Ellison-Yarmuth-Dingell Letter Urging an End to Violence in Israel and Palestine

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.

Who is skipping Bibi's speech?

Latest Update: March 3 12:30 AM

If your rep is undeclared or on the fence, give them a call at 1-202-224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

I urge Rep./Sen. ___________ to join 60 other Democrats in skipping Netanyahu's March 3 speech. Please stand with Democrats who support President Obama's Iran diplomacy, not with Republicans who want to tear President Obama down.

Find out where your reps stand below.

Skipping (61—Includes 1 Republican)


Bass, Karen (CA-37) — “My support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship has been consistent during my entire time in elected office, and that support will only continue in the years to come. Support for Israel has traditionally been a non-partisan issue, and I want it to remain so,” she said. "Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner mishandled inviting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is now marred with controversy. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been provided with other options to talk with members of Congress, but he has turned them down to do the public speech. It is truly sad that Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu have chosen to play partisan and divisive politics.”

Blumenauer, Earl (OR-03): Wrote a Jan. 29 column in The Huffington Post explaining his decision, saying the Constitution “vests the responsibility for foreign affairs in the president.”

Brown, Corrine (FL-05)

Butterfield, G.K. (NC-01): The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) focused on Boehner undermining Obama in a statement and emphasized he's not urging a boycott.

Capps, Lois (CA-24)

Carson, Andre (IN-07)

Castro, Joaquin (TX-20)

Clark, Katherine (MA-05):

Clay, William Lacy (MO-01)

Call your Rep TODAY: Skip Bibi’s speech

We have a historic opportunity right now to help change the game in Washington on U.S. policy towards Israel.

Controversy is spreading around Speaker Boehner’s decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on March 3, where Netanyahu is expected to trash Obama’s Iran diplomacy and try to persuade Congress to pass new sanctions. J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren have called for Netanyahu’s talk to be postponed. Netanyahu’s political opposition in Israel is also denouncing his plan to speak to Congress only weeks before the Israeli election.

Now, Reps. Keith Ellison, Steve Cohen, and Maxine Waters are circulating a letter to Speaker Boehner, asking him to postpone the invitation until after Congress has considered the issue of Iran sanctions.

Call your Rep NOW at 1-202-224-3121. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like:

I urge you to sign the Ellison letter calling on Speaker Boehner to postpone the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress until after Congress has concluded its consideration of new Iran sanctions.

UPDATE: The Ellison letter is now closed. The sample script now calls to skip the speech:

I urge Rep. ___________ to join Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, and 30 other Democrats in skipping Netanyahu's March 3 speech. Please stand with Democrats who support President Obama's Iran diplomacy, not with Republicans who want to tear President Obama down.

Report your call below.

Call Ben Cardin NOW against new Iran sanctions!

Earlier today, a Just Foreign Policy activist delivered a petition to Sen. Ben Cardin's office in Baltimore calling on him to support diplomacy with Iran by opposing any new sanctions legislation, including the Kirk-Menendez bill.

A petition calling for Sen. Cardin to oppose any effort to punish the Palestinians for joining the International Criminal Court was also delivered.

Even if you have already called before, support the petition delivery by calling Ben Cardin’s Baltimore office NOW at (410) 962-4436 and saying

I support the petition being delivered to your office today calling on Sen. Cardin to support diplomacy with Iran by opposing any new sanctions legislation, including the Kirk-Menendez bill. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, new sanctions legislation "will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails."

I also support the petition calling on Sen. Cardin to oppose any effort to punish the Palestinians for using international law to protect their human rights by joining the International Criminal Court. That means he should not support any effort to cut aid to the Palestinians, including Sen. Rand Paul's bill (S.34) and the proposed Gillibrand-Rubio letter.

When you’re done, please report your call here:

Thanks for all you do to protect diplomacy,

Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Contribute to Just Foreign Policy—Make a $15 tax-deductible donation today!
Help start the new year off right! If you like our work, help fund us with a $15 (or more!) tax-deductible donation.

