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Jewish Voice for Peace Joins Progressive Opposition to Fast Track
Amendments to trade legislation legitimize illegal Israeli settlements and censor Palestinian rights advocacy
(April 30, 2015)– Congressional leaders are quietly pushing through legislation, backed by AIPAC, that would discourage and penalize boycotts against Israel and erase the distinction between Israel and the Palestinian territories it occupies. Jewish Voice for Peace joins hundreds of progressive organizations in mobilizing opposition to the fast-track Trade Promotion Authority legislation currently moving through Congress.
As Jewish Voice for Peace federal policy organizer Rabbi Joseph Berman explained, “JVP opposes ‘Fast-Track’ not only because it is anti-democratic and bad for workers and the environment, but because it will also legitimize support for illegal Israeli settlements and impede efforts to apply non-violent pressure to hold Israel to the standards of international law and human rights norms.”
Amendments passed last week to the ‘Fast Track’ legislation currently moving through Congress call for US negotiators to make discouraging companies from abiding by human rights boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel one of the “principal U.S. trade negotiating objectives.” The legislation also includes language that legitimizes the settlements by including “territory controlled by Israel” as well as Israel ‘proper’–part of an ongoing attempt to erase the Green Line. JVP members around the country are asking their elected officials to vote no on fast-tracking legislation.
These legislative efforts have emerged in response to the growing success of the tactics of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to hold Israel accountable to international law and human rights norms.
This legislation is the latest in a series of attempts by AIPAC to use US politicians to repress the BDS movement, both here in the US and abroad. The same day that the Senate Finance Committee passed the Cardin amendment, the Illinois State Senate passed a bill (currently moving through the House) calling for state retirement systems to divest from and blacklist companies that abide by human rights boycotts of Israel, and the previous day the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill condemning BDS. (*Update: The Indiana state legislature also passed an anti-BDS bill this week.)
Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org) is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.