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How have Delaware's representatives voted on Palestinian rights issues? See Congressional Scorecard for the 115th Congress (2017-18), compiled by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
See LEGISLATION / LETTER LIST below for many Congressional actions in DelNATO action alerts. For a more comprehensive list, read the excellent weekly Legislative Round-ups by Lara Friedman on the Americans for Peace Now site.
To see a bill's text, status and co-sponsors: Use the links in the Legislative Round-up or the search function at https://www.congress.gov/ . If you already know bill number and introduction year, you can enter the url directly at the congress.gov site in this format: https://www.congress.gov/bill/[congressional session number]/[bill type]/[bill number]. The congressional session number for the 2015/16 Congress is 114th, for 2017/18 115th. Bill type examples: senate-bill, house-bill, sres, hres, hconres. For example, S. 720 would be entered as https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th/senate-bill/720.
9/21/18 Senate letter to President Trump, initiated by Senators Coons, Van Hollen, and Feinstein, strongly opposing Trump's $500 million in aid cuts to the Palestinian people, including the $300 million cut to UNRWA. Signed by 34 senators, all Democrats, including Senator Carper.
7/30/18 House letter to Secy of State Pompeo and John Bolton, requesting that U.S. restore UNRWA funding and USAID funding to Gaza. Signed by 70 House members. Rep. Blunt Rochester did not sign.
5/21/18 Schakowsky-Yarmuth House letter urging Israeli PM Netanyahu not to demolish Susya and other Palestinian villages in the West Bank. It was signed by 76 House members, including Rep. Blunt Rochester.
5/11/18 Senate letter to Secy of State Pompeo requesting U.S. help Gaza and restore UNRWA funding. The letter requested the U.S. restore UNWRA funding, help build Gaza's economy, and encourage Israel to ease restrictions. It was signed by 13 senators, all Democrats, including Senator Carper but not Senator Coons.
2/18/18 House letter to Preident Trump requesting U.S. restore UNRWA funding. The letter followed a recent decision by the Trump Administration to cut U.S. contributions to UNRWA by 83%. UNRWA provides critical education, healthcare and food assistance to Palestinian refugees. Signed by 102 House members, including Rep. Blunt Rochester.
3/5/2018 - Senate bill 2497, The United State-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018. This would legislatively authorize $3.3 billion a year in unconditional military aid to Israel and another $500 million a year in missile defense systems, for the next 10 years. Original co-sponsor Senator Coons announced at the 2018 AIPAC Conference that he viewed these amounts as "a floor, not a ceiling."
11/29/17 Senate letter urging Netanyahu not to demolish two West Bank Palestinian villages (Susya and Khan Al-Ahmar). Senator Carper was one of 10 senators, all Democrats, to sign.
11/14/17 - H.R. 4391, Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, sponsored by Representative Betty McCollum. As of 9/22/18, Rep. Blunt Rochester is not a co-sponsor.
Issa Amro Congressional letter, 6/23/17
Jerusalem "reunification" resolution, S.Res.176 on 5/24/17, H.Res 328 on 5/16/17
Rubio-Coons letter disavowing the UN Israel apartheid report, 4/27/17
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, S. 720, H.R. 1697, 3/23/17. Senator Coons was an early co-sponsor of this Act, which violates Americans' First Amendment rights in order to protect the illegal activities of a foreign nation. It penalizes certain forms of boycott of Israeli settlements.
The Combating BDS Act of 2017 (and 2016), S. 170 on 1/17/17 and H.R. 2856 on 6/8/17; 2016: S. 2531 and H.R. 4514
Condemning UNSC Resolution 2334, S.Res.6 on 1/4/17 and H.Res.11 on 1/3/17
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, S.10, H.R. 6421
The Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013, S. 1881
The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, S. 462, H.R. 938
July 2017: From JVP: "On July 9th Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro's military trial started. Due to the international attention that JVP & partner orgs helped mobilize, international observers including US embassy representatives were present. The next dates of Issa's trial are scheduled for October 22, 24, 29 and November 5." June 2017 - 32 members of the House signed a 6/28/17 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to "encourage the appropriate Israeli authorities to reconsider the charges against Issa Amro", a well-known Palestinian nonviolent human rights activist. The letter is excellent and has many footnotes - "He faces charges described by Amnesty International as 'baseless' and 'politically motivated' within Israel's military court system, which could result in years of imprisonment." Journalist Peter Beinart writes, "Amro is the kind of Palestinian for which American Jewish officials say they yearn. Since 2002, when Israel shut down his college campus, Amro has been preaching nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr... Unfortunately, the Israeli government does not yearn for Palestinian Ghandis. It arrests them... " Representative Blunt Rochester has not signed.
