America’s funding of Israel supports injustice

If+the+United+States+wants+to+be+taken+seriously+as+an+advocate+for+human+rights%2C+we+can+not+be+unconditional+advocates+for+war+criminals.

Midway staff

If the United States wants to be taken seriously as an advocate for human rights, we can not be unconditional advocates for war criminals.

Berk Oto, Editor-in-Chief

Beginning on May 10, Israeli police injured more than 300 worshippers by firing rubber bullets and tear gas near the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. Palestinian militant group Hamas fired home-made Soviet-style rockets from Gaza, killing 12 Israelis including 2 children. Then, Israel began bombing buildings like hospitals (including Gaza’s only COVID-19 testing facility), schools, infrastructure, human rights charities, offices and homes using American military equipment. These attacks killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 kids and Gaza’s only neurosurgeon. A month earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had said, “Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”
It’s easy to make such a common sense declaration, but through its monetary support and arms sales to the deceptively named Israeli Defense Force, the United States is actively working against this goal. The United States has the ability and responsibility to pull the plug on Israel’s apartheid regime of violence and terror by immediately pausing all further arms sales and military aid.

If the United States wants to be taken seriously as an advocate for human rights, we can not be unconditional advocates for war criminals.”

The United States may seem far away from this destruction, but almost none of Israel’s violence would be possible without American arms sales and aid. The United States provides $8 billion annually in military loans, $3.8 billion annually in military aid and 80% of Israel’s total arms imports. The United States finances 20% of the Israeli defense budget including a staggering 40% of the Israeli military. Amid the violence, President Joe Biden’s administration approved another $735 million of arms sales to Israel, enabling further violence and war crimes. If the United States wants to be taken seriously as an advocate for human rights, we can not be unconditional advocates for war criminals. Although Congress has historically acted as a rubber stamp to arms deals, it has the responsibility to stop any arms sales that are going to human rights violators like Israel under the Leahy law. Cutting all future arms sales to Israel would force the country to stop committing war crimes or face significant long-term vulnerabilities. Additionally, it would give Israel a real incentive to make peace.

It’s impossible to equivocate the violence of Hamas with the constant discrimination and terror carried out by the State of Israel. Even just in the last month, Israel’s cruelty is nauseating and unjustifiable. Although it provides no evidence, Israel says it bombed hospitals, schools and offices in self-defense as Hamas was using the buildings as cover to disguise its operations. Even if this is true, which is heavily in dispute, it’s no excuse. If a foreign power bombed U-High and the Lab Middle School, even if there were terrorists operating nearby, we would be appalled by the perpetrator because of the loss of innocent life. Palestinians deserve the same consideration.
Although it’s unlikely that Congress will block arms sales to Israel in the near future, raising awareness around the issue can put pressure on Democrats to make the issue a priority. If you care in the slightest about the plight of Palestinians, there’s good news: you have a role to play. By calling and putting pressure on your representatives and senators, you can help put an end to the apartheid regime and pave the way for a Middle East where both Jews and Muslims feel safe.