Biden's Gaza Ceasefire Veto Defies American Public Opinion

Aaron Bushnell, an active serviceman in the United States Air Force, burned himself to death in front of the Israeli Embassy in protest against the US policy in Gaza. Before setting himself on fire in what he called an "extreme act of protest", he said he would "no longer be complicit in genocide". Polls show that the vast majority (63%) of Americans want an immediate end to the carnage being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza.  

USAF Engineer Aaron Bushnell

Although Bushnell resorted to this extreme form of protest against the Biden Administration's policy of unqualified support for Israel, he was not alone in opposing it. American public opinion polls confirm that the vast majority of Americans, including Jewish Americans, want an immediate end to the Gaza carnage. 

Gaza Ceasefire Poll. Source: ISPU

Overall, 63% of Americans support a ceasefire in Gaza, according to a recent poll conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). In terms of religions, 71% of Catholics, 61% of Non-Affiliated,  60% of Protestants, 58% of White Evangelicals, 50% of Jews and 75% of Muslims support an immediate ceasefire, according to the poll. 

Jewish and Muslim Democrats, like Democrats in the general public, favor an end to the violence in Gaza. The majority of Republicans in the general public also favor a ceasefire. 

So why is President Biden defying the will of the American people on Gaza?  The simple answer is AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful lobby in Washington D.C. This Israel lobby has showered its friendly politicians with money from wealthy Jewish donors. It has also ensured the defeat of those politicians who dared to speak out against Israeli policies in the Middle East. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, put it on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

President Jimmy Carter who helped broker peace between Israel and Egypt knows the Israel lobby well. He told Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" many years ago: "I think it’s accurate to say that not a single member of Congress with whom I’m familiar would possibly speak out and call for Israel to withdraw to their legal boundaries or to publicize the plight of the Palestinians or even to call publicly and repeatedly for good faith peace talks.....  And I would say that if any member of Congress did speak out, as I’ve just described, they would probably not be back in the Congress the next term ". 


Riaz Haq said…
Exterminate All the Brutes - The Chris Hedges Report

When those who are occupied refuse to submit, when they continue to resist, we drop all pretense of our “civilizing” mission and unleash, as in Gaza, an orgy of slaughter and destruction. We become drunk on violence. This violence makes us insane. We kill with reckless ferocity. We become the beasts we accuse the oppressed of being. We expose the lie of our vaunted moral superiority. We expose the fundamental truth about Western civilization — we are the most ruthless and efficient killers on the planet. This alone is why we dominate the “wretched of the earth.” It has nothing to do with democracy or freedom or liberty. These are rights we never intend to grant to the oppressed.

“Honor, justice, compassion and freedom are ideas that have no converts,” Joseph Conrad, who wrote “Heart of Darkness,” reminds us. “There are only people, without knowing, understanding or feelings, who intoxicate themselves with words, repeat words, shout them out, imagining they believe them without believing in anything else but profit, personal advantage and their own satisfaction.”

Genocide lies at the core of Western imperialism. It is not unique to Israel. It is not unique to the Nazis. It is the building block of Western domination. The humanitarian interventionists who insist we should bomb and occupy other nations because we embody goodness — although they promote military intervention only when it is perceived to be in our national interest — are useful idiots of the war machine and global imperialists. They live in an Alice-in-Wonderland fairytale where the rivers of blood we spawn make the world a happier and better place. They are the smiley faces of genocide. You can watch them on your screens. You can listen to them spout their pseudo-morality in the White House and in Congress. They are always
Riaz Haq said…
Rep. Thomas Massie: Israel Lobbyists, the Cowards in Congress, and Living off the Grid

(Congressman Thomas) Massie:"I've Republicans...say: that's wrong what AIPAC is doing to you...let me talk to my AIPAC person"

"What does that mean, an AIPAC person?"

"It's like a babysitter"

"Every member has...this?"

"IDK how it works on the Dem side...that's how it works for Republicans"

Meet the Kentucky Republican Who Beat AIPAC
So many Democrats are afraid to stand up to the powerful pro-Israel group. But a Republican congressman has done so, and he just scored a big primary win.

It is well understood that the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee is targeting progressive Democratic members of the US House who have dared to object to the government’s support of Israel’s assault on Gaza, including the continued provision of US military aid, for defeat in 2024 primaries. What is not as well known is that AIPAC has also poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into attacking a Republican incumbent.

