Zionist Org. of America criticizes Sen. Leahy for Seeking Cut in U.S. Aid to Elite Israel Defense Forces.
But Leahy supported increased aid to the Palestinian Authority
Redacted from a press release by Morton Klein, Pres. ZOA
August 17, 2011
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for promoting a bill that seeks to cut from the U.S. foreign assistance legislation for 2012 the component from U.S. military aid to Israel that is earmarked for three elite Israel Defense Forces (IDF) units – the Israeli Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag unit. These units have been on the front lines protecting Israeli citizens in counter-terrorist operations, hunting down terrorists and securing Israel’s borders.
In contrast, Senator Leahy has never called for reducing aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), despite the PA’s continuing failure to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorists groups, end the promotion of hatred and violence against Israel and its recently signed unity agreement with Hamas. In fact, he has supported increased aid to the PA.
The ZOA has noted that Senator Leahy’s effort to defund these IDF units has emerged under pressure in his home state from anti-Israel activists seeking to criminalize Israeli self-defense. These activists have sought to have Israel declared guilty of human rights abuses last year when the Israeli Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit lawfully intercepted the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Mamara to ensure it was free of weaponry. Pro-Hamas operatives and other extremists on board carried out a pre-planned assault upon the Israeli boarding party, leading to the death of nine of the assailants in the resulting clash.
Leahy, who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee’s sub-committee on foreign operations, was the principle sponsor of a 1997 bill prohibiting the United States from providing military assistance or funding to foreign military units suspected of human rights abuses or war crimes.
In recent years, Senator Leahy has been sharply critical of Israel, including of Operation Cast Lead, the counter-offensive launched against Hamas in Gaza following thousands of rockets fired into southern Israel over preceding years. Leahy claimed that Israel had a right to self-defense but then criticized Israel merely for imposing a blockade on Gaza, saying that it had failed to change Hamas policies.
He did not ask whether the blockade’s effort to reduce the flow of weaponry to Hamas had been successful. Leahy also claimed that, “The blockade was not coupled with an effective strategy to address the underlying causes of the conflict.” Leahy found Hamas actions “deplorable” but did not say that Hamas needs to “address the underlying causes” of the conflict by ceasing to be a genocide-seeking terrorist movement calling in its Charter for the world-wide murder of Jews.
Unsurprisingly, Leahy has become very close to J Street, the extremist, left-wing lobby which falsely claims to be pro-Israel while having urged Obama not to veto anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, refused to support Israel’s 2008-9 defensive military operations against Hamas in Gaza and which has lobbied against sanctions on Iran.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Senator Leahy has shown in recent years a propensity to blame Israel for the Arab war on Israel so it is therefore perhaps not surprising that he has now sought to penalize Israel for defending itself, as in the case of the Mavi Mamara affair.
“Now, Senator Leahy has added fuel to the fire by seeking to penalize the brave, professional Israeli military forces that actually perform the dangerous and vital task of protecting Israeli civilians, the first duty of an Israeli government. He seeks to defund parts of the IDF on the basis of allegations of human rights abuses by long-term, hardened, anti-Israel extremists.
“The IDF is not only the indispensible defense force of Israel, it is also an amazingly valuable U.S. ally whose combat experience, innovation and intelligence-gathering have been of immense value to the United States and the U.S. armed forces. The Israeli forces that have had the most experience of dealing with ruthless, blood-thirsty terrorists are precisely the elite units that Senator Leahy has specifically sought to defund.