Washington, D.C. – Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP Action) applauds Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Mark Pocan (WI-02) and ten other members of Congress for their powerful letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Members of Congress called for a U.S. policy that will work toward human rights and dignity for Palestinians, including standing against Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestinian land, and that will turn away from the harmful policies of previous administrations.
Under the Trump administration, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led disastrous and harmful initiatives to shield the Israeli government from accountability for its human rights violations against Palestinians and apartheid rule. Today’s letter from Palestinian rights champions in Congress lays out some of the first steps Secretary Blinken should take to finally build a U.S. policy rooted in human rights for all – no exceptions.
The letter stands against Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and Israel’s denial of the COVID-19 vaccine to Palestinians:
“Israel has an obligation [to vaccinate] all Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, including to the approximately 2 million Palestinians living in the besieged Gaza strip, which has been under a brutal Israeli-Egyptian blockade for the past 14 years.”
Furthermore, it calls for the U.S. to oppose any further expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land:
“The message from this administration must be clear: settler colonialism in any form – including Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank – is illegal under international law and will not be tolerated.”
Representatives Tlaib and Pocan were joined by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Marie Newman (IL-03), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Andre Carson (IN-07), Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Hank Johnson (GA-04). The letter comes on the same day five Senators, led by Bernie Sanders (VT), wrote to Secretary Blinken, calling for the U.S. to increase pressure on the Israeli government to fulfill its obligation under international law to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to Palestinians.
“This letter is a signal to the Biden administration that we will not go back to the status quo. These members of Congress are making it clear that if you believe that U.S. policy must be rooted in human rights, there can be no exceptions – including for Palestinians. Members of Congress are ready to advocate for Palestinian rights and dignity, and they have the power of a global movement behind them.”Stefanie Fox, Executive Director of JVP Action
“The signers of this letter, led by Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Mark Pocan, are sending a clear message to the Biden administration that progressives in Congress will not dance around the brutal reality of Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, nor will they be silent in the face of human rights violations. Now is the time for the U.S. to finally build a foreign policy rooted in human rights and justice.”Beth Miller, Senior Government Affairs Manager of JVP Action
JVP Action staff are available for interviews