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Ellison-Yarmuth-Dingell Letter Urging an End to Violence in Israel and Palestine

November XX, 2015

His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas

President

Palestinian National Authority

His Excellency Benyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of Israel

Dear President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu:

We write in anguish and grief at the latest outbreak of deadly violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. We appreciate your willingness to engage with Secretary Kerry and King Abdullah and hope you will build on that dialogue by doing everything in your power to avoid language and actions that increase fear, hatred, and violence. This moment calls on all of us to take actions that promote peace.

This violence is a familiar symptom of the underlying problem: the lack of a political solution that creates two states for two peoples, living side-by-side in peace and security. We know from experience in the region that when leaders make a commitment to the peace process, violence decreases.

Securing a lasting peace requires a commitment to humanizing the Israeli and Palestinian experience. Divisive rhetoric dehumanizes people and undermines the prospect of a two-state solution and long term peace.

We are committed to making this same plea to our colleagues in Congress. Members of the United States House of Representatives – and the American people -- have wanted peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians for decades. In order to be an effective voice for peace, we should pursue an approach the urges both sides to live up to their obligations under the Oslo Accords.

Call-in: Tell your Rep. to co-sponsor H.R.508 in support of diplomacy to end Syrian War

"We die in the war or we die at sea - people are dying either way."

That's one Syrian refugee's bleak analysis of the crisis that has forced over 4 million people to flee from their homes, families, and livelihoods. The ultimate answer to the Syrian refugee crisis is to end the war through diplomacy among the powers backing various sides in the war, so more people won't be driven from their homes and so that those already displaced can go home.

The first round of diplomatic talks at Vienna concluded with a firm commitment from all parties to end the war. Another round begins next week. But there's no guarantee these talks will succeed because real diplomacy requires compromise. And the Obama administration will be less likely to compromise if it does not have the public support of Congress and the American public.

Rep. Jim Himes, who led 54 other members of Congress in sending a letter in support of using diplomacy to end the war, has now introduced a resolution “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should use the full authority of his office to convene international negotiations intended to stop the civil war in Syria.”

Tell your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Himes' resolution in support of diplomacy to end the Syrian war. Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

“The solution to the Syrian refugee crisis is realistic diplomacy to end the Syrian war. I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 508 calling on President Obama to use his full authority to end the Syrian war through international diplomatic negotiations.”

When you're done, please report your call below.

And if you haven't signed our petition urging members of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 508, you can do that here:

Call-in: Tell your Senator the U.S. should do more to help Syrian Refugees

At last, the plain fact that U.S. can do much more to aid the millions of Syrian refugees has led to a Congressional bipartisan effort to do just that. But while it is the first chance for substantive additional aid, it may also be the last of its kind for two years.

Millions of families have fled terrorism and their government's bombs and, with refugee aid programs remaining underfunded, most of those families must seek asylum elsewhere. At present, the United States only plans to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees next year whereas Germany is accepting 800,000 refugees this year and is willing to accept 500,000 more each year for the next few years.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have proposed emergency funding to help resettle tens of thousands more refugees in the U.S. and give a lifeline to refugees in camps. If we want to help more Syrian families, we need to make sure Congress knows the public cares about this, and we need to do it now.

Call your Senator NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

“The U.S. needs to do more to help Syrian refugees. I urge you to co-sponsor Senate Bill 2145, the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act."

When you're done, please report your call below.

Call-in: Tell your Rep. to sign Ellison-McGovern-Lee-Grijalva for #IndependentInvestigation

The October 3 US military bombing of a Doctors Without Borders [MSF] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan killed twelve humanitarians and ten patients, including three children.

The Pentagon claims the bombing was a mistake, but the Associated Press reported US special operations analysts had been investigating the hospital prior to the attack. If the gunship was aware of this or if commanding officers intentionally withheld the information from the gunship, the incident could qualify as a "war crime."

