On July 3, 2010, I received an email from a friend informing me
that Congressman Brad Sherman, who is seeking reelection to his 8th
term in California's 27th Congressional District, was hosting a
Middle-East town hall on July 7th from 7-8:30PM at member-based
Conservative Jewish Temple, Ramat Zion, with Israeli Deputy Consul Gil
Artzyeli as his guest.
Acknowledging the lack of frequency of most Congress members' town halls, one might consider applauding Congressman Sherman for stepping up to interact with his constituents, for according to his website, Sherman has hosted more than 100 town halls since taking office 14 years ago. In fact, he's scheduled to host yet another at Reseda High School on more general issues this Sunday, July 11th.
Yet, despite Sherman's penchant for hosting and publicizing his many town halls, this July 7th Middle-East town hall was conspicuously absent from Sherman's facebook page and website. Its narrow Middle-East focus was not germane to the majority of his constituents. It was a targeted single-issue event and not the more common multi-issue event pertaining to issues critical to his constituents. Indeed, this Middle-East town hall didn't even comport with Sherman's own criteria for town halls as described on his website:
Listening to Valley residents is one of the most important parts of my job. Town Hall Meetings are an opportunity to discuss issues facing Congress, including health care, the economy, taxes and education. The meetings also are a chance for you to meet my constituent service staff and get help dealing with federal agencies.
Nowhere in this town hall description are the Middle-East, Israel, Palestine or Iran ever mentioned. This event was clearly never intended for Sherman's full constituency, but rather for his pro-Israel constituents from whom he enjoys wide support. This further explains why the Middle-East town hall was being held at a Jewish Temple rather than a public venue more suitable to the wider demographic of the 27th CD. It elucidates why Sherman's guest speaker was the Israeli Deputy Consul, rather than an expert on health care, the economy, taxes and education; the more traditional discussion topics Sherman references above, which are far more relevant to the needs of his constituents.
This also illuminates why the announcement my friend uncovered about the Middle-East town hall was published in the July 2nd issue of the Jewish Journal and distributed via email to selected Jewish and pro-Israel constituents who became the overwhelming plurality at the event. It further reveals why it was not posted on Sherman's website and facebook page along with the invitation to the more traditional July 11th town hall at Reseda High School.
Here's the email of the invite Sherman sent to selected constituents
for Wednesday's Middle-East town hall:
As the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Nonproliferation, I work extensively on issues concerning the United States' relationships with countries in the Middle East.
On July 7th, from 7:00 8:30 PM, I will be joined by Gil Artzyeli, Deputy Consul General of Israel inLos Angeles, as I host a special town hall focusing on recent developments in the Middle East, including terrorism, the US-Israel relationship, Iran's nuclear weapons program, and sanctions against Iran.
The town hall will be held at Temple Ramat Zion, at 17655 Devonshire Street in Northridge. The event, kosher refreshments, and parking are free. I hope to see you on Wednesday, July 7th.
My constituent services staff will also be at the synagogue to help you deal with any problem you're having with any federal agency. If you have any questions, please feel free to call my office at 818-501-9200.
Congressman Brad Sherman
Not surprisingly in this election year, Brad Sherman is ginning up his Jewish constituency (who usually vote), and Jews in general (who usually donate), with his unrelenting support for Israel - including Israel's controversial boarding of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla's Mavi Mara and its killing of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish American citizen - an act internationally condemned by all nations except Israel's steadfast ally, the United States.
Sherman's unequivocal devotion to Israel even propelled him to request that the U.S. Justice Department investigate any American involved with the humanitarian flotilla for breaking U.S. law by providing aid to Hamas, the duly elected government of Gaza, and a U.S. and Israeli terrorist designee.
Because of Congressional pro-Israel stalwarts like Brad Sherman, who are driven by personal allegiance and buoyed by the undue influence of the Jewish lobby (AIPAC), the United States continues its self-defeating Israel bias, which despite zionist proclamations to the contrary, threatens America's global security.
For decades, successive American and Israeli governments have claimed the symbiotic relationship between the two countries to be mutually beneficial. But growing numbers of Americans are now refusing to be part of the charade that the US/Israel relationship benefits America. These Americans now realize they've been pawns in Israel/AIPAC propaganda, perpetuating the notion that the US and Israel are socio-political twins, and that somehow this foreign nation some 5,000 miles from the U.S. shore, that most Americans have never visited or have biological or ancestral ties to, is our kindred spirit - when in reality the opposite is true. Israel, from its inception, has been predicated upon segregation, elitism and exclusion. The United States, in its ideal, strives for integration, equality and inclusion.
What's most troubling is the all-consuming pro-Israel hubris of Americans like Brad Sherman who are elected to serve America's interests but who state publicly, proudly and without fear of retribution that they take positions in Congress to serve Israel's interests.