Tell Obama to Oppose Israeli Plan to Evict 40K Bedouin, Protect Right to Protest

Next week, I'm traveling to Israel/Palestine with a delegation of US peace activists. One thing that we will be doing while there is meeting with Israelis and Palestinians resisting the Israeli government's seizure of Palestinian lands. Such land grabs have become a regular facet of life in the West Bank, but it's not only Palestinians in the West Bank who are subject to them.

The Israeli government has plans to remove upwards of 40,000 Bedouin in the Negev desert in southern Israel from their homes and their lands. As in the West Bank, attempts to protest these seizures have been met by force from the Israeli military and police.

The US has yet to publicly oppose either the Prawer Plan or Israeli suppression of peaceful protest. Join me in calling on President Obama and other US officials to publicly oppose the Prawer Plan and to press the Israeli government to respect the right to peaceful protest in Israel and the occupied territories.

You can also help support my trip to Israel/Palestine by making a tax-deductible donation:

If you've seen last year's Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, you know something about the Palestinian struggle to resist Israel's seizure of Arab land and the Israeli military's response to such resistance. [1] The demonstrations in Bil'in, where 5 Broken Cameras was filmed, as well as Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh and other villages, have become regular features of Palestinian life. [2] Every Friday, Palestinian villagers, often accompanied by Israeli and international activists, march against the confiscation of their land for settlement expansion, barrier walls and military zones. Each week, they are met by tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades. They are arrested, detained, harassed. Under Israeli occupation, the right to peaceful protest has been effectively nullified.

Feinstein Letter Call-in Report

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JFP 7/30: Diplomacy letter; House fight on sanctions timing; Durbin, HRW denounce police violence in Egypt

Just Foreign Policy News, July 30, 2013
Diplomacy letter; House fight on sanctions timing; Durbin, HRW denounce police violence in Egypt

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I) Actions and Featured Articles

***Action: Urge your Senators to support the Feinstein letter backing diplomacy with Iran
This is a rare opportunity. Let's not screw it up. Write your Senators and urge them to sign the Feinstein letter backing diplomatic engagement with Iran following the election of a pro-diplomacy President in Iran.

Amnesty International: Don't blockade students in Gaza
Azza, Suhair, and Loujain are three Palestinian women who are blocked from attending the university of their choice, because the Israeli blockade prevents thousands of Palestinian students in Gaza from pursuing higher education in the West Bank. Urge the Israeli government to allow students in Gaza the freedom to access education where they choose.

The Oklahoman: Rally at Oklahoma Capitol opposes U.S. intervention in Syria


Dianne Feinstein Initiates Pro-Iran Diplomacy Letter in Senate

Following on the wildly successful pro-diplomacy letter led by Reps. Charlie Dent and David Price, California Senator Dianne Feinstein is circulating a letter, below, urging President Obama to reinvigorate US efforts to engage Iran in the wake of Iran's recent presidential election. Write to your Senators today!


Dear President Obama:

We urge you to seize the opportunity presented by the upcoming inauguration of Iran’s new president, Dr. Hassan Rouhani, by reinvigorating diplomatic efforts to secure a verifiable agreement that ensures that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

Since 2010 Congress has worked with your Administration to increase U.S. and international sanctions against Iran. The impact on Iran’s economy has been significant: the value of the Iranian rial has plummeted against the U.S. dollar since 2011, unofficial estimates of inflation range as high as 70 percent, exports of oil have been halved, Iranian oil production has declined 35 percent to 2.6 million barrels per day, the Iranian economy declined by as much as 8 percent between March 2012 and March 2013 and is set to decline further in the next year, and unemployment estimates range as high as 20 percent.

JFP 7/26: Summers to Fed? NSA roll call; F16s to Egypt held; war backing hits new low

Just Foreign Policy News, July 26, 2013
Summers to Fed? NSA roll call; F16s to Egypt held; war backing hits new low

I) Actions and Featured Articles

Action: Don't let Larry Summers head the Fed!
Economist (and JFP board member) Dean Baker says: "Picking Larry Summers for Fed chair would be exactly the wrong message to send at the moment. Summers is one of the main architects of the policies that have given us the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It would be an especially bad signal to send when there is an outstanding pick already at the Fed serving as Vice-Chair, Janet Yellen." Sign our petition to President Obama: 18,000 have signed so far. List of good anti-Summers references at the link.

Roll Call of the NSA surveillance vote
Check to see if your Rep. voted yes. Thank them if they did, spank them if they didn't. Congress will revisit this issue on the intelligence authorization.

FCNL et al: No U.S. Military Intervention In Syria!
Joint petition initiated by FCNL, IPS, JFP, Peace Action, Peace & Justice Resource Center, UFPJ, USLAW, and WAND.

Video: Israeli forces shoot B'Tselem spokesperson during West Bank protest


JFP 7/23: House to vote on NSA, Syria; intel hold on “covert” arming lifted; UK cools

Just Foreign Policy News, July 23, 2013
House to vote on NSA, Syria; intel hold on “covert” arming lifted; UK cools

I) Actions and Featured Articles

**Action: The House will vote on the NSA and Syria
Last night the Rules Committee allowed amendments to the defense appropriation to curb NSA surveillance and to block military escalation in Syria. Urge your Rep. to support these amendments.

