“After the Elections: US Policy, Israel and Gaza” – A Conversation with Congressman Brian Baird.

Posted 11/10/2010 - 11:52 by Rabbi Brant Rosen

The next Ta'anit Tzedek fast day will take place this Thursday, November 18. To mark the day, we will present a conference call, "After the Elections: US Policy, Israel and Gaza" - A Conversation with Congressman Brian Baird. The call will begin at 12 noon Eastern Time.
Dial the Access Number: 1.800.920.7487
Participant Code: 92247763#

Congressman Baird is the outgoing Representative for Washington state's 3rd District. Prior to being elected in 1998, Congressman Baird practiced as a licensed clinical psychologist in Washington state and Oregon. He also worked in state and Veterans Administration psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, substance abuse treatment programs, and institutions for juvenile offenders.

Congressman Baird is also notable for being one of the few members of Congress who is willing to openly advocate for Palestinian human rights. He has visited Gaza on three separate occasions and had this to say after his visit in February 2009 (immediately following Israel's Operation Cast Lead):

The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering... Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental water, sewer, and electricity facilities hit and relief agencies heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools, entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart wrenching – what went on here, and what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words.

After his third visit to Gaza in February 2010, Baird called on the US to break Israel's blockade of the strip to deliver humanitarian aid. He was also one of the few members of the House to vote against a bill that "unequivocally opposed any endorsement or further consideration" of the Goldstone Report. (Click here to watch his passionate defense of report on the House floor.)

Our conference call will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 12:00pm (EST). During our conversation, we will ask Congressman Baird to discuss his experiences in Gaza, to comment on current efforts to lift the blockade and to share his views on the search for a just peace in Israel/Palestine in light of the recent midterm elections.

Congressman Baird will also address the wrongful death trial, brought by Craig and Cindy Corrie against the Israeli government, for the death of their daughter Rachel (who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003). As the Corrie's congressman, Rep. Baird has long supported the Corrie family in their quest for justice and personally testified in the trial last May.

Here's the call-in info:

Dial the Access Number: 1.800.920.7487
Participant Code: 92247763#

As always, we encourage you to join the call and spread the word.