FL Rep. Isn't All That Concerned About Getting Palestinian-American Teen Released

Let's just say he presents certain political problems.

If you're in the middle of a nightmare abroad, one thing you can count on as an American citizen is the aid of your own government. Right? Well, it depends.

Here's Max Blumenthal of Mondoweiss with some shocking news. Apparently the beating and incarceration abroad of an American teenager isn't all that important to his own congresswoman because, well, his parents are Palestinian:

On July 10, Democratic Representative Kathy Castor of Florida’s Tampa Bay area issued an impassioned plea for the protection of endangered manatee whales. At the same time, she remained conspicuously silent about the brutal beating and ongoing detention of one of her constituents by a foreign government.

Tarek Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old Palestinian-American high school student from Tampa, was brutally beaten in a videotaped July 3 incident in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli border police. After being thrown in prison, he is now held under house arrest without charges, unable to receive adequate medical care for the extensive injuries he sustained during the beating. (Video of the alleged beating at the bottom of this article)

Abu Khdeir’s family has beseeched their congressional representative, Castor, to publicly call for his release and immediate return to the United States. Though her staff has met repeatedly with the family, she has said and done nothing of substance to assist them.

“If Tarek [Abu Khdeir] was a Jewish American teen, everybody and their mother would be howling for his release,” Hassan Shibly, chief director of CAIR-Florida and the Abu Khdeir family’s legal representative told me. “What we’re seeing here is a clear double standard.”

While sources close to Abu Khdeir’s family say Castor’s staff has treated the family with respect even as they rebuffed their demands, a distant relative who visited Castor’s field office in Tampa to plead for help said she was “yelled out, intimidated, and insulted” by a staffer.

Despite my repeated requests for an interview, members of Castor’s staff have refused to discuss the case with me.

In a private letter issued to Abu Khdeir’s family, Castor pointedly stated that she had not called for the teen’s release and return to the US. Instead, she assured them that she “requested for Tariq to be provided with the appropriate and needed medical care and for [her] to be kept apprised of any plans of his return to the United States.” In a separate letter to the US consulate in Jerusalem, Castor merely stated that she would “appreciate being kept apprised of any plans for the return of Tariq and his parents to the United States.”

Of course. Because the routine brutality of the Israeli police against Palestinians has now been rather messily exposed, and it's very important that we allow them to fabricate a case against this kid rather than allow that evidence to stand. And because this American kid is also Palestinian, it doesn't matter if he's framed. He is a mere inconvenience, and it's more important not to incur the wrath of AIPAC and risk reelection.


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