Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

54 Reps in the House demand an end to the siege of Gaza

On January 21, 2010, 54 Representatives sent President Obama a letter that termed Israel's blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip as "de facto collective punishment" and called on the United States to press Israel "for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza."

Some more info from James Wall:

Initially drafted by Democrats Keith Ellison, Minnesota, and Jim McDermott, Washington, the letter says, in part:

The unabated suffering of Gazan civilians highlights the urgency of reaching a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts. . . . The current blockade has severely impeded the ability of aid agencies to do their work to relieve suffering.

Fifty-two other members of the House joined Ellison and McDermott in signing the letter, a dramatic increase in congressional voices defying the powerful Israel Lobby.

The Minnesota Independent’s story on the letter from the 54 House members lists the members by their home states. Some states are notable by their absence.

In Illinois, for example, the president’s home state, no member of either party supported the resolution. California and Massachusetts, in contrast, has eleven and six members, respectively, as signees.

Former Illinois Congressman Paul Findley praised the House members for their courage. Speaking from experience, Findley told Helene Cobban, former Middle Eastern correspondent for the Christian Science monitor, that it was “an extraordinary step for 54 House members to stand up to the Lobby.”

“We haven’t seen so many members of Congress prepared to stand together behind a resolution critical of Israel since the 1970s,”, Findley told Cobban, who now runs a blog published by the Council on the National Interest, a non profit Washington-based organization which Findley co-founded in 1989.

A call for action from the US Campaign to End the Occupation:
Please take a moment to "cheer" your Representative for signing this important "Dear Colleague" letter calling attention to the devastating humanitarian impact of Israel's illegal blockade of the occupied Gaza Strip, or "jeer" your Representative for not signing the letter by clicking here.
Here's a PDF version of the letter, including the signatories. Cheer or jeer your rep, depending on whether you see their 'John Hancock.' (I recommend zooming in and then going fullscreen).

Letter from House Reps about Gaza

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