Opinion

An open letter to Congresswoman McCollum

It seems your staff lacks a sense of moral clarity. Maybe you need to hire different people?

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). Source: Betty McCollum via Twitter.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). Source: Betty McCollum via Twitter.
Gary Schiff
Gary Schiff is a Jerusalem-based resource consultant and guide connecting Israel and the United States.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) chose Holocaust Remembrance Day to introduce a bill calling Israel to task for allegedly mistreating Palestinian children. The bill calls for Congress to allocate $19 million to fund non-governmental organizations that would oversee Israel’s interrogation and treatment of Palestinian children.

In January 2016, one such Palestinian child, 16-year-old Morad Bader Abdullah Adais, murdered Dafna Meir in her home in the town of Otniel. He told investigators the Israeli mother of six struggled fiercely to her last breath as he repeatedly stabbed her on the floor of her home with a butcher’s knife, in front of three of her children. “I plunged the knife into her so deeply that most of it was inside her body,” he recalled. “She started screaming, the children saw me and also started screaming, then I stabbed her in her upper body another three or four times. She tried to fight me and tried to take the knife from me. The two children who were there were still screaming, but she continued to resist, so I pushed her, and overpowered her.”

When asked by investigators what he would have done had he been able to retrieve the knife from her body, Adais replied: “I would have continued stabbing her, and if I saw another Jew, I would stab and murder him.”

While there are other cases of brutal terrorist attacks by Palestinian minors, far more common are stoning attacks by minors on Israeli vehicles, which have resulted in a number of Jewish fatalities and significant injuries.

That said, if Israel is mistreating children in custody, the congresswoman has reason for concern. It is not likely, however, that there are significant, widespread issues in this regard; the Israel Defense Forces may be the most moral army in the world. They have clearly established protocols and oversight for interrogations. The recently retired head of the Israel Air Force spoke of one of his greatest achievements being the reduction in fatalities from airstrikes from one civilian killed per every targeted terrorist to one civilian killed for every 25 targeted terrorists; a ratio unheard of in any other military. (Many Israelis believe that the military has been too cautious and continues to put Israeli lives at risk in its effort to protect non-combatants.)

Her introduction of this bill also begs several questions about the congresswoman’s genuine concern for children.

Has the congresswoman developed any legislation to provide oversight of the Palestinian Authority regarding its use of Palestinian children as human shields or suicide-bombers? Or using summer camps to train children in terrorism? Has she considered legislation that would condition U.S. aid on the P.A. ceasing such activities?

Has the congresswoman developed any legislation to censure the P.A. for rewarding terrorists’ families with cash, holding celebrations for the murder of Jews, and naming streets and schools after the murderers? Has she considered legislation that would condition U.S. aid on the P.A. ceasing these activities? Or how about legislation which would condition aid on stopping the preaching of Jew-hatred and incitement in mosques and schools?

Is the congresswoman concerned about children in other nations? For example, has she considered any legislation to address the outright murder of thousands of Syrian children?

When the congresswoman was directly confronted with the story of 16-year-old Adais, who murdered Dafna Meir, the congresswoman appeared visibly moved, but then changed her demeanor and went on to say, “You know how these things work. Staff write these bills.”

Though this piece of legislation is basically a “message bill” since it has zero chance of enactment, her staff are probably now pushing for a subcommittee hearing whereby they can use it as an opportunity to further malign the moral reputation of the Jewish state. No doubt the anti-Israel organizations that stand to benefit from the passage of such legislation are pressuring committee staff for a hearing.

Congresswoman, it seems like your staff lacks a sense of moral clarity. Maybe you need to hire different people?

Gary Schiff is a Jerusalem-based natural resource consultant connecting Israel and the United States.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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