The Israeli military assault on a ship carrying medical aid and construction supplies to the Gaza Strip has drawn a tepid response from the Obama administration, a belligerent response from Republicans such as Arizona Senator John McCain and Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor and no response at all from most congressional Democrats.
The exception to the rule is Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the diisdent Democrat whose campaign website declares him to be "America’s Most Courageous Congressman" and of whom MSNBC host Ed Schultz says: "There really is no greater change agent in Congress…"
Kucinich is asking his colleagues to sign a letter to President Obama that declares: "It is not acceptable to repeatedly violate international law. It is not acceptable to shoot and kill innocent civilians. It is not acceptable to commit an act of aggression against another U.S. ally. It is not acceptable to continue a blockade which denies humanitarian relief. It is not acceptable to heighten tensions in a region while the United States continues to put so much blood and treasure on the line."
The letter Kucinich has penned affirms that: "No one questions the right of Israel to defend its border…" But, it continues, "that defense does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases."
As such, Kucinich suggests, "Israel must account for our support, for the lives of our soldiers, for the investment of billions from our taxpayers. Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people."
"The attack on the Mavi Marmara requires consequences for the Netanyahu Administration and for the State of Israel," the letter continues. "Those consequences must be dealt by the United States. They must be diplomatic and they must be financial. The U.S. can begin by calling for an independent international inquiry of the Mavi Marmara incident. The integrity of such inquiry necessitates that it not be led by the nation whose conduct is under scrutiny. If our nation fails to act in any substantive way, the United States licenses the violence and we are complicit in it and our own citizens will be forced to pay the consequences. "
Here is the full text of the letter that Kucinich circulated June 2:
Dear Mr. President,
Israeli commandos, acting at the direction of the State of Israel, attacked and seized a Turkish ship in international waters, in the Mediterranean Sea.
At least nine were killed in the incident aboard the Mavi Marmara. Hundreds of civilians were taken into custody and goods were confiscated. Since the United States considers Israel our most important ally in the region, whose survival is a of primary concern, it is incumbent upon the Commander in Chief to call Israel to an accounting for its conduct in planning and executing the deadly military attack in international waters upon a peaceful flotilla carrying citizens from over 50 countries.
The State of Israel’s conduct, attacking a Turkish ship in international waters, constitutes an act of belligerence against Turkey, which at one time Israel considered an important ally. It also undermines United States’ troops efforts in Iraq, since your administration’s efforts to achieve stability in the region and to withdraw troops from Iraq has depended upon Turkey’s cooperation through use of its air bases.