J Street Praises Crucial Letter from 88 House Members Urging Biden to Enforce US Law and Address Israeli Restrictions on Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

May 3, 2024

J Street welcomes an important new letter to President Biden, led by US military veterans Rep. Jason Crow and Rep. Chris Deluzio, and joined by 86 fellow Members of the House of Representatives, calling on President Biden to enforce existing US law and the administration’s own policies that require countries receiving US security assistance to not block or restrict US-backed humanitarian aid.

This letter highlights that Israeli restrictions on the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to Gaza have contributed to catastrophic levels of hunger, and even credible reports of famine, in direct contravention of US law. Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act and the Biden Administration’s own National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20) require that countries that obtain US arms – excluding missile defense systems such as Iron Dome, which are provided under different legal authorities – cannot restrict US-backed humanitarian aid.

Like these Members of Congress, J Street is firmly committed to Israel’s security, and we believe that restrictions on humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the resulting unacceptable levels of suffering for Palestinian civilians, seriously threaten Israel’s long-term security and international standing, along with Israel’s eligibility for certain offensive arms transfers under US law. With the May 8 Congressional reporting deadline for NSM-20 coming up shortly, we believe it is imperative for Congress to press the President to fully enforce NSM-20 and the underlying law, including Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act.

“This letter from 88 Members of Congress coming in advance of Wednesday’s deadline for a report to Congress on Israel’s compliance with NSM-20, and with the underlying law, demonstrates how widespread and serious the concern is in Congress about the way that Israel has gone about conducting the post-October 7 war,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami.

“The President and his team should take notice that a significant portion of Democrats in Congress have serious concerns about Israel’s behavior, support the pressure President Biden has been placing on Prime Minister Netanyahu to date and expect him to do more in the wake of the report on compliance due this coming Wednesday.”