Palestine Solidarity Vigil in Augusta
UPDATE 7/25/2014: The CSRA Peace Alliance hosted a vigil to request the end of the US support of Israel’s latest attacks on Palestinians in Gaza at the intersection of 15th St and Walton Way from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
Briefing on Israel's Violence Against Palestinian Civilians
The staggering death toll from Israel's attacks on Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip has surpassed 800 people, the vast majority of whom are civilians. In the last three weeks, our Members of Congress have passed numerous resolutions by unanimous consent, without debate or recorded votes, backing Israel's massacres.
Now Congress has introduced H. Con. Res. 107 condemning the use of human shields by Hamas. The resolution of course fails to mention Israel's well-documented use of Palestinians as human shields. The Israeli military has used Palestinian children to open bags it believed to be bomb-laden, held children in front of soldiers to prevent youth from throwing rocks, and forced children to enter homes believed to be rigged with explosives.
We urgently need our Members of Congress and their staff to learn the truth about the brutality, human rights violations, and war crimes that Israel commits with our weapons, funding, and support.
That is why we are hosting an urgent briefing on Capitol Hill next Friday, August 1st, with:
Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teenager who was brutally beaten by Israeli police earlier this month;
Suha Abu Khdeir, mother of Tariq who was present in Jerusalem when he was assaulted and fought for her son's release from Israeli jail;
Laila El-Haddad, author of Gaza Mom and former Al-Jazeera reporter;
Hassan Shibly, attorney and Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Florida;
Brad Parker, International Advocacy Officer at Defence for Children International - Palestine, whose organization has extensively documented Israel's killings and torture of Palestinian children;
Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director for Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA.
Please take a few minutes to write and call your Members of Congress and ask each office to send a lawmaker, Legislative Director, or Foreign Policy Aide to this important briefing.
Between September 2000 and April 2013, the Israeli military killed 1,518 children. As one report described it: "That's the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by Israel every 3 days for almost 13 years."
Israel's routine and deadly violence against Palestinian children and civilians is in flagrant violation of U.S. laws, so why does Congress fail to hold it accountable to these laws and instead give it more than $3.1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons each year?
That's one of the question we are going to be asking at our upcoming Congressional briefing we're hosting. But we need you to make sure your lawmakers’ staff are there for it. Will you contact your Congressional offices today and ask them to send a staff member?
Here are just a few cases from this year, some of which our panelists will be discussing, that illustrate the utter lack of accountability-for Israel's killing-of-civilians.
On February 13th, Ibrahim Mansour was shot in the head and killed by the Israeli military. Ibrahim was collecting gravel on the eastern edge of the Gaza Strip to help support his family. The Israeli government claimed the killing was justified, but no evidence of any wrongdoing was presented.
On March 19th, a 14-year-old boy, Yousef al-Shawamrah, was shot in the back and killed by the Israeli military. Yousef and his friends were collecting thistle on land owned by his family. The Israeli military recently concluded its "investigation" and absolved the soldiers of any wrongdoing in the killing.
On May 15th, two Palestinian teenagers, Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Salameh, were shot and killed by the Israeli military while leaving a Nakba Day demonstration. A medic trying to attend to the kids was also shot in the head. Video evidence shows the boys posed no threat whatsoever at the time; the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the military acted "as appropriate."
We can't let the Israel continue to get away with the murder of Ibrahim, Yousef, Nadim, Muhammad, and so many other Palestinians being killed right now in the Gaza Strip.
Please write and call your Congressional offices today and ask them to send a staff member to the Congressional briefing on August 1st.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss
Sen. Johnny Isakson
If staff would like to RSVP or if they have questions, please ask them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
And help us press for accountability by meeting with your Members of Congress during the upcoming August Congressional recess. Contact us here to get started.
Mike Coogan, Legislative Coordinator
You Give me Hope
It's been a wrenching week. The desperate situation in Gaza - and throughout Israel and Palestine - is clearly escalating even further. I know there is talk of a ceasefire proposal from the US, but that seems, at best, an unlikely source of actual resolution.
It all feels like we're in a situation that is both shockingly uncharted, but also horrifyingly familiar.
The latest reports show over 815 dead in Gaza. My Jewish-Israeli friends in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem say that a true fascist mob mentality is settling in to Israeli society, beyond what they've ever experienced. And in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Palestinians marched for freedom last night - the largest political demonstration since the 1980s.
This is when I need the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) community the most. JVP is rooted, of course, in values inspired by Jewish tradition. But it is more than that. JVP is is rooted in the values we share with our allies and partners. With the values that are shining from Palestine, even amidst the horrific violence.
We value equality - for all people, under all circumstances.
We value justice - which is more than the false choice between Gaza being imprisoned or invaded.
We value courage - to speak out, to give voice, to shed light.
