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April 15, 2021 12:44 pm

Pro-Israel Groups Slam Bill Putting Conditions on Aid to Israel Co-Sponsored by Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota. Photo: File.

Pro-Israel groups blasted on Thursday a new bill set to be introduced in Congress by Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum that would condition US aid to Israel on the Jewish state conforming to specific conditions, mainly on the detention of juveniles, demolition of property, and “annexation.”

McCollum has previously introduced several bills threatening to cut aid to Israel. According to The Hill, the new bill would ban the use of US aid funds for demolishing Palestinian properties in the West Bank and Israeli “annexation” of Palestinian-owned land, along with detention of juveniles.

The proposed legislation — dubbed “Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act” — had 13 additional co-sponsors as of Thursday, including Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Andre Carson (D-IN), Marie Newman (D-IL) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a spokesperson for McCollum told The Algemeiner.

In a letter to her colleagues, McCollum said, “Israel has been strategically expanding settlements, committing flagrant violations of human rights against Palestinian children and families, and aggressively undermining any prospects for a Palestinian state,” Jewish Insider reported.

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“US assistance intended for Israel’s security should foster peace and must never be used to violate the human rights of children, demolish the homes of Palestinian families, or to permanently annex Palestinian lands,” she added.

AIPAC’s official Twitter account stated in response to the proposed bill, “We oppose @BettyMcCollum04’s latest anti-Israel bill, which would condition aid to Israel, undermine U.S. interests and make peace less likely.

“We agree with @POTUS @JoeBiden: Cuts or conditions on aid to Israel would be ‘irresponsible,’ ‘outrageous,’ and a ‘gigantic mistake,’” the group wrote. “Congress endorsed @POTUS44’s 10yr commitment to Israel of full security assistance without added political restrictions. This policy has broad bipartisan support & is good for America.”

“The @BettyMcCollum04 bill is both unnecessary and redundant,” it continued. “Current law already establishes reasonable conditions for aid to Israel and any other nation. Aid can only be used for ‘legitimate self-defense’ and internal security. Our govt already reviews every Israeli purchase.”

“Congress should decisively rebuff” McCollum’s or similar proposals “and support full security assistance to Israel without added political conditions,” they concluded.

The bill also met criticism from the advocacy group Democratic Majority for Israel.

On Wednesday, McCollum replied to AIPAC’s opposition, saying “@AIPAC *wants* US taxpayer dollars to Israel to be spent on abusing Palestinian human rights? Imprisoning children? Demolishing homes? Annexing Palestinian land? Apparently they do.”

Among the groups supporting of the bill are the J Street lobby and the left-wing activist groups IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace. Other supporters include the American Friends Service Committee, the Progressive Democrats of America, the Democratic Socialists of America BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq.

Editor’s note: this article was updated with more information about co-sponsors to the legislation 

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