Does U.S. Policy
on Israel and Palestine
Uphold Our Values?
Report of Mock Congressional Hearing
Published September, 2010
Middle East Program, Chicago
American Friends Service Committee
Mock Congressional Hearing Report, 2010
“A Budget is Always a Moral Document “
Josh Reubner | The Chicago Hearing | 18 April 2010
D o es U.S. Pol ic y on Israel and Palest ine Uphold O ur Values?
In the 2008 Presidential elections Americans voted for hope and change by electing Barack
Obama. Many of us who had been working tirelessly for a just peace in the region saw a
glimmer of hope that the Obama administration signaled a new era in U.S. policy. But after
witnessing the stonewalling of a serious investigation into Israel’s war on Gaza during
the winter of 2008/2009, we knew that it was time for a more ambitious attempt to open a
discussion on this issue with more Americans.
Rather than wait for Congress to debate the morality and utility of U.S. policy towards
Israel and Palestine, we decided to hold an independent hearing, calling upon people who
have directly experienced or witnessed the effects of the occupation to tell their stories.
We invited Israelis, Palestinians and Americans to testify and assembled a distinguished
panel of listeners, composed of academics, clergy and a Senate staff member, to question
and draw out the ramifications of these testimonies. We sought to lift up the voices and
hopes of those people who are never seen on television or discussed with compassion in
We planned the Hearing to follow Tax Day, when Americans everywhere are thinking
about how and where their tax dollars are being spent. And, symbolically, in an effort to
connect our hopes and expectations with the need to change course, we chose a location in
President Obama’s Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park.
Just weeks before the event, General David Petraeus testified in Congress that perceived
U.S. favoritism towards Israel was endangering American soldiers abroad and fomenting