NJ Peace Action Demands Gaza Ceasefire on Capitol Hill 


NJ Peace Action Demands Gaza Ceasefire on Capitol Hill 

(April 19, 2024 – Montclair, NJ) This week, a NJ delegation of Palestinian-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans, and their allies met with Congressional Representatives of the Garden State to advocate for an end to the bloodshed in Palestine. Their efforts were part of a week of actions organized by Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace network in the United States.

The message of the group was clear and direct to the likes of Senator Cory Booker, Congressman and U.S. Senate Candidate Andy Kim, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Congressman Bill Pascrell and others in the NJ Congressional delegation. They demanded an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza; unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza; restoration of UNRWA funding to prevent further famine and suffering; and an end to aid to Israel while it is in violation of U.S. and international laws – including National Security Memorandum-20 (NSM-20), the Leahy law, the Foreign Assistance Act, and the UN Geneva and Genocide Conventions.

“Our meetings were intense and powerful,” stated Dr. Ateka Gunja, a physician from East Brunswick, who represented Doctors Against Genocide and is a constituent in NJ’s 12th District. “We discussed current items like the $95B supplemental aid package that will be brought before the House, and the dire need for a ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can be swiftly and safely delivered. We also raised concerns about the repression of student speech in support of Palestine on college campuses like we have seen at Rutgers and Columbia University.”

For most of the group, this was their first time doing citizen lobbying in the nation’s capital. “I have never done anything like this,” stated Alae Jaber, a Palestinian-American from NJ’s 9th District which is represented by Congressman Bill Pascrell. “I’m furious at my Congressman’s statements and actions on this issue. It was cathartic to voice my concerns directly to the Chief of Staff, and I hope to return and talk directly to Representative Pascrell and tell him how his decisions directly impact many families in his constituency. He is the Congressman to the second largest Palestinian-American community in the US, yet our calls and demands have not been addressed 6 months into the genocide.”

Another member of the delegation, Jim Keady, a Spring Lake resident in NJ’s 4th District, drew on his political experience as former Councilman from Asbury Park and former candidate for Congress. Keady was clear about the political implications for NJ’s elected officials in Washington, explaining that their “inaction on a ceasefire in Gaza and not adequately addressing the humanitarian crisis could cost the Democratic Party the Senate, more seats in the House, and the Oval Office.” 

To date, Congresswoman Watson Coleman remains the only Representative from New Jersey to sign on to Rep. Cori Bush’s H.Res. 786, a bill that calls for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and humanitarian aid. Watson Coleman was one of the original co-sponsors of this bill.


Photo Credit: NJ Peace Action