Showing posts with label U.S. policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. policy. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Pennsylvania, Mar. 27- Apr. 1

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Pennsylvania Thursday, March 27 to Tuesday, April 1. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, Friends of Sabeel Conference in Philadelphia, PA, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA.

Below is the flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

If you plan on attending the Friends of Sabeel Conference, please register here. RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to Temple University here, Lutheran Theological Seminary here and for more information, call 717-334-3871, University of Pittsburgh here, and Pennsylvania State University here

For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to the Triangle Area, Mar. 25-26

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting the Triangle Area Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Church of Reconciliation (USA) in Chapel Hill, NC, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC. 

Below is the flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to Church of Reconciliation (USA) here, Meredith College here, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill here.
For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Iowa and Nebraska, Mar. 3-6

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Iowa and Nebraska from Monday, March 3 to Thursday, March 6. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Coralville Public Library in Coralville, IA, Central College in Pella, IA, Drake University in Des Moines, IA, University of Nebraska at Omaha in Omaha, NE, Countryside Community Church in Omaha, NE, and University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Lincoln, NE.

Below is a flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to the events at Coralville Public Library here, Central College (details TBA), Drake University here, University of Nebraska at Omaha here, Countryside Community Church here, and University of Nebraska at Lincoln here.

For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Kansas and Missouri, Feb. 27- Mar. 2

Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Kansas and Missouri from February 27-March 2. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the four events he'll be doing in Kansas and Missouri -- at University of Kansas, Watermark Books in Wichita, Keystone United Methodist Church in Kansas City, and an event in private home in Fairway, Kansas.

Below is a flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to the events at University of Kansas here, Watermark Books here, and Keystone United Methodist Church here. To RSVP for the private home event, email whitmoreandy@hotmail.comAnd for additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

--Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern

Friday, September 13, 2013

Josh Ruebner's Shattered Hopes Book Tour in DC Area, Sept. 15-20

Yesterday I shared the exciting news of the publication of my first book Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

For those of you in the Washington, D.C. area, I'll be kicking off my book tour in D.C., Columbia, MD and Arlington, VA beginning Sunday, September 15-Friday, September 20.

Below is a flyer (click on it or here for a larger version) with all the event details. Click here for a larger PDF version.
Hope to see you at an upcoming event!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Take Action: Verdict in Corrie Case Requires U.S. Investigation

Urge the U.S. Government to Investigate Israel’s Attacks on Rachel and Others

Rachel Corrie
Rachel Corrie was a U.S. citizen and a human rights defender committed to ending Israel’s illegal demolition of Palestinian homes. According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions,Israel has demolished an estimated 27,000 Palestinian structures in Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967.

Rachel was killed by the Israeli military with a U.S.-taxpayer funded Caterpillar D9 bulldozer on March 16, 2003, in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, while seeking to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.

In August 2012, a civil case in Israeli court against the Israeli military filed by the Corrie family concluded with the presiding judge not only absolving the State of Israel of any liability, but also blaming Rachel for her own death.  This is unacceptable.  

Take action today by signing this petition launched by us and our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights urging the U.S. government to conduct investigations into all cases of Israel severely injuring or killing U.S. human rights defenders.
The U.S. government has long maintained that the Israeli military’s investigation into Rachel’s death was not thorough, credible, and transparent. The Israeli court’s verdict has only reinforced the fact that Israel is incapable of investigating and holding itself accountable for killing Rachel and severely injuring and killing other U.S. human rights defenders. 

Click to watch a video of a member group action for Rachel
Recently, member groups around the country took action during the Rachel Corrie Week of Action surrounding the verdict, focused on building the We Divest Campaign, which calls on financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from companies involved in the Israeli occupation, including Caterpillar.On Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, activists from member group Hilton Head for Peace held a vigil to honor Rachel’s life and work for justice.

In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, member group Friends of Palestine demonstrated and performed street theatre at Caterpillar’s Mining Operations Headquarter.
Member groups around the country took action for Rachel.

Other activists and member groups in Honolulu, HI; Boca Raton, FL; Houston, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Philadelphia, PA; St. Louis, MO; Eureka, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, CA; and Chicago, IL held other actions around the country outside of Caterpillar dealerships, an Israeli ConsulateTIAA-CREF offices. US Campaign members joinred others in Washington, D.C. in a demonstration outside the State Department. You can see photos of many of the actions here.

