Congress flooded with letters urging members to #SkipTheSpeech of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

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The following press release was issued today by the US  Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

Today, a coalition of civil society and human rights organizations delivered the names of thousands of constituents who sent letters and signed petitions to their members of Congress calling on them to #SkipTheSpeech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3.

Constituent letters and petitions were delivered to 75 members of Congress who have either pledged to skip Netanyahu’s speech or have expressed hesitation about attending. In total, more than 37,000 people have sent more than 110,000 letters to members of Congress. An additional 20,000 people have signed a petition calling on members not to attend. (Photos of the petition deliveries can be viewed here.)

More than 30 members of Congress have already publicly or privately committed to #SkipTheSpeech, with additional Representatives and Senators expected to do so this week. Those who have already pledged not to attend include members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including its leader, Representative G.K. Butterfield, and Representative John Lewis, one of the heroes of the US Civil Rights Movement. The #SkipTheSpeech campaign is being organized by Roots ActionUS Campaign to End the Israeli OccupationJewish Voice for PeaceCode Pink and American Muslims for Palestine.

Josh Ruebner, of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, stated: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress has opened a huge political rift between the Obama administration and Democratic members of Congress on the one hand, and Republicans in Congress on the other. Our campaign is designed to provide grassroots political backing for the more than 30 members of Congress already pledging not to attend and to embolden others to follow their lead. As the head of a government engaged in serious human rights abuses and war crimes, including last summer’s attack on Gaza, Netanyahu should never have been honored with an invitation to address Congress in the first place.”

“A growing constituency of American Jews oppose Israeli policies led by Netanyahu that entrench the occupation and oppress Palestinians,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “The 2013 Pew study of Jewish Americans and a poll during the war on Gaza in 2014 demonstrate growing criticism for Israeli policy among young people and Democrats. It’s time for our elected officials to follow their lead.”

“With the politicization of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech and the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans over Boehner’s invitation to the foreign leader, there is no more appropriate time to confront Congress on US foreign policy, the influence of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, and again highlight the brutal military occupation of Palestine,” said CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski.

“It is outrageous that the head of a foreign state is interfering in US foreign policy by trying to thwart diplomatic talks with Iran and push the US into war,” said Kristin Szremski of American Muslims for Palestine. “This shows that Israel is not a true friend or ally of ours.”

David Swanson, of Roots Action, stated: “Netanyahu’s failure to cancel this speech looks like the same obtuseness that has led him to continue misrepresenting an Iranian threat and urging his nation and this one closer to war. When Congress members hear Netanyahu say ‘there’s no one on the other side we can negotiate with’ they should remember that he puts them in the same category of people unworthy of any respect or compromise.”

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26 Responses

  1. Marnie
    February 23, 2015, 4:21 pm

    “It is outrageous that the head of a foreign state is interfering in US foreign policy by trying to thwart diplomatic talks with Iran and push the US into war,” said Kristin Szremski of American Muslims for Palestine. “This shows that Israel is not a true friend or ally of ours.”

    It certainly is outrageous and Israel is a friend/ally to no one – SKIP THE SPEECH! Or – here’s an idea – when he comes knocking on the door – don’t answer it!

    • Annie Robbins
      February 23, 2015, 7:23 pm

      and the recent CNN poll still said 63% of american didn’t think netanyahu should have been invited to make the speech and 66% of americans said they were “neutral” on the i/p conflict.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/americans-netanyahu-herzog

      The nationwide poll, released Tuesday, shows 63% of Americans say it was a bad move for congressional leadership to extend the invitation without giving President Barack Obama a heads up that it was coming. Only 33% say it was the right thing to do. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/americans-netanyahu-herzog#sthash.xx4rLFvi.dpuf
      ….
      But Americans overall believe the U.S. should stay out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with 66% in the new poll advocating the U.S. remain neutral. Of those who do support picking a side, the majority, 29%, back Israel, while only 2% support Palestine…

      And a significant age gap suggests U.S. sentiment may, in the long term, be moving further in favor of neutrality in the conflict. While 56% of those age 50 or older believe the U.S. should stay out of the Israeli-Palestinian fight, that number skyrockets to 75% of Americans under age 50.

    • Krauss
      February 24, 2015, 12:39 am

      Herb, that is largely because there has been a massive surge among white Republicans in the last 15 years or so.

      If you look at other polls, like one that CNN did some time ago, you find that young liberals, especially non-white liberals, are far less enthusiastic about the state. But it will take decades until that change truly becomes felt in the country, even if we can see it on the campus already.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 24, 2015, 7:45 am

        there has been a massive surge among white Republicans in the last 15 years or so.

        source?