As MSF has said, "it is impossible to expect parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of military actions in which they are themselves implicated."

Reps. Ellison, McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Grijalva are circulating a letter to their colleagues backing calls for a civilian-led, independent investigation of this atrocity. Your Representative should join them in supporting an independent investigation.

Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

"I urge you to sign the Ellison-McGovern-Lee-Grijalva letter calling for an independent investigation of the Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing."

When you're done, please report your call below.

And if you haven't signed our petition asking members of Congress to sign the letter, you can do that here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/independent-investigation-MSF-bombing

Call-in: Your Rep. should sign Dingell-Ellison and support diplomacy in Yemen

The US-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen has killed thousands of civilians – including Americans trapped in Yemen – while Congress has been mostly silent. Now, at long last, we have an opportunity to something about it: Reps. Debbie Dingell & Keith Ellison are circulating a letter [1] to President Obama pressing for the US to take responsibility for protecting civilians from US airstrikes and urging greater diplomatic efforts to end the war, including engagement with Iran.

Please call your Representative today at (202) 224-3121, urging them to join efforts to protect civilians in Yemen and push for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. When you reach a staffer you can say something like:

“Please sign the Dingell-Ellison letter urging protection of civilians in Yemen from US-assisted airstrikes and engagement with Iran to end the war.”

When you’ve made your call, please report it below.

According to Amnesty International, more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the war, with the “vast majority” of civilian deaths and injuries attributed to attacks by the Saudi-led coalition. [2] More than 1.4 million people have been displaced; 12.9 million are considered food insecure; more than 1.2 million children are suffering from serious malnutrition. Your representative can only sign on until Friday, so please call today. When you’ve made your call, please report it below.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for an “end to bombings” in Yemen and has said there is no military solution to this conflict. Diplomatic action, including sustained engagement with Iran, is the only way to end the hostilities, reverse the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and protect more innocent lives from reckless airstrikes.

Call-in: Tell your Senator a “No Fly Zone” = Dangerous Military Escalation

It’s magical thinking to claim that US air power is the solution to Syria’s problems. People who claim that US air power can magically “protect civilians” in Syria should explain why US air power just blew up a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. But Washington never seems to tire of the fairy tale that US military power is a magic solution to the world’s problems.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for the U.S. to impose a “no fly zone” to prevent Russia from attacking CIA-backed forces fighting the Syrian government. These calls for a “no fly zone” are demands for dangerous U.S. military escalation against Russia and the Syrian government – imposing a “no fly zone” would mean bombing Syria and attacking Russian and Syrian aircraft. Unfortunately, Hillary’s stand is encouraging other Democrats to call for military escalation.

This is how US wars often start, with breathless claims of an emergency requiring US military bombing to “protect civilians.” How exactly US bombing will “protect civilians” is never explained. If escalation is achieved nobody will check whether civilians were protected or not.

Call your Senator NOW at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“I urge you to reject calls for US military escalation against Russia in Syria, including calls for a ‘no fly zone.’”

When you’ve made your call, please report it below.

President Obama has rightly called Republican proposals for a “no fly zone” in Syria “half baked” “mumbo jumbo.” Senator Bernie Sanders is standing with President Obama and against Hillary Clinton in opposition to these “half baked” proposals for military escalation.

If you haven’t signed our petition against military escalation in Syria yet, you can do that here:

Call-in: Your Rep. should sign Rep. Himes' letter supporting Syria Diplomacy

The human costs of the war in Syria are staggering: hundreds of thousands have lost their lives [1]; over 4 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country as refugees; and 7.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes, but remain within Syria. [2] To resolve the refugee crisis and prevent further killing, the U.S. should use all diplomatic tools to press for a negotiated end to the Syrian civil war. Fortunately, we have a rare opportunity now to pressure Congress to support a diplomatic end to the conflict.

