With ACLU, MoveOn: Oppose Bills Criminalizing Free Speech Against Settlements

The ACLU has written to Congress urging opposition to pending bills that seek to criminalize advocacy of boycotts against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The ACLU warned that proponents of the bills are "seeking additional co-sponsors," and explained that the bills would "punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs."

MoveOn has joined the ACLU's opposition to the bills. "Regardless how you feel about BDS, Congress must reject action to criminalize free speech and peaceful protest. The Democrats in House and Senate must say no to H.R. 1697/S. 720," MoveOn said. “Free speech and peaceful protest are integral to democracy."

S.720 & H.R.1697 would erase the distinction in U.S. law between Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and make it illegal for U.S. companies to boycott or otherwise discriminate against Israeli settlements in the West Bank based on calls by the United Nations or the European Union.

Urge your Senators & Representative to join the ACLU & MoveOn in opposing these unconstitutional bills by signing our petition.

Join Mark Pocan & Peter Beinart: "Don't Jail This 'Palestinian Gandhi'"

As Peter Beinart reports in the Forward, Hebron's Issa Amro has been preaching nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr for almost two decades. Amro's organization, Youth Against Settlements, frequently hosts Israeli activists. Amro has won awards from the UN and the EU. Amro doesn’t just oppose violence, he's gone to extraordinary lengths to stop it.

In retaliation for his advocacy of nonviolence, Beinart reports, Amro faces 18 criminal charges. If convicted, he’ll likely serve a long prison sentence. Amnesty International notes, "Some of the charges ... are not recognizable criminal offences under international standards." The changes include incitement, protesting without a permit and "insulting a soldier." Amro also faces two charges of assault. Amnesty calls these allegations "baseless," noting, "One of the charges of assault refers to an incident ... that took place after he had already been arrested and was therefore not present." Amro faces trial in a military court where the conviction rate exceeds 99%. As the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported in 2015, "A Palestinian charged in a military court is as good as convicted."

Oppose AIPAC Bills Attacking Iran Deal & Palestinian Human Rights

Lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] are pressing Members of Congress to co-sponsor bills that attack the Iran nuclear agreement by imposing new sanctions on Iran [S.722 & H.R.1698] and attack Palestinian self-determination by promoting Israeli settlements in the West Bank [S.720 & H.R.1697].

Urge your reps. to oppose these bills by signing our petition at MoveOn.

S.722 would designate part of Iran's military as a terrorist organization, which would obstruct contact between the U.S. and Iranian militaries. U.S. military leaders have opposed this move on the grounds that it would undermine the U.S. fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Tell your Senator to Oppose Private Property Thief David Friedman's Nomination

An apartment building in a West Bank settlement was funded by an organization headed by David Friedman, Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel. The building is financed by American Friends of Beit El Institutions, which Friedman chairs. American Friends of Beit El Institutions raised almost $667,000 for its Israeli counterpart, the Organization for the Sukkat Ovadia Yeshiva of Beit El. The Israeli organization funded construction projects on private Palestinian land. The projects were illegal under Israeli law. The planned apartment building is also to be built on private Palestinian land. True conservatives oppose the government theft of private property.

Your Senator is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which means they decide whether to send Friedman's nomination to the Senate for a confirmation vote. Call your Senator now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, say something like:

"I urge Senator _____ to vote no on David Friedman's nomination to ambassador of Israel. David Friedman chairs an organization that has participated in the theft of private Palestinian land. Senators should not endorse a private property thief to represent the United States."

When you have made your call, please report it below.

Urge your State Senator to kill "anti-BDS" bill

The Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace reports that on Thursday, the California Senate Appropriations Committee will vote to either send the "anti-BDS" bill AB 2844 to the Senate floor for a full vote or leave it in the suspense file, where it would expire.

Regardless of how you feel about "BDS," this bill is a terrible idea. The Los Angeles Times said passage of the proposed law would be a "mistake," calling the bill "convoluted, redundant and most likely ineffectual."

Your State Senator is on the California Senate Appropriations Committee. Call your State Senator now at When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge you to vote to kill AB 2844."

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

Luis Gutierrez, Elijah Cummings, and Barbara Lee Voted for TPP & Israeli Settlements?

On the TPP and settlement expansion in the West Bank, we mostly lost the first round of the fight over the Democratic Platform. The Platform Drafting Committee rejected an amendment opposed to the TPP and rejected an amendment opposed to settlement expansion in the West Bank.

