Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Adam Schiff objected to UN Res 2334

Dear Mr. Schiff:

As I understand H.Res. 11 objecting to UN SC Resolution 2334 and your Yea vote, you voted against a toothless Resolution that states that Israel's illegal settlements on Palestinian land constitute a flagrant violation of international law and have no legal validity. I apologize if I have it wrong, since it's an objection to an objection or something like a double negative, but it appears to me that you objected to the UN describing the settlements as illegal. I expect that you personally feel that Israel's settlements are wrong, as is their treatment of people in Gaza, but you have strong elements among your constituents who will not tolerate any action that is not pro-Israel. To me, this issue is significant enough on the world stage that, if I were in your place, I would vote my conscience even if it meant being voted out of office.

The occupation of the land by Israel as a sovereign nation ended in A.D. 136 with the Bar Kokhba revolt. Nineteen centuries have passed since then. When Crusader influence in the Holy Land was finally eliminated in A.D. 1244 with the Battle of La Forbie, the land came under Muslim control and remained so until 1948. That was seven centuries of Palestine being Muslim land. In any other region of the world, a people forcibly taking land that had not been theirs for 19 centuries from a people in whose possession that land had been for the previous 7 centuries would be considered an illegal invasion and other nations would become involved in ousting the invading nation.

It's understandable, after the insanity in Germany during the second quarter of the twentieth century, that everyone in 1948 felt it important for Jewish people to have a homeland. Had I been living then, I would have agreed. There needed to be significant accommodation after enduring horrors like that. But if one took stock of the situation in 1967, one would have seen that Jewish people were experiencing acceptance and finding prosperity in many places in the Western world, and one would wonder whether the need for a homeland at that point warranted the Six Day War. If the Six Day War had been treated then as a people forcibly taking land that had not been theirs for 19 centuries from a people in whose possession that land had been for the previous 7 centuries, it would have been in line with international law and acceptable to everyone if other nations became involved in ousting the invading nation, because the Jewish people had had two decades to heal emotionally by that time. Instead, the drive to oust Palestinians from what has to be defined as their land increased and the establishing of the illegal settlements began.

Of course you know this history, much better than I do. How would you react to illegal US settlements on American Indian land? How did you react to Iraq invading Kuwait? I'll have to research more but isn't Russia's treatment of Ukraine in the same vein as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? How do you react to Russia's role in that conflict? Do they have a legitimate claim to Ukrainian land, or is their aggression illegal in view of international law? It's baffling to me if you, and any of your Jewish constituents, condemn illegal aggression by the US, Iraq and Russia but condone it for Israel. I don't understand where that double-standard comes from and have to label it hypocrisy.

I find your voting record otherwise admirable and I'm pleased to have you as my Representative. I have no complaints regarding your treatment of progressive issues like women's right, lgbt rights, and so on. I am just surprised by your vote regarding Resolution 2334, as I am the abstention of the US from voting on it. In decisions regarding Israel, you must be as broad-minded and aware of historical context as you are with other issues. If Israel's aggression is illegal, then it must not be condoned.

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