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Progressive Dems submit motion panning Israel for outlawing Palestinian groups

House measure blasts ‘repressive’ decision to label 6 human rights organizations as terror groups, urges Biden and Blinken to publicly censure Israel

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Democratic US Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, in July 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images via JTA)
Democratic US Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, in July 2020. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images via JTA)

A group of progressive Democrats introduced a resolution in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday condemning Israel for its “repressive” and “anti-democratic” decision to blacklist half a dozen Palestinian human rights organizations.

The resolution describes the labeling of the six Palestinian groups as “a repressive act designed to criminalize and persecute important Palestinian human rights organizations.”

It is highly unlikely to pass, given the unwillingness of the vast majority of lawmakers from either party to criticize the Israeli government so harshly.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum, one of the most vocal critics of the Israeli government in Congress, but also a proponent of the two-state solution who sometimes votes in favor of pro-Israel bills (McCollum voted in favor of legislation to offer $1 billion in supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system last month).

Her latest resolution was co-sponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Chuy Garcia, Marie Newman, Raul Grijalva and Andre Carson. All of them voted against the Iron Dome supplemental funding — except Ocasio-Cortez who chose to abstain on the legislation.

The resolution calls on US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “publicly condemn this authoritarian and antidemocratic act of repression” and publicly call on Israel to cease such measures.

It notes the value of the six Palestinian groups — Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees; ADDAMEER — Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Bisan Center for Research and Development; al-Haq Organization; Defense for Children International — Palestine; and the Union Of Agricultural Work Committees — and cites condemnations of the decision by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, 21 Israeli rights organizations and the Israeli left-wing Haaretz daily.

“The United States provides $3.8 billion in military funding to the Israeli Government each fiscal year and therefore holds a unique obligation to speak out against and condemn actions by the Israeli government that intentionally undermine democratic values and internationally recognized human rights,” the resolution states.

The Biden administration said last week that is seeking clarification from Israel over the decision. Jerusalem says it is due to the Palestinian rights groups’ ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group. However, it has yet to publicly provide any concrete evidence to substantiate the claim.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government dispatched an envoy from the Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet security service to Washington this week to provide the US with what it asserts is “ironclad” proof tying the organizations to the PFLP.

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