There has been movement among a small number of Democratic lawmakers, as well as Republican Congressman Walter Jones and Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, to increase Congress’s concern for Palestinian rights. This ranges from signing letters against Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes to legislation that would prohibit military aid to Israeli units who abuse children.
One lawmaker who has been missing from 100 percent of these efforts is California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. Harris, unlike the other presidential hopefuls, spoke at the powerful pro-Israel group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering in D.C. in both 2017 and 2018. She is one of the most pro-Israel voices in the race, having never significantly criticized the Israeli government in any way.
In 2017, I tried to get her on the record in the U.S. Capitol about the rights of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, who are denied basic civil rights by the Israeli government. She was about to vote for a resolution that declared it should be U.S. policy that there be a unified Jerusalem, which is a way of disenfranchising those Palestinians.
“Senator Harris, can Jerusalem really be unified when 300,000 Palestinians can’t vote, when they can’t own land, when they don’t have equal human rights. Shouldn’t this Jerusalem bill be opposed?”
“Listen, I believe in a two-state solution there is no question I believe that we need to definitely fight for our values in terms of –” she replied.
“Can you have a two state solution if Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel wouldn’t that disenfranchise the Palestinians who live there?”
“Well it’s not a matter, it’s a matter of what we need to do to fight for the values that we have.”
She then kept walking and later voted for the resolution.