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Jewish Voice for Peace

25 Jan 2011

For a while I have wanted to mention Jewish organizations that are strongly working for a just peace in Israel / Palestine – and that strongly oppose the policies of the more recognized pro-settlement Jewish/Israeli individuals, organizations and lobbies.  I mentioned this very briefly in my previous post, Disturbed.  I just got an email from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVfP) which expresses some of my thoughts about the recent leak of documents related to peace negotiations.  I could not find a way to link to the letter online, so I have copied and pasted it below.  (I trust JVfP won’t mind me further disseminating the letter – if so, please let me know and I will remove it.)  Important note / disclaimer: My blogging about this letter does NOT mean that I necessarily agree with everything in the letter or with everything JVfP stands for, etc.  I do agree with the main ideas below, and I am very happy that there are significant numbers of Jewish/Israeli people who care deeply about the human rights of Palestinians and peace – and support / work for policies in concert with those values.  Also, see the four disclaimers on my previous post Disturbed.

Dear John ,

The recent release by Al Jazeera and the Guardian of some 16,000 documents related to nearly 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations sadly substantiates what Jewish Voice for Peace has said publicly for years- that the U.S. is not the neutral broker it claims to be.

The United States’ unconditional support for Israel has helped to perpetuate the occupation by promoting endless negotiations that have enabled Israel to expand settlements while claiming to work towards peace.

Israel’s lack of interest in ending the occupation and being a partner to peace
is now
nakedly revealed in documents which show its reaction to he Palestinian Authority’s unprecedented concessions, shocking because they far exceed the requirements of international law. Israel offered an intransigent ‘no’ to every concession, with the U.S. looking on in approval.

There is a chance, however, for the Obama Administration to differentiate itself from the ineffectual American actions revealed in the leaked documents.

Palestinians and their supporters have put forth a key resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict that is now before the UN Security Council. Largely echoing stated U.S. policy, the resolution embraces negotiations, endorses the creation of a Palestinian state, and demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But even though the resolution echoes U.S. policy, President Obama is under heavy pressure to veto the UN resolution from forces in Washington who want to protect the Israeli occupation.

Will you join Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy in urging President Obama to support the UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?


Prominent former diplomats, including Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Ambassador James Dobbins, have written to President Obama, urging him to instruct our Ambassador to the United Nations to vote yes on this initiative, noting that it echoes U.S. policy.[1]

But sixteen Senators, led by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, have urged Secretary of State Clinton to veto the resolution.[2]

It’s not an immutable law of the universe that the U.S. has to veto UN resolutions critical of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Indeed, last year, the U.S. promised the Palestinians to “consider allowing UN Security Council condemnation of any significant new Israeli settlement activity,” the Guardian reported. [3]

U.S. policy is at a cross-roads.

If the U.S. vetoes the UN resolution, it will signal implicit American support for illegal, Jewish-only settlements. Such support would be a departure from longstanding stated U.S. policy and would encourage accelerated settlement construction. A U.S. veto would also embolden the most reactionary forces in Israel, which have been escalating their efforts to silence Israeli dissent against the occupation.

This is a historic opportunity for President Obama to show leadership and back up the words of his speech in Cairo with deeds. Urge President Obama to support the UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a change in U.S. policy,

Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director
Sydney Levy, Director of Campaigns
Jewish Voice for Peace

References:

1. “Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements,” Steve Clemons, The Washington Note, Wednesday, Jan 19 2011, http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/01/pickering_hills/
2. “UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements Puts Obama in a Diplomatic Bind,” Tony Karon Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011,
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2043326,00.html
3. “U.S. gives Abbas private assurances over Israeli settlements: Americans consider withholding veto protecting Israel at UN if building goes ahead at Ramat Shlomo,” Rory McCarthy, Guardian, Thursday 29 April 2010,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/29/israel-settlement-building-peace-talks

Dear John ,

The recent release by Al Jazeera and the Guardian of some 16,000 documents related to nearly 20 years of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations sadly substantiates what Jewish Voice for Peace has said publicly for years- that the U.S. is not the neutral broker it claims to be.

The United States’ unconditional support for Israel has helped to perpetuate the occupation by promoting endless negotiations that have enabled Israel to expand settlements while claiming to work towards peace.

Israel’s lack of interest in ending the occupation and being a partner to peace
is now
nakedly revealed in documents which show its reaction to he Palestinian Authority’s unprecedented concessions, shocking because they far exceed the requirements of international law. Israel offered an intransigent ‘no’ to every concession, with the U.S. looking on in approval.

There is a chance, however, for the Obama Administration to differentiate itself from the ineffectual American actions revealed in the leaked documents.

Palestinians and their supporters have put forth a key resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict that is now before the UN Security Council. Largely echoing stated U.S. policy, the resolution embraces negotiations, endorses the creation of a Palestinian state, and demands an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But even though the resolution echoes U.S. policy, President Obama is under heavy pressure to veto the UN resolution from forces in Washington who want to protect the Israeli occupation.

Will you join Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy in urging President Obama to support the UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?


Prominent former diplomats, including Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Ambassador James Dobbins, have written to President Obama, urging him to instruct our Ambassador to the United Nations to vote yes on this initiative, noting that it echoes U.S. policy.[1]

But sixteen Senators, led by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, have urged Secretary of State Clinton to veto the resolution.[2]

It’s not an immutable law of the universe that the U.S. has to veto UN resolutions critical of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Indeed, last year, the U.S. promised the Palestinians to “consider allowing UN Security Council condemnation of any significant new Israeli settlement activity,” the Guardian reported. [3]

U.S. policy is at a cross-roads.

If the U.S. vetoes the UN resolution, it will signal implicit American support for illegal, Jewish-only settlements. Such support would be a departure from longstanding stated U.S. policy and would encourage accelerated settlement construction. A U.S. veto would also embolden the most reactionary forces in Israel, which have been escalating their efforts to silence Israeli dissent against the occupation.

This is a historic opportunity for President Obama to show leadership and back up the words of his speech in Cairo with deeds. Urge President Obama to support the UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a change in U.S. policy,

Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director
Sydney Levy, Director of Campaigns
Jewish Voice for Peace

References:

1. “Pickering, Hills, Sullivan, Beinart, Dobbins, More Ask Obama Administration to Support UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements,” Steve Clemons, The Washington Note, Wednesday, Jan 19 2011, http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/01/pickering_hills/
2. “UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements Puts Obama in a Diplomatic Bind,” Tony Karon Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011,
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2043326,00.html
3. “U.S. gives Abbas private assurances over Israeli settlements: Americans consider withholding veto protecting Israel at UN if building goes ahead at Ramat Shlomo,” Rory McCarthy, Guardian, Thursday 29 April 2010,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/29/israel-settlement-building-peace-talks

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