    • Mooser
      February 25, 2015, 6:30 pm

      “New Gallup Poll : Seven in 10 Americans Continue to View Israel Favorably”

      Herb, my faith in your ability to change that is boundless. I bet you will succeed beyond my direst expectations.

    • pjdude
      February 25, 2015, 11:37 pm

      polls say what they don’t say why? and the why is they have been fed inaccurate biased information to engender a positive viewpoint. with out the pro israel propaganda those numbers would crash

  2. Bandolero
    February 23, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Sorry for being off-topic here, but I think this story important and would make a pretty topic for a full Mondo Weiss article:

    BBC Won’t Punish Reporter Accused of Anti-Semitism

    BBC says Tim Wilcox didn’t ‘breach editorial standards’ by telling Jewish woman that ‘Palestinians suffer at Jewish hands.’

    Source:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191733

    It looks to me pretty much like a strong indicator of a sea change in Britain.

    • just
      February 23, 2015, 6:43 pm

      whoops! Anyone else feel the earth move?

      Thanks, Bandolero!

      Now, many thanks to all involved with #SkipTheSpeech:

      “Roots Action, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink and American Muslims for Palestine.”!

      I’ve been bugging my own Senators and Reps… a lot.

      I wish we could influence them not to attend AIPAC as well. Hopefully, that day will ‘soon come’.

      • just
        February 23, 2015, 6:57 pm

        Last stanza:

        “Everyone is fighting for equal rights and justice
        Palestinians are fighting for equal rights and justice
        Down in Angola, equal rights and justice
        Down in Botswana, equal rights and justice
        Down in Zimbabwe, equal rights and justice
        Down in Rhodesia, equal rights and justice”

        PS~ I hope that Reverend Shipman and Yale read the news about the BBC’s decision. Professor Salaita and UIUC, too.

      • gamal
        February 24, 2015, 6:24 am

        and eventually “Jah send me fi purge” in 2013 Here Come Trouble

        http://youtu.be/JZLqoYI1I_c

    • Kay24
      February 23, 2015, 10:42 pm

      Wonderful. Time others too sifted through the BS and refused to go along with this false anti-semitism outrage, that mostly is to silence criticism of Israel.

      Time they realized that accusation is losing it’s mileage.

  3. just
    February 23, 2015, 7:23 pm

    merde!

    “REUTERS – Two senior U.S. Senate Democrats invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators during his upcoming visit to Washington, amid tensions over his plans to address the U.S. Congress on Iran’s nuclear program.

    Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein extended the invitation “to maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress,” according to a letter to the Israeli leader obtained by Reuters.

    Feinstein previously told Haaretz that inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress during an Israeli election period is “highly inappropriate” and that imposing new sanctions on Iran at this time is “reckless and dangerous.””

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.643929

    Still licking the boot.

    • Kay24
      February 23, 2015, 10:44 pm

      Predictable. They should have ignored the lying PM totally during this self invited visit.

      They owe their President that much.

    • Marnie
      February 24, 2015, 7:41 am

      If that’s the case, they’re no better than Boehner for inviting him. They’ve had plenty of time to draft and send a scathing letter to Net’N’Yahoo regarding the inappropriateness of his trip and his attempt to school President Obama on Iran. They aren’t doing any good having a secret meeting with Net’N’Yahoo and I suspect they’re just attempting to keep on the good side of or curry favor with the puppet master Adelson. Shameful bunch of scabs.

    • SonofDaffyDuck
      February 24, 2015, 8:49 am

      Somehow I find the urge of Finestein, Dubin and other Democratic boot-lickers to somehow sanctify the Bibi visit almost more disgusting than the Boehner invitation. Their overwhelming need to protect their AIPAC donations by finding a venue to pledge their fealty, yet still appear faithful to their president creates a gap of hypocrisy that cannot be bridged.
      Wrong can be made right, but there is nothing to do for hypocrisy.
      At least the Repubs are straight forward: destroy Obama, even if it brings us closer to yet another war.

      I hear the echos of a New Anthem derived from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town, in which “Santa Claus” is replaced by” Netanhayu.”
      Finestein and Durbin hear it….
      …He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be Good for goodness sake!!

