From Jewish Voices for Peace
Fw: Don’t let AIPAC speak for you
AIPAC’s annual Washington DC policy conference takes place next week, and thousands of AIPAC members will tell Congress that the Obama administration is being too hard on Israel. Why? Because Obama, Biden and Clinton dared to insist that Israel abide by international law and freeze settlement construction.
We need to let Obama and Congress know that AIPAC doesn’t speak for us ( http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2643 ), and that the time is over for unconditional aid to support settlement expansion and human rights violations. It’s the only way we’ll ever achieve a lasting peace.
The stand-off over settlements started last week in Israel. Just hours after Vice President Joe Biden reiterated the unassailable bond between the US and Israel on a visit meant to help launch 3rd party “proximity” peace talks, Israel’s Interior Ministry announced approval for the construction of 1,600 Jewish only housing units (which later turned into 50,000) in East Jerusalem.
This is land which the United States and the rest of the international community considers occupied and an essential part of any future Palestinian state. Netanyahu called the timing a bureaucratic slip-up, yet announced that settlement expansion in Jerusalem, “and in all other places”, will continue as it has “over the last 42 years.”
Netanyahu: Israel will keep building in Jerusalem
This was a slap in the face of the Obama administration heard around the world. And it came on the heels of a groundbreaking US military briefing at the Pentagon which made it clear that Israeli intransigence is endangering the lives of American troops in the Middle East.
The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story
JVP has long been critical of the US’s special relationship with Israel. We believe that unconditional economic and financial support has harmed both Israelis and Palestinians by enabling the massive growth in illegal settlements, a major obstacle to peace in the region. Unconditional US aid to Israel also gives defacto support to other violations like the devastating multi-year blockade of Gaza.
That is why we were pleased to see the Obama Administration finally making some strong demands that Israel abide by international law– Hillary Rodham Clinton upbraided Prime Minister Netanyahu and told Israel to reverse approval of the new housing units in E. Jerusalem and look at easing the siege of the Gaza Strip.
But it remains to be seen if the U.S. will impose any consequences if Israel doesn’t meet them.
Next week, AIPAC’s thousands of members will tell Congress to make no demands on Israel while Congress keeps billions of dollars coming. Make no mistake-what they’ll really be doing is protecting illegal settlements and Israel’s right to continue taking Palestinian land.
That’s why we want you to email Congress now to let them know that you back the Obama administration’s reaction, you support an end to settlements, and most importantly, you want the US to do whatever is necessary to make sure Israel abides by international law, including withholding aid until it does. We’ll send a copy of your note to the White House so they know they have the support of tens of thousands of Americans for a more robust response to Israeli defiance of the law and President Obama.
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, please go here to send a message to President Obama.
Cecilie, Sydney, Rebecca, Stefanie and the rest of the team at Jewish Voice for Peace
P.S. Obama and team can also look in their backyard to see another source of support for illegal settlement expansion that can be stopped: the network of tax-exempt US-based charities which send millions of dollars to fund illegal settlements in places like Hebron and East Jerusalem.
JVP has just released a new policy paper on settlement funding. Click here to read it now.
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