His name is Thomas Massie. He’s a 53-year-old former local official from northern Kentucky who since 2013 has represented one of the most overwhelmingly Republican districts in the country. Massie proudly declares himself to be a “true conservative” and celebrates the fact that he enjoys “the most conservative lifetime rating of any Kentucky congressman” from groups such as the National Taxpayers Union and Gun Owners of America. Most recently, the congressman joined Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene in a failed attempt to oust Speaker Mike Johnson. But on matters of war and peace, he often sides with progressives, positioning himself as a libertarian-leaning Republican who opposes US military interventionism and military aid packages for foreign countries, including Israel. That stance has drawn sharp criticism from neoconservatives in general, who worry about the return of the sort of old-school Republican isolationism that reflexively opposed military interventions and foreign aid packages, and in particular from AIPAC, which has objected to his many votes against aid to Israel, as well as his rejection of resolutions backing Netanyahu’s government.

Leading up to the Kentucky GOP primary on May 21, the AIPAC-affiliated United Democracy Project spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attack ads against the incumbent. One such ad announced, “Israel, the Holy Land, [is] under attack by Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Congressman Tom Massie.”

Massie responded by calling out the attack ads, arguing that the “AIPAC superPAC just bought $300,000 of ads against me because I am often the lone Republican for freedom of speech, against foreign aid, and opposed to wars in the Middle East.” And Republican primary voters rallied to his defense, giving the incumbent three-quarters of the vote in the contest against his two rivals, including a former contender for the state’s Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Riaz Haq said…

Massie said the results were a message for AIPAC, declaring on election day, “AIPAC, your smear campaign on this American has backfired.” He also said the result was a signal to his party’s leadership in Washington. “I don’t vote for wars, and I don’t vote for foreign aid,” Massie said. “That puts me apart from most of my colleagues in Washington, D.C., but hopefully my colleagues will see that you can get 75 percent of the vote back home if you just represent those things in the Republican Party.”

Massie often breaks with his party leadership, especially when it comes to foreign policy. His willingness to do so has, especially in recent months, put him in the company of some of the House’s most progressive members. Last month, for instance, he joined 13 Democratic Representatives, including AIPAC targets such as Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri, in refusing to support an overly broad statement supporting Israel in its increasingly charged conflict with Iran—a statement that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decried as an example of the GOP’s “cynical effort to further inflame tensions, destroy a path to peace in the region, and further divide the American people.” Just last week, when the House voted to rebuke President Biden decision to withhold some military assistance from Israel, as part of an effort to discourage a deadly assault on the Gazan city of Rafah, Massie joined the majority of House Democrats in opposing the resolution.

Current Issue
Cover of June 2024 Issue
June 2024 Issue
Massie’s stances, for years, have drawn the scorn of AIPAC and neoconservative groups. They recognize that he upends the claim that opposition to pro-Israel policies comes from “the extreme left.” While polls show that liberal Democrats are more inclined than conservative Republicans to question blank-check support of Israel, there have always been libertarian-leaning Republicans, such as Massie and his longtime ally Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who object to military interventions, military aid packages, and a combative foreign policy.

Were Massie to run for and win the Kentucky US Senate seat held by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who is widely expected to retire at the end of his current term, that could significantly expand the reach of the GOP’s anti-interventionist caucus. This clearly concerns AIPAC, which has ramped up its criticism of Massie in recent months, with an eye not just to the fact that he is seeking reelection this year but also to the prospect that he might run in 2026 for the McConnell seat. In fact, United Democracy Project spokesman Patrick Dorton tried to downplay claims that they were making a major play in Massie’s primary fight, saying in mid-May, “We ran ads last November on Massie. We are running ads now. And we can be expected to continue to shine a spotlight on Massie’s bad record on Israel.”

Riaz Haq said…

The pre-primary ad blitz against Massie complained that “Republicans are trying to help Israel, but one Republican is standing in the way. Fifteen times in April, Massie was the only Republican voting with anti-Israel radicals.” Claiming that Massie’s votes are “helpful for Iran, harmful to Israel,” the ad finished by announcing, “Everyone who cares about the Holy Land needs to know, Tom Massie is hostile to Israel.”

Massie, an MIT graduate who obtained 24 patents while heading a successful tech company, rejects that charge. Instead, the representative says he is maintaining a consistent stance regarding misguided foreign policy choices. But that hasn’t stopped Dorton from telling NBC News, “Massie has an atrocious anti-Israel record.… we want every single voter in Kentucky to know that he’s out of step with their views on Israel.”

