Rep. Howard Berman (CA-28) is secretly circulating a House Resolution that seeks to force Palestinian leaders to:

cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition.

It also seeks to force the Obama administration to:

lead a diplomatic effort to persuade other nations to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The organization U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation created a petition addressed to Berman late yesterday, to be hand-delivered to Berman should it obtain 5,000 signatures.  This morning and early afternoon it has easily gotten that many signers.

Their petition simply reads:

Dear Rep. Berman,

I oppose your resolution condemning Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the worst stumbling block to freedom’s advance is the person who “paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s [or woman’s] freedom.” It is a shame that you have decided to push through Congress a resolution setting a timeline on Palestinian freedom.

Here’s a link to the petition.

As some here may know, last month three Latin American countries, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, recognized a Palestinian State with borders marked by the pre-1967 War line, the so-called Green Line. This caused consternation in the U.S. and Israeli governments:

In rapid succession, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay have officially recognized a free and independent Palestinian state, adding an unexpected twist to the U.S.-backed push for Middle East peace. The South American neighbors said that the Palestinian state should be based on the borders of the West Bank and Gaza before Israel took control of the territories in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians welcomed the news, Israel called it “regrettable,” and the U.S. said it could be a “counterproductive” distraction from peace negotiations.

Berman, who stated at the time of his appointment to the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “[e]ven before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist,”  has been one of the strongest backers of going to war against Iran.  He has made a number of false statements regarding Iranian nuclear capabilities and intentions.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee (soon to be renamed the House Committee on Sanctions and Accountability /s) has a history of being led by hawks who are willing to lie us into wars.  Berman was preceded by the late Tom Lantos, co-creator of the fictitious “Nurse Nariya” during the first Gulf War.  Berman will be succeeded by GOP Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who last week had a hand in Rep. Ron Klein’s HR 1751, which, while “list[ing] by name 22 countries that offered/sent help to fight the fire  ….. omits any mention of the fact that the Palestinian Authority” sent key equipment and trained firefighters to the devastating wildfires in Israel.

Berman’s Resolution, like many Israeli-designed House and Senate resolutions, is designed to limit both the power of the president, and to send a message to the European Union, where there is growing momentum for that body to follow the leads of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Please go here and sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation’s petition.

No longer a “secret” resolution.  From M. J.Rosenberg at TPM Cafe (emphases added):

At last the United States is responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s refusal to freeze settlements and re-start negotiations with the Palestinians.

Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is today rushing to the House floor with an AIPAC-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinians for publicly suggesting that, in the wake of Netanyahu’s refusal to freeze settlements and negotiate, they will consider a unilateral declaration of statehood. (As is usual with Berman, his resolution exclusively blames Palestinians for the collapse of peace talks; not a word of criticism of Israel appears.)

The Berman bill, drafted only yesterday, will be voted on today because when it comes to pleasing AIPAC there are simply no limits. (This remains true even though AIPAC is embroiled in an espionage/sex scandal that has it scrambling to find $20 million to pay off a former top employee who is threatening to produce documents exposing the lobby.)

The Berman bill will pass overwhelmingly because that is how things work in a city where policy is driven by campaign contributions – and not just on this issue.

The only difference between how AIPAC lobbyists dictate U.S. Middle East policy and pretty much every other major lobby is that AIPAC works to advance the interests of a foreign country. In other words, comparisons to the National Rifle Association would only be applicable if the gun owners that the NRA claims to represent lived in, say, Greece. Oh, and NRA-backed bills usually take longer than a day to get to the House floor.



Alaska progressive activist, notorious composer and firedoglake devotee.