USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for September, 2015

Has the Israel lobby really lost its mojo? (The Electronic Intifada)

Posted by uscsjp on September 30, 2015

The Israeli government and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have failed to marshal Congressional opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

But that failure has prompted widespread chatter about the irreparable damage done to US-Israel ties and the demise of AIPAC as a virtually omnipotent lobby.

Despite pouring millions of dollars into its campaign, inundating the airwaves and clogging social media feeds, AIPAC’s efforts to sway members of Congress paid only minimal dividends.

But does this mean that AIPAC has lost its mojo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can now be safely ignored by the Obama administration as a blowhard? Hardly.

This fiasco for Israel and its lobby was entirely predictable and even foreordained after Netanyahu opted toconspire with John Boehner, the House speaker, to deliver his controversial speech to Congress in Marchopposing talks with Iran.

Netanyahu’s disrespect in circumventing the president prompted around 60 Democratic members of Congress — one-quarter of the party’s caucus — to publicly boycott the address, opening up an unprecedented partisan breach.

After Netanyahu’s stunt in Congress, it was self-evident that no Democratic members of Congress, except for the party’s most hardcore Zionists such as senators Charles Schumer of New York and Ben Cardin of Maryland, would vote to kill what is arguably the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration.

AIPAC could have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into its campaign and probably wouldn’t have changed a single vote.

Payout

Netanyahu is no fool and neither is AIPAC. So then why did they expend so much political capital and money on a lost cause?

Simple: the louder Israel and its lobby bellowed that the nuclear deal with Iran endangered Israel’s security and presented it with an existential threat, the larger the payout from the United States to back its demands for military aid.

Israel is likely to get recompensed for the Iran nuclear deal in two ways.

The first is through Congressional authorization of the transfer to Israel of advanced weaponry such as bunker-buster bombs. For example, Cory Booker, the Democratic senator from New Jersey who broke with his former mentor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach by supporting the deal, stated that the “US should provide Israel with access to the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) to help deter Iranian cheating.”

And Obama appears amenable to upping the quality of weapons the US provides Israel. In a letter to Jerrold Nadler, a Democratic representative for New York, Obama pledged that “Our support for Israel is also an important element in deterring Iran from ever seeking a nuclear weapon.”

Thus Israel is likely to receive from the US the weapons it would need to threaten or actually carry out the attack on Iran the US just potentially avoided with the nuclear deal.

Second, Israel will likely reap an enormous windfall from the United States by negotiating a new 10-year deal for additional military aid. During the George W. Bush administration, the US signed an agreement to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid from 2009 to 2018.

Ever since he visited Jerusalem in March 2013, Obama has repeatedly made clear that he wants to extend — and even increase — military aid to Israel.

Although the timing of the Iran nuclear deal and the impending expiration of the agreement with Israel is coincidental, Netanyahu is shrewdly choreographing his steps to maximize his leverage with the US and wring out the most concessions possible.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, twice since April, Obama personally contacted Netanyahu, practically pleading with him to start talks on how the US may bolster the Israeli military’s arsenal. But the Israeli prime minister steadfastly refused.

Unscathed

Now with Iran a done deal, these discussions are getting underway in earnest — and media reports suggest that Israel will try to get as much as $45 billion in military aid from the US through 2028. In other words, Obama may now wind up signing a deal to increase the Bush administration’s commitment to Israel by 50 percent.

While it is doubtful that Israel would use these weapons to unilaterally attack Iran, they unquestionably will be used to entrench and solidify Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, making the US even further complicit in Israel’s accompanying atrocities.

This new military aid deal, sadly, will be Obama’s enduring legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue as his presidency draws to a close.

The debacle for Netanyahu and AIPAC on Iran demonstrably shows that Israel and its allies do not dictate the terms and contours of broader US foreign policy goals. However, their power to preserve the status quo on US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians has emerged largely unscathed from this battle.

Netanyahu is coming to Washington to kiss and make up with Obama over Iran in November — and to collect his check. Without a massive uproar from civil society before then, US taxpayers will be on the hook for another decade of underwriting Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

Vice President Joe Biden recently acknowledged that US taxpayers already fund 20 percent of Israel’s entire military budget.

Enough is enough. Fortunately growing numbers of Americans agree.

To make this message clear, tens of thousands have already endorsed the campaign calling on Obama not to give any more weapons to Israel.

Josh Ruebner is policy director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

 

–The Electronic Intifada, 21 September, 2015

 

https://electronicintifada.net/content/has-israel-lobby-really-lost-its-mojo/14853

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US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation – No Weapons for Israel!

