For Immediate Release

  — Israeli President Isaac Herzog will be giving a joint address to Congress tomorrow.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman Ed.D. (NY-16) released the following statement in response:

“From Israel to India, we must hold our allies accountable when it comes to human rights violations and the abuses of far-right governments, which is why I will not be attending Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress this Wednesday. I’ve had the opportunity to meet President Herzog in Israel and voice my concerns and understand this pathway towards freedom and safety for Israelis and Palestinians alike. His responses to my inquiry were not aligned to moving us toward a two state solution. My decision to not attend in no way stems from a lack of support for the existence of the State of Israel. On the contrary, it is out of concern that there is no sense of urgency about ensuring the safety and security of all Israelis and Palestinians in the region and finally achieving a two-state solution. This is also an informed decision out of engagement and deep listening to President Herzog, members of parliament, Israeli and Palestinian scholars, and community members in the region who experienced settler violence and dispossession. While President Herzog has stated settlements should be frozen and claims to opposes settler violence, he has remained silent as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has expanded settlements that are illegal under international law and has appointed Ministers that seek the anti-democratic annexation of the West Bank and the demise of any two state solution with the Palestinians. He was also silent and inactive during the previous administration.” 

“While I appreciate and understand that the invitation to Herzog to speak to Congress over Netanyahu is a strong statement against Netanyahu’s extremist actions, Herzog on his own must answer key questions on how we will arrive to a two state solution and ending annexation, child detention, home demolition, settler violence and the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The United States government should give this prestigious platform at times when our allies are standing as beacons and examples of our values. At this time, although Herzog is viewed as a centrist statesman, he has not yet shown the actions of pro-democracy and a pro-peace agenda. I strongly support a democratic Israel and a Palestinian state that are able to thrive with peace and security. A true two-state solution is the pathway towards peace and security for all in the region. It’s way past time that we stop using a two state solution as a talking point and actually get it done.”