Other U.S. activists focused on social media. On the day of the verdict and the day after, #RachelCorrie and #divest4justice trended among the top ten most popular hashtags. And more than one hundred individuals worldwide posted photos in solidarity with Rachel and her family on this Tumblr blog
Whether or not you were able to take action during the Week of Action, please take action today by signing this petition calling for a U.S. investigation now.
Click here for a terrific round-up of the international Week of Action by Rochelle Gause of the Rachel Corrie Foundation, which ends with these poignant words:
“I don't think that Rachel should have moved. I think we should all have been standing there with her,” said Cindy Corrie in response to Judge Gershon's comment that Rachel should have moved out of the way of the Caterpillar bulldozer.  Rachel wrote from Gaza, “The international media and our government are not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly.” May we continue to take Rachel’s words to heart, find ways to successfully mobilize ourselves, strengthen our networks, utilize new forms of communicating to affirm the just cause of the Palestinian people and stand with the movement for universal human rights in Palestine and Israel.
Please honor Rachel’s life and legacy by signing this petition today. 
Together we’ll deliver the petition to the State Department next month. Help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures by signing right now and spreading the word!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Register for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) on October 6—7.  The Tribunal will take place in Manhattan, venue TBA. The US Campaign has endorsed this historic initiative, which is organized to advance international law, raise public consciousness, and expose U.S. and U.N. complicity in Israeli impunity and responsibility in the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination. 

US Campaign members will receive a discount on their ticket purchase by using this discount code [rtpjustice] at checkout.  We encourage all of our members to purchase their tickets as soon as possible to take advantage of the early bird rates before September 15th! If you register now, your ticket will be $10 for a one-day pass and $15 for a two-day pass! For more information on the speakers, jury and agenda, please visit our website.

Register today at:

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) is an international people’s tribunal that was created to expose human rights abuses and stir people to action in opposition to Israel’s recognized violations of international law. Join Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Russell Means, Alice Walker and so many others in New York City on October 6-7, 2012:

RToP was launched in 2009 following the massacre of more than 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza perpetrated by Israel during "Operation Cast Lead." Since then, it has worked to bring together legal experts, scholars, activists, and other people of note, to help shed light on the reality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. RToP also shines a light on the active role that third parties—foreign governments and corporations—play in perpetuating human rights violations in Israel-Palestine.

Previous sessions of the tribunal have been held in Barcelona, London, and Cape Town. These hearings have addressed, respectively, European Union support for Israel, the complicity of corporations in the occupation of Palestine, and the question of whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. The fourth and final session will be held in New York City this October 6-7 (press conference at the U.N. on Oct. 8th), and will examine the role of the United Nations and the United States in perpetuating Israel’s impunity in depriving the Palestinian people of their self-determination.

Register today at:

Like us on
Facebook. Follow us on Twitter: @RussellTribunal

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Goes Down, Must Go Up!

Defying the laws of gravity, ads in Chapel Hill, North Carolina calling for the United States to end military aid to Israel are now back up after having been temporarily taken down.

These ads, sponsored by the Church of Reconciliation and cosponsored by several local organizations, were placed on the inside of all 98 Chapel Hill-Carrboro buses last month.

Activists pose with copies of the ads appearing in Chapel Hill buses.
After the city received a few complaints about the ads, they were removed because the transit agency determined that the church needed to put some additional contact info on the ads.

The church gladly complied with this directive and the ads went back up on the buses last weekend!

These ads have generated a huge amount of community conversation about U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.  That conversation needs to be replicated in communities all over the country. Check out all of the media attention these ads have sparked.

We couldn't help but notice that the Anti-Defamation League, which has been opposing our ad campaign, rejoiced a bit too early that the ads were temporarily pulled.

Also, goofball Islamophobe Pamela Geller was predictably apoplectic that the US Campaign and so many of its member groups are raising awareness through these ads. Check out her screed against us.

With these ads, Chapel Hill became the ninth U.S. city in which our ad campaign--"Be On Our Side"--has appeared. Contact us if you're interested in bringing this ad campaign to your city!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Are you Jewish?"

Sandra Tamari is active with US Campaign member group St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee

Deportation shows Israel's intolerance

"Are you Jewish?" is the first question the U.S. Embassy staffer asked me on the phone while I sat in Israeli detention at the airport in Tel Aviv. When I responded that I was a Palestinian born in the United States, he said he could do nothing for me. Consequently, I endured eight hours of interrogation by Israeli authorities. When I would not grant them access to my email account, I was accused of being a terrorist. The heavy-handed treatment resulted from my participation in an interfaith delegation to listen to Palestinians and Israelis working for peace.

