Vast majority of Democrat voters support McCollum bill promoting Palestinian rights, but less than 13% of House Democrats back it

Democratic Congress Member Betty McCollum (AFP)

Michael Arria

Mondoweiss  /  June 15, 2021

A recent survey shows 72% of Democrats support Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill promoting Palestinian human rights. However, the legislation is supported by just 28 of the 220 Democrats in the House.

A recent survey shows that a sizable majority of Democratic voters support Rep. Betty McCollum’s (MN-D) recent bill promoting Palestinian human rights. However, the legislation currently has just 26 cosponsors in the House.

In April, McCollum introduced  H.R.2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. The bill, which is endorsed by over 75 human rights organizations, aims to block any U.S. funding that would be used by Israel to detain Palestinian children, demolish homes, or annex land. “Congress must stop ignoring the unjust and blatantly cruel mistreatment of Palestinian children and families living under Israeli military occupation,” said McCollum at the time. “I strongly believe there is a growing consensus among the American people that the Palestinian people deserve justice, equality, human rights, and the right to self-determination.”

new poll from Data for Progress indicates that McCollum was correct about the growing consensus. Last month the group explained the details of the bill to 2,100 likely voters and asked them whether they supported or opposed the legislation. They found that 55% of likely voters and 72% of Democrats support the bill. McCollum’s effort is even backed by 36% of Republican voters.

These findings line up with other recent polls showing that support for Israel is decreasing in the United States, especially among Democrats:

  • A 2019 Data for Progress pollfound that 65% of Democratic voters want to condition U.S. military aid to the country.
  • When the Center for American Progress asked voters about the same issue, 71% of Democrats said they wanted aid conditioned.
  • A 2020 University of Maryland Critical Issues Pollfound that, of the Democrats who had heard of BDS, 48% of them support the movement.
  • Gallup carries out an annual surveyof U.S. attitudes towards the Middle East and this year, for the first time, a majority of Democrats said that the U.S. should apply pressure on Israel, not Palestine.

These trends certainly haven’t led to wide support for H.R.2590 among Democratic lawmakers. The worldwide protests over the forced eviction of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and subsequent attack on Gaza did seem to increase the bill’s popularity, with nine House members signing on since May. However, the legislation is supported by just 28 of the 220 Democrats in the House.

Notable members of the Progressive Caucus have yet to back the bill. Including its Deputy Chair Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The caucus’ only Senator, Bernie Sanders, also hasn’t introduced a companion bill in the upper chamber of congress.

new petition calling on Congress and Biden to pass H.R. 2590 has already been signed by over 25,000 people.

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss. His work has appeared in In These Times, The Appeal, and Truthout