May 12, 2021, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people across historic Palestine and in the diaspora who, 73 years after the Nakba and Israel’s forced dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland, continue to demand freedom from Israeli settler-colonialism, apartheid, and prolonged belligerent military occupation:
The United States is complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians who, for decades, have been struggling for freedom and the right to remain on their land with dignity. With its unconditional financial, military, and diplomatic support of the Israeli apartheid regime, the U.S. bears responsibility for the everyday violence of Israeli oppression and belligerent military occupation, and for allowing the Israeli military and security forces to wield deadly force against Palestinians with impunity.
For Palestinians and their allies, the last few weeks – during Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims – have again demonstrated the devastating consequences of U.S. patronage of Israel and support in the face of human rights abuses and unrelenting violations of international law. The U.S. gifts $3.8 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds annually to the Israeli military to purchase weapons that sustain Israel’s illegal 54-year belligerent occupation of Palestine and its horrific, cyclical, military assaults on the 2 million Palestinians who have been living for nearly 15 years confined under Israel’s brutal closure of the Gaza Strip. U.S.-based Zionist organizations who enjoy tax-exempt status are providing direct assistance to the Israeli settlement enterprise, including for the transfer of the Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem happening currently.
We reject any ahistorical analysis of the present reality that does not begin with the Nakba – the catastrophic root of Israel’s 73-year old settler-colonial project in Palestine, which began in 1948 when Zionist militias, backed by Western powers, forcibly displaced 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed 531 Palestinian villages in order to establish the State of Israel. Israel’s apartheid regime, which systemically denies and subjugates the economic, social, cultural, political, and civil rights of Palestinians is an integral tool of a settler-colony aiming to maintain Jewish supremacy and eliminate the presence of the Palestinian population. So are the brutal repression of Palestinian protest and popular resistance across historic Palestine in the last few weeks and the deadly military attacks on Gaza these past few days. The United States’ unwavering support of Israel in its violent suppression of the Palestinian freedom struggle is squarely aligned with the United States’ own approach to indigenous peoples, its impunity for international crimes, and its commitment to the myth of human hierarchy.
We stand with Palestinians who are engaging in a righteous struggle for liberation and join all those who are demanding an end to Israeli oppression and U.S. complicity. As we work toward a complete transformation of U.S. policies of domination, racism, and militarism that threaten the lives of Palestinians and other marginalized people around the world, we call on the U.S. to take these straightforward, rights-based steps to mitigate Israel’s capacity to harm Palestinians:
- Make an unequivocal statement of support for human rights and international law by condemning Israel’s illegal settlement regime and the Israeli military closure of the Gaza Strip, as well as affirming the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
- End U.S. military funding to Israeli apartheid and condition all aid on the protection of civil, policitical, economic, cultural, and social rights, including the end of Israeli apartheid throughout historic Palestine.
- Respect the independence of the International Criminal Court and not interfere directly or indirectly with its exercise of jurisdiction to hold Israeli actors accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- Investigate U.S.-based 501(c)(3)s funding Israeli human rights violations, including the expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
- Guarantee the constitutionally-protected right to boycott for justice, equality, and freedom in Palestine.
Until Palestine is free.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.