In a major call to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, over 500 former Biden campaign and Democratic Party staffers signed an open letter urging the US president to do more to protect Palestinians and end the impunity enjoyed by the occupation state whose latest aggression has led to the death of over 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people.
Seen as another sign of the major shift underway within the Democrats concerning Israel, the letter draws attention to the apartheid regime imposed by Israel on non-Jews and makes a number of demands including calling on the Biden administration to “support Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”
“We were motivated by the unprecedented progressive platform of your campaign that believed in the dignity of every human being, and the existential need to defeat Trumpism and its contrary values,” said the letter explaining their support for Biden while also urging him to bring his progressive agenda to the plight of the Palestinians.
“The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out in the aftermath of the recent explosive violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which is inextricable from the ongoing history of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion,” said letter.
Expressing their outrage over Israeli aggression, the signatories stressed that they were horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli air strikes. They said that they were “outraged by Israel’s efforts to forcibly and illegally expel Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah” and “shocked by Israel’s destruction of a building housing international news organizations. We remain horrified by reports of Hamas rockets killing Israeli civilians.”
The letter reminded Biden of his commitment to human rights and the apartheid regime under which Palestinians live. Last month the US president said: “No responsible American president can remain silent when basic human rights are violated.” Urging Biden to commit to this pledge they said that “the resulting status quo is one that international and Israeli human rights organizations agree meets the definition of the crime of apartheid under international law.”
In their list of demands, the Democrat staffers urged Biden to condition US aid to Israel with human rights, insisting that the annual $3.8 billion should no longer be allowed to “fund the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children, theft and demolition of Palestinian homes and property, and annexation of Palestinian land.” They also called on Biden to investigate whether Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza violates US laws against funding human rights violations.
“We joined your campaign to pursue a vision of a nation that believes that every person’s life and fundamental rights are valued,” the letter concluded. “We remain committed to that vision and implore you to take action to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis are able to live in peace and security. Returning to the status quo is untenable, as it deprives Palestinians of peace, security, and self-determination.”