Inauguration rally will tell Obama: Condition aid to Israel on compliance with int’l law

on 14 Comments

There’s a big rally coming up on Inauguration Weekend in Washington DC and we’re all invited. The “No Blank Check Rally,” sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace is a chance, as the promoters say, to

                                         Tell President Obama:

                                   Israel should not be above the law.

Condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US & international law.

No Blank Check for Israel

Rally & Candlelight Procession to the White House

Saturday January 19, 2013

4 – 6 pm EST

Washington, DC


Rally starts at Farragut Square (Connecticut Ave., 17th and K Streets, NW)

Followed by candlelight procession down 17th Street

Ends at 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave.—one block from White House.

So what’s it all about and why is it so important Americans show up? I spoke with Shelley Fudge, Jewish Voice for Peace DC Metro Chapter coordinator, and asked her what the No Blank Check rally was all about. She said she wanted peace in the Middle East to be on Obama’s front burner with US aid to Israel in compliance with US and International laws. ”Obama told us to make him do it at the beginning of his presidency and we’re ready. … we have to make him. We want something for our tax dollars we give Israel.”

Fudge is referring to Obama’s own description of presidential power and community organizing. As Amy Goodman said, “In Obama’s second term, hope for change rests with us, the people” and she continued:

President Obama is a former community organizer himself. What happens when the community organizer-in-chief becomes the commander-in-chief? Who does the community organizing then?

Interestingly, he offered a suggestion when speaking at a small New Jersey campaign event when he was first running for president. Someone asked him what he would do about the Middle East. He answered with a story about the legendary 20th century organizer A Philip Randolph meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Randolph described to FDR the condition of black people in America, the condition of working people. Reportedly, FDR listened intently, then replied: “I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.”

That was the message Obama repeated.

There you have it. Make him do it. You’ve got an invitation from the president himself.

President Obama has asked that we make our voices heard to move his administration and Congress in the right direction. This is our chance. Israel, the biggest long-term recipient of US aid, should not be above the law.

There’s a letter to Obama with almost 50,000 signatures so far and the goal of the sponsors is to collect as many signatures as possible before Inauguration Day and deliver the letter to the president. Sign it HERE.

The Obama Letter:

Dear President Obama,

We are Americans from small towns and big cities, and we are Palestinians and Israelis a world away. We are the women, men, and children who are suffering every single day in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, and we are the people from across the world who seek to end that suffering. We are mothers of soldiers and children of refuseniks. We are Jews and Muslims, Christians and atheists, and people of the many other traditions of the world.

And we are all united by our determination to see a truly just peace take root in Israel and Palestine. That goal became even more elusive during your first term, but the American voters have just given you a second chance to make history.

Our request is simple.

Fifteen church leaders have bravely spoken out in a letter to Congress–stating a principle that should be obvious: Israel, the biggest long-term recipient of US aid, should not be above the law. Mr. President, please condition US aid to Israel on compliance with US and international law. It must not be used to violate the rights of Palestinians.

Anything less is a danger to Palestinians, to Israelis, to Americans and to the entire world.

Sign it HERE.

Endorsed by over 50 organizations from around the country, sponsors have been overwhelmed by the response. Many endorsers and signatories from around the country will be attending. Show your support by attending the rally/candlelight procession to the White House – along with Radio Rahim and other entertainers soon to be announced.

  Sign the letter to President Obama Now! Help secure 75,000 signatures!


Alliance for Global Justice
American University Students for Justice in Palestine
BDS LA for Justice in Palestine (Los Angelos, CA)
Brooklyn For Peace
Chicago Divests
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
CodePink Arizona
Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism
Committee for Palestinian Rights (Howard County, MD)
Cornell University Students for Justice in Palestine
DC Statehood Green Party
Dorchester People for Peace (Boston)
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
14 Friends of Palestine
Friends of Palestine Wisconsin
Hilton Head for Peace
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace of Ann Arbor, MI
Interfaith Peace-Builders
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Jewish Voice for Peace – American University
Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace Boston
Jewish Voice for Peace – DC Metro
Jews Say No! (New York City)
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project (Madison, WI)
Middle East Committee of Women Against Military Madness
Middle East Peace Now
Minnesota Break the Bonds
Palestine Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
Pax Christi Hilton Head
Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore
Peace Action Montgomery (Montgomery County, MD)
Sabeel DC Metro
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Boulder, CO Branch)
Unitarian Universalist Church Of Kenya
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force
University of Maryland Students for Justice in Palestine
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
US Palestinian Community Network
Veterans for Peace – Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter (Baltimore MD),
Washington DC International Socialist Organization
Wisconsin Middle East Lobby Group
Women in Black Union Square

