Congress is expected to vote soon on a controversial proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition. With recent reports that some so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels this proposal seeks to arm have signed non-aggression pacts with ISIS, as in the past, now is not the time to rush into a policy whose consequences remain so unknown.
Meanwhile, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has introduced H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a robust debate and an authorization vote on any use of force. Sponsors so far include Reps. Grijalva, Ellison, Lee, McGovern, Defazio, Grayson, and Welch.
MoveOn, Win Without War, Peace Action and many other groups have called for a National Day of Action TODAY to say: stop the rush to war in Iraq & Syria!
Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121. When you speak to a staffer (or leave a message), you can use the talking points below:
Hi, my name is ______, and I'm a constituent from _______.
I urge you to vote "NO" on expanding military aid to rebel groups in Syria. More weapons to groups we don’t know, who may use them against us or our allies in the future, will only make the situation worse.
I also urge you to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a debate and an authorization vote on any use of force and the prohibition of the use of ground troops.
When you’ve made your call, you can report it here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 10, 2014
Robert Naiman, Policy Director
(202) 448-2898 x1
Just Foreign Policy Statement in Response to President Obama’s Statement on Plans for Military Escalation in Iraq & Syria
Washington, DC- Just Foreign Policy released the following statement by Policy Director Robert Naiman, in response to President Obama’s statement concerning his plans for U.S. military escalation in Iraq and Syria:
We are deeply troubled by President Obama’s apparent claims that he does not need and will not seek Congressional authorization to continue airstrikes in Iraq and expand them to Syria, nor to expand the arming and training of insurgents in Syria, which arming has contributed to the present strength of ISIS. Obama was right when he told the Boston Globe as a Presidential candidate in December 2007, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” President Obama was right to seek Congressional authorization for bombing Syria last year. He is wrong not to seek authorization now.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that the Israeli government is seizing nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land for another massive settlement project. The Israeli group Peace Now has called it the largest land grab in 30 years.
Urge President Obama and Members of Congress to heed J Street's call to say that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal and to make it clear that U.S. opposition is not just symbolic, by signing our petition at MoveOn.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said  that the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about the announcement and called on Israel to reverse the decision. But when asked what consequences Israel would face if it didn’t reverse the decision, Psaki had no answer.
We’ve been here before. Whenever Israel announces new settlement expansion, the U.S. issues a statement of mild condemnation backed by little substantive action. And while it is the consensus of the international community that Israeli settlements are illegal, the U.S. continues to refer to them instead as “illegitimate” and “unhelpful”.
The “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street issued a statement  saying that it’s time for the U.S. government to “stop issuing toothless statements of regret and do something real” and to “make it clear that the U.S. opposition to settlements is not just symbolic.” We agree.
Thank you for all you do to help push U.S. foreign policy to be more just,
Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
Help us reach our September fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!
In response to Israel's recent announcement declaring nearly 1,000 acres of land in the West Bank "state land" with the intention of expanding settlements in the Etzion bloc, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki issued the following statement:
We are deeply concerned about the declaration of a large area as 'state land' to be used for expanded settlement building. We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse this decision.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Psaki was asked whether the US was planning any consequences if Israel fails to heed the US's call to reverse its decision. Here's the exchange:
QUESTION: [Y]ou said that if the appropriation in the West Bank and if these rumored or reported new announcements go ahead, it would send a very troubling message – it would send a very troubling message if they proceed.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Is there any consequence to that --
MS. PSAKI: Well --
QUESTION: -- if they proceed?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any consequences to lay out for you, Matt. I think it’s important for us – not just the United States but there are a range of countries in the international community that have been clear about not only their opposition but their own intentions. I’m not going to speak to those. I speak for the United States.
The issue came up again during Wednesday's press briefing:
MS. PSAKI: I think there’s no secret about our position and our view on the legitimacy of settlements.
QUESTION: No, no. But I mean specific – but specifically, do you know --
Judging from press reports, when Congress returns from its August recess in early September, the United States military will have been bombing "Islamic State" fighters in Iraq for a month, with a broader set of missions than originally advertised, and with plans to continue bombing for months.
