Monday, May 16, 2011

DC Riders for Peace Campaign Launch

Below is a media release from DC Riders for Peace, an ad campaign that has now spread to the Washington, DC, metro area from its origin in Chicago's mass transit system in 2010, which was initiated by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, which is a member group of the US Campaign. The same ads that appeared for one month in Chicago metro trains (which we blogged here), followed by billboards in Albuquerque, Boston, Phoenix, and San Francisco, are now on display for one month in DC metro trains, thanks to the sponsorship of the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, a DC-area coalition that is also a member group of the US Campaign. The launch of this campaign is heartening after the recent cancelations of two similar campaigns in Seattle, promoting an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, which we blogged here and here and here. One of those campaigns led to a lawsuit by the ACLU.

May 16, 2011 

Stemming from our conviction that it is time to advance a new US Policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is based on genuine justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, "DC Riders for Peace" today launched an advertisement campaign urging an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. This campaign is sponsored by DC-area human rights groups and supported by individual peace advocates. The ads will be posted inside Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metro-rail trains for the next four weeks.

Photo: Rami Elamine
The "DC Riders for Peace" campaign comes on the heels of the promising "Arab Spring" and calls for an open public debate and assessment of our current US policy of unconditional support for Israel that has proved counterproductive to Israelis and Palestinians as well as our own long-term national interests. The "DC Riders for Peace" campaign intends to promote a long-lasting just peace; advance our national interest and security; and spark critical discussion to begin formulating a new political paradigm based on the interests and well-being of Palestinians, Israelis, and the United States.

The "DC Riders for Peace" campaign promotes a productive US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on peace, security, and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. As of 2010, the United States had already granted $61.3 billion in military aid that has yet to produce any peace or end violence; instead these unconditional funds are being used to perpetuate the hopeless cycle of violence, death, and destruction.

"DC Riders for Peace" believes that peace is possible when we - the taxpayers - begin to demand that our government support policies that promote a genuine lasting peace based on dignity, security, and equality for both Israelis and Palestinians. By offering unconditional, uncritical diplomatic support and tens of billions of dollars of military aid we have perpetuated Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, the expansion of Israeli settlements, the dispossession of the Palestinian people, and the Gaza blockade, thus harming the interests of the people of Israel and the Palestinians.

Our government's current policy has failed to protect and advance the interests of Israelis, Palestinians, and our own long-term national self-interest, including our international standing and security. Meanwhile our government continues to squander and divert our hard earned taxes, draining our precious resources and underfunding domestic programs such as health care, education, housing, and jobs at home.

We hope this campaign will begin an open debate on the merits of our government's unconditional support of Israeli policies of settlement and occupation, and our "no strings attached" unconditional funding of Israel. Our aim is to provide the space for constructive debate to inform, engage, and promote a productive US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on peace, security, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians and advance our own genuine national interest and security.