This Wednesday, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on future defense spending, with Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the new chairwoman, at the helm. The subcommittee will hear testimony from Todd Harrison, Director of Defense Budget Analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, President, and CEO of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The above reads like a routine announcement from some Congressional body that does its routine work, day in and day out. But this is not routine news at all because of the name at the top of the story, Betty McCollum, the new chairwoman. McCollum is a staunch enemy of the state of Israel.
The House Subcommittee on Defense is part of the House Committee on Appropriations, which, together with its Senate counterpart, has jurisdiction on all appropriations bills in Congress. Article One of the Constitution, section 9, clause 7, states that “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,” which determines that Congress has the power to make budget appropriations, and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee holds the purse on all defense spending. So that should this committee be chaired by an enemy of a certain Jewish state in the Middle East, it would be a bad thing.
Here is something she told the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) when they gave her a nice award on Oct 13, 2018 (Israel Practices ‘Apartheid’ – Rep. Betty Mccollum). First, there was this lovely anecdote:
A few weeks ago in the coffee shop of this hotel, I met with an amazing woman who was struggling for freedom for justice and her country’s democratic future. Her name is Aida [Touma] Sliman and she is a citizen of Israel, and she is also a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset. She’s fighting Israel’s recently passed nation-state law, which codifies separate and unequal. It is a standard of racism that the United States rejected and outlawed more than 50 years ago.
Aida’s written and told me, rather than working on equality for the benefit of all citizens irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity or national affiliation, Israel will now promote the development of exclusive Jewish communities. Friends, the world has a name of that form of government that’s codified in the nation-state law, and it’s called apartheid.
Then the Congresswoman delivered this devastating news to anyone in the US who’s still trying to refute the poison-dripping assaults on the Jewish State:
Last November I introduced a bill in Congress, and it’s called ‘Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children,’ shorthand, HR 4391.
It’s not a complicated bill. It says that U.S. aid to Israel shall be prohibited from being used to arrest, detain, abuse, torture or otherwise violate humanitarian law and the human rights of Palestinian children. Now we know thousands of thousands of Palestinian youth have been victimized by the Israeli system of juvenile military detention over the years. We know that because of UNICEF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israel’s B’Tselem, DCI Palestinian, and the U.S. State Department have all documented Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinian children.
… This bill is a statement of unity never seen before in Congress, it unites us in our common belief in human rights. It is a statement of our shared values of freedom, equality, and justice for the Palestinian people…
…Now my goal with HR 4391 is to offer, as I said, an alternative perspective, to force policymakers to think about the 3.8 billion dollars in U.S. aid to Israel and how that helps to enable, facilitate and enforce the military occupation of Palestinian lands and the repression of the Palestinian people…
Mccollum’s position on Israel has naturally made her a target of criticism by pro-Israel groups in the US, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in February 2020 paid for a Facebook ad that attacked the radicals in the Democratic, namely Party Reps. Mccollum, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, saying, “It’s critical that we protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and – maybe more sinister – right here in the U.S. Congress.”
The AIPAC ad linked to a petition that said those three congresswomen were a bigger threat to Israel than Iran. You may or may not agree with the sentiment, but here’s what Congresswoman Mccollum wrote in response on February 12, 2020:
The decision by AIPAC to use my image in paid Facebook ads weaponizing anti-Semitism to incite followers by attacking me, my colleagues and my work promoting human rights for Palestinian children detained in Israeli military prisons is hate speech. …
This is not a call to action, it is incitement.
Elected representatives in Congress “more sinister” than ISIS? Last year, I met with AIPAC representatives from Minnesota in my office. Do forces “more sinister” than ISIS sit down and meet with AIPAC’s advocates?
AIPAC wants its followers to believe that my bill, H.R. 2407, to protect Palestinian children from being interrogated, abused, and even tortured in Israeli military prisons is a threat more sinister than ISIS. This is not empty political rhetoric. It is hate speech.
AIPAC’s language is intended to demonize, not elevate a policy debate. Vile attacks such as this may be commonplace in the Trump era, but they should never be normalized. Hate speech is intentionally destructive and dehumanizing, which is why it is used as a weapon by groups with a stake in profiting from oppression.
Here’s why AIPAC was so terrified of the Congresswoman from Minnesota, it felt obligated to go on the attack. These are excerpts from Mccollum’s brainchild, H.R.2407 — 116th Congress (2019-2020) includes the following despicable lies:
(4) In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, there are two separate legal systems, with Israeli military law imposed on Palestinians and Israeli civilian law applied to Israeli settlers.
(5) Approximately 2,900,000 Palestinians live in the West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18, who have lived their entire lives under Israeli military occupation.
(6) Since 2000, more than 10,000 Palestinian children have been subject to the Israeli military court system.
(7) Israeli security forces detain children under the age of 12 for interrogation for extended periods of time even though prosecution of children under 12 is prohibited by Israeli military law.
(11) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) concluded, in a February 2013 report titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention”, that the “ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing”.
(22) The United States provides in excess of $3.8 billion in annual foreign military assistance to the Government of Israel which enables the military detention and abuse of Palestinian children by Israel’s military system of juvenile detention.
SEC. 5. Statement of policy.
It is the policy of the United States to promote human rights for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation and to declare Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children as a practice that results in widespread and systematic human rights abuses amounting to gross violations of human rights inconsistent with international humanitarian law and the laws and values of the United States.
Funding.—There is authorized to be appropriated not less than $19,000,000 each fiscal year to the Secretary of State to be made available to nongovernmental organizations from the United States, Israel, or the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the following purposes:
(1) MONITORING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES ASSOCIATED WITH ISRAEL’S MILITARY DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN.
(2) PROVIDING PHYSICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH TREATMENT, SUPPORT, AND REHABILITATION FOR PALESTINIAN CHILDREN VICTIMS OF MILITARY DETENTION, ABUSE, AND TORTURE.
Nothing came out of Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s proposed legislation. It is doubtful that a similar effort during the 117th Congress would yield better results for the anti-Israel lobby. However, the fact that Congresswoman Betty McCollum is now in charge of defense budget deliberations in the House could have a devastating effect in terms of the conversation itself. While in the past accusations of Israeli torture of Palestinian children were part of the extremists’ chatter, now it will become part of the mainstream conversation.
Incidentally, Mccollum’s rise to the chairmanship of defense appropriations was not part of a sinister scheme drawn up in some dark room full of anti-Semites. It was the “fault” of a great, Jewish Congresswoman from Queens, Nita Lowey, who in 2018 became the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee. Two years later, Lowey, who turns 84 this summer, announced her retirement. As a result, the defense appropriations chair, Democrat Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, moved up to replace Lowey at Appropriations, and the defense appropriations subcommittee chairmanship fell to the vice-chair, Betty McCollum.
It was all done in an orderly fashion.