The difference between the Trump and Biden administration has been an extremely refreshing 180-degree reversal in every area but one. When it comes to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the apartheid nation’s flagrant disregard for human rights, there has been no palpable difference between the two presidents, and the Biden administration’s response to the ongoing Israeli bombardment has been nothing short of appalling.
Far from using any of its substantial influence with Tel Aviv to rein in its long-time partner as the IDF’s violent excesses drive the Palestinian civilian death toll past 220 — including 63 children — the Biden administration has cheered on Israel at every opportunity. While the tepid calls for peace and affirmations of Israel’s “right to defend itself” (despite having deliberately provoked the outbreak of violence with the three nights of raids on Jerusalem’s holiest mosque) were to be expected, rushing through a $735 million arms sale to Israel and blocking three U.N. Security Council ceasefire resolutions takes the situation from turning a blind eye to actively supporting crimes against humanity.
Seeing as the Biden administration clearly cares nothing for Palestinian human rights, progressive Democrats themselves have taken it upon themselves to try and stop the arms sale, which consists entirely of various kinds of bombs, from going through. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is spearheading the move with her colleagues Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), preparing to file a joint resolution of disapproval which will hopefully refer the matter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“At a time when so many, including our President, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence. It is long past time to end the US policy of unconditional military arms sales, particularly to governments that have violated human rights,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to Jewish Currents.
The United States should not be rubber-stamping weapons sales to the Israeli government as they deploy our resources to target international media outlets, schools, hospitals, humanitarian missions and civilian sites for bombing.
We have a responsibility to protect human rights. https://t.co/OctBNYFpwp
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 19, 2021
Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s open hostility towards any pro-Palestinian sentiment and the Israeli lobby’s deep influence in the Congressional caucuses of both parties means their valiant effort is likely doomed.
Donald Trump dispensed once and for all with the tenuous facade that America’s supposed commitment to human rights, peace, and democracy is universal and unwavering; President Biden has regrettably chosen to affirm to the world that contrary to the self-congratulatory delusions we repeat to ourselves on the Fourth of July, the value of human life and human rights are cynically dependent on their relation to American political interests.
It is deeply disappointing to see the promising start to the Biden administration turn vile so quickly, but short of actually sending the USAF to level Gazan city blocks themselves, it’s hard to imagine a more disgusting response to Israeli war crimes than to immediately refill their bomb stockpiles.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.