Israel decided to deport me and deny my participation in this project, deeming me a "security risk." I spent the night in prison and then was put on a flight home the next day.

The interrogators were especially interested in my activism. They had "googled" me and knew that I was involved in urging the Methodist Church to vote to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. I publicly advocated for divestment as a nonviolent measure to end the occupation. I attended the Methodist General Conference in Tampa and spoke to many about how my Christian Palestinian family is denied residency in the West Bank and how Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, were suffering under occupation. Israel's discriminatory policies have affected my family before. In 1966, my father came to the United States for work. Soon after, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. Israel conducted a census of residents of the Occupied Territories in 1967 to create a population registry. Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 270,000 Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories before the war were absent during the census for study, work or because they fled the conflict. Many Palestinians, including my father, were denied their right to regain residency status. When my father returns to visit his family, he must do so on a tourist visa granted at Israel's discretion.

The U.S. Congress has done nothing to tell Israel that this is an outrage. Instead, they go along with AIPAC in giving Israel over $3 billion in military aid per year to further dispossess Palestinians.

Continue Reading at Belleville News-Democrat

Help Sandra deliver
20,000 signatures to the State Department demanding that the United States put an end to systematic discrimination against U.S. citizens by it and Israel

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Obama comes out as being "decidedly more attentive to Israel"

It's really hard to believe that the United States has been able to claim to be an "honest broker" between Palestinians and Israelis for so long. One quick look into the history of U.S. support for Israel exposes this claim: between 1968 and 2008, the United States gave Israel more than $67 billion of taxpayer-funded military aid grants and loans. In 2007 the Bush Administration signed an agreement with Israel to provide an additional $30 billion in weapons from 2009 to 2018.

Yet this claim has been made again and again, administration after administration. And that is why we should perhaps give Obama some credit for being honest when he told a delegation of U.S. Orthodox Jewish leaders visiting the White House yesterday that his administration is "
decidedly more attentive to Israel than it is to the Palestinians."

This admission is a reminder of how complicit the United States is in Israeli occupation and apartheid. Without unconditional U.S. military and diplomatic support, Israel could not continue its systematic human rights abuses against Palestinians. It is the responsibility of every U.S. taxpayer to work to put an end to this injustice. 

You can do your part by taking these actions: 

  • Donate $45 to help change U.S. policy to support human rights, international law and equality
  • Sign up to organize opposition in your community to U.S. military aid for Israel
  • Read our policy paper "U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications and Options"
  • RSVP to our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23, 2012 at St. Louis University

45 Years of Israeli Military Occupation and No End in Sight

Josh Ruebner is National Advocacy Director at the US Campaign. 

In the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, President Lyndon Johnson, in a clear nod toward countering Israeli territorial aggrandizement,
stated that "no nation would be true to the United Nations Charter, or to its own true interests, if it should permit military success to blind it to the fact that its neighbors have rights and its neighbors have interests of their own."

Johnson was right to be concerned that Israel's military conquests would threaten the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace and degrade the human and national rights of Arab populations falling under its rule. The war had resulted in Israel establishing a military occupation of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula (which was not returned to Egyptian sovereignty until after the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty), the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip (occupations which persist to this day). Although Israel dismantled its illegal settlements and removed military bases from the Gaza Strip in 2005, its land, air, and sea blockade of the coastal enclave, along with its border closures of the territory, is proof positive of Israel's ongoing effective control over, and thus military occupation of, the Gaza Strip.

It was in this spirit of preventing Israeli territorial expansion that the Johnson administration played a leading role in drafting and passing
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 in November 1967. The resolution, which has formed the cornerstone of Israeli-Arab peacemaking efforts ever since its adoption, emphasizes the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and calls for the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

In his
speech to the U.N. Security Council explaining his vote in favor of the resolution, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur Goldberg noted that it is "entirely consistent with the policy of the United States." He pledged "that the diplomatic and political influence of the United States Government will be exerted in support of the efforts of the United Nations special representative" to implement the resolution's goals.

The Johnson administration's relatively evenhanded policy, including the president's call for "justice for the refugees," hearkens back to a bygone era in which the United States could still plausibly claim to be an "honest broker" in attempting to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict. Sadly, that period is now but a distant memory, jettisoned in favor of unconditional U.S. diplomatic and military support for Israel that plays such a key role in cementing Israel's military occupation of Arab territories and preventing the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242.

