Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National, Politics | Tags: congress, Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favor.
I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me.
I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor.
She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end did not vote in favor.”
By Noora Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, openly told of his influence in American politics during a speech made in Israel on January 12, in which he claimed to have directly influenced the United States vote on the U.N. Security Council, which instance was reported by both The Agence France Press (AFP) and The Associated Press: “I told him [George Bush] the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution [U.N. 1860]. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor.”
Condoleezza Rice, however, countered to the Bloomberg news agency: “I don’t know if the prime minister was – I hope – quoted out of context, because the story that I read in the newspaper is fiction.”
Regardless of the veracity of Prime Minister Olmert’s account, AFP continued its report by noting the outgoing U.S. President, and his administration, to have “consistently placed the blame for the conflict on Hamas, telling reporters… that while he wanted to see a ‘sustainable ceasefire’ in Gaza, it was up to Hamas to choose to end its rocket fire on Israel.”
The Congress, a branch of government initiated to represent the American people in an independent manner from the White House in the system of democratic checks and balances, upheld the position of George W. Bush in this scenario by passing a resolution on January 9 with a 90% majority vote expressing “vigorous support and unwavering commitment” for Israel, laying the “blame both for the breaking of the `calm’ and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas;” but quoting but Prime Minister Olmert, not the former president, when the Israeli head of state asserted: “The operation in the Gaza Strip is designed, first and foremost, to bring about an improvement in the security reality for the residents of the south of the country.”
Only five members of Congress (10%) seemed to have represented the flood of Americans who protested against the Israeli aggression. The representatives who voted “Nay” included Representative Dennis Kucinich (Democrat- Ohio), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Rep. Maxine Waters (D- CA), and Rep. Ronald Paul (R-TX).*
In a stroke of irony, according to recorded numbers of those protesting the Israeli offensive (for or against), the American people would have voted almost exactly the opposite as did Congress. Out of the 60,100 people recorded to have protested in the United States regarding the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip, only about 10% (6100) protested in favor of Israel, whereas 54,000 are on record as having protested against Israeli policy and for Palestinian human rights in various U.S. cities. Approximately 90% of the protestors ‘voted’ against Israeli excesses, whereas 90% of Congress felt the actions of the occupying forces to be correct.
United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the Israeli offensive wholeheartedly, and demanding a return to the 1967 borders with the Palestinian capital being East Jerusalem. Shortly afterward, the U.N. headquarters in Gaza were bombed by Israel.
*(Whereas the Congressional numbers include the abstentions, making the actual percentage of “Nays,” in comparison to our study which does not include abstentions, 13%.)
-Abdul Hameed Abdul Azeez contributed to this report.
An Alternative Financing program was initiated this summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota to provide for monetary borrowing in accordance with Islamic law, or Sharia, which does not sanction the use of interest. The program is available to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, has also praised The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act, H.R. 3221, which will allow hard-working American families, in danger of losing their homes, to refinance with lower-cost government-insured mortgages that they can afford to repay – at no cost to the American taxpayer. “States and municipalities now have available to them nearly $4 billion in grants to purchase foreclosed homes, and to help our neighborhoods recover from the foreclosure crisis,” the 5th District Congressman commented.
The program provides financing to small businesses to purchase equipment and/or make building improvements with the outlook of benefiting low- to moderate-income persons by creating jobs or improving services.
All eligible applicants in Minneapolis must make efforts to hire employees by working with the City’s Workforce Coordinator, and also by using contractors licensed in Minneapolis.
In other work to assist the Muslim community, Rep. Ellison spoke at an intensive summer program on law and leadership of Karamah, a Muslim women’s league of attorneys and community leaders in Washington D.C.