Rep. Ro Khanna, Please Rationally Look at the Mid-East Facts

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Dear Congressman Khanna:
We live in your district. We are writing to ask that you PLEASE listen to our voices. We have also invited friends from across the country to add their voices as co-signers.
We understand that some of the loudest anti-Israel activists are screaming that Israel is to blame for ALL the problems in Gaza. Unlike the majority of Californians and Americans, they oppose a lasting peace between two states for two peoples.
We understand that today one is often not considered a “progressive” unless they jump on the “blame Israel for everything” bandwagon.
We understand that facts and reason play little if any role in this false, divisive, and polarizing demonization of Israel.
We understand that most anti-Israel “progressives” have no interest in presenting an honest and fair narrative.
Congressman Khanna, we ask that you please not feed this inaccurate and dangerous one-sided narrative against Israel.
Congressman Khanna, on your Facebook page on May 24 you linked to a NYT article that demonizes Israel while holding Hamas completely harmless. You posted these words: “Over 1.8 million Palestinians are currently trapped inside Gaza while a decade-long blockade starves them of basic supplies, economic opportunity, and ultimately, any sense of hope for a better life. This economic deprivation is the essential problem that must be addressed.”

Congressman Khanna, we too want an end to the violence on the border of Israel and Gaza. We too want the people of Gaza to be free, to flourish, and to build their once-beautiful city so that they can live prosperous, productive, and happy lives.

Congressman Khanna, are you aware that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, an Iran-funded terrorist organization whose primary purpose according to its own charter is to destroy Israel and replace it with a theocratic extremist dictatorship?
Congressman Khanna, are you aware that UNRWA aid money meant to help the people of Gaza has been used in significant part by Hamas to support hate education and terrorism against the people of Israel?
Congressman Khanna, are you aware that during the border riots, Hamas deliberately sabotaged and destroyed the main entryway into Gaza for humanitarian aid and shipment of goods, the Kerem Shalom Crossing? Are you also aware that Hamas deliberately destroyed the Gaza Strip’s only fuel terminal and conveyer belt for raw construction materials and animal feed?
Congressman Khanna, who benefits when Hamas deliberately deprives and harms its own people? Hamas knows that the public will blame Israel and they rely on the ignorance of Westerners and the bias of the international community to help in their hate-filled propaganda campaign.

Congressman Khanna, if the international community is serious about helping to resolve the crisis in Gaza, it needs to also put pressure on Hamas, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) because they too share responsibility for the deteriorating conditions in Gaza.

Congressman Khanna, while this may have begun as a civil society peaceful protest, Hamas effectively hijacked it for its violent agenda. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahhar told an interviewer, “This is not peaceful resistance...when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies...”

Congressman Khanna, while we are deeply saddened by the loss of life at the Gaza/Israel border, this violence did not have to happen. When dozens of violent protesters--even among many non-violent ones--use knives to cut the border security fence, wield and shoot guns, machetes, use explosives, and shout for the destruction of Israel, they pose a clear and direct threat to a sovereign nation where the nearest Israeli residential community, Nahal Oz, is only one-half mile from the border violence.
Congressman Khanna, are you aware that Hamas has engaged in environmental terrorism by burning thousands of tires, deliberately exposing their own children to toxic fumes? Do you know that Hamas has launched hundreds of kite firebombs--decorated with swastikas-- across the border with Israel, setting over 200 blazes that caused widespread damage to fields and forests?

Congressman Khanna, at the last border infiltration, Israeli sharpshooters killed 62 Gazans on or near the fence. Shortly after, an Islamic Jihad spokesman announced that three of its fighters were among the dead. Then, a Hamas spokesman acknowledged that 50 of the dead were Hamas fighters. In other words, Israeli snipers shot 53 Palestinian fighters, by the Palestinians’ own count, who were armed, detonated explosives or opened fire on the IDF.

Congressman Khanna, that leaves nine Palestinian civilians who were presumably killed accidentally. There were also a large number wounded by the thousands of rounds fired at the feet of the unarmed civilians storming the fence. None of these deaths or injuries had to happen.

Congressman Khanna, in sum, your one-sided post, article and stance that seeks to blame Israel and only Israel does not lead to peace, justice, or freedom for the people of Gaza or for the Palestinian people at large. In fact, your one-sided, inaccurate stance emboldens the anti-Israel extremists—many of whom desire the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state.

Congressman Khanna, we ask that you also speak with people in your district and beyond who understand that this is not a black and white narrative and that the first step toward peace is building greater understanding through knowledge and accurate representation of events with facts.

Congressman Khanna, we don’t believe you are intentionally seeking to mislead your public, however, that is unfortunately what is taking place.

Congressman Khanna, we believe that peace and diplomacy must begin at home. Will you please consent to meet with the signers of this document who live in your district for a respectful and constructive dialogue?

Thank you for your kind consideration.


Wendy M. Harris and David Harris