Racial justice vs. the Israel Lobby: when being pro-Palestine becomes the new normal

US House of Representatives (credit: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images]
Americans are now seeing the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation through the prism of the fight for racial justice.

By Dr. Ramzy Baroud | Middle East Monitor | Oct 5, 2021

Despite the eventual outcome, the fact that such a discussion even took place in Congress was a milestone in the struggle for racial justice.

There is an unmistakable shift in American politics regarding Palestine and Israel, one that is inspired by the way in which many Americans, especially young people, view the Palestinian struggle and the Israeli occupation. While this shift is yet to translate into reducing Israel’s stranglehold over the US Congress tangibly, it promises to be of great consequence in the future.

Recent events at the US House of Representatives demonstrated this unprecedented reality. On 21 September, Democrat lawmakers successfully rejected a caveat that proposed to give Israel $1 billion in extra military funding as part of a broader spending bill, after objections from several progressive Congress members. The money was destined specifically to fund the purchase of new batteries and interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

Two days later, funding for the Iron Dome system was reintroduced and, this time, it was passed overwhelmingly, with a vote of 420 to 9, despite passionate pleas by Palestinian American Representative Rashida Tlaib. In the second vote, only eight Democrats opposed the measure. The ninth opposing vote was cast by Republican Thomas Massie of Kentucky. Massie’s defiance of the Republican consensus earned him the title of “Anti-Semite of the Week” from a notorious pro-Israel organisation called Stop Antisemitism. Conflating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is one way that the pro-Israel Lobby silences pro-Palestine voices.

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