Over 20 Massachusetts Peace Action members participated in a meeting to develop our Palestine-Israel work last Sunday, March 23. This was a meeting aimed at potential organizers, so we were impressed with the turnout and the commitment of those who attended.
As explained at the meeting, Peace Action does not aim to duplicate or replace the efforts of many other groups working on public education, solidarity and BDS. Instead, we intend to focus on developing an effective counter to the current one-sided policies of our government – and especially in the Congress – which are crucial enablers of the current state of affairs in Palestine/Israel.
To do this, we plan to grow the Peace Action P/I working group; increase the frequency and effectiveness of lobbing our representatives; and in the long run establish a real alternative to the current pro-Israel advocacy dominating US policy in the region. This is no easy or short-term task!
The event we are planning for May 7 with Prof. Stephen Walt – tentatively titled “TAKING ON THE ISRAEL LOBBY: Opportunities and Obstacles” – is the kickoff for this long-term project. We’ll share the details of this event as soon as they are finalized.
One specific initiative was to thank Elizabeth Warren for refraining to co-sponsor some of the more egregious bills in the Senate, such as the Iran negotiations-killing S. 1881 and The US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act (S. 462). We will share our letter with the group and encourage you all to follow up in like manner.
Other suggestions voiced at the meeting included:
- the establishment of an email network/listserve focusing on legislative-political developments and organizing regular response by the largest possible numbers;
- letter-writing campaigns to establish a “presence” on this issue with our elected officials and the public;
- highlighting the massive amounts of aid and tax-deductible money going to Israel from the US each year and pointing out the alternative uses for such funds at home or for more worthy causes abroad;
- reaching out to other US constituencies which have a natural affinity to these issues and a (potential, at least) sympathy for Palestinian rights, such as communities of color.
We ask for your support and participation in the coming months as we develop these initiatives. To contact the working group, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.