Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Senators Durbin and Leahy deserve support

Yesterday, I mentioned the excellent Legistorm site for investigating the traveling habits of members of Congress.

Looking at the information for my own members, I was struck by the fact that my Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has not taken ANY trips to Israel nor have any members of his staff. This is truly exceptional - to the point that I felt I should contact him and thank him for resisting the pressure to go.

I also discovered through a story in Israel's Haaretz newspaper that Senator Leahy of Vermont is working to deny U.S. funds to 3 elite IDF units operating in the occupied territories. From the newspaper story...
"Leahy wants the new clause to become a part of the U.S. foreign assistance legislation for 2012, placing restrictions on military assistance to Israel...

Leahy says these units are responsible for harming innocent Palestinian civilians and that no system of investigation is in place to ensure that their members are not committing human rights violations. According to Leahy's proposal, U.S. military assistance to Israel would be subject to the same restrictions that apply to countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan."
I was floored by this common sense action. I called his office in Washington to communicate my appreciation. You can as well. His office number is (202) 224-4242.

What the story doesn't mention is that there are no checks on ANY foreign aid funds sent to Israel, a unique privilege enjoyed by that country.

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