$1 billion military funding to apartheid Israel passes House as eight dissenting progressives call for the protection of the Palestinian people



WASHINGTON, DC, September 23, 2021 – In the third moment of congressional dissent on weapons to Israel this week, the movement for Palestinian rights drove eight progressives to vote for justice, and two to vote present, while remaining representatives shamefully voted to send another $1 billion of military funding to the apartheid state of Israel, actively enabling Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Democrats Rep. Cori Bush, Rep. André Carson, Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Marie Newman, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, as well as Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, voted against the bill while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Hank Johnson voted present.

On the House floor, Rep. Rashida Tlaib spoke powerfully to explicitly oppose another $1 billion in miltary funding to apartheid Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people.

We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinans are living under a violent apartheid system and are dying from what Human Rights Watch has said are war crimes,” Tlaib said. “We should also be talking about Palestinian need for security from Israeli attacks. We must be consistent in our commitment to human life. Period. Everyone deserves to be safe there.”

As Palestinian people have long pointed out, and as recent reports from Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem have recognized, Israel is unarguably a separate-and-unequal apartheid regime that oppresses and systematically kills the Palestinian people. In the May 2021 massacre on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli regime murdered 260 Palestinian people, including four generations of the Kawlak family wiped out in a single night—part of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

These weapons enable Israel’s relentless assaults on Palestinians in Gaza, who live under an Israeli blockade that denies them access to regular electricity, clean water, medical care, freedom of movement, and much more. Sending any form of weaponry to an apartheid state enables ongoing assault on human life.

Jehad Abusalim, a Palestinian analyst from Gaza, wrote publicly on Twitter about the dehumanization inherent in the Congressional debate: “There’s no mention of how Gaza ended up in the place where it is today. Palestinians are constantly deprived of context. . . . There’s no mention of how the modern-day Gaza Strip was created in 1948 due to the Nakba. . . . There was no mention of thousands of Palestinians killed, injured, and imprisoned by Israel throughout the decades. There was no mention of Palestinians from Gaza who can’t see their families due to the blockade.”

“We are seeing, slowly but surely, that Congress’ disregard for Palestinian lives cannot continue,” said Sana, USCPR’s Manager of Policy and Advocacy Campaigns. “Over the past week some true progressives have actually represented the people’s voice to protect the Palestinian people from Israeli aggression. All of us who call for justice know we cannot continue sending billions in military funding to an apartheid state.”

“The people have spoken, loudly and repeatedly, from thousands of massive marches across the U.S. this summer to Data for Progress’s poll showing that 72% of Democratic voters support H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, to stop funding Israel’s worst abuses,” Sana said.

USCPR will continue to build toward a right-based, justice-centered foreign policy as a counter to ongoing ethnic cleansing. Today Congressman Andy Levin introduced his Two State Solution Act. Palestinians have long been clear in their demands—stop U.S. complicity in Israeli human rights abuses and divest from harm and violence.

As such, any policy measure 1) must hold Israel accountable for the harm its U.S.-funded military inflicts on Palestinians and 2) meaningfully oppose the separate-and-unequal reality that Palestinians live under.

The Two State Solution Act does not pass these two basic requirements and thus cannot be a progressive bill on Palestine. We encourage you to review our full memo here (PDF).


About the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) is a national network of activists and organizations who are committed to freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people and who work to end U.S. complicity in their oppression. USCPR is a political home for all who believe that freedom for the Palestinian people is an integral part of achieving our collective liberation. USCPR provides resources and strategic support to the U.S.-based Palestine solidarity movement, channeling grassroots power into positive change in U.S. policy and public opinion. USCPR works with local organizers and activists, policymakers, movement leaders, media, and advocacy organizations to advance a rights-based, accountability and justice-oriented framework from the U.S. to Palestine.