Washington DC – In a U.S. Congress with largely unconditional support for Israel, many lawmakers condemn the killing of an Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu AckleyOn Wednesday, he was shot dead by Israeli forces.
Still, few members of Congress have named Israel as perpetrators of the deadly incident, and some lawmakers who hold key positions on foreign policy and press freedom panels have ignored the shooting altogether.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was the most outspoken.
The progressive lawmaker of Palestinian descent called for moment of silence He spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday for the slain journalist and condemned the killing in multiple statements and media appearances.
“An American journalist clearly marked with a press pass was murdered. Inaction and inaction will only lead to more killings,” she wrote in a tweet aimed at President Joe Biden, citing U.S. military aid to Israel, Total $3.8 billion per year.
“Whether you’re a Palestinian or an American, you have to stop being American-funded killings,” Tlaib said.
In a TV interview with Al Jazeera late Wednesday, she also called for a US-led investigation into the incident.
“We need to investigate the killing of an American citizen ourselves. Someone out there was a guardian of truth, doing her job, and was murdered by a segregated government that we continue to fund unconditionally,” she said.
Abu Akleh is a U.S. citizen—a fact highlighted by several U.S. officials.
Congressman Mark Pocan, a key progressive in the House of Representatives, also suggested restrictions US aid to Israel.
“Aid may need to be restricted if human rights and generally accepted norms are not respected,” he tweeted.
The U.S. government’s condemnation of the killing of an American journalist is a welcome response to the unsustainable situation in Israel and Palestine. Aid may need to be restricted if human rights and generally accepted norms are not respected. https://t.co/I5yiv1FONk
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) May 12, 2022
The congressional statement on the killing of Abu Ackley came from Democratic lawmakers, most of whom are part of the party’s progressive wing.
Al Jazeera was unable to find any statement from Republican lawmakers condemning the killing.
Left-wing Muslim US congressman Ilhan Omar unequivocally blames Israel Palestinian journalist killed.
“She was killed by the Israeli military after she became aware of her existence as a journalist,” she tweeted. “We provide Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid each year without limits. Responsibility for these human rights violations What measures will be taken?”
Andre Carson, a Muslim lawmaker for Omar, also called on the U.S. government to “hold the Israeli government accountable for all other acts of unjust violence that it has committed.”
I join countless others in mourning the dead @Al Jazeera reporter, #ShireenAbuAkleh, was killed by the Israeli military in the line of duty. The United States must hold the Israeli government accountable for all other acts of unjust violence committed against it.
— Andre Carson (@RepAndreCarson) May 11, 2022
Several top Democrats joined progressive members of the party in tributes to Abu Akler and calls for an investigation, but they did not point the finger at Israel.
“The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akler is a terrible tragedy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of Israel, tweeted.
“A thorough, objective investigation is needed now. Congress is committed to defending press freedom around the world and protecting every journalist, especially those in conflict zones.”
Senator Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat and outspoken supporter of U.S.-Israel relations, said he was “disturbed” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
“Abu Akleh’s death was an attack on a journalist in news gear,” he said in a statement. “No journalist should be killed on the job. I strongly condemn her death and call for an independent and thorough investigation into the incident.”
Senator Chris Van Hollen also urged an independent investigation into the incident.
.@SpeakerPelosi is correct. Anyone who believes in press freedom and justice should call for a thorough and independent investigation into the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. https://t.co/eUqO133GwO
– Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 12, 2022
So did Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy. “Senior American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was just doing her job when she was shot and killed this morning,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
“Her heartbreaking death should be seen as an attack on press freedom everywhere. Those responsible must be thoroughly investigated and fully held to account.”
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Press Freedom Caucus, also said fatal shot Palestinian-American journalist is a ‘terrible tragedy’.
“The Israeli military must conduct a thorough and objective investigation into Abu Akler’s death and be transparent about its findings,” Schiff said in a statement. Ali Al-Samudi, and the people of the press around the world who risked their lives to uncover the truth for us.”
Palestinian rights advocate Rejected calls U.S. officials have asked Israel to conduct its own investigation, saying the Israeli government should not be believed responsible for the alleged war crimes.
Steve Chabot, the Republican co-chair of the Press Freedom Caucus, did not make any official statement about the killing on his congressional webpage or social media accounts. His office did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment by press time.
Jewish American Congressman Andy Levin of Michigan, who will face off with Democratic incumbent Haley Stevens in the primary after redistricting, says he ‘Shocked’ by Abu Akleh’s killing.
“Globally, in places as diverse as Palestine, Mexico and Russia, the international community must come together to defend the right to press freedom,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
Stevens, who has the support of numerous pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), made no mention of the incident on her social media accounts or on the Congressional website.
Debbie Dingle, another Michigan congressman representing a large Arab-American community, said freedom of the press “is the most important thing in any democracy.”
The killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is shocking and heartbreaking. Press freedom is paramount in any democracy.
I join the administrators in calling for a thorough investigation to hold those responsible accountable.https://t.co/M1QWe1n0l0
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) May 11, 2022
The chairmen of the House and Senate foreign policy groups did not address the incident in official statements. The House Foreign Affairs Committee shared Pelosi’s post about the killing via its Twitter account.
“The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is devastating and a blatant attack on press freedom,” House progressive Ro Khanna, who represents a district in California, wrote in a social media post.
New York Representative Yvette Clark said the killings were “another reason why we need a two-state solution in the region.”
I would like to express my sincere condolences to the journalist’s family, Shireen Abu Akleh. Some of them call New York’s Ninth District home. This tragedy is another reason why we need a two-state solution in the region. https://t.co/rBt2yM9bsK
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) May 11, 2022
Congresswoman Mary Newman, a frequent critic of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians, said she was “extremely concerned by reports that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akler was shot and killed by Israeli troops while reporting in the West Bank while wearing a news vest. “.
“We must protect the press and hold those responsible for this heinous crime to account,” she tweeted.
Congresswoman Corey Bush, a progressive supporter of Palestinian rights, condemned the “unacceptable attack”.
House of Representatives Betty McCollumAn advocate for Palestinian human rights in Congress and bills to limit U.S. aid to Israel, he also said the killings must be “denounced and investigated.”
Israel’s military killing of Shireen Abu Akl was devastating and outrageous. I condemn this unacceptable attack on her, on the freedom and security of Palestinians and journalists around the world.
Accountability must be held, and we must demand an end to apartheid in Israel. https://t.co/q3SfPFVQ6G
— Congresswoman Cory Bush (@RepCori) May 12, 2022