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This Tax Day, Israel Owes You a Refund

by Josh Ruebner & Mike Coogan, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
April 1st, 2014


Take Action to Protest $3.1 Billion in Weapons for Israel

Yusef a-Shawamereh. Photo: 'Abed AlHashlamoun, EPA.

On March 19, the Israeli military shot and killed 14-year-old Yusef a-Shawamreh, a Palestinian youth from a village near Hebron who crossed an existing breach in an Israeli fence to pick wild food plants on his family’s land.  

B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, criticized Israel’s “armed ambush at a point in the barrier known to be crossed by youths, who pose no danger whatsoever to anyone, for the purpose of harvesting plants.”

But instead of ending U.S. military aid, as required under U.S. law, to Israeli military units such as the Armored Corp’s 77th Battalion, which killed Yusef, it’s sadly business as usual: the Obama administration earmarked another $3.1 billion for weapons to Israel in the FY2015 budget request it sent last month to Congress.

Yusef’s killing by Israel is part of a much broader pattern of Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians. As Amnesty International documented in its February report Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, Israel misuses these U.S.-supplied weapons to employ “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians,” leading it to conclude that the United States should “suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel.

Here’s what you can do today and in the run-up to Tax Day, April 15, to protest our tax dollars making us complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians and to help implement Amnesty International’s recommendation:

Sign this petition to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to hold Israel accountable for misusing U.S. weapons in violation of U.S. laws to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians. Help us get 5,000 signatures by Tax Day and we’ll hand deliver your signature to these Members of Congress who will be voting soon on military aid to Israel.

“Offset” the taxes you pay in military aid to Israel. The average individual tax filer gives Israel $21 in weapons each year.* Make a tax-deductible contribution to the US Campaign to “offset” this contribution and help us continue our educational work to challenge the moral and financial costs of arming Israel.

Join a protest or organize one in your city on Tax Day. The Popular Committees of Palestine are calling on people in the United States to organize protests in opposition to U.S. military aid to Israel on Tax Day, April 15. Find an event near you and get more details here.

Educate yourself and others about U.S. military aid to Israel. Download resources to distribute on Tax Day. Find out how much money your community provides in weapons to Israel on our website aidtoisrael.org and learn more about the corporations profiteering from U.S. military aid to Israel on our website weaponstoisrael.org. And be sure to read our policy paper on this issue.

Thank you for taking action!


Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director
Mike Coogan
Legislative Coordinator

*We got this number by dividing $3.1 billion by the number of individual tax returns filed as last reported by the IRS.