Where’s the outrage? Why the deafening silence from Congress?

A photojournalist shot and killed by sniper fire while filming protesters. Five other journalists shot and injured. Thirty unarmed protesters killed, some of them shot in the back, as they fled. Over 1,500 protesters injured by live fire, rubber-coated bullets or tear gas. No Israelis have been injured or killed.

This is Israel’s reaction to Palestinian Land Day marchers. While Jews around the world were preparing for Passover, celebrating the liberation of Jews from oppression and slavery in ancient Egypt, the Israel Defense Forces were stationing tanks and some 100 snipers in preparation for Palestinians marching in support of their own liberation from Israeli occupation, and against Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land.

The press either largely ignores it, or misleadingly calls it a “conflict” or “confrontation.” It is neither. On one side, the world’s 15th strongest military; on the other, civilians suffering under a crippling siege, marching for basic human rights.

Congress’ and President Trump’s willful blindness in support of Israel’s actions has emboldened Israel to the point that it can kill unarmed Palestinians with impunity, evident in the statements of its leaders:

There are no innocent people in Gaza.” – Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli defense minister.

All 30,000 (protesters) are legitimate targets.” – Eli Hazan, Likud Party spokesman.

Small wonder, then, that Israeli Defense Forces soldiers film their targeting of Palestinians and cheer when they make a kill.

Israel receives $3.2 billion per year in U.S. aid, virtually all military aid. What if just a handful of courageous members of Congress threatened to cut that aid?

Ignoring – or, worse, defending – Israel’s increasingly brazen violations of human rights and international law will only ensure that Israel’s increasingly egregious actions will only worsen, and the apartheid label will become ever more appropriate.

Kristen Salvatore


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