|— by Steve SheffeyHamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel this week.Can you imagine what the U.S. would do if hundreds of rockets were coming into it from the Delaware Bay? It would not exercise a tenth of the restraint Israel has exercised.Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) spoke for all of us last Tuesday:
|The fundamental duty of any state is to protect its citizens. The reason so few Israelis die from rocket attacks is that Israel does everything it can to protect its citizens from rocket fire. The reason so many Palestinians die from Israeli air strikes is that despite Israeli leaflets and other warnings that attacks are imminent, Hamas launches rockets from hospitals and densely-populated areas, and deliberately keeps civilians in harm’s way.Some people urge a “proportionate” response on Israel. What would that be? Firing dozens of rockets randomly into Gaza?The correct amount of force is the amount necessary to stop the Hamas rocket attacks. If anything, the Israeli response has been insufficient, as the rocket attacks keep coming.The Jewish Federations of North America have issued a statement commending President Obama “for his continuing support of Israel’s right to self-defense.”
You may have seen misleading headlines about White House Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon’s major speech last Tuesday. However, it was a good summary of the U.S. policy on Israel, Syria, Iran, and the peace process:
Israel is doing exactly what Gordon urges. The only way to restore calm is to stop the rocket attacks, and Israel is doing all it can to protect civilians.
Unlike previous administrations, the Obama administration has never condemned, threatened, or punished Israel for using military force to protect its citizens. Who can argue with what Gordon said?
Gordon also discussed the specifics of President Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security, preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, removing chemical weapons from Syria (a huge success that was achieved without firing a shot), and the prospects for peace with the Palestinians, even as rockets are striking Israel. This is where the headlines have been misleading.
I urge you to read what Gordon said, all of it, and decide for yourself if these are the words of a friend or if he is “blasting Israel.”
The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror will provide financial assistance to Israelis wounded in the attack in Bulgaria and to the families of those killed. The assistance, made possible by a contribution from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), is meant to help those affected by the attack address supplemental needs not covered by Israeli government bodies. Any family that experienced the loss or injury of a loved one in the attack may request assistance from the fund.
Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Natan Sharansky said that the assistance provided by The Jewish Federations of North America demonstrates the solidarity of Jews around the world with the terrible pain of those Israelis wounded in the attack and with the deep mourning of the families of those killed.
The Jewish Agency‘s Fund for the Victims of Terror, established in 2002, provides financial assistance to victims of terror in Israel. Since its establishment, the fund-which is sustained by contributions from Jewish federations, philanthropic foundations, and donors around the world-has enabled The Jewish Agency to provide thousands of terror victims and their families with assistance at a scope of more than NIS 100 million.
Response from World Jewish Congress, Isareli Consulate, B’nai Brith, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Jan Schakowsky, Sherrod Brown, Jerrold Nadler, Ted Deutsch, Eliot Engel, Alcee Hastings, Charles Rangel and Joe Crowley follow the jump.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
I was deeply saddened and angered to learn of today’s terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria…. The United States stands ready to offer any assistance necessary, and we will work with our partners in Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere so that the perpetrators can be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice for this appalling crime.
President Barack Obama
I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, and with the people of Israel … As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.
World Jewish Congress:
World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder has condemned the murderous terror attack in which six Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed when one of three buses carrying mostly Israeli men, women and children was blown up outside the airport of Burgas, Bulgaria.
“It is no coincidence that this assault comes 18 years to the day since the Iranian regime sponsored attack against the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires took the lives of 85 innocent victims”, Lauder said. The current Iranian Defense Minister, Ahmed Vahidi, was indicted by Argentinianauthorities, and is currently sought by Interpol.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments regarding the Iranian regime’s involvement in this deadly attack reminds the world of the role Iran, and the terrorist groups it supports, play in global terrorism,” Lauder said.
The World Jewish Congress also salutes Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner for immediately dispatching a private plane with doctors and medical supplies to Burgas to treat the victims of this murderous assault.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice:
We extend our condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous act and stand with the people of Israel & Bulgaria.
The terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria today is outrageous, an act of supreme cowardice.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:
Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families, friends, and loved ones of those killed and injured in today’s terrorist attack.
Whether within Israel’s borders or around the world, attacks against innocent Israeli men, women, and children are reprehensible and outrageous. All Members of Congress and the American people must stand together to condemn this bombing in the strongest terms possible.
Falling 18 years after the bombing against the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, today’s attack is a clear reminder that we must redouble our efforts to bring terrorists to justice; we must maintain and strengthen our commitment to the security of the Jewish state; and we will always stand firm on side of the safety of the Israeli people.
B’nai B’rith International:
B’nai B’rith International condemns in the strongest terms possible the July 18 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Early reports indicate at least five Israelis have been killed and almost 30 people have been rushed to the hospital, some in critical condition. The situation is still unfolding.
The bombing occurred on a tour bus near the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, a Bulgarian city on the Black Sea. While it is unclear who the perpetrators are, Israeli leaders are suggesting Iran and Hezbollah may be behind the attacks.
