Brave words, not quite bravely spoken

 David ZackonOn Monday, two bills were considered on the floor of the US House.  
 
Each, in their way, addressed the violence that has cost the lives of 9 Israelis (not including the Jewish resident of Jerusalem mistakenly killed by IDF soldiers on the 21st , nor the Eritrean migrant shot & beaten to death on the 18th) – and at least 69 Palestinians (43 of whom Israel alleges to have been attackers; on Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry gave the totals since Oct 1st as 74 Palestinian deaths and 2,355 Palestinian injuries).
 
H. Res 293 was considered first: “EXPRESSING CONCERN OVER ANTI-ISRAEL AND ANTI-SEMITIC INCITEMENT WITHIN THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.”  This was the measure that had passed unanimously out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last month, and with co-sponsorship by Bill Keating.
 
The debate can be viewed here:
 
Eliot Engel (ranking member of the HFAC) joins Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and various others in explaining how the violence begins and ends with the Palestinian Authority (Hamas is given a back seat this particular time).
 
Engel captures the spirit of the “debate”: 

“Everyone who spoke today is saying the same thing. We are saying the same thing because it is clear as night and day what is going on over there.”

You can read the proceedings here: 
 
Just before the voice vote, you’ll find a wonderful statement by Keith Ellison that he had inserted into the record.  Why he chose not to speak them, one can only guess:
Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, securing a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine requires a commitment to humanizing the experiences of both peoples. Divisive rhetoric de-humanizes people and undermines the prospect of long-term peace. This resolution is divisive.
 
Incitement by either party, including Palestinian Authority leaders, is a serious issue and deserves to be condemned. But when we denounce the Palestinians and leave no mention of divisive rhetoric by the Israeli government, we do a disservice to Palestinians and Israelis. Just two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said ‘‘Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews.’’ He laid the blame for the Shoa at the feet of a Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was a virulent anti-Semite. But Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blaming the idea of the Holocaust on a Palestinian, and by implication Palestinians, deserves to be condemned by this body just as Palestinian incitement does.
 
I oppose this resolution, not because the Palestinians are not inciting, and not because I believe this incitement should not be condemned. I oppose this resolution because any resolution that attacks one side while ignoring the other can only further tension and violence.
 
If Congress wants to be considered a legitimate arbiter of peace between Israel and Palestine we must pursue a balanced approach that calls for an end to incitement on both sides and both leaders to live up to their obligations under the Oslo Accords.
 
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. HARRIS). The question is on the motion offered by the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 293, as amended.
 
The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.  
There was no audible objection to this grossly unbalanced resolution & it was adopted without a recorded vote.
 
Shortly after consideration of H. Res 293, the House took up H. RES.354: “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of Jewish communities in Europe.”  
 
The intent here was cynical and transparent.  Major premise: anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe.  Suppressed premise: criticism of Israel is on the rise in Europe. Implication: (one can’t even call it an invalid conclusion!) anti-Semitism explains European criticism of Israel.  Just as it does Palestinian criticism of Israel.  Just as it does any criticism of Israel.
 
Eliot Engel again:

We also, unfortunately, have a number of people living in Europe of Middle Eastern descent who also are using the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to, again, fan the fires of anti-Semitic hatred. As the numbers of people from Arab lands go to Europe, some, unfortunately, are fanning the fires of anti-Semitism. That has to be condemned and stopped as well. 

We also need greater leadership from officials by speaking out against anti-Semitism. We had a bill just a couple of hours ago—maybe not even a couple of hours ago—which talked about the Palestinian leadership not condemning anti-Semitism and having incitement of things that result in anti-Semitic attacks.  So this is the same thing. It is the same thing, whether it is in Europe or the Middle East
So it’s obviously okay to be using episodes of “anti-Semitic hatred” in Europe to shape debate on “the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
 
The floor consideration is found here: 
 
In this case there was a recorded vote yesterday Morning.  The “Yeas” were 418, the “Nays” were 0.