Tue 11 Jun 2024 2:04 pm - Jerusalem Time

The National Organization of Black Americans calls on Biden to stop arms shipments to Israel

Citing Israel's killing of more than 36,000 Palestinians in Gaza and its defiance of an international court order to stop attacking Rafah, the NAACP last week joined hundreds of human rights and civil society organizations urging the Biden administration to halt arms transfers to Israel.

The leading American civil rights group noted Israel's defiance of the International Court of Justice's order issued on May 24 to stop attacking the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and the Israeli army's bombing of a refugee camp there on May 26, which led to the killing and wounding of hundreds of Palestinians, including many women and children.

The NAACP said the total death toll in the Gaza Strip reached more than 36,000 people, with another 81,000 wounded. About 500 Palestinians were also killed in the West Bank, including 117 children.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson acknowledged the "tragedy" that occurred on October 7, when an attack by Hamas-led militants killed more than 1,100 Israelis and others — at least some of whom were killed by Israeli fire — and took more than 240 others hostage. .

“We hope that those whose loved ones are still in captivity will be reunited as soon as possible,” he said in a statement, adding that “Hamas must return the hostages and stop all terrorist activities.”

Johnson stressed that "the conflict in the Middle East will only be resolved when the US government and the international community take action, including limiting access to weapons used against civilians." “The NAACP calls on President [Joe] Biden to draw the red line and end indefinitely the shipment of weapons and artillery to the State of Israel and other countries that supply weapons to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”

This red line has changed repeatedly. In March, Biden agreed that any Israeli invasion of Rafah — where some 1.5 million Palestinians were forcibly displaced from other parts of Gaza and were sheltering alongside local residents at the time — would constitute a “red line.”

Last month, when Israeli forces invaded Rafah, Biden set his red line by saying it would only be crossed in the event of a “major” attack on the city. Since then, Israeli forces have bombed their way into the heart of the city, killing and wounding at least hundreds of civilians. More than a million people have fled Rafah, according to UN officials.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken then denied that Biden had drawn any red line in Rafah, telling NBC News' Meet the Press host Kristen Welker on May 12: “We're not talking about red lines when it comes to Israel.” ".

Democratic strategists are concerned that Biden will lose black votes because of his complicity in the Gaza massacre. Polls show that support for Biden among Black Americans has declined significantly since 2020, as has among Muslim Americans and others concerned about Palestine. According to a Ziteo/Data for Progress poll published last month, a majority of Democratic voters of all races believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

Citing a Reuters interview with Johnson, she reported on Thursday that "the NAACP's decision to speak out was driven in part by young black Americans horrified by images of dead Palestinian civilians."

“It raises a lot of questions about why our tax dollars are being used to harm civilians,” Johnson said.


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The National Organization of Black Americans calls on Biden to stop arms shipments to Israel