Full-Page Ad in ‘Roll Call’: 80,000 to President Obama—Hold Israel accountable, we have your back

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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace Inaugural ad Roll Call Jan.22, 2013

Media Release:

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace announced that they are running a full-page ad in today’s special presidential inauguration edition of the influential Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which is distributed to nearly 20,000 Capitol Hill staffers and elected officials.

The ad calls on President Obama to hold Israel, which receives more than $3 billion per year in military aid from the United States, accountable to U.S. law. The Arms Export Control Act limits the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.” The Foreign Assistance Act explicitly bans military aid from being sent to any government that engages in a “consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Citing Israel’s well-documented track record of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the ad asks President Obama to heed the urgent call of 15 major Protestant church leaders; a delegation of civil rights leaders, some of whom worked closely with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 60,000 supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace and another 20,000 supporters of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation— all of whom who have asked President Obama to hold Israel accountable to U.S. and international law.

According to Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, “With the onset of President Obama’s second term and the anticipated re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister, the United States must embark on a bold departure in its policies to bring about a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. First and foremost, this means holding Israel accountable for misusing U.S. weapons to commit systematic human rights abuses of Palestinians. Morally and financially, the United States cannot afford to be complicit in Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director stated: “Despite the right-wing Israel Lobby’s efforts to scare Jewish voters, American Jews yet again voted in overwhelming numbers to send Barack Obama to the White House. Polls show there’s more room than ever for Obama to take a strong stand on U.S. aid, and on settlements. If President Obama goes there, we’ll be ready to back him up. The Israel Lobby just doesn’t represent most American Jews—they represent the increasingly right-wing interests of an Israeli government seemingly bent on self-destruction.”

US Campaign is a national coalition of nearly 400 organizations working to end U.S. support for Israel’s 45-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, and to change U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians to support human rights, international law and equality.

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Inaugural ad Published in Roll Call Jan.22, 2013

About US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 33 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. MRW says:

    Way to go. The Inaugural edition and the day of the Israeli elections. Hmmph.

  2. Boston says:

    Does not go nearly far enough.

    Israel should be receiving no aid from us, never mind several billion per year, no matter whether they choose to abide by international law or not.

    Foreign aid should go only to the most needy. Most people in the USA are far needier than the average (Jewish) Israeli.

    If anything, we should be demanding repayment of the tens and tens of billions of our tax dollars they have received over the past few decades.

    These groups are still far too ethnocentric. Their jewishness is far too important to them. Let’s go for being human beings first

    • American says:

      I agree the US should stop Isr aid period —but still this is good.
      It’s a step.

    • These groups are still far too ethnocentric.

      anyone can join either of these groups. i find this sentiment really offensive. as hostage pointed out end the occupation is not a jewish group, but even if it was, so what? or do you mean they are too ethnocentric by narrowing their focus on human rights for palestinians or israel’s crimes? go out and start your own group and get something done boston! no one’s stopping you. and after you do join the coalition:

      link to endtheoccupation.org

      The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is the largest and most diverse coalition working to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality.

      Nearly 400 groups and organizations- local, state, regional, and national- have signed on to the Campaign Call to Action, thereby committing to work for its principles and purpose collaboratively and in good faith with other Campaign groups.

      open the 400 link, scroll and find the nearest group near you. and if you go to their yearly conference you will definitely see it is diverse.

      • Boston says:

        My point is that these Jewish groups want the billions per year in aid to continue to the Jewish nation as long as that nation behaves in a certain way. There are people far more in need of that money than the Israelis. These Jewish groups are more concerned with the Jewish nation because they are so ethnocentric. They need to be more concerned about human beings and less about Jews. I am sorry if you find the truth “offensive”.

        • Hostage says:

          My point is that these Jewish groups want the billions per year in aid to continue to the Jewish nation as long as that nation behaves in a certain way.

          Once again, both of these groups paid for this ad that you are too busy to read and comprehend. The last paragraph calls for an unconditional end to military aid for Israel: “hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinians in our name by ending US military aid to Israel.”

          The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has been campaigning to end aid to Israel for years by pointing out all of the things Americans could do with the extra $30 billion. link to endtheoccupation.org
          Fund Community Needs, Not Israel’s Misdeeds!
          link to fundcommunityneeds.org

          I am sorry if you find the truth “offensive”.

