By Isra Nadeem
This week, the Senate was engaged in discussions regarding a $118 billion supplementary funding bill, with over $14 billion allocated for Israel and $60 billion for Ukraine. Additionally, the House was deliberating over a $17.6 billion bill solely for Israel. In light of these developments, we returned to congressional offices and expressed our opposition to both bills.
As of today, five senators and sixty-six representatives have called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Monday February 5th
The House Speaker Johnson introduced a stand alone bill to fund Israel’s genocide in Gaza – a whopping $17.6 billion! On top of the stand alone bill in the house, the Senate was planning on voting on the $118 billion funding bill. So, in an attempt to dissuade Congress from voting yes on Monday, we began our mission to go to all 100 senate offices to send one message: “No More Money to Israel.” We were joined by a large group of concerned advocates. There were members of CAIR, Teachers Against Genocide, Doctors Against Genocide, who joined in expressing our concerns. Watch Medea explain the standalone Israel bill.
Tuesday February 6th
On Tuesday we took to the House side of congress and continued our campaign against Johnson's 17.6 billion dollar bill and went to many democratic representatives offices to push for them to vote no. In this, we learned that a closed-door meeting occurred where democrats caucused and decided they wouldn't vote for the 17.6 billion, which we were pleased to hear, but their reasoning was purely political. They just didn’t want to pass the republican-led bill. Rather than being a human rights issue, it's a partisan issue for them. Amid our advocacy, we caught Nancy Pelosi shamefully speed-walking past. We decided to call her out on her claims that we are "Russian apologists" and should be investigated for our humanitarian concerns for Gaza. She declined to comment on her support for Israel during discussions preceding the House vote on allocating an extra $17.6 billion to aid Israel amid the Gaza crisis. She’s received over $600k from pro-Israel lobbyists, and she and her husband's significant earnings have raised suspicions about possible insider stock trading activities. Our co-founder Medea Benjamin called her an “Israel apologist” and Nancy even looked like she was about to hit Medea! We can tell we are making the warmongers mad.
Wednesday February 7th
With the failure of the standalone bill of 17.6 billion on Tuesday, we had a different goal when going to the Senate. We aimed to tell the Senators that they must reject the supplementary funding bill, that includes 14 billion, to Israel. We are putting effort into getting these people to listen to us. In our attempts to speak to a handful of senators, like John Fetterman, Bob Menendez, and Chris Coons. we heard some of the most vile things a person could say about a people actively experiencing a genocide. Watch our encounters with many of the senators who have taken millions from AIPAC who continue to support the bombing of Gaza.
Thursday February 8th
On Thursday, we visited the senate offices to discuss Gaza and the $118 billion funding bill to Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and the border. We specifically visited the offices of Senators Durbin, Van Hollen, and Welch who had previously advocated for a ceasefire but had voted in favor of the bill the day before. Our objective was to seek clarification regarding their actions and to emphasize that a ceasefire should not involve further financial support for Israel.
After the Senate removed the funding for border militarization, we continued to call on Senators to vote no on the rest of the bill, still a massive $95 billion of taxpayer dollars, to continue funding the war in Ukraine and to send bombs to a country committing a genocide.
Friday February 9th
We returned to the Hart Congressional Building on Friday where we spent time going to as many offices as we could, declaring the importance of supporting a ceasefire and voting no to any bill sending money to fund a genocide in Gaza. The House will have to vote on the $95 billion genocide and war funding bill soon- and we want them to vote NO! Our team has tirelessly pushed these congressmen and women to make the right decision. Please join us in the House of Representatives next week!