Massie’s big primary win suggests that the strategy isn’t working in Kentucky, and that it might also fail in primaries where Democrats are being targeted. Despite the attacks from AIPAC, said Massie, voters are prepared to choose representatives who object to getting mixed up in foreign conflicts “regardless of who is in the White House”—and, it seems, regardless of political party.
Riaz Haq said…
A Foreign Policy for the World as It Is
Biden and the Search for a New American Strategy
By Ben Rhodes (Ex Deputy National Security Advisor--Obama Administration
July/August 2024

Indeed, after Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel and the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, American rhetoric about the rules-based international order has been seen around the world on a split screen of hypocrisy, as Washington has supplied the Israeli government with weapons used to bombard Palestinian civilians with impunity. The war has created a policy challenge for an administration that criticizes Russia for the same indiscriminate tactics that Israel has used in Gaza, a political challenge for a Democratic Party with core constituencies who don’t understand why the president has supported a far-right government that ignores the United States’ advice, and a moral crisis for a country whose foreign policy purports to be driven by universal values. Put simply: Gaza should shock Washington out of the muscle memory that guides too many of its actions.


Anyone who has worked at the nexus of U.S. politics and national security knows that avoiding friction with anti-Cuban and pro-Israeli hard-liners in Congress can feel like the path of least resistance. But that logic has turned into a trap. After October 7, Biden decided to pursue a strategy of fully embracing Netanyahu—insisting (for a time) that any criticism would be issued in private and that U.S. military assistance would not be conditioned on the actions of the Israeli government. This engendered immediate goodwill in Israel, but it preemptively eliminated U.S. leverage. It also overlooked the far-right nature of Netanyahu’s governing coalition, which offered warning signs about the indiscriminate way in which it planned to prosecute its military campaign, as Israeli officials cut off food and water flowing into Gaza within days of Hamas’s attack. In the months that followed, the administration has been trying to catch up to a deteriorating situation, evolving from a strategy of embracing Netanyahu, to one of issuing rhetorical demands that were largely ignored, to one of partial restrictions on offensive military assistance. Ironically, by being mindful of the political risks of breaking with Netanyahu, Biden invited greater political risks from within the Democratic coalition and around the world.


Gaza also showcases the danger of maximalist aims. Israel’s stated objective of destroying Hamas has never been achievable. Since Hamas would never announce its own surrender, pursuing this goal would require a perpetual Israeli occupation of Gaza or the mass displacement of its people. That outcome may be what some Israeli officials really want, as evidenced by right-wing ministers’ own statements. It is certainly what many people around the world, horrified by the campaign in Gaza, believe the Israeli government really wants. These critics wonder why Washington would support such a campaign, even as its own rhetoric opposes it. Instead of seeking to moderate Israel’s unsustainable course, Washington needs to use its leverage to press for negotiated agreements, Palestinian state building, and a conception of Israeli security that is not beholden to expansionism or permanent occupation.
Riaz Haq said…
A Foreign Policy for the World as It Is
Biden and the Search for a New American Strategy
By Ben Rhodes (Ex Deputy National Security Advisor--Obama Administration
July/August 2024

To build better ties with developing countries, Washington needs to consistently prioritize the issues they care about: investment, technology, and clean energy.

Once again, Gaza interacts with this challenge. To be blunt: for much of the world, it appears that Washington doesn’t value the lives of Palestinian children as much as it values the lives of Israelis or Ukrainians. Unconditional military aid to Israel, questioning the Palestinian death toll, vetoing cease-fire resolutions at the UN Security Council, and criticizing investigations into alleged Israeli war crimes may all feel like autopilot in Washington—but that’s precisely the problem. Much of the world now hears U.S. rhetoric about human rights and the rule of law as cynical rather than aspirational, particularly when it fails to wrestle with double standards. Total consistency is unattainable in foreign policy. But by listening and responding to more diverse voices from around the world, Washington could begin to build a reservoir of goodwill.
Riaz Haq said…
An influential rabbi (Sharon Brous) with a fast-growing congregation in Los Angeles, Brous, 50, has spent much of her career advocating for human rights, including for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. This past September on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, she used her sermon to publicly warn that the future of “our beloved Israel” was under threat from within. She argued that by denying the “basic rights, dignities and dreams” of millions of Palestinians for decades, Israel’s increasingly “extremist” leaders were undermining the country’s Jewish and democratic ideals. “The existential threat to the state of Israel is internal,” she said. “The call is coming from inside the house.”

