March 2, 2009
Last Thursday, President Obama sent his FY2010 budget outline to Congress and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it contained no mention of military aid to Israel.
To read the budget outline, click here (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/pdf/fy10-newera.pdf). (Skip ahead to p.87 for the section on the Department of State and other international programs.)
Last Tuesday, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to
explain his budget outline. His only reference to Israel was a reiteration of his Administration's priority "To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors". To read President Obama's remarks to Congress - http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-of-President-Barack-Obama-Address-to-Joint-Session-of-Congress/
Does this mean that President Obama will not include $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel when he delivers his actual detailed budget request to Congress in April as expected? That's highly doubtful.
But the absence of any mention of it in the budget outline or the President's address to Congress does mean that military aid to Israel is becoming a political liability, something that is now downplayed and no longer trumpeted.
If our analysis is correct, then what accounts for this shift? Undoubtedly it is our growing movement to hold Israel accountable for its misuse of U.S.weapons to commit horrific human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Since last Monday, together we have sent more than 7,000 letters to President Obama calling for an investigation into Israel's misuse of U.S. weapons and a reconsideration of budget requests for more weapons. More letters have been sent by supporters of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, the Council for the National Interest, and others, in a coordinated campaign that we organized.
On a related note, we also attended a Capitol Hill briefing by Rep. Barney Frank last Tuesday. Rep. Frank has a great proposal to cut military spending by 25%. Unfortunately, when we challenged him on reining in spending on military aid to Israel and holding it accountable for its misuse of U.S.weapons, he ducked our question. Watch the short video on the left.
Keep up the pressure—it’s working!—by taking action below.
1. Thank President Obama for not including military aid to Israel (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26705) in his budget outline. Send a letter (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26705) to the President today asking him to investigate Israel’s prior misuses of U.S. weapons against Palestinians and to reconsider his anticipated request for additional weapons in his upcoming detailed budget. To send your letter, please click here (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=26705).
2. Organize to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel in your community. Even as we begin to see glimmers of hope that the United States is considering changing its policy of unconditional support for Israel and holding it accountable for its human rights abuses of Palestinians, we have to organize on a long-term, sustained basis
to make this happen.
Since February 2008, we have sent more than 1,000 organizing packets to people and organizations all over the country to educate and mobilize people in their communities to challenge military aid to Israel. Check out our Google map below showing the locations where people are organizing.
Sign up today as a volunteer organizer with us and we’ll send you an organizing packet complete with postcards, petitions, and fact
Sign up today!
3. Learn more about U.S. military aid to Israel and its dire impact on
Palestinians. Watch our recent Capitol Hill policy briefing, “Armed and Dangerous: Weapons Transfers to Israel during the Bush Administration,” and download a PowerPoint presentation on the topic by clicking here (http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=1820).
Also, be sure to read Amnesty International’s report, “Fueling
Conflict: Foreign Arms Supplies to Israel/Gaza (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/012/2009/en/3301b5c0-189b-4ba2-9bca-68e116fd590f/mde150122009en.pdf),” released on February 23. In the report, Amnesty International details the role U.S. weapons played in Israel’s recent war on the occupied Gaza Strip and calls for an arms embargo.
Finally, check out this Huffington Post article by Robert Naiman of Just
Foreign Policy, entitled, “Conditioning Part of U.S. Aid to Israel on Implementation of U.S. Policy (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/conditioning-part-of-us-a_b_167321.html).” 4. Make a tax-deductible contribution (http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=149) to support this work. If you value the work that we do to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel, then please consider making a generous one-time contribution or join our Olive Branch Club and make a recurring monthly donation.(http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=149)