Posts Tagged ‘marco rubio’
At least some members of the U.S. congress finally realized that if weapons belonging to Hamas were found in UNRWA facilities, questions need to be asked of UNRWA employees as to how those weapons got there, who put them there, who observed them, what – if anything – was done to remove them (or to keep them there), along with other pertinent and essential lines of inquiry.
U.S. senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), sent a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, demanding an investigation into the actions of the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) during the fighting in Gaza.
The senators used very strong language to condemn the agency on several different bases.
First, the discovery, on three different occasions, of Hamas weapons in UNRWA facilities, whereupon the weapons were returned to the terrorist organization, Hamas.
Second, UNRWA has repeatedly issued statements condemning Israel and ignoring the wrongdoing of Hamas.
And third, the senators pointed out the very troubling close affiliation between Hamas and UNRWA, the irrefutable proof of which was the election of 25 Hamas candidates were voted onto the 27 member UNRWA ‘s workers’ union board in 2012.
Next, the senators explained why they are convinced it is appropriate for them to demand such an investigation into UNRWA: we pay for it! The United States contributed $294 million in 2013. It is the single largest donor to UNRWA. Since 1950, more than $5 billion U.S. taxpayers’ dollars were funneled into UNRWA.
Senator Mark Kirk is a member of the Senate Appropriations sub-committee which has jurisdiction over the Department of State, as well as U.S. contributions to U.N. activities. Kirk said in a statement posted on his website:
I am demanding a credible and independent assessment of UNRWA’s actions during this crisis. Given UNRWA’s ties to terrorism in the past, U.S. taxpayers deserve immediate answers and full transparency regarding their intentions and actions. The State Department must make clear to the U.N. that it need to take all necessary steps to prevent Hamas from using taxpayer-funded property to launch attacks against our allies.
Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added:
When leaders and organizations of the United Nations blur the clear distinction between a nation-state defending itself and a terrorist organization attempting to murder civilians, Americans take note. When an organization funded in part by the U.S. suggests that the two are morally equivalent, U.S. taxpayers take note. Israel is undertaking extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas cynically uses other Palestinians as human shields and deliberately attempts to kill Israeli civilians. U.N. resources and personnel cannot be complicit in Hamas’ violent terrorist actions.
Senator Marco Rubio is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio had the following to say:
As the U.N.’s leading source of funding, American taxpayers will not tolerate the use of U.N. facilities by terrorists to stage attacks against our allies. We know Hamas has been using civilians as human shields and stores its weapons and fighters in civilian buildings, but for the U.N. to stand idly by while Hamas attacks Israel from its facilities is an outrage. This is the latest example of why the U.S. needs to bring greater transparency and accountability to the U.N. by pursuing reform of its programs and institutions.
The text of the letter the senators sent to Secretary of State Kerry:
Dear Secretary Kerry,
We write to express our profound concern with the troubling role the United Nations Refugee and Work Agency (UNRWA) has played during the ongoing crisis in Gaza, including multiple instances of weapons found at UNRWA schools as well as one-sided statements from UNRWA leadership that unjustly condemn Israel. For instance, on July 14, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl stated that Israeli security forces are acting “contrary to international humanitarian law” and also called Israel’s Gaza blockade “illegal.”
As you know, UNRWA admitted on July 17, July 22nd, and July 30th that it found rockets belonging to Hamas on its property. We commend UNRWA’s quick condemnation of these incidents, but are concerned with the ultimate fate of these rockets, which UNRWA claimed to have turned over to the “local authorities” or have gone missing. We fear that this means these rockets may have found their way back into Hamas’ hands.
We urge the State Department to launch an independent investigation into these incidents and to call on the United Nations leadership to hold UNRWA accountable, including by reprimanding or dismissing the UNRWA staff responsible as appropriate, as well as asking the U.N. to ensure that these incidents never take place again.
In the course of your investigation, we ask you to examine the fate of these rockets, what measures the U.N. took to secure UNRWA property, and how the U.S. intends to work with the U.N. to make sure incidents like these are never repeated.
As you know, the United States is the largest donor to UNRWA and has contributed almost $5 billion to the organization since 1950. The United States taxpayers deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict.
We look forward to your reply,
Now that the strong statements have been made and a letter from three members of senate committees with jurisdiction over the State Department and the U.N. has been sent to the secretary of state, it behooves Israel’s supporters to demand follow-through.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio boldly stated to President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem Wednesday that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, but the office of the president omitted the remark in its Hebrew language press release of the meeting.
Already touted as presidential timber for the 2016 election campaign, Sen. Rubio told President Peres that Jerusalem is “of course the capital of your country,” a statement that no president or vice president would dare make given Palestinian Authority demands on the city.
U.S. State Department spokesmen on several occasions have refused to give a straight answer to reporters’ questions concerning the location of Israel’s capital.
The omission of Rubio’s statement in the official press release reflects Peres’ adulation of President Barack Obama and his concern not to rock the boat with Washington.
The Florida senator is on his first official visit to Israel, and his vocal recognition of Jerusalem sets the stage for a sharp contrast with Obama, who is to arrive next month for a visit that has been promoted in Israel as “Operation Unbreakable Alliance.” Obama, unlike previous presidents, has constantly terms Jerusalem neighborhoods of tens of thousands of residents “settlements” because they are in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
Sen. Rubio also told the president that the relationship between the United States and Israel is Washington’s most important in the region, if not in the world. He added, “Israel represents all of the values of the United States.” He also said the American government cannot accept a nuclear Iran.
President Peres spoke about the “peace process,” his favorite topic, and also spoke with the senator n poetic language on the Middle East.
“We are an island of democracy in an uncertain and uneasy ocean, which is raging,” he said. “We must defend our island and do whatever is possible to calm the storm.”
On relations with the United States, Peres stated, “There are varied opinions in Israel, but one subject on which we all agree is the love of the United States” towards Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomes on Wednesday Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, touted as one of the top possibilities to be GOP’s presidential candidate in 2016.
They traded the usual pleasantries, the Prime Minister stating his gratitude for American support and Rubio pledging to back security in Israel.
“You live in a challenging neighborhood but the Israeli-American relationship is one of the most important ones we have,” said the senator. “Certainly our commitment to that partnership is bipartisan and it should remain that way. And that’s why I’m pleased the President is coming here in March.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, “I appreciate your support. I appreciate the tremendous support of the American people, bipartisan support for our security and our quest for peace. It’s a daunting task, both security and the quest for peace, but we know we have your support and we appreciate it. I look forward to talking with you about our challenges.”
After the 2012 Waterloo, Republican consultants retreated to some party boats and hotels, and began planning their comeback. Bereft of ideas, they took the media’s explanations for why they lost at face values. What they have delivered is a liberal’s eye diagnosis of why they lost and so they debuted a plan to win over Latinos with amnesty and to end their negative image with a new gentler look.
Mostly what they have proven is that they are even more clueless than they were a year ago.
Senator Marco Rubio seems like a nice guy, but if the Republicans are counting on him to deliver the Latino vote, they might want to take a closer look at his Senate win. While Rubio did indeed win the Cuban Latino vote, he only won 39 percent of the non-Cuban Latino vote. That’s the same Latino margin of victory as Rick Perry got. It’s the usual best score that Republicans get among Latinos.
Marco Rubio could be a guy named Mark Richardson for all the impact that he made among Latino voters. But that’s because the “Latino” vote is a ridiculous oversimplification. Latinos consist of Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, to name just a few. And they don’t necessarily align.
Mayor Bloomberg ran against a Puerto Rican candidate and won the Mexican vote. Bloomberg may speak Spanish about as well as your Aunt Sally, but that didn’t really matter because he didn’t waste a lot of time telling stories about growing up poor in the slums of San Juan. Instead he worked with Mexican community leaders who were tired of being sidelined by Puerto Ricans, and advertised heavily on their radio stations and in their papers.
Race is certainly a factor, but it’s not the only factor. Most Black voters initially supported Hillary Clinton. If Herman Cain ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton would beat him by a high margin. A Zogby poll shows Rubio beating Clinton among Latino voters, but how well that poll would hold up after Latino leaders have spent enough time getting the word out is another matter. Clinton beat Obama among Latino voters on Super Tuesday. Assuming that she won’t do the same to Rubio only because of his race is a risky bet.
There are two types of minority groups in the United States. Segregated and integrated. The more integrated a group becomes, the less of a bloc vote it is. A bloc vote is not simply a consistent pattern, it is the result of a segregated community that interfaces with the rest of the country through its leaders and local media. And those two interfaces are key.
It doesn’t really matter how many Latinos speak at the Republican National Convention or how many Republican senators sign on to Amnesty. These events will, for the most part, be processed through the filter of those community leaders and their associated newspapers and radio stations. Republicans imagine that they’re addressing Latinos, but aside from Univision appearances they mostly don’t even have access to them.
The percentage of the Latino vote that is accessible to Republicans largely comes from those Latinos who have integrated and are in the Middle Class. That is why the Republicans did so much better with the Latino vote in Ohio than Virginia. Median income and English language skills remain a fairly reliable predictor of the Republican vote.
Winning the minority vote is not simply about policy or diversity. That is an elementary lesson of the urban political machine that the Republican Party has bizarrely forgotten, even though it’s a lesson that goes back a century and a half in American politics. Diversity is not about finding binders of qualified candidates, but about elevating community leaders from minority groups who can deliver a share of the vote from their community.
It’s not pretty, but it is practical politics. Lincoln understood it and applied that methodology right down to the appointment of generals. The Democrats built an entire network of votes in every state by taking their urban political machine national. But the Republicans seem to think that it’s enough to have someone out there speaking Spanish. It’s a nice touch and the urban political machines used it. Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr., the son of General MacClellan, spoke a bewildering number of the languages that his constituents did. Mayor LaGuardia also juggled languages. But those are campaign tricks. They are not how the vote is delivered.