          No I find your deliberate misrepresentation of the facts offensive. You obviously don’t know the first thing about either one of these organizations.

        • My point is that these Jewish groups

          i’m really not clear why you continue to reference end the occupation as a ‘jewish group’ when it clearly isn’t.

          hundreds of people attend their annual national organizers conference where they elect board members and vote on targeted campaigns..
          link to endtheoccupation.org

          they voted years ago to adopt the framing/messaging of apartheid. this was pre jimmy carter:
          link to endtheoccupation.org

          like bds, targetting caterpillar and veolia
          link to endtheoccupation.org
          link to endtheoccupation.org

          check out their interactive map, state by state how much we shovel at israel:

          link to aidtoisrael.org

          for example

          How to Interpret the Numbers. The amount of military aid to Israel is the estimated 10-year contribution from that state, Congressional district, county, or city. That same amount of money could fund instead each year one of the following programs for the number of people indicated: affordable housing vouchers for low-income families, green jobs training for unemployed workers, early reading programs for at-risk students, or primary health care for the uninsured.

          here’s my state calif, over 3 billion in ten years:

          3,479,880,300.96

          affordable housing vouchers: 42,254
          green jobs training for unemployed: 57,766
          early reading programs: 102,892
          primary health care for the uninsured: 2,818,173

          this is the kind of work end the occupation does. and they do it 24/7-365 days a year, moving into their 12th year.

        • Boston says:

          These groups wish to continue billions in aid per year to Israel if Israel behaves. Is this not true? I am quite sure it is. And I say that any aid should go to the most needy, not to those in the right ethno-group.

        • Boston says:

          Hostage. The JVP ad says “condition US aid to Israel…” Not end it. But tie it to Israeli behavior.

          I am pretty sure that not only can I read that, but also comprehend it’s meaning.

          Tis not me who is misinterpreting anything, deliberately or otherwise.

        • Hostage says:

          These groups wish to continue billions in aid per year to Israel if Israel behaves. Is this not true? I am quite sure it is.

          No it is not true. Here’s the relevant link to the U.S. Campaign’s webpage one more time. I’m pretty sure you are feigning ignorance at this point: link to fundcommunityneeds.org

          JVP does not condition its call for ending military aid on Israel obeying the international law of belligerent occupation, since it views the occupation itself as a non-defensive use of military assistance that violates the legal guidelines. So the JVP mission statement calls for an end to all military assistance until Israel ends the occupation and demands that the US government strictly obey its own laws on Non-proliferation and the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.
          link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

          Those guidelines preclude any foreign assistance to nations with nuclear weapons that have not placed them under the UN IAEA inspection regime.
          link to salsa.democracyinaction.org

        • Hostage says:

          condition US aid to Israel…” Not end it.

          We are asking that conditions set out in existing laws be enforced.

          I am pretty sure that not only can I read that, but also comprehend it’s meaning.

          Tis not me who is misinterpreting anything, deliberately or otherwise.

          There is nothing in the JVP mission statement which supports billions in aid for Israel if it behaves. All of our goals are directed at ending any such aid until and unless Israel complies with the laws that are in force today.

          When JVP calls for enforcement of international and US laws, that includes these elements from our platform that are based on International law and US Foreign and Military assistance laws: 1) an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; 2) a settlement of the refugee problem in accordance with international law and equity; 3) an end to violence against civilians; and 4) the right to democratic participation and equality within their societies, regardless of religion, ethnicity, culture, national origin, language, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or other status. link to jewishvoiceforpeace.org

          FYI, The terms of the Geneva Conventions would permit Israel to occupy the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem until hell freezes over while observing the terms of international law regarding a belligerent occupation. But JVP views the occupation as a non-defensive use of US military aid and calls for a total suspension until the occupation is brought to an end and Israel complies with all the provisions of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts. Those laws require that the arms only be employed for domestic defensive purposes and that recipients states respect fundamental human rights both at home and abroad.

        • Hostage says:

          These groups wish to continue billions in aid per year to Israel if Israel behaves. Is this not true? I am quite sure it is. And I say that any aid should go to the most needy, not to those in the right ethno-group.

