The Congressional Israel Allies Caucus held a press conference today to respond to calls for an international investigation of Israel and to hold Turkey accountable for their involvement in the flotilla incident. Representing the caucus were co-chairmen, Congressmen Elliot Engel (D-NY) and Mike Pence (R-IN) who were also joined by Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX), Minority Whip Eric Cantor (VA), Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Pete King (R-NY). We had an excellent attendance by the press (30-40).
Here are a few quotes from the Congressmen:
Mike Pence – “I am here in the capacity of co-chairman, along with Congressman Engel, of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus…with regard to Capitol Hill, with regard to the Congress of the United States, there will be a cost if Turkey stays on its present heading of growing closer to Iran and more antagonistic to the state of Israel.”
Elliot Engel – “Support for Israel in this Congress and in this nation, is bipartisan, and we are here simply to speak with one voice to support Israel’s right to protect themselves as a sovereign democratic nation…Because Turkey is a NATO ally, it’s even more disgraceful, their actions…If we look at what the Turkish government has done in the past couple of years: they certainly have a very strong Islamic bent, but a bent in terms of looking towards Iran, and looking towards the Middle East, and not looking at the West and NATO anymore,”
Eric Cantor – “Any reports that I have heard over the last 24 hours that indicate that our administration is somehow complicit in an effort to push out a UN resolution calling for and international investigation of the flotilla headed for Gaza is an outrage. We’re here not only to urge this administration to veto any such resolution but to stand up, speak out in opposition to such right now.”
Shelley Berkley – “As far as I’m concerned, Turkey is responsible for the nine deaths aboard that ship, it is not Israel’s troops that are responsible…They don’t deserve to be a part of the EU until they start behaving more like the European nations and a whole lot less like Iran,”
I have included links below to various news outlets who attended the press conference and published stories. We are sending out this information to all our member caucuses as an example and to help coordinate similar actions around the globe.
I hope you are encouraged by the strong and outspoken actions of our caucus.