B’nai B’rith urges Bulgarian and international agencies to work together to determine who was responsible for this attack that targeted Israelis.
The attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded 300.
This attack on Israelis, coming on the AMIA anniversary, is a chilling reminder that anti-Israel sentiment is alive and well worldwide. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:
Today’s attack is a tragic reminder of the threat of terrorism Israelis face at home and abroad. Those who planned, carried out, and sponsored this attack will surely be identified and face justice for their actions and involvement.
The murder of innocent tourists is a shameful act of cowardice that should give all Americans pause. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, with Israelis and Bulgarians wounded in today’s attack, and with those in Jewish communities throughout the world for whom it has brought a terrible moment of uncertainty and heightened vigilance. Let there be no uncertainty, though, that the people of the United States stand side-by-side with the people of Israel in their quest for security and the peace all nations deserve.
Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz :
I am saddened and outraged by this horrific and brutal attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. On this 18th anniversary of the deadly bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, today’s tragic and senseless attack serves as a constant reminder of the deplorable violence and anti-Semitism that still exists in our world. The United States stands strong with our ally Israel in condemning this atrocity and supporting the unshakable U.S.-Israel relationship. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Israel and Bulgaria, and the families of the victims of today’s unforgivable attack.
Representative Shelley Berkley:
Our hearts are with the families of those killed in the horrific Bulgarian bus bombing and our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery are with those injured in this terrorist attack. Those responsible for this bloodshed and for targeting innocent Israeli tourists in a brutal massacre cannot go unpunished and they must be brought to justice. No justification ever exists for bombing a bus loaded with innocent men, women and children, and we are once again reminded of the dangers that Israelis face on a daily basis both at home and when traveling abroad. Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with our special ally Israel at this time of mourning and we share the grief that has been unleashed by this latest terrorist tragedy.
Representative Howard Berman:
I offer my heartfelt condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack against innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and their loved ones.
Representative Jan Schakowsky:
I am deeply saddened by today’s despicable terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed and injured innocent men, women, and children. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of those who were senselessly massacred.
These anti-Semitic, anti-Israel attacks anywhere in the world must be strongly condemned. The President has said that the United States has an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and I expect a robust effort to find out who is responsible for this act of terrorism.
Senator Sherrod Brown:
With the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Massacre on the horizon, we are once again reminded that Israel and her allies are still targets of worldwide terrorism. The Israeli victims of this vicious terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria will not be forgotten and I stand with our allies who want to see the perpetrators brought to justice. Terrorism, in any form, cannot be allowed to stand. I am fully committed to supporting Israel’s right to defend herself. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.
May peace and solace find them in their time of grief.
Representative Jerrold Nadler:
Disgusted by the cowardly attack on Israelis in #Bulgaria. My thoughts are with the families of the victims and the Israeli people.
Representative Ted Deutch:
The terrorist attack against innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was horrific. We mourn the loss of life & stand w Israel in solidarity.
Representative Eliot Engel:
The United States and the rest of the civilized world must stand with the Israel against terrorism. Until terrorism ceases against Israeli citizens there will not be peace in the Middle East. The violence must stop, and must stop now. I find it more than coincidental that on the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, an Israeli target was attacked, this time in Europe. We must stand up to the terrorists, wherever and whenever they strike. The United States should provide whatever assistance Bulgaria requires to bring the perpetrators to justice. Should Iran or another nation be found responsible, it must be held accountable.
Let us keep all these victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
Representative Alcee Hastings:
I was deeply saddened to learn of today’s unconscionable attack on Israeli and Bulgarian tourists. This kind of senseless violence is an act of cowardice and hatred. It is yet another unnecessary reminder of the threats Israelis face both at home and abroad.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims during this most difficult time. I stand with my friends in Israel and the Jewish community in praying for peace around the world. This tragic event reminds us all that there are still people who choose hate and intolerance over understanding and compassion. We must continue to stand side-by-side with Israel as it pursues a safe and secure future, and we must work together across all racial, religious, gender, and cultural lines and not allow these senseless acts to continue.”
Representative Charles Rangel:
These attacks against innocent people are horrifying and reprehensible. Such violence targeting people for their ethnicity, nationality or religion has absolutely no place in our world. I join my Colleagues in Congress and the American people in condemning such acts of terrorism.
Today’s horrendous attack reminds us that our Jewish friends are not any safer than they were 18 years ago, when the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires was bombed. The Israeli people still live under real threat every day. The United States will stand strongly with our Allies to protect the security of the Israeli people.
My thoughts and prayers are with today’s victims and their families and friends. May those who are injured recover soon and the families and friends of the deceased find peace.
Representative Joe Crowley:
I am deeply saddened and troubled by the heinous attack against innocent civilians, including children, in Bulgaria today. There is absolutely no place in any society for this type of cowardly act. Today’s tragedy serves as a painful reminder of the fact that Israel and her people remain under a constant threat of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and those injured as a result of this senseless attack.