Biden Continues to Provide Israel Billions for War Crimes

Truthout May 26, 2024:
Biden’s administration is violating US law by continuing to send military aid to Israel despite Gaza war crimes. As Israeli forces continue to carry out war crimes in Gaza, the United States has seen growing popular opposition to military aid to Israel’s far right government. Since the Nixon administration, the United States has been sending over $2 billion in taxpayer-funded military aid to Israel every year. Starting in 2016, it was raised to $3.8 billion annually, supplemented by an additional $14.1 billion provided this year.

Biden’s Response to Israel’s ICC Prosecution Is an Attack on International Law

Truthout May 22, 2024:
This marks the first time in US history that a sitting president has openly sided with suspected war criminals. On Monday, a prestigious team of international jurists and legal scholars released a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) recommending the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (along with three Hamas leaders) for war crimes. The angry reactions from President Joe Biden’s administration and Congressional leaders are not simply another defense of Israel’s war crimes, but an attack on international humanitarian law itself.
Biden denounced the report as “outrageous,” marking the first time in U.S. history a sitting president has openly sided with suspected war criminals against the ICC. And, despite nothing in the report questioning Israel’s right to self-defense, Biden insisted on pledging, “We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Letter: Panetta opposes halting weapons to Israel

Santa Cruz Sentinel Letter to the Editor May 20, 2024:
Once again, our Congressperson Jimmy Panetta is out of step with his constituents.
   Polls show that a majority of Americans, including two-thirds of Democrats, support halting all military aid to Israel as a result of its ongoing war crimes in Gaza. President Biden has refused, however. He has only agreed to suspend one shipment of certain kinds of bombs, such as a notorious 2,000-pound weapon human rights groups have documented as responsible for numerous mass-casualty events, including leveling entire apartment buildings filled with civilians.
   While the vast majority of congressional Democrats approve of Biden’s decision to delay this one shipment, Panetta joined 25 hawkish Democrats in criticizing the president, insisting that his $14 billion of other armaments he is sending to Israel isn’t enough, and he must also deliver these deadly explosives regardless of civilian casualties. Panetta ludicrously claims that withholding these particular bombs goes against Israel’s right to defend itself, buttresses terrorist groups, allows them to steal humanitarian aid, and even emboldens antisemitism.
   We need a congressional representative who cares about international humanitarian law.
— Professor Stephen Zunes, Santa Cruz

The Chilling Effect of Equating Criticism of Israel to Antisemitism

The Progressive May 17, 2024:
Broadening the federal definition of antisemitism is a disingenuous attempt to quash dissent. Campus protests against U.S.-backed wars have a long history, and so do campaigns for ethical investment policies. As much as college and university administrators, corporate interests, and Washington policy-makers may have wanted to suppress such student initiatives, the principles of free speech and the cultural role of institutions of higher learning have made that difficult. Opponents of the current protests on college campuses targeting U.S. support for Israel’s war are, however, attempting to reverse that tradition through the disingenuous application of Civil Rights legislation.

The Crackdown on Campus Protests is a Bipartisan Strategy to Repress Pro-Palestine Speech

The Progressive, May 1, 2024: Unlike apartheid-era South Africa, many universities aren’t even recognizing Israel’s human rights abuses. A wave of sit-ins and encampments have swept college and university campuses across the country. They are being led—as in past anti-war campus protests in 1968—by Columbia University in New York. The immediate demand by most of these student groups is that their institutions divest from companies supporting Israel’s war and occupation. Calls for more ethical investment policies and an end to the bombardment of Gaza, however, are unthinkable for many university administrators and Washington officials, and the pushback has been intense.

Divestment campaigns have been fixtures on college campuses for generations—they’ve called for withdrawing financial support from arms manufacturers, owners of sweatshops, union busters, and carbon polluters, among other industries. What this wave of activism most resembles, however, are the protests of the late 1970s and the 1980s over investments in corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa. Back then, student encampments were designed as “shantytowns” to reflect the squalor in which Black South Africans lived amid the affluent white minority.

During the South Africa protests, arrests were mostly of students who engaged in more confrontational tactics, like occupying administration buildings, blocking traffic, or other actions meant to provoke arrest. The shantytowns and other encampments, with a few notable exceptions, were allowed to stay for weeks or even months. That’s not the case today, when many student camps have been subjected to mass arrests and removal almost immediately. [source]

Don’t Buy the Right-wing Disinformation Campaign on “From the River to the Sea”

Truthout May 5, 2024: This phrase was never about killing Jews. It emerged in the 1960s as a call for equal rights within a democratic state The wave of pro-Palestinian protests sweeping American campuses was triggered by Columbia University President Minouche Shafik’s order to forcibly clear a peaceful encampment on April 18. Her decision came as a direct result of her grilling the previous day before a House committee in Washington investigating alleged antisemitism on U.S. campuses: At the hearing, she pledged to take action against protesters. A major focus of the interrogation was the slogan, popular among pro-Palestinian protesters, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” [source]

Antiwar/Solidarity Activism on Gaza: New Generation, New Challenges

Project on Middle East Political Science April 2024: Israel’s war on Gaza and the Biden administration’s strident support for the massive Israeli assault in the face of widespread violations of international humanitarian law and the international outrage at the civilian death toll has brought a new generation of activists to the fore on campuses and elsewhere across the United States. I have followed campus activism on Palestine as both an observer and occasional participant since the 1970s, and recent months have witnessed a dramatic quantitative and qualitative shift in mobilization. [source]

US rejection of UN Membership for Palestine Betrays Claimed Two-State Position

Common Dreams April 27, 2024: Unlike most governments that support a two-state solution, the United States only recognizes Israel, not Palestine. Last week, the United States cast the lone dissenting vote in the UN Security Council, thereby vetoing Palestine’s application to join Israel and the world’s other 192 countries as a full members state of the United Nations. While Biden has praised the UN for admitting Israel in 1949 over the objections of the indigenous Palestinian population and its Arab neighbors, he insists that the UN must not recognize Palestine unless it is approved by Israel, which categorically rules out ever doing so. [source]

Biden Claims to Support a Two-State Solution but his Policies Say Otherwise

Truthout April 17, 2024: Recent initiatives by the Palestinian government to revive their application for UN membership are putting to the test the U.S. claim that it supports a “two-state solution” — a Palestinian state on at least some portion of the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside a secure Israel. In practice, however, the Biden administration and Congress have been working hard to ensure that that does not come about. [source]