As you've likely seen, JVP chapters and members around the country are doing amazing work to put those values into action. In Boston, JVP led a 2,000 person demonstration Wednesday - and focused the attention of every major Boston news source on the rising death toll in Gaza.
And in Washington D.C., our chapter's collaboration with CodePink dramatically interrupted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer's keynote address at the far-right CUFI Conference.
As our values have taught us, we refuse to be silent. We refuse to allow racism and cruelty to go unchecked. We refuse to erase those who have been killed. We refuse to watch from the sidelines. We refuse to stop until the violence, and the occupation, end. We refuse to be lose hope.
Grace Paley z"l, the Jewish activist and author, once said: "the only recognizable feature of hope, is action." I've heard her words ring loudly in my ears these past few weeks. I am committed to doing everything I can to stop this bloodshed once and for all. And I want you - I need you - with me.
The millions around the world standing with Gaza give me hope. You give me hope.
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Jewish Voice for Peace
Petition to Barrow
AUGUSTA, GA (PR) 7/24/2014 - Residents
of Augusta delivered petitions signed by constituents urging Representative John Barrow to act to end the Gaza war and lift the economic blockade of Gaza.
The event in Augusta is part of a national day of action being organized by Just Foreign Policy, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink and the Central Savannah River Area Peace Alliance.
Similar petition deliveries and other actions against the war and blockade will take place across the country; a list of petition deliveries is here:
National Day of Action for Gaza Congressional Office Visit Events
The petition being delivered, which currently has more than 13,000 signers nationally, is here:
Other actions are listed here:
Local residents urged Representative John Barrow to press for ending the war and lifting the economic blockade of Gaza.
A local organizer for the event, David Matos, said, “We call for the Obama Administration and Congress to use all means at their disposal to end the war and lift the economic blockade in Gaza.”
“Money talks,” said another member of the CSRA Peace Alliance. “As soon as the U.S. government order no U.S. flights to Israel and stop the billions of tax dollars sent to ‘aid’ the world all conflicts will stop substantially in the Middle East, Central Africa and Central America,” the constituent of Barrow stated.
John Barrow (D-Ga.) is the only remaining white Democrat in the House of Representatives (12th District) from the Deep South.
Republican Rick W. Allen is challenging Barrow in November 2014. Republicans, who are burning for a rematch with Barrow after the Democrat beat the odds in 2012 and won a re-election race he was supposed to lose, with the help of powerful Republicans from Augusta.
Barrow has been a top target of the national Republican Party since he first won office in 2004. The GOP had its best chance two years ago after Barrow's district was redrawn to carve out Savannah, the congressman's home and a critical chunk of his Democratic base.
Barrow moved to Augusta and spent $2.8 million running as a maverick who defies party labels. He won with 54 percent of the vote. But this year he won’t count with many of the Republicans who helped him in 2012, according to some political operatives.
The organizers of the event at Barrow's office are expecting a public response from the Representative in the next days.
There have been so many demonstrations in support of Palestinians worldwide already, and the hope is that getting people to all do something on one day will highlight the breadth of the movement for Palestinians rights and send a clear message that there needs to be an end to Israel's impunity.
On Sunday, 25 members of the Abu Jame' family were killed when Israel bombed their four-story building just as they were gathering for iftar, the meal that breaks Ramadan fasting for the day. Israel has killed more than 600 Palestinians since July 8.
While the U.S. continues to defend and fund Israel's assault, we must amp up our organizing to end all U.S. support for Israeli occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.
Congress and the State Department are getting many more calls from those supportive of Israel's assault than those opposed. CNN is reporting support in the U.S. for Israel's operation is at 57% with 34% opposed.
Protest at your local Congressional office and press them about why they are supporting Israel's attacks.
Hold a rally or vigil in a visible public space and invite local news media. Commemorate the dead by reading their names.
Organize a letter writing campaign to media about their Gaza coverage.
Do direct action to reflect the urgency of the situation and attract media attention.
Strengthen your local BDS campaigns (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and join 100 international figures calling for a military embargo on Israel.
RSVP on Facebook to see what other actions you can take, and find resources at endtheoccupation.org/gazaunderattack.
-US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
PS- Two new academic associations- Critical Ethnic Studies Association and African Literature Association- have passed resolutions endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. If you are an academic worker, the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) is encouraging you to join this substantive list of endorsers from U.S. universities and colleges- especially as Israeli academic institutions create the weapons and technologies being used on Palestinians in Gaza right now.
Palestinian artists have also issued a call in solidarity with Gaza and several famous artists have come out in support of Palestine. If you are a cultural worker, add your voice in support of Palestinian cultural workers by signing this statement.
PPS-- Although this letter is far from perfect, please thank the Members of Congress who signed and encourage them to go farther in the future. Urge them to address the role of U.S. weapons and general lack of accountability for Israel's human rights violations.
—> The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 47-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.
—> Edited by Anibal Ibarra