On January 23, the US announced that it was withdrawing from the anti-democratic, anti-worker Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement [TPP] and seeking a reopening of the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. The AFL-CIO praised the moves, saying, "Today's announcement that the US is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people. While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers."
Champaign County Democrats endorse Congressman Keith Ellison for DNC Chair
Contact: Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Champaign, IL – On Wednesday, January 25, the Champaign County Democratic Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to endorse the candidacy of Keith Ellison to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. On the weekend of February 24, members of the Democratic National Committee will meet and vote to determine the new DNC chair at the DNC's Winter Meeting. 
Democratic precinct committeemen who supported the resolution to endorse Keith Ellison included Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, Urbana City Clerk Phyllis Clark, Party Chair Maryam Ar-Raheem, Urbana Aldermen Aaron Ammons and Eric Jakobsson, County Board Member Josh Hartke, former Urbana Alderman Ruth Wyman and former County Board Members Jan Anderson and Robert Naiman.
In declaring their support for Keith Ellison to lead the DNC, Champaign County Democrats join the Democratic Party of DuPage County and Kankakee County Democratic Party, as well as U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, State Rep. Carol Ammons, State Party Vice-Chair Karen Yarbrough, U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky, and the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. 
Link to this file:
MoveOn petition: Stand with Keith - and condemn the smear campaign against him
Key Keith documents:
Keith statement on Medium:
“As a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union, and as someone who’s worked closely with Keith Ellison for years, I know Keith Ellison represents the diverse and inclusive vision the Democratic Party needs to stand for, and I know his commitment to a 50-state deep organizing strategy that the DNC needs.”
November XX, 2015
His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas
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.
A recent CNN poll found that four out of five Democratic voters oppose the Israeli Prime Minister's planned March 3 tirade to Congress against diplomacy. Thursday morning, twenty-three House Democrats did something about it.
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.
The media war fever for military confrontation with Iran has grown so great that even the media noticed. Writing in the New York Times, Scott Shane asked the reasonable question: how is it that we're having a war fever with Iran, when polls show that after ten years, the American public is weary of war?
A key part of the story is that we've had a one-sided political debate about Iran. Major media are often ambivalent about the degree to which it's really their responsibility to educate the public about basic facts - like the fact that the U.S. government is quite confident that Iran is not now trying to build a nuclear weapon. Instead, the media's default position often is to reflect what they perceive to be going on in the political debate. And what the media largely perceive is that one side - the non-Ron Paul Republican presidential candidates, the Lieberman-Graham-McCain axis, and the pro-Likud lobby groups and think tanks - is pushing aggressively toward military confrontation, and the other side - the Obama Administration - is saying, well, not so fast, without strongly and consistently challenging some of the core assumptions of the pro-war voices.
Largely missing from the recent political debate, until now, has been a full-throated defense of diplomatic engagement with Iran towards negotiated agreements that would resolve or mitigate international concerns about its disputed nuclear program, thereby pushing back the prospect of military confrontation.
But that could change. Representatives Keith Ellison [D-MN] and Walter Jones [R-NC] are currently circulating a Congressional letter to President Obama urging the President to redouble U.S. efforts towards a diplomatic agreement.
On December 31, together with more than 1000 peace advocates from around the world, I'm planning to join tens of thousands of Palestinians in a march in Gaza to the Erez border crossing to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to demand international action to relieve Gaza's humanitarian crisis.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Egyptian government has just announced that it will not allow the internationals to enter Gaza as planned. If so, that would be a shame.
But this apparent decision could be reversed with sufficient public pressure, in Egypt and around the world. Concerned individuals can write to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and to the Foreign Ministry in Cairo. There is also contact information for the Egyptian consulates in Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco here.
The aim of the march is to call on Israel and the international community to lift the siege, and to respond to Gaza's humanitarian crisis. The international participants will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza. Dec. 27 will mark the first anniversary of the Israeli invasion, from which Gaza has not recovered, in large measure because of the ongoing Israeli blockade, which has prevented Gaza from rebuilding.
Of course, if the Egyptian government decision stands, and the international participants are not allowed to enter Gaza, then much less international attention will be drawn to the ongoing blockade, and that would be an unfortunate setback for peace efforts, because the need for international attention is great.
Many Americans don't realize that although it might be true that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee can get seventy Senators to sign a napkin, that doesn't mean AIPAC can stop Members of Congress from taking actions to improve U.S. policy towards the Palestinians - actions that could have a real impact in improving living conditions for Palestinians on the ground. This week two such measures are being considered by Members of the House.
Representatives Jim McDermott [D-WA-7] and Keith Ellison [D-MN-5] are circulating a letter that calls on President Obama to press for an easing in the Israeli blockade of Gaza by making it easier for Palestinians, aid workers, and journalists to enter and leave Gaza and by improving the access of Palestinian civilians to necessities such as clean water, food, fuel and medicine.
The McDermott-Ellison letter asks for "immediate improvement" in the following areas:
- Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;
- Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials,
- Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;
- Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;
- Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials;
- Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;
- Access to fuel;
- Access to spare parts;
- Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
- Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.