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Senators from New Mexico stand up for peace

Peter Goodman is a Las Cruces news columnist, radio commentator, lawyer, and self-proclaimed rabble-rouser, and the author of The Moonlit Path, a novel.
Peter Goodman is a Las Cruces news columnist, radio commentator, lawyer, and self-proclaimed rabble-rouser, and the author of The Moonlit Path, a novel.


I’m raising my coffee cup to salute New Mexico’s two U.S. Senators, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan, for a sane yet somewhat courageous vote for peace.

The Biden Administration’s unflinching unconditional support for Israel appalls me.

What Hamas did on October 7 was an ugly, indefensible massacre of civilians – nearly 1200 killed and others taken hostage.

Israel’s excessive response, bringing death to 25,000 people, the vast majority of whom are civilians, and destroying hospitals, is appalling.

It shows no moral compass.

It ignores international law.

It ignores the dangers of a wider war. Already we’ve seen expanded violence between Israel and Hezbollah, and tension between Israel and Egypt. Iran and Pakistan have exchanged strikes.

It ignores the complicity of Israeli President Benajmin Netanyahu. For years, he and Hamas have needed each other. Both oppose any peaceful solution, such as two states. Hamas’s credibility with the Palestinian people arises mostly from Israeli harshness, including the West Bank “settlements,” a slow-motion invasion, while the corrupt, dictatorial Netanyahu, loathed by many Israelis, can return to power, and hold it, largely because of Hamas. Netanyahu approved Qatari funding of Hamas. He weakened Palestinian alternatives to Hamas. On his watch, with the military and everyone distracted by fears of his dictatorial move against the Israeli Supreme Court, that intelligence failed to prevent the Hamas attack, although Israeli Intelligence had long known of the plan .

People around the world are disgusted. The Hague is hearing South Africa’s complaint that Israel is committing genocidal acts.

The Biden Administration (and Republicans) refuses to qualify its support for Israel’s activities. The Administration has attacked Yemen, a country we have collaborated with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Iran to destroy by supporting a proxy civil war.

Tuesday’s vote tabled Sen. Bernie Sanders’s motion to invoke the Foreign Assistance Act to require the State Department to assess publicly whether or not Israel is using U.S.-provided weapons to violate Palestinian human rights. While Mitch McConnell calls this “performative leftwing politics,” we must begin to temper our national support of Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians with some mercy, judgment, and compassion. Tuesday’s vote was 79-11. Our senators were among the 11. That won’t please Joe, and could decrease donations from folks who fervently support Israel.

Sanders’s motion would merely require the public report. If Israel is violating the law, Congress could vote to continue the aid anyway.

The disproportionate numbers echo U.S. troops killing hundreds of native tribe members after a small band burned a couple of farms, killing a dozen whites; or the British killing huge numbers in India or Burma, and disproportionate retaliations by occupiers Spain in Mexico or Peru, French in Algeria, Japanese in China, Chinese in Tibet, Nazis in France, or us in Viet Nam. “Our” lives matter much more than “theirs.” Our hearts goes out to the little blond settler girl being kidnapped, but we know nothing of the Apache kid’s humanity. Unsurprisingly, polls here reportedly show that significantly more nonwhites than whites feel Israel has gone too far.

None of this excuses mistreating Jews or Palestinians, here or anywhere. An Israeli friend described feeling “torn,” because “my analytical mind isn’t comfortable with my emotional mind.” He, too, thinks someone should pressure both sides toward peace.

We must stop the carnage! I fear not only widening war but that Biden’s support for war could keep progressive voters home November 5th, helping to elect some unthinkable alternative.

Peter Goodman's opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of KRWG Public Media or NMSU.