NJ lawmakers tout Israel’s right to self-defense

NJ lawmakers tout Israel’s right to self-defense

Elected officials issue statements supporting operation in Gaza

State politicians expressed support for Israel in a series of statements shared with the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations.

With the Israeli military engaged in a campaign to halt a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza, the elected officials defended Israel’s right to self-defense and pledged American support for the Israeli government and its people.

“We cannot expect Israel to stand idly by while its citizens are the targets of continued rocket attacks,” said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), as the Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution in support of Israel. “We support Israel’s right to defend itself and call on Hamas to immediately renounce terror and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

Sen. Robert Menendez (D) endorsed the Senate’s initiative.

“In just the last year, more than 700 rockets and missile shells have been launched from Gaza into Israel — resulting in the senseless destruction of countless homes and the tragic loss of innocent lives,” he said. “In the face of this undeterred threat, we must again recognize Israel’s absolute and inherent right to defend itself.”

Menendez also called on “the United Nations Security Council and regional neighbors, like Egypt and Turkey, to condemn Hamas’ escalation of rocket and missile attacks.”

Similar statements of support came from Reps. Rob Andrews (D-Dist. 1), Scott Garrett (R-Dist. 5), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Dist. 6), William Pascrell (D-Dist. 8), Steven Rothman (D-Dist. 9), and Rep. Rush Holt (D- Dist. 12).

“The New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations gratefully acknowledges those members of our congressional delegation who have voiced bipartisan and unequivocal condemnation of Hamas actions that continue to pose a danger to Israel’s population and threaten to inflame the whole region,” stated Ruth Cole, State Association president.

The State Association noted the statements of support in a Nov. 20 news release.

“Although the battle is being fought with missiles now, there is little doubt that there is a public relations campaign to win Hamas the sympathies of world public opinion and to paint Israel as an aggressor nation,’’ said State Association executive director Jacob Toporek.

“The expression of the sense of Congress speaks loudly about as to the dangers Israel truly faces and is more than a counterbalance to the sympathies that Hamas might gain with misinformation,” Toporek added.

Below are excerpts from the lawmakers’ statements:

Rep. Rob Andrews: “Israel has a solemn and sovereign right to defend her people. As the siege against the innocent people of Israel continues, our resolve to support our best and only democratic ally must deepen and strengthen. I stand ready to show that support at any time.”

Rep. Scott Garrett: “I fully support Israel’s right to defend herself and aggressively respond to these attacks from Hamas. Israel remains the one true beacon of liberty and democracy in this increasingly hostile region. I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me and reaffirm our support for Israel’s ability to defend its people and sovereignty as a nation during this time of increased violence and terrorist activity.”

Frank Pallone Jr.: “More than one million Israelis remain under threat of Gaza rocket fire. I firmly support the right of Israel to act in self-defense against these attacks and to protect its citizens from harm. My thoughts are with the people of Israel at this time.”

Rep. William Pascrell: “I am increasingly concerned with the intensifying violence across Gaza and Israel, and I unequivocally condemn Hamas’ continued rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. No one should have to live with the constant fear that a terrorist’s rocket could take the life of a loved one. President Obama has reiterated the unwavering support of the United States for Israel’s right to defend itself, and I strongly echo that sentiment. I appreciate that Israel has taken important steps to target only Hamas militants and limit civilian casualties. I call upon involved parties to find a path to bring an end to the violence and prevent further bloodshed.”

Rep. Steven Rothman: “While I deeply regret the loss of civilian life on both sides, Hamas (which controls all of Gaza), bears full responsibility for the death of its citizens, who are being used as pawns and human shields by the Gaza terrorists.”

Rep. Rush Holt: “The people of Israel should be free of the threat of these continuing, outrageous, deadly rocket attacks. Of course, Israel must defend herself, and I have asked President Obama and our Department of Defense to continue and, if appropriate, to increase our assistance to Israel’s defense.”

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