1st Washington Wednesday—March 12, 2003March 12th, 2003
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Announces its First Washington Wednesday on March 12A National Day of Advocacy to Oppose Israel’s Aid Request
BackgroundIn Fall 2002, Israel submitted to the United States a supplemental funding request for $4 billion in military assistance and $8-$10 billion in loan guarantees. Since then, the two countries have held several rounds of preliminary discussions about the funding request. According to the Feb. 25 edition of Ha’aretz, the White House plans to present Congress with this funding request during the week of March 3. The $12-14 billion Israeli request is likely to be included in a consolidated request for a special budget of $100 billion for the war in Iraq.
Action RequestedOn Wednesday, March 12, please join us in a national day of advocacy to oppose Israel's aid request. Please fax, call, and email your Members of Congress and make your opinion heard. (A note for local organizations: Please add contact information for your Representatives and Senators here. Contact information can be found at http://www.congress.org.)
Talking Points• According to a February 2003 opinion poll by Zogby International, 57% of Americans oppose this Israeli aid request while only 29% support it. • Additional U.S. weapons to Israel provide it with a disincentive to end its military occupation of the Palestinian people and return to negotiations to establish a just and lasting peace. • Israel often has employed its U.S. supplied weapons against Palestinian civilians in contravention of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which limits the use of these weapons to “legitimate self-defense” or for “internal security.” Congress should enforce this law by halting the flow of weapons to Israel, not providing it with more. • Israel is already the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. Congress has agreed upon $2.1 billion in foreign military financing (FMF), $200 million in “defensive, non-lethal, anti-terrorism assistance,” $600 million in economic support funds (ESF), and $60 million to resettle immigrants in regular appropriations for Israel in FY2003. • Israel’s use of U.S. weapons have killed dozens of innocent Palestinian civilians over the past two years. This detracts from the United States‚ ability to be an honest broker and hurts the image of the United States worldwide. • In 2002, 43 states and the District of Columbia faced a combined $27 billion budgetary shortfall. The money that Israel is requesting could be used to much greater effect to pay for under-funded domestic programs. $14 billion could pay for 2.1 million children to attend Head Start programs, health care coverage for 5.9 million children, the building of 210,000 affordable housing units, or hiring 280,000 elementary school teachers.
SAMPLE LETTER(Please personalize this letter by using your own language. This will make it more effective.) Dear _____________________________, I am a constituent who cares deeply about working for a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. Recently, Israel submitted a supplemental funding request to the United States for $4 billion in military assistance and $8-$10 billion in loan guarantees. I strongly urge you to oppose this request. According to a February 2003 public opinion poll by Zogby International, 57% of Americans oppose this request while only 29% support it. At this time, additional U.S. weapons to Israel will provide it with a disincentive to end its military occupation of the Palestinian people and return to negotiations to establish a just and lasting peace. Also, Israel often has employed its U.S. supplied weapons against Palestinian civilians in contravention of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which limits the use of these weapons to “legitimate self-defense” or for “internal security.” Sending more weapons to Israel will detract from the United States‚ ability to be an honest broker and hurts the image of our country worldwide. Congress should enforce this law by halting the flow of weapons to Israel, not providing it with more. With budget shortfalls and other domestic priorities being neglected, I question the use of more of my taxes being used to support Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinians. Israel is already the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. Congress is likely to agree upon $2.1 billion in foreign military financing (FMF), $200 million in “defensive, non-lethal, anti-terrorism assistance,” $600 million in economic support funds (ESF), and $60 million to resettle immigrants in regular appropriations for Israel in FY2003. I do not believe that Israel should be rewarded with more taxpayer dollars for defying President Bush’s call to end its military occupation of Palestine. Instead, we should use this money to help pay for important domestic spending priorities which are under-funded. The money that Israel has requested could be put to better use by spending it on enrolling 2.1 million children in Head Start programs, providing 5.9 million children with health care, building 210,000 affordable housing units, or hiring 280,000 elementary school teachers. I look forward to your reply. Sincerely, (Name) (Address) (City), (State) (Zip Code) (Phone Number) (E-mail)
SAMPLE NEWSPAPER ADAmericans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR), a US Campaign affiliate, along with Friends of Sabeel and the Council For the National Interest Foundation, published an ad in The Oregonian on Thursday, March 6th which calls for the Oregon congressional delegation to vote against $10 billion in loan guarantees to Israel in addition to the $4 billion in military weaponry that Israel has requested. To see a copy of the ad, please go to http://www.auphr.org/docs/ad/CNIFORAD03.pdf.
SAMPLE LETTERS TO THE EDITORSAMPLE #1 ______________________ Dear Editor, As a reader, and an American taxpayer, I am concerned about the lack of coverage and dialogue on Israel's recent request for an additional $12 billion dollars in financial aid from the US. $4 billion would be direct military aid, and $8 billion would be in the form of loan guarantees. The US provides the financial and political cover that Israel needs to ignore the will of the UN Security Council. More US material assistance will only perpetuate this massive violation of human rights and international laws and destroy hope of a just and lasting peace. US support to Israel is tantamount to support for Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, a policy that is inimical to justice and peace and severely harms the image and interests of the American people in the world. Israel has no more "right" to the occupied territories than Iraq had to Kuwait 12 years ago. The moral arguments this administration makes for Iraqi compliance with the UN resolutions falls flat in the face of our enormous hypocrisy towards the occupied lands of Palestine. Until and unless Israel abides by the unimplemented UN resolutions relating to the illegal occupation and its inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people—46 resolutions at last count—US assistance cannot be justified on moral or other grounds. SAMPLE #2 ______________________ Dear Editor, Even as the Bush Administration obfuscates the cost of war with Iraq, we should not forget that we are already subsidizing another military occupation in the Middle East. I refer to the Palestinian Territories, where Israel uses its overwhelming military power to enforce its 35 year old occupation. And while Israels 12 billion dollar supplemental aid request pales in comparison to the possible hundreds of billions slated for war with Iraq, it still represents a four-fold jump of US aid to Israel. In addition, the Israeli aid request comes at a time of huge domestic budget deficits and when Israeli policy has become ever more aggressive and deaf to US concerns. US policy should seek to rein in our errant ally by conditioning its support on improved Israeli behavior. US support for Israel should not mean giving unconditional support to Israeli extremism and accelerated settlement building. Congress should turn down this dramatically expanded, "supplemental" aid request.
SAMPLE PETITIONPlease note that a petition is a less effective way of communicating with Members of Congress than a meeting, letter, or phone call. Nevertheless, you may want to utilize a petition to gather a large number of signatures in a brief period of time. Dear ________________________________, We, the undersigned, are voting constituents who urge you not to support Israel’s supplemental funding request for $4 billion in military aid and $8-10 billion in loan guarantees. We believe that this aid would provide Israel, already the largest recipient of U.S. assistance, with a disincentive to end its occupation of the Palestinian people and establish a just peace. In addition, Israel repeatedly has used U.S. weapons against Palestinian civilians in contravention of the Arms Export Control Act. We should not be rewarding Israel for this type of behavior with more weapons. Instead, this money should be spent on important, under-funded domestic programs. Name________________________ Address_____________________ Phone ______________________