Connecticut Congressional Delegation – Silent in Face of Israel’s Palestine Crackdown

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Last October, the New York Times reported that Israel had invoked its 2016 counterterrorism law to ban as “terrorists” six Palestinian civil society groups that have long been active in the legal, peaceful and legitimate defense of human rights. humans. Israel’s unsupported “terrorist designation” has been widely rebuked by world leaders, including several members of Congress (H. Res. 751).

Jean Fussel

However, our Congressional delegation from Connecticut (US Representatives John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Jahana Hayes) remained silent in the face of this injustice.
This author is well acquainted with Defense for Children International Palestine (DCI-P), one of the six human rights organizations unjustly labeled as terrorists. DCI-P supports HR 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Law. Thirty-one members of Congress are currently co-sponsoring this legislation. Unfortunately, none of our Connecticut representatives have yet co-sponsored the bill. A Coalition of Connecticut Organizations collected resolution endorsements from 78 Connecticut faith, labor, legal, civil rights and community organizations asking our Connecticut Congressmen to join in co-sponsoring HR 2590. If passed, the bill would require an audit of the $3.8 billion given to Israel each year to ensure that US aid does not pay for the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children, the demolition of Palestinian homes or the annexation of Palestinian land.
Al Haq (“Truth” in Arabic), one of the six organizations unjustly labeled “terrorists”, was among the first human rights groups in the Arab world and the first in the territories occupied by Israel. Raja Shehadeh, a longtime resident of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, completed his law studies in London in 1978. Enthused by the idea of ​​using international law to resist Israeli occupation, the following year, with two colleagues – a recent Yale graduate Charles Shamas and an American lawyer, Jonathan Kuttab, established Al Haq as an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva.
The December 2, 2021 issue of the New York Review of Books describes Al Haq’s human rights work, including challenging Israel’s illegal acquisition of Palestinian land. Israel’s past efforts to discredit the work of Al Haq have failed to silence this trusted resource for many international human rights organizations, the United Nations and governments around the world.
In an October 24 editorial, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz describes Palestinian human rights organizations unfairly labeled as “terrorists” as follows:

Addameer offers legal aid to prisoners, collects data on incarcerations, including so-called administrative detentions – without trial – and acts to end torture. Al-Haq which documents violations of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories. The Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International monitors the killing of children and the well-being of children imprisoned in Israel. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees helps Palestinian farmers, mainly in Area C of the West Bank, which under the Oslo Accords is under full Israeli control. Also included are the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Bisan Center for Research and Development.

the Ha’aretz The editorial denounced the Israeli government’s anti-democratic action “characteristics of military regimes” as a “stain on Israel”, noting that:

The literal meaning is clear: any resistance to occupation is terror. Israel undermines the distinction between legitimate struggle and illegitimate struggle. This is a godsend for terrorist organizations and the use of violence. If all forms of resistance constitute terror, how can one resist the occupation by being a terrorist?

UN experts condemn Israel’s designation of Palestinian rights defenders as terrorist organizations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet denounced the Israeli designation while defending the legitimacy of civil society organizations and their work. “To claim rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, to defend the rights of women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is not terrorism, and to provide legal aid to detained Palestinians is not of terrorism, Bachelet said.
Jonathan Cook, winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism, noted in Washington’s report this month that labeling Palestinian human rights activists as terrorists serves the same purpose for Israel as labeling Western activists seeking to end Israel’s oppression of Palestinians as “anti-Semites”, or calling Jews acting in solidarity with Palestinians “self-hating” and “traitors”.
Our congressional delegation from Connecticut supports billions of dollars in aid to Israel. But to do so without taking steps to hold Israel accountable to international law and human rights is a mistake at best. Our Connecticut congressional delegation should condemn Israel’s McCarthy-style efforts to silence legitimate criticism and advocacy for human rights.
John Fussell is the Connecticut organizer for Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP-Action).

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