American rabbis often avoid criticizing Israel from the pulpit. Particularly at a time of uncertainty and threat for Israelis and Jews around the world, many spiritual leaders worry they will alienate congregants and empower antisemitism if their view of Israel’s policies sounds disloyal. Rabbi Sharon Brous understands such reticence, but she argues that staying silent is irresponsible.

An influential rabbi with a fast-growing congregation in Los Angeles, Brous, 50, has spent much of her career advocating for human rights, including for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. This past September on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, she used her sermon to publicly warn that the future of “our beloved Israel” was under threat from within. She argued that by denying the “basic rights, dignities and dreams” of millions of Palestinians for decades, Israel’s increasingly “extremist” leaders were undermining the country’s Jewish and democratic ideals. “The existential threat to the state of Israel is internal,” she said. “The call is coming from inside the house.”

Even after Hamas’s attack on Israel two weeks later on Oct. 7, in which more than 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage, her sermons have expressed concern for both Jewish pain and Palestinian suffering. She has railed against Hamas’s campaign of “brutality and terror” against civilians, including many Israeli peace activists, but argues that the real fault line is not between Israelis and Palestinians but between those who embrace violence as an answer and those who don’t. “You either believe that every single person is an image of God, or you don’t actually care about human life,” she said on Oct. 28.

Yet as someone who has lost friends and received death threats for calling for compassion across faiths and races, Brous admits that she has been horrified by efforts to defend Hamas among groups she had thought were allies. That a “retrograde, totalitarian, misogynistic terror regime” has become “a hero of the left” has rudely awakened her to the “very deep roots of antisemitism,” she says. She points to reports in October of protesters screaming “gas the Jews” in Sydney, Australia, and of rioters torching a synagogue in Tunisia. She has been alarmed by cases of pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses that have threatened Jewish students, including at Columbia University, her alma mater.

“Every time somebody finds themselves tongue-tied when asked to condemn the rape of Israelis on Oct. 7, I find myself thinking this is not hard,” she says over video from Los Angeles. “You should be able to simply say that under no circumstances do we condone acts of abduction, rape and murder of innocent civilians, and we must work toward a just future for Palestinians who suffer terribly under the status quo.” She adds that it is not possible to “build a society that is free of racism while holding on to one of the oldest racisms, which is against Jews.”
Riaz Haq said…

Christiane Amanpour
“If we shall not end the occupation, we shall not have security,” warns Ami Ayalon, former head of Shin Bet, “and if we shall not end this occupation, we shall not have democracy.”

In an extraordinarily candid interview, Israel’s former internal security chief condemns what he calls Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “toxic leadership,” and argues that as the war continues, “we are losing our identity as people, as Jews, and as human beings.”

Watch our full conversation here.


In January 2024, Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel's internal security force, the Shin Bet, said that Israel will not have security until Palestinians have their own state. Ayalon also called for Israeli authorities to release Marwan Barghouti, the jailed leader of the second intifada, to help negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state. Ayalon also said that Israel is not at war with the Palestinians.

Ami Ayalon, a retired admiral who also commanded Israel’s navy and was wounded in battle and decorated for his service, also said destroying Hamas was not a realistic military goal, and the current operation in Gaza risked entrenching support for the group.

“We Israelis will have security only when they, Palestinians, will have hope. This is the equation,” he said in an interview at his home. “To say the same in military language: you cannot deter anyone, a person or a group, if he believes he has nothing to lose.”

He said Israel’s war in Gaza was a just one, after the horrors of the 7 October attack, in which Hamas slaughtered at least 1,200 people and took more than 240 others hostage. But too many Israelis could not accept that Hamas did not represent all Palestinians, or that they had a legitimate claim to their own state, he said.

Ayalon said most Israelis believed that “all Palestinians are Hamas or supporters of Hamas”, and they did not accept the concept of a Palestinian identity. “We see them as people, not ‘a people’, a nation,” he said. “We cannot accept [the idea of a Palestinian people] because if we do, it creates a huge obstacle in the concept of the state of Israel.”

He believes releasing Barghouti, a Palestinian who has been jailed since 2002, serving a life sentence for murder after leading the second intifada, would be a vital step towards meaningful negotiations. According to recent polls he would beat senior Hamas figure Ismail Haniyeh in open elections.

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