Resistance to Israeli occupation is finding a voice in Washington

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Protest against U.S. aid to Israel and for a free Palestine on May 15, 2021, San Francisco. Image credit: Patrick Perkins/Unsplash

U.S. taxpayers who want to see their tax dollars at work should look no further than the Gaza Strip, the besieged enclave where two million Palestinians live in what former Conservative British prime minister David Cameron described as "an open-air prison."

Israel has launched another of its horrific, periodic bombing campaigns against the embattled Gazans -- slaughters that Israeli commentators have long called "mowing the grass" -- leaving hundreds dead, including scores of children. At least 17 hospitals and clinics have been damaged, including Gaza's only COVID-19 testing facility, clean water has been cut to hundreds of thousands, schools have been destroyed, and a major high-rise building hosting media organizations including Al Jazeera and the Associated Press was levelled.

The United States enables all this by providing Israel with billions of dollars in aid annually and unparallelled access to sophisticated weaponry.

Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots human rights group, asked of American Jews in a recent press release:

"Do we accede to a future rooted in denial and continue to allow apartheid, ethnic cleansing and massacre in our names? Or do we engage with hard truths and bring our whole selves to the struggle of teshuva, of repair for these harms?"

Israel has long enjoyed vigorous, bipartisan support in the U.S. Now, with a new, more diverse generation of elected representatives, popular resistance to Israel's occupation of Palestine is finding a voice in Washington.

"I am the only Palestinian-American member of Congress now, and my mere existence has disrupted the status quo," Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Detroit, said during an emotional address on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"I am a reminder to colleagues that Palestinians do indeed exist, that we are human, that we are allowed to dream. We are mothers, daughters, granddaughters. We are justice seekers and are unapologetically about our fight against oppressions of all forms."

Tlaib was speaking on Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and just two days before the Palestinian commemoration of Nakba Day. The Nakba, or, in English, the Catastrophe, was the violent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that accelerated following the May 15, 1948 founding of Israel.

Since then, Israel has systematically expanded its illegal military occupation of Palestinian land, killed thousands of innocent Palestinians, and imprisoned tens of thousands more without charge. None of this could have been accomplished without the robust support and approval of the United States.

In the past, Rashida Tlaib might have been a lone voice. Now, she has a groundswell of support. Democratic Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz of New York and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin joined Tlaib in offering a joint resolution to Congress, opposing the pending $735-million sale to Israel of so-called "smart" bombs, the Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMS, manufactured by Boeing. Sen. Bernie Sanders is introducing a similar resolution in the Senate.

John Ossoff, the first Jewish senator elected from Georgia, led 28 Democratic Senators in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, from both Israel and Hamas, whose missiles have killed 12 people inside Israel. Thousands of people have been rallying across the United States, demanding a ceasefire.

On Tuesday, Biden made a trip to Detroit, Rashida Tlaib's home district, to visit the plant where Ford's all-electric vehicles will be manufactured. Tlaib met him on the airport tarmac. NPR reported that an aide to Tlaib summarized Tlaib's comments to Biden as:

"Palestinian human rights are not a bargaining chip and must be protected, not negotiated…The U.S. cannot continue to give the right-wing Netanyahu government billions each year to commit crimes against Palestinians. Atrocities like bombing schools cannot be tolerated, much less conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons."

Biden praised Tlaib in his speech at the Ford plant, adding, "I pray that your grandma and family are well."

Palestinian grandmothers living under Israeli occupation don't need Biden's prayers; they need his intervention.

As Biden was about to test drive an electric truck, he had this exchange with a reporter:

"Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away, since it's so important?"

"No, you can't -- not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I'm only teasing," Biden replied.

He then tore off, reportedly hitting 80 mph. For the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, it is as if they are hit daily by a truck driven by the American government.

Israel's latest deadly assault has driven more people around the world into active solidarity with the Palestinan people in their resistance, rejecting what the late, great Palestinian scholar and activist Edward Said described as the "gregarious tolerance for the way things are."

Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now!, a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,300 stations. She is the co-author, with Denis Moynihan, of The Silenced Majority, a New York Times bestseller. This column originally appeared on Democracy Now!

Image credit: Patrick Perkins/Unsplash

Related Items

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.