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Union Square March & Rally Against US Support for Israeli Impunity


Protesters chant "money for health and education—not for Israel's occupation!" while marching down Broadway in Greenwich Village, NYC on Friday, July 11, 2014.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Union Square in New York City on Friday to call for Americans to end their support of Israeli impunity in Palestine. Demonstrators held a rally outside Max Brenner Chocolates—a target of boycotts for their financial support of the Israeli army's Golani Brigade, often cited for their involvement in war crimes in the occupied territories—then marched down and back up Broadway to rally again in the Square.

The US sends over $3 billion a year in taxpayer money to Israel. Many millions more in American money is invested in companies that are involved in the occupation.

Around the world, thousands continue to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanding an end to Israeli aggression. Cities such as Paris, Oslo, Chicago, Jakarta, Rome and San Francisco have played host to demonstrations within the last week. In London alone, participation is said to have been around 10,000.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that "no international pressure" would stop him from continuing to strike Gaza. He also said that "there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan," thus expressing the intent to occupy Palestinian territory indefinitely.

Congress: Use War Powers to Pull U.S. Troops From Iraq

Without Congressional authorization, President Obama has sent hundreds of U.S. soldiers to Iraq who could be used to call in airstrikes – airstrikes that would be certain to kill Iraqi children against whom we have no grievance.

Congress has never voted on this. When Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973, it included a provision for just this situation: a provision to allow Members of Congress to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. troops to a combat situation.

Representatives Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee are now using this provision of the 1973 War Powers Resolution to force a vote on the deployment of U.S. soldiers for offensive military action in Iraq.

Urge your Representative to co-sponsor and vote for H Con Res 105 by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/iraq-withdrawal-war-powers

On June 19, President Obama notified Congress that he was sending U.S. troops to Iraq to serve as advisers to the Iraqi military. Press reports have indicated that these troops could be used for offensive military action, including calling in airstrikes. These are different troops than the troops President Obama sent earlier to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Congress has not authorized the U.S. use of military force in Iraq now. Nearly 200 Members of the House are on record saying that the authorization for the use of force in Iraq passed by Congress in 2002 should not be used to justify the use of force in Iraq today.

Under the War Powers Resolution passed by Congress in 1973, Members of Congress have 30 days from the President’s June 19 notification to introduce a “privileged” resolution – a resolution that can’t be buried in committee, but must go to the floor to be voted on – which would require the troops to be withdrawn.

Netanyahu's War: What Is It Good For?

Originally published at Huffington Post.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a new war on Palestinians in Gaza, a war whose purported justifications make George W. Bush's excuses for his illegal invasion of Iraq smell nice by comparison. So far, the United States, Netanyahu's chief enabler, has been unwilling to stop the carnage, as it could easily do, because Washington hasn't yet heard enough complaint from Americans not to use their tax dollars to kill children in Gaza.

Thousands Gather for NYC Protest for Palestine

Max Blumenthal addresses the crowd gathered outside the Israeli Consulate on 42nd St & 2nd Ave in NYC on July 9, 2014.

Press Obama Administration for Gaza Ceasefire

The Israeli military carried out a second night of airstrikes in Gaza July 8. As of Wednesday morning, July 9, at least 29 Palestinians had been killed since the airstrikes began July 7, including seven children under the age of 16. [1] At least two Israelis had been lightly wounded by rocket fire from Gaza, Haaretz reported. [2] The military conflict “showed no signs of abating,” according to a New York Times report on July 9. [3]

Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to support vigorous diplomatic efforts to end the violence, by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/ceasefire-Israel-Palestine

From the past, we know how this ends. There will be a new ceasefire. The key question is how long it will take, how many people will be killed and injured, how much will be destroyed in the meantime.

The United States can help save both Israeli and Palestinian lives by speaking out urgently in support of a ceasefire, and working vigorously with U.S. allies in the region that have good relations with both sides, such as Egypt and Jordan, to press for a ceasefire. The U.S. can help make the ceasefire last by pressing for an agreement that would permanently lift the blockade of Gaza.

The State Department should also continue to press for an investigation of the beating of U.S. citizen Tarek Abu Khdeir while in Israeli police custody. [4]

Press the Obama Administration to engage vigorously and urgently by signing and sharing our petition.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/ceasefire-Israel-Palestine

Thanks for all you do to help rid humanity of the scourge of war,

Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

State Department Spokesperson flustered by question on Palestinians' right to defend themselves

When the deteriorating situation in Israel/Palestine came up during today's State Department press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki fluently regurgitated the official Israeli line on their escalating air assaults on Gaza: Israel is responding to rocket fire from Gaza; Israel has the right to defense itself; yada yada.

But when confronted by the question of whether Palestinians also have the right to defend themselves, Psaki apparently lost the ability to form a cogent thought. So strange a notion it was to her that anyone would need to defend themselves from Israel, she asked whether there was "a specific event or a specific occurrence" the reporter was referring to. Ultimately, she evaded the question by throwing out the word "terrorist organization" and that "the threat ... to civilian populations is of great concern to us." But really, only if they are Israeli.

Meanwhile, eight children are reported to have been killed tonight in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. How many more will US officials allow to die before they call for a ceasefire?

Read the full exchange below.

