For Immediate Release
SkipTheSpeech.org Petition Has Impact
WASHINGTON - Over 40,000 Americans have emailed their Congress members at SkipTheSpeech.org and over 20,000 have signed a petition linked-to from the site. The page reads:
"Join us in raising our voices to protest Netanyahu's speech, not because it's a partisan snub, nor because the date is close to the Israeli elections, but because Netanyahu is going to Washington to undermine the U.S. strategy of diplomacy with Iran. Instead of letting diplomacy work, Netanyahu wants the U.S. to impose harsher sanctions on Iran, all but ensuring that talks collapse and increasing the risk of war. Raise your voice now and tell Congress to boycott Netanyahu's speech."
The message sent to Congress members (plus any additions or edits made by each constituent) reads:
"As U.S. voters, we are outraged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to speak before Congress. He will advocate for additional harsh sanctions on Iran that will undermine the diplomatic process and possibly lead to war. Netanyahu does not speak about peace in good faith—illegal settlements and human rights violations against Palestinians have only increased under his leadership. We ask you not to attend Mr. Netanyahu's speech, and to instead stand with us on the side of diplomacy and justice."
And the petition reads:
"We are outraged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to speak before Congress. He does not speak about peace in good faith—illegal settlements and human rights violations against Palestinians have only increased under his leadership. Further, he will advocate for additional harsh sanctions on Iran that will undermine the diplomatic process and possibly lead to war. We call on all members of Congress to refuse to attend Netanyahu's speech before Congress and to send the message that anyone who promotes war over peace is not welcome."
Dozens of Congress members have committed to skipping the speech thus far.
SkipTheSpeech.org is a coalition effort of RootsAction.org, American Muslims for Peace, CODEPINK, Friends of Sabeel - North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, and U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
The #SkipTheSpeech tag in social media is spreading rapidly.
"Who wouldn't, if they could, go back in time and urge the world to skip Colin Powell's UN speech," asked RootsAction campaign coordinator David Swanson. "Netanyahu gave a similar attack-Iraq speech to Congress. His claims about Iran have already been debunked by both the U.S. government and leaks from his own spy agency. As war propaganda is illegal under the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights, Congress members have a duty to boycott and try to prevent this speech."
With over a half-million online members, RootsAction.org is an independent advocacy organization endorsed by many well-respected figures in activism, journalism and progressive politics, including Daniel Ellsberg, Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich and Glenn Greenwald.
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Action for a Progressive Future (the organization that runs RootsAction) is a nonprofit, progressive, public policy advocacy group that will engage citizens in the democratic process and help make sure legislators hear their voices.