FCNL: FY 2014 Military Appropriations Amendments to Watch
FCNL provides a list of good amendments on the defense appropriation. Besides curtailing NSA spying and constraining military action in Syria, there’s Schiff’s move to sunset the 2001 AUMF, allowing transfer of Gitmo detainees, and base Pentagon and Afghanistan war budget cuts.

Video: Welch Slams Congress for Abdicating Responsibility on U.S. Intervention in Syria
Labels decision to block vote on Gibson-Welch amendment to stop arms to the rebels "the coward's path."


Close to a Third of House Says Reinvigorate US-Iran Diplomacy

Today, nearly a third of the House of Representatives endorsed the Dent-Price letter calling upon President Obama to reinvigorate US efforts to engage Iran.

Below is the final version of the letter, including a list of signers by state. You can view the original letter here. In addition, Reps. Huffman, Lowenthal and Brownley sent a similar letter to the President, which you can view here.

Send your Rep a letter of thanks/disappointment here.


July 19, 2013

Dear President Obama,

As Members of Congress who share your unequivocal commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, we urge you to pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement.

As you know, on June 14 the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president with over 50 percent of the vote in the first round, overcoming repression and intimidation by the Iranian government to cast their ballots in favor of reform. Dr. Rouhani campaigned on the promise to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace” and has since promised “constructive interaction with the outside world.” As Iran’s former lead nuclear negotiator, he has also publicly expressed the view that obtaining a nuclear weapon would run counter to Iran’s strategic interests and has been critical of the nuclear “extremism” of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Reps. Dent, Price Lead Quarter of House to Bless Talks with New Iran President

If you've been worn down by too much bad news into thinking that nothing good can ever happen in Washington, here's proof that it ain't so: "the biggest ever pro-Iran diplomacy letter from the Hill."

JTA reports:

Days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the incoming Iranian president's plea for engagement with the United States and called for ratcheting up military pressure, a bipartisan letter circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives is urging President Obama to test Hassan Rohani's offer.

The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and David Price (D-N.C.), had garnered 118 signatures by Thursday afternoon, more than a quarter of the House. The bulk of the signatories are Democrats, but 15 Republicans have signed on as well.

With 200 Democrats in the House, that means that the majority of House Democrats signed the letter.

Intel Committees Agree with Public: No Arms to Syria Rebels

Seventy percent of Americans oppose sending U.S. weapons to Syrian rebels, including 74% of independents, 71% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats. [1] Key Members of Congress agree: the House and Senate intelligence committees have blocked an Administration plan to arm the Syrian rebels as a “covert action.” [2]

Now, Vermont Democrat Peter Welch and New York Republican Chris Gibson are introducing an amendment on the House defense appropriations bill that would block U.S. military involvement in Syria. Urge your representative to support the Gibson-Welch amendment.

Reps. Welch and Gibson have submitted the following amendment for consideration on the defense appropriations bill in the House: [3]

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the purpose of, or in a manner which would have the effect of, supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual or, for United States military operations in Syria without the express authorization of Congress.
We don’t need another U.S. war in the Middle East. Whatever influence the U.S. has in the situation should be used to promote a political settlement that ends the war, not to add more weapons to kill more people. We don’t need more U.S. “covert” military actions that aren’t explicitly approved by Congress after open debate. We don’t need to take sides in a sectarian civil war.

There’s still time to stop this military escalation. Urge your Representative to speak up.

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

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Give your Rep a Nudge: Call Today to Support Rare Pro-Iran Diplomacy Initiative

Thank you to everyone who emailed their Representative in Congress concerning the Dent-Price letter supporting US-Iran diplomacy. The next step in pressuring your Representative to sign is to call their office. Could you call your Representative today and ask them to sign the Dent-Price letter supporting US-Iran engagement? Here's what you do:

  1. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
  2. Ask to be connected to your Representative's office.
  3. Once you are connected to your Rep's office, tell them your name and address.
  4. Tell your Representative's office to please sign the Dent-Price letter promoting a reinvigorated US effort to engage Iran following Hassan Rouhani's election as president. If your Representative is Charlie Dent or David Price, thank them for initiating the letter.
  5. Here are some additional statements you can use to back up your ask:
    1. Rouhani ran on a platform of engaging with the world and has promised to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace.”
    2. Rouhani's diplomatic credentials include being Iran's lead nuclear negotiator in 2003-5 when the country made progress in talks with the EU-3, temporarily suspended uranium enrichment, and voluntarily implemented the Additional Protocol.
    3. It would be a mistake not to test Rouhani's offer of engagement. If we ignore it, we send a message that the US will respond the same way no matter what happens in Iran, undermining reformists who want an easing of tensions and emboldening those who want confrontation.
    4. The Dent-Price letter does not take a position on whether sanctions should be ramped up or relaxed, nor does it take a position on the military option.
  6. When you're done with your call, report it here:

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,