The ongoing Gaza crisis has sparked a major split in the U.S. Congress. President Joe Biden remained silent during the first days of military escalation. Only on May 12th, speaking for the first time since violence started flaring, Biden took a pro-Israeli position, without even mentioning the Palestinians in his comments.
President’s claims were treated like a betrayal of liberal values that his administration claims to promote all over the world.
Several Democratic members of the House of Representatives have spoken out against the United States’ military support for Israel and called for the protection of Palestinians’ rights, in contrast to other Democrats and Republicans who expressed their full support for Israel during the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip.
During the House session on May 14th, congresswomen Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez together with Mark Pocan and other U.S. representatives, claimed that U.S. State Department can’t even bring itself to acknowledge the killing of Palestinian children was wrong. They criticized President Biden and other top officials for not acknowledging “Palestinian humanity”.
On May 14th, the NY Times published a letter from senator Bernie Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, with close ties with the Democratic Party. The letter was titled: ‘The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for the Netanyahu Government,’ and it may serve as a genesis of pro-Palestinian position in the U.S. Senate.
The Sander’s letter reads:
… why do we seem to take notice of the violence in Israel and Palestine only when rockets are falling on Israel? In this moment of crisis, the United States should be urging an immediate cease-fire. We should also understand that, while Hamas firing rockets into Israeli communities is absolutely unacceptable, today’s conflict did not begin with those rockets.
… For years we have seen a deepening Israeli occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a continuing blockade on Gaza that make life increasingly intolerable for Palestinians.
Mr. Sanders criticized years-long nationalistic policy of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Washington’s multi-billion support.
… we have seen Benjamin Netanyahu’s government work to marginalize and demonize Palestinian citizens of Israel, pursue settlement policies designed to foreclose the possibility of a two-state solution and pass laws that entrench systemic inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
… Mr. Netanyahu has cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism.
… In his frantic effort to stay in power and avoid prosecution for corruption, Mr. Netanyahu has legitimized these forces, including Itamar Ben Gvir and his extremist Jewish Power party, by bringing them into the government. It is shocking and saddening that racist mobs that attack Palestinians on the streets of Jerusalem now have representation in its Knesset.
Of course, Mr. Sanders did not forget to mention the Black Lives Matter movement, as a prominent example of ‘fighters for a better world’.
… Around the world, in Europe, in Asia, in South America and here in the United States, we have seen the rise of similar authoritarian nationalist movements. … For the last four years, these movements had a friend in the White House.
… we are seeing the rise of a new generation of activists who want to build societies based on human needs and political equality. We saw these activists in American streets last summer in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. We see them in Israel. We see them in the Palestinian territories.
U.S. Senator finished his letter claiming his hopes for the United States to become a global garantor of democracy and human rights.
… With a new president, the United States now has the opportunity to develop a new approach to the world — one based on justice and democracy. Whether it is helping poor countries get the vaccines they need, leading the world to combat climate change or fighting for democracy and human rights around the globe, the United States must lead by promoting cooperation over conflict.
However, it seems that all the hopes and emotional claims of U.S. representatives are meaningless and will have no impact on the situation in Israel. Despite alleged support to liberal values, Joe Biden proved that the real national interest prevails over rights of minorities.
That’s the reason why the U.S. is making efforts to postpone the U.N. Security Council’s meetings, giving time for Netanyahu to resolve the conflict by military means. Tel Aviv has been and remains one of the Washington’s main strategic partners in the Middle East.
President’s position is shared by a number of U.S. Congress members, like Debbie Wasserman-Schul, Josh Gottheime, Brad Sherman and others. They expressed the “unwavering and steadfast support for the state of Israel” against Hamas that was designated by the US as a “terrorist organisation.”
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