Reject HR 2590 and Embrace Real Policy Solutions!

Tell the CADEM Legislation Committee to reject Representative Betty McCollum’s divisive litmus test on American Israeli and Palestinian foreign policy. 

Say NO to Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s unjust bill, HR 2590!

I am deeply concerned about Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s bill, HR 2590, that is once again coming before the Legislation Committee of the California Democratic Party (CDP). This bill—now in its third iteration—has failed to pass in every prior house legislative cycle. However, it is before the committee again for consideration. This bill is not a serious effort to mitigate or reform the issues that plague the conflict, but in McCollum\’s own words, is to serve as a \”litmus test\” for American legislators.

I commend the great majority of our representatives who understand that this bill is both misleading and discriminatory. It seeks to stigmatize and delegitimize Israel—and only Israel—while offering no solutions to the difficult problems McCollum and the bill’s supporters purport to address.

Why is HR 2590 unjust? For starters, it makes no mention of the following pertinent information: • The Palestinian Authority arrests and detains 3 times as many youths as Israel does, and the PA is regularly accused of torture by local human rights groups. • With over 30 countries receiving U.S. military aid—many with human rights records far worse than Israel’s—McCollum’s bill makes no mention of these and would not prevent any of them from using funds to arrest and detain children. Only Israel faces restrictions under her law. • This bill attacks Israel for using its military court system instead of civilian justice in the parts of the West Bank it controls under the Oslo Accords. Extending the jurisdiction of civilian Israeli courts to the West Bank would legally constitute exactly the annexation that I as a Democrat oppose. Of course, her bill also bars Israel from using US aid for annexation. This is a notable Catch 22 and I wonder whether McCollum is even aware of it.

Additionally, HR 2590 makes no mention of Hamas, an officially designated terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada, and Japan. Hamas has been the sole ruler of Gaza since 2007, and subsequently: • Hamas runs terrorist training camps for children in Gaza and from 2015 to 2017, at least 79 terrorist attacks were carried out by Palestinians between the ages of 8 and 17. • Hamas has invested heavily in rocket and missile production, storing them in civilian homes, using schools and hospitals as launchpads. • In the most recent conflict, more than 10% of rockets fired by Hamas landed short in Gaza, killing civilians including children. • Hamas security forces violently suppress Palestinian protesters, activists, human rights workers and local journalists, subjecting them to beatings, arbitrary arrest, detentions, torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Rather than focusing on highly problematic legislation that provides no path for real solutions, I encourage California Democrats to focus on civil society capacity and peacebuilding measures, such as the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. Numerous civil society organizations in Israel and Palestine have endorsed the fund, and the U.S. House of Representatives has already committed $250 Million towards this work, thanks to Democratic Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey’s Middle East Partnership for Peace Act.

Palestinian children and young people will benefit greatly through this fund, but only if it is scaled up to effectively address the scope of the problems—for the present and for generations to come.

For all the above reasons, I ask that you vote NO on Betty McCollum’s bill, HR 2590.

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