Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights

An Open Letter to Oregon's Congressional Delegation: Follow the leadership of Rep. Blumenauer and boycott Netanyahu's speech

Written by Webmaster   
Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:31


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.


Signed:


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.

 
 

An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

Written by Webmaster   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 14:49

Dear Senator Wyden,

We, the undersigned organizations, represent Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular residents of the state of Oregon who are struggling for peace in the Middle East through justice for Palestinians who have been denied equal rights and the right to self-determination for far too long.

In a recent letter to constituents, you stated that you are both "pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian." Unfortunately, your record shows that you are neither.

 For Israelis who hope for peace, you have nothing to offer but the status quo, which you back unequivocally every year by voting for $3 billion in military aid to the Israeli government, ensuring that it will continue its policies of settlement expansion, colonization, and authoritarian military rule over millions of Palestinians. You back the most right-wing government in Israel's history, and you gave its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, 37 standing ovations when he recently addressed Congress. He thanked you by openly supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

For Palestinians who hope for justice, you are silent in the face of Israeli massacres that have killed hundreds of children and thousands of civilians in attacks that even an American general has called "absolutely disproportionate," a violation of the Geneva Conventions. You are silent in the face of an apartheid legal system and an apartheid system of roads, housing, and water rights in the West Bank. You are silent about the more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians who make up 20 percent of Israel's population. And you say nothing about the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, even though this right is guaranteed by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Senator Wyden, you say you oppose the influence of Big Money in our elections, but you dutifully support every resolution proposed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has a donor network that rivals Wall Street and the National Rifle Association. AIPAC supports every action of the Israeli government. It pushed for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and it promotes an aggressive military approach toward Iran. It is a racist, militarist lobby that opposes fundamental human rights for Palestinians simply because they are not Jewish. AIPAC does not speak for the Jewish community. Read more: An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

 

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

Written by Max Blumenthal   
Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:38

On October 1st, New York Times bestselling author and journalist Max Blumenthal released his latest book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. To purchase the book, click here.


Goliath, according to Adam Hochschild, is "brash, gritty, personal and close to the ground...a report from an Israel and a Palestine we seldom see in the mainstream media." Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. The book is already receiving significant attention and has been positively reviewed by Kirkus Reviews: "A rich, roiling examination of 'the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis' ... Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter." 

In an article for Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar — a former chief political columnist and editorial writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, where he worked for 35 years — writes,

Unlike most Jews — American or Israeli — Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal's greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the 'peace process' and diplomatic salons. 

Read more: Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

 
   

Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Written by Josh Ruebner   
Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:32


Hard-hitting critique of the Obama administration's failure in the Middle East, by a leading DC-based advocate
President Barack Obama's first trip abroad in his second term took him to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, where he despondently admitted to those waiting for words of encouragement, “It is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.” Contrast this gloomy assessment with Obama’s optimism on the second day of his first term, when he appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace, boldly asserting that his administration would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” How is it that Obama’s active and aggressive search for progress has become mired in the status quo? Writer and political analyst Josh Ruebner charts Obama’s journey from optimism to frustration in the first hard-hitting investigation into why the president failed to make any progress on this critical issue, and how his unwillingness to challenge the Israel lobby has shattered hopes for peace.

Written in a clear and accessible style by the advocacy director of a national peace organization and former Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service, Shattered Hopes offers an informed history of the Obama administration’s policies and maps out a true path forward for the United States to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.


 

Israeli columnist calls for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

Written by Gideon Levy   
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:39

Anyone who really fears for the future of the country needs to be in favor at this point of boycotting it economically.

A contradiction in terms? We have considered the alternatives. A boycott is the least of all evils, and it could produce historic benefits. It is the least violent of the options and the one least likely to result in bloodshed. It would be painful like the others, but the others would be worse.

On the assumption that the current status quo cannot continue forever, it is the most reasonable option to convince Israel to change. Its effectiveness has already been proven. More and more Israelis have become concerned recently about the threat of the boycott. When Justice Minister Tzipi Livni warns about it spreading and calls as a result for the diplomatic deadlock to be broken, she provides proof of the need for a boycott. She and others are therefore joining the boycott, divestment and sanction movement. Welcome to the club.

The change won’t come from within. That has been clear for a long time. As long as Israelis don’t pay a price for the occupation, or at least don’t make the connection between cause and effect, they have no incentive to bring it to an end. And why should the average resident of Tel Aviv be bothered by what is happening in the West Bank city of Jenin or Rafah in the Gaza Strip? Those places are far away and not particularly interesting. As long as the arrogance and self-victimization continue among the Chosen People, the most chosen in the world, always the only victim, the world’s explicit stance won’t change a thing. Read more: Israeli columnist calls for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

 
   

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