Dr Nadia Hashimi's Responses to Questionnaire for MD's Congressional District 6 from Freedom2Boycott in Maryland
Six questions, each followed by responses written by candidates Candidate Nadia Hashimi (Democrat), www.nadiahashimi.com. The questions were asked and responses were provided in January 2018.
Question 1: The Israel Anti-Boycott Act
In December of 2016, the UN Security Council Security Council passed Resolution 2334 which declared that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank “have no legal validity”. President Obama allowed this resolution to pass without veto in December 2016. In early 2017, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bill entitled the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act (S-720). This bill would restrict certain boycotts against these settlements and/or against Israel itself. An identical bill has been introduced in the House by Republican Congressman Peter Roksam (R-IL-06) as HR 1697.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act has become embroiled in controversy. It is opposed by the ACLU, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07) and by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) because they say it infringes on Americans’ constitutional rights. Indeed, in a landmark 1982 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to boycott is a right protected by the First Amendment. Do you support or oppose HR-1697?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi __X__Oppose
“I’m a supporter of the First Amendment and in my interpretation, HR-1697 stands in the way of the First Amendment protected right to free speech. That being said, I am generally opposed to sanctions because they most often economically harm innocent civilians while having little to no effect on the policies and attitudes of governments.”
Question 2: Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s pro-human rights bill
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) has introduced a bill entitled Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act (HR-4391). It would prohibit U.S. assistance to Israel from being used to support the military detention, interrogation, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law. Do you support HR-4391?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi _X__Yes
“I support Palestinian human rights and believe that all countries should abide by international laws and norms in support of human rights. While I do not believe that American security assistance directly supports the military detention, interrogation or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law, as our assistance is focused on major weapons systems procurement, I do understand that there are legitimate concerns about Israeli treatment of Palestinian children. I will not hesitate to speak out against such treatment while also continuing to support the security of Israel.”
Question 3: Military Aid to Israel
Despite being the biggest recipient of U.S. aid of any country in the world, Israel continues to defy the U.S. by expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank, demolishing Palestinian homes, and maintaining a devastating blockade of the Gaza Strip. A 2016 public opinion poll conducted by the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland found that 60% of Democrats, and 31% of Republicans favor some economic sanctions against Israel for expanding settlements. And yet, the U.S. continues to supply Israel with vast amounts of military aid. In 2016 President Obama signed a deal to give Israel over $38 billion over the next decade, and Trump is continuing that policy.
Do you support ending or reducing U.S. military aid to Israel until it abides by international and U.S. law?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi __X__Yes ____No
“I strongly believe that the United States should remain committed to supporting Israel’s right to exist and thrive. I am not in favor of supporting military aid to any nation. The United States should play an active role in promoting a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Progress has been made in the past and can be made again.”
Question 4: AIPAC-sponsored trips to the Middle East
Members of Congress frequently visit Israel on all-expense-paid trips funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC is well known to be hostile to Palestinian human rights, and these trips provide a very one-sided perspective to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Will you refuse any AIPAC-sponsored trip to the Middle East (often arranged by AIPAC’s affiliate, the American Israel Education Foundation)?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi __X__No
“The United States and Israel have a strong and valuable bond. I strongly believe that Israel has a right to peaceful existence and have deep respect for a nation that has allowed democracy to flourish since its founding. Should I be invited on such a trip by AIPAC, I would gladly attend and engage with members in open discussion so that we can have an exchange of viewpoints. I believe dialogue is a necessary piece in the peace process. I would also be more than open to engaging you to hear your ideas on who I should meet with, if I were to be invited on such a trip, to ensure that the trip is well-rounded.
Question 5: The illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
As a member of Congress, you will frequently be asked to take a position on the Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank. These settlements are illegal under international law. Do you dispute their illegality?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi _X_No (I do not dispute their illegality.)
“We need to support both nations in moving toward a two-state solution, which is the only way to resolve the ongoing disputes about the settlements in the West Bank.”
Question 6: The Status of Jerusalem
In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan and annexed it to Israel. This act was condemned by the world community and to this day, Jerusalem remains disputed as a capital claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. For decades all world governments had withheld recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital pending agreement between Palestinians and Israel on a comprehensive peace deal and maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv. All previous US administrations -- both Republican and Democratic -- stuck to that position.
On December 6 2017, President Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy would be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This about-face was repudiated by a vote in the UN Security Council of 14-1 and by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 128-9 with 35 abstentions.
Do you support or oppose President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians?
RESPONSE by Candidate Nadia Hashimi __X_Oppose
“Without an agreement that brings both sides together, this move by President Trump did little to advance peace talks in the region. We would be better served with a leader who sought to engage both sides in meaningful dialogue and laid out a carefully planned transition to a two-state solution, recognizing East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital.”
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While there are many candidate races in 2018, the Freedom to Boycott Coalition limited its survey to candidates for the Congressional District 6 (CD-6) race, as there is a bill circulating in Congress related to penalizing entities that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign against the Israeli Occupation. Incumbents in other Congressional races have already shared their position on the legislation. Since the CD-6 incumbent is leaving office, this was a key opportunity to share with our membership, the candidates’ positions related to BDS.
It was also an opportunity to gather information about CD-6 candidates’ positions related to the Israeli settlements, military aid to Israel, the relocation to the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and Israeli Lobby campaigns (e.g., AIPAC visits). All CD-6 candidates from all parties who had registered with the Board of Elections in early January, 2018, were contacted by e-mail. In addition, we followed up with phone calls to those who had provided contact information. Each candidate was given approximately two weeks to respond.
In addition to the candidate questionnaire, Freedom to Boycott members have submitted questions during a Candidate Forum. Video clips also provide more detail regarding CD-6 candidates’ views on these important issues to our constituency. Visit us at Freedom2boycottMD.com.