A coalition of advocacy organizations, supporters, and campaign donors of Congressmember Salud Carbajal released a statement today demanding that he speak out and stand up for Palestinian lives. As of May 25, the statement has been signed by nearly 100 individuals and organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace Santa Barbara, Sunrise Santa Barbara, and IfNotNow Los Angeles.

The group is disappointed and disturbed at the congressmember’s complete and deafening silence in response to the 242 Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces — including 66 children — and the over 77,000 who have been displaced in Gaza since May 10, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Congressman Carbajal cannot credibly claim that he is an advocate for human rights while he remains unwilling to stand up for Palestinian lives,” the statement reads.

The coalition’s statement calls on Rep. Carbajal to cosponsor H.R. 2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, in order to ensure that American tax payer dollars are not used to fund human rights abuses abroad, and to additionally publicly declare his support for a congressional investigation into the role of American arms and funding in the violent Israeli oppression of civilians in the occupied West Bank and sieged Gaza Strip.

One of our supporters, Santa Barbara City College student Elias Elmziat, said, “Rep. Carbajal must take substantive, policy-based action to ensure that the U.S is not aiding and abetting state-sanctioned violence abroad.” The group looks forward to hearing back from the congressmember and working with his office, alongside other local partners, on this issue.

Ryan Kaldi is a former intern for Carbajal and represents a coalition whose names appear at the statement.

Editor’s Note: Rep. Carbajal’s response follows. The violence in Israel and Gaza has killed hundreds and left thousands wounded, and I mourn the loss of both Israeli and Palestinian lives. I strongly condemned Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket attacks and firmly believe Israel has a right to defend itself. I have also echoed calls for Israel to take measures to protect innocent civilians. Last week, while the violence was still ongoing, I wrote to President Biden and urged him to press both sides to negotiate a ceasefire. A ceasefire has now been achieved, but we must continue working to ensure both sides continue to pursue peace.

The solution to the historical conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can best be achieved through direct, bilateral, good faith negotiations focused on reaching a long-term peace agreement. A two-state solution, that has the support of both Israelis and Palestinians, would be a key component of any such agreement. I have cosponsored resolutions to that end and have continuously advocated for full funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides critical aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. I also appreciate the President’s commitment to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure it can defend itself against any future rocket attacks from terrorist organizations. I will keep working to advance measures that ease tensions in the region and get us closer to long-term peace.


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