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About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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14 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 10, 2013, 2:58 pm

    thanks for this Annie. Will never forget the moment Obama followed Roosevelt’s lead an said “make me do it” reaffirming what many of us have all ready been doing and challenging those who have not been involved to get involved. Things just don’t change because we want them to change we have to do our part and push, lobby, petition, etc etc. Sounds like it will be a great rally. Amazing to think that no other administration that I am aware of went as far as Bush 41 and tried to link aid to whether or not Israel continued to expand illegal settlements

    When to the first Obama inauguration. Went to many events in fact some we did not have tickets for a few friends and I really dressed up and walked into a couple of tuxedo events that we did not have tickets for just to mix it up…we did not get busted.

    Obama “make me do it” That is our job..keep pushing. Contact your Senators in favor of Hagel’s nomination

    • Annie Robbins
      January 10, 2013, 3:17 pm

      i wish i could go kathleen. it sounds like it’s going to be a great rally. and a candlelight procession to the whitehouse! with so many people coming to town that weekend, the turnout will probably be fantastic. i know some people coming down from boston. anyway, east’s been years sine i traveled back east for a demo.

      • Kathleen
        January 10, 2013, 8:22 pm

        You would be a great addition to the rally. It is a booster when you can attend rallies, protest, lobbying in the halls of congress. Reconfirms one’s commitments. Annie are you going to attend the Occupy Aipac event in March? I have attended the last two events but don’t think I will be getting to this one. Annie do you have any suggestions for turning young Jewish young folks about to go on a Birthright trip? One of my youngest daughters best friends (25) is about to take a birthright trip. I shared with her that I have met quite a few young Jews who have had the light bulbs in their brains turned on by stretching their trips to visit settlements etc. I am turning her on to Anna Baltzer’s website and to Young Jewish and Proud. Any other suggestions for me to help her widen her scope before she goes to Israel? Is it ok for her to contact you?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 11, 2013, 1:41 am

        kathleen, yes of course she can contact me. i am not sure how much good it will do tho, talking to me). she should get in touch with max or possibly even allison in ramallah. . one thing i would advise is to contact jeff halper. they give alternate info tours. i met some really cool young israelis, really cool. she shouldn’t leave the region til she’s visited the other side and met palestinians. but there are a lot of awesome palestinian israelis too. or she should meet morgan who is a contributor here. maybe apprentice for a week at ICAHD or something. watch a house being demolished. don’t let her get bogged down on hasbara and the wrong side of history. there are ways she can plan her trip to stay longer and witness what’s going on there. palestinians are some of the most hospitable people on the planet. if she goes with an open mind and gets off the birthright hamster wheel she’ll do fine.

      • Kathleen
        January 11, 2013, 11:10 am

        thanks for the suggestions. Trying to lead her over here. All ready “bogged won on hasbara” Her father and mother have filled her head. But she is still somewhat open when I share with her with kid gloves. The facts seem to be too much for her to take. Trying to get her over here and let her know there are plenty of young and older Jewish activist that have joined this movement the last five to 10 years. And that folks like Finkelstein, Pappe have been out on the front lines for decades. Hope she extends her trip. Will keep working on her

    • Annie Robbins
      January 10, 2013, 4:11 pm

      kathleen, check out the video update above. talk about fresh, there’s only 4 viewings of it on youtube.

  2. Boston
    January 10, 2013, 4:40 pm

    Condition aid to Israel? No blank check for Israel?

    This is nonsense.

    It should be NO aid for Israel, No check whatsoever.

    What we should be doing is sending them a bill for the tens of billions of free dollars they have received from the American taxpayer over the past several decades.

