by Nora Oldwin & Dean Johansson
On Tuesday, dozens of us gathered to demand that our Representative, Mike Thompson, acknowledge global and local opinion in opposition to the continued attacks on Gaza. As his constituents, we reiterated our expectations that our views will be represented in calling for an end to the Israeli bombing of Palestinians. With signs, and dolls representing Palestinian deaths (most have been children), we raised our voices in support of peace and justice for the Palestinians living in Israel. Our action is part of the world-wide opposition to Israel’s horrifically disproportionate response to the Hamas attack on October 7. Mike Thompson, as our representative in Government, we will continually call on you to recognize the global opposition to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians which cannot continue and must be opposed. We call on you to represent our views and act in our name by advocating for a Ceasefire Now.
We understand that Israel is a sovereign nation, and that the United States has little power to influence its decisions except through withholding arms and money. (We realize that Congress just took military aid to Ukraine and Israel out of the new bill to fund government spending, so part of that decision has been made for now.) But public opinion is critical. In aligning itself with Israel’s disproportionate response to the events of October 7, the U.S. is risking its position in the court of global public opinion. And this alignment will further erode whatever good standing we may have to exert an influence elsewhere and in the future.
We know that the US historically has seen itself as a country representing the new idea that people of every religion, race, and ethnicity could live together in a society based on concepts of individual freedom and justice, with a system designed to provide checks and balances for those in power. Our constitutional rights of speech, of expression, of the press, of worship, and of the right to criticize government represent a standard of freedom and justice upheld by law, admired as a model for democracy around the world. Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is grossly antithetical to these standards. Continuing to align ourselves with the Israeli Government considering their cruel and inhumane treatment of Palestinians is deeply hypocritical and signals to the world that we are unwilling to abide by the very ideals on which we say our own country is built.
Mr. Thompson, as our representative, and as a United States Government official, we call on you to uphold the values this country enshrined in its foundational documents, and repeat our demand that you advocate for Israel to immediately, unconditionally and permanently stop the bombing of innocent Palestinian civilians.