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by William Hughes
Monday, Jul. 31, 2006 at 4:18 AM
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is a politician that regularly sucks up to the powerful Israel Lobby. Fortunately, she has an opponent in this year’s primary, Jonathan Tasini, who is calling her on her shameless behavior. In Baltimore, Mayor Martin O’Malley, who wants to be governor of Maryland, is following in Clinton’s footsteps. When the Israel Lobby called a rally, on 07/25/06, to boost support for Israel, O’Malley showed up to do its bidding.
coffins_displayed_at_israeli_embassy_protest.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x480
“Don’t wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day.” - Albert Camus
Oh, what will these politicians do to get elected to public office? Are there any limits? Take for example, Martin O’Malley, a Democrat. Presently, he holds the office of mayor of Baltimore City, but he also wants to be the next governor of Maryland. So, when the call went out to him from the wheeler dealers in the Israel Lobby to show up for a “Baltimore Stands with Israel” rally, on July 25, 2006, at the local “Holocaust Memorial,” he answered like a trained puppy dog. (1) The fact that Israeli jets, then, for 12 days had been mercilessly bombing Beirut, Tyron and Sidon in Lebanon back to the Stone Age, didn’t seem to bother him. O’Malley showed up to speak. (2) The death count in Lebanon has now reached an estimated 750 innocent souls, with over a million people, Muslims and Christians alike, displaced by the repeated, unjustified, cowardly and morally reprehensible terror raids of the IOF. On the day after the rally, it was reported that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) had slaughtered 23 more Palestinians trapped in Gaza City, while wounding 40, bringing the Palestinians’ death toll to 160, since the latest brutal Israeli invasion.
Background: O’Malley recently severed his connection to his Irish Rock Band, “O’Malley’s March.” He loved to blast out, with his shirt sleeves rolled up to his shoulders, those Irish rebel ballads about fighting the Brits and freeing the six northeastern counties of Ireland. In fact, when he was a member of the City Council in the 90s, he had a pretty good record on legal, moral and human rights issues with respect to combatting the evil of British imperialism in the north of Ireland. I remember getting calls from him, when he was a chair of a City Council Committee, to come down to City Hall and to testify against allowing the Brits’ “Black Watch Band” from performing at the local City-owned Civic Center. Now, however, things are different! O’Malley wants to be governor! His concerns for human rights and justice have vanished.
Fortunately, not all Democrats running for pubic office are as recklessly ambitious as O’Malley. Some of them refuse to bow to the pressure from the powerful Israel Lobby. (3) They insist on staying true to their conscience. One of them is the gutsy Jonathan Tasini. He is challenging the hawkish, pro-Iraqi War U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in that state’s primary. Tasini, who is Jewish, said this of Clinton’s perpetual sucking up to the Israel Lobby: “I don’t believe Sen. Clinton is a true friend of Israel. A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would understand that employing collective punishment against people in Lebanon only embitters a population, possibly for generations, and that even a short-term military victory will be empty if it leaves behind a shattered country...A friend of Israel, not someone who simply seeks votes, would deplore the collective punishment employed by the Israeli army in Gaza...I feel great sorrow that Israel is an occupier of another people and I believe that Israel can never be whole and can never be at peace until that occupation is ended in a just way.” (4) I submit that Tasini’s keen analysis of Hillary Clinton on Israel can apply just as well to the politically power-hungry O’Malley.
Some other Baltimoreans, besides this commentator, were also outraged about O’Malley’s appearance, and the appearance of additional elected politicians, at that pro-Israel rally. They showed up at the event to protest it. (5) Two also shared their strong views with the public, in letters to the editor in the Baltimore Sun. Here’s what one letter writer said on the matter: “It was deeply disturbing to learn of the parade of Maryland politicians who attended a rally in support of Israel, even as that country indiscriminately kills women and children in Lebanon. Israel has reacted to the attacks on it with disproportionate and inhumane force. I am ashamed that our politicians have chosen to condone this massacre. And I think that in spite of my belief that it would be better for the Democrats to run our state government, I will have to sit out the upcoming elections.” (6)
Another letter writer to the Sun took strong exception to the pro-Israel event being held at the Holocaust Memorial. Here are her comments: “The pro-Israel rally at the Holocaust Memorial was nothing short of exploitation. The Holocaust cannot and should not be used, explicitly or implicitly, to justify or excuse Israel’s recent actions. The Israel lobby should be ashamed that it chose the Holocaust Memorial to hold its rally to support Israel’s “right to defend itself” and...Mayor Martin O’Malley should be ashamed to have used the tragedy in the Middle East to pander for votes. The disproportionate deadly force Israel uses against Lebanon and Gaza goes far beyond self-defense. It is collective punishment against a civilian population, a violation of the Geneva Convention...The Holocaust Memorial is a sacred place that should only be used to work for peace, not to encourage and support Israel’s bloody rampage in Gaza and Lebanon.” (7)
The Irish, too, haven’t been very happy about the latest horrors perpetrated by the IOF in Lebanon and Gaza, where many of their soldiers continue to serve as part of the UN’s Peacekeeping forces (8) As a result of a recent IOF’s air strike which killed four unarmed UN observers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, in Southern Lebanon, the Irish foreign minister, Dermot Ahern, in Dublin, called the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Megiddo, into his office for a tongue lashing. A senior Irish army officer, Lt. Col. John Molloy, had “warned Israel six times on Tuesday that its bombs were landing close to a United Nations base.” The IOF “ignored the warnings.” Ireland’s Daily News reported that Mr. Ahern conveyed Ireland’s “grave disquiet at what happened” to the Israeli diplomat. I suspect that what he really said couldn’t be reported in any family-oriented news outlet. The Irish newspaper also reported that Ahern’s action was a “widely welcomed move” throughout Eire. (9)
On July 30, 2006, only five days after O’Malley had pimped for the Israel Lobby at the Baltimore affair, it was reported that an IOF air strike had killed or wounded 65 civilians in the village of Qana, in Southern Lebanon, in yet another terror attack. On April 18, 1996, the Israelis had bombed a UN shelter in that same area which slaughtered 106 people, mostly women and children, including two children from Dearborn, Michigan, who were visiting their grandparents. Qana (Cana) is the place that the Bible tells us that Jesus performed his first miracle. (10) Keep in mind that when responding to critics of Israel’s indiscriminate shelling of civilians in Occupied Palestine, Ehud Olmert, its Prime Minister, said, “No one dies from being uncomfortable.” (11) This is the kind of callous wisecrack that you expect from a gangster, like the late Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, but not from the head of a sovereign nation state.
Finally, O’Malley is the heavy favorite in the governor’s race, set for this November, in Maryland, mostly because of the fact that the majority of the state’s registered voters are card carrying democrats. If, however, these two letters to the Baltimore Sun indicate anything, they show that some discerning Marylanders will be drawing the line at voting for a candidate, like O’Malley, who so shamelessly uses the “Middle East tragedy to pander for votes.” (7)
1. “Supporters of Israel Rally at City Holocaust Memorial,” July 26, 2006, Baltimore Sun, by Julie Scharper.
6. Letter to editor, Baltimore Sun, July 28, 2006, Connie Phelps.
7. Letter to editor, Baltimore Sun, July 28, 2006, Kristin Bricker.
8. For photos of some of the Lebanon dead, which will not be seen on CNN, go here: http://184.108.40.206/~lebanon/
9. “Irish Army Officer- ‘I told Israel about Base Fears,’” Daily Ireland, David Lynch, July 27, 2006.
11. Ravi Nessman’s “Israel Steps Up Offensive,” AP, 07/03/06.
© William Hughes 2006
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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