As the chasm between Israelis and Palestinians deepens as a result of the ongoing terrorist attacks by the Gaza Strip-based Hamas terror group, the Israeli-Palestinian violence divides congressional Democrats, particularly the pro-Israel Democratic and anti-Israel Democratic factions within the U.S. House of Representatives.
The House’s only two Muslim-American legislators, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib spoke out against the “Apartheid” state of Israel, the “occupation” of Palestinian territories, and expressed their support of the BDS movement, a movement that has been widely dismissed as anti-Israel.
Rep. Tlaib, gave an emotional speech while wearing a Keffiyeh, a scarf worn to symbolize Palestinian nationalism.
Tlaib went as far as to compare South African apartheid to the recent Black community uprisings and “fighting against police brutality, and calling out her colleagues for supporting Israel.
Palestinians rights to nonviolent resistance have been curtailed and even criminalized,” said Tlaib. “ Our party leaders have spoken forcefully against BDS calling its proponents antisemitic, despite the same tactics being critically critical to ending the South African apartheid mere decades ago. What we are telling Palestinians fighting apartheid is the same thing being told to my black neighbors and Americans throughout that are fighting against police brutality here there is no form of acceptable resistance to state violence.”
“Our military support for Israel is unconditional. Netanyahu’s extremism, right-wing government will continue to expand settlements, continue to demolish homes, and continue to make the prospects for peace impossible.” Said Tlaib. “330 of my own colleagues Democrats and Republicans here, 75% of the body here, signed a letter pledging that Israel shall never be made, made to comply with basic human rights laws that
Rep. Omar’s address was eerily similar, but the Minnesota congresswoman went further in criticizing the U.S., in particular, her colleagues for supporting Israel when they “signed a letter pledging that Israel shall never be made, made to comply with basic human rights laws.”
“That this is not a conflict between two states this is not a civil war it is a conflict where one country funded and supported by the United States government continues an illegal military occupation over another group of people.”- Rep. Ilhan Omar
Pro-Israel Democrats Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who are 2 of 37 Jewish members of the House, spoke on the floor of the House in support of Israel’s right to defend herself against terrorism.
While Omar and Tlaib accuse Israel of targeting schools and civilians, Rep. Deutch pointed out that the terror group Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, continues to use innocent Palestinians as human shields.
Terrorists launch rockets at civilians, launch rockets from schools and hospitals putting kids at risk they use human shields. Hamas is a terrorist organization,” stated Rep. Deutch. “Sworn to wipe out the only Jewish state on earth. The House of Representatives previously declared it shall be the policy of the United States to officially and publicly condemn Hamas for violating the international law of armed conflict by exploiting civilians. Democracies on the other hand act to limit civilian casualties and do everything they can to defend their own citizens. Israel is a democracy, the only Jewish state in the world, and our friend and ally, and Israel has a right to defend her citizens.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz placed the blame of the violence in the region squarely on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, saying that these two terror groups were “single-handedly responsible for the escalation that has led to the bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians,” adding that the groups “do not care” for peace” and are only seeking to “destroy the Jewish state.”
“Israel has every right to defend herself. No nation should be subject to a barrage of rocket fire like what we have seen,” said Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz urged Congress to “ensure” that the Iron Dome air defense system sold to Israel continues to “get the support and funding needed to keep civilians safe.”
Wasserman Schultz then took another veiled jab at Tlaib and Omar by saying that it was “especially irresponsible to demonize Israel’s conduct while ignoring her right to self-defense.”
President Joe Biden has sent an envoy to meet with Israelis and Palestinians in hopes to end the conflict.