House resolution favoring Israel passes with ten holdouts, nine of them Democrats (and six Dems voted “present”). Guess the Democrats!

October 26, 2023 • 10:40 am

The new House, with a new Speaker, has finally done something: passing its first resolution. It’s a resolution supporting Israel in its war against Hamas. A bit from the NY Times:

The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass a resolution declaring solidarity with Israel, pledging to give its government whatever security assistance it needs to fight and win its war with Hamas.

The vote, 412 to 10, was the first piece of legislation considered under Speaker Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana. He was elected to the post on Wednesday after three tumultuous weeks in which G.O.P. members struggled to replace Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, following his ouster.

Nine Democrats and one Republican opposed the resolution. Six Democrats voted present, even though five of them had previously co-sponsored the resolution.

The vote reflected the sweeping, bipartisan support that lawmakers have voiced for Israel’s efforts to rout Hamas from the Gaza Strip, which it seized control of in 2007, in retaliation for its attacks of Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,400 civilians and soldiers.

But it also reflected the defiance of a small but determined minority of House Democrats who have called for a cease-fire, arguing that Israel’s bombing campaign of Gaza has caused the deaths of too many Palestinians. The Hamas-run Gazan health ministry says Israeli strikes have killed more than 6,500 people, a number that could not be independently verified.

You can see the full resolution here, and here’s the “resolved” part:

The resolution was adopted, 412-10, with nine Democrats and one Republican opposed. Six Democrats voted present.

Can you guess the Democrats who were opposed? I guessed five of them. Here’s from Axios:

Details: The resolution, which was first reported by Axios, is led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.).

  • It affirms the U.S.’s “commitment to Israel’s security, including through security assistance” and calls on all countries to “unequivocally condemn Hamas’ brutal war.”
  • It also condemns Iran’s “support for terrorist groups and proxies, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad” and calls for “full enforcement” of sanctions on Iran.

And the vote:

  • Just nine Democrats voted against the measure: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), André Carson (Ind.), Al Green (Texas), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.) and Ilham Omar (Minn.).
  • Another half dozen Democrats, including Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), voted “present,” while Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) voted against the measure.

The Republican who voted “no” is Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky

The reasons for the squad’s opposition: Israel’s “disproportionate response” in killing civilians, which is not condemned in the bill. Such a claim neglects the deaths of Palestinians caused by Hamas’s using them as human shields and asking them to stay in place (and be killed), and also neglects the future deaths of Israeli civilians if Hamas is allowed to stay in place. If Hamas is to be eliminated, it has to be done through a ground war or air attack, and if you think that aim is okay, what other suggestions do you have? And if you think Hamas can’t be eliminated that way, how is Israel to defend itself?

What the nine “nay” Democrats really want, I think, is for Israel to withdraw, not invade, and go back to business as usual. They are okay with Hamas staying in place (how else is it to be eliminated?), and some, I suspect, favor the elimination of Israel. This is because at least Tlaib, AOC, Bush, and Omar  are in favor of BDS, whose real aim is to eliminate Israel, while Bush has made comments (now withdrawn) calling Israel a “racist state“.   In my heart, I believe that all the “progressives” would be happy if Israel were gone, and that some, like Omar and Tlaib are anti-Semitic.

22 thoughts on “House resolution favoring Israel passes with ten holdouts, nine of them Democrats (and six Dems voted “present”). Guess the Democrats!

  1. This as a good resolution, and I’m glad that it passed overwhelmingly. The “nays” and “presents” knew that the resolution would pass, so they knew they could vote any way they wanted without killing the bill. One can only hope that they will be “primaried” in the next election.

    1. The “nays” would have voted that way no matter what. The “presents” are the ones who knew it would pass and so took the cheap way out. Not supporting but not opposing. A “no” vote looks like support for Hamas, but “present” is their way of “blaming both sides”. Sure, there are things for which both sides can be criticized, but beyond the problem of false equivalency, that’s not what this resolution is about.

      I live in Pramila Jayapal’s district, and while I have voted for her in the past (the alternative was quite unattractive), I am very disappointed in her stance on Israel. I will be writing a note to that effect to my representative, which I’m sure will be utterly ignored. Or replied to with a rah-rah form response that evades the issue.

    1. “Two weeks ago, Jemma Decristo, an assistant professor of American studies at UC Davis, posted on X… a message threatening “zionist” journalists and their families with violence:
      “One group of (people) we have easy access to in the US is all these zionist journalists who spread propaganda and misinformation. They have houses (with) addresses, kids in school. They can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.” The emojis she included — images of drops of blood, a knife and a hatchet — are clearly an incitement to violence.” (Link)

  2. Jerry is surprisingly binary on this issue. Support for Israel’s right to exist must equate to giving it “carte blanche” for any action it wants to take? And even if you give Netanyahu carte blanche, is invading Gaza to “destroy” Hamas a realistic goal? What comes after that?
    If you were the Israeli Defense Minister, is urban warfare in Gaza really your best and only option?

