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September/October 2005 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:
I urge you to heed the call of Palestinian civil society, Israeli peace activists, and your constituents for total divestment, boycott, sanctions, and isolation of Israel until it obeys international law and recognizes Palestinian human rights.

These actions are absolutely legitimate means for effectively opposing injustice. When the injustice ends, the sanctions end. Because they are nonviolent in nature, sanctions carry a potent moral force. They are “the politics of shame.”

I also urge you to remove tax-exempt status for U.S. donations to the Israeli military, and to support community organizations like the Presbyterian Church, National Lawyers Guild and the United Church of Christ and others which are reviewing their investments in corporations that provide equipment and technology to the Israeli military.

Finally, I urge you to consider withholding the more than $3 billion in American taxpayers’ funds that the U.S. annually gives to Israel, and the additional $2.2 billion Israel has requested to help pay for its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank settlements. Please withhold funds until Israel complies with international law and withdraws its forces and settlers from all occupied land. 


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Israeli policemen stand guard as a bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian home in the shadow of Israel’s apartheid wall on the outskirts of Jerusalem on July 5, 2005.” (Photo Hazem Badar AFP).
   

While world attention is focused on the “Gaza Disengagement,” Israel is busy imprisoning Palestinians in bantustans in the West Bank and consolidating the segregation of its Arab citizens. A non-contiguous grouping of land with no control over borders or air space is not a state, nor is it a solution for a lasting peace.

The world community resoundingly rejected apartheid in South Africa, and it is time for the world to reject the same in Israel. Palestinians must have, at bare minimum, a contiguous state with international borders. Ethnic minorities in Israel should enjoy equal rights, instead of segregation and discrimination. Divestment, boycott and sanctions were instrumental in challenging apartheid in South Africa, and can be used to challenge apartheid in Israel and the occupied territories.

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