Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I signed this petition to Congress from Jewish Voice for Peace, telling them challenge the mandate that requires them to defund UNESCO, and got the following response from my Senator, Maria Cantwell....

Dear Ms. Bach,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the situation in Israel. Israel is an important ally of the United States. We share common values and interests with Israel and they set the example for democratic government in the Middle East.

I applaud President Obama's decision to make the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority of his administration. I share the President's belief that the United States must remain fully engaged in the peace process and I strongly support his work in this region.

Peace is possible, but it will take hard work. Ultimately, there must be a two state solution. While resolution of the conflict is up to the Israelis and Palestinians, I believe the United States, the international community, and Arab countries have an important role to play. I am looking forward to working with President Obama, his foreign policy team and my Senate colleagues in finding a peaceful solution for the Middle East.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

This is how I responded, rather heatedly...oops.

Dear Senator Cantwell,
Thank you for the automated response, but I would rather have some indication that you're not regurgitating lines from AIPAC. The petition I signed was not regarding the situation in Israel. I'm an English teacher in the West Bank, and what Israel is doing here doesn't serve its own interests, let alone ours. I'm living in a village called Al Aqaba, which is under demolition order from the Israeli army. In Area C, 60% of the West Bank, Palestinian villages are forbidden to build, and routinely have their houses and animal shelters destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. They're cut off from their water sources, while Israeli military camps and Jewish settlements build without restriction and steal their water to grow crops that are exported illegally from occupied territory. The end goal is annexation, as Netanyahu stated last year: "we will never cede the Jordan Valley." This will isolate Palestinian cities by Israeli territory on all sides. This is Israel's idea of a just solution, and it's happening with our consent and our tax dollars. Unlike the Lobby, I refuse to believe that this is a clash of civilizations, Israelis vs. Palestinians. This is a conflict between people who want peace on both sides, and the racist, militaristic, expansionist mindset that is driving Israeli policy. A government headed by a man who openly brags about manipulating Congress is not our ally. I go to demonstrations every weekend with Israelis who dodge their own army's tear gas to protest the Apartheid wall. The answer isn't in direct negotiations, it's in Congress. We need to cut off the money that pays Israeli soldiers to protect illegal settlements. We need to cut off the money that pays for the bulldozer that razed two streets, two houses, and left 22 people in this village homeless. Is that your idea of peace?

I know you don't read these e-mails. I just had to counter your message. I've always been a fan of yours, but our Middle East policy can't continue like this. Washington State is actually a beacon for the Palestinian rights struggle in the US, haven't you ever wondered why?