Nicholas Kristof’s June 30 New York Times Op-ed is another indication that mainstream Americans are increasingly frustrated with the unconditional aid given to Israel, which totals at least $3 billion a year–more than is given to any other country. Kristof writes that America’s ally, Israel, “is using American military support to maintain an occupation that is both oppressive and unjust.”

Americans would expect their elected officials to address this vicious and gross misuse of taxpayer money. Instead, Congress is considering a resolution that defends Israel’s occupation and its illegal attack on the Freedom Flotilla. While military aid to Israel may not be a prominent election issue this year, Kristof’s piece indicates that frustration is growing. Elected officials must realize that their voting record will be intensely scrutinized in coming years.

Meanwhile, students and other activists have not waited on Congress to act. In February 2009, after an intensive two-year campaign, Hampshire College became the first American college to divest from Israel; it was also the first American college to divest from apartheid South Africa (in 1977). On June 2, 2010, students at Evergreen State College–the alma mater of Rachel Corrie–voted overwhelmingly in favor of divesting from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. While American elected officials only embolden Israeli extremism and belligerence by voting on outrageous resolutions like H.R.5501, students are sending a clear message: we are not going to wait.

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