Continue Reading on Huffington Post

Donate $45 today to help end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

U.S. dollars and supplies to Israel are wasted effort

By Mike Coogan, Legislative Coordinator, US Campaign
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In recent days, a 19-year-old Palestinian was critically wounded when the Israeli military fired a U.S.-supplied high-velocity tear-gas canister at his head, one in a long series of attacks against civilians using these U.S.-supplied "crowd-control items."

These canisters, meant to be fired from long distances to disperse nonviolent crowds, are often fired by the Israeli military toward civilian demonstrators at very close range. This makes them more akin to salt-shaker-size bullets than nonlethal crowd control items, and the repeated misuse of these canisters has had devastating consequences on both Palestinian and American civilians.

In February 2009, while working in the Palestinian West Bank, I was on the receiving end of one such canister during a weekly demonstration in Nil'in. Had it been inches to the left, I probably wouldn't be writing this today. Two weeks later, an American from California, Tristan Anderson, was shot and critically injured with a high velocity tear gas canister. Today, Tristan is still paralyzed, disfigured and blind in one eye.

Recently I met Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Luján to ask for an investigation into the continued misuse of U.S.-supplied high-velocity tear-gas canisters against demonstrators, as required by U.S. law. The meetings were cordial, but their responses were tentative at best.

During one of the constituent breakfasts that Sen. Udall's office graciously hosted recently, I had the opportunity to meet the senator, his staff and other constituents. I spoke with people from organizations who work in early education, care for our veterans, and run summer youth space programs that stimulate interest in math and science. Sadly, every group was faced with shrinking budgets and increasing needs.

Over the next 10 years, New Mexico taxpayers will foot the bill for $107.8 million of the $30 billion that the U.S. is scheduled to give Israel in military aid under the current Memorandum of Understanding. Can New Mexico really afford to subsidize Israel's occupation and gross human rights abuses while budgets for early education, veteran's benefits and programs that promote interest in science and math get slashed?

In addition to violating Palestinian human rights, unconditional military and diplomatic support for Israel undermines U.S. interests, regardless of how you define them. If you worry about free market stability and preferential access to world energy supplies in the Middle East, read recent statements by Gen. David Petraeus, now director of the CIA, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, or current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, all of whom indicate that unconditional support for Israel is undermining our pursuit of those goals.

U.S. rhetoric about support for human rights and equal accountability under the law should match our actual policies. Read the State Department's annual country report that decries Israel's systemic discrimination and human rights record. Watch Rain of Fire, a report that documents Israel's misuse of U.S.-supplied white phosphorous against civilians in Gaza.

Unless we define U.S. interests as Israel's ability to engage in self-destructive and wantonly irresponsible behavior, the current policy is morally wrong, financially unsound and strategically bankrupt.

I hope Sen. Udall and Rep. Luján will seriously consider using our tax dollars to meet New Mexico's unmet domestic needs, and not to purchase more weapons for Israel to use against Palestinian civilians demonstrating for their human rights and equality.

Mike Coogan grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Desert Academy in 2003. He is now the legislative coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Armed and Dangerous: U.S. Weapons Transfers to Israel

National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner launches the US Campaign's first-ever policy paper, entitled "U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implication & Options" in this briefing at the Palestine Center.

Check out the video:

Obama Goes to AIPAC: A Scorecard

US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis analyzes President's Obama's speech to AIPAC in this Salon article.  Phyllis writes:

Aside from the rhetorical pandering on Iran, perhaps the biggest failure in Obama’s AIPAC speech was in its giving Israel a get-out-of-accountability-free card. Clearly Israel has no reason to worry about any possible U.S. pressure to end its occupation and apartheid policies. Any Obama administration commitment to working to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is over, at least till after the elections. 
Read the rest of this important article, comment on it, and share it via social media here:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Report Denounces Weapons to Israel as AIPAC Assembles


March 5, 2012

Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director

Washington, DC (Monday, March 5) -- As members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) prepare to lobby tomorrow on Capitol Hill for more U.S. weapons for Israel, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation will launch its first policy paper, which calls for the United States to end military aid to Israel. The report release comes after President Barack Obama stated yesterday at AIPAC's policy conference that "Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance [to Israel] has increased every single year."

"U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implications & Options," establishes the legal, political, economic, strategic and human rights rationale for ending $30 billion of U.S. taxpayer-financed weapons transfers to Israel from 2009 to 2018. The 40-page paper can be downloaded at:

The US Campaign will present the policy paper at a briefing on Tuesday, March 6, 12:30-2:00pm, at the Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20037. For additional details and to RSVP, please click here. Printed copies of the policy paper will be distributed at the briefing.

