This is a big deal.
Senator Patrick Leahy, along with 10 Congressional representatives, has written to the State Department, urging them to investigate “gross violations of human rights” by Israel and Egypt.
This letter happened because Rep. Hank Johnson organized it — but it got 11 signatories, including, crucially, Senator Leahy himself — because we helped fight for it.
We flooded Congress with emails, and 10 Representatives followed Rep. Johnson’s lead took a stand against human rights abuses.
Representative Johnson has shown brave leadership, and a willingness to stand up to the forces of fear and militarism. But this fight isn’t over, and he’s already being attacked for daring to speak out. Netanyahu called Secretary Kerry last week, and asked him to repudiate the letter. Israel’s staunchest defenders in Congress are rallying too, and trying to persuade these Congressional leaders to back down. If they did, it would be a huge step backward for our movement.
But we’re not backing down. We need to show Rep. Johnson that Jews and allies support his brave stand for human rights.
Here’s why this Congressional Letter matters so much: the Leahy Law prohibits the U.S. from providing military aid to countries that are committing grave human rights abuses. This letter asks the State Department to investigate whether U.S. military aid was involved in these extrajudicial killings in Israel and Egypt. If it was, that could trigger the Leahy Law and potentially cut off the flow of military aid.
And the backlash is coming.
Netanyahu has already attacked Senator Leahy on Twitter and has asked Secretary Kerry to state publicly that Israel does not engage in extrajudicial killings. You can bet that our opposition will attack Rep. Johnson, and every other Representative brave enough to take a stand.
So let’s have his back. Click here to send a quick thank you message to Rep. Johnson — and I’ll deliver it personally.
If we’re going to keep on building power in Capitol Hill, we need to show our strength, and that means sticking up for those elected officials brave enough to stand with us.
I believe Rep. Johnson could become a real ally for our movement, and a voice for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine on Capitol Hill.
Let’s show him that we have his back.
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Government Affairs Liaison
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national membership organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine.
1611 Telegraph Ave. Suite 1020 Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 465 1777