JVP members and interfaith activists for Gaza arrested in sit-in at Senator Feinstein's office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Karin Pally; firstname.lastname@example.org (310) 463-7025
Shakeel Syed; email@example.com; (310) 384-7791
INTERFAITH ACTIVISTS STAGE SIT-IN TO DEMAND SENATORS SUPPORT INVESTIGATION OF WAR CRIMES IN GAZA
Los Angeles, CA (August 18, 2014)—An interfaith delegation staged coordinated visits to the offices of both California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein on Monday to protest the Senate’s unconditional support of Israel in its deadly assault on Gaza. Activists visited both Senate offices simultaneously, occupying Senator Feinstein’s office for nearly 5 hours, while concerned callers flooded the phone lines. Four were arrested when they sat down and refused to leave the offices of Senator Feinstein to demand that California Senators support the UN’s call for a full, independent investigation into Operation Protective Edge.
Deeply concerned activists from Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, Codepink, Friends of Sabeel and others expressed their disappointment with Senator Boxer and Feinstein’s support for Senate Resolution 498 and their support for sending further arms to Israel.
On July 17th the US Senate unanimously passed Resolution 498, backed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC, which expressed support for Israel’s attack on Gaza. The resolution made no mention of Palestinian deaths and the disproportionate use of force against civilians. 1945 Palestinians have been killed, nearly 80% civilians including over 400 children, in the recent assault. The resolution, which passed “through a unanimous consent agreement,” describes Palestinian attacks on Israel as “unprovoked,” and fails to acknowledge the underlying conditions of siege and occupation that make life in Gaza miserable.
“As a person of faith and conscience, I am committed to non-violent solutions for the conflicts in Israel and Occupied Palestine,” said Reverend Jerald M. Stinson, a participant in the delegation. “The support by Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein for additional US funds to allow the Israelis to secure new weapons will not lead to peace but rather to more death and destruction in Gaza. I am appalled that my tax dollars, over and over, have been used to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine. While that occupation continues, there can be no genuine peace in that part of the world. I am shocked by the brutality of Israel’s attack on Gaza and the massive number of civilian casualties. Bombing UN schools, mosques, homes and hospitals shows a callous disregard for the lives of all Palestinian people.”
Reverend Ann Schranz, a participant in the protest, called upon her Unitarian Universalist tradition to explain her participation in the protest. “I chose to join religious leaders and others at the field offices of California Senators Boxer and Feinstein to protest unconditional U.S. support of the Israeli military in terms of dollars and weapons that this country sends to them. Living halfway around the world from the scene of destruction and bloodshed, I am tempted to look the other way, to cast about for clear-cut cases of right and wrong. But it is clear to me that authentic multi-religious interchange means taking actions that have consequences.”
Anthony Manousos, a Quaker Clergy Member arrested in the action said that the assault on Gaza this summer prompted him to escalate his action. “I have been fasting during Ramadan for 11 years, praying for peace in Israel/Palestine. Because the attack on Gaza took place during Ramadan this summer, I have been especially sensitive to the suffering that has taken place. I want to send a clear message: NO MORE!
The US Congress has a responsibility to hold Israel accountable for the use of weaponry provided and funded by the United States that has resulted in large numbers of civilian deaths, and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza. Our Congressional leaders must support the UN call for a full, independent investigation into Operation Protective Edge.
Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org ) is a national, grassroots organization dedicated to achieving a just and lasting peace that recognizes the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 175,000 online supporters, 40 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Cabinet, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.
CODEPINK (www.codepink4peace.org) is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.
American Muslims for Palestine (http://www.ampalestine.org/ ) works to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage.
Friends of Sabeel - North America (FOSNA) (http://www.fosna.org/content/about-fosna) is a non-profit, tax exempt, Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolence and education.