Democrats clash over bill to curb Israeli torture of children

Two soldiers walk with handcuffed youth between them

Israel prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 Palestinian children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. 

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Betty McCollum, a member of the US Congress, is hitting back at a fellow Democrat who pulled her backing from a bill to protect Palestinian children from Israeli military detention and torture.

Earlier this month, Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell withdrew her name from McCollum’s bill, HR 2407.

Dingell “removed her name from HR 2407, calling it ‘counterproductive to a peaceful, two-state solution,’” McCollum, of Minnesota, tweeted Tuesday.

“Does ongoing US funding for Israeli military detention and abuse of Palestinian children promote peace or human rights violations?”

“My heart has always been with the children of Palestine and I would never take action that would harm them,” Dingell tweeted days earlier, justifying her decision to withdraw sponsorship from the bill.

“I believe we must act to protect them and that we must do better than this bill. I am working hard on a solution.”

“We must send a strong signal that the United States cares about these children,” Dingell added, while doing the exact opposite.

“While we wait and wait …”

Dingell did not explain how she was “working hard on a solution,” but did say she was pushing Democratic Party leaders to call a vote on a nonbinding resolution backing a two-state solution.

House Resolution 326, which is supported by Democrat-aligned Israel lobby groups, aims to “ensure the State of Israel’s survival as a secure Jewish and democratic state.”

Unlike McCollum’s bill, the resolution makes no mention of Israel’s systematic jailing and abuse of Palestinian children.

Dingell appears to be using her support for the do-nothing pro-Israel resolution as cover to undermine a bill that brings real accountability for Israel’s human rights abuses.

McCollum’s bill would prohibit US funding to Israeli military units found to be involved in abuses of Palestinian children. It also allocates millions of dollars to investigate such abuses.

“Representative Dingell says ‘we must do better’ than HR 2407,” McCollum responded.

“While we wait and wait for a two-state solution, Israel’s occupation continues and Palestinian children continue to be held in Israeli military detention.”

“Act of cowardice”

Dingell represents a Detroit suburb with a large Arab American community. Her withdrawal from the bill has generated anger among community advocates.

Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told the publication Middle East Eye that Dingell’s withdrawal was an “act of cowardice.”

According to Middle East Eye, Dingell may be trying to appease Israel lobby groups disturbed that she has been too supportive of Palestinian rights.

By throwing Palestinian children under the bus, Dingell may hope to secure the continued support of pro-Israel advocates.

Ayoub expressed concern, according to Middle East Eye, that “given that Dingell represents one of the largest Arab communities in the United States, withdrawing her support from the bill gives cover for others to follow.”

JVP Action, the political action committee of Jewish Voice for Peace, is urging the public to contact Dingell to demand she back the bill.

“Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights,” according to the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

Following Dingell’s withdrawal, McCollum’s bill to curb these abuses currently has 21 cosponsors, all Democrats.




Frankly, I'm surprised that 21 Democrats support a bill aimed at curtailing military trials and torture for children.


I am surprised as well. Given AIPAC's power over the Congress - both Houses, both parties - I would expect legislation sending Israeli police instruments of torture to get full approval, and Trump to sign it.


A shameful behavior from Dingell, because she is supporting apartheid, and child abuse at the hands of Zionist regime.