Call your Senator TODAY: Don’t Punish Palestinians for Joining ICC

Last Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that Palestine would become a member of the International Criminal Court on April 1. That same day, Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority— about $400 million a year—if the Palestinians don’t withdraw their application to join the ICC. And on Friday, Sens. Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Mark Kirk released a statement saying that the Palestinian decision to join the ICC was “deplorable, counterproductive, and will be met with a strong response by the United States Congress.”

In less than a week, Just Foreign Policy has collected nearly 15,000 signatures on a petition calling for Sen. Paul to withdraw his bill. But your Senators are also getting pressure to join Sen. Paul and others in trying to bully the Palestinians to withdraw their ICC application—which is why they need to hear from you NOW.

Call your Senators TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and say

Sen. ____ should not support Rand Paul's S. 34—or any other bill, resolution, letter, or statement—that tries to bully the Palestinians into withdrawing their application to the ICC by cutting US funding to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians shouldn't be punished for trying to use international law to protect their human rights. The UN has accepted Palestine's application to the ICC, and the US should respect this decision.

When you’re done with your call, report it below.

Presbyterian divestment passes committee in decisive vote!

Yesterday afternoon, the Middle East Issues Committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted decisively 45-20 to endorse divestment from three companies—Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard—that play a role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The resolution now moves on to the General Assembly where it is expected to be taken up either Thursday or Friday.

From what we’ve seen in the last few days, one of the biggest worries of some Presbyterians is how it will look to the outside world if they should divest. That’s why it’s important that as many of us as possible raise our voices in support of their efforts to take their money out of companies participating in violence and injustice.

Let’s continue to show Presbyterians we’ve got their backs! Here are some suggestions for action:

1. Join the Thunderclap. By signing up with either your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account, Thunderclap will send out one (and only one!) message on your behalf at noon eastern time Thursday, June 19.

2. Tweet our petition on #ChurchDivest and #GA221 hashtags. Let General Assembly participants know that over 15,000 people have made their support for divestment known. Just copy and paste this message into twitter:

Over 15,000 sign statement supporting #ChurchDivest #GA221 via @justfp

If you don't use social media…

1. Watch some of the testimonials we've gathered. We are continuing to collect video testimonials from the diverse group of people here in Detroit supporting divestment. Watch a few and share them with your friends.

2. Tell five friends to sign our petition. Here's some sample text to use to email them:

Presbyterians Poised for Historic Vote Against Israel's Occupation of Palestine

Sometimes a situation that appears hopeless is actually poised for a new beginning - when the apparent hopelessness reflects acceptance that conventional wisdom has utterly failed to bring about solutions and that solutions require actions that conventional wisdom has blocked.

Next week, Presbyterians meeting in Detroit will have a historic opportunity to help change the fundamental dynamics of the Israel-Palestine conflict in a way that will bring a just resolution of the conflict closer. They'll be considering divestment from three companies - Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard - that are significantly tied to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Could We Make @BilldeBlasio Meet with J Street?

 It was, without doubt, a world-historical moment last Thursday when AIPAC concededthat its push to sabotage U.S. diplomacy with Iran had been decisively rebuked. As theNew York Times noted, it had been decades since AIPAC lost such a high-profile showdown so decisively.

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:
  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:

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

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

Help support our work — make a $10 tax-deductible donation today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.


Tell Congress TODAY: Don’t Help AIPAC Blow Up Iran Diplomacy

For seven years, we’ve been urging that the U.S. government resolve its differences with Iran through diplomacy. Now that the Obama Administration is finally making progress some in Congress are trying to blow up the peace train.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is planning to ignore the Administration's request, and–with the assistance of AIPAC, which is going to be on the Hill this week—to introduce a bill that would mandate new sanctions and try to tie the hands of U.S. negotiators by demanding that a final deal stipulate that Iran not be able to enrich any uranium at all–Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand, which everyone knows cannot be achieved through diplomacy.

Call your Representative NOW at 1-855-686-6927 and say:

I urge you to oppose Rep. Cantor’s legislation that would undermine diplomacy by imposing new sanctions and tying the hands of U.S. negotiators from reaching a realistic deal with Iran.

You can report your call below.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.