U.S. Support for Israel Mirrors 80s Support for El Salvador Junta http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/us-support-for-israel-mir_b_614329.html Stephen ZunesProfessor of Politics and Chair of Mid-Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco PIt's like the 1980s all over again. During that decade, the Reagan administration -- with the support of Congress -- sent billions of dollars worth of unconditional military and other support to the right-wing junta in El Salvador, just as the Obama administration is today with the right-wing government in Israel. When Salvadoran forces massacred 700 civilians in El Mozote, congressional leaders defended the killings, saying that the U.S-backed operation was "fighting terrorists." Similarly, when Israel massacred over 700 civilians in the Gaza Strip early last year, congressional leaders defended the killings for the same reason. When Amnesty International and other groups investigated the El Mozote killings and found that it was indeed a massacre targeted at civilians by the Salvadoran army, members of Congress denounced these reputable human rights organizations as "biased." There was a similar reaction when Amnesty and other groups documented similar Israeli war crimes, with Congressional leaders accusing them of "bias." Even when the Salvadoran junta murdered international humanitarian aid workers, right-wing government's supporters in Washington insisted that the victims were actually allied with terrorists and that they somehow provoked their own deaths. We're now hearing the same rationalization regarding the attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean. The difference is that, back in the 1980s, members of Congress and the administration who were responsible for such policies were targeted with frequent protests, including sit-ins at congressional offices and other kinds of nonviolent direct action. Unlike supporters of El Salvador's former right-wing government, however, today's congressional supporters of Israel's right-wing government seem to be getting a free ride.