Action Alerts

Senate action TODAY on Fast Track, pro-settlements provision

Sometime this afternoon, the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on whether to move the Fast Track trade package a step closer to becoming law.

Among the many reasons to oppose Fast Track is a measure that aims to discourage foreign governments from boycotting, divesting from, or sanctioning companies that do business in "Israeli-controlled territories." This provision is aimed at pressuring the European Union to reverse course on the steps it's taken in recent years to oppose Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The provision also erodes the distinction between Israel and Israeli settlements, seemingly endorsing the Israeli annexation of the West Bank. For these reasons, groups such as J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace oppose the measure.

Interestingly, Republicans are working closely with the White House to try to pass Fast Track — but they are having trouble gathering enough Democratic support. Just last night, Senator Dick Durbin said "it's very questionable" whether Republicans have the 60 votes necessary to pass the procedural hurdle to bring the bill to a vote on the floor.

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

I urge Sen. __________ to oppose S. 995, the Trade Promotion Authority Bill, and to vote NO on today's procedural vote to move the bill forward. I particularly oppose the provision in the bill that endorses the Israeli annexation of the West Bank and seeks to block Europe from limiting commercial relations with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

When you're done, report your call below.

Testify Online Against IL Anti-Boycott Bill!

On Wednesday morning, the Executive Committee of the Illinois House is scheduled to consider SB 1761, a bill that would force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott businesses that operate in “territories under the control of Israel” — i.e., in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This legislation not only infringes on the rights of those making an ethical decision to boycott human rights abuses, it also legitimizes the Israeli annexation of the West Bank, which official US policy opposes.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about this bill in the State Capitol, which makes it even more important that your reps hear from you!

Here are two things you can do right now to stop this bill:

  1. Submit a witness slip in opposition to the bill. It’s easy and only takes a minute! When filling out the witness slip, indicate “opponent”, “record of appearance only”, and enter the organization you represent under “representation” or just enter “self”. Make sure to spell out your organization (don’t use abbreviations).
  2. Call Executive Committee Chair Dan Burke at (217) 782-1117 and say

    I am an Illinois resident and I oppose SB 1761, which would force state pension fund administrators to blacklist companies that boycott businesses that operate in "territories under the control of Israel." This bill infringes on the rights of those who choose to boycott human rights abuses and also legitimizes the Israeli annexation of the West Bank. I urge Rep. Burke to oppose this bill and stop it in committee.

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.

Next step in combating dark money in politics

Thanks in part to over 13,000 JFP supporters who signed our petition, Public Citizen was able to deliver over half a million signatures to the White House in support of this initiative.

Today, the national coalition is asking supporters to call the White House to bolster the case for an executive order.

Join the national day of action by calling the White House at 855-980-5638 and saying

Hi I’m [your name] from [your city and state]. I urge the President to use his authority to combat dark money in politics and sign an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.

When you’re done, let us know how it went by filling out the form below.

We have a framework for an Iran deal! Tell Dems not to help Republicans kill it

Exciting news from Switzerland: the US, our international partners, and Iran have agreed on a framework for an Iran nuclear deal!

This latest development proves that diplomacy is working. But even with this landmark success, Republicans in Congress will continue to try to derail a final deal. In particular, two pieces of legislation Republicans are trying to push through the Senate—the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill (S. 269) and the Corker-Menendez bill (S. 615)—will likely be considered shortly after Congress returns to DC on April 14. (Check to see whether your Senators are co-sponsors by following the appropriate links.)

But Republicans can’t kill an Iran deal without help from Democrats. In order to secure a veto-proof majority, Republicans in the Senate need to recruit at least 13 Democrats to support their anti-diplomacy bills.

Republicans are trying to recruit your Dem Senator to help them kill the deal—which means they need to hear from you.

Call your Senator NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say:

The US, our international partners, and Iran have agreed on a framework for an Iran nuclear deal. Diplomacy is working. I urge Sen. _____ to OPPOSE the Kirk-Menendez bill (S. 269), the Corker-Menendez bill (S. 615), and consideration of any other legislation that could compromise a deal until after the June 30 deadline. I also urge Sen. _____ to speak out in support of the framework agreed upon in Switzerland.

When you’re done, report your call using the form below.

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

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New Iran sanctions imminent—Immediate action needed!

Sen. Robert Menendez announced that he plans to introduce new Iran sanctions legislation before the State of the Union next Tuesday.

The Obama administration is adamant that any new sanctions—even those with a trigger to become active upon a break in the talks—would violate the Joint Action Plan that has limited Iran’s nuclear program, inviting Iran to also violate the agreement and “blow up” the talks, as National Security Advisor Susan Rice has said.

The State Department announced that the President will veto any new Iran sanctions bill, but Menendez is looking to recruit a veto-proof 67 vote majority to circumvent the President. Menendez will try to recruit your Senators—which is why they need to hear from you!

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

I urge Sen. _______ to OPPOSE any new Iran sanctions legislation. The Obama administration has made clear that any new sanctions bill—even if it includes a trigger—would violate the Joint Action Plan, which has successfully limited Iran’s nuclear program. Doing so would invite Iran to also violate the plan and, as Susan Rice has put it, “blow up” the talks and any hope of resolving this issue diplomatically.

When you’re done, report your call below.

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.

What we accomplished in Burlington

With Republicans taking over the Senate in the new year already threatening to impose new sanctions on Iran—which would almost certainly sabotage the ongoing diplomacy—it's more important than ever for pro-diplomacy Senators to speak out in support of the extension in the talks.

That’s why, since the extension was announced on November 24, Just Foreign Policy has been urging Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to make their support known.

Earlier today, I—along with Vermont physician David Hobbs and JFP volunteer Anke Voss—met with Philip Fiermonte, Sen. Sanders' State Director, at the Senator’s Burlington office. We delivered petitions with over 150 Vermont signatures and informed Fiermonte that more than 250 Vermonters have sent letters to the Senator over the last few weeks urging him to make a public statement.

Help us continue to defend diplomacy in the new year by making a $15 (or more!) tax-deductible donation today!

During the meeting, Dr. Hobbs—who came 20 miles to attend—urged Sen. Sanders to speak up for peace, noting the terrible consequences that recent wars have had on the peoples of the Middle East.

Fiermonte acknowledged our concerns and read from a message which Sen. Sanders' Washington staff had sent ahead of the meeting, saying that Sen. Sanders supports continued diplomatic engagement with Iran, supports the extension of the interim agreement with Iran, and opposes new sanctions now that would undermine the talks—exactly what we were asking him to say. Fiermonte promised to send a letter to me after the holidays, which will help us in our fight to defend diplomacy.