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PalestinePAC Announces it Will File a Lawsuit Against Senator Rubio for Defamation of Palestinian Americans

posted on: Feb 15, 2017

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer and Diego Reyes/Contributing Writer

Donald Trump may have won the presidential campaign, but his fellow GOP candidates are still vying for love from Israel to stay on the lobbyists’ good sides. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been spending his new term in office working on behalf of Israel.

Sen. Rubio made it clear where he stands on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His ultimate goal is to give Israel control of all Palestinian territory and stop the spread of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement – a nonviolent means of obtaining Palestinian human rights through boycotts of Israeli products.

On January 17, Sen. Rubio introduced the “Combating BDS Act of 2017 (S.170),” which seeks to punish anyone who criticizes Israel’s apartheid policies and illegal settlement activity. The bill would grant state and local governments the right to disassociate pensions and contracts from entities that boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. The bill is another in a long line of similar legislation that strips away free speech rights for the protection of Israel.

Sen. Rubio’s most recent actions have led the Palestinian Political Action Committee (PalestinianPAC) to take action against the senator. The PAC’s main mission is to advocate for the human rights of all Palestinians, the peaceful end of the Israeli occupation and its segregation practices, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. They fight in order to give Palestinians a voice in the heavily pro-Israel conversation being held in the U.S.

PalestinePAC announced on Sunday that it would file a lawsuit against Sen. Rubio for defamation of Palestinian Americans for the damages produced by S.170 and the senator’s derogatory language towards Palestinians. During the presidential debate held on February 25, 2016, Rubio claimed that Palestinians “teach their four-year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing.”

The senator also alleged during the debate that a deal between Israel and the Palestinian is not possible because “you are dealing with terrorists.” The statements prompted many Arab American organizations to condemn the senator and demand an apology, which he has yet to offer.

Sen. Rubio’s racist slander also conveniently excluded Jewish terrorists that murder Palestinians throughout the West Bank on a near daily basis. Thousands of Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli Defense Forces over the years, and Sen. Rubio’s words perpetuate a myth about the conflict: that Israel is the victim. Furthermore, since the U.S. is supposed to be an unbiased arbiter between Israel and Palestine, Sen. Rubio’s grossly biased speech was also said outside of standard U.S. foreign policy.

His claims have been made in order to facilitate legislation like S.170, which aim to punish people for their national origin and personal beliefs, which is unconstitutional. During the campaign, Rubio seemed like one of the most dangerous choices for president, given his clear, pro-Israel stance. However, PalestinePAC endorsed Donald Trump, who once said he would be a fair negotiator between Israel and Palestine. The endorsement came in July of last year, and two months later, Trump told AIPAC that he would be the “most pro-Israeli president ever.”

“It is our view that Mr. Trump is our only chance for a better future for America and for the World,” PalestinePAC said in its press release.

Both Trump and Rubio have shown no signs of allowing Palestinians a chance for freedom and equality. Since taking office, Trump’s administration has emboldened Israel to build more settlements and take steps to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not clear when PalestinePAC plans to file suit against the Republican Senator, but hopefully their actions will be a step in the right direction of allowing Palestinians a legitimate voice in U.S. politics.