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Home arrow Blog arrow August 2011 arrow August 20, 2011: Candidate in Solidarity with US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

August 20, 2011: Candidate in Solidarity with US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
August 20, 2011: Candidate in Solidarity with US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation



Hold Israel accountable with Leahy law

 

By Josh Ruebner, national advocacy director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation - 08/17/11 11:52 AM ET

 

 

 

Apologists for Israeli occupation and apartheid claim that advocates for holding Israel accountable for its human rights abuses of Palestinians are “singling Israel out for extra scrutiny” or “holding Israel to a higher standard than other countries.” 

Yet, ironically, Israel’s supporters also claim that U.S. military aid to Israel is sacrosanct and, unlike every other governmental program on the chopping block these days, cannot be questioned due to the “special U.S.-Israeli relationship." Dan Carle, a spokesperson for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), has noted correctly that you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

 

 

 

In response to an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz suggesting that the Vermont Senator will attempt to apply sanctions to certain units of the Israeli military for human rights violations, Carle explained that “the [Leahy] law applies to U.S. aid to foreign security forces around the globe and is intended to be applied consistently across the spectrum of U.S. military aid abroad. Under the law the State Department is responsible for evaluations and enforcement decisions and over the years Senator Leahy has pressed for faithful and consistent application of the law.”

 

 

 

The possibility of Senator Leahy consistently applying this eponymous legislation and holding Israel to the exact same standard as every other country has Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose office may have leaked the story in an effort to kill the initiative, in a tizzy.  

The “Leahy Law,” as it is commonly known, prohibits the United States from providing any weapons or training to “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights.” In the past, this law has been invoked to curtail military aid to countries as diverse as Indonesia, Colombia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Along with other provisions in the Foreign Assistance Act, of which it is a part, and the Arms Export Control Act, it forms the basis of an across-the-board policy that is supposed to ensure that U.S. assistance does not contribute to human rights abuses.

Ha’aretz reports that the Senator is looking to invoke this prohibition regarding “Israel Navy's Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force's Shaldag unit.” The inclusion of specific units in the story may indicate that Leahy already has findings from the Secretary of State that these Israeli military units have committed human rights abuses.

If so, then this could be a much-overdue watershed in holding accountable Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, for its gross misuse of U.S. weapons to commit systematic human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s illegal 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. During the last decade, on at least five occasions, Members of Congress have requested the State Department to investigate Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons; to date, the State Department has failed to notify publicly the Congress about any such violation. The State Department also has refused to disclose documents related to these investigations in response to a long-standing Freedom of Information Act request filed by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

It is time to end Israel’s impunity and hold up to the light of day the devastating impact that U.S. weapons transfers have on Palestinian civilians.  From 2000 to 2009, according to research conducted by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and published at www.weaponstoisrael.org, the United States appropriated more than $24 billion in taxpayer-funded weapons for Israel. With this munificence, the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered to Israel more than 670 million weapons and pieces of related military equipment. In just three years (2007-2009), the United States gave Israel more than 47 million pieces of ammunition, or enough bullets to kill every Palestinian living under Israeli military occupation more than 10 times over.

Tragically, the prospect of Israel misusing these U.S. weapons to kill Palestinian civilians has been borne out too frequently. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, from September 2000-December 2009, the Israeli military killed 2,969 Palestinians who took no part in hostilities, including 1,128 children. One such child, 10-year-old Abir Aramin, was killed by a rubber bullet, possibly supplied by the United States, which was shot into the back of her head when she was walking home from school.


 
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For the sake of Abir and all Palestinians who are maimed, killed, or whose homes, farms, and infrastructure are wantonly destroyed in the course of Israel’s brutal military occupation, the United States must end taxpayer-funded weapons transfers to Israel and hold it accountable, just like every other country, for its violations of the law.  To do anything less would be to unfairly hold Israel to a different standard.
 
Josh Ruebner is the national advocacy director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of 375 organizations working to change U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality. He is a former analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service.  


 

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/177199-hold-israel-accountable-with-leahy-law

 

 



May 25, 2011: Out of the Belly of AIPAC and Why I am too RED to be Pink! 

Palestinian Loff of Land 1946 - 2011 

 

THE BACK OF MY POSTCARD WITH THIS MAP STATES:









 


 

Take Action:
Four Ways to Express Your Outrage


 

by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
August 9th, 2011

 

UPDATE -- Thursday, August 18:
Please go here to send an email to the Office of Congressional Ethics, asking it to investigate the AIPAC trips.

 

Last week, the President and Congress narrowly avoided an unprecedented default on the U.S. debt by agreeing at the 11th hour to raise the debt-ceiling. But S&P still downgraded the U.S. credit rating, pushing U.S. and global financial markets into a downfall.

Washington's deal does nothing to help Americans who are still suffering from massive cutbacks in social services, an unemployment rate stuck above 9% (over 16% among African-Americans), and an estimated 10 million families facing foreclosure on their homes by next year.

This August break is for Members of Congress to be at home, meeting with constituents to hear about our concerns. They should be listening to our anxiety about the economy and thinking through ways to dig us out of the financial mess they've created with their corporate giveaways, tax breaks for the wealthy and lax regulation of unscrupulous banks that are forcing people out of their homes with fraudulent mortgage documents.

They should hear our outrage about what the more than $1.2 trillion of our tax dollars are doing to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and to our troops they're sending over to fight wars without purpose.

Instead, 81 Representatives--nearly 20% of the House--are hightailing off to Israel on an all-expense-paid junket organized by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Israel's goal there is to lobby the Representatives to continue sending the Israeli military $30 billion of our tax money -- the amount pledged for these 10 years (2009-2018). That means sending money we won't have for jobs and healthcare to buy weapons for Israel to perpetuate its illegal military occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. 

It's time to "name and shame" these Members of Congress who put more weapons for Israel ahead of their own constituents' economic rights. We need you to take action today:

 

1. Call your Representative and ask if s/he is going (or has gone) to Israel this month on a trip paid by the AIPAC-affiliate American Israel Educational Foundation (AIEF).  If not, thank your Representative for not going. If so, politely express your outrage and urge your Representative to cancel the trip if s/he hasn't left yet. Look up contact information for your Representative here, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred. Let us know the result of your call so that we can keep a running list of who is going (only a few of the 81 names are public at this point).

2. Write a letter-to-the-editor of your local paper and call into a local radio talk show to express your outrage about how much money your Congressional district is scheduled to give in weapons to Israel and what that money could be used for instead to fund unmet needs in your community (find out just how much here). Use the data along with our sample letter-to-the-editor to raise awareness in your community about the misplaced priorities of Congress. Mentioning your Representative in the local media gets the immediate attention of Congressional staff.

3. Organize a meeting with your Members of Congress during this August recess to urge that they end military aid to Israel and redirect that money to needs here at home. Sign up to schedule a meeting, get a template constituent meeting request, and download a memo to give to your Representative. Attend "town hall" meetings and put your Representative on the spot in public. 

4. Organize a campaign to get your city council to pass a resolution opposing U.S. military aid to Israel and calling on the President and Congress to redirect that money to unmet needs in your city.
Download an organizing how-to guide, template resources, and more on our new website: Fund community needs, not Israel's misdeeds!

 

We are in an economic crisis. We've got to send a stringent warning to our elected officials that we will no longer accept business as usual. Take action today to demand that Members of Congress do their job to respond to this crisis by working in their districts and listening to us, not by taking lobbyist-paid junkets to guarantee their support for even more money and weapons to Israel.

Thank you for acting constructively upon the outrage we all feel right now.

 


 

http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3080



 

Citizens of Conscience:

 

And So it Begins..

 

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