What’s the story?
- Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
- The comments came a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned the two congresswomen from visiting the Middle Eastern country over their support for the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
- “We give Israel more than $3 billion in aid every year. This is predicated on their being an important ally in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East,” Omar said at press conference.
“But denying (a) visit to duly elected members of Congress is not consistent with being an ally and denying millions of people freedom of movement or expression or self-determination is not consistent with being a democracy.”
- Netanyahu had claimed that the two progressive lawmakers were determined "to hurt Israel and increase unrest. They were planning a campaign whose whole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”
- Both lawmakers also called on Israel to end its “occupation” of Palestine.
- “We must be asking, as Israel’s ally, the Netanyahu government stop the expansion of settlements on Palestinian land and ensure full rights for Palestinians if we are to give them aid,” Omar said.
- Tlaib, who’s Palestinian-American, fought back tears as she spoke of her time in the territory:
"As a young girl, visiting Palestine to see my grandparents and extended family, I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints—even though she was a United States citizen and proud American. I was there when there when my [grandmother] was in a terrible car accident and my cousins and I cried so she could have access to the best hospitals—which were in Jerusalem.”
Israeli & Palestinian Legislation
The House voted on a number of bills regarding Israel and the Palestinian territories on their last week in session:
- The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2019 would require the president to submit an annual report to Congress identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.
- H.R.246 would express the House's opposition to the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement targeting Israel.
- The U.S.-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act would expand and deepen U.S.-Israel bilateral security and economic cooperation.
- There are also a few bills that passed out of committee in July.
What do you think?
Should the U.S. end its aid to Israel? Do you support any of the above bills? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
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