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Lift the blockade of Washington

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I know I’m optimistic, and out of touch with reality, and clutch at straws… but these two items suggest that the Birnam Woods are marching on Dunsinane, to echo the famous prophecy the witches gave to Macbeth. First, a letter signed by 54 congressmen urging Obama to press Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. This wouldn’t have happened a couple years back and of course it may be too late anyway, but: A lot of good people on this list. Brian Baird, Keith Ellison, Earl Blumenauer, Lynn Woolsey, Jim McDermott, Donna Edwards, Maurice Hinchey. (My antiwar wannabe-progressive congressman, big John Hall, is nowhere to be found, of course.)

The pols are being offered political cover by J Street and Americans for Peace Now, which have pushed the letter. Natasha of Haaretz says that they are "leftist" organizations. Who knew? The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee is pulling an oar, too. Ta’ayush (living together) American style. I wonder if the NYT will touch this news.

Meantime, inside the castle walls, further evidence of Israel’s desperation and tyranny: its refusal of a Belgian minister’s request to enter Gaza. This is a slap to the EU, which is part of the famous Quartet.

The Foreign Ministry on Monday announced that it had refused Belgian minister Charles Michel’s request for a visa to enter the Gaza Strip.
Deputy Foreign Ministry Danny Ayalon told Michel that Israel could not accede to the demand because such a move would be seen as a gesture to the Hamas.
Ayalon added that any aid Belgium planned to grant the Islamist movement would fall into the hands of militants, rather than being distributed among Gaza’s needy.
Michel said in response to the rejection that European officials must be able to visit the territory to take part in the aid projects underway there.
"This situation is unacceptable," he told RTL TV.

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