Talk to Rep. Brian Baird before he leaves office in conference call sponsored by Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast For Gaza

on 9 Comments

When Congressman Brian Baird (D-Washington) announced last December that he would not be seeking another term, the cause of justice in Israel/Palestine lost one of its truly courageous advocates in Congress. Especially when you consider the face of the incoming House and Senate – a Congress that is already gearing up to do Netanyahu’s every bidding – the loss of one such as Baird is profound indeed.

If you’d like to participate in what will likely be Baird’s final public discussion of Israel/Palestine as a congressman, you should know that he will be featured in a conference call hosted by Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast For Gaza on Thursday, November 18 at 12:00 pm (EST). The access information for the call is at the bottom of this post.

In truth, Baird has been one of the precious few politicians in Washington who has been willing to openly advocate for Palestinian human rights. Take a look at the clip above and you’ll see him say the US should consider withholding aid to Israel if it continues to settle the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He also pleads the case of the Palestinians because “ignoring the plight of these good people is at our peril.”

Baird has been particularly fearless on the issue of Gaza. He has visited the strip on three separate occasions, the second of which occurred immediately following Cast Lead in February 2009. While the rest of Congress was lining up to defend Israel’s right to decimate Gaza, this is what Baird had to say:

The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering… Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental water, sewer, and electricity facilities hit and relief agencies heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools, entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart wrenching – what went on here, and what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words…If this had happened in our own country, there would be national outrage and an appeal for urgent assistance.

After his third visit to Gaza in February 2010, Baird called on the US to break Israel’s blockade by delivering aid in a “Berlin airlift” style mission. You may also recall that he was also one of the few members of the House to vote against (and in fact openly excoriated) the infamous House Resolution 867 – the bill that “unequivocally opposed any endorsement or further consideration” of the Goldstone Report.

Baird also happens to be the Corrie family’s Congressman, supporting them steadfastly since Rachel’s killing in 2003. He continues to stand by Craig and Cindy Corrie as they pursue their wrongful death suit against the Israeli government.

From an LA Times article at the start of the trial:

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who represents the Olympia area, said the family had been subjected to an ugly counter-campaign for pursuing their daughter’s case. He and others say it’s a pattern that’s increasingly common. “Any questioning of Israel is met with hostility, no matter who asks the questions — a congressman, a journalist or even the president of the United States,” said Baird, adding that his support of the Corrie family had cost him campaign donations.

What else can we say except that Congressman Baird’s fearless voice will be sorely, sorely missed in Congress?

Here’s the info on this Thursday’s conference call. It promises to be a powerful and important conversation:

“After the Elections: US Policy, Israel and Gaza” – A Conversation with Congressman Brian Baird

Thursday, November 18 at 12:00pm (EST)

Access Number: 1.800.920.7487

Participant Code: 92247763#

9 Responses

  1. potsherd
    November 14, 2010, 11:48 am

    I think it indicts Congress that Baird’s voice went so unheeded there. It is no place for an honest man.

    • occupyresist
      November 14, 2010, 6:59 pm

      yeah, potsherd – it goes to show how much Congress is beholden to the United Empire of Israel. The vice grip is unrelenting, and I don’t see that getting any better. What with Cantor swearing fealty – and nobody giving him hell for it.

  2. lobewyper
    November 14, 2010, 12:17 pm

    Potsherd, I agree. The problem seems to be, you don’t ever even get to Congress in the first place without The Lobby’s stamp of approval. The absence of congressional reps with integrity regarding the I-P conflict is just the way Israel and its supporters want it and have it going on…

  3. Citizen
    November 14, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Baird was one of 36 members of congress who voted no on the bill to diss and dismiss the Goldstone Report, a bill originating with two Jewish American congress people (surprise!); as well a hanful of congress members did not vote–here’s both lists; note that of course D Kuncinich and R Paul (my dream team to run for the highest office together on a third party ticket) are on the NO list–if your congressional rep is on the list, you can give them a belated thanks: link to

    • lobewyper
      November 14, 2010, 7:12 pm

      Citizen, thanks for this info and the link. I had no idea so many members of Congress had voted “no” or “present.” This is most encouraging news! It’s also interesting that all but one or two of them are Democrats…

  4. rosemerry
    November 14, 2010, 6:15 pm

    So sad to see one of the few fearless members bow out, especially with the Eric Cantor/ Ileana Ros -Lehtinen power duo rising. I am not an American but know about Brian Baird from his courageous stand for justice in Palestine.

  5. Antidote
    November 14, 2010, 9:27 pm

    Sigh. I wish Baird would move up to Canada and lead the opposition. I’d vote for him anytime.

    • Walid
      November 15, 2010, 12:17 am

      3 billion gift of F35s, guarantees of future UN vetoes for anything Israel may do in the future, guarantees to kill the Goldstone Report, guarantees to keep a choke hold on Syria and Iran, and so on and so on, just to get Israel to accept a 90-day partial freeze. There is something rotten to the US approach to the conflict. What are the Palestinians waiting for to wake up?

      • Citizen
        November 15, 2010, 6:34 am

        What a humiliation for the USA. Those F-35s are the state of the art, and Israel is getting them for free although they cost a bundle each. Nothing like your bestest buddy picking your pocket while you asleep, or worse, are wide awake.

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