Dingell Statement on Combating Rising Hate in U.S., Calling for Release of All Hostages and Bilateral Ceasefire in Gaza and Israel
WASHINGTON, November 29, 2023
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-06) today released the following statement addressing the rising hate in the U.S., and calling for the continued release of all hostages, a bilateral ceasefire agreement to end the violence between Israel and Gaza, continued and significant humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza, and renewed efforts to establish a framework for lasting stability and peace in the region.
“Since entering Congress, I have represented significant Arab and Jewish communities that I care deeply about. This is not the first time we have experienced division, but we are now in a moment where tensions have escalated to new levels. I am deeply concerned about the hate and violence that continues to spread here at home. The shooting of three young Palestinian men this weekend in Vermont, students fearful of wearing identifying religions symbols such as the Star of David or a hijab or keffiyeh scarf on campus, the stories they share of bullying, vicious words, actual death threats, and disgusting acts like defecating in front of residence doors are examples of the escalating hate and unacceptable violence. Community members have shared story after story of hostilities directed at them and taking place at community events, and intimidation at regular religious services.
“Many who I have spoken to, regardless of their religious views, ethnicity, or political beliefs, are concerned for the safety of their families and their loved ones. The rise of antisemitism, anti-Arab hate, and Islamophobia in this country is real and the fear of these communities is tangible. We all have a responsibility to stand up to hate whenever we see it and work together to ensure everyone feels safe in this country. Bluntly, people are angry, and violence is becoming easier to slip into, and in some places becoming normalized. I will simply not accept this. I do and will continue to fight for the basic Constitutional rights of every American. I will stand up to hate wherever and whenever I see it. How do all of us work together to lower the level of hostility and hate in this country, and support efforts to listen to each other, learn, and find common ground? That is the strength of democracy and those who founded our government did. It requires everyone to be intentional and vigilant in these times.
“On October 7th, Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis, and abducted 240 hostages, many of whom remain in captivity today and must be released immediately. I have and continue to unequivocally condemn the atrocities Hamas has committed, and I believe Israel has a right to safety and security. In its subsequent bombardment of Gaza, we have seen too much devastation and the horrific loss of more than 13,000 Palestinian lives, including more than 6,000 children. Innocent civilians – families who just want to live in peace – have been suffering horrifically in Gaza without access to food, water, medicine, and fuel. The current humanitarian aid is a beginning but far from enough to address the serious needs of people whose suffering has been compounded by the destruction that has occurred. I have spoken with families of hostages still being held against their will by Hamas, and many in my district who have family members that have been killed, are currently missing, or continuing to live in the turmoil of Gaza. Their pain is indescribable and real. And I have made sure their voices are heard in regular discussions with the White House and State Department. This violence from both sides must come to a permanent end.
“In recent days, we’ve seen successful diplomatic efforts to pause fighting and release hostages, and we must build on those efforts with a lasting ceasefire that secures the immediate release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas and initiates a steady and a substantial flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. A ceasefire must set the framework for Israel, Palestine, the United States, and our democratic allies to work toward a durable two-state solution that achieves lasting peace and stability in the region, including removing Hamas from operational control of Gaza.“The New York Times Editorial Board adeptly captured the challenge ahead: ‘The primary condition for any peace negotiation is that those who seek peace must lay down their arms and come prepared to make painful concessions… The critical qualification is for each side to understand the yearnings and fears of the other and to accept that the other has a right to live in peace.’”