WASHINGTON, DC, March 10, 2022—House Democratic leadership is so committed to undermining the grassroots call to end military and diplomatic support for apartheid Israel that they tied the passage of anti-Palestinian legislation and military funding for Israel to the must-pass omnibus spending bill, which passed the House late in the evening on Wednesday, March 9.
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer rigged the vote against justice for all: in order to vote for humanitarian funding for Ukraine, and funding at home for hospitals, domestic violence shelters, clean drinking water, public transportation, and other life-giving community projects, Congress also voted for billions of dollars in weapons and military funding to Israel.
As a result of this horrible merging of life-threatening and life-giving funding in one bill, it is guaranteed to easily pass in the Senate as well.
Lumping support for apartheid Israel into a bill funding essential government services creates an anti-democratic false choice vote. The bill enables impunity for apartheid Israel through:
- $4.8 billion in military funding to Israel, including the annual $3.8 billion and an extra $1 billion in weapons funding
- Further diplomatic support through H.R. 2748/S. 1061, the Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021. This harmful bill, which we’re calling the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act, expands Trump-era weapons and business deals between apartheid Israel and other authoritarian regimes, while sidelining Palestinian demands for justice.
While the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act (H.R. 2748) purports to advance regional cooperation, in reality it entrenches impunity by willfully ignoring Israel’s constant human rights violations and settler colonialism. H.R. 2748 also includes language that limits free speech in support of Palestinian rights and threatens to censor or defund international organizations that may not support normalization as defined by this bill. Read USCPR’s full analysis of the bill in this policy memo.
Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is part of a decades-long history of violence and settler colonialism. Just since the start of the year, the Israeli regime has inflicted massive violence:
- Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinian children, 16-year-old Mohammad Akram Ali Taher Abu Salah near Jenin, 13-year-old Mohammad Rezq Shehadeh Salah near Bethlehem, and 15-year-old Yamen Nafez Mahmoud Khanafseh near Jerusalem.
- The Israeli regime demolished at least 145 Palestinian homes and structures including the Salahiya family’s home in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem.
- Israel brutally repressed protests in the Naqab desert while mass arresting over 40 Palestinians, including many children.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International charged Israel with crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution in a damning report released last month, a reality that Palestinian people have long known and named.
“After Israel’s mass killing of 260 Palestinians in Gaza in May 2021 and escalating ethnic cleansing across Palestine, Congress should be focused on demanding accountability ASAP,” said Sana Siddiq, USCPR’s Manager of Policy and Advocacy Campaigns. “Instead, Majority Leader Hoyer just rammed through billions in military funding as well as anti-Palestinian legislation that perpetuates Israeli impunity.”
Indeed, the Normalizing Israeli Ethnic Cleansing Act backs the deeply transactional Abraham Accords, which give weapons to authoritarian regimes in return for ignoring Israeli violence against the Palestinian people.
Justice for the Palestinian people cannot wait. Members of Congress who claim to care about human rights must support legislation that holds Israel accountable for its crimes, such as H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act. Anything less further enables and emboldens the human rights abuses of an apartheid state.
- “Tell Hoyer: We Reject Billions to Israel” action alert by USCPR
- “Memo: Protect and Advance Human Rights – Oppose H.R. 2748/S. 1061 Israeli Relations Normalization Act” by USCPR
- “IMEU Policy Analysis #5: Abraham Accords Isolate Palestinians, Solidify Israel’s Apartheid Rule” by IMEU
- “Restricting US Military Aid to Israel in the Age of Normalization” by Nadya Tannous in Al-Shabaka
- “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution” report by Human Rights Watch and “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity” report by Amnesty International
- Gaza Is Palestine, a Palestinian-led campaign from Adalah Justice Project and MPower Change demanding accountability
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.
Image credit: Photo of Steny Hoyer by oscepa on Flickr. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 and modified for graphic.