Sen. Wyden should hold Israel to same standard as Bahrain
As an example of Israel’s repression of Palestinian nonviolence, in January, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after inhaling U.S.-supplied tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers in her West Bank village of Bil’in during its weekly protest against Israel’s illegal wall encroaching upon village farmland. In April 2009, her brother Bassem was also killed after being hit in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. These types of tear gas canisters from Combined Systems, Inc. of Jamestown, PA also have been linked to the killing of Bahraini protesters.
Jawaher and Bassem are two of the more than 3,000 Palestinians civilians who have been killed by Israel since 2000, according to the Israeli organization B’Tselem. Often Israel kills these Palestinians with some of the more than 670 million weapons U.S. taxpayers have funded for Israel in the same period, according to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Given Wyden’s professed commitment to U.S. weapons not being misused to further human rights violations, the Senator should be outraged as well by U.S. military aid to Israel, for which his Oregon constituents are expected to pay more than $285 million between 2009 and 2018. Yet, instead, Wyden praises Israel as “a stable democracy and a stalwart ally” and keynotes at fundraisers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an outfit that lobbies for more U.S. aid to Israel to the detriment of unmet needs at home.
Wyden should not hold Israel to a different standard. If U.S. weapons should not support Bahrain’s human rights abuses, then neither should they support Israel’s denial of Palestinian freedom and self-determination.
Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service.
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