Joint Statement Calling on Biden Administration to Condemn Israeli government plans to Forcibly Displace Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem

Chicago Area Peace Action and our Palestinian Human & Civil Rights Campaign wholeheartadly endorse the below statement.

Read more about this statement and the grassroots advocacy from The Hill and Middle East Eye 

The undersigned grassroots and advocacy organizations stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem currently at risk of losing their homes and call on the Biden administration to immediately and publicly condemn the Israeli government’s plans to forcibly displace 1,550 Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Bustan neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem and to exert the utmost diplomatic pressure to prevent these potential war crimes from taking place. 

The situation is particularly urgent in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Israeli government plans to forcibly displace hundreds of Palestinians from homes they have lived in for generations, in order to allow Israeli settlers to move in, an act which is illegal under international humanitarian law. On May 7, the United Nations urged the Israeli government to halt these plans, stating that the forced displacement could amount to war crimes. This takes place in the broader context of Israel’s ongoing policy to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes through eviction, home demolition, and displacement, with the express intent of pushing Palestinians out of Jerusalem in order to create and maintain a Jewish majority and supremacy in the city. 

Furthermore, we are deeply disturbed by the violence and use of force that Israeli police in East Jerusalem are employing against Palestinian residents, protestors, and worshippers during the last ten days of Ramadan. Over the past week, residents and activists leading sit-ins, vigils, and protests against the forced displacement in Sheikh Jarrah have been met with overwhelming violence and force from Israeli police and settlers, including a police officer kneeling on a protestor’s neck while he shouts that he is being suffocated, and attacking worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque , Islam’s third holiest site. Protestors have also faced harassment from Israeli officials, including an incident in which the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem told a Palestinian activist it was “a pity” that he wasn’t shot in the head. 

Israeli state violence is, of course, not limited to Jerusalem. We are horrified by Israel’s use of disproportionate and deadly force against Palestinians in Gaza which have already resulted in the killings of dozens of Palestinians, including children. This comes within the context of Israel’s 14 year illegal blockade on Gaza which has created an open air prison with severe shortages of life-saving medicines, food, electricity, and clean water, making life unsafe and unbearable. We call on the Biden administration to condemn this violence and address its root causes: Israeli blockade and occupation. 

The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it intends to center its foreign policy around respect for human rights and international law. We therefore call on the administration to uphold international law and act in accordance with the urgency of the moment to prevent the Israeli government’s forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians. 

We support the asks articulated in a letter led by Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-03) and signed by 24 members of Congress calling on the Biden administration to:

1. Immediately send the strongest possible diplomatic message to Israel to desist from its plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Al-Bustan and evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah; 

2. Publicly reiterate that U.S. policy opposes Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and that East Jerusalem is Occupied Territory under international law; 3. Undertake an expeditious review of previous Congressional requests that the State Department investigate whether Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes with U.S. weapons violates the Arms Export Control Act (AECA); 

4. If Israel proceeds with its plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Al-Bustan and evict Palestinian residents from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, then the U.S. Embassy to Israel should send observers to document Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians, including details on the military units involved in these operations and the usage of any U.S. weapons for purposes of oversight and accountability regarding Leahy Law and AECA violations. 

Sincerely, 

350.org 

About Face: Veterans Against the War 

Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) 

Adalah Justice Project 

African Public Affairs Committee 

Alianza Americas 

Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine 

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) 

American Friends Service Committee 

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) 

American Muslims for Palestine 

Arab American Association of NY 

Arab American Caucus 

Arab American Civic Council 

Arab American Institute 

Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) 

Armenian-American Action Network 

As the Spirit Moves Us 

Ayada Leads 

Borderlands for Equity 

Center for International Policy 

CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity) 

Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy 

Christian Peacemaker Teams 

Churches for Middle East Peace 

CODEPINK 

Common Defense

Community Renewal Society 

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 

Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington Chapter Cross Border Network for Justice & Solidarity 

Demand Progress 

Democracy for America 

Democratic Socialists of America 

Detention Watch Network 

Disciples Palestine Israel Network (DPIN) 

Dissenters 

Dream Defenders 

Emgage Action 

Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) 

Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network 

Eyewitness Palestine 

Fellowship of Reconciliation 

The Feminist Front 

For All 

Freedom Forward 

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) 