Rep. Jim Himes [D-CT] is circulating a Congressional letter to President Obama in support of international negotiations to end the conflict, stabilize the country, allow refugees to return home, transition to an accountable government and defeat ISIL.

Your Representative voted to support diplomacy and block a path to war by supporting the Iran deal so they it’s likely they will consider signing Rep. Himes' letter – if they hear from constituents urging them to do so.

The letter's deadline for signatures is Tuesday at noon ET so it is crucial that you call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

“I urge you to sign the Himes letter to President Obama in support of international negotiations to end the Syrian civil war.”

When you're done, please report your call below:

And if you haven’t signed our petition encouraging members of Congress to sign the letter, you can do that here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/back-Himes-letter-end-Syria-war

Call-In: Tell Your Democratic Senator to Stand Firm in Support of the Iran Deal

AIPAC has failed to stop the Iran deal. Last Thursday, 42 Senators stood by their word, supported diplomacy, and stopped Republican efforts to block the deal. [1]

But we cannot stop to celebrate just yet.

Only two Senate votes provided the margin by which Republican efforts to undermine the agreement were thwarted. There will likely be another vote, now that AIPAC has had a chance to regroup and target Democratic Senators that were slow to pledge their support or were not as full-throated in their support of the deal.

If even one Senator stops supporting the deal, it's likely that more than one will. Your Democratic Senator is one of the Senators AIPAC might target.

Call your Democratic Senator at (202) 224-3121 and say

"Thank you for voting to support the Iran deal. I urge you to continue to support it and to stand strong for diplomacy and peace."

When you're done, please report your call below.

Call-in: Tell Your Rep. to Stand for Diplomacy

With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s support, 34 Democratic Senators have now publicly supported the Iran deal! That means that Republican-AIPAC efforts to kill the agreement are “game over” – even if the Republican Congress passes a resolution of disapproval, President Obama will veto it and the Republicans and AIPAC won’t have the votes to override President Obama’s veto.

But we’re not done, because another important goal is now within reach. If we can get 41 Senators to support the Iran deal, the Republicans and AIPAC won’t even be able to get a resolution disapproving the Iran deal out of the Senate. That will be an important message to the world, and to ourselves, that we learned something from the fiasco of the Iraq war, that the United States is no longer the country of “shoot first, ask questions later.”

We also need to force every “undecided” or “undeclared” Democrat to support the deal. Because this isn’t likely to be the last time that America faces a choice between war and diplomacy. These people hang around. Chuck Schumer, one of two Senate Democrats against the deal? He voted for the Iraq war in 2002. Alan Grayson, “Leaning No” on the Iran deal, according to The Hill? He’s running for Senate in Florida. Tammy Duckworth, “Undeclared/Undecided,” according to The Hill? She’s running for Senate in Illinois. Duckworth and Grayson’s Democratic primary opponents both support the deal.

Call your Democratic Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,

I urge you to publicly support the Iran deal. Opposing it now only undermines the United States’ international leadership for using diplomacy to resolve conflict without war."

When you're done, please report your call below,

Call-in: Seven More Senators Needed to Stand for Diplomacy

With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s support, 34 Democratic Senators have now publicly supported the Iran deal! That means it's "game over" for Republican-AIPAC efforts to kill the agreement – even if the Republican Congress passes a resolution of disapproval, President Obama will veto it and the Republicans and AIPAC won’t have the votes to override President Obama’s veto.

But we’re not done, because another important goal is now within reach. If we can get 41 Senators to support the Iran deal, the Republicans and AIPAC won’t even be able to get a resolution disapproving the Iran deal out of the Senate. That will send an important message to the world, and to the nation, that we learned something from the fiasco of the Iraq war, that the United States is no longer the country of “shoot first, ask questions later.”

Call your Democratic Senator at (202) 224-3121 and say

“I urge you to publicly support the Iran deal. Opposing it now only undermines the United States’ international leadership for using diplomacy to resolve conflict without war.”

When you're done, please report your call below.