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The vast majority of Republicans and most Democrats support Israel in their plight against Hamas. The images and videos that emerged on and after October 7 sparked massive outrage in the western world. And despite the loud minority that continues to hold protests across the nation, most Americans would like to see Hamas stifled one way or another.
Some of us just don’t want to get involved.
Apparently, Congress feels differently. In a massively one-sided vote, the House passed a resolution backing Israel and condemning Hamas. Only the antisemitic “Squad” and Massie voted against it. But before anyone starts throwing Massie in with the likes of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, it’s important to understand why Massie was opposed to this resolution.
It’s not that he doesn’t support Israel. He does. It’s not that he’s trying to justify what Hamas did and continues to do. His concerns rest solely in the language of the resolution which paves the way for direct U.S. military involvement and ongoing “aid” to Israel.
As he posted on Twitter:
I condemn the barbaric attack on Israel and I affirm Israel’s right to defend itself.
However, I will not be voting for House Resolution 771 today because:
1) It calls for sanctions on a sovereign country. Sanctions are a prelude to war and hurt the citizens of the country more than the government of the country that’s being sanctioned. And ultimately, sanctions create laws that will be used to prosecute American citizens (who engage in trade), not citizens of the sanctioned country. In short, sanctions do not achieve their stated purposes but do breed resentment of our country abroad.
2) It asserts the necessity of foreign aid commitments which I have voted against. Our country is going bankrupt and we can’t afford to borrow money to send overseas, yet this resolution states that we should.
3) It contains an open-ended promise of military support that is so broad that it could be interpreted to commit US soldiers to the conflict. US troops should not be engaged in this conflict.
4) It tends to broaden the conflict to other countries when it would be better to keep the war contained geographically.
Here’s a link to the text of the resolution, which contains some statements I do support and some statements I cannot support.
We can debate the efficacy of sanctions, though I would point to how much harm the sanctions against Russia have done to western economies, including ours. One can argue that if full-blown de-dollarization occurs and the U.S. Dollar is usurped as the world reserve currency, we can point to Russian sanctions as the catalyst.
As for foreign aid commitments, it’s very hard to argue Massie’s point. Israel does not need aid. They could use intelligence and a blanket of protection against the antisemitic United Nations, but otherwise Israel is best left to do what they need to do. Should we sell them weapons? Sure. But we don’t need to get into another Ukraine weapons-laundering scheme which may have contributed to the initial attacks against Israel.
Like Massie, I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself. But we have our own invasion to deal with at the southern border that requires our full attention. The language of the resolution includes our willingness to provide “other security” measures, which is an ambiguous way of saying we are open to sending U.S. troops to assist. That’s a non-starter for me.