S.Res. 176 (5/24/17) and H. Res. 328, (5/16/17), “A resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem”. Passed in Senate 90-0 on 6/5/17. The "reunification" is an illegal occupation under international law. Both DE Senators voted yea. The House version was referred to a House, subcommittee on 6/27/17. Israel has spent the past 50 years moving its population into East Jerusalem, a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Under "reunification", Israel continues to dispossess and persecute more Palestinians. The resolution reaffirms the "longstanding policy" of the U.S. government that "a just resolution" can only be achieved through "direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions for a sustainable two-state solution." It also states falsely that under Israel's rule, "persons of all religious faiths have access to holy sites within the city." Palestinian Christians and Muslim under occupation are routinely denied permits to visit their holy sites in Jerusalem.
The 6/27/17 Rubio-Coons letter (as in Delaware's Senator Coons) to UN Secretary-General Guterres was signed by all 100 U.S. Senators. Among other things, it praises Guterres "for disavowing the recent anti-Israel report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and demanding that it be withdrawn." The March 2017 report was written by two highly regarded U.S. academics and found that "the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity." The UN was pressured to remove the report from its website, but others saved it: pdf. We hope the report was read before it was condemned.
S. 720 and H.R. 1697 (both introduced 3/23/17). The Israel Anti-Boycott Act amends U.S. law to make it illegal and subject to fines, even prison, for U.S. companies to boycott or otherwise discriminate against Israeli settlements based on calls by "international governmental organizations" such as the UN or EU; it also precludes such firms from getting Export-Import Bank loans. It states that Congress views UN and EU policies which target illegal settlements and occupied territory as targeting Israel. It thus extends U.S. legal protections to Israeli settlements which exist in violation of international law, numerous UNSC resolutions, the International Court of Justice, and long-standing U.S. policy. On 7/17/17 the ACLU wrote letters to the House and Senate opposing the bill on First Amendment (free speech) grounds. See the ACLU's 7/26/17 update for further explanation. The Intercept gives details on how the bill amends the Export Administration Act and provides for criminal penalties. Democracy Now has coverage 7/21/17. JVP provides talking points for asking Congress to oppose the bill. J Street also opposes the bill. See "The Israel Anti-Boycott Law is Beyond Repair", Grant Smith, 7/28/17. Senator Coons signed on as a co-sponsor on 6/26/17.
S. 170 (1/17/17) and H.R. 2856 (6/8/17), The Combating BDS Act of 2017, says "notwithstanding any other provision of law", presumably including the First Amendment, a state or local government may pass measures to divest from entities that boycott Israel, where Israel is defined to include occupied territory and illegal settlements. The Supreme Court has specifically held that boycotts "to bring about political, social and economic change" are unquestionably protected under the First Amendment (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 911 (1982)). This act replaces the 2016 act, which died at the end of the last Congress in December 2016. Senator Coons is a co-sponsor of both the 2016 and 2017 Acts.
July 2016: S. 2531 and H.R.4514, The Combating BDS Act of 2016. Its language was rolled into the $52 billion "State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill" for FY 2017 at the end of June 2016 by the Senate Appropriations Commitee. "AIPAC commends" the Senate Appropriations Committee for this action. Senator Coons is a co-sponsor. Read his disappointing response when contacted about the stand-alone bill.
S. Res. 6 (1/4/17) and H. Res. 11 (1/3/17), resolutions condemning UN Security Council Resolution 2334. On 12/23/16 the UN Security Council reaffirmed the illegality of Israel's settlements by passing UNSC Resolution 2334 14-0, with the U.S. abstaining this time instead of vetoing as it did in 2011. The House and Senate then each introduced a resolution condemning the UNSC resolution. THANK YOU to Delaware's new representative Lisa Blunt Rochester for joining 79 of her colleagues in voting against H. Res. 11, which passed on 1/5/2017. S. Res. 6 was blocked by Senator Durbin and as of July 2017 has 78 Senate co-sponsors but has not been voted on. Senator Coons is a co-sponsor. Senator Carper is not a co-sponsor.
December 2016: S. 10 and H.R. 6421, The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, passed by unanimous consent in an empty Senate chamber. The House bill was stalled in the House Judiciary Committee but may be re-introduced in 2017. The Act requires the Department of Education to "take into consideration" a flawed definition of anti-Semitism in determining whether to open an investigation after a complaint. The definition would include some constitutionally-protected pro-Palestine political speech as anti-Semitism. The definition's lead author, Kenneth Stern, wrote to the House asking them not to move the bill forward because it was both unconstitutional and unwise, noting the definition had never been intended to limit speech.
2013: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, S. 1881, calls for US military support for Israel if Israel decides to attack Iran (nonbinding).
2013: The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, S. 462 and H.R. 938, would give Israel the unique designation of "major strategic partner" of the U.S. and allow it to enter the US visa waiver program with limited reciprocity due to a special security exemption, unlike all 37 other countries currently in the program.