Posted by uscsjp on September 16, 2015

No Weapons For Israel

The Israeli government and many of its U.S. supporters tried everything they could to defeat President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Fortunately, they failed and peace and diplomacy won!

But now Congress and the Obama administration plan to reward Israel by authorizing the transfer of “massive ordnance penetrators” and other advanced weaponry that it can use to attack Iran. If Israel bombs Iran, then there’s a good chance that the U.S. will be dragged into another war.

And the U.S. is prepared to sign a new 10-year deal to give Israel—one of the largest weapons exporters in the world—as much as $45 billion more in U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons. Israel routinely uses these weapons to injure and kill Palestinian civilians and destroy their homes, agriculture and infrastructure, in violation of U.S. law.

We just avoided a potential war with Iran. Why would we now give Israel weapons it needs to start a war with Iran and more weapons to continue oppressing the Palestinians?

Sign the petition to President Obama and tell him #NoWeapons4Israel.

Dear President Obama,
The United States should not reward Israel with more weapons after Israel and its lobby, AIPAC, attempted to scuttle your administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. The transfer of “massive ordnance penetrators” and other advanced weaponry increases the likelihood of a unilateral Israeli attack against Iran. And a new 10-year deal to provide Israel with up to $45 billion in more US taxpayer-funded weapons will deepen US complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians, in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts. We just avoided a potential war with Iran. Do not give Israel weapons that it can use to start a war with Iran and more weapons to continue oppressing the Palestinians.

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression: All out for Cincinnati – Rasmea’s appeal October 14

Posted by uscsjp on September 5, 2015

All out for Cincinnati to support Rasmea at her appeal
Wednesday, October 14, 2015!

Tell us that you’re coming to Cincinnati!
Stand with Rasmea and fill the appeals courthouse in Cincinnati!

We will organize a support rally in front of the courthouse at 8 AM EST on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, and then fill the courtroom immediately thereafter, as Rasmea’s defense and the prosecution each present their oral arguments to a three judge panel.

WHEN:
Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 8 AM EST (oral argument for the appeal starts at 9 AM EST)

WHERE:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
540 Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
100 E. 5th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Bus and carpool info from Chicago coming soon!

Register here to join us in Cincinnati on October 14, participate in a week of action for Rasmea between September 8 and September 14, visit http://www.justice4rasmea.org for more information, and / or email justice4rasmea@uspcn.org with any questions.

The Rasmea Defense Committee contends that Judge Gershwin Drain did not allow for a full and fair trial, and believes that is why Rasmea was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation. We are confident that she has solid arguments on appeal, and wrote in late July that the “defense argues conclusively that the government ‘never really addresses the basic constitutional deprivations asserted in Ms. Odeh’s opening appellate brief,’ and that Rasmea is ‘entitled to present her complete defense to the jury,’ which can only happen in a new trial.”

After the oral arguments are heard by three appellate judges on October 14, a decision will be made between two and six months later. If the court agrees with the defense and overturns the conviction and the sentencing, the case gets sent back to the prosecution to possibly refile charges, whereupon the entire trial process begins anew. But this time, evidence of torture, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), etc., would be allowed into the courtroom.

If the court upholds the conviction but disagrees with the sentence, the appellate judges send new sentencing guidelines back to Drain for re-sentencing. In the worst possible scenario, her conviction and sentencing would be upheld, meaning that she would have to serve 18 months in prison and then be deported. If this happens, the defense could ask that all of the 6th Circuit appellate court judges, not just the three panelists, review the case as a last ditch effort to win the appeal.

We have been doing non-stop fundraising, organizing public events, and pitchingRasmea’s story to media across the country and the world.

There is still much more organizing to be done!

Register here to join us in Cincinnati on October 14, participate in a week of action for Rasmea between September 8 and September 14, visit http://www.justice4rasmea.org for more information, and / or email justice4rasmea@uspcn.org with any questions.

The national Rasmea Defense Committee is led by United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN),Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), and Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR); and includes 8th Day Center for Justice, Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, ADC National, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), ANSWER Coalition, Anti-War Committee (AWC)-Chicago, AWC-Minneapolis, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Light Brigade, Committee Against Political Repression, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, CAIR-Michigan, Friends of Sabeel-North America, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of Peoples’ Struggle-U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC), Latino Organization of the Southwest (LOS), Lifta Society, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), Middle East Crisis Committee (CT), Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition, National Boricua Human Rights Network, National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Branch, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, United African Organization, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Voces de la Frontera, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), and Z Collective.

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