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November "Washington Wednesday" Action Alert, Meet w/ Your Members of Congress during Winter Recess

November 2nd, 2005

BACKGROUND: Although Congress has not yet finalized target dates for adjournment for its winter recess, it’s not too early to start requesting meetings with Members of Congress and their district office Chiefs of Staff.Congress still has a lot of work to do before it breaks, and it’s anybody’s guess when that will happen.To increase your odds of getting a meeting with your Members of Congress, request a meeting for the second half of December, when Members of Congress are likely to have recessed for the winter.If they haven’t yet recessed, you can use this as an opportunity to build up a relationship with the local staff of your Members of Congress.

ACTION REQUESTED: Assemble a delegation of constituents and fax a meeting request to your Members’ of Congress schedulers to meet with your Members of Congress in their home district during the winter recess.

For contact information for your Members of Congress, see the US Campaign’s Congressional Report Card

If you would like to be the point person for arranging a meeting with your Members of Congress, please fill out this short on-line form

If you’d like the US Campaign to help you locate other constituents in your district to attend a meeting with you, contact Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778.

For tips on meeting with your Members of Congress, click here.

For a template to use for your faxed constituent request, click here.

ISSUES AND RESOURCES:For the Congressional winter recess, the US Campaign recommends raising two issues with your Members of Congress.

1) Israel’s request for $2.2 billion in supplemental aid to pay for its unilateral “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip.The US Campaign has opposed this aid request in previous Washington Wednesday action alerts.

For detailed talking points on this aid request and to take action, click here.

For a fact sheet on Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip, click here.

Israel requested this money from the Bush administration in July 2005, but a Congressional resolution to fund this request has not yet been introduced.According to a September 27 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article, Israel temporarily has shelved this request while Congress struggles to find funds to compensate and rebuild GulfCoast communities affected by hurricanes.Raise this issue with your Members of Congress to help make sure that US government money goes to fund social services in this country, not to compensate colonizers who squatted illegally on Palestinian lands for decades.

2)Caterpillar profits from Israel’s human rights violations of Palestinians by selling bulldozers to the Israeli army through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.It is likely that portions of the military aid that Israel receives from the United States are used to purchase these Caterpillar bulldozers, which are used to injure and kill civilians, destroy houses, agriculture, and infrastructure, and build illegal settlements and Israel’s illegal Wall in the West Bank.

Since 1998, Caterpillar’s political action committee (PAC) has given more than $1 million to candidates for Congress.To find out if and how much money your Members of Congress have received from Caterpillar, click here.

If your Members of Congress have not received money from Caterpillar since 1998, ask them to sign a letter to Caterpillar saying that they will not accept their PAC contributions in the future.If your Members of Congress have received PAC money from Caterpillar, ask your Members of Congress to return the donations and sign a letter explaining why they are doing so and why they won’t accept Caterpillar money in the future.

For suggested language for these letters, click here.

If your Members of Congress agree not to take PAC money from Caterpillar, they might want to draft their own language for the letter.Be flexible and be prepared to compromise.The important thing is to send a strong signal to Caterpillar that Members of Congress are aware of their ill-gotten profits.

Increase your chances of getting your Members of Congress to refuse Caterpillar PAC money by organizing in your Congressional district.You can collect signatures of constituents on postcards to Caterpillar calling for an end of bulldozer sales to Israel.Bring hundreds of these signed postcards to your meeting and make a strong statement to your Members of Congress that his/her constituents care about this issue.

You can download and print postcards by clicking here.

The US Campaign can also send you a shipment of postcards.If you would like these postcards to organize against Caterpillar in your Congressional district, contact Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778.

For more educational resources about Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians with Caterpillar equipment, see Cat Destroys Homes.

For questions or more information about this action alert, contact Josh Ruebner, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator, at congress@endtheoccupation.org or 202-543-1778.


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