    Some recent dissenters:

    Thomas Friedman: “Israel is about to make a terrible mistake.”
    Ian Bremmer: “This will be a terrible mistake for Israel, graver even than the one the US committed in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11.”
    Joe Biden: “Israel needs…an honest assessment about whether the path you’re on will achieve…[your]…objectives.”

    Invading Gaza will likely not further ANY of Israel’s security objectives- and could present great security risks.

    A cease fire at this point might actually be Israel’s best option- as it moves to greatly strengthen its defenses. Note that Hamas is not calling for a cease fire- it thrives on permanent combat.

    1. I think most of us expect Israel to adhere to the rules of war that it has followed in the past, which is to minimize civilian casualties and suffering.
      It seems like an impossibility to change Hamas from their primary goal to a more benign one. Clearly, it has become impossible to coexist with them as neighbors, unless you wish to experience many more daughters raped and burned alive, and thousands more rocket attacks.
      So eliminating them as a threat is the remaining option, even as it is a remarkably difficult undertaking, which will cost many lives.

      Blowing up terrorists in Afghanistan was a fair response to 9/11. It was the only war I participated in that I still feel good about. The mission should not have morphed from that to the wasteful and unobtainable one it became.

      It is historically true that something like 20% of terrorist rockets fired at Israel fall short of their targets. I would not be a bit surprised if if the numbers of Arab civilians killed or maimed by such short rounds exceeds the number harmed by Israeli strikes, which tend to be aimed with some precision.

    2. As has been pointed out often over the last 2 weeks, a cease-fire or an Israeli ground invasion are not the only options. Hamas soldiers could also surrender to Israel and spare thousands of Gazan lives as well as their own (not to mention all the Israeli soldiers who will die in an invasion). Of course that’s unlikely, but only slightly less likely than the possibility Israel will choose a cease-fire and to simply accept that thousands of rapes and murders will be the occasional cost of coexisting with Hamas as the government of Gaza.

  3. The lone Republican “nay” voter was Thomas Massie. This off-grid-dwelling, Kentucky hobby farmer, with both an EE and an ME from MIT, has always been a bit of an odd duck and somewhat tone deaf. (It can be endearing in a strange-albeit-frustrating way to those of us who long ago tired of robo politicians.) Many D.C. followers here will know him as “Dr. No.” He will vote “no” on anything that is even remotely questionable to his mostly libertarian values, no matter how his opponents might spin his vote. Whenever you read that “only one congressman opposed,” then no need to even bother reading further: just think “Massie.” He would have voted “no” on this vote no matter the country involved. His own justification is linked below.

    1. I used to think that Massie was libertarian-ish, but he has disabused me of that notion. He was the deciding vote on the Rules Committee that disallowed debate on and amendments to the Orwellian named Fiscal Responsibility Act, giving Biden everything he asked for. Regardless of anyone’s personal views on that legislation, Massie did not act like a libertarian, or even a fiscal conservative, when the chips were down.

      He has also supported multiple election denying Trump sycophants for House Speaker. Your phrase “odd duck” is probably the kindest description of him.

      1. “Your phrase “odd duck” is probably the kindest description of him.”

        If I had been more alert when I typed that, then I wouldn’t have said anything on this site that might cast aspersions on ducks.

  4. The world long ago abandoned Israel and did little to stop Hamas bombings and murders. Now when Israel shows its strength and its justified self defense measures, all of a sudden there are talks of cease fires….as in Ukraine. Which peace loving country has ever worked to disarm Hamas? When has anyone in Gaza been put on trial for their killings of innocent Israelis? if the world wont step up and assert some kind of moral responsibility, then they have to back off criticizing Israel for defending itself. The Palestinians tolerate, house and support Hamas. Not all of them but most of them. There are few innocent Palestinians in this dogfight. It is tragic that some of them are being killed but it is the rest of the world that allowed Hamas to arm itself and do whatever it pleases, without any consequences.

    1. The Authoritarian Left hates Jews because they completely disprove the entire oppression-based ideology. How dare people who have been so oppressed throughout history be so successful and prominent in high-status areas like medicine and finance! They overcame tremendous discrimination without activist movements but simply by showing merit. Thus it became necessary to declare that all Jews are officially white, no matter their skin color.

  5. I have close ties to someone who was in highschool with Summer Lee and thought that she wasn’t the sharpest tack in the barrel even then. Then, when she was running for state representative – her springboard to US Rep – there was a major landslide near the relatively affluent boro of Forest Hills, on Rt 30 aka the Lincoln Highway, so this roadbed has been there for a long time, and the collapse was a function of the roadbed as constructed long ago (a cut into a hillside to create one lane, with the fill from the cut used to create the lane in the other direction). But Summer wanted to make this something that was emblematic of the “class struggle”.

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