Rashida Tlaib: “End the apartheid system”
It’s so personal to me. I remind my colleagues that Palestinians do exist; that we are human; that we are allowed to dream. We are mothers, daughters, granddaughters. We are seekers of justice and are resolutely committed to our fight against oppressions in all their forms.
Colleagues: Palestinians aren’t going anywhere no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government.
If we are to keep our promises to support equal human rights for all, it is our duty to end the apartheid system which for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhuman treatment and racism. Reducing Palestinians to live in absolute fear and terror of losing a child, of being detained or killed indefinitely because of who they are, and the unequal rights and protections they enjoy under Israeli law: this must stop .
One of Israel’s most prominent human rights organizations, B’Tselem, has declared Israel an apartheid state. Human Rights Watch also recognized this recently. This is what Palestinians living under Israel’s oppression have been telling us for decades.
Some of my colleagues who challenge the truth about segregation, racism and violence in Israel against Palestinians have told me that I need to know the history. What they mean, unwittingly or not, is that the Palestinians do not have the right to tell the truth about what happened to them when Israel was founded. In fact, they are erasing the truth about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Israel that some call the nakbaor “disaster”.
As Palestinians talk about our history, please know that many of my black neighbors and indigenous communities may not know what we mean by nakba. But they understand what it means to be killed, kicked out of your home and land, homeless and stripped of your human rights.
My ancestors and my current family in Palestine deserve the world to hear their story unobstructed. They have the right to be able to explain to the world that they are still suffering, that they are still dispossessed, still killed while the world is watching and doing nothing. As Peter Beinart, an American of the Jewish faith, writes: “When you tell a people to forget their past, you are not offering peace. You are proposing extinction.
The Palestinian story is that of being a refugee in the lands you called home. We cannot have an honest conversation about US military support for the Israeli government today without acknowledging that for Palestinians, the catastrophe of displacement and dehumanization in their homeland has continued since 1948.
From the statements of President Biden, Secretary Blinken, General Austin, and leaders of both parties, you would hardly know that Palestinians existed. There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families uprooted from their homes in East Jerusalem at this time or of the house demolitions. No mention of children detained or murdered. No recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by the Israeli police against worshipers kneeling and praying, celebrating their holiest days, in one of their holiest places. No mention of Al-Aqsa being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray.
Can my colleagues imagine if this was their place of worship filled with tear gas? Could you pray while stun grenades were thrown at your holiest place?
Above all, there has been absolutely no recognition of Palestinian humanity. If our own State Department can’t even bring itself to admit that the murder of Palestinian children is a mistake, I will say it for the millions of Americans who stand by my side against the murder of innocent children, what regardless of their ethnicity or faith. I mourn all the lives lost under the unbearable status quo, each of them, no matter their faith, their origins.
We all deserve freedom, liberty, peace and justice, and this should never be denied because of our faith or ethnicity. No child, Palestinian or Israeli, whoever they are, should ever have to fear death raining down from the sky. How many of my colleagues are prepared to say the same thing, to defend the rights of the Palestinians as they do to the Israelis?
There is an overwhelming dehumanization in the way we talk about this terrible violence. the New York Post reported the Palestinian death toll as Israeli casualties. ABC says Israelis are “killed” while Palestinians simply “die”, as if by magic, as if they had never been human to begin with.
Help me figure out the math: How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to count?
Life under apartheid robs Palestinians of their human dignity. How would you feel if you had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints two blocks from your home to go to the doctor or travel through your own country? How would you feel if you had to do it pregnant, in the scorching heat, as armed soldiers controlled your freedom? How would you feel if you lived in Gaza, where your electricity and water could be cut off for days or weeks at a time, where you were cut off from the outside world by inhuman military blockades?
Meanwhile, the rights of Palestinians to non-violent resistance have been curtailed and even criminalized. Our party leaders have spoken out strongly against BDS, branding its supporters anti-Semitic, although the same tactics were essential to ending South African apartheid just a few decades ago. What we say to the Palestinians who are fighting apartheid is the same to my black neighbors and to Americans across America who are facing police brutality here: there is no acceptable form of resistance. state violence.
As long as Washington’s message is that our military support for Israel is unconditional, Netanyahu’s far-right government will continue to expand settlements, demolish homes, and make prospects for peace impossible.
Mr President, 330 of my own Democratic and Republican colleagues – 75% of the body here – have signed a letter pledging never to compel Israel to comply with basic human rights laws than others. countries that receive our military aid must respect. You know, when I see the pictures and videos of destruction and death in Palestine, all I hear is the children screaming in sheer fear and terror.
I want to read something that a mother named Eman in Gaza wrote two days ago. She said, “Tonight I put the children to sleep in our bedroom, so that when we die, we die together, and no one will live to mourn the loss of each other.” This statement broke me a little more because the policies and funding in my country will deny this mother’s right to see her own children live without fear and to grow old without painful trauma and violence.
We must make aid to Israel conditional on respect for international human rights and the end of apartheid. We must, without hesitation, demand that our country recognize that Israel’s unconditional support has enabled the erasure of Palestinian life and the denial of the rights of millions of refugees, and emboldens the apartheid policies that Human Rights Watch has detailed. in detail in their recent report.
I stand before you not only as a congressman from the beautiful 13th strong district, but also as the proud daughter of Palestinian immigrants and the granddaughter of a loving Palestinian grandmother living in occupied Palestine. You take that, and you combine it with the fact that I was raised in one of the most beautiful, blackest cities in America, a city where civil rights and social justice movements are born: la city of Detroit.
So I cannot be silent here when injustice exists and when the truth is obscured. If there’s one thing Detroit instilled in this Palestinian Southwestern woman, it’s that you always speak the truth to power, even if your voice trembles. The freedom of the Palestinians is linked to the struggle against oppression all over the world.
Finally, to my site in Palestine, ‘aqaf huna bsbbik. I am here because of you. Thank you.