FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With only one week to go before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to a joint session of Congress here in the US, the time is now to contact your Congresspeople and remind them to #SkipTheSpeech. Jewish Voice for Peace and others have created an online resource to help you find the contact information of your US Senators and Representative along with a sample script you can turn to in case you feel tongue-tied. Once you have contacted your Congresspeople, make sure you also sign the online petition at SkipTheSpeech.org.
As of today, at least 30 members of Congress have pledged to skip Bibi's speech. Tell yours to join them, and read more from Jewish Voice for Peace here.
We, the undersigned organizations, commend Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer for asking House Speaker John Boehner to cancel an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Blumenauer has stated that if the speech is not cancelled, he will refuse to attend. We implore all the members of Congress from Oregon to follow his example.
Our objections to the Netanyahu invitation go beyond the fact that: a.) This invitation is a breach of protocol, b.) It is a stunt timed just prior to a very close Israeli election and c.) It is an attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to embarrass President Barack Obama.
The most serious objection to the invitation is that Netanyahu is attempting to scuttle negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program by urging Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran. As Rep. Blumenauer states, the only solution in the best interests of all countries is a negotiated settlement. Why would Mr. Netanyahu be invited to thwart that effort? World leaders also recognize the danger of his address as interference with the diplomatic process and are also imploring that he not interfere.
Additional sanctions risk an end to the diplomatic path and an increase in tensions between our country and Iran that may lead to war. As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is under routine inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has never documented any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Iran has called for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapons-free zone. In contrast, Israel has never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and is known to possess nuclear weapons.
Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress is also reprehensible in view of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza this past summer. Three respected human rights organizations—Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights—have issued reports finding Israel guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians during its 51-day bombardment. Under Netanyahu’s government, Israel has continued unfettered settlement expansion and land confiscation, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. It continues to imprison Palestinians by using administrative detention laws that lack due process. It is unconscionable to invite a leader with such a dismal human rights record to address the U.S. Congress.
In short, Netanyahu’s speech is not in the best interests of the United States or of world peace. We, the undersigned, urge you to boycott the speech and speak out in opposition to any leader of a foreign nation seeking to intervene in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Corvallis/Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, Individuals for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Mission of the Atonement Holy Land Ministry, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon Fellowship of Reconciliation, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Tree of Life Educational Fund-
West Coast, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis chapter), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and Linus Pauling Chapter.
With the planned Trailblazers game against Maccabi Haifa drawing near, now is a good time to learn and talk about the history and reasoning behind a cultural boycott of Israel. There are many thoughtful pieces to be found on the web about this. Here are just a few:
Liberal Values and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement By Rebecca Vilkomerson
Why Israel Fears the Boycot by Omar Barghouti
Art (and Sport) are not Apolitical from bdsmovement.net
This final article has a great call to action from a member of JVP on her way to an organizing meeting:
Tsvia Thier, an Israeli citizen now living in New York… plans to be a part of whatever protest assembles outside the Barclays Center on October 7th. She said to me, “Israel dropped thousands of pounds of weapons on Gaza. More than 2,000 people died. More than 500 children were killed. There has been no justice for this. We cannot allow for these games to go forward without bearing witness…as if these criminal acts did not just take place. Our memories cannot be that short.”
In case you haven't gotten a chance to sign, here is the petition asking the Blazers to cancel their upcoming game.
And if the game goes on as scheduled, you can find information about planned protests here.
KBOO's One Land Many Voices is co-hosted by Palestinian-American human rights attorney Zaha Hassan and Jewish-American community activist Ned Rosch. The program explores the Israel-Palestine conflict through an international law and human rights lens. The show airs on the 4th Friday of every month from 9-10 am. Past shows can be accessed at kboo.fm. While you're there, check out August's show with esteemed professors Sandy Tolan and our very own Joel Beinin. You can find reminders about this program, as well as plenty of other events, on the Google Calendar at the bottom of our Local Events page.
The call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society as a tool to support the struggle for full Palestinian rights. The call included an appeal for the boycott of Israeli cultural and acedemic institutions, including Israeli sports teams. A similar embargo was seen as extraordinarilly effective in raising worldwide awareness of, and opposition to, South African Apartheid (1948–1992), and is an inspiration to the BDS movement of today. As many here are aware, the Portland Trailblazers are scheduled to play Maccabi Haifa next Friday, October 17th. Join us in calling for the Trailblazers to stand up for human rights and cancel their game with Maccabi Haifa.
Click here to Sign the Petition, and stay tuned for updates!
Many thanks to Maxine for creating this petition.
Stand With Ellison, Lee, and Davis: End #Gaza Blockade With Diplomacy
This is a critical moment. Israeli and Palestinian officials are scheduled to resume talks on Gaza at the end of October. Hamas has already agreed to hand control of the Gaza crossings to the Palestinian Authority. European countries are ready to help monitor the crossings. European donors want the blockade to be lifted with a diplomatic agreement before committing reconstruction aid, so they can be sure to get materials into Gaza in a timely way and so things they build won’t later be destroyed. The political and diplomatic situation is ripe to finally end the blockade with a diplomatic agreement.
Palestinian civilians in Gaza need and deserve to live a normal life: free to travel, free to work, free to study, free to trade. Urge your representatives in Congress to speak out now by signing and sharing our petition.
Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
Help fund our work—make a $15 tax-deductible contribution today!
Help us fund our work to support local groups throughout the country pushing their Members of Congress to publicly call for an end to the blockade of Gaza.
An interesting article on home demolitions from UN IRIN: The ABCs of Israel home demolitions.
An excellent visualization of water resource usage in the Occupied Territories is here.