Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gary Peters (D-MI) announced today that 338 bipartisan Members of Congress have joined them in sending aletter to President Obama expressing Congress strong support for Israels right to defend itself and unequivocally reiterate that the United States stands behind our longtime friend and ally.
I would like to thank my colleague Rep. Peters for his leadership and the overwhelming support we have received in Congress on this important issue, said Poe.
With more signatures than any other congressional letter supporting Israel, we are sending an unmistakable message that the United States must make it clear to Israel and the rest of the world that Israel had the absolute right to defend itself in this situation and support Israels blockade, continued Poe. Our letter urges the White House to ensure that this is clear to all concerned throughout the world, especially Hamas and Hezbollah.
The letter additionally urges the president to remain steadfast in the defense of Israel in the face of the international communitys rush to unfairly judge and condemn Israel before the United Nations Security Council and continue to use our influence and, if necessary, veto power to prevent any biased or one-sided resolutions from passing.
I am dismayed at the selective outrage of the world community. Though Israel faces constant terrorist threats from Hamas, rocket attacks from Hezbollah and a growing nuclear threat from Iran, the world is often silent or indifferent, said Rep. Peters. Israel needs to know that its ally the United States does and will always stand firmly in support of Israels right to self-defense. I am pleased that 336 members of Congress have joined me in signing this bipartisan letter supporting Israels right to self defense and asking President Obama to continue to use U.S. influence to prevent anti-Israeli bias.
Members also stated that the U.S. should make every effort to thwart international condemnation and focus the international community on the crimes of the Iran-backed Hamas leadership against Israel and the Palestinian people. As Israel faces increased threats, most recently from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which announced that it could provide a naval escort to any additional aid ships wishing to reach Gaza, the United States must continue to stand by Israel, one of our strongest allies.
The letter came in response to the May 2010 flotilla incident. After repeated warnings, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla attempting to break through its naval blockade of Gaza. Over the course of its blockade, Israeli forces have diverted nine such flotillas, all without incident. The same was true for five of the six ships in this flotilla. They were commandeered peacefully and directed to the Israeli port of Ashdod. However, those aboard the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, violently resisted. With their lives threatened, Israeli forces used necessary force as an act of self-defense and of last resort.
The letter was supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and United Jewish Communities.
In supporting the Poe/Peters letter, AIPAC spokesman Josh Block said, At a time when so many countries are seeking to unfairly stigmatize and isolate the Jewish State, challenge its right to self-defense and judge it by a double standard, this letter serves one critical goal: demonstrating unswerving American support for