U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman issued the following statement to The Riverdale Press after learning Hebrew Institute of Riverdale rabbi Avi Weiss created an online petition with Young Israel of Scarsdale rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern over Bowman's support of a bill from Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum intended to restrict Israel from using American foreign aid dollars as part of its military efforts against the Palestinian Authority.
To read the full story surrounding Bowman's statement, click here.
“I strongly support a two-state solution and believe in a path forward that upholds democracy and self-determination for the Israeli and Palestinian people. We are pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Supporting the security of Israel and the rights of Palestinians are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they are entirely intertwined. I support policies that will promote and protect the long-term safety of both parties and the United States.
“Given the size and share of foreign aid received by Israel — which is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign aid in the world and receives billions every year — it’s incredibly important that we ensure taxpayer dollars, whether abroad or at home, comply with U.S. laws and with international humanitarian laws. Support from the U.S. government should be used to address the true security threats faced by Israelis. Our taxpayer dollars should not be used as a means to entrench the occupation of Palestine, which is counterproductive to achieving peace and a two-state solution.
“This is especially true at a time when we are dealing with immense challenges here at home. American taxpayers should not have to subsidize expansion of settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes, detention of Palestinian children, or any supporting the threatened Israeli ‘annexation’ of the West Bank. This is what House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chair McCollum’s bill — which has been endorsed by more than 70 human rights organizations as well as Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations — is intended to prevent if passed.
“Further, our spending on defense, nuclear weapons, war, and military aid is astronomical. At a time when millions of Americans are struggling just to get health care and put food on the table, it is time we take a hard look across the board at all of our military spending and aid, including to our allies, to ensure that we are achieving the goals of peace and prosperity around the world.”