Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

January 28, 2010

Paul Findley lauds new congressional commitment on Gaza

Filed under: Activism,Gaza,U.S. Congress — Helena Cobban @ 1:11 pm

Former Congressman Paul Findley has lauded the 54 members of Congress  who on January 21 sent a letter to Pres. Obama asking him to “advocate for immediate improvements for Gaza” on a number of issues related to the tight blockade that Israel has maintained against the Strip’s 1.5 million people for many years now.

The PDF of the letter is here.

Findley was hounded out of office by AIPAC and its affiliates in 1982, after serving for 22 years as a distinguished member of Illinois’s congressional delegation. He had been openly urging the administration to open relations with with the Palestine Liberation Organization– and the Lobby didn’t like that at all!

In 1985, he published the best-selling book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby. In 1989 co-founded CNI and the CNI Foundation, with the goal of advocating for fair-minded U.S. policies in the Middle East– and explaining to Americans why only such policies can serve our true interests as a people. The CNI Foundation is the publisher of this blog.

Congressman Findley told FPFD that the ability of Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA)and Keith Ellison (D-MN) to gather 54 signatures on the “Dear Colleague” letter regarding Gaza

is an extraordinary step… We haven’t seen so many members of Congress prepared to stand together behind a resolution critical of Israel since the 1970s, with one of the early amendments offered by David Obey!

However, he also warned this year’s “valiant 54” that they should expect a strong counter-attack from the pro-Israel lobby.  “This is a step that the lobby for Israel will never forget,” he said.

He said he was planning to write to all 54 and express his appreciation for their courage.

He stressed, however, that– especially in an election year– all 54 of the letter’s signers need to hear very palpable signs of support from their own constituents, noting that,

My experience is that what happens in Washington is no use at all unless it is backed up by concerted efforts from the members’ own districts.

In connection with that, it’s lucky that the CNI and the other groups around the country that are members of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation are jointly sponsoring a campaign to “cheer or jeer” all members of Congress, depending on whether they signed or didn’t sign the McDermott-Ellison letter.

Please take part! The “cheering” part is every bit as important as the “jeering”. (Or maybe, even more important.)

In the interview with FPFD, Findley said,

I’m going to urge the 54 signers of the McDermott-Ellison letter to stand together, and keep in good touch with each other on this issue.

I should have tried harder to do that when I was in the House– but back then, there were only three of us. Now there are 54.

He suggested that the 54 might establish a more robust structure to coordinate on this issue– “They could call it the Caucus for the National Interest!” he said.

(Hey, we support that!)

He recalled that,

back in my day, when I was in Congress and the Lobby was going after me, there was no such thing as a grassroots campaign to express support for the stand I was taking. But I went ahead anyway.

He  underlined that the fact that these 54 members had signed the letter to Pres. Obama, “is very important in itself– and it should also be a gateway to further  efforts on this issue.”



  1. إسرائيل ارتكبت مجزرة ثقافية بعد النكبة
    كشف باحث إسرائيلي عن “مجزرة” تعرضت لها المكتبة الفلسطينية عقب نكبة 1948 من قبل الصهيونية ضمن برنامجها لتهويد البلاد، وتدجين من تبقى من سكانها العرب ثقافيا وسياسيا بقطع صلاتهم عن أمتهم وحضارتهم.

    وقال الباحث غيش عميت في أطروحة دكتوراه سيقدمها في فبراير/ شباط المقبل بجامعة بئر السبع إن إسرائيل قامت بتجميع عشرات آلاف الكتب العربية من القدس ويافا وحيفا وصفد وطبريا وبقية المدن الفلسطينية، فوزعت نصفها غنائم وأتلفت نصفها الآخر لـ”خطورتها” الأمنية.

    وأبلغ عميت الجزيرة نت استنادا للأرشيف الصهيوني أن جنودا إسرائيليين نهبوا الكتب من منازل الفلسطينيين فور تهجيرهم خلال النكبة، وسلموها لسلطات الدولة التي أقامت مكتبة لحفظها أقيمت في يافا إضافة إلى بناء مخازن تابعة لها بمدن أخرى.

    وكشف الباحث الإسرائيلي استنادا لوثيقة زودنا به أن إسرائيل أقدمت عام 1958 على تدمير 27 ألف كتاب عربي مسروق بدعوى أنها عديمة الفائدة وكونها “خطيرة” على الدولة.

    وأضاف أن الدولة “باعت الكتب وهي كتب تربوية تعليمية بمعظمها لمصنع ورق” معتبرا أنها “مجزرة ثقافية نفذت بطريقة أسوأ من ممارسات الاستعمار الأوروبي الذي حافظ على مسروقاته الثقافية في مكتبات ومتاحف”.


    Comment by Salah — January 28, 2010 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  2. bravo to congressman findley, and to the other 54 reps. not only is it long overdue and will help the hapless pals.,but as a byproduct, it will also help the isreali’s. for very, very intelligent people, i can’t understand how they think that they could get away with their bullshit forever. if the remaining 381 reps. had any brains, and were true friends of isreal, they would have signed the lette also. the isreali’s off all people, should know that might alone does not make right. we americans will also benifit. so many people in this world hate us despite all our goods works. could 50 million frenchmen be wrong? carl scala

    Comment by carl of queens,ny — January 28, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  3. […] When she heard that, Cobban’s long-honed journalistic instincts got the better of her. She whipped out her notebook, asked a few more questions… And then she was able to record Findley’s reactions for posterity, on the CNI Foundation’s “Fair policy, Fair discussion” blog… here. […]

    Pingback by Council for the National Interest » Blog Archive » Findley speaks to CNIF blog about the McDermott-Ellison letter — January 28, 2010 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  4. The letter of the 54 will go in history books – on par with the signatories of other lands – Soviet Union , former Tschekoslovakia to name some; I will keep the names of these brave Congressmen and Congresswomen- They need moral and financial support in anticipation of the attack; but the sheer number will make it difficult for the AIPAC and their stooges to make such a ‘collective punishment’ invisible – that is a problem for them – how to make it happen without Americans noticing it..

    Comment by anonymous — January 28, 2010 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  5. قالت شرطة دبي إنها تلاحق قتلة القيادي في حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) محمود عبد الرؤوف المبحوح الذي اغتيل بالإمارة في العشرين من الشهر الجاري واتهمت الحركة إسرائيل باغتياله.

    ووفقا لبيان أصدرته شرطة دبي فإن معظم القتلة، الذين يجري التنسيق مع الشرطة الدولية (الإنتربول) للقبض عليهم، أوروبيون. وحسب البيان فإن مرتكبي الجريمة خرجوا من البلاد في نفس اليوم الذي اغتالوا فيه المبحوح


    Who are these European killers? No wonder just Like those who kill Dr Yiehya Al-Mashad in Paris

    Comment by Salah — January 29, 2010 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  6. […] that last week, former Congressman Paul Findley told FPFD how important it is that members of Congress hear from their constituents on this […]

    Pingback by ‘Cheer or jeer’ campaign gains momentum « Fair Policy, Fair Discussion — February 26, 2010 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

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