Blog

Call-in: Urge your Senator to speak out about Saudi Arabia

Following Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shia dissident, its ending of the ceasefire in Yemen, and its attempts to sabotage the Syria peace talks, relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have reached an unprecedented state of crisis. But Washington still hasn't had a serious public discussion about how to say no to Saudi Arabia. In Germany and the UK, there is a debate in the government about how to say no to Saudi Arabia; but in the US, while there is a debate in the media, there is still no real debate in the government.

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

"I urge Senator ______ to make a public statement calling for Saudi Arabia to end its gross abuses of human rights and cooperate fully with international efforts to end the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, and calling on the Obama Administration to enact real pressure on Saudi Arabia to change its behavior."

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

And if you haven't signed our petition urging President Obama to call out Saudi Arabia during the State of the Union address, you can do that here:

Call-in: Tell your Rep. to oppose anti-refugee riders to Omnibus bill.

The U.S. has a moral obligation, as well as an obligation under international law, to welcome refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Despite this obligation, reports suggest Republicans may attach provisions blocking refugee resettlement to the “must-pass” year-end spending legislation (a.k.a. Omnibus) in order to try to force President Obama to sign them into law. [1]

Rep. Jared Polis is circulating a letter among his colleagues urging Speaker Paul Ryan to reject amendments to the Omnibus bill that would block refugee resettlement. The letter also states that funds for refugee vetting and resettlement should be increased so as to “ensure a thorough and expeditious process.”

Several Democrats who earlier voted for a bill to block refugee resettlement have already signed Rep. Polis' letter. Your representative is a Democrat that has not signed the letter, but voted for the earlier bill. Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121. You can say something like,

“We have a moral obligation to aid the Syrian and Iraqi refugees. I urge you to sign Rep. Jared Polis' letter calling for rejection of riders to the Omnibus spending bill that would block refugee resettlement.”

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

Tell Congress: We can’t fight terrorism with xenophobia

Some have used the attacks in Paris Friday to whip up a xenophobic hysteria against Syrian refugees. Members of Congress say their phones are ringing with demands to keep Syrian refugees out, but not with voices insisting that America is a place of refuge from persecution. We need to speak up. Welcoming refugees is our moral obligation. It’s also our obligation under international law.

Help us turn the tide. Call your Representative at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“We can’t fight terrorism with xenophobia. I urge you to reject efforts to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States.”

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

Tell your Senator: Co-Sponsor Sen. Udall's bill, Oppose Sending Troops to Syria

New Mexico Democratic Senator Tom Udall, backed by Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee, has now introduced legislation that would block sending US ground troops to Syria. As Senator Udall has stated, escalating US involvement in a complex ethnic and religious civil war by deploying ground troops is a mistake which is on dubious legal ground under both US and international law; Congress has not authorized the use of military force in Syria.

Urge your Senator to co-sponsor Sen. Udall’s legislation by calling him now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

“I support Sen. _____'s stand against sending US ground troops to Syria. I urge him to co-sponsor the Udall-Lee bill which would prohibit sending US ground troops to Syria.”

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

Tell President Obama to Require Disclosure of Federal Contractors' Political Donations

The Citizens United decision unleashed a new level of influence over war & peace for corporations. But there's something President Obama can do, with the stroke of a pen, to reduce that influence.

Corporations awarded federal contracts – including Pentagon contractors – should be required to disclose their political donations to candidates and SuperPACs. We deserve to know which political campaigns are funded by companies to whom our tax-dollars are awarded.

It is imperative that corporations that profit from our wars of choice are no longer able to hide their donations in SuperPACs that support intervention and oppose deals like the Iran Nuclear Agreement. That's why President Obama should sign an executive order mandating disclosure today.

Call the White House NOW at 1-888-894-6720 and say,

"I urge President Obama to issue an executive order without delay requiring companies that receive taxpayer money from federal contracts to disclose their political spending."

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

Today, over 750,000 signatures will be delivered to the White House in support of an executive order instituting transparency for federal contractors' political donations. Over 13,000 are Just Foreign Policy subscribers.

If you haven't signed our petition, you can do that here:

http://org.salsalabs.com/o/1439/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17489

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.