‘There’s been a huge shift’: breaking down Betty McCollum’s historic bill on Palestinian children

Brad Parker, St. Mark’s Cathedral-Bloedel Hall on September 17, 2016. (photo: screenshot / YouTube)
An interview with Brad Parker about how support for the rights of Palestinians has grown inside the halls of Congress.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Feb 18, 2020

We wanted to shift the burden away from the Palestinian rights movement and onto policymakers specifically.
— Brad Parker, senior policy advisor for Defense for Children International

After years of prodding members of Congress to act on their concerns over Palestinian human rights abuses, last year Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced legislation that would prohibit militaries from using American funds to detain and prosecute children.

The historic bill, H.R. 2407, targets Israel’s army for arresting children as young as 12. It currently has 23 Democratic cosponsors, as activists throughout the country continue to pressure more lawmakers. An earlier version of the bill introduced in 2017 also by McCollum, is the first piece of legislation to seek safeguards for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Brad Parker, a senior policy advisor for Defense for Children International – Palestine, or DCIP, has spent the last five years working alongside McCollum on the measure. I spoke to Parker last month from his home in New York about the bill’s background and how support for the rights of Palestinians has rapidly grown inside the halls of Congress.

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