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Did Nancy Pelosi just ask to halt weapons to Israel?

pelosi and biden

Last week, President Biden hinted that he was prepared to do what we’ve been demanding for six months: use the leverage at his disposal. Imagine what could happen if Biden actually took concrete action.

The genocide in Gaza continues in full force. But in the U.S., our movement’s power has been instrumental in pulling even centrist Democrats toward the left.

By consistently framing a ceasefire as the bare minimum demand, we have begun to mainstream the call to cut military funding to the Israeli government. Our movement has made possible a position regarded as untouchable only a short while ago.

On April 1, the Israeli military targeted a World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid convoy, killing a Palestinian and six foreign nationals as they tried to deliver aid. In the 10 days since, the political winds have shifted rapidly. 

Four days after the strike, Biden held a call with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in which he “emphasized that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable.” 

For the first time, Biden raised directly the need for an “immediate ceasefire,” even threatening a change in U.S. policy should the Israeli government refuse to take “specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.”

That falls short of what we want: for Biden to demand an immediate ceasefire and decisively end U.S. complicity in the Israeli government’s genocide. But it’s still the strongest language Biden has used to date with Netanyahu.

This matters. Almost immediately following the call, the Israeli government announced it was opening the Erez border crossing into North Gaza. On April 9, nearly 500 aid trucks made it into Gaza, more than any other day since the beginning of the genocide. 

Meanwhile, in the days following the strike, over 50 Democratic members of Congress — including Nancy Pelosi — signed a letter to Biden asking that he withhold U.S. military funding to Israel until an investigation is conducted into the WCK strike. 

It is a testament to how much headway our movements have made that such a mainstream Democratic figure would endorse what was once considered a radical demand — and which continues to be regarded as such by many in the Democratic mainstream.

Over six months into the Israeli government’s genocide of Palestinians, U.S. politicians are starting to catch up to what their constituents want. 

It’s not lost on us that this reckoning came only after the tragic deaths of six foreign nationals in Gaza. Neither Biden nor most Democrats in Congress felt compelled to action by the indiscriminate killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians, including over 14,000 children. The bombs are still falling. Distributing aid remains a dangerous challenge. Children are still dying of starvation. Today, the first day of Eid, the Israeli military killed over 100 Palestinians in Gaza.

This is a grave indictment of the Western liberal order, one that explicitly assigns value to some lives and not to others, refusing to regard Palestinians as equal human beings — and a grim reminder of how essential our movements remain.

Amidst these horrors, we’re seeing more compelling evidence than ever before that what we’ve been doing for the last six months is working. The cracks in our opposition’s narrative are growing wider every day, and we have clear evidence that Biden has the power to force the Israeli government to shift course. It’s up to our movements to keep growing our power until we can make him. 

Tell Congress: Stop arming the Israeli military.

The demands for accountability over U.S. money and weapons are undeniable, and they are starting to reshape U.S. politics.

Now is the time for us to push even harder for an end to U.S. military funding to the Israeli government.

‘The false choice between Jewish safety and Palestinian freedom.’

In his Oscars acceptance speech for “The Zone of Interest”, a film about the Holocaust, Jewish filmmaker Jonathon Glazer criticized what he called the “hijacking” of Jewish identity and the memory of the Holocaust to justify the oppression and genocide of Palestinians. He was immediately inundated with a barrage of bad faith accusations of antisemitism. 

Since then, over 150 Jewish creatives — including actors Joaquin Phoenix and Elliott Gould, filmmaker Joel Cohen, and comedian Ilana Glazer — have signed an open letter in support of Glazer’s speech, rejecting what they call the “false choice between Jewish safety and Palestinian freedom.”

What we’re reading.

Billy Perrigo writes for Time about the No Tech for Apartheid Campaign, which is demanding that Google and Amazon end their $1.2 billion contract with Israel’s apartheid government.

In this piece for Rolling Stone, Jack Crosbie describes how Jewish Voice for Peace and a coalition of other pro-Palestine groups managed to disrupt Biden at a major Democratic fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall last month.

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