Saturday, January 10, 2009

House Resolution 34

Remember all of that excitement about finally having Muslims (yes, plural. We celebrated twice.) in Congress?

It seems, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) voted YES on House Resolution 34, while Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Min) answered PRESENT per:

House Clerk

The Library of Congress

What is House Resolution 34? According to the bill title, it is "recognizing [apartheid] Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for [apartheid] Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."

If we couldn't get them to vote against this, aren't they for the most part useless?


Obi Asad said...

Yep, pretty much useless. Another term that comes to mind is sellout.

Noha said...


While I agree with & share your disappointment on this, I think the ulitmate responsibility falls on us as Muslims in America. We have to become politically & socially engaged enough (on all issues, not just Palestine) to create an environment that allows politicians to represent our voices on this and other things without fear of being voted out of office or otherwise retaliated against by the powerful Israeli lobby.

MJ said...

I am also very disappointed, but I do agree with Noha. Ultimately, a representative's usefulness is as a voice for the population. If we are not giving voice, then we are not living up to our end of this political game.

That's not to say that the representative doesn't have his or her own sense of morality. Nor is it to say that they aren't responsible for their actions. Nonethless, members of Congress are subject to intense pressures, and just like the rest of us they can cave to that pressure if there's not solid support beneath them.

It's our responsibility to be that solid support.

sunz said...

I agree with both Noha and MJ. And I want to add that after reading Rep. Keith Ellison's floor statement on this resolution, I can understand why he voted the way he did, and I would not call it selling out.

Specifically, he said that he couldn't vote against the resolution because he had been to Israel and witnessed the constant fear civilians lived in under rocket fire, and as such, they had a right to protect themselves. Then he said, he couldn't vote for the resolution because it did not address the great suffering of the Palestinian people. He went on to point out the blockade, the immense loss of life, the lack of media coverage, and the dire situation in Gaza. He further called for compassion for the people of Gaza and the tremendous human suffering there.

So, seeing how Israel is our only "ally" in the Middle East (if not our 51st state), many of Rep. Ellison's constituents are Jewish (I think they were the swing vote in his first election), and many of his donors are Muslim, I personally think he made a politicly wise decision. He played it safe for sure, but I'm not one to pass judgment on his moral conscience, especially since his points were valid.

Also, there is a rumor that Rep. Ellison is vying for a seat on the Foreign Affairs House Committee. I hope he does get it. Because really, his statements like "compassion for Gaza" is not something that is usually heard in the chambers of Congress.
And although it may not seem enough, given our current polity, I think that means something.

Zahra Billoo said...

@ Noha & MJ: I absolutely agree with your perspective on where the ultimate responsibility lies. I'd like to think that my blog at least attempts to promote those very ideas.