BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Congressmember Nydia Velazquez on Wednesday was among a small group of House members refusing to back a resolution calling on the body to “stand with Israel.”
The Meeks-McCaul resolution, H. Res 771, is titled “Standing with Israel as it Defends Itself Against the Barbaric War Launched by Hamas and Other Terrorists.” The resolution reaffirms U.S. support for the Jewish state. The measure further says the U.S. will continue to provide military funding to Israel — $3.3 billion per year through 2028 — declaring that Israel has “the right to self-defense.”
In a show of bipartisan unity, 412 members voted for the resolution. Ten voted against it. Six, including Velazquez, voted “present.” Among those voting No were several members of the Democratic “Squad,” including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Velazquez’s district is now based solely in Brooklyn. But for 20 years, before redistricting in 2012, she also represented a part of the Lower East Side.
After her vote, Velazquez released the following statement:
“H.Res 771 was introduced shortly after Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. This unprecedented attack claimed the lives of over 1,400 Israelis, injured 5,400, and resulted in over 200 innocent Israelis being taken hostage. Hamas’s terrorist attack killed young children, destroyed families, and shook the state of Israel to its core. I initially cosponsored H.Res 771 to condemn this attack in the strongest terms and mourn the devastating loss of Israeli life.
“However, since October 7th we have also seen a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza. In the weeks since Hamas’s attack, the Israeli military has dropped thousands of bombs on Gaza, killing at least 6,546 Palestinians and injuring over 17,000 more. At the same time, Palestinians have effectively been cut off from the resources they need to live. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. I chose to vote Present on H.Res 771 because, while I condemn the heinous attack on Israel, I cannot vote for a measure that does not acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians and the horrific toll the war has taken on the innocent people living in Gaza. I believe that the lives of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians are precious and that is why I continue to support an immediate ceasefire.”
President Joe Biden, for one, however, has questioned the number of Palestinian casualties that Hamas has cited.
To a reporter’s question at a press conference on Oct. 25, Biden responded, “I have no confidence in the numbers that the Palestinians are using.”