      • Annie Robbins
        February 24, 2015, 1:18 pm

        Somehow I find the urge of Finestein, Dubin and other Democratic boot-lickers to somehow sanctify the Bibi visit almost more disgusting than the Boehner invitation.

        me too, for sure. to issue press released denouncing the invite and scold republicans (like minority leader pelosi did) and then turn around and say, in almost the same breath..but i won’t boycott the speech…or i’ll probably go, or even i’m not sure what i’m doing…is cowardly and just code for “i gotta go for that money gys, you know i’m owned and securing my job means more that representing my constituents.” or , if “you want to know who i represent – for follow the money.”

      • just
        February 24, 2015, 1:34 pm

        It IS worse. If they think that this is going unnoticed, they are sorely mistaken.

        Coffers for more coffins keeps running through my mind….

  4. Lucas
    February 23, 2015, 8:17 pm

    Without consultation with President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has invited Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. In a dereliction of protocol, Mr. Boehner consulted with Ron Dermer, the Israel Ambassador to the United States, over the White House or the State Department. Mr. Boehner offered a significant forum to a foreign nation’s leader to criticize our President’s foreign policy and Mr. Netanyahu readily accepted this ill-advised invitation.

    My family and I view the actions by President Obama and his team on a multilateral nuclear accord with Iran as an appropriate use of a strong and effective US diplomacy. We trust in President Obama’s strategic and policy objectives. On the basis of years of general observation, reading and discussion, we have some healthy skepticism about Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s veracity and assessments. At a key point of our nation’s negotiations of the multilateral nuclear accord, which negotiations will likely have a significant outcome, it is bizarre to invite a foreign leader to speak before the United States Congress to argue for his nation’s interests and preferences and to inveigh against our nation’s effective foreign policy. This situation is disgusting, problematic as precedent, and contrary to our national interest.

    My family and I ask you to not attend the speech by the Israel Prime Minister. This is very important to us.

  5. Rusty Pipes
    February 23, 2015, 10:07 pm

    Is there a link to the names of the Reps who have publicly committed to skipping the speech? How about a list of Reps who will be binge-watching a season of House of Cards that day?

  6. Kathleen
    February 23, 2015, 10:55 pm

    Keep contacting Reps. Share this post on fb etc

  7. Chu
    February 24, 2015, 11:39 am

    ‘More than 30 members of Congress have already publicly or privately committed to #SkipTheSpeech’

    how heroic…

    Between the house and senate members there’s only about
    500 more remaining to convince not to go.

    Prime Minister Obama should offer a rebuttal to Viceroy Netanyahu’s appearance. That
    would be one way to stand the ground of the President of the United States. The beltway politicians don’t see how obviously craven they are behaving, because the are way too inside the bubble of Washington, but the rest of the world will see it as an unprecedented performance of the ungrateful beggar nation at our door who we should have told too piss off decades ago.

    Do you think oneday they will stop bilking us and walk on their own damn feet to independence? Are we the nanny state for Israel? Seems like it will never end and it probably won’t.

  8. just
    February 24, 2015, 5:36 pm

    “ADL calls for bipartisan support on Netanyahu’s Congress speech

    Despite PM’s ‘ill-advised’ decision regarding the invite, U.S. lawmakers must come together with Israel’s security – and Iran’s nuclear program – in mind, says ADL’s Foxman.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.644096?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Go jump in a lake, Foxman!!!

    • Kay24
      February 25, 2015, 12:02 am

      Yes, it certainly sounds like Foxman can call the shots and dictate to Congress how they must respond to a speech by an alien leader, who has invited himself, like a gate crasher, into congress, ignoring the President, and the fact that the WH was kept in the dark about it.

      If Foxman were a true American, he would be outraged at the insult the President of his nation has had to experience, because of that alien leaders arrogant political actions, and the fact that this alien leader is trying to derail important talks with a country that said alien leader claims has nuclear weapons. Foxman sides with the foreign warmonger, and not his own President who wants peace. Foxman should take a leap into the Dead sea.

  9. peacenotapartheid
    February 24, 2015, 7:25 pm

    “The Appalling Talk of Boycotting Netanyahu” – Dershowitz OpEd in yesterday’s WSJ (via http://bit.ly/1ag1Aas). The letters and calls must be having an impact.

  10. Marnie
    February 25, 2015, 2:56 am

    WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined on Tuesday an invitation to meet with U.S. Senate Democrats during his trip to Washington next week.

    “Though I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe that doing so at this time could compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter to Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein obtained by Reuters.

    Durbin and Feinstein, two senior Senate Democrats, invited Netanyahu to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators in a letter on Monday, warning that making U.S.-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have “lasting repercussions.”

    Oh this is hysterical – Net’N’Yahoo declines on concerns about “misperception of partisanship”. You’d think that logic would have kept him from accepting Boehner’s invitation in the first place.

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