In a statement issued today regarding Israel’s attack on the “Free Gaza” flotilla, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — the second highest ranking Democrat in the House behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — begins by declaring that, “As we wait for all the facts to emerge about Monday’s events, several things are already clear.” Chief among those things that are “already clear”? That there’s no real need to wait for any further facts to emerge, since the Obama administration and Congress are already prepared to block any effort to condemn Israel’s actions at the UN, the results of that “credible and transparent investigation” into the incident sought by the Security Council be damned:
“First, the loss of life was tragic. Second, Israel – rightfully so – invoked its right to self-defense on the Mavi Marmara. While the majority of ships in the flotilla – 5 out of 6 – reacted peacefully when approached by Israeli Defense Forces, activists on board the Mavi Marmara were clearly bent on a violent confrontation. They further chose this path despite two week’s worth of repeated warnings from Israel that the ship would not be allowed to come ashore, and despite Israel’s offer to instead receive the humanitarian goods at Ashdod, inspect them there for weapons, and ensure their distribution to Palestinians in Gaza (*). Finally, to the extent that this act was in protest of the Gaza blockade, let’s be clear: Hamas could end the blockade at any time by recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence, and releasing Gilad Shalit.
“The Administration and Congress are determined to prevent condemnation of Israel at the UN Security Council. In times of increased tension such as now, it is imperative that we not allow these events to distract from our main goals of achieving peace in the region and preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”
So according to Hoyer, achieving peace in the Middle East requires that we not be distracted by little things like Israeli actions that undermine efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. And speaking of peace, why aren’t we talking about bombing Iran?
*Not true, which could actually be said about almost every line in the statement.