The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Critical reading of pro-Israel House resolution

Americans, remember this come the fall elections:
On July 20, the U.S. House of Representatives, by an overwhelming 410-8 margin, voted to unconditionally endorse Israel's ongoing attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Senate passed a similar resolution defending the Israeli attack earlier in the week by a voice vote, but included a clause that “urges all sides to protect innocent civilian life and infrastructure.” By contrast, the House version omits this section and even praises Israel for “minimizing civilian loss,” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The resolution also praises President George W. Bush for “fully supporting Israel,” even though Bush has blocked diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire and has isolated the United States in the international community by supporting the Israeli attacks.

The resolution reveals a bipartisan consensus on the legitimacy of U.S. allies to run roughshod over international legal norms. The resolution even goes so far as to radically reinterpret the United Nations Charter by claiming that Israel's attacks on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure is an act of legitimate self-defense under Article 51 despite a broad consensus of international legal scholars to the contrary.

In short, both Democrats and Republicans are now on record that, in the name of “fighting terrorism,” U.S. allies—and, by extension, the United States as well—can essentially ignore international law and inflict unlimited damage on the civilian infrastructure of a small and largely defenseless country, even a pro-Western democracy like Lebanon.
The rest is a deconstruction/critical analysis of the House resolution. It's worth remembering that there were 24,000 Lebanese-Americans in Lebanon when the war started, and that Congress encouraged indiscriminate Israeli bombing that put them in grave danger.

Also see this by Praktike, who highlights that House Democrats, by trying to get Iraqi PM Maliki to withdraw his criticism of Israel's war or ban him from addressing a joint session of the US Congress (a rare honor, yes, but one that serves US propaganda interests more than Iraq's or Maliki's). So basically Dems are (yet again!) undermining American interests for political point-scoring against Bush (Praktike's reading) or to yet again prove their slavish loyalty to AIPAC (my reading).