          If you had checked the links that Annie gave you, you’d already know that many State and Local chapters of JVP are dues paying members in good standing of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation Coalition. How many of your dollars are funding websites which say we should be funding our own local communities here at home, instead of giving $30 billion to Israel? Here’s one I helped pay for and I’m a member of both JVP and the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation: link to fundcommunityneeds.org

          Once again, this advertisement is an effort to call attention to the fact that Congress is not enforcing the existing legal prohibitions and conditions that are on the statute books today. All of the statements in the advertisement are reminders that we already have an obligation to condition aid to Israel on compliance with those laws. We already have another campaign, Fund Community Needs which advocates changing the law to spend money earmarked for Israeli weapons right here at home.

        • Boston says:

          Hostage. I don’t understand why you continue to dispute my contention that the JVP wants US foreign aid to continue to Israel if they adhere to international laws. It says so right in their statement printed above. I know some people hate to admit they were wrong but this is getting a bit absurd. And I am of the opinion they should receive no aid in any event — they are far from the neediest people on the planet.

        • Mooser says:

          Thanks for the great links, Hostage.

        • Hostage says:

          Hostage. I don’t understand why you continue to dispute my contention that the JVP wants US foreign aid to continue to Israel if they adhere to international laws. It says so right in their statement printed above.

          No the existing laws that aren’t being enforced condition aid to Israel and other countries that way – on their good behavior or conduct.

          I’ve shown you that JVP National helps sponsor the “Fund Community Needs Not Israeli Misdeeds” website that actually calls for the $30 billion in aid be spent here at home instead of on Israeli weapons.

          The reason I keep pointing that fact out is because I’m a member of both these organizations and I’m familiar with our positions, whereas you are an ignorant troll drawing a false inference and misstating the facts.

      • Hostage says:

        These groups are still far too ethnocentric.

        anyone can join either of these groups

        The 2012 list of “dues paying” organizations that subscribe to the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation Coalition lists almost 200 groups that are mostly non-Jewish: link to endtheoccupation.org

        Nonetheless, the list includes: 28. Jewish Voice for Peace- Chicago; 100. Jewish Voice for Peace- Bay Area; 117. Jewish Voice for Peace- National; 140. Jewish Voice for Peace- DC Metro; and 147. Jewish Voice for Peace- University of Arizona

        We all help sustain the “Fund Community Needs Not Israeli Misdeeds” website which encourages the adoption of local, state, and national initiatives to assist low income families and to fund vocational, educational, and health programs here in the US instead of spending billions on weapons for Israel.

        The average taxpayer will give Israel $21.59 in weapons. But they can “Offset” those taxes by making a tax-deductible contribution to the sponsor of these websites, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation: link to fundcommunityneeds.org

    • Mooser says:

      “Does not go nearly far enough.”

      If that’s true, we is in deep, doo-doo, cause they go further than most anyone else ever has.

      “Their jewishness is far too important to them.”

      If their “jewishness” is important enough to them to participate in JVP, ETO and this project, I’d say it’s about as important to them as it should be.

    • sardelapasti says:

      “These groups are still far too ethnocentric. Their jewishness is far too important to them. Let’s go for being human beings first”
      They certainly are; no discussion about that. But how can it hurt to have the general public realize that their money is being handed over illegally?

  3. Hostage says:

    Does not go nearly far enough. Israel should be receiving no aid from us, never mind several billion per year, no matter whether they choose to abide by international law or not.

    I take it you didn’t read the last paragraph of the advertisement, i.e. “hold Israel accountable for killing Palestinians in our name by ending US military aid to Israel.

    These groups are still far too ethnocentric. Their jewishness is far too important to them. Let’s go for being human beings first

    The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is NOT a Jewish organization. FYI, many Jews are humans first (you a**hole).

  4. American says:

    “Their jewishness is far too important to them. Let’s go for being human beings first”

    I think Boston hasn’t been around MW quite long enough to know enough about groups like JVP and End I. O. and the magnificant Medea.
    If he’s been hanging around ‘certain’ lib zios or sites ( which I won’t mention lol) he might have come by his misconception honestly. Some of them do literally act as if there is no non Jewish opinion or right to an opinion on Israel. And of course the msm has mainly reinforced that by presenting us with mostly Jewish reps or commentators on Israel and I/P.
    So I wouldn’t jump on him too bad.