The Gaza ceasefire has collapsed. Hostilities have resumed; three Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including a woman and a young girl.
The key sticking point in the ceasefire talks has been the Israeli government’s unwillingness to agree to end the blockade on Gaza’s civilian population, even if the Palestinian Authority and European monitors are controlling what enters Gaza.
Two Members of Congress who belong to the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus – Keith Ellison and Barbara Lee – have called for the blockade to end now. Yesterday, actor and director Danny Glover called for others to join them.
The best chance we have of building more political support for an end to the blockade is to appeal to other members of the Progressive and Black Caucus to stand with Reps. Ellison and Lee. That’s why we’re turning to you.
Please call your Rep NOW at 202-225-3121 and say
Like Danny Glover, I urge you to stand with Keith Ellison and Barbara Lee in calling for the blockade of Gaza to end now. Please make a public statement supporting the idea of ending the blockade as part of a long-term Gaza ceasefire.
Then report your call using our easy response form below.
The greatest struggle facing the anti-war movement in the United States is the struggle to get people who come to anti-war demonstrations after a war starts to engage politically to prevent the same wars in the future. In the case of U.S. policy towards Iran, we created a political movement to support diplomacy with Iran to prevent war in the future. But in the case of Gaza, there is no political movement in the United States to support diplomacy to prevent war in the future.
From the statement she sent on August 6th to KPFA:
“I have called and will continue to call for a sustained cease fire to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, end the blockade of Gaza, and stop the loss of civilian lives.”
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/105382 (at 10:27 mark.)
Here's what she said, with Ellison, in 2010:
On July 29, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison did something unique for a Member of Congress: he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for an end to the economic blockade on the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza.
As of this writing, only Representative Barbara Lee has joined Representative Ellison among Members of Congress in calling for the economic blockade on civilians in Gaza to end.
We want to change that. And we have a plan to do it.
We have identified 27 Members of the House we think are most likely to join Keith in calling for an end to the economic blockade of Gaza, listed in the drop-down menu below.
If your Representative is listed, volunteer to delivery our petition to your Rep's local office and/or call him or her TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and say
As Rep. ____'s constituent, I’m urging him/her to stand with Rep. Keith Ellison in favor of ending the blockade on 1.8 million human beings in Gaza, mostly women and children.
Like Keith, Rep. ____ signed the July 2013 Dent-Price letter backing the Obama Administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran. Like Keith, Rep. _____ is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. That’s why I’m hopeful that he/she will stand with Keith now in favor of using diplomacy to end the blockade of Gaza.
More than 34,000 Americans have signed a petition at MoveOn calling for Secretary of State Kerry to use all diplomatic means to end the blockade.
Please join Rep. Ellison in calling for an end to the blockade.
When you're done, report your call using our easy response form below.
Organizers estimated 50,000 protesters marched on Washington to demand an end to US support of Israel's operation in Gaza on August 2, 2014.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of demonstrators from across the country descended on Washington, DC, to call for an end to US support for Israel's latest military operation in Gaza. The demonstration included a march to the Washington Post and Caterpillar headquarters, where protesters delivered mock coffins to symbolize the over 1,600 Palestinians, mostly civilians, killed in Israel's onslaught. The march began and ended at the White House, where speakers such as Cornel West addressed the massive crowd.
At one point in the march, organizers had to reroute the procession because the front of the march was about to collide with the rear. In one section of the route, motorists were at a standstill as a dense stream of protesters passed. Organizers said that the march spanned twelve blocks—road and sidewalks included—leading to an estimate of 50,000 attendees.
The large turnout and presence of a diverse group of solidarity activists made a particular impact on some Palestinian-American demonstrators. "It gives me hope," a Palestinian-American woman from Connecticut said.
Thousands have been demonstrating in cities around the world since Israel's operation began on July 8. Palestinian solidarity protests throughout the United States have drawn record crowds demanding that the US stop its support of Israel's killing of Palestinians in Gaza. The US gives over $3 billion in taxpayer money to the Israeli government each year, and Congress recently approved $255 million in additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome.