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Why Is Congress Threatening Palestinians with Sanctions?

by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
June 16th, 2011

Last week we sent you our newly released FAQ about Palestinian efforts to seek UN membership and statehood recognition by additional countries in September.

We also noted that President Obama equated Palestinian efforts to seek their long-denied rights at the UN with the "delegitimization" of Israel in his speech last month to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 

Not be outdone by the President as the ultimate protector of Israeli occupation and apartheid, Congress is now considering AIPAC-inspired resolutions--H.Res.268 and S.Res.185--that threaten Palestinians with sanctions if they pursue UN membership and statehood.

It's hardly surprising that Members of Congress--who last month gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 29 standing ovations during his address to Congress in which he denied Israel is engaged in a military occupation--would now consider sanctioning Palestinians for taking their case to the UN.

The threat of sanctions is not an idle one.  In 2006 Congress slapped sanctions on Palestinian civilians--the so-called "Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act"-- for "voting the wrong way" in parliamentary elections called for by the United States

We fought those sanctions hard five years ago, ultimately building enough pressure to at least get them watered down. Now, we need your help to prevent Congress from sanctioning Palestinians for seeking their freedom through the UN.

Please take a moment to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to oppose H.Res.268 and S.Res.185.

Support for these bad resolutions is increasing. More than half of the House and nearly three quarters of the Senate are currently cosponsoring them.  Find out if your Members of Congress are supporting these resolutions and let them know that you oppose them right now.

AIPAC and the rest of the Israel lobby want us to think that it's pointless trying to oppose these types of resolutions.

In reality, Members of Congress will listen to our voices as our numbers grow and as we are clear and consistent in demanding a new U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel that supports human rights, international law, and equality rather than Israeli occupation and apartheid. 

Take action today: Send a message to your Members of Congress that H.Res.268 and S.Res.185 are wrong.

Don't forget that Members of Congress will be home in August for their summer recess to meet with constituents.  This is the perfect time for us to tell our Members of Congress in person our views on Palestinian UN membership, statehood recognition, and other policy issues that are sure to arise.

Sign up now to organize a delegation of constituents to meet with your Members of Congress in August.

We'll help you find additional constituents, give you guidelines on how to set up a meeting, and provide you with talking points and legislative information.  It's easy to do--all you need is your passion for a just peace in the Middle East.