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Amnesty USA volunteers help stop anti-Palestinian amendment

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Bad news to good news!

Last Friday, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to the budget bill prohibiting use of any of its funds for assistance to refugees who resettle in the USA—if they happen to be from Gaza.  When I heard of it, I thought, “What on earth?  Why would he …?” And then, “Ohhh, no.”

Yesterday, it became clear that the amendment was heading for a vote.  Amnesty USA emailed its network, of which I am proud to be a part.  Here’s what we learned:

clipped from blog.amnestyusa.org

A Palestinian boy pours water into a dish for a woman as she sits on the rubble of her home, March 6, 2009. (c) MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian boy pours water into a dish for a woman as she sits on the rubble of her home in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip , March 6, 2009. (c) MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians: Keep out?

Middle East, Refugees, United States | Posted by: Christoph Koettl, March 9, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Should Palestinians from Gaza be treated differently under US refugee law? According to Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ), the answer is yes.

Last Friday, Senator Kyl introduced an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations bill, which adds the following line:

“None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available to resettle Palestinians from Gaza into the United States.” […]

Contrary to a policy of 30 years, which extends protection to refugees on the basis of need, this amendment seeks to discriminate against an entire group based on nationality alone

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Now the good stuff. Today, I (along with many others) received this email message:

Hi,

We wanted to send you a quick update on last night’s Gaza refugee vote. Thanks to your quick mobilization in which over 16,000 of you faxed letters in a span of just two hours, Senator Kyl withdrew his discriminatory amendment.

A bipartisan group of several Senators including Leahy (VT), Kerry (MA) and Gregg (NH) stood on the floor of the Senate and spoke out against the amendment. Your faxes together with our champions on this issue applied enough political pressure for Senator Kyl to just withdraw the amendment completely.

Again, this was one of those moments when together we really made the difference. Thanks again.

— Sarnata, Steve, Zahir, Edie and the rest of the team here at AIUSA

Ya – hoo!

Yes! We can make a difference!

Check out AmnestyUSA if you’d like to add your voice.  Let’s make a nation that treats its neighbors the way we’d want them to treat us, were we in their shoes.


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Written by Monte

March 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Why I’m more vocal about Israel’s actions than Hamas’s

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Simply put, Israel has given much more suffering than it’s received.

Robert Fisk writes it in TruthDig (originally published in The Independent) like so:

clipped from www.truthdig.com
< Tonight Israeli troops are poised on the Gaz...
Image by cactusbones via Flickr

It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies …don’t realise the horror of 12 (now 20) Israeli deaths in 10 years and thousands of rockets […]

[M]y favourite journalistic justification for this bloodbath [is] “The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable … Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way.”

Get it? The massacre in Gaza is justified because Hamas would have done the same if they could, even though they didn’t […]

I’m waiting for the same writers to ask how we’d feel if we … came under sustained attack from supersonic aircraft and Merkava tanks and thousands of troops whose shells and bombs tore 40 women and children to pieces outside a school, shredded whole families in their beds and who, after nearly a week, had killed almost 200 civilians out of 600 fatalities. [since the original article, the numbers have risen to almost 500 civilian deaths out of 1000 Palestinian fatalities – M.] […]

I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer […]

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The death toll today since this conflict began?  Israelis, 13.  Gazans, 1,000.

Murder is murder,” some will say.  Yet the two are not the same.

The slaughter of hundreds of defenseless, malnourished people is a crime of a different order.


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Written by Monte

January 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

Israel’s UN ambassador: former US President “a bigot”

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Now here is some strange reasoning.

Jimmy CarterFormer President Jimmy Carter goes to listen to Hamas, for the purpose of finding out what the prospects for peace with Israel might be. He negotiates for seven hours to try to bring about a truce. In the end, it doesn’t work out.

Days later, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, says (according to the AP):

Dan Gillerman[I]t was “a shame” to see Carter, who had done “good things” as a former president, “turn into what I believe to be a bigot.” … The ambassador called last weekend’s encounter “a very sad episode in American history.” Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, “went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas.”

Now a bigot, according to my dictionary, is “an obstinate and intolerant believer in a religion, political theory, etc.”

OK. This 84-year-old former President, displaying obstinacy and intolerance, risks his life to try to bring peace to a country whose UN Ambassador calls him names.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I’d call it acting like Jesus.

[with a tip of the hat to 99]


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Written by Monte

April 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Politics

My Kingdom is not of this world: Bible for November 29, 2006

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In this last Sunday before Advent, our gospel reading switches from Mark to John – perhaps to summarize the point Mark has been working so hard to make clear: Jesus insists that his kingdom is not of this world. Pastor Sharon shared some outstanding insights from Disclosing New Worlds during her sermon last Sunday. I encourage you to read that post – click here.

The nature of the Kingdom of God is an issue of urgent importance. Its implications are huge, and right-now practical.

For instance: Much of the American Christian Right wants U.S. government to give nearly unqualified support to Israel. Here’s why: Most believe in an end-times outlook (popularized by the Left Behind novels) that sees the nation of Israel as the instrument through which Jesus Christ will establish his kingdom on earth.

Is that his plan?

For instance: It’s common in America to hear the phrase “for God and Country.”

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