Friends of Sabeel North America 

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance 

Grassroots International 

Historians for Peace and Democracy 

Hometown Action 

ICNA Council for Social Justice 

IfNotNow 

Indiana Center for Middle East Peace 

Indivisible 

Indivisible Illinois 

International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) 

Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno 

Islamophobia Studies Center 

Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church Jetpac Resource Center 

Jewish Voice for Peace Action 

Jews for Racial And Economic Justice (JFREJ) 

Just Foreign Policy 

Justice Democrats 

Justice for Muslims Collective 

Kehilla Community Synagogue 

MADRE 

Mainers for Accountable Leadership

March For Science 

Massachusetts Peace Action 

MediaJustice 

Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) 

Migrant Roots Media 

Monthly Review Foundation 

MoveOn 

MPower Change 

Muslim Peace Fellowship 

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Arab American Women’s Association (NAAWA) National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) National Iranian American Council 

National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights National Writers Union 

New Hampshire Youth Movement 

New Internationalism Project at Institute for Policy Studies Nonviolence International 

Northeast Political Prisoner Coalition 

OD Action 

On Earth Peace 

Our Revolution 

Palestine Advocacy Project 

Palestine Legal 

Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace 

Pax Christi USA 

Peace Action 

People’s Action Institute 

Presente.org 

Progressive Democrats of America 

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada 

Project Blueprint 

Project South 

Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice RAICES 

ReThinking Foreign Policy 

Revolutionary Love Project 

Revolving Door Project 

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights 

RootsAction.org 

School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) 

Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) 

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) 

Solidaire Action Fund

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) 

Southern Anti-Racism Network 

Sunrise Movement 

TakeAction Minnesota 

Tree of Life Educational Fund 

Tunisian United Network 

UltraViolet Action 

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network 

United for Peace and Justice 

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society United Vision for Idaho 

United We Dream 

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights 

U.S. Labor Against Racism and War 

Veterans For Peace 

Virginia Coalition on Human Rights 

Voice for Refuge Action Fund 

Voices for Justice in Palestine 

WESPAC Foundation, Inc. 

Whatcom Peace & Justice Center 

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Win Without War 

Working Families Party 

World BEYOND War

The Terrifying Threat of New Cold Wars

No New Cold Wars Campaign Statement

  • With the Obama/Biden Administration’s “Asia Pivot” against China, its preoccupation with regime-change in Syria, and its support for a coup in Ukraine
  • with the Trump/Pence Administration’s racist anti-Chinese trade war, its blatant and illegal intervention in Syria, and its fierce antagonism toward multiple Russian allies on several continents,

  • and with both major U.S. parties trading inflammatory rhetoric and stunningly implausible conspiracy theories about both China and Russia, 

the United States is well embarked upon two devastatingly wasteful and profoundly dangerous new Cold Wars.  

  • With climate change promising untold economic and military chaos, 
  • with a rising global eruption of fascism and protofascism unseen since the 1930s, and 
  • with the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals drastically reducing the species’ margin for doomsday error through unprecedented hypersonic missile technology,

humanity cannot afford any new Cold Wars and should not expect to survive the existing/current ones for long.  

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists rightly puts their famed “Doomsday Clock” at twenty seconds past 11:58pm: nearer to nuclear midnight than humanity has ever come.  General Lee Butler, commander of America’s nukes as the last Cold War ended, reports that “we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck and divine intervention—probably the latter in greatest proportion…. Because skill and luck certainly don’t account for it.” 

Chicago Area Peace Action’s “No New Cold Wars” campaign will educate the public and its legislators concerning the betrayal of America’s and the world’s future implicit in  letting superpower rivalry and demagogic domestic politics distract humankind from collectively solving our gravest existential problems.  Climate change, WMDs, and a fanatic backlash to global inequality are problems desperately requiring the mutual cooperation of a multipolar world – a world that is through with empire.  Our campaign will seek concrete steps to arrest America’s slide through Cold War II into World War III.  

Take Action!

Our campaign is just beginning.  In the middle of COVID lockdown, much of our immediate presence will be online.  

