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7 People Who Need to Be Heard More on Capitol Hill

by Mike Coogan, Legislative Coordinator
August 5th, 2014

Tariq Abu Khdeir, Experts Testify at Congressional Briefing on Israel's Use of Force



Representative Keith Ellison sitting on the floor at packed Congressional briefing.

“My tax dollars killed eight  members of my family this morning,” Palestinian author and activist Laila El-Haddad  told a stunned room full of Congressional staff and  media on Friday.

Thanks to your support, so many people came that we did two packed briefings in a row.

In addition to Laila, our briefing featured Tariq Abu Khdeir—the Palestinian-American teenager viciously beaten by Israeli police last month, his mother Suha, and attorney Hassan Shibly; as well as experts Sunjeev Bery of Amnesty International USA and Brad Parker of Defence for Children International Palestine.

To everyone who wrote a letter, made a call, or donated to help us bring the Abu Khdeir family to DC – thank you.  You made this briefing, which shined a badly-needed light for Congress on Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, a success.

Please click here to watch the briefing on C-SPAN.  At least 47 Congressional offices attended the briefing, but we want to make sure every lawmaker sees it.  Click here to send your Members of Congress the video along with a demand that they investigate Israel’s violations of U.S. human rights laws.

Although the briefing was a success, the enormity of our task is staggering.  Israel's massacre of entire Palestinian families over the last month was carried out with U.S. tax dollars and the support of most of Congress.  

The horrendous resolutions passed by Congress over the last month—defending Israel’s war crimes, condemning Palestinians’ alleged use of human shields (a practice for which the New York Times has found no evidence), and sending more weapons to Israel—make  it tempting to completely disengage from the political process and view it as a lost cause. But we don’t have that luxury.

Make sure your lawmakers watch Friday's Congressional briefing on Israel's violence against Palestinians with US-supplied weapons.

As Rep. Keith Ellison, who spoke at our briefing, reminded supporters of Palestinian rights: “If there’s one thing that we really do need to do, it’s to occupy and be in this space on Capitol Hill much more.”

You might not be able to join us in DC to literally walk the halls of Congress with us, but your Members of Congress are home now for the August Congressional recess and they need to hear your opposition to U.S. support for Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Click here to send me an email and we’ll get started scheduling a meeting, assembling a delegation, and giving you talking points for your meeting.  Also, please visit this link to find resources for your in-district meetings, including a sample meeting request,  congressional asks, talking points, and more.

Don’t underestimate our collective power.  Over the past 17 months,   we’ve waged a successful campaign to stall AIPAC’s highest priority legislation, the United States Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013.  In partnership with a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals, we've helped organize four Capitol Hill briefings, which have been attended by staff in more than 155 Congressional offices. People like you have written more than 100,000 letters to Congress demanding a change in our government’s policies.  And we've just heard reports from Members of Congress who voted against more funding for Israel that calls are pouring in to support their positions.

I was humbled and inspired by the strength and resiliency of Tariq Abu Khdeir and his mother Suha as we took them around Washington to meetings at the White House, State Department,Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lantos Human Rights Commission, and six Congressional offices to share their story about Tariq being beaten unconscious by Israeli police while handcuffed, and to demand justice and accountability.

If Tariq and Suha can be such relentless and effective advocates, then so can we. Here’s how you can.

Watch Friday's congressional briefing and send a link to your Members of Congress

Meet with your Members of Congress this August to share your concerns in person.  Here is a link to resources to help you get started.

Make a donation and help us host more Congressional briefings calling for the US to uphold its own laws and implement an arms embargo on Israel.    

Sincere thanks for all of your tireless work and support,


Mike Coogan,
Legislative Coordinator


PS -- If you extended a personal invitation to your Members of Congress and would like to know if they attended, then please write us and we’ll let you know.

PPS -- Want to do more and not sure what? Attend our National Organizers' Conference September 19-21 in San Diego, CA to meet and network with activists for Palestinians rights from across the country. You can find the program here, which features Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine. Registration rates increase after August 26, so register today!