  5. just says:

    Great timing, great message! Thank you folks.

    (take that Pam Geller!)

  6. Denis says:

    80,000. Hmmm ….

    It’s a start, and that number would make for a pretty good rally. And I think it’s fair and hopeful to compare it to that obnoxious response by Harry Truman when he was asked why he was supporting Israel — he said he had a lot of Jewish supporters who helped put him in office and not a single Palestinian. And so it has gone ever since.

    But I’m still a bit disappointed. 80,0000 is, like, a piddling 0.06% of those who voted in 2012. Does that mean only 0.06% of American voters give a rat’s-whatever about America’s busted Israel policy, or does it mean the word needs to get out better before the next petition?

    Even the rabid gun-nutters like Ted Nugent were able to get 100,000 signatures on a White House online petition to send Piers Morgan back to England – and in less time than it took to bury all the kids at Newtown. And, without having any data, I would guess that there are easily 80,000 American Israeli supporters signing not just petitions supporting Bibi, but big checks to Israel, AIPAC, and US politicians as well.

    The member-list of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation lists 157 member organizations, including some very well known ones: Rachel Corrie Foundation, If Americans Knew, American Friends Service Committee. But 80,000 signatures is only 500 per organization.

    The only petition I can find on the WH online petition site when searching on “Israel” says “not [sic] veto Palestine’s application to become a member of the United Nations.” It got 11,154 signatures. But I think these petitions get taken down if they don’t reach a threshold; so, I don’t know it tells us we when find only one.

    But if a WH online petition to get the US out of Israel ever got 100,000 signatures, I’d bet it would make a mark on the blogosphere, if not the MSM.

    Remember what Arlo Gutherie said at the end of Alice’s Restaurant: “C’mon people, if ya’ wanna’ end war an’ shit, ya’ gotta’ sing out!!” Ditto apartheid.

    • 80,000. Hmmm ….is, like, a piddling 0.06% of those who voted in 2012. Does that mean only 0.06% of American voters give a rat’s-whatever about America’s busted Israel policy

      denis, it doesn’t mean what you are implying. there’s a price to be paid for publicly outing yourself as supporting equal rights on palestine. or advocating any kind of normal policy towards israel. we just saw that with hagel. here’s another example, and i assure you there are a lot more where this comes from.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      He does not say that he did sign the petition, but, as he might have argued, that once he became an administrator he recognized he had to play a different role, one that protects all political speech on campus, regardless of his own personal convictions, and thus that he chose to withdraw his signature. Instead, he declares that somehow his name appeared on the petition and that he asked for it to be removed.

      Even the rabid gun-nutters like Ted Nugent were able to get 100,000 signatures on a White House online petition to send Piers Morgan back to England

      sorry, being accused of anti semitism in this country is not the same as being accused of gun regulation. it’s doesn’t generally threaten your career.

      • American says:

        ”But I’m still a bit disappointed. 80,0000 is, like, a piddling 0.06%”

        I read something once about how to judge what petition numbers and similar things represent……can’t remember now where I saw it, but it was some actuarial formula that said something like one person signing some petition, just like the one person who goes to the trouble of actually calling his political reps office on something, represents a certain X -number of people who agree but don’t take any action on it. Something like one signer or caller represents 10 or 100 or 1000 other like minded….can’t remember what the numbers were.
        Would be interesting to find some study on that. When I have time I will look.

    • Denis says:

      @[a]nnie
      I think you over-state a valid concern. Yes, if one is a politician or other public figure and one’s income depends on the public’s impression/approval, then being labelled “anti-Semite” might be a disincentive to signing such a petition. But I did not see the point of this petition as being signed by 80,000 politicians. I thought the idea was: This is America talkin’ to ya’, dude.

      Those of us everyday stiffs who find Israeli apartheid disgusting — the ones who would be signing such a petition — either couldn’t care less at being called A-S for signing it or would consider it a badge of honor, depending on who’s doing the calling. If you could promise me that Foxman would call me an A-S if I signed that thing, I’d knock down walls with a pen in my hand to get to it.

