“Enough”: Reps. AOC, Tlaib, and Pocan lead effort to block weapon sales to Israel
“You cannot claim to support human rights and peace on Earth and continue to back the extremist Netanyahu regime, it’s that simple,” Rep. Tlaib said in a statement.
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights. In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions.”
This was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who, on Thursday, May 19, joined Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan in a joint effort for Congress to oppose the sale of millions of U.S. weapons to the Israeli government.
They were also joined by Reps. Cori Bush, Betty McCollum, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal and Andre Carson.
The weapons in question, Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMS, are kits that transform bombs into precision-guided missiles. In the most recent and ongoing conflict, which has by and large affected Palestinians, these weapons have killed 12 Israelis and over 200 Palestinians, including at least 63 children.
“The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing. We have a responsibility to protect human rights,” Rep. AOC wrote on Twitter
The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing.
We have a responsibility to protect human rights. https://t.co/OctBNYFpwp
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 19, 2021
Tlaib, who earlier this week confronted President Joe Biden for the United States’ part in the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“No more weapons to kill children and families. Enough,” she wrote on Twitter. Tlaib is the first woman of Palestinian descent to serve in Congress. She also told the president that Palestinians must be protected, that Israel has played a major part in escalating the violence.
Tlaib’s works to Biden echo her recent speech on the House floor last week, in which she called for an end to the “apartheid system” that Palestinians increasingly find themsleves in, and to end the racism she said has been inflicted on Palestinians by Israel’s government.
On Wednesday morning, before the joint call to action was formally announced, Biden told Netanyahu that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” according to a White House press release.
This comes after the U.S. blocked efforts by the United Nations Security Council to call for a ceasefire, effectively backing Israel’s bombing campaign against Palestinians. On May 17, Biden also reiterated his “firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.”
While awareness for Palestinians is growing, the joint resolution of disapproval is not likely to advance through the House. It’s a symbolic effort that reflects the progressive Democrats’ —Reps. Ocasio, Tlaib, Pocan, and cosponsors — increased uneasiness over the U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel.
Politico reports it isn’t even likely to go through the House or even the Foreign Affairs Committee, as the period given to Congress to review the Israel arms sale in question expires at the end of the week.
The U.S. has provided arms, including JDAMS, tanks and sophisticated fighter jets, to Israel for decades. Since 1985, the U.S. has provided nearly $3 billion in foreign military aid annually for Israel to strengthen it against its Palestinian neighbors.
“The harsh truth is that these weapons are being sold by the United States to Israel with the clear understanding that the vast majority of them will be used to bomb Gaza,” Tlaib wrote in the joint statement.