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Can President Obama Mobilize His Inner Rachel Corrie?

Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie in Gaza by Israeli government bulldozer, and the anniversary this year comes at an unusually bad time in US-Israel relations - by which I mean, of course, that it comes at an unusually wonderful time in US-Israel relations, one of those rare times in which the US appears to put some real effort into establishing narrower boundaries for Israel's behavior towards the Palestinians.

It's easy for long-time observers to be cynical. We've seen it all before: strong words from the US to Israel followed by abject retreats. And there's something in our collective consciousness that counts false hope a greater danger than false pessimism. The pessimist will be right more often; but the optimist will contribute more to positive social change. Each person has to ask herself which is more important: to be right more often, or to contribute more to positive social change?

It's not every day that the press carries reports that the top U.S. military commander in the Middle East, the top military commander of all our armed forces, and the Vice-President of the United States are telling Israel that its treatment of the Palestinians is endangering US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Mark Perry notes in the cover story at Foreign Policy, "There are important and powerful lobbies in America.... But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military."

JFP 3/15 - Biden: Israel's Policies Threatening US Troops

Just Foreign Policy News
March 15, 2010

Support Our Troops: Boycott the Israeli Occupation
General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen, and Vice-President Biden say that Israel's actions toward the Palestinians are putting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in danger. That's why, to Support Our Troops, the U.S. government must effectively pressure Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank. And one thing every American can do to Support Our Troops is to shun products from companies linked to the Israeli occupation.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/511

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) In January, Gen. Petraeus sent a team of officials to tell Admiral Mullen that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel and that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, Foreign Policy reports. This was reportedly the context in which Vice-President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: "This is starting to get dangerous for us…What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." Yedioth Ahronoth reported: "The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel's actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism."

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Support Our Troops: Boycott the Israeli Occupation

I don't know about all you commiepinkos, but I believe we should Support Our Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. General Petraeus, Admiral Mullen, and Vice-President Biden say that Israel's actions toward the Palestinians are putting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in danger. That's why, to Support Our Troops, the U.S. government must effectively pressure Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank. And one thing every American can do to Support Our Troops is to shun products from companies linked to the Israeli occupation.

In January, Foreign Policy reports, CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus sent senior military officers to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the perception of the U.S.' Arab allies that the U.S. was failing to pressure Israel to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

 

JFP 3/12: Clinton warns Netanyahu U.S.-Israel relationship is at risk

Just Foreign Policy News
March 12, 2010

House Afghanistan Debate: What Kucinich Accomplished
On Wednesday, at long last, there was a vigorous debate about the war in Afghanistan on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The legislative vehicle was a resolution introduced by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. But House critics of the war have long been agitating for a real debate.
[includes video of Edwards, Grayson, Paul, Pingree, and Kucinich.]
http://www.truthout.org/house-afghanistan-debate-what-kucinich-accomplished57588

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Secretary of State Clinton warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Friday that Israel had sent a "deeply negative signal" about the U.S.-Israeli relationship and urged him to take immediate steps to demonstrate it was interested in renewing efforts at a Middle East peace agreement, the Washington Post reports. Her call, made in the wake of the embarrassment suffered by Vice President Biden when Israel announced it would build 1,600 housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem, was an unusually tough message for the longtime U.S. ally, the Post says.

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JFP 3/11: House Afghanistan Debate: What Kucinich Accomplished

Just Foreign Policy News
March 11, 2010

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House Afghanistan Debate: What Kucinich Accomplished
Yesterday, at long last, there was a vigorous debate about the war in Afghanistan on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The legislative vehicle was a resolution introduced by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich calling for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. But House critics of the war have long been agitating for a real debate.
[includes video from the debate of Edwards, Grayson, Paul, Pingree, and Kucinich.]
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/11-11

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Summary:
U.S./Top News

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Kucinich Resolution Call-In Report Back

Thank you for calling your Representative urging them to support the Kucinich resolution for a withdrawal timetable from Afghanistan, H. Con Res. 248.

Let us know how your call went by submitting a comment below. Sharing your Representative's name, whether you were successful in reaching their office, and any feedback you received from staffers would be especially helpful.

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Thanks!

If One Phone Call Could End the War

If you could end the war in Afghanistan by making one phone call, would you make that call? Would you press 10 buttons to stop the wanton destruction of the lives of American soldiers and Afghan civilians?

I suspect that the majority of the literate adult population in the United States, if faced with that choice, would press 10 buttons to end the war.

Unfortunately, there isn't one phone call that will end the war. But there is a plausible chain of consequence that connects a phone call made to Congress today to ending the war in the foreseeable future.

In the next few days the House of Representatives is expected to debate and vote on a "privileged resolution" - H.Con.Res. 248 - introduced by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich that would establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.

JFP 3/5: Criticism Grows of Aid Effort in Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
March 5, 2010

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Help Kucinich Force House Debate on Afghanistan
Yesterday Rep. Kucinich introduced a privileged resolution - H. Con Res. 248 - invoking the War Powers Act to force the President to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year. Because it is a privileged resolution, Congress will be forced to debate the issue of the open-ended U.S. war in and occupation of Afghanistan. Debate is expected early next week. Ask your Representative to become a co-sponsor of Representative Kucinich's resolution.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/kucinich

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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JFP 3/4: Kucinich Introduces Resolution for Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
March 4, 2010

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Help Kucinich Use War Powers Act to Force Afghanistan Debate
Today Representative Kucinich introduced a privileged resolution - H. Con Res. 248 - invoking the War Powers Act to force the President to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year. Because it is a privileged resolution, Congress will be forced to debate the issue of the open-ended U.S. war in and occupation of Afghanistan. Ask your Representative to become a co-sponsor of Representative Kucinich's resolution.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/kucinich

Schakowsky to Clinton: Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Honduras
Nine Congressional Democrats have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging her to "fully investigate reports of severe human rights abuses in Honduras." The Members of Congress say that the U.S. "must make it clear that the ongoing intimidation and persecution of activists and dissidents is unacceptable." In addition to Rep. Schakowsky, the signers were: McGovern, Grijalva, Farr, Barbara Lee, Oberstar, Honda, Conyers, and Waters.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Honduras_Human_Rights.pdf

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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Schakowsky to Clinton: Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Honduras

Nine Congressional Democrats have written to Secretary of State Clinton, urging her to "fully investigate reports of severe human rights abuses in Honduras." The Members of Congress say that the U.S. "must make it clear that the ongoing intimidation and persecution of activists and dissidents is unacceptable." In addition to Rep. Schakowsky, the signers were: McGovern, Grijalva, Farr, Barbara Lee, Oberstar, Honda, Conyers, and Waters. The letter is posted here.