Member, U.S. Senate
Dear Senator Cardin,
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, Ben, but I was waiting to see what would happen to your Israel-sponsored legislation to undercut and subvert President Obama’s negotiations with Iran on an agreement to “no nukes”. As you know, it easily passed in the Senate, a huge mistake and blunder on the part of you and your colleagues.
Your obvious dismissal, and that of the entire Senate, of Israel’s nuclear arsenal of from 80 to 400 hydrogen, neutron and atomic warheads recently made public by the Pentagon is at best mystifying and at worst incriminating. Acceptance of Israel’s denial over the past 30 years of its nuclear arsenal by you, the U.S. Senate and the entire U.S. government has permitted Israel to avoid signing on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) thereby avoiding U.N. inspections of Israel’s nuclear program and its nuclear arsenal. This, in itself, is entirely unacceptable! Yet Israel continues to demonize Iran and its nuclear program, although Iran is a signatory of the NPT and subject to the U.N. inspections.
You stated in your response to me on May 1 that “Israel is one of America’s closest allies and the only stable democracy in the Middle East.” However, you know as well as I do that Israel has never been a “democracy” because of its “policies “ regarding the Palestinians, including 48 years of forced military occupation of all three of Palestine’s territories. Israel, as you know, controls many facets of “life” in Palestine, including a blockade/siege of Gaza from the rest of the world for the last eight years. Yet these millions of Palestinians are denied the vote in Israeli elections, an ugly situation similar to denial of the vote to African Americans in the Deep South of your America until passage of the Voter Rights Act of 1965.
Moreover, Israel has continued to steal and/or destroy Palestinian homes, businesses, farms and property in their East Jerusalem and the West Bank to create still more unlawful Jewish-only “settlements” on Palestinian lands; Israel has constructed numerous barriers throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including hundreds of military “checkpoints” and the 95-mile (and growing) apartheid wall impeding and blocking Palestinian travel within their own territories for shopping, employment, to seek medical treatment, etc.; and Israel has contrived two “systems of justice” , civil justice for Israelis and military “justice” for Palestinians, including imprisonment without the filing of charges or any form of court involvement.
These horrifically discriminatory “policies” bear no resemblance whatsoever to a “democracy”—and you, Senator Cardin, know that all too well, as well as the fact that Israel continues daily to commit countless violations of international law and Geneva Conventions. Two examples of which I am sure you are aware:
Illegal occupation: U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and called for withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the Palestinian territories occupied [by Israel] in the 1967 conflict.
Illegal “settlements”: Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Article 85 of the First Protocol to Fourth Geneva Convention further stipulates that “the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Convention” shall be regarded as one of the “grave breaches of this Protocol” that “shall be regarded as war crimes.”
And then there was Israel’s merciless and indiscriminate onslaught in Gaza this past summer, ending the lives of more than 2,200 Palestinians, 565 of them children, and destruction of tens of thousands of homes, mosques, hospitals, schools, businesses and infrastructure. You obviously are aware of the recent report released just days ago by “Breaking the Silence” in which the testimonies of more than 60 Israeli soldiers and officers revealed horrific brutality and war crimes in Gaza at the hands of Israel’s army. Samples of commanders’ orders to their troops: “Any person you run into: shoot to kill”; ‘Fire at every person you see’; Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians. These orders from Israeli commanders amounted to genocide and, just yesterday, it was announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had appointed extremist right-wing Knesset member Ayelet Shaked as Israel’s new “justice minister”. A Shaked quote of several months ago complements the orders reportedly given to Israeli troops in “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza: “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and she called for its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” Consequently we know that “justice” in Israel for Palestinians will slip further into an ugly, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing abyss.
Your earlier vote on passage of the anti-BDS legislation, along with your vote today on the passage of the Iran nuclear bill leaves me no choice but to disassociate myself from any further support of you as a member of the U.S. Senate. Your choice in supporting the State of Israel in all of its criminality and racism is unacceptable to me and I am sure to many other of your constituents as they learn what Israel is really all about.
Therefore, Ben, I would urge you to take stock of your seemingly blind support of Israel and its evermore extremist right-wing “government”. Should you wish to discuss any of the matters in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me at [telephone number and email address].
James F. Michie