Yesterday I joined about 65 fellow members of the Hudson Valley PAC(HUVPAC), in Washington for a day of briefings and meetings with members of the Senate and House.We have been conducting these missions since 1982 .Unless you experience it firsthand you cannot understand the thrill ,but more importantly the power of citizen activism.It is participatory democracy at its finest.
While the mood in Washington is definately pro-Israel,especially in light of Iranian belligerence I am concerned that the approach to the Iranian problem is less than effective.On the other hand American attitudes at present vis-a- vis Hamas are more thought out , and less partisan.
If we really wanted to bring Iran to her knees, we could;
1. lead an effort to suspend her membership in the UN for seeking to dismember a member state.
2.We should start putting the same sanctions on International banks that do business in Iran as we are doing with banks that are involved with Hamas. The fear of International banks that they could not operate in the US if they do business with Iran, would be a powerful tool.
3.The Iran Freedom Support Act which was passed yesterday by the House 397-21 needs additional Senate sponsors.It should be passed, signed by the President without any waivers.
4.The partisanship on the Hill is palpable, especially on energy issues.I believe our country is tired of such nonsense.We are at war and the people demand an intelligent and bipartisan enlightened leadership on energy,Iraq, terrorism and so on.WE ARE NOT GETTING IT!
The Congress is considering the Palestine anti-terror Act, which grants an exclusion for " humanitarian aid ".While this sounds humane,the fact is, that money is fungible and only economic collapse will bring Hamas down without war. The Palestinians knew full well the consequences of voting for Hamas.Then again what is the definition of "humanitarian aid".Does it include anti-semitic textbooks?
The Iran freedom Support Act passed the House International Relations Committee 37-3 on March 14.It calls for American divestment from foreign companies investing in Iran's petroleum sector.The Senate bill is S.333.and it has 49 co-sponsors.
Sadly many Democrats Senators including the NY-_NJ quartet have not signed on over "language" difficulties.To me it looks like an attempt to deny a legislative victory to the chief Republican sponsor Sen Santorum (Pa) who is involved in a tough re-election race. (the democratic prime sponsor is Sen Evan Bayh D-In)One mid-western Democratic Senator confirmed this impression.
It is time for the US to insist on the reform and cleaning out of UNWRA .This UN agency is adminitered on the ground by Hamas elements. They perpetuate the squalor of the Palestinians living in the camps, and make no effort to find them permanent homes or jobs in the Arab world. Sadly,it is our money that supplies and supports this travesty.