Call your Senator TODAY: Don’t Punish Palestinians for Joining ICC

Last Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that Palestine would become a member of the International Criminal Court on April 1. That same day, Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority— about $400 million a year—if the Palestinians don’t withdraw their application to join the ICC. And on Friday, Sens. Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Mark Kirk released a statement saying that the Palestinian decision to join the ICC was “deplorable, counterproductive, and will be met with a strong response by the United States Congress.”

In less than a week, Just Foreign Policy has collected nearly 15,000 signatures on a petition calling for Sen. Paul to withdraw his bill. But your Senators are also getting pressure to join Sen. Paul and others in trying to bully the Palestinians to withdraw their ICC application—which is why they need to hear from you NOW.

Call your Senators TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and say

Sen. ____ should not support Rand Paul's S. 34—or any other bill, resolution, letter, or statement—that tries to bully the Palestinians into withdrawing their application to the ICC by cutting US funding to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians shouldn't be punished for trying to use international law to protect their human rights. The UN has accepted Palestine's application to the ICC, and the US should respect this decision.

When you’re done with your call, report it below.

In 2015, Let’s Not Punish the Palestinians for Joining the ICC

A proposed New Year's Resolution: in 2015, let's not punish the Palestinians for joining the International Criminal Court. No doubt some Members of Congress - presumably, the ones who aren't busy resigning for felony tax evasion or defending themselves for schmoozing with white supremacists - will try to gin up an outrage festival and demand sanctions on the Palestinians for exercising their rights.

What we accomplished in Burlington

With Republicans taking over the Senate in the new year already threatening to impose new sanctions on Iran—which would almost certainly sabotage the ongoing diplomacy—it's more important than ever for pro-diplomacy Senators to speak out in support of the extension in the talks.

That’s why, since the extension was announced on November 24, Just Foreign Policy has been urging Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to make their support known.

Earlier today, I—along with Vermont physician David Hobbs and JFP volunteer Anke Voss—met with Philip Fiermonte, Sen. Sanders' State Director, at the Senator’s Burlington office. We delivered petitions with over 150 Vermont signatures and informed Fiermonte that more than 250 Vermonters have sent letters to the Senator over the last few weeks urging him to make a public statement.

Help us continue to defend diplomacy in the new year by making a $15 (or more!) tax-deductible donation today!

During the meeting, Dr. Hobbs—who came 20 miles to attend—urged Sen. Sanders to speak up for peace, noting the terrible consequences that recent wars have had on the peoples of the Middle East.

Fiermonte acknowledged our concerns and read from a message which Sen. Sanders' Washington staff had sent ahead of the meeting, saying that Sen. Sanders supports continued diplomatic engagement with Iran, supports the extension of the interim agreement with Iran, and opposes new sanctions now that would undermine the talks—exactly what we were asking him to say. Fiermonte promised to send a letter to me after the holidays, which will help us in our fight to defend diplomacy.

Dec 29: Join our petition drop at the Burlington office of Sen. Bernie Sanders!

On Monday, December 29, at noon, I’m going to be delivering petitions from Vermont residents to Senator Sanders’ Burlington office, urging him to speak up now in favor of diplomacy with Iran.

If you live in Vermont, I’m hoping that you’ll join me! Here's the information:

December 29, noon
1 Church St, Suite 300
Burlington, VT 05401

If you’re on Facebook, you can sign up to attend the event and invite others using with our Facebook event.

If you’re not on Facebook, no worries! You can sign up to attend the event by filling out the form below.

Even if you can’t come to the petition delivery, you can still participate! Sign and share our petition with folks in Vermont ahead of the delivery.

Thanks for all you do to help defend diplomacy – and happy holidays!

Can Congress End the Cuba Embargo? Many Republicans Want the Embargo to Fall

 A left-right coalition, supported by the president and public opinion, could successfully push Congress to end the Cuba embargo.

Can Republicans nostalgic for the Cold War block President Obama from taking executive actions to improve US diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba? Could a Republican-led Congress vote to end the US embargo? Some Republican leaders were quick to denounce President Obama's announcement that the United States was restoring ties with Cuba. But how many divisions do these Cold War dead-enders control?

On whether Republicans can follow through on threats to block the president, Associated Press is skeptical:

Call your Senator TODAY against US ground troops in Iraq & Syria

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is expected to vote soon on an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It is virtually certain that some authorization of force will pass. But the committee will consider limits on the authorization of force, and meaningful limitations could pass.

If you have a Senator on the committee, you are in a unique position to influence the vote.

Sen. Tim Kaine has a proposal that would prohibit the use of ground troops except for rescue missions and "limited operations against high-value targets" – that is, against terrorist leaders who directly threaten the United States. It would expire in one year unless renewed by Congress. It would also require the White House to give legislators a list of groups that might be covered by the authorization because they are associated with the Islamic State.

Call your Senator at (202) 224-3121. You can say something like,

I urge Senator X to support Sen. Kaine’s proposals to limit the authorization of the use of force against ISIS, including by prohibiting the use of U.S. ground forces in combat in Iraq and Syria except for rescue missions and against groups that directly threaten the U.S.

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

This Week, Senate Democrats Can Limit the ISIS War

At long last, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote this week on an authorization for the use of force for the war against ISIS that started in early August. There is little doubt that a majority of the committee supports the use of force against ISIS. What will be revealed this week is what limits the committee will support in authorizing the use of force.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has proposed to prohibit the use of U.S. ground troops in combat except for rescue missions and "limited operations against high-value targets" -- that is, against terrorist leaders who directly threaten the United States. Kaine's proposed authorization would expire in one year unless renewed by Congress and would require the White House to give legislators a list of groups that might be covered by the authorization because they are associated with the Islamic State.

Warren and Sanders: Missing Voices for Iran Diplomacy?

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are increasingly seen as leaders of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, largely as a result of being the most talked-about alternatives among progressives to Hillary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

Progressives who are most enthusiastic about Warren and Sanders tend to be those most engaged on the issues of challenging Wall Street and corporate power and making the economy work for the majority of working families. It's obvious why those issues are at the top of the marquee as people fight about 2016.

But if you're going to be an alternative to Hillary, you have to be an alternative to Hillary all the way around, not just on corporate power and the economy. That doesn't mean, of course, that you have to have the most progressive position on any issue that anyone can imagine -- that's obviously not how it goes. But if most Democrats have a progressive position on an issue, you should not be far away from majority Democratic opinion.

Tell your Senators: Don't Kill the Iran Talks!

It’s been little over a week since the US and its European partners agreed to extend talks with Iran and anti-diplomacy forces are already pushing Congress to pass new sanctions, which would violate the interim deal and kill the talks.

Your Senators are being pressured to support efforts to kill the Iran talks and need to hear from you!

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

I support diplomacy with Iran. Passing new sanctions now would violate the interim deal and kill the talks. [NAME] should oppose such measures. [NAME] should speak up in support of letting diplomacy work.

When you’re done, report your call using our easy response form below.

For those calling Sen-elect Gary Peters: If you can't get through to his House line or if his voicemail is full, call his Detroit office at (313) 964-9960.

Torture Report: Mark Udall's World-Historical Moment to Rescue CIA Oversight

 "Time Is Running Out on the CIA Torture Report," the National Journal reports: