(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Oct 26, 2023
Eight members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday voted against a bipartisan House resolution that expresses unconditional support for the Israeli government as it carries out massive war crimes in Gaza—atrocities that aren't once mentioned in the newly passed measure.
The resolution, titled H. Res. 771, passed late Wednesday in a 412 to 10 vote, the House's first act under newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.). Led by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the resolution states that the House "stands with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists" and "stands ready to assist Israel with emergency resupply and other security, diplomatic, and intelligence support."
The Senate unanimously approved a similar resolution last week.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), one of the progressives who voted against the H. Res. 771, said in a statement that the resolution is "one-sided" and "explicitly and intentionally fails to mourn Palestinians while simultaneously greenlighting more death and violence."
"I deeply mourn and grieve all the civilians—Israeli, Palestinian, and American—who were and continue to be killed," said Bush, one of the lead sponsors of a cease-fire resolution in the House. "As more people die every hour, it is shameful that this resolution fails to acknowledge the responsibility of Congress and the entire United States government to do everything in its power to prevent further atrocities."
The seven CPC members who joined Bush in voting no were Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), André Carson (Ind.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), and Delia Ramirez (Ill.). Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who is not a CPC member, also voted no, as did Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
Six Democrats, including CPC chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), voted present.
Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress, said she opposed the resolution because it offers "a deeply incomplete and biased account of what is happening in Israel and Palestine, and what has been happening for decades."
"This resolution rightly mourns the thousands of Israeli civilians killed and wounded in the horrific attacks but explicitly does not mourn the thousands of Palestinian civilians, including over 2,000 children, killed and wounded in the collective punishment of Palestine," said Tlaib. "How does treating Palestinian civilians as less than fully human, as legitimate targets for retribution, bring us closer to a just and lasting peace?"
"This resolution does nothing but greenlight Biden's call for unconditional military funding for a far-right government hell-bent on eradicating the Palestinian people."
The House passed the resolution as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country's military is preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which is facing a massive humanitarian crisis as Israel continues to bomb the densely populated enclave and restrict the entry of desperately needed aid.
Human rights groups, legal experts, and the United Nations have accused Israel of committing a number of war crimes, including collective punishment, using starvation as a weapon of war, and genocide. Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 7,000 people in Gaza since October 7, the day Israel launched its latest bombing campaign in the wake of a deadly Hamas attack.
Omar, deputy chair of the CPC, said Wednesday that while the newly passed House measure "rightly acknowledges and mourns the lives taken by Hamas," she "cannot support a resolution that fails to acknowledge and mourn the lives of Palestinians taken by the Israeli military."
"The resolution also fails to acknowledge the Israeli government's military bombardment of Gaza, especially after Israeli officials openly admitted to implementing collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza," Omar said. "Our position should be consistent in defending innocent lives. We must use diplomacy to secure the release of hostages, end the violence by negotiating a cease-fire, restore water, food, and fuel to Gaza, and work toward lasting peace."
The progressive advocacy group Justice Democrats also denounced H. Res. 771 and criticized House Democrats for joining far-right Republicans "to erase the Israeli government's devastating attacks on innocent Palestinian civilians."
"With this one-sided resolution, Congress is not just ignoring, but actively approving the death of thousands of Palestinians, the displacement of millions, and the Israeli government's intentional targeting of hospitals, mosques, residential buildings, and evacuation routes—all internationally recognized as war crimes," said Alexandra Rojas, the group's executive director.
"This resolution does nothing but greenlight Biden's call for unconditional military funding for a far-right government hell-bent on eradicating the Palestinian people," Rojas added.
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