The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Courage after the fact

Baird and UN aid workers at the American School in Gaza.

Thanks, but it comes a little bit late:

The United States should break Israel's blockade of Gaza and deliver badly needed supplies by sea, a U.S. congressman told Gaza students. 

Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington state, also urged President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy to visit the Hamas-ruled territory to get a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Israeli's military offensive last year. 


Baird, who has announced his retirement from Congress, told a group of Gaza students Sunday evening that the U.S. should not condone the blockade. 

"We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift," he said, adding that the supplies could be delivered to UN aid agencies. 

Rep. Baird has been relatively courageous about Gaza in the past, but never proposed anything of the sort before. I'm guessing it was because he was afraid of the consequences and the pervasive atmosphere of intimidation AIPAC and others exercise over Congress. This is why fighting the Israel lobby is such an important issue — to make honest, reasonable politicians able to speak out in Congress where it counts, not when they are about to retire.

See Baird's letter about Gaza here.