Call Senator Leahy to Thank Him for Taking a Stand on the IDF’s Human Rights Abuses

Finally, someone in Congress who is willing to take a stand:

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is promoting a bill to suspend U.S. assistance to three elite Israel Defense Forces units, alleging they are involved in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Leahy, a Democrat and senior member of the U.S. Senate, wants assistance withheld from the Israel Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag unit.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a long-time friend of Leahy’s, met with him in Washington two weeks ago to try to persuade him to withdraw the initiative.

According to a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem, Leahy began promoting the legislation in recent months after he was approached by voters in his home state of Vermont.

A few months ago, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters staged a rally across from Leahy’s office, demanding that he denounce the killing by Shayetet 13 commandos of nine Turkish activists who were part of the flotilla to Gaza last May.


The senior Israeli official said that the Israeli Embassy in Washington had been trying unsuccessfully now for some months to persuade Leahy to back down from the initiative.

Two weeks ago, during Barak’s visit to Washington, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, asked Barak to meet with Leahy to dissuade him from promoting the legislation.

[emphasis added]

Even if Sen. Leahy (D-VT) isn’t successful, this is important. It shows how important it is to call, write and demonstrate for less damaging policies vis-a-vis Israel. Sen. Leahy is responding to his constituents on this and it is a reminder that if we care about this issue, we can’t just keep quiet and complain amongst ourselves and hope things get better. The Lobby is extremely powerful and Leahy has been in office for a long time- he also may not have to worry as much about the Lobby based on his state’s demographics. However, I can’t help but wonder if other lawmakers would suddenly find their backbone if their offices were flooded with calls telling them to stop supporting the Occupation with taxpayer dollars.

NOTE: Senator Leahy’s contact information is here.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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3 Comments on “Call Senator Leahy to Thank Him for Taking a Stand on the IDF’s Human Rights Abuses”

  1. thainjacobs Says:

    Good for him! I just sent him an email via his web page and I’ll call his office today.

    Thanks for the info. I’m sure the lobby is going nuts over this. How dare a US Senator not put Israel first!


  2. thainjacobs Says:

    Carolyn- if you are lurking come out, come out wherever you are. We’ll track you down. 🙂


  3. thainjacobs Says:

    Ok, last comment here. I see Leon Panetta and Hillary were out pandering for defense spending, some of which I guess is lumped in with state dept./USAID funding? That seems strange.

    They are lying about defense cuts btw. The dept. of defense is most certainly NOT cutting $350 billion from their current budget. I love how democrats become republicans when it comes to defense spending and war. I read the transcript of the talk over at Stacy’s other blog. All the questions asked of both Hillary and Panetta were soft ball questions. Hillary and Panetta had the nerve to continue to pimp for more war in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. No one asked them about the waste, fraud and abuse with defense contractors and no one challenged their stupid national security, neocon talking points. The idea that we have to spend more than the top 14 industrialized nations combined (defense spending), in order to “keep america safe” is really insulting to our intelligence. We are spending what? A billion a week at least in Afghanistan? But we should cut the social security retirement age and cut services for poor women and children? Yeah, great plan Hillary and Panetta. Thank goodness THEY have enough money to never have to worry about anything. Now go give a speech about human rights and women. Unbelievable. These people are so insulated and tone deaf.

    Stupid rich people. It’s time for a revolution in this country, French style.


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