  • We’ve assembled our first draft of a U.S.-China Cold Wars Resource List to include background articles and video arranged by topic, links to news sites informatively covering U.S.-China and U.S.-Russia relations, contact lists for allied national and global organizations leading on this issue, and information on pending webinars and Chicago-area street actions. 
  • An ongoing calendar of dates and events requiring letters to the editor will provide talking points from our resource list to our growing team of dedicated op-ed writers, ready to barrage Chicagoland media with our concerns regarding the apocalyptic peril of renewed superpower rivalry.  
  • We have endorsed – and will immediately focus on supporting – the Roots Action organization’s call for public resistance to the apparently imminent appointment of failed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the U.S. ambassador either to China or to Japan.  Rahm and diplomacy are words impossible to credibly link, and his manifest contempt for ordinary citizens of any country must keep him from involvement in the growing risk of U.S.-China confrontation.   
  • We are planning a series of online video and panel discussion events, the first of them showcasing famed reporter and author John Pilger’s film, The Coming War on China.

Join the No New New Cold Wars Campaign by emailing Sean Reynolds at joveismad@juno.com or call him at (773) 865-6042

Now is the Time for Nuclear Abolition!

We believe an important space in the Nuclear abolition discourse has been opened by the coming into force of the landmark Treaty for The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on January 22, 2021. The opening has been further widened by the evident increase in risk from the egregious behavior of the Trump administration with respect to all things nuclear weapons related, beginning with then candidate Trump’s question to a foreign policy advisor in 2016, “If we have these weapons, why can’t we use them?”

This was rapidly followed by his callous disregard for the importance of the Iran nuclear deal, (JCPOA), his complete lack of negotiating savvy in addressing the North Korean nuclear arsenal – and finally in his administration’s complete disregard for the INF, Open Skies and New Start treaties. These actions have enhanced the public’s recognition globally that, whether by design, miscalculation or accident, the probability of a nuclear weapon’s being detonated is no longer a statistical question of whether, but only of when. The presence of the nuclear arsenals, and the severely damaged treaty limits, mean that even with a more savvy president, unless major changes in the international, and especially the US, dialog occur immediately, such an event becomes inevitable. Contributing to reducing that risk is a responsibility we have accepted.

Our first and continuing goal in this campaign is to make that point evident to a public that is able, now, perhaps for the first time since the middle 1980s, to hear this message. The last time we had such an open public ear to the issue, we witnessed the largest nuclear arms reductions in the history of the nuclear age – led in part by one of the staunchest cold war presidents in history – Ronald Reagan.

We believe a moment has arrived that is even more ripe.

We begin with the recognition that our ultimate goal is for the U.S to become a signatory and then a State Party to the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW treaty). Realistically, we know that will not, cannot occur in the present political environment. We will need to move public opinion significantly before we can gain that political diplomatic win.

We choose to begin the campaign with what we judge to be the most achievable public policy:  a congressional resolution coupled with a presidential statement that the United States will never be a “First Strike” or First Use country.

On the campaign trail, President Biden stated on more than one occasion that he would be the first president in US history to make that policy statement. And there is more than one bill in Congress addressing this. So, this seems a very real possibility in the near term.

Once that piece of policy is established, we believe it is essential to quickly pivot our attention to the land based (Inter-continental Ballistic Missile) ICBM program, one leg of the US nuclear “triad”. The current ICBM Minuteman III is scheduled to be upgraded over the next 9 years at a near term cost of $100 Billion with a 50 year price tag of $264 Billion over the life of the new weapon,  currently referred to as the GBSD (Ground Based Strategic Deterrent). This upgrading is part of a 30 year $1.7 trillion US nuclear weapon escalation program currently referred to as “modernization”. Our work to disavow the necessity of this one program (GBSD) is the leading edge of a more comprehensive campaign to stop the entire $1.7 trillion program. 

The ICBMs in missile silos do not have a defensive role; they will be the first targets in a nuclear exchange and thus are forced into the extremely destabilizing position of needing to be Launched On Warning (LOW), truly a first use strike force. Once the US has an avowed policy of No First Use, ICBMs become superfluous, and no money or international trust should be wasted on their so-called “modernization.”

As we pursue these two important policies objectives, we will continue to frame our work in an overarching narrative that nuclear weapons do not make us safer – indeed they make us more vulnerable to catastrophe on a global scale. Therefore, the US should revisit its 50-year-old unfulfilled commitment under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force on 3/5/1970 and is still in effect:  “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. We further mean to make the case that signing and ratifying the TPNW is the next logical treaty step – but this time the US must back up a signature with real action toward complete global nuclear disarmament.  Our campaign will be working to ever increase public participation in pushing the US government in this direction, working on every step until nuclear weapons are eliminated.