I'm a big fan of Anthony Weiner when it comes to domestic policy. He has been a very loud supporter of the public option and of serious healthcare reform, and isn't afraid to slam Republicans when they lie (which is most of the time). But I was dismayed to see his response to the Israeli assault on the aid flotilla. Speaking with Greg Sargent, Weiner basically stated that the debacle was a set up to make Israel look bad:
"This was about instigating an altercation and they succeeded,"
Weiner, one of Israel's leading allies in Congress, told me. He insisted
that the activists piloting the flotilla were offered other
alternatives by Israel, such as docking the ship and transporting the
supplies to Gaza by land.
"If you want to instigate a conflict with the Israeli navy it isn't
hard to do," Weiner continued. "They were offered alternatives. Instead
they chose to sail into the teeth of an internationally recognized
Pushed on whether the Israeli response, which killed at least nine,
was disproportionate, Weiner wouldn't acknowledge it. "It's always easy
to criticize the response to a hostile act, but for a week at least the
Israelis were trying to prevent this altercation," Weiner said, adding
that the Israelis had been "set upon."
This type of knee jerk, pro Israel rhetoric from American politicians is one of the main reasons peace in the region is virtually impossible to achieve. The Israeli/American line is that Israel is all by itself, surrounded by enemies and under constant attack. The fact that Israel is illegally occupying and brutalizing the indigenous Palestinian population is never mentioned and we are only supposed to pay attention to the acts of terrorism committed by disaffected Palestinians. While terrorism in all of its forms is reprehensible, young Arab men and women are not blowing themselves up for fun. The Gaza strip is one of the most impoverished regions in the world, starved by an Israeli blockade and routinely invaded if it dares to fight back. Humiliatingly, Gaza does not control the sea off of its coast, unlike any other country on earth, and the fact that Israel believes it has a right to control who visits Gaza and when is not only illegal but counter productive. Incidents like aid flotilla are bound to happen and Israel only has itself to blame.
Anthony Weiner is a passionate supporter of the poor and downtrodden, but not it seems, when they are Palestinian.