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As Israel Massacres Palestinians in Gaza, 'Democrats Can't Be Silent About This Anymore'

Democrats must show "that they will not remain quiet as dozens of nonviolent protesters are killed, and that they refuse to carry water for reckless decisions made by Trump and his war cabinet"

Andrea Germanos

A child overcome by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue on May 14, 2018 in Gaza City, Gaza. Israeli soldiers killed at least 41 Palestinians and wounded over a thousand as the demonstrations coincided with the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. This marks the deadliest day of violence in Gaza since 2014. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

With Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) provoking specific ire, Democratic members of Congress are in the hot seat on Monday as human rights organizations demand they raise their voices to denounce Israel's attacks on peaceful Palestinian protesters.

During the day's protests along the barrier between Israel and Gaza—the latest in a six-week series of demonstrations—the Israeli army fired live ammunition at Palestinians, killing over 50 and wounding thousands. The bloodshed, which resulted in the the highest death toll since the demonstrations began March 30, is overwhelming an already decimated health system in the blockaded territory, and comes the same day the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem opened.

Ilya Sheyman,  the executive director of MoveOn Political Action, said, "We call on every single Democratic elected official to use their platform and power to demand an immediate end to Israel's attacks on peaceful protesters in Gaza, and commit to working for a lasting and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

"Republicans have repeatedly shown that they are on the wrong side of questions of war and human rights; Democrats must show voters that they are different—that they are the party of peace, that they will not remain quiet as dozens of nonviolent protesters are killed, and that they refuse to carry water for reckless decisions made by Trump and his war cabinet," he added.

While there are at least a few members of Congress, including Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who have taken to their public platforms to denounce what Amnesty International said amounted to a "shameless violation of international law, in some instances constituting war crimes," Schumer, the Senate's number one Democrat, went in the exact opposite direction.

In a statement, Schumer praised the Trump administration's moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—calling it "a long overdue move" and boasting of how he "sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago." 

In response to Schumer's statement, writer and radio host Katie Halper tweeted: "As a Jew, I'd like to thank Chuck Schumer @SenSchumer for proving that we can be just as bigoted, backwards & Islamophobic as Donald Trump. If we kill them, do they not bleed?"

Another constituent, Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, responded by urging people to call Schumer's officer to "let your voice opposing unlawful move of U.S. embassy—as Palestinian protesters being gunned down—be heard."

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights is also drawing renewed attention to the fact that "Palestinians have the right to protest without paying for it with their lives." In a petition urging people to contact their members of Congress, it says, "Israel is expecting to act with impunity—again. But you can help hold it accountable for its excessive use of force against Palestinian demonstrators."

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