For Immediate Release
US State Department Tacitly Accepts Settlement Boycotts
WASHINGTON - Yesterday the U.S. State Department released a statement asserting that the United States will not extend its diplomatic protection to Israeli settlements. As reported by columnist Chemi Shalev in the liberal Israeli daily Haaretz: “The boycott of settlements, in effect, has now been officially stamped “kosher” by the State Department.”
Writing that “by conflating Israel and 'Israeli-controlled territories,' a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories,” the U.S. State Department confirmed its opposition to Israeli settlement construction, and challenged the implications of the pro-settlement provisions slipped into the controversial ‘fast track’ legislation.
“That the State Department has, in effect, condoned boycott as a tactic to put pressure on Israel to halt its illegal settlement construction is an important step forward for the movement for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” stated Rabbi Joseph Berman, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Government Affairs Liaison. “However, it will take more than a condemnation of settlements to end Israel’s continued aggression and intransigence when it comes to Palestinian human rights. There is a growing grassroots movement to put nonviolent pressure on Israel to change its policies, and its time the United States takes responsibility for its role in providing financial and diplomatic support enables Israel to continue with impunity.”
Jewish Voice for Peace and other advocates of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians opposedan amendment to the controversial Fast Track trade legislation, supported by AIPAC, that condemned the grassroots movement for justice and equality for Palestinians. The amendment was specifically aimed at opposing European Union efforts to comply with international law by labeling and boycotting settlement products, and included language that aimed to extend U.S. protection the the illegal Israeli settlements.
Concerned that the legislation would put a chilling effect on nonviolent efforts to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel until it complies with international law, thousands of Jewish Voice for Peace members sent letters, made phone calls, wrote letters to the editor and opinion articles asking their representatives to oppose the Fast Track legislation.
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals.
JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.