There were five Sanders appointees on the fifteen-member drafting committee. There were also three other "progressive" House Democrats on the committee: Barbara Lee, Luis Gutierrez, and Elijah Cummings. Five plus three is eight; eight is a majority of fifteen. If these three "progressive" House Democrats had voted the right way, we would have won amendments against the TPP and settlements.

Call Luis Gutierrez at 202-225-8203, Elijah Cummings at 202-225-4741, or Barbara Lee at 202-225-2661. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

"I am very disappointed by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee's rejection of amendments against the TPP and against the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. I demand that you publicly explain your votes."

Please ask the office for a written response.

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

Rep. Cummings: Affirm U.S. Opposition to Settlement Expansion

Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, chair of the Democratic Platform Committee, says an agreement on the platform language between the Clinton and Sanders forces could happen within days. One of the issues that has been in dispute is what the Democratic Platform will say about Palestinian rights and the occupation of the West Bank, especially about settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Urge Rep. Cummings to affirm opposition to settlement expansion in the West Bank by signing our petition at MoveOn

The other three House Democrats on the Platform Committee - Keith Ellison, Barbara Lee, and Luis Gutierrez - all signed Rep. Betty McCollum's letter asking that the U.S. speak up for the rights of Palestinian kids in military detention. The other three House Democrats on the Platform Committee have also all co-sponsored HR 686, which calls for affirming U.S. opposition to settlement expansion in the West Bank. But Rep. Cummings didn't sign Rep. McCollum's letter, and so far he hasn't agreed to co-sponsor HR 686. That's reason for concern about where he stands on opposing settlement expansion.

Urge Rep. Cummings to affirm U.S. opposition to settlement expansion by signing and sharing our petition.

Thank your Rep. for Speaking Up for Palestinian Children

20 members of Congress signed the Congressional letter to President Obama urging his administration to take steps to "address serious human rights abuses against Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation." The letter, organized by Rep. Betty McCollum, calls for a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth to work with human rights organizations, the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the rights of children are protected.

According to a report from Defense of Children International-Palestine, three-quarters of detained Palestinian children suffer physical violence. As the lawmakers note, an ever-present fear of arrest, detention, and violence for Palestinian children both violates their human rights and serves to fuel the conflict.

If your Representative signed, please call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer, mention that you are a constituent and thank them for using their power to uplift the human rights of the most vulnerable. You can say something like:

"Thank you for speaking up for the rights of Palestinian children by signing the Betty McCollum letter urging the President to engage diplomatically to address the abuses of Palestinian youth in Israeli detention."

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

And please share this video highlighting the human rights abuses Palestinian children face by the Israeli military occupation using the hashtags #700ChildPrisoners and #NoWayToTreatAChild.

Speak up for Palestinian kids in military detention

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, Jewish Voice for Peace, the American Friends Service Committee, Defense of Children International, Churches for Middle East Peace and other groups - including Just Foreign Policy - are urging Members of Congress to sign Rep. Betty McCollum's letter calling on President Obama to act to protect Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

Your Rep. has spoken up in the past for peace, diplomacy, and human rights. Please help us today by calling your Representative now at (202) 224-3121. Ask to speak to the legislative aide who handles foreign policy. When you speak to a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge Rep. _______ to sign the McCollum letter asking President Obama to appoint an envoy for the protection of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention."

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

If you haven't signed our petition to the House in support of the letter yet, you can do that here.

Human Rights Watch has reported that Israeli security forces are abusing Palestinian children detained in the West Bank. "Israeli security forces are using unnecessary force in arresting and detaining children, in some cases beating them, and holding them in unsafe and abusive conditions," HRW said.

Hillary Clinton: Tell AIPAC that Settlements are not Israel

Hillary Clinton will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's policy conference in Washington March 20-22.

Urge Hillary to tell AIPAC that settlements are not Israel by signing our petition at MoveOn:

Just because Hillary is speaking at AIPAC, doesn't mean that she has to pander to AIPAC. When President Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice spoke at AIPAC last year, she told them things that they didn't want to hear: that their demands that Iran cease all enrichment of uranium were unrealistic, and that their demands that the U.S. walk away from negotiations with Iran and increase sanctions on Iran instead were unrealistic. AIPAC didn't like it, but Susan Rice didn't let that stop her from telling the truth.