Boston Marathon, Guns and Israel

— by Steve Sheffey

The next time Israel responds to terrorism, remember how you felt when you heard about the Boston Marathon bombings — and then ask how you’d feel if attacks like these had happened repeatedly for the last 65 years.

Background checks for gun purchasers are favored by 90 percent of Americans, won a majority vote in the Senate, but failed because of a Republican filibuster. Ninety percent of Democrats voted in favor, ninety percent of Republicans voted against. An assault weapons ban was also defeated in the Senate.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will finalize a huge arms deal with Israel during his visit there, under which Israel will for the first time be permitted to purchase U.S. aerial refueling planes and other ultra-sophisticated military equipment that could prove vital to any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The Obama administration has requested that aid to Israel remain untouched despite budget pressures.

Full article the jump.
Between the Boston Marathon terrorist attack and the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate, this was a very bad week.


Courtsey of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen

What did you feel on Monday when you heard about the terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon? Anger. Frustration. Tears. Sadness. Probably all of those and many more. But I’ll bet the one thought that did not cross your mind was “I wonder what we did to deserve this and what complaints the poor souls who committed these acts must have.”

Try to recapture how you felt on Monday the next time you read about Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israel. On April 7, someone was videotaping a Holocaust Memorial ceremony in Israel when rockets struck. Watch this. It’s 30 seconds long.

What kind of people would do this? The people who want a state right next to Israel. The people Israel is trying to make peace with. Yes, a two-state solution is in Israel’s best interests, but the people upon whom that solution depends have leaders who think that terrorism is a legitimate form of political expression.

Israel has been victimized by terrorism since its rebirth 65 years ago. Remember how you felt when you watched news reports about the Boston Marathon the next time you read about Israel’s efforts to defend itself. Try to imagine if you would show the restraint Israel has shown. And ask yourself how you would feel knowing that Iran, a terrorist state, is attempting acquire nuclear weapons.

How do we make sense of what happened in Boston? We don’t. We can’t. But I think Patton Oswalt was right. This is what he wrote on Monday:

Boston… horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I do know. If it’s one person or a hundred people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running towards the destruction to help out… This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

The Manchin-Toomey background check amendment failed because of a Republican filibuster. Fifty-four senators voted in favor, but that wasn’t the 60 needed for cloture. Only four Democrats voted no and only four Republicans voted yes. Ninety percent of Americans favor this amendment. Ninety percent of Democratic senators voted for it. Ninety percent of Republican senators voted against it. Don’t let anyone tell you that party labels don’t matter or that both sides are equally to blame.

President Obama was right: All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.

How many people need to die before we enact gun control? How many people need to die before we end the filibuster rule? How many people need to die before we realize that party labels matter? How many people need to die before we realize that the Second Amendment is not a suicide pact?

The Senate also rejected a ban on assault weapons. You can check the vote tallies on this and the other gun control measures the Senate rejected here. Yes, all in all, pretty shameful.

We cannot give up. Nothing will change until politicians realize that the price they will pay at the polls for opposing gun control is higher than the price they will pay for standing up to the NRA. If you haven’t read it yet, read what former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords wrote last week:

Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.

I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.

The Obama administration will provide Israel with ultra-sophisticated military equipment and maintain aid to Israel despite budget pressures. The Times of Israel reports that “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will finalize a huge arms deal with Israel during his visit starting Saturday, under which Israel will for the first time be permitted to purchase U.S. aerial refueling planes and other ultra-sophisticated military equipment that could prove vital to any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

President Obama has requested that American aid to Israel remain untouched for fiscal year 2014 despite budgetary belt tightening in other areas. Read more here.

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