, Jewish Voices for Peace. Thank you!

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