A New Era: Activists Celebrate a Victory for Peace, Call for A New Approach to Mid-East Policy
UPDATE: On Thursday September 10, supporters of diplomacy in the Senate blocked a measure intended to derail the nuclear deal with Iran.
Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP Governmental Affairs Liaison: “This is a huge victory for grassroots activists, demonstrating that people organizing together to support peace can defeat the forces of militarism and fear. In the coming days, opponents will continue to try to undermine the deal, there is still work to do to ensure that our elected officials choose diplomacy over war.”
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September 8, 2015 – Jewish Voice for Peace joins supporters of peace and diplomacy worldwide celebrating another step towards securing the Congressional support to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran. After the 41st Senator announced their support for the deal today, President Obama secured the votes needed to filibuster a Congressional resolution of disapproval and avoid a veto. As Congress discusses the deal alongside bills and amendments designed to undermine it this week, we continue to urge our elected officials to do the right thing by supporting diplomacy.
At the same time, we reject proposals to reward Israel’s opposition to the deal with even more military aid used to fund human rights abuses and Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Further, we call on all policymakers concerned about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East to demand that Israel, whose nuclear weapons capacity is well-known, sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.
Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP Government Affairs Liaison, stated: “The passage of the Iran deal will mark a historic moment in US foreign policy. This victory, which countless organizations and individuals contributed to, proves the power of grassroots advocacy. This achievement demonstrates that advocates of peace and justice can win over the well-financed advocates of war. This is a strong deal, one with strict safeguards and unprecedented levels of oversight, and one that is in the interest of the entire international community.”
A national, grassroots organization that advocates for a more just US foreign policy in the Middle East, Jewish Voice for Peace mobilized thousands of members and supporters to take action in support of the nuclear deal with Iran. JVP members and supporters sent over 70,000 letters to their Congressional representatives, met with over 45 congressional offices, made tens of thousands of phone calls and wrote numerous letters to the editor and op-eds.
However, the fight for a more just foreign policy is far from over. Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace stated: “Those of us who care about peace in the Middle East should care that this deal may well come at the cost of a significant increase in military aid to Israel. The US already gives Israel unprecedented levels of military aid, US taxpayer money which helped financed Israeli military aggression against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, aid that sustains the nearly 48-year military occupation of the West Bank, and aid that fuels the military-industrial complex both in Israel and in the US. This is a new era, Congress and the Administration have demonstrated that they can defy the Israel lobby when it comes to key issues of international diplomacy. The same courage is needed to chart a new course towards ending decades of repressing Palestinian rights and freedom.”
Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org) is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.