National Security

Braley Signed Anti-Israel Letter to Obama Calling for End to Gaza Blockade

Bruce Braley / AP

Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley urged President Barack Obama to take action to force Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010, according to a Breitbart report.

"The unabated suffering of Gazan civilians highlights the urgency of reaching a resolution into the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and we ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your Middle East peace efforts," says the January 2010 letter that Braley signed along with 54 fellow Democrats.

Braley is endorsed by liberal fringe group J Street, which calls him a "rising star in progressive politics."

Breitbart adds that Braley's involvement in the fight against Israel on its blockade could be very problematic for his current Senate race against Republican Joni Ernst.

The 2010 letter was signed by some of the most liberal members of the House, including Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Raul Grijalva (D-NM), James McGovern (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA). Some of the relatively centrist signers included Reps. Jim Himes (D-CT), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and former-Rep. Joe Sestek (D-PA).

The letter could be controversial for Braley as he seeks the Senate seat because it downplays Israeli security concerns that Palestinians would use relief from blockade to import weapons, a concern many experts view as vindicated by the recent war in which Hamas forces used "civilian" goods like building cement to construct tunnels used by terrorists.

While the letter does call the Hamas rocket attacks "abhorrent" and says Israel acted based on a "legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action," it makes no mention of whether the concern is actually justified and urges the resumed passage of commercial goods.

In addition to votes to stop funding for Iraq operations, Braley is separately under fire for saying in a recent debate he had voted to authorize President Obama to begin air strikes in Syria against ISIL. In fact, the September vote only authorized Obama to begin arming Syrian rebels, and Obama moved ahead with air strikes without any congressional authorization shortly thereafter. Braley's spokeswoman subsequently said that in saying he authorized Obama to "begin strikes," he was referring to voting "to facilitate strikes against ISIS in Syria by training and equipping Syrian rebels." Experts panned the explanation.