Thank Your Representative for Rejecting Anti-Peace Amendment to Palestinian Aid Bill

Dear Friends of Brit Tzedek,

Coming just weeks after our National Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill, history was made last Wednesday when 100 Representatives voted against an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2601) that placed severe limitations on the flow of American aid to the Palestinian Authority. While that amendment ultimately passed, never before have so many Representatives publicly rejected a piece of anti-Palestinian legislation. It is very significant that these 100 Representatives were willing to resist political pressure and take a public stand on this issue including nearly the entire Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee. Your Representative was one of these 100 and deserves to be applauded for his or her courage and wisdom. Thank your representative now!
 

Financial aid is crucial for the building of a stable and functioning Palestinian state and civil society that can be Israel's partner in a peaceful future. Given the upcoming Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the uncertainty of what will happen in its aftermath, it is particularly critical that funds be available to the PA to bring badly-needed improvements in social services to Gaza, in order to build confidence in the PA and PA President Abbas' Fatah party among Gazan voters. Despite this, unprecedented restrictions have been placed on the $350 million currently earmarked for Palestinian aid.

Our elected officials need to know we are paying attention to how they vote, and need to hear our praise when they use their votes to take a principled stand for peace. Take action now! 

Please contact your Representative by email or by telephone. Our action alert provides a thank-you letter that we encourage you to customize — in particular, if you met with your representative during our recent Advocacy Days, do remind them of this.

Suggested talking points for phone call:

  • You are a Jewish constituent.

  • You want to thank the Representative for his or her vote against the Berkley Amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

  • As a supporter of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, you want to urge the Representative to continue to vote—and to speak out—on behalf of policies that promote a negotiated two-state solution, the only way for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Please share this Action Alert with family, friends, and colleagues, and tell them about Brit Tzedek v'Shalom.

B'shalom,
Steve Masters, Chair of Advocacy and Public Policy


Sample Letter: 

To your Congressional Representative:

Subject: Thank You for Voting against the Berkley Amendment

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

As your constituent and as an American Jew, I am writing to thank you for voting against the Berkley Amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

Particularly in light of the upcoming Gaza disengagement—a potential first step towards a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—our country must send a strong message of encouragement, both to the Palestinian people and to President Abbas in particular, and provide the material support that would make it possible to move ahead as a partner in peace. Unnecessary restrictions on the disbursement of that aid are counterproductive.

I, along with the members and supporters of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, a network of tens of thousands of American Jews, thank you and ask you to continue to take the lead at this crucial time to help bring about a negotiated two-state settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

cc:
President George W. Bush

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What's At Stake:
100 Representatives took a courageous stand for peace and common sense by voting against the Berkley amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2601) that would have placed crippling restrictions on the disbursement of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. These Representatives should be thanked.

This amendment, on top of the several unprecedented restrictions which Congress previously set on the Palestinian aid package, would have limited the amount of the aid package that could be disbursed during any given portion of the year. It also set up additional cumbersome provisions for review. These restrictions would handicap the Palestinian Authority, precisely at the time when it is involved in an all-out political struggle against Hamas. They would also significantly hinder the ability of the Palestinian Authority to implement much-needed aid to its people. Such restrictions are against the best interests of Israel; Israel needs a stable and functioning Palestinian state and civil society for its partner in a peaceful future.

Please thank your Representative who has voted against this amendment, and call on them to continue to vote and to speak out for sensible policies that promote a negotiated two-state solution and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians.

Additional links: Representatives who voted for and against the Berkley Amendment to H.R. 2601

Congress Awakens,” by M.J. Rosenberg. IPF Friday, July 22, 2005.

Floor statement by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), July 20, 2005. 

Floor statement by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), July 20, 2005.

Floor statement by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), July 20, 2005. 

Berkley Amendment, July 20, 2005. 

Campaign Expiration Date:
July 31, 2005


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