An Open Letter to Ro Khanna and the Rest of the Congressional Wimps on Israel

by Judith Bello

I am very disappointed that you supported H.Res. 246 which condemns the BDS movement, a nonviolent method of reminding Israel that the world will not continue to tolerate their oppression of the Palestinian people. I am even more disappointed in your response to queries regarding why you supported this resolution. First, you say that because it is a non-binding resolution it will not limit the freedom of speech (and political action) of the people. I beg to differ.

Numerous states have passed anti-BDS legislation with a bite. In New York State, the legislature refused to even take up the bill, so Governor Cuomo used an executive order to penalize people and organizations that openly support BDS. This will limit, among others, the work of student activists. It is offensive because it really does limit our first amendment rights. Moreover, in several states, the anti-BDS laws have been struck down by Federal Courts because they violate the first Amendment. Now, the Congressional resolution you seem to think is ‘harmless’ will affect future court judgments in states where these laws are still being contested.

You said that you don’t think BDS will lead to a 2 State Solution OR the Recognition of Palestinian Rights. Well, some of us think it will. BDS is a Palestinian led initiative against a colonial settler state just as South African BDS was a indigenous initiative against a colonial settler state. In South Africa, it did open the door to change. And it can do the same in Palestine. Who are you to decide? Who is congress to decide? Congress is meant to represent the people not to decide for us what ideas are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t. Maybe you might consider the fact that Israel is so determined to get you to end the BDS movement and indicator of its power.

Furthermore, you know very well that the purpose of that bill is to protect Israel from the consequences of its genocidal behavior towards the native people of Palestine. The United States gives billions of dollars of our tax money to Israel to assist in weapons development and war making. These dollars support the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people and then they flow back into the pockets of ultra wealthy weapons manufacturers here and around the world while the people of the United States go without health care and our education system is shut down and dismantled around us.

You are unworthy of the name “progressive” much less leadership of a “progressive” caucus, congressman Khanna. You are nothing but another liberal apologist for U.S. aggression around the world and the destruction of our own society at home.   This goes for the other members of Congress (all but 14) who supported this Resolution, including I’m sad to see, Tulsi Gabbard who talks a good line about opposing war  but apparently doesn’t support grass roots initiatives to end colonial wars of aggression.

If this is an attempt to sidestep the wrath of the Israel Lobby then please sit down and watch the film “The Lobby”.  You are a sad lot, nothing more than greedy sheep in wolves clothing.

Free Free Palestine. ….  Long Live Palestine….
End U.S. support for Oppressive Regimes in the Middle East and Around the World.

No to War and Occupation  …..  Yes to Healthcare and Education.

*Featured Image: Demonstrators rally in New York City to protest anti-BDS legislation, June 9, 2016. (Sipa USA via AP)  From the Nation


Judith Bello is a peace and justice activist and international relations analyst who has, over the last decade, spent time in Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Pakistan. She is a member of the UNAC Administrative Committee and moderates the ‘End the Wars at Home and Abroad’ Blog. She is on the Board of  the Syria Solidarity Movement and the One State Assembly supporting One Democratic State of Palestine and the Palestinian Right of Return

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