      Believe me, my disappointment is not that there were 80,000 signatures, it’s that there weren’t 80 million.

      @American
      Yeah, I’ll bet the statisticians have developed interesting multiplier calculations for petitions. A petition is a type of poll, I guess, and could likely be treated like one statistically to judge the position of an entire population.

      But, given that >120 million American voted in 2012, if only 80,000 of them signed the petition, it would have to be a doozy of a multiplier to put a dent in the other 119,920,000. I’m just trying to quantify the job that has to be done.

      • if one is a politician or other public figure and one’s income depends on the public’s impression/approval, then being labelled “anti-Semite” might be a disincentive to signing such a petition.

        denis, the example i presented, 11 years ago when he signed the petition, was just a professor. this is not just about politicians and public figures. i think sullivan asked a few years ago how many journalists worked for mainstream publications who were not zionists.

        and alex recently covered the berkeley/calif state legislation issue and there were many statements from students saying they were reluctant to sign their names on statements by students for justice in palestine in fear it would hurt their chances for employment when they graduated. this was not limited to palestinians, muslims or jews.

        we had a little free local newspaper here with mostly local issues and ads, free stuff and job offers etc. and when they started publishing news about the gaza massacre and palestine the local stand with us people went to all the little stores that carried their newspapers and harassed them until they quit carrying the newspaper. in fact a few little grocery stores who refused to do so..they threatened to organize a boycott against them.

        one time when we were collecting signatures outside the local co-op, to put a referendum on the ballot for divestment of military aid to israel (and we had gotten permission from the market to set a table up) within hrs the managers were confronted by local zionists. by noon we were asked to leave. we talked to the managers who said they couldn’t afford to be blacklisted.

        the one example i gave you was one teacher. 12 years later it followed him til he lied about it to get it off his record. how many palestinian-americans didn’t sign that petition? or american muslims? do you think it’s because they don’t agree with it? for many, it’s a career ender. big corporations do internet checks on prospective hires. sometimes those corporations are run by zionists. it’s not just public figures. what about a lowly editor in LA, you think it may concern him?

        • Denis says:

          @[a]nnie
          If Americans can suffer these sorts of consequences for expressing themselves — and I am not doubting for a moment what you are saying — then we are in deep shit. The blacklisting comment is an exact echo of Truman’s position — i.e., I know what side my bread is buttered on, and it ain’t the Palestinian side, or even the side of what’s right. I point that out b/c it was Truman who put us in this situation.

          Most Americans do not follow MW and don’t know squat about what’s going on in Hebron. Although they are getting to the point they no longer guffaw at the accusation that Congress is on the take for Israel, most would never believe that any “normal, regular” American’s livelihood or career or business could be jeopardized by speaking out against apartheid in Israel, or anywhere in the world.

          Even after Olympia Food Co-op, a lot of us don’t quite see the whole dirty picture — not the one in Palestine, the one in the US. The noisy freaks like Gellar stand out; the quiet ones you’re talking about who threaten shop owners and students are scarier.

        • If Americans can suffer these sorts of consequences for expressing themselves — and I am not doubting for a moment what you are saying — then we are in deep shit.

          muslims and arabs are targeted and spied upon by the government, many of them. you better believe they think about expressing themselves. there are as many if not more arabs and muslims (combined) as there are jewish americans. where are they? so many of them blend. i met a palestinian american woman whose family never talked about it while she was growing up. she never talked about it til she was 30 years old. we live in a zionist climate, and until that changes (and i believe it’s changing) we will never know how many there are of us. but i know we’re in the millions. many millions.

        • Citizen says:

          If you want to see reality in America, go around any nice urban or suburban condo community door to door, and stick an End The Occupation filier or postcard there. You will get a reaction from those “quiet ones” as if they magically appeared out of thin air.

      • sardelapasti says:

        Denis
        “I’m just trying to quantify the job that has to be done.” The way you proceed here is to take as full as possible a history of petitions and list numbers of signatures against results obtained, and weigh the cases by the different factors that seem to govern ease of acceptance (collars for dogs easier than boycotting the Zionists…) This said, considering the effort and organization that goes into collecting signatures, verifying, etc., 80,000 is not bad at all.