Monday, February 15, 2010

Two US congressmen in Gaza. Or at least one.

From the Hamas Al Qassam website:
Two American congressmen Brian Bird and Nick Bilono, both Democrats, arrived in Gaza Strip on Sunday, the crossings and border authority said in a statement.

It added that a delegation of the UN in Gaza received the congressmen at the Rafah border terminal.

Bird said in a terse statement that his visit to Gaza is the third of its kind, noting that on the two previous occasions he entered through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in northern Gaza.

He added that the visit's itinerary includes touring hospitals, schools and other areas destroyed in the Zionist war on Gaza in a bid to have a close look on conditions of the Palestinian people in the Strip.
What's funny about this story is that the Hamas press release was copied worldwide in other news outlets - without even checking the names.

There is a congressman named Brian Baird who appears to be the first person referred to. Nick Bilono doesn't exist, however.

If a second member of Congress is in Gaza, it may be Nick Rahall, a congressman of Lebanese descent who is the top recipient of money from CAIR. There is no mention of either of them currently visiting Gaza on either of their websites, but at least Baird is in Gaza now.

Speaking to Gaza students, Baird called on the US to break the blockade of Gaza, saying, "We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift."

Is it not strange that Hamas press releases get reprinted without a minimal set of checks?

UPDATE: Both Baird and Rahall are darlings of J-Street.