    • American
      January 10, 2013, 7:15 pm

      @ Boston,

      Take what you can get, JVP is one of the Jewish best orgs and they actually have a clue what has to be done and where to start.
      Please sign.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 11, 2013, 1:31 am

      boston, first of all, this is not jvp exclusively, there are 3 sponsors. plus i urge you to read the other jvp article today.
      Goldberg smears JVP after ‘NYT’ columnist mentions them for defending Hagel

      Jewish Voice for Peace works for a just solution in Israel/Palestine based on the principles of human rights and equality. Goldberg’s reference to “Israel’s elimination” is likely a reference to the fact that the group does not take a position on a solution to the conflict, and that they work against the system of Jewish privilege that dominates from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As they note on their website:

      As activists in the movement for peace and justice in the Middle East, JVP members are often asked for our position on how the Palestine / Israel conflict should ultimately be solved. Our mission statement endorses neither a one-state solution, nor a two-state solution. Instead it promotes support for human rights and international law. As a result, we have members and supporters on both sides of this question, as well as many others who, like the organization as a whole, are agnostic about it. If a short answer is required, it would be that we support any solution that is consistent with the national rights of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews, whether one binational state, two states, or some other solution. In this paper, we provide a longer answer. JVP’s stance has always been that the people living in Israel-Palestine are the ones who must decide on their own political formations and how best to resolve this conflict. In fact, much of our strategy and approach is based on the conclusion that it is outside interference, especially that of the United States, that is the biggest obstacle to the two peoples creating that solution.

      note the bds campaign is not exclusive in their position on the outcome either. certainly there are many people in jvp that support the boycott. but the group is large and inclusive. jvp is a great and they do great things.

  3. ivri
    January 10, 2013, 5:12 pm

    What about adding a similar request in regard to Obama himself in regard to his military actions, as the use of drones for instance? (Though a similar demand of punitive sanctions would hardly apply since that would be the US acting against itself)

    • sardelapasti
      January 11, 2013, 12:17 am

      “What about adding a similar request in regard to Obama himself in regard to his military actions, as the use of drones for instance? ”
      Sure, and why not also a request for more animal rights and another one about the Mafia?
      This is an action focused on the Zionists and their unrelenting crimes against humanity. The participants came together specifically to try to achieve this objective, none other. Sorry if that is too complicated to understand.

  4. seafoid
    January 11, 2013, 1:43 am

    This is great news, especially in terms of showing people that concern for the human rights of Palestinians is not about being Arab/Muslim/lefty sympa Christian. It’s magnificent to see JVP headlining with the other sponsors. It’s not about them but what their presence says is really important. They’ll be dragged through the mud by the bots but the ground is shifting. Apartheid awareness is going mainstream and there is no 2 state figleaf to cover its bits.

    Israel is a total system breakdown and the time when they could fob people off with slurs of antisemitism is over.

  5. Walid
    January 11, 2013, 6:13 am

    Last week, Gilad Atzmon was in Beirut for the second time; the first was with the IDF invaders in 1984. This time it was with his saxophone and for a speaking engagement and some sightseeing starting with the Mleeta war museum. He wrote about it on his blog:

    “… But Mleeta was just a beginning. South Lebanon is dripping with defiance – every village, house and person is an emblem of Shia’s heroic resistance with the villages bedecked with Hezbollah posters featuring Leader Hasan Nasrallah and the many martyrs who taught the IDF those very necessary lessons.

    Like Mleeta, Khiam the notorious Detention Centre is also a monument to Israeli brutality. Khiam is where Israel detained and tortured its political opponents, in some cases, for as long as 14 years. My visit there reminded me of a devastating memory, which on occasion, I share with my audience. It concerns Ansar, an Israeli concentration camp located in South Lebanon. It was back in 1984, on a piece of flat land in the middle of the camp, I noticed a dozen concrete boxes with small metal doors, they looked like dog kennels being only about 80 cm high, 100 cm long and probably about 80cm wide. When I pointed out to the commanding officer that these concrete construction weren’t suitable for dogs, he told me not to worry: no one would even think of putting dogs in them. “Put a Palestinian in one of those for 24 hours,” he laughed, “And he’ll come out singing the Hatikvah.” They were solitary confinement units for Palestinian prisoners. That was it. Then and there, I realised that Israel was not my country.”

  6. yourstruly
    January 12, 2013, 2:32 am

    condition aid to israel on compliance with int’l law?


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