US Representative Betty McCollum and a group of congressional lawmakers follow the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and European donors in condemning Israel's designation of Palestinian NGO's as terrorist organizations.

File photo: Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., left, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 26, 2018.
File photo: Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., left, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 26, 2018. (AP)

A group of progressive Democrats under the leadership of Betty McCollum have introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives condemning Israel for the designation of six prominent Palestinian NGOs and civil society groups as terrorist organizations.

The Israeli decision was announced last Friday, October 22 by Defence Minister Benny Gantz. 

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The move was quickly criticised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who were joined by European donors supporting the targeted groups.

Israel alleges the targeted groups are directly linked or affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which it has designated as a terror group.

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The resolution which was introduced by progressive Democrats on Thursday described Tel Aviv's decision as “a repressive act designed to criminalize and persecute important Palestinian human rights organizations”  adding that the House of Representatives should "recognize the valuable work of Palestinian civil society organizations."

“When a government uses the label of terrorist as a weapon to silence the work of human rights organizations and advocates who courageously represent vulnerable people living under military occupation, it is a sign of incredible weakness more aligned with an authoritarian regime than a healthy democracy,” McCollum said in a statement.

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"The US invests billions of our taxpayer dollars to support Israel’s security, not Israel’s system of occupation and repression of Palestinians. It is incumbent upon Democrats in the US House and the Biden administration to condemn this Israeli decision and draw a clear line that anti-democratic repression of Palestinian civil society is not tolerated,” she added.

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The US provides Israel with roughly $3.8 billion in military funding each fiscal year, and pressure has been mounting, particularly among progressive Democrats, to ensure the funding is not provided carte blanche.

McCollum is being joined by nine co-sponsors, including Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Andre Carson and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

McCollum's resolution notes that "delegitimization and disinformation campaigns have been advanced by a network of rising nationalist Israeli civil society organizations and associated organizations outside of Israel, with the support of Israeli Government ministries."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies