November 14, 2023
Rep. Pressley Joins Rabbis, Colleagues to Renew Calls for a Ceasefire in Gaza
Calls Come as Death Toll in Gaza Exceeds 11,000, Two-Thirds of Whom are Women and Children
“Regardless of our religion or nation of birth, we are one human family, and we have a moral obligation to be our brothers and our sisters’ keeper—a collective, righteous mandate to save lives. And the mandate is clear: ceasefire now.”
WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined dozens of rabbis and Members of Congress for a press conference to renew calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and urge Congress to support the Ceasefire Now resolution to save lives. Their press conference comes as the death toll of Palestinian civilians exceeds 11,000, two-thirds of whom are women and children.
Transcript: Pressley Joins Rabbis, Colleagues to Renew Calls for a Ceasefire in Gaza
U.S. House of Representatives
November 13, 2023
As someone who was raised in a small storefront church on the southside of Chicago, may my grandfather, the Reverend James Echols, who’s now an ancestor, rest in peace and power.
Whenever I felt burdened, my grandfather would sing a song we very often sang in church.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Joy has not come.
Joy has not come because my heart is heavy with grief.
It grieves for the 1,200 Israeli civilians who were heinously murdered by Hamas on October 7th.
It grieves for the 240 hostages still held by Hamas, and their families.
And it grieves for the over 11,000 Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli military in the weeks since – nearly half of whom are children.
Joy has not come in the morning because the loss of life we have seen in a mere five weeks is overwhelming, devastating, incomprehensible.
Entire generations of Palestinian families erased entirely.
Again, vengeance is not a foreign policy doctrine.
Hospitals bombed. Electricity shut off. Food, fuel, and medicine dwindling.
Clean drinking water, essentially non-existent.
I stood at this podium three weeks ago to mourn the eleven hundred Palestinian children killed by Israeli bombs. Today, that number is nearly five times higher. Children.
I am haunted by the words and the images of the Palestinian children in Gaza who convened their own press conference in English so that you would not misunderstand their desperate appeals to live.
They said we want to live. We want peace.
It has been children in this society – and what a damning commentary that our children are always having to make appeals for their lives.
From March for Our Lives, to the children of Tigray, to the children of Soweto, to the children of Gaza. Pleading for mercy and to live.
There is no justification for the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, from their elders to their babies.
And people of faith, we believe that we are all God’s children—Palestinian, Israeli, Americans alike.
Regardless of our religion or nation of birth, we are one human family, and we have a moral obligation to be our brothers and our sisters’ keeper—a collective, righteous mandate to save lives.
And the mandate is clear: ceasefire now.
We are not alone, and we are not afraid.
Millions across the globe have echoed our calls for an end to the bloodshed – from the United Nations and the Pope, to the President of France and healthcare workers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which I represent.
This is a movement that is pro-peace, pro-faith, and pro-humanity.
And this movement is growing every day.
Last month, I sat with the families of hostages who spoke of deep love and grief, and they made it clear that they didn’t want vengeance – they just want their loved ones safely home.
Every action taken by policymakers in this moment should be in pursuit of peace – not an escalation of violence and bloodshed.
The United States cannot allow the Israeli government to commit war crimes, to violate international law, and to operate with callous disregard for human life.
Children are dying. Families are crying out for survival. And our shared humanity is in danger.
A ceasefire is the mandate, and we must respond accordingly.
Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and their colleagues on a resolution condemning Hamas’ brutal attack and hostage-taking, and demanding Hamas immediately release all hostages.
Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in announcing a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. She later joined her colleagues and a multi-faith, multiracial coalition of faith leaders and organizers for a prayer and press conference to renew their calls for a ceasefire.
Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and 50 colleagues on a letter condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and continuing to work toward peace in the region.
Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and nearly 150 colleagues in urging the State Department to use all tools at its disposal help get Americans out of Israel and back home to the United States. She applauded the State Department for heeding her calls on October 12, 2023 and continues to press for the urgent evacuation of Americans in Gaza.
Rep. Pressley issued a statement following the safe evacuation of Massachusetts constituents Wafaa and Abood Okal and their one-year-old Yousef from Gaza.