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.