Members of Congress Speak Up for Palestinian Rights
Tuesday, Sept 20th, 2022 – Washington, D.C. – Palestine Virtual Advocacy Days successfully commenced on Monday with over 800 participants from all over the country. Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, executive director of AJP Action, kicked off the largest Palestine congressional advocacy event by touting the growth and effectiveness of the campaign to support Palestinian human rights, saying:
“Palestine today is one of the issues of the social justice movement, globally and in the United States.”
He also emphasized the importance of remaining engaged and keeping up the pressure to end U.S. complicity in Israeli apartheid and achieve a meaningful change in U.S. policy.
This year, Palestine Advocacy Days VPAD presented the Champion of Palestinian Rights Award to Congresswoman Marie Newman (D-IL) for her courageous advocacy for Palestinian liberation and self-determination. Congresswoman Newman noted that while it was
“truly an honor” to receive this award, “we shouldn’t have to praise people for doing the right thing…. to speak up for justice.”
Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) acknowledged the injustice Palestinians experience under Israeli apartheid, and the challenges facing American policy, but echoed a point of optimism by saying:
“As a member of the United States Congress, I see the tide is turning in our favor every single day.”
She noted that Americans are increasingly “questioning how we can stand for liberty and justice while bankrolling the Israeli military’s war crimes and human rights abuses to the tune of several billion dollars each year.” She added that “it’s become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government.”
Congressman André Carson (D-IN) expressed support for VPAD, and added: “I stand with the Palestinian people against military occupation, blockades, illegal settlements, and racial discrimination. He also demanded an investigation and meaningful accountability for Israel’s killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, highlighting his leadership on the Justice for Shireen Act, for which he urged support among his colleagues, and stating:
“Every human killed, American or not, deserves justice–Palestinians included!”
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) spoke of her personal experience witnessing the injustice in Palestinian villages, and advocated for meaningful accountability for U.S. military funding for Israel. She highlighted her support for Betty McCollum’s bill, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, which seeks to ensure that U.S. military funding doesn’t contribute to abuses of Palestinian rights, and added,
“It is not enough to stop the expansion of settlements, we need to end the occupation entirely, and give the Palestinian people at a better future.”
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) advocated for all Palestinians to be afforded the human rights they deserve and spoke of the lack of accountability for Israel “Shireen’s shocking murder at the hands of the IDF is yet anotherlife cut short in a long line of abuses committed by the Israeli army. As we know, we cannot rely on the Israeli government to conduct a fair, transparent investigation, and as an American citizen, she is entitled to the full protections afforded to U.S. citizens living abroad. Our nation was founded on the values of human rights and equality for all. We must live up to these ideals by supporting the Palestinian people.” She added:
“Your commitment to advocating for political change and Palestinian human rights, is urgent and so, so important in this fight.”
In case you missed our live sessions, you can watch the full recording of the Congressional plenary here on YouTube.