We Must Speak Out Against Hatred

Rahm Emanuel, Chicago's first Jewish mayor, wrote last week with the moral clarity absent from the Trump White House:

We must stare down those whose mission is to create fear by responding with courage. We must stand up and speak out on behalf of any group that is marginalized and victimized, whether by institutions or by the narrow minds of cowardly individuals...

When you enter Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, you encounter a memorial honoring "The Righteous Among the Nations" -- men and women of all faiths who stood up to the Nazis and saved people of the Jewish faith. We honor these individuals who gave up their comfort for the comfort of others, their safety for the safety of others, and their lives for the lives of others because of their courage.

Today, we must all be the righteous among the nations with the courage to speak out against the hatred and ugliness whirling around us, even if we are not personally the scapegoat de jure of would-be demagogues. We must ask ourselves if the St. Louis arrived on our shores tomorrow, filled with Syrian refugees or children from Guatemala, would we welcome its passengers with open hearts or turn our backs on those seeking safety and security in America?

A two-state solution remains imperative. And we all know it, even people and organizations who can't quite bring themselves to say it. Former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro is right:

I'm between puzzled and bemused by the current avoidance of the term 2 State Solution to describe the goal of US diplomacy w/Israel and Palestinians. US & Israeli govt statements reflect this. Presumably, it's a way to bridge divides, whether partisan, or internal in the US & Israeli govts... Some similar tones at the AIPAC conf this week, amid AIPAC's genuinely admirable effort to maintain a bipartisan flavor at a tough moment... What's puzzling is that I don't think anyone buys it. When they say "negotiated, lasting, agreed IS-Pal peace", what else could it mean? That reality is definitely at the heart of Jason Greenblatt's pretty impressive diplomatic debut: regional approach, limit settlements... linguistic circumlocutions aside, it's worth bearing in mind that alternatives to 2states used 2be considered anti-Israel positions. When BDS advocates call for one state that erases Israel's Jewish character, we correctly call them out for wanting to destroy Israel. So that's why I'm puzzled by the benefit of dancing around naming the obvious, eventual, & only solution. I could be wrong. If this is a smarter way to get to the same outcome, the "deal" that Trump wants to strike, I'd be delighted.

Support for a two-state solution used to be bipartisan, which is why it is so important for pro-Israel groups that claim to be bipartisan to restore bipartisanship on this issue by speaking loudly and clearly in support of a two-state solution and making it a priority. 

Read this short letter, led by Reps.  Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and David Price (D-NC), to President Donald Trump.  Do you disagree with any of it? Yet only two Republicans signed it, and the Republicans took support for a two-state solution out of their platform. Whatever "pro-Israel" means, it's not what the Republicans did.

