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This past week, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, circulated a letter imploring President Obama to support Israel’s right to self-defense, and urging him to consider adding the IHH to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. The letter, of which you can read excerpts below, was signed by 87 Senators.
We write to affirm our support for our strategic partnership with Israel, and encourage you to continue to do so before international organizations such as the United Nations. The United States has traditionally stood with Israel because it is in our national security interest and must continue to do so.Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East and a vibrant democracy. Israel is also a partner to the United States on military and intelligence issues in this critical region. That is why it is our national interest to support Israel at a moment when Israel faces multiple threats from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the current regime in Iran. Israel’s opponents have developed clever diplomatic and tactical ploys to challenge its international standing, whether the effort to isolate Israel at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference or the recent effort to breach the naval blockade around Gaza.
We are deeply concerned about the IHH’s role in this incident and have additional questions about Turkey and any connections to Hamas. The IHH is a member of a group of Muslim charities, the Union of Good, which was designated by the US Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. The Union of Good was created by, and strongly supports Hamas, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department.
And in case you were wondering which 13 Senators didn’t sign the letter, here’s a list (h/t Free Speech Zone):
1. Akaka, Daniel K., D, HI 2. Bingaman, Jeff, D, NM 3. Bunning, Jim, R, KY 4. Byrd, Robert C., D, WV 5. Dodd, Christopher J., D, CT 6. Gregg, Judd, R, NH 7. Harkin, Tom, D, IA 8. Kerry, John F., D, MA 9. Leahy, Patrick J., D, VT 10. Merkley, Jeff, D, OR 11. Sanders, Bernard, I ,VT 12. Udall, Tom, D, NM 13. Webb, Jim, D, VA