WASHINGTON (AP) — Oregon’s Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley on Sunday became the 31st senator to announce support for the Iran nuclear deal, as momentum builds behind the agreement the Obama administration and other world powers negotiated with Tehran.
Merkley’s backing puts supporters within reach of the 34 votes required to uphold a presidential veto of a congressional resolution disapproving the agreement, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
I am honored to speak on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace, which stands in solidarity with the people of Iran, the people of the U.S., and people of conscience across our precious planet who yearn for our leaders to courageously move us towards peaceful relations with Iran and away from setting us on a path that, once on it, one simple miscalculation, might lead us inexorably toward war with Iran.
If you thought the Iraq war was a tragic disaster, get this:
Iran is a regional power with a strong military. It is three times as populous and geographically much larger than Iraq. So, multiply everything in the Iraq War by three to get a sense of the cost of a war against Iran:
Immediate cost: $3 trillion
Long term cost, including veteran care: at least 10 trillion dollars
US troops killed: over 15,000
US troops seriously wounded: over 100,000
Iranian dead: 3 million
Iranians displaced: 12-15 million!
Let’s be clear: the U.S. has long had Iran virtually encircled as a result of the American occupation of Afghanistan on Iran’s Eastern border, its invasion of Iraq on its Western border, its NATO ally Turkey hovering on Iran’s Northwestern border, some degree of military relationship with Turkmenistan on Iran’s Northeastern border, and multiple U.S. client states sitting right across the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, where the massive US 5th Fleet is stationed). Additionally, some combination of the U.S. and Israel has bombarded Iran with multiple acts of war in recent years, including explosions on Iranian soil, the murder of numerous Iranian nuclear scientists, and sophisticated cyber-attacks.
We, the undersigned organizations, commend Oregon’s U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer for asking House Speaker John Boehner to cancel an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Blumenauer has stated that if the speech is not cancelled, he will refuse to attend. We implore all the members of Congress from Oregon to follow his example.
Our objections to the Netanyahu invitation go beyond the fact that: a.) This invitation is a breach of protocol, b.) It is a stunt timed just prior to a very close Israeli election and c.) It is an attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to embarrass President Barack Obama.
The most serious objection to the invitation is that Netanyahu is attempting to scuttle negotiations between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program by urging Congress to impose additional sanctions on Iran. As Rep. Blumenauer states, the only solution in the best interests of all countries is a negotiated settlement. Why would Mr. Netanyahu be invited to thwart that effort? World leaders also recognize the danger of his address as interference with the diplomatic process and are also imploring that he not interfere.
Additional sanctions risk an end to the diplomatic path and an increase in tensions between our country and Iran that may lead to war. As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is under routine inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has never documented any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Iran has called for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapons-free zone. In contrast, Israel has never signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and is known to possess nuclear weapons.
Inviting Netanyahu to address Congress is also reprehensible in view of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza this past summer. Three respected human rights organizations—Amnesty International and the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights—have issued reports finding Israel guilty of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians during its 51-day bombardment. Under Netanyahu’s government, Israel has continued unfettered settlement expansion and land confiscation, making a viable Palestinian state impossible. It continues to imprison Palestinians by using administrative detention laws that lack due process. It is unconscionable to invite a leader with such a dismal human rights record to address the U.S. Congress.
In short, Netanyahu’s speech is not in the best interests of the United States or of world peace. We, the undersigned, urge you to boycott the speech and speak out in opposition to any leader of a foreign nation seeking to intervene in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
Americans United for Palestinian
Human Rights, Corvallis/Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Friends of Sabeel North America, Individuals for Justice, Jewish
Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Lutherans
for Justice in the Holy Land, Mission of the Atonement Holy Land Ministry, Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Oregon
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Tree of Life Educational Fund-
West Coast, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis chapter), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and Linus Pauling Chapter.
Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have launched a statement expressing their solidarity and commitment to ensuring justice for Palestinians. Signatories to the statement span a wide cross-section of Black activists and scholars, including Angela Davis, Boots Riley, Cornel West, dream hampton, Emory Douglas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pam Africa, Patrisse Cullors, Phil Hutchings, Ramona Africa, Robin DG Kelley, Rosa Clemente, Talib Kweli, and Tef Poe. 38 organizations signed on, including The Dream Defenders, Hands Up United, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Organization for Black Struggle.
Israel's Military Intelligence monitoring dozens of BDS groups around the world
While the IDF is responsible for foreign groups, local groups supporting BDS are monitored by the Shin Bet.
The Israel Defense Forces routinely gathers information on foreign, left-wing organizations that it believes are working to delegitimize the State of Israel, Haaretz has learned.
Read more on Haaretz
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