J Street joins US groups supporting anti-Israel Gaza amendment to defense bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s amendment would require the U.S. Comptroller General to assess for Congress the economic, humanitarian, political and psychological impact of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

By JNS.org

J Street has joined with several dozen largely anti-Israel groups, including some that support the BDS movement, in calling for the U.S. Senate to adopt the Gaza amendment as part of the 2022 National Defense Authority Act (NDAA).

Proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the amendment would require the U.S. Comptroller General to submit a report to Congress assessing the economic, humanitarian, political and psychological impact that Israel’s restrictions on movement and access are having on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would also report on the recovery and reconstruction in Gaza following Israel’s airstrikes this spring against Hamas and other terror factions, according to the group Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).

Some 72 national and international organizations jointly signed the letter, including MoveOn, J Street, Churches for Middle East Peace, Arab American Institute, American Muslims for Palestine, Oxfam America, Norwegian Refugee Council, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Win Without War, National Council of Churches, Demand Progress, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, IfNotNow, Al Haq and Eyewitness Palestine.

“The proposed Gaza amendment is a milestone in overdue recognition that America’s unconditional military and political support for Israel has helped enable the imprisonment and suffering of millions of Palestinians in Gaza during a 14-year Israeli blockade that stands as one of the longest-lasting acts of collective punishment in recent history,” said Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for DAWN.

Earlier this year, Sanders introduced legislation to block scheduled arms sales to Israel amid the 11-day conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups in May that began with Hamas launching rockets at Israeli civilian populations.

The U.S. Senate is likely to start considering the NDAA this week, said Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The legislation is a massive defense-budget policy measure that has passed annually through Congress for decades. The bill generally includes American security assistance for Israel, including support for Israel’s missile-defense systems like Iron Dome, and other areas of support.