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Connecticut’s Congressional delegation comments on Israel and the flotilla

For the record
Connecticut’s Congressional delegation comments on Israel and the flotilla

In the aftermath of the now infamous flotilla incident in the Middle East, in which the IDF thwarted an attempt to break the Gaza blockade, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman immediately issued a strong statement in defense of the Jewish state. Which got us wondering where other members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation stood on the subject – as well as their challengers in the upcoming November election.
So we asked. Sen. Christopher Dodd, perhaps because of his lame duck status, failed to get back to us. Of the two candidates vying for Dodd’s seat, Democrat Richard Blumenthal declined to comment; Republican Linda McMahon did so, through her spokesman. Of our congressmen, all Democrats, only John Larson of the 1st district did not answer; nor did his Republican opponent, Ann Brickley. We were unable to contact Daria Novak, the Republican candidate challenging Joe Courtney in the 2nd district, in time for this article. We restricted ourselves to candidates who received their party’s endorsement.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
We should be very clear about who is responsible for the unfortunate loss of life in the attempt to break the blockade in Gaza. Hamas and its allies are the responsible parties for the recent violence and the continued difficulties for the people of Gaza. Israel exercised her legitimate right of self defense.
The blockade exists because Hamas, which is increasingly acting as a proxy for the Iranian regime, has fired thousands of rockets upon Israel even after Israel withdrew from Gaza. The flotilla was a clear provocation and was not an effort to improve the lives of the people of Gaza but rather an attempt to score political propaganda points. The Palestinian people have legitimate rights to a state that is a peaceful neighbor of Israel, but those who assist Hamas only undermine that goal and a peaceful resolution. Support of Hamas and its aims is not the humanitarian path to peace, but rather enables continued violence and conflict.
I appreciate the way in which the Obama Administration has refused to join the international herd that has rushed to convict Israel before the facts were known and has apparently forgotten that Israel is a democratic nation and Hamas is a terrorist group. At difficult moments like this, it is more important than ever for the U.S. to stand steadfastly with our democratic ally, Israel.


LINDA McMAHON, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
From campaign spokesman Ed Patru:
“Linda absolutely believes Israel has a right to defend itself. It is clear that this was an avoidable act of provocation – Hamas and its allies are responsible for the unfortunate loss of life. Most Americans would expect a similar response if this country were in Israel’s position. This issue requires moral clarity, and it’s very troubling that Dick Blumenthal doesn’t appear to have enough intestinal fortitude to take a position on an issue that is so critical to a vital ally.”


IN THE HOUSE

2nd DISTRICT

REP. JOE COURTNEY (D)
I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives aboard these Gaza-bound ships, which included an American citizen. Israel has every right to defend herself – and this incident underscores the urgent need for lasting progress towards peace. We need to move beyond the narrowness of this impasse over the Gaza blockade and towards the Obama Administration’s efforts to move forward with a comprehensive peace process.


3rd DISTRICT

REP. ROSA DeLAURO (D)
I regret that nine people lost their lives. While I want to see the restoration of commerce and supplies to Gaza, this flotilla was more about creating an incident than helping people. These events underscore the urgent need for lasting and comprehensive peace in the region, and I look forward to a thorough investigation into what transpired.

JERRY LABRIOLA (R)
The U.S. should support Israel 100 percent. Israel is surrounded by its enemies, enemies that have openly stated their desire to rid the world of the Jewish population once and for all. The United States must stand firm with Israel. A nuclear Iran is not only an international security problem, it is a national survival crisis for Israel. While we hope to avoid war, and should use every diplomatic resource available to save an armed conflict, the United States must be prepared to support Israel should it determine that a preemptive strike is the only means by which to secure its future.
The news of the recent “Flotilla Incident” is troubling on several fronts. Most significantly, there was a rush to condemn Israel, when it is clear that such flotilla was not the “peace vessel” it claimed to be, and further, the Israeli military was attacked first. While Vice President Biden should be applauded for recognizing that Israel has a right to secure its borders and defend itself, a public statement of support for Israel from our President is an absolute necessity.
My opponent, Rosa DeLauro, has refused to sign the letter in support of and in solidarity with Israel. For that, she must be held accountable. Given the opportunity to be your Congressman, I would gladly sign such a letter in support of our friend and ally.


4th DISTRICT

REP. JIM HIMES (D)
Israel is our good friend and our only long term ally in a dangerous part of the world. As Americans we do not rush to judgment before we have the facts. As tragic as the situation in the Mediterranean is, I urge all parties involved to do all they can to reduce tension and to allow the facts to be examined.

DAN DEBICELLA (R)
“The United States needs to back Israel as it tries to secure its borders against terrorist groups like Hamas. They have a right to stop ships to ensure no weapons are being moved into the Gaza Strip. Israel is trying to reach out to moderate Palestinians to reach a lasting peace, yet the extremists in Hamas continue to try and pick a fight with Israel. I firmly believe the U.S. should stand with our allies in Israel and promote the removal of terrorist organizations like Hamas from power.”


5th DISTRICT

REP. CHRIS MURPHY (D)
Israel has the right to defend itself and manage its security interests, but something clearly went wrong during this particular operation. Details critical to our understanding of this incident are still emerging, so all sides should refrain from a rush to judgment until we have a comprehensive and transparent investigation.

SAM CALIGIURI (R)
The most important ways that we can reaffirm the special relationship between the United States and Israel is to strongly and unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against aggression. Whether such support comes in the form of promoting measures such as Congressional resolutions reiterating Israel’s right to defend itself during Operation Cast Lead, opposing strenuously political attacks on Israel reflected in documents such as the flawed United Nation’s Goldstone Report, or most recently, supporting Israel’s actions when it sought to defend its blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip against the attacks of radical Hamas supporters, we must consistently and steadfastly support Israel’s right to self-defense.


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