Senator Nikil Saval

Harrisburg, PA − June 27, 2024 − Today State Senator Nikil Saval (D–Philadelphia) issued the following statement with regard to his vote against Senate Bill 1260:

“In the wake of the horror of the deadly attack on Israel on October 7, and of the ongoing devastation of Gaza, incidents of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and anti-Arab hatred have skyrocketed across our country, causing our neighbors to live in increased fear for their safety and for the wellbeing of their loved ones and communities throughout our Commonwealth.

“I share with my colleagues a strong collective desire to stop these acts of hatred, to free all the hostages, to end the violence against Israeli and Palestinian people, and—instead—to create a world that is safe for all of us. 

“It is my belief, and my fear, that the passage of SB1260 will do the opposite.

“Since October 7, nearly 38,000 people have been killed in Gaza, and more than 86,000 have been wounded. Nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced, and up to 21,000 children are unaccounted for. Some 90% of school buildings have been damaged or destroyed, and the United Nations estimates it will take 80 years to restore Gaza’s homes.

“All of this violence and all of this destruction are enacted within the confines of 141 square miles. Gaza is just 25 miles long—the distance from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. From Harrisburg to York. From Wilkes-Barre to Hazleton.

“This war is a superlative war, leaving experts, humanitarian aid workers, and investigators struggling to convey the scale of destruction. Under these circumstances, I think it is right to prevent money from flowing to support this conflict.  

“Results from poll after poll show that the majority of Americans want a ceasefire. Since October 7, hundreds of my constituents have reached out to share their heartbreak for the continuation of this conflict and to ask that I uphold and honor their calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. I share and support their desire for peace.

“The bill at hand prohibits the use of a critical tool of simple, nonviolent protest and encourages institutions to repress those who depend on them under threat of penalty, thus creating a level of state control at stark odds with our professed valuation of freedom. In our current system, our dollars are our most powerful votes for peace. I cannot support a bill that would take away our freedom to cast these votes. 

“Today I voted no.”