The briefing culminates the five-day series of events, "Occupy AIPAC."

National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner, who authored the paper, stated:
"U.S. military aid to Israel is a policy that is running on autopilot and must be reconsidered. U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make us complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and defeat U.S. foreign policy objectives of halting Israeli settlement expansion, ending Israeli military occupation, and establishing a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace."
The policy paper highlights the following facts, among others:
From 2000 to 2009, the United States appropriated $24.1 billion of military aid to Israel, transferring more than 670 million weapons, rounds of ammunition, and related equipment.

From 2000 to 2009, Israel killed at least 2,969 unarmed Palestinians, including 1,128 children, often with U.S. weapons in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act.

From 2009 to 2018, the United States is scheduled to give Israel $30 billion in military aid, a 25 percent annual average increase over previous levels of military aid, despite its negative political and strategic ramifications.

From the Eisenhower to Bush, Sr. Administrations, at least 10 times the United States conditioned aid to Israel, threatened to cut off aid to Israel, or sanctioned Israel for violating U.S. laws and/or working against foreign policy objectives.

Since 2000, Members of Congress and/or the State Department have investigated or requested investigations into Israel’s potential misuse of U.S. weapons at least five times; however, no public action has been taken to hold Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. laws.

With the same amount of money that the United States gives each year to fund weapons for Israel, the federal government could instead fund affordable housing vouchers for 350,000 low-income families, or green jobs training for 500,000 unemployed workers, or early reading programs for 900,000 at-risk students, or primary health care to 24 million people without insurance.
The policy paper concludes with specific policy recommendations for the President and Congress to ensure that any money appropriated in the future for additional weapons to Israel are not misused to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians, but to further U.S. foreign policy objectives.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Get Your City to Take a Stand against Weapons to Israel

By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director

On Monday, President Obama is scheduled to submit his 2013 budget request to Congress, which could include as much as $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel! 

Weapons that we taxpayers give to Israel demand an unacceptable moral cost, enabling Israel to injure and kill Palestinian civilians, entrench its 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, expropriate Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, and perpetuate its apartheid regime over Palestinians. 

Military aid to Israel also has an unacceptable financial cost.  A policy paper we'll be launching during Occupy AIPAC (register to participate, March 2-6) puts it this way:

"During this time of economic crisis, it is irresponsible for the United States to continue to expand military aid to Israel--or, indeed, continue it at present levels. The remainder of the $30 billion pledged to Israel in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) but not yet appropriated, could be easily foregone, thereby reducing the U.S. national debt. A far better use of the taxpayer money the United States now gives to Israel--the 28th wealthiest country in the world in 2011 according to the International Monetary Fund--for weapons could be much better spent to help meet unmet community needs here at home."

That's exactly why we're investing resources to help grassroots activists like you to organize to get the your city council to pass a resolution to end military aid to Israel and to redirect that money to crucial needs in your community.

If you or your local activist group are interested in making this happen in your city, then take advantage of these great opportunities:

1.Join the US Campaign for an all-day training and strategy session this Sunday, February 12 in Milwaukee, WI. For those of you in the area, learn more and register here.

2.Join the US Campaign for a conference call on Wednesday, February 15 at 9:00 pm (Eastern). Our special guests will be two activists who have undertaken extraordinary work to pass local and national resolutions to end U.S. spending on wars and redirect the money to unmet community needs:

Lisa Savage is Local Coordinator for CODEPINK and a co-coordinator of Maine's Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, which aims to educate and influence public opinion by means of city council resolutions.

As the CODEPINK Bring Our War $$ Home campaign organizer, C.J. Minster led the successful national grassroots effort to submit and pass a resolution "Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Priorities at the US Conference of Mayors."

Lisa and C.J. will share their expertise and provide us with inspiration, while the US Campaign shares with you the resources we've developed to help you organize locally. 

To join the call, dial 209-647-1600 and enter the access code 489902.

3.And, don't forget about our matching funds competition. Your local group could be eligible to receive part of the $7,500 in matching funds that we are providing to member groups of the US Campaign that are organizing city council campaigns this year.  But, act quickly, because the deadline is February 19. Learn more about the competition and apply here.

We've assembled an all-star panel of judges to help us select winning applications:

Laila El-Haddad is a journalist, blogger, media activist based in Baltimore, and author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between.

Nadia Hijab is director of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and a writer, public speaker and media commentator. She is an Advisory Board member of the US Campaign.

Remi Kanazi is a poet, writer, and activist based in New York City. He is the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine.