Cynthia McKinney was the first woman to be elected to represent a congressional district in Georgia. She was first elected as a member of the U.S. Congress in 1993 and she served 10 years. She was defeated when she started to question America's blind obedience to Israel's selfish, self-centered policies and Israelis costly (to American taxpayers) occupation of Palestinian civilians. She came back and was re-elected in 2005 only to be targeted in a hate-campaign led by Israel's rightwing extremist supporters right here in the United States.
The issue is not that we agree or disagree on issues. I don't agree with everything Congresswoman McKinney has advocated. But then, I also do not agree with the policies and platforms of about 49 percent of the members of the congress, either, and 50 percent of the Senate.
But I do admire her determination not to allow Israel's government -- a foreign government -- dictate American foreign policy in the Middle East. I admire her because she has the guts that most elected officials in this country lack, to stand up for what is right and despite defamation from the mainstream American media, Israel's unrestrained and rightwing spokespeople in this country and from Israel's government.
This past week, McKinney joined an effort to deliver badly needed medical supplies and food to the besieged residents of the Gaza Strip.
Oh, you remember the residents of the Gaza Strip, right? They are the people Israel's rightwing fanatic government claims were "freed" from occupation. I think Netanyahu and even so-called "moderate" Israeli leaders argue (stupidly, to be honest) "We withdrew from the Gaza Strip and returned the land and look what happened. The Hamas terrorists attacked us with missiles and we had to attack them back."
That "attack them back" incident was intentional. Hamas did not fire rockets into Israel, as the Israelis insist and in fact respected the cease fire. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire and everyone with half a brain knows that truth. But Israelis often do not care about the truth. They only care about the propaganda and what the stupid American public and the AIPAC controlled US Congress and Senate needs to do Israel's government's bidding.
So McKinney joins a group and sales to the Gaza Strip on a boat filled not with weapons, but medicine and food and clothing not just for the adults but the hundreds of thousands of children being starved to death in Gaza -- which Israel controls like a prison tighter than Guantanamo was ever managed by the terrorist organization Black Water and their robber barons at Dick Cheney's Halliburton.
And just to show how un-free the people of Gaza are, Israel's military surrounded the ship -- like the Somali pirates who attack ships in the Gulf of Aden -- illegally boarded the ship (I thought the people of Gaza were "free?") and arrested McKinney holding an American citizen hostage.
How did Israel's government describe the assault?
Well, according to the pro-Israel newspaper The Washington Post, Israel's Ambassador in Atlanta justified the action because McKinney was engaged in a "reckless political stunt."
Since when are "reckless political stunts" illegal?
Well, as long as Israel's government responds with "some kind of answer," that's good enough for the lapdogs in mainstream American journalism to swallow.
President Barack Obama might have said something to demand that Israel release McKinney, but he is too busy trying to figure out how not to look like a fool when standing next to the cunning and deceitful Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I know there are good people in Israel. I know that many Israelis believe in true democracy, human rights, respect for international law and support a just and fair two-state compromise that will lead to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian States in exchange for a genuine peace and end to the violence. I know that most Israelis know that in any other circumstance, they would be the ones protesting their own right wing government's actions, but they close their eyes to the outrageous violations of international law because it is so much easier.
And, why should they be fair when they can have everything and manage the media so well that even war crimes appear to be justified when committed by the Israeli Defense Forces, allegedly a formal military. Hamas isn't a government, but was also accused of having committed war crimes in the same report just issued by Amnesty International. Israel is a military and the Hamas fighters were not.
There is a higher standard of responsibility on the Israelis whose soldiers murdered more than 450 Palestinian civilians -- Israel's spokesman Mark Regev said it was not intentional -- right! Hamas, ragtag guerrillas, killed a dozen Israelis.
The truth is, though, that as long as no one holds Israel's rightwing government responsible for their piracy and outrageous conduct, the good people of Israel, the majority, will remain silent.
After all, this should be about principle, the rule of law, morality or even about who is right or wrong.
But it is about popularity and unpopularity. It is about a sheepish, American political system whose members in Congress and the Senate are either on Israel's payroll (through huge campaign contributions -- we call it pay-to-play, actually), or they are just neutered, pathetic weaklings afraid to stand up to the bullying of a powerful "ally."
McKinney should be released immediately and the medicine and food and clothing she was trying to bring to the besieged and brutalized civilians of the Gaza Strip should be allowed to be delivered.
But that demand only makes sense in a world where common sense and the rule of law apply.