israeli settlements

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."

Help me lobby Rep. Blumenauer tomorrow to oppose pro-settlement legislation

I’m on Capitol Hill this week, with two tasks: urging Democrats to sign the Schakowsky letter supporting diplomacy with Iran, and urging Democrats to oppose the language attacking European sanctions on Israeli settlements in the West Bank that’s been attached to the trade bills.

Your Representative, Earl Blumenauer, is key right now to getting the pro-settlement language out of the trade bills. He’s one of only two House Democrats who supported the trade bills in committee. He has been a champion of diplomacy, endorsed by J Street. If he says that the pro-settlement language has to removed from the trade bills, it’s much more likely to be removed.

I’m going to be visiting Blumenauer’s office tomorrow. Can you help me move Rep. Blumenauer to engage?

Please call Rep. Blumenauer’s office now at 202-225-4811. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

I urge Rep. Blumenauer to use his unique position of influence to push for removal of pro-settlement language from the trade bill.

When you’ve made your call, you can report it using the form below.

Obama, Congress: Heed J Street, Call Israeli Settlements Illegal

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 [1] 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 [2] 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.

Tell the Obama administration and Congress to heed J Street’s call to declare Israeli settlements illegal by signing and sharing our petition.

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

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Thank Oxfam for cutting ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream

Oxfam has cut ties with celebrity Scarlett Johansson over her refusal to give up her role as a "brand ambassador" for the Israeli company SodaStream, which operates a factory in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. As Oxfam stated: [1]

Johansson's role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam global ambassador. Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The campaign against Johansson's partnership with SodaStream has helped raise the profile of the company's association with the occupation. But we have yet another opportunity coming up: SodaStream is airing an ad featuring Johansson during the Super Bowl. People will be talking about the ad on Twitter. So let's show them what SodaStream's really about by publicly thanking Oxfam for parting ways with Johansson during the Super Bowl!

Here are two ways you can participate:

  1. Sign our petition thanking Oxfam: http://justforeignpolicy.org/act/oxfam-sodastream
  2. Join our Thunderclap, which will automatically send a message through your Twitter account during the Super Bowl. You can also sign up using your Facebook account: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/8554-thank-oxfam-for-scarjo-split

Thanks for all you do to promote a just peace in Israel-Palestine,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen, and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

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Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
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References:

Can the US Support UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements? Yes We Can!

Can the US Support UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements? Yes We Can! by Robert Naiman

A key resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict is now before the UN Security Council. Largely echoing stated US policy, the resolution embraces negotiations, endorses the creation of a Palestinian state, and demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But even though the resolution echoes US policy, President Obama is under pressure to veto the UN resolution from forces in Washington who want to protect the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Can President Obama say no to this pressure? Yes, he can! Urge him to do so.

Prominent former US government officials, including Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Ambassador James Dobbins, have written to President Obama, urging him to instruct our Ambassador to the United Nations to vote yes on this initiative, noting that it echoes US policy.

It's not an immutable law of the universe that the U.S. has to veto U.N. resolutions critical of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Indeed, last year, the U.S. promised the Palestinians to "consider allowing UN Security Council condemnation of any significant new Israeli settlement activity," the Guardian reported.

Some DC conventional wisdom suggests that there is no way politically that President Obama can fail to comply with any demand from the "Israel lobby" to veto the UN resolution.

But there are reasons in this case to doubt whether this conventional wisdom must necessarily be right.