In recent social media post, US Senator Bernie Sanders posted a video featuring the voices of Palestinians from Gaza. In the video entitled “Palestinians describe life in Gaza,” five Palestinians talked about their experiences living under the decade-long Israeli blockade. “The voices of the Palestinians are rarely heard,” the caption stated on the Senator’s various social media accounts.
Over the past weeks, Senator Sanders has been described as Washington’s “leading voice against Gaza violence.” The Senator actively denounced Israel’s use of violence against peaceful protestors on the Gaza-Israel boundary fence.
The Senator’s nuanced position on Palestine is part of a larger shift in the United States with regards to the situation in the Middle East. There are many reasons behind this shift, chiefly the growing work of the Palestine rights movement in the US, the increasing awareness of the American public about the situation in Palestine, and a new political atmosphere in the Trump administration’s America. It has become difficult for policy makers and elected representatives to overlook the growing support for Palestinian rights in the US.
In the past few years, the Palestine rights movement grew dramatically in the US. Actions of awareness raising, protest, community organizing, policy and advocacy are some of many venues where activists are working to create change. Thanks to social media, the American public has become better educated on the situation in Palestine beyond the narrow agenda and framing of the traditional media outlets. This, of course, has been happening in a charged US political atmosphere following the election of Donald Trump. His presidency has opened the eyes of many progressives and liberals in the US, mainly in the Democratic base, to the role the Palestine question plays in US politics. This unprecedented discussion on Palestine is translating to US policy levels where politicians and elected representatives are paying more attention and responding to such shifts in discourse and politics.