What does it cost to buy a U.S. Senator? Not much!
How about a few of them, say 33?
By Ray Hanania
What does it cost to buy a United States Senator? You would think it might be an expensive proposition. But it really is not, especially if you happen to be a foreign country with a huge interest in insuring that American foreign policy remains friendly to your cause.
Israel has been hammering the Gaza Strip for almost one month and during that time it’s missile, mortar and tank attacks have taken the live sof more than 1,800 people, including 1,500 civilians. More than 200 of those civilians have been babies.
Now, normally, infanticide is a very serious international crime. And it is a problem for Israel, which has only lost 3 civilians and 63 heavily armed and protected soldiers during the conflict.
The idea of being called “baby killers” has so infuriated Israel, but it has had a harsher impact on American public opinion which seems to be slowly shifting against Israel as images of the dead babies and infants are being publicized across social media.
The photos are being published on social media like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter mainly because the mainstream news media has refused to publish them knowing that images of dead babies might anger Americans whose taxpayers donate more than $5 million a year to underwrite Israel’s economy and military.
So you need to be able to buy those U.S. Senators who can stand up and claim that although babies and infants are dying, it’s not Israel’s fault. It is the fault of the victims. Those dead babies are to blame for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The dead babies are to blame because they were being used as human shields by Hamas, which is widely denounced as a terrorist organization.
But even if Hamas is a terrorist organization that has tried to kill Israelis, shouldn’t Israel, which claims it is not a terrorist organization and is an official government, be more careful when bombing civilian buildings that they know are filled with children, women and old people?
Normally, you might care, but Israel’s lobby in America has taken care of that by investing in the success of members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Congress.
In fact, 33 members of the U.S. Senate signed a letter denouncing the United Nations which has criticized Israel of committing war crimes and has called for an investigation into the killings of the babies and children. There have been three such attacks just on United Nation’s schools where children and their civilian parents have sought refuge from Israel’s indiscriminate bombings with missiles, mortars and tank shells.
Here is the letter, and here are the names of the 33 U.S. Senators who signed the letter. Next to their names is the total amount of money in campaign donations that each U.S. Senator has received from the pro-Israel PACs over the course of just the past six years since Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2013 as compiled by MapLight.org.
What is the price to buy a U.S. Senator. In this case, the letter has cost Israel $5,068,551 and was put together by Senator Barbara Boxer. It even includes the signature of an Arab American Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who has received huge donations from the pro-Israel PACs.
July 31, 2014
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary General:
We write to express our profound concern about the response of the United Nations Human Rights Council to the recent tragic events in Israel and Gaza. As Members of the United States Senate, we are chagrined that the Human Rights Council has taken a biased approach—criticizing Israel’s actions while failing to condemn Hamas’ brutal tactics including the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.
On Wednesday, the Human Rights Council convened a special session on Gaza and voted to establish a Commission of Inquiry into Israel’s actions during the current conflict. The fact that there was no call for an investigation into actions by Hamas—including indiscriminate and deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and intentionally putting Palestinians in harm’s way—is clearly irresponsible. The Human Rights Council’s decision was wholly unacceptable as it turned a blind eye to Hamas’ brazen and depraved use of civilians as human shields, the tunnels it has built to cause mayhem in Israel, and its deliberate targeting of civilians.
In addition, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay accused Israel of “disregard for international humanitarian law and for the right to life” and argued that there was a “strong possibility” Israeli actions “could amount to war crimes.” At the same time, she failed to specifically acknowledge violations of international humanitarian law by Hamas for recklessly endangering the safety of Palestinian men, women, and children as a means to deter Israeli attacks. Such actions are a blatant violation of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and reinforce why the United States and the European Union have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.
We are deeply troubled by these events. Tragically, such a one-sided approach has inflamed tensions and fueled distrust. This clearly political and biased agenda is not just unproductive—it is destructive.
Over the past two weeks, Hamas has put Palestinians in danger, refused to adhere to multiple cease-fire agreements, and launched more than 2,000 rockets into Israel. What country could sit idly by without responding? Israel has a right to defend itself against these vicious attacks and has worked assiduously to minimize civilian casualties by warning Gaza residents of impending air strikes.
The fact that Israel has effective defenses against the rockets aimed at its citizens is no excuse to overlook Hamas’ hostile behavior. The United Nations has an obligation to unequivocally condemn any and all actions that endanger the lives of civilians. Anything less damages any meaningful efforts to achieve a resolution to this conflict.
We look forward to you speaking out clearly on this important matter.
United States Senator, $245,000
United States Senator, $112,899
United States Senator, $341,170
United States Senator, $73,004
United States Senator, $34,250
United States Senator, $163,990
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator, $147,975
United States Senator, $39,900
United States Senator, $167,852
United States Senator, $82,200
United States Senator, $301,637
United States Senator, $169,250
United States Senator, $63,635
United States Senator, $184,569
United States Senator, $158,861
United States Senator, $45,030
United States Senator, $64,133
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator $249,543
United States Senator, $150,351
United States Senator, $747,029
United States Senator, $71,100
United States Senator, $230,085
United States Senator, $246,820
United States Senator, $101,078
United States Senator, $ 0.00
United States Senator, $47,455
United States Senator, $121,265
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator, $117,110
United States Senator, $80,640
United States Senator, $10,400
United States Senator, $57,600
United States Senator, $107,239
United States Senator, $233,031
United States Senator, $49,050
United States Senator, $53,400
Isn’t it nice what money can buy these days?
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. He is the managing editor of The Arab Daily News www.TheArabDailyNews.com.)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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