Washington DC – In the US Congress, which has unconditionally supported Israel, several lawmakers have condemned the assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday.
However, some lawmakers blamed Israel for the deadly incident, while some lawmakers who played a key role in foreign policy and press freedom panels completely ignored the shooting.
Representative Rashida Tlib, D-Mitch, was the most vocal.
The Palestinian-born progressive legislator on Wednesday called for a moment of silence for the slain journalist on the floor of the House of Representatives and condemned the killing in the presence of multiple statements and the media.
“It simply came to our notice then. Inaction and inaction lead to more assassinations, “she wrote in a tweet to President Joe Biden, citing US military aid to Israel, which is worth $ 3.8 billion a year.
“Whether you are a Palestinian or an American, you must stop the killings with American funds,” Tlib said.
In a TV interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday night, he also called for a US-led inquiry into the incident.
“We must investigate the murder of an American citizen. Someone is the guardian of the truth, doing his job and we were killed by another government that was unconditionally funded, “she said.
Abu Akle is a US citizen – this fact has been uncovered by many US officials.
Leading Progressive Congressman Mark Pokan in the House of Representatives also suggested that US aid to Israel be limited.
“If human rights and generally accepted rules are not respected, aid should be limited,” he tweeted.
The US government’s condemnation of the killing of an American journalist is a welcome response to the volatile situation in Israel and Palestine. Assistance should be limited if human rights and generally accepted norms are not respected. https://t.co/I5yiv1FONk
– Representative Mark Pocon (repmarkpocan) 12 May 2022
The Congress statement on the assassination of Abu Eqli came from Democratic legislators, most of whom belonged to the party’s progressive wing.
Al Jazeera could not find a statement from members of the Republican legislature condemning the assassination.
Ilhan Omar, a left-wing Muslim-American member of the House of Representatives, has blamed Israel for killing Palestinian journalists.
He tweeted that he was killed by the Israeli army after learning he was a journalist. We provide unlimited $ 3.8 billion in military aid to Israel each year. What action will be taken on these human rights violations? ,
Andrei Carson, a member of the Muslim Congress for Omar, also called on the US government to “take responsibility for any other wrongdoing committed by the Israeli government.”
I mourn the dead along with countless others Al Jazeera Reporter, #ShirinAbukaleh, Killed by Israeli army while on duty. The United States should be held accountable for all other unjust acts of violence committed against the Government of Israel.
– Andre Carson (epRepAndreCarson) 11 May 2022
Many Democrats joined progressive members of the party to pay tribute to Abu Aklar and demand an investigation, but they did not point the finger at Israel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of Israel, tweeted: “The assassination of American journalist Shirin Abu Aklar is a terrible tragedy.”
“Now a comprehensive, objective inquiry is needed. Congress is committed to protecting the freedom of the press around the world and to protecting every journalist, especially those in conflict. “
Senator Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat and voice supporter of US-Israeli relations, said he was “disturbed” by the assassination of Abu Akleh.
“Abu Akleh’s death is an attack on a journalist in the news gear,” he said in a statement. “No journalist should be killed on the job. I strongly condemn his death and call for an independent and comprehensive investigation into the incident.
Senator Chris van Holen also called for an independent investigation into the incident.
,@ Speaker Pelosi Correct. Anyone who believes in press freedom and justice should demand a full and independent investigation into the murder of American journalist Shirin Abu Akleh. https://t.co/eUqO133GwO
– Senator Chris Van Hollen (ChrisVanHollen) 12 May 2022
So did Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy. “Shirin Abu Akleh, a senior American journalist, was shot dead this morning while doing her job,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
“His heartbreaking death should be seen as an attack on press freedom everywhere. Those responsible should be thoroughly investigated and held fully accountable.
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Freedom Freedom Caucus, also described the shooting death of a Palestinian-American journalist as a “terrible tragedy.”
“The Israeli military must conduct a thorough and objective investigation into Abu Aklar’s death and be transparent about its outcome,” Schiff said in a statement. Ali al-Samudi and journalists around the world who risked their lives to expose the incident. That’s true for us. “
Palestinian human rights lawyers have rejected calls by US officials for Israel to conduct its own investigation, arguing that it should not trust the Israeli government to be held accountable for alleged war crimes.
Steve Chabot, the Republican co-chair of the Press Freedom Caucus, did not make an official statement about the killings on his congressional webpage or social media account. His office did not respond to a request for comment from Al Jazeera.
Andy Levine, a member of the Jewish U.S. Congress from Michigan, will face Democratic nominee Haley Stevens in the primary after his re-election, saying he was “shocked” by the assassination of Abu Akla.
“In different parts of the world, such as Palestine, Mexico and Russia, the international community must come together to defend the right to freedom of the press,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
Stevens, who has the support of several pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), did not mention the incident on his social media accounts or on the congressional website.
Debbie Dingle, another Michigan congresswoman who represents a large Arab-American community, said the free press was “the most important thing in any democracy.”
The assassination of Palestinian-American journalist Shirin Abu Akle is shocking and heartbreaking. Freedom of the press is paramount in any democracy.
I called with the organizers for a comprehensive investigation to make those responsible. https://t.co/M1QWe1n0l0
– Representative Debbie Dingell (epRepDebDingell) 11 May 2022
The chairmen of the House and Senate foreign policy groups did not mention the incident in official statements. The House Foreign Affairs Committee shared a post on Pelosi’s murder via its Twitter account.
Abu Akleh’s deadly shootings are the equivalent of a week’s busy home in Washington, with a lack of infant formula and a failure to pass legislation to protect abortion rights.
House Progressive Rowe Khanna, who represents the California district, wrote in a social media post that “the murder of American journalist Shirin Abu Akleh was devastating and a brutal attack on press freedom.”
New York spokeswoman Yvette Clark said the killings were “another reason why a two-state solution is needed in the region.”
I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the journalist, Shirin Abu Akleh. Some of them are called the Ninth District House of New York. This tragedy is another reason why we have a two state solution in this area. https://t.co/rBt2yM9bsK
– Yvette d. Clark (RepYvetteClarke) 11 May 2022
Mary Newman, a member of Congress who has consistently criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, said she was “deeply concerned about reports of Israeli soldiers shooting and killing al-Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Aklar while reporting on the West Bank.”
“We must protect the press and hold those responsible accountable for this heinous crime,” he tweeted.
Congressman Corey Bush, a progressive supporter of Palestinian rights, has condemned the “unacceptable attack.”
Betty McCallum, a member of Congress who supported Palestinian human rights in Congress and introduced bills to limit US aid to Israel, said the killings should be “condemned and investigated.”
The Israeli military assassination of Shirin Abu Akal was devastating and humiliating. I condemn this unacceptable attack on the freedom and security of Palestinians and journalists around the world.
There must be accountability and an end to apartheid in Israel. https://t.co/q3SfPFVQ6G
– Congresswoman Corey Bush (RepCori) 12 May 2022