Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Get Political: An Israel Lobby of Our Own

This morning, I found an email from one of our bloggers, who happens to be quite outspoken on Israel. In the email he informed me and others in St. Louis that he would be in DC over the weekend to lobby on the Hill. He attached a letter he'd written asking a particular subcommittee to support continued funding for Israel's Arrow 3 counter-missile. I was interested just to see what a letter to an elected official looked like, so I opened it. Read on to see what it said.

He sent letters for each of the committee members, which he plans on handing them on Monday. And the letter read as follows:

The Honorable Ben Chandler
1504 Longworth Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20515

20 April, 2009

Dear Congressman Chandler,

On Thursday, April 16th, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the Chair of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, a Subcommittee of which you are a member, met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. They discussed the Arrow 3 missile and, I’m sure, the necessity of a game changing missile defense system for Israel. I am writing to ask for your support in ensuring the Israelis are able to procure the technology and equipment they require.

Israel has lived for 61 years in a state far worse than what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calls a “Severe” or “Red” threat. In the last four years alone, Israel has been hit with over 6,500 rockets. Bus stops are built from concrete six to eight inches thick so they can double as bomb shelters. One-in-three children in the city of Sderot exhibit signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but the doctors do not know how to treat them because the trauma is not “post”. And Iran, whose goal of Israel’s destruction is unambiguous, is running rapidly towards this prize through their nuclear weapons development and support of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel serves as a bastion of democracy and stability enviable to the masses of a troubled region. Harvard performed a study in 2008 that found that 77% of Arab Israeli citizens, who make up one-forth of Israel’s population, would rather live in Israel than in any other country in the world. This is undoubtedly because Israel provides them more stability and security than any other country while allowing them to lead a truly “Arab” life.

It is vital that Israel be given the support needed to build a missile defense system to protect itself so it can continue to shine a light of hope in an otherwise dark neighborhood. You can ensure this happens. Please support the continued funding of the Arrow 3 missile. Thank you.

I'll admit it. . . I signed the letters and sent them back. Sure, the language of the letter is perhaps different from how I might have chosen to phrase things, but the fact remains that if the US is going to give Israel money for defense, I'd rather see it spent on defensive systems. Not only that, I wanted to feel involved.

For all of the vitriol on internet forums, blogs, etc., very few people take time to justify their position and connect with their elected officials about it.

So, while we have this resource in place who can act on our behalf, why not take advantage of it. Let's start our own Israel lobby.

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