US Lawmakers Condemned Shireen Abu Akleh Killing But Many Avoid Blaming Israel

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Many members of the US Congress, who are essentially unequivocal in their support for Israel, have denounced the assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli soldiers. Despite this, few members of Congress named Israel as the perpetrator of the tragic act, and other lawmakers who chair foreign policy and press freedom committees totally ignored the shooting.

Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, has been the most vocal. On Wednesday, the progressive member of Palestinian descent asked for a minute of mourning on the House floor for the dead journalist and denounced the killing in multiple remarks and media appearances. She also demanded a US-led investigation into the incident.

Abu Akleh was a 51-year-old Catholic Palestinian who studied architecture before switching to journalism and becoming one of the Arab world’s most well-known TV journalists. Her face lit up millions of TV screens every night for 25 years as she conveyed the tales of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule. Arab ladies and girls admired her. Foreign journalists who covered the Palestinian territories thought highly of her.

According to the network and the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israeli soldiers assassinated a Palestinian American journalist for the Al Jazeera news network in the West Bank early Wednesday. Shireen Abu Akleh, an Israeli journalist, was killed in a gunfight, according to Israeli officials, who did not say who fired the fatal shot.

Congressman Mark Pocan, a major House progressive, has also spoken out in support of Abu Akleh, suggesting that US aid to Israel be restricted. If human rights and internationally accepted principles are not respected, aid restrictions may be essential, he stated on Twitter. Andre Carson urged the US to hold the Israeli government responsible for this and any other acts of wrongful aggression it perpetrates.

Several prominent Democrats joined progressive Democrats to express respect for Abu Akleh and demand a probe, but they avoided blaming Israel. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an outspoken supporter of Israel, remarked on Twitter, “The assassination of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an appalling tragedy. Right now, a full, objective investigation is required. Congress is dedicated to defending press freedoms around the world and ensuring the safety of all journalists, particularly those working in conflict zones.

Senator Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat, and ardent supporter of strong US-Israel connections said the assassination of Abu Akleh disturbed him. He added that Abu Akleh’s killing was “an attack on a journalist who was wearing her press gear.” “No journalist should be slain for doing their job. I vehemently oppose her death and demand an unbiased and comprehensive investigation.” He avoided blaming Israel for Abu Akleh’s killing just like Nancy.