How a West Bank Trip Turned This Congressman Into One of Israel’s Strongest Critics

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan tells Haaretz why he welcomes a new Israeli government, even one led by a right-winger like Naftali Bennett who has renounced the two-state solution


Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan. Andy Manis / AP

Ben Samuels, Haaretz, Jun. 7, 2021

WASHINGTON – How does a lawmaker go from surface-level familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to being one of the most vocal proponents of Palestinian rights in the history of Congress?

It starts with Humpty Dumpty.

Possible House Committee Hold on Arms Sale to Israel


Emergency Aid Appeal


First of all, thanks to those who turned out for yesterday’s banner drop and today’s demonstration at the Capitol covered by Channel 27 News. Demonstrations were held all over the world yesterday and today, even in France where they were prohibited by the Macron government at the last minute.

As I write this, live media coverage out of Gaza by Arabic channels is showing the constant bombardment of Gaza that takes place every night. As you may have heard, Israel destroyed yet another high rise building in Gaza, this time the one that also houses many press agencies including AP. Here is a video of the building owner pleading for just 10 extra minutes.

This was preceded by the destruction of 17 media offices and the wounding of 3 journalists in Gaza. Clearly Israel does not want anyone to know what is really going on.

Israel also destroyed a house in Shati (Beach) Camp and killed 10 members of one family.

And there were many injuries as Palestinians protested across the West Bank. Yesterday, 11 were killed by Israel.

The U.S. media is barely reporting and certainly not showing the extent of the damage and casualties. If you want know the reality including pictures please go to Al Jazeera English and Middle East Eye.

Also, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza issues daily reports documenting in excruciating detail the damage, deaths and injuries, including what is happening in the West Bank and to Israel’s Palestinian population.

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Barbara Olson and Tsela Barr: Let’s stop funding Israel’s campaign of oppression


Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo – Adel Hana)

TSELA BARR AND BARB OLSON, The Cap Times, May 15, 2021

For the past few weeks, Israel has intensified a provocative campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, focused largely but not exclusively on occupied East Jerusalem.

You can be forgiven if you are unfamiliar with the details, since most of the mainstream U.S. media has studiously ignored them.

Among the major provocations were: looming theft of more homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem long targeted by Jewish settlers for “demographic change;” bulldozing homes in adjoining Silwan; protecting a mob of far right Jews as they walked through East Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs”; and repeatedly, violently and for no good reason driving Palestinians out of public areas surrounding the Al Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, several times even invading and damaging the mosque itself while beating and gassing those inside.

Things got so bad that the Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in the thousands past roadblocks into Jerusalem and rallied in their towns and villages, even launching running urban revolts that very much resemble anti-police violence protests here at home.

Eventually, the Israelis got the response that they foresaw and many probably wanted: rockets fired from Gaza. Now they can unleash their vastly superior, U.S. funded and supported military upon the citizens of Gaza, inflicting damage and casualties in the hugely disproportionate ratio that they are accustomed to. This practice of assaulting the Gaza inmates in their open-air, blockaded prison every few years is publicly referred to in Israel as “mowing the grass.”

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Update: May 10, 2021
Banner Drop for Sheikh Jarrah

Note: The start time has changed to 3:30 pm.

In light of the recent events in Jerusalem and the escalating fight to stop the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, MRSCP will be holding a banner drop tomorrow, Monday May 10, beginning at 3:30 on the Campus Drive pedestrian overpass. We plan to be finished no later than 5:30 pm.

We have a minimum number of volunteers, but could use more so if you would like to join us, we invite you to do so for any amount of that time.

Parking is available in UW Lot 41, north off of old University Avenue, with the entrance near 1800 University Ave. between the Enzyme Institute and the UW Foundation Buildings.

We will have large banners and flags, and will take pictures to be posted and circulated online afterwards. If you come, dress warmly as it is expected to be cool (in the 50s) and probably windy on the overpass.

Tomorrow the UN Security Council is meeting in closed session to discuss Sheikh Jarrah. There have been many demonstrations around the world in the past couple of days, and there have even been a few items in the US mainstream news. The Israeli court decision about the Sheikh Jarrah evictions scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. Meanwhile, extremist Israelis are planning a provocative anti-Arab march that will bring them into Palestinian areas tomorrow.

If you are looking for good background on Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem including periodic live broadcasts, we suggest visiting Middle East Eye.

Finally, you can also take these two actions:

  1. Thank Rep. Mark Pocan for being among those who have spoken out on Sheikh Jarrah.
  2. Sign the Save Sheikh Jarrah Petition.

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Rep. Mark Pocan’s Recognition of Israeli Violence