Just when we were hoping that the Democratic Party’s left flank was moving away from some of its anti-Israel sentiment, along came Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and 11 of her colleagues to present legislation titled the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. In introducing the bill, McCollum has simply added to the pile of worthless bills on Capitol Hill and unfairly targeted Israel in the process.
The bill, which would “require the secretary of state to certify that United States funds do not support military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of Palestinian children,” presupposes that the detention of children is a uniquely Israeli problem. It’s not.
McCollum said the bill “highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children” and ensures the United States does not support human rights violations. The bill may largely be a distraction, since it has little chance of becoming law. But by tacitly endorsing a report released this year by a group calling itself Military Court Watch — which exists solely to document what it says is official Israeli abuse of Palestinian children — the bill and its sponsors have taken the side of the same Palestinians who have encouraged children to violently engage Israeli forces and harass Jewish residents of the West Bank.
Predictably, the McCollum bill drew support from such organizations as Churches for Middle East Peace and the far-left Jewish Voice for Peace, which said the legislation “recognizes and acts upon the inherent dignity and worth of Palestinian children.” Not only is JVP wrong in its interpretation, but it also chooses to ignore the fact that children suspected and convicted of criminal activity — such as the stone-throwing and knife-wielding Palestinians, many of whom are minors — are detained everywhere in the world, including in Minnesota, which had 912 juveniles in custody in 2010, according to Kids Count.
It would be nice if not a single Palestinian minor was in the custody of Israel’s military justice system, which governs areas of Judea and Samaria. But that will only happen if Palestinian children stop throwing stones at Israelis or otherwise stop attacking them. That’s something that McCollum apparently doesn’t get.
This kind of accusatory legislation begs the question why McCollum and a handful of Democratic representatives insist on targeting Israel, and ignore not only the reality that is Israel’s security predicament in the Middle East but also the myriad human rights abuses to minors and others actively being perpetrated by Arab states throughout the region.
The near obsession with Israel to the exclusion of all else by the far-left fringe may prove to be the Democratic Party’s Achilles heel. We worry that actions like this will continue to drive moderate Jewish voters from a party that has historically represented them.