Tell the Massachusetts State Senate: DON’T GO TO ISRAEL

Ten Massachusetts State Senators will visit Israel on December 4. Designed to promote economic and cultural ties with Israel, this junket is paid for by anti-Palestinian organizations claiming to represent the Greater-Boston Jewish community, and comes at a time when Israel is escalating its violent repression of Palestinian life.  Join the Boston Alliance for Water Justice in telling our senators: Until Israel abides by international law, the people of Massachusetts oppose economic collaboration with Israel. 

MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATORS: DON’T GO TO ISRAEL

TO: State Senate President Stan Rosenberg and State Senators Ben Downing, Anne Gobi, John Keenan, Barbara L'Italien, Karen Spilka, Michael Barrett, Eileen Donoghue, Richard Ross, and Dan Wolf.

We, Massachusetts voters, are dismayed that you intend to go to Israel on a junket to foster closer economic and cultural ties between the Commonwealth and Israel. While the Israeli government continues to implement increasingly draconian violations of international law and human rights against Palestinians, your trip would serve as an endorsement of Israeli policies.

Until Israel abides by international law, we urge you to oppose the use of MA taxpayer dollars to fund collaborations with the State of Israel.

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This petition has a goal of 1200 signatures

1441 total signers.

Ten Reasons that Massachusetts Senators Should Not Go on This Trip to Israel

1.     It is a conflict of interest: This trip is sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and paid for by Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) – both partisan pro-Israel organizations that regularly lobby lawmakers on behalf of Israel. The trip is designed to present Israel in a positive light and mute international condemnation of its treatment of Palestinians.

2.     Israel violates international law. It is no secret that Israel‘s ever expanding occupation of Palestinian territory blatantly violates international law. Just this month, in yet another contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Israeli ‘Civil Administration Office’ approved a plan to build 2200 more units of settler housing. Other violations of international law include the collective punishment of Palestinians by demolishing homes (of suspects’ families and of Palestinians who expand their house without an impossible-to-get permit), extra-judicial executions, detentions without trial (including of 8-10 year-olds), and war crimes like the bombing of hospitals.

3.     Massachusetts must stand against segregation and racism.  Israeli law privileges Jews over non Jews. Within the occupied West Bank a matrix of roads which is largely off limits to Palestinians serves Israeli settlers.  Palestinians are encircled by a separation wall which cuts them off not only from Israel, but often from their own land, water supplies, schools, hospitals and places of worship.  Schools, housing, health care, and basic services within Israel's 1948 borders are segregated and unequal. Black asylum seekers in Israel are put in open-air detention camps and attacked by settlers with impunity.   

4.     Human rights violations are rampant in Israel. According to a 2015 Amnesty International report, “Israeli forces committed war crimes and human rights violations during a 50-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip that killed over 1,500 civilians, including 539 children, wounded thousands more civilians, and caused massive civilian displacement and destruction of property and vital services.” Israel maintains its air, sea and land blockade of Gaza, imposing collective punishment on its approximately 1.8 million residents, causing an alarming humanitarian crisis. In the West Bank, Israeli forces shoot live ammunition at Palestinian protesters, often killing them. Israel maintains oppressive restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement. It allows settlers to attack Palestinians and destroy their property with near total impunity. Many thousands of Palestinians have been jailed (and often tortured) or held in administrative detention without trial.  

5.     Israel treats Palestinian children like criminals. According to prisoner support group Addameer, 500 Palestinian children are arrested and detained every year; 3 of 4 experience physical violence after arrest.  New laws mandate a minimum three-year sentence for throwing stones. Israeli security forces have choked detained children, thrown stun grenades at them, beaten them in custody, threatened and interrogated them without the presence of their parents or lawyers, and failed to inform parents of their whereabouts. 133 children have been arrested since October 1 across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Israel according to Save the Children.

6.     Israel’s “greening of the desert” leaves Palestinians high and dry. Israel’s water is taken from Palestinian aquifers, leaving Palestinians with less than 10% of their own water. The result is that Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories consume well below the minimum standard set by the World Health Organization. Israel controls water for agriculture, and constructs roads and walls to divert Palestinian water for it own use. Water – a basic human right - is used as a weapon of control by Israel.

7.     Israel uses technology in service of oppression.  Israel's so called “advanced” technologies make the lives of Palestinians unbearable.  Israel’s sophisticated systems are used to "corral" Palestinians with gates, walls, checkpoints, and identity cards. Skunkwater, whose long lasting smell has been described as a cross between skunk spray and a dead body, is frequently pumped on or inside Palestinians’ homes. Israelis are hoping to market this product in the U.S..

8.     Potential MA jobs created by a relationship with Israel are not worth the moral and ethical costs. Entering into business partnerships with Israeli companies amounts to supporting Israel’s discriminatory policies and human rights violations. We should not do business with Israel just as we did no business with South Africa under apartheid.

9.     Opposing Israeli policies is NOT anti-Semitic. Supporters of Israel try to discredit critiques of Israel by accusations of anti-Semitism.  As countless Jews and Jewish organizations have attested, this is a tactic to deflect legitimate criticism. Jewish values demand that Israel be held accountable for its actions. 

10. You are accountable to your constituents. While this trip is not funded by taxpayers, we do pay for your time.  Your trip would signal tacit acceptance of racism, ethnic cleansing, and deprivation of basic human rights to the Palestinian population, both within Israel and living under occupation. Until Israel abides by international law, it is inappropriate for MA lawmakers to spend time supporting Israeli policies rather than focusing on urgent local issues.