A recent JTNews opinion piece by Michael DeHaan (�Talk the talk without walking the walk?� Sept. 29) criticizing Rep. Jim McDermott has just been brought to my attention. The basic argument made by the author is that McDermott is no friend of Israel because he has, on occasion, opposed resolutions circulated in Congress which are deemed pro-Israel.
I have 20 years� experience as an aide to House and Senate Members. I served as editor of AIPAC�s Near East Report for four years. I am now director of policy analysis for Israel Policy Forum, although I write this letter personally, not as a representative of my organization. I know something about Washington and the politics of Israel.
Most of these �pro-Israel� resolutions are meaningless. They are drafted by partisans from one party or another not as a means of supporting Israel but as a means of making the other party look bad. The point is to have a vehicle that can be used to smear anyone who opposes the resolution as anti-Israel.
The resolutions themselves are pointless. They can be boiled down to the formula: Israel good, Arabs bad. They offer no suggestion about how to end the Arab-Israeli conflict but rather call on America to be a cheerleader for a status quo that has been deadly for both Israelis and Palestinians.
From my experience, members of Congress vote for these resolutions without even bothering to read them. It�s a safe vote, an easy vote.
Jim McDermott cares too much about Israel to simply ratify whatever piece of nonsense is brought to the House floor for a vote. He tries to amend resolutions so that they support Israel and advance the chances for peace. But the framers of these resolutions are rarely interested in that. They are playing a political game with Israel.
McDermott doesn�t play that game.
The pro-Israel community in Seattle should consider themselves lucky for having a representative who refuses to pander to voters or donors by issuing ritualistic formulas of �support.� His goal is to help Israel achieve peace and security.
He deserves the community�s gratitude. I am sure he has it.