QUESTION: But you feel that sort of the Israeli air raids, like maybe hundreds of them so far this day, are proportionate to the rockets?

MS. PSAKI: That’s not – I wouldn’t validate the accuracy of that number, but I would say, Said --

QUESTION: Okay. Well, the sorties – there are hundreds of sorties.

MS. PSAKI: I would say, Said, that I don’t think any country would be expected to allow rockets to come in and threaten the lives and health and well-being of the citizens in their country, and Israel has the right to defend themselves.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you believe that the Palestinians in Gaza have the right to defend themselves?

Iraq war powers: where do House members stand?

This post is so that I can refer to my spreadsheet in blogging. For now, the attached spreadsheet is not intended to be pretty, only to be accurate. My hope is especially to educate journalists to the fact that nearly half the House is on record opposing the invocation of the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify the use of force in Iraq today.

The columns are as follows:

Lee-Rigell Iraq (80): the eighty signers of the Rigell-Lee Iraq war powers letter, which is here: http://lee.house.gov/sites/lee.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001_0.pdf Lee's press release is here: http://lee.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/bipartisan-letter-calls-for-congressional-authorization-before-any-military

nix Iraq AUMF (182): the 182 House Members who voted on June 19 to bar funding for using the 2002 Iraq AUMF. That roll call is here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll326.xml

nix AUMF: this column has a 1 if the person voted to defund the Iraq AUMF.

either (192): this column has a 1 if the person signed the Rigell-Lee letter, voted to defund the AUMF, or both. 192 Members are in this category. That is, 192 Members of the House are on record as opposing the use of the 2002 Iraq AUMF in Iraq today.

R-L not AUMF (10): these are the ten Members of the House who signed the Rigell-Lee letter but did not vote yes on defunding the Iraq AUMF on June 19. They are: Julia Brownley (voted no) Michael Capuano (did not vote) Andre Carson (voted no) Eleanor Holmes Norton (not allowed to vote) Collin Peterson (voted no) Charles B. Rangel (did not vote) Bobby L. Rush (did not vote) Matt Salmon (voted no) Kyrsten Sinema (voted no) Bennie M. Thompson (did not vote).

Tarek out of jail; U.S. demands investigation of beating

Thank you to the 12,600 of you who took action for Tarek Abu Khdeir!

We’re happy to report that Tarek was released from jail yesterday morning. Even though he was not charged with any crime, his family was made to pay $877 bail and he was sentenced to house arrest until his scheduled departure for the US next week.

Tarek’s case is unjust, but his position as a US citizen helped attract world-wide attention and expedited his release, something that the hundreds of Palestinian children arrested by Israel each year are not afforded. Defense for Children International reported 214 Palestinian children in Israeli jails at the end of May, with the number surpassing 250 during Israel’s recent military campaign in the West Bank.

The State Department has called for Israeli authorities to conduct a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation” on Tarek’s beating. We will continue to follow the situation closely.

For a media round-up on Tarek’s release, including this morning’s New York Times front page and a Washington Post video interview with Tarek and his mother, check out this article at Mondoweiss.

Thank you for helping protect a US citizen abroad,

Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!

URGENT ACTION: Teenage US Citizen Beaten by Israeli Police

A 15-year-old Palestinian-American youth was severely beaten by Israeli police in East Jerusalem on July 3 [1]. The beating was caught on video. [2] According to the human rights group Addameer, the victim, Tarek Abu Khdeir, from Tampa, Florida, was beaten by two undercover Israeli police in the yard of his uncle's home in East Jerusalem. [3]

Tarek, who sustained serious injuries to the face and head was arrested and held without charge by Israeli police, who denied him access to medical care for five hours. Tarek is a relative of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old Palestinian boy found burned to death on Wednesday in what was apparently an act of retribution by Israeli extremists for the killing of three Israeli teenagers. [4]

Urge the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem to protest Tarek’s beating by Israeli police, to demand that he receive adequate medical attention and due process, and to attend his court hearing on Sunday morning.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/tarek

If you're on Twitter, join the Twitter Storm NOW (11am Pacific/1pm Central/2pm Eastern/9pm Palestine) being led by @samidounpp. The hashtag is #FreeTarek.

Thank you for helping protect a US citizen abroad,

Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Help us reach our July fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
Thank you to everyone who made our June fundraiser a success! If you didn't get a chance to donate but you want to, please do so. Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

Call TODAY: Tell your Rep to Support Rigell-Lee Letter

Some people claim that there’s nothing we can do to stop the President from launching a new war in Iraq, if that’s what he decides to do. But last August, when the President had decided to bomb Syria, we proved that wasn’t true. When 192 Members of the House said he had to come to Congress for authorization before using military force, the President decided to go to Congress. When he couldn’t get authorization for force, he chose diplomacy instead.

We have the same opportunity now. If we can get enough Members of Congress to sign the Rigell-Lee letter saying that the President has to come to Congress before using force, we can stop the rush to war.

Call your Representative now at 202-225-3121. When you speak to a staffer, say:

I urge Rep. ____ to sign the Rigell-Lee letter, saying the President must come to Congress for authorization before using force in Iraq. I would like to know whether Rep. ____ plans to sign the Rigell-Lee letter.

When you’ve made your call, you can report it using our easy response form below.