The resolution stands in a long line of "irredeemably biased" statements issued by Congress in recent years that both distort the facts on the ground and grant virtual impunity to Israel for any act of war against its neighbors or the people of the Occupied Territories. On November 4, a coalition of human rights groups issued their own statement calling on the UN General Assembly to endorse the Goldstone report, saying: "this is an opportunity for the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to send a clear message to Israeli and Palestinian leaders that civilians, regardless of their nationality, religious or ethnic background, are not legitimate targets of attack."
James Oberstar voted with the majority and Dave Obey voted "present." You can call Oberstar's office in DC at (202) 225-6211, or Duluth at (218) 727-7474 and express your disappointment.
Several Minnesota representatives showed the courage to stand up against the resoltion. Both Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison voted NO. Keep reading for McCollum's statement before the House.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Statement in support of human rights and in opposition to H. Res. 867
November 3, 2009
Madam Speaker, this resolution harms U.S. national security interests in the Middle East and American leadership for human rights and humanitarian law. And, while the U.S. attempts to be an honest-broker in an Israeli-Palestinian peace process this resolution is blatantly biased and damages U.S. credibility.
This resolution seeks to hide the ugliness of the
War by covering-up the violent excesses committed against innocent civilians by Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces.
Why does the U.S. House want to reject an accounting of Hamas’s terrorism against Israeli civilians as if thousands of rockets were not fired at Israel ?
Why does this resolution want to deny that hundreds of Palestinian women and elders were needlessly killed by the IDF?
American made white phosphorus shells were used by Israel in civilian areas causing horrible burns to Palestinian children, yet this resolution refuses to seek the truth?
The report Congress is burying today was led by a former chief prosecutor for war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, a jurist of exceptional experience who has faced far tougher actors than his critics in this chamber, critics who have not held a single hearing or conducted a single fact-finding mission on the subject of his report.
There must be only one standard for respecting human rights, a single standard by which we must hold ourselves, our friends, and our adversaries accountable. Establishing situational standards for respecting human rights is dishonest and only encourages actions that destroy human dignity and life.
Therefore I agree with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon who recently said at the Anti-Defamation League’s annual dinner that he is “a friend who is acutely aware of Israel 's security needs.” But on the issue of the Goldstone report Secretary Ban said, "When human rights are violated anywhere in the world we need accountability."
Today, I would ask my colleagues to vote for human rights and accountability by voting against this resolution.