Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:54:59 AM EST
U.S. Senator Barney Frank equates Israel's brutal embargo against the Gaza Strip with the 1980s U.S. sanctions against the South Africa apartheid regime. Can a member of Congress get any more down on his hands and knees toward a foreign power, one that seems to have just engaged in murder and piracy on the high seas, and this from a supposed liberal beacon in the U.S. Senate?
Barney Frank Compares Israel's Gaza Blockade to Sanctions Against Apartheid
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 04, 2010
Israel's blockade against Gaza is comparable to the sanctions levied by the U.S. Congress against the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1986, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank told the Forward in an interview June 3.
Rebuffing critics who decry the effects of the Israeli blockade on the health and welfare of Gaza's Palestinian residents, Frank said, "I remember that argument being used against our tough sanctions against the South African regime during apartheid. People said, `You're hurting the South African black people,' and Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill and we overrode his veto.
"A few years later," Frank recalled, proudly, "I listened to Nelson Mandela in the Capitol thank us for helping maintain the sanctions because they were so effective." . . .
And now Frank listens to Benjamin Netanyahu deny medicine and infant formula to the Gaza Strip and he hears Nelson Mandela in that? Here's more obsequiosity from the leading 'progressive' in the U.S. Senate:
In his interview with the Forward, Frank also sought to clarify remarks the Boston Herald attributed to him in a June 2 article. The article stated that the congressman "had harsh words yesterday for the Israeli navy," but a transcript of the interview that Frank provided offered no evidence of such remarks. . . .
"I never said anything critical of the Israeli navy," Frank stressed in his interview with the Forward and in a statement he issued. The liberal lawmaker, who chairs the prestigious House Financial Services Committee, went to great lengths to emphasize he had not a critical word to say about Israel's conduct in the flotilla incident.
Though no sane person knows exactly what went on on the boat -- but you can get an inkling from Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range -- Frank is absolutely sure who is really responsible for all the deaths, and he's sure it wasn't the military guys blasting away with their assault weapons. And, oh, by the way, why do we need an independent, international investigation of the killings, Israel is the best in the world at investigating itself!
Frank said also that after learning the details of the flotilla event, it "became clear to me that the people killed weren't innocent bystanders." The responsibility, he added, rests on the shoulders of the organizers whose actions led to the use of force. . . .
Despite calls to launch an international investigation into Israel's actions, Frank said he believed that Israel could investigate itself without fear of prejudice. "The Israeli government, Israeli courts, have the best record I know of a country's judiciary showing independence."
What a one-party state the U.S. is on this and everything else military or economic. It should be a crime, especially for real progressives or real leftists, to pretend that isn't the case.
And in case you think Frank is unusually subservient toward Israel, you'd be wrong. (Unusually craven, yes, but that's more a matter of style.) Like the Forward says below, it's wall-to-wall 'Israel can do no wrong' in the U.S. Congress:
One of the few voices in Congress calling for a change in United States policy is Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison. . . .
In a statement he issued following the flotilla incident, Ellison urged President Obama and the international community to lead an effort to end the blockade. "This event is the result of the ongoing, counterproductive blockade on Gaza," he said. "The blockade punishes ordinary citizens, and strengthens Hamas's control over commerce."
But Ellison's is a lone voice on this issue. Statements by Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who heard the news from Gaza during their Memorial Day recess, showed almost wall-to-wall support for the Israeli position and urged the continuation of the blockade.
"The naval blockade and the closure of access points into Israel from Gaza are entirely justified, legal and necessary to preserve Israeli lives and to minimize the smuggling of more and more powerful arms into Gaza to be used against Israeli civilians," said New York Democrat Gary Ackerman, who chairs the House subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.
What to do about this one-party state?
Finally, by the way, in case you think Frank redeems himself as a leftie as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, read Ralph Nader:
The banks did not want a consumer right of action against companies violating standards for their mortgages, credit and debit cards, or payday and installment loans. Barney said sure!
The banks want a weak oversight panel consisting of their toady regulators, who failed repeatedly and miserably in the past decade to stave off the collapse of Wall Street and its economically lethal consequences for workers and consumers. Barney said sure!
The banks want their buddies in Congress to drop the standard of reasonableness by which the new consumer protection agency can go after wildly gouging fees and deceptive practices, such as the check overdraft racket that rakes in $40 billion for the banks. Barney said, sure, sure!
Okay, that was from back in late 2009, but do we think anything has really changed since then? He's owned by those who give him money, as are nearly all of 'our' representatives.
CORRECTION: OOPs, Barney Frank is actually not in the Senate but the House, chair of its finance committee, and one of the leading pseudo-progressives there.