Dear Senator Wyden,
We, the undersigned organizations, represent Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular residents of the state of Oregon who are struggling for peace in the Middle East through justice for Palestinians who have been denied equal rights and the right to self-determination for far too long.
In a recent letter to constituents, you stated that you are both "pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian." Unfortunately, your record shows that you are neither.
For Israelis who hope for peace, you have nothing to offer but the status quo, which you back unequivocally every year by voting for $3 billion in military aid to the Israeli government, ensuring that it will continue its policies of settlement expansion, colonization, and authoritarian military rule over millions of Palestinians. You back the most right-wing government in Israel's history, and you gave its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, 37 standing ovations when he recently addressed Congress. He thanked you by openly supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
For Palestinians who hope for justice, you are silent in the face of Israeli massacres that have killed hundreds of children and thousands of civilians in attacks that even an American general has called "absolutely disproportionate," a violation of the Geneva Conventions. You are silent in the face of an apartheid legal system and an apartheid system of roads, housing, and water rights in the West Bank. You are silent about the more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians who make up 20 percent of Israel's population. And you say nothing about the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, even though this right is guaranteed by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Senator Wyden, you say you oppose the influence of Big Money in our elections, but you dutifully support every resolution proposed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has a donor network that rivals Wall Street and the National Rifle Association. AIPAC supports every action of the Israeli government. It pushed for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and it promotes an aggressive military approach toward Iran. It is a racist, militarist lobby that opposes fundamental human rights for Palestinians simply because they are not Jewish. AIPAC does not speak for the Jewish community. Read more: An Open Letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
An open letter to Senators and Congressional Representatives nationwide:
On March 3rd, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak before a joint session of Congress. I’m sure that, you, like every other responsible elected representative in the country, knows what a divisive issue this has become. I wonder if you really understand though, all the messages that your presence at that event will send.
By merely being present in that historic chamber, you will not be making a casual appearance at your workplace. You will be giving credence to, and lending support to, a man who has become a symbol of intransigence and intolerance. You will be taking sides on a long list of highly controversial issues that I frankly doubt you fully understand. Read more: When you stand with Netanyahu… Do you know what messages you are really sending?
Goliath, according to Adam Hochschild, is "brash, gritty, personal and close to the ground...a report from an Israel and a Palestine we seldom see in the mainstream media." Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. The book is already receiving significant attention and has been positively reviewed by Kirkus Reviews: "A rich, roiling examination of 'the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis' ... Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter."
In an article for Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar — a former chief political columnist and editorial writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, where he worked for 35 years — writes,
Unlike most Jews — American or Israeli — Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal's greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the 'peace process' and diplomatic salons.
Written in a clear and accessible style by the advocacy director of a national peace organization and former Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service, Shattered Hopes offers an informed history of the Obama administration’s policies and maps out a true path forward for the United States to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Maxine and Ned of Jewish Voice for Peace - Portland are in Gaza
right now as part of a Physicians for Social Responsibility
There are not many organizations able to get into Gaza right now and we wish Maxine and Ned a safe and successful journey.
You can read more on Maxine's blog:
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