This Is What Pro-Peace Activists Can Expect From US Politicians

9/11 still haunts most Americans. It was a day when the country witnessed the worst attack on its shores. Everyone appeared to be in a state of shock. In Fontana, a small town in Southern California, a 16-year-old girl and her younger sister, both wearing hijab, were knocking on the doors of their neighbors, inviting them to an evening of prayers at her house for the victims of terror.

Most came, and she asked them to recite verses from their scriptures to soothe their hearts at those difficult moments. She read her prayers for peace and strength,

The country's leading Muslim organization asked her to read the prayers at its Washington convention a year later. So impressive was the call for peace that the Catholic Archidiosis of Los Angeles invited her to repeat it on the first anniversary of 9/11.

On December 19th, Khadeeja Abdullah could not believe it when she heard her congresswoman of the 35th California congressional district, Norma Torres, angrily called her request to vote for a ceasefire in Ghaza, a call to terrorism. She could barely hold her disdain as she had never expected her representative to attack an American while defending a foreign power. 

Here is what happened in that meeting:

A delegation of three people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds met with Rep. Torres on Tuesday, December 19th, 2023. They asked her for a ceasefire in Gaza, to end all the killing, and to return all the hostages on both sides. 

Norma proved to be anything but calm. The group had expected the AIPAC talking points as her campaign received $5,000 from the pro-Israel lobbying group. However, they were all taken aback by Torres's utter lack of professionalism, diplomacy, and civility. These are all things that the US democrats pride themselves on having. 

The meeting began with first-hand stories of life in Palestine, living in apartheid, and what has happened to family in Gaza during this genocide. The delegation shared that people were frustrated and asking why Rep. Torres had not called for a ceasefire. Instead, they have seen statement after statement of unequivocal support for Israel. 

Torres was visibly angry as she clicked her pen and started speaking with some hesitation and then full-blown anger. She went on a 15-20 min tirade on how the delegation isn't seeing anything she is doing, how Hamas can't be negotiated with, that they started this on October 7th, that Israel has the right to defend itself, and that she can't call for a ceasefire because of the position she has in the Democratic Party. She stated that she worked hard and is on committees but will no longer have her influence or place in the seat if she calls for a ceasefire. She was okay with allowing the continued bombing of innocent children, women, and men because calling for a truce would jeopardize her position.

Khadeeja recalls, "I was shocked. She took me back to 9/11 when I was a high school student and called names like "terrorist" or screamed at "go back to your home?" for being a Muslim. I replied, "Excuse me." to which she said I don't mean "you" as in "you" but in general. 

She attacked me by insinuating I was a terrorist and then tried to backtrack. I was disgusted with Rep. Torres's stance. After I regained some composure, I spoke about what I came to say in the meeting, which was the rise in hate and discrimination against Muslims, Arabs, and anyone speaking up for Palestine. 

Rep. Torres demonstrated the attitude that I came to talk about. I told her that the hateful rhetoric our politicians are using and mimicking from the Israeli government is precisely what allows hate and discrimination here at home and allows for the slaughtering of Palestinians.

Rep. Torres leaned into the table and wagged her fingers multiple times while interrupting us repeatedly. 

She was upset at the most basic questions: "Thank you for the statements, but if you are not going to sign for a ceasefire, what have you done that will have a practical, tangible, material positive impact on Palestinians right now?" 

Her immediate deflection was jumping back into Hamas, with variations of, I am part of rooms and meetings that are pushing the administration for more humanitarianism, but Hamas won't allow it. She would go on and on about this. We even made the parallel between Guatemala and Palestine and how the guerilla groups in the 60s destroyed by the state just bred more and stronger armed resistance by the 80s. 

The delegation tried to explain if the concern is Hamas, then genocide is doing the opposite of stopping this and just creating more groups like this in the future, and therefore, the surest immediate way to prevent that in the long term is a ceasefire. 

Rep. Torres got more upset and rambled with anger, calling us "biased" and "misinformed." 

Rep. Torres was unhinged. She regurgitated the same AIPAC talking points but with no civility or professionalism. 

Abruptly, she called the meeting over.

What could have been a meeting to discuss how we can stop the killing of innocent civilians and how we can promote kindness and civility ended with her storming out of the room.

Contact Rep. Norma Torres at the link below or Tweet her and urge her to reconsider her position.

Twitter | X @NormaJTorres

Sample messages:

Rep @NormaJTorres, in the face of unprecedented violence in Gaza, I urge you to use your office to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and uphold the values of human dignity for all people that our nation is based on. #CeasefireNow #GazaCrisis

Dear Rep. Norma Torres, I implore you to leverage your office to advocate for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza. The unprecedented violence demands immediate attention, and your voice can make a difference. Uphold the values of human dignity that our nation stands for.

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