Democratic Reps. Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib, André Carson, Summer Lee, and Delia Ramirez introduced a “Ceasefire Now” resolution on October 16th to halt the siege on Gaza. The resolution calls on the Biden administration to demand an end to the Israeli attacks and send humanitarian aid to Gaza. Eight other Democrats signed on as original co-sponsors, and an additional five have since sponsored the resolution, bringing the total number of sponsors to 26. Compare those numbers with a House resolution, passed on October 25th by a 412-10 margin, expressing solidarity with Israel as it “defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas.” The resolution made no mention of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that have killed more than 7,300 Palestinians, more than 3,000 of them children, and displaced 1.4 million. Rep. Betty McCollum—the author of Congressional legislation that would impose restrictions on how the Israeli military can use US aid – backed the resolution.
Palestinian rights advocates and anti-war activists have staged a protests and sit-ins at Congressional offices around the country demanding a ceasefire, not only to protect civilian lives and facilitate the release of hostages but to prevent a regional war. In the Senate only Bernie Sanders has called for a halt to the Israeli air assault, but even he stops short of calling for a ceasefire.
Why is there such a tepid response to clear cut Israeli war crimes? Why has most of the progressive caucus refused to call for a ceasefire? Why has the Democratic Party and the Biden administration shut down all discussions of a ceasefire, including vetoing U.N. resolutions calling for a ceasefire? Are these lawmakers frightened of the Israel lobby group AIPAC which has already targeted Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Ilhan Omar, both of whom are calling for a ceasefire? Are they captive to the war industry which profits from this assault?
And yet, a poll released last week by the progressive firm Data for Progress found that 66 percent of likely voters strongly or somewhat agree that the US should call for a ceasefire, a perce3ntage that rises to 80 percent among of Democrats. 53 percent of Democrats told CBS News pollsters that they oppose the US sending more weapons to Israel.
Joining me to discuss the grassroots effort to impose a ceasefire is Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of the feminist anti-war group Code Pink and one of those who has been occupying Congressional offices, as well as Grand Central Station in New York, in an effort to halt the bloodshed in Gaza.