After a substantial amount of planning and preparation, AAPER Foundation begins weekly email communications today with the launch of its initial campaign, the Gaza Human Rights Campaign (GHRC). The GHRC brings together a coalition of groups and individuals to work in a coordinated manner to stand for the human rights of the people of Gaza. The GHRC asserts that:
- The people of Gaza are entitled to the fundamental rights due to all human beings, as enshrined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and in international human rights conventions;
- Widely respected human rights and legal organizations have concluded that, in its recent attack on Gaza, Israel misused weapons supplied or financed by the United States in violation of Palestinian human rights and U.S. laws; and
- This misuse of U.S. weapons has caused further long-term damage to (a) the national security and image of the United States vis-à-vis Arabs and Muslims around the world, (b) prospects for Palestinian- and Arab-Israeli reconciliation, and (c) Israelis' own security.
To uphold our nation’s ideals, interests and image, the United States must demonstrate leadership in the cause of human rights and, as such, must ensure that its weapons are never used in violation of human rights and U.S. law. To that end, the GHRC calls on our elected representatives to:
- Send a letter to the Department of State calling for an investigation into Israel's use of U.S.-supplied and financed weapons during its offensive against Gaza;
- Urge Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza and resume unfettered humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza;and
- Join Congressman Brian Baird's delegation to Gaza and Southern Israel to witness the situation there first-hand.
The GHRC will work toward these goals by:
- Organizing Citizen Hearings across the United States led by Americans who have visited Gaza and citizen organizations across the United States;
- Coordinating and Supporting Grassroots Congressional Engagement between constituents and their members of Congress by organizing a District Lobby Week, providing Congressional Engagement Trainings and offering a Congressional Engagement Packet to its supporters; and
- Meeting with Members of Congress in Washington, DC to inform them about the situation in Gaza and the use of U.S. weapons in Gaza.
We take these vital actions with the understanding that most of our elected officials will not embrace our recommendations in the immediate-term (and any support earned by them will be viewed as an added benefit). However, making a robust presence on behalf of Palestinian human rights heard in Washington, DC will be a significant achievement in-and-of itself. We will build on this achievement by translating this presence into consistent engagement to patiently and persistenly increase the support of our elected representatives for an equitable U.S. policy toward Palestine.
Get started today by (1) visiting http://www.gazahumanrights.org and (2) joining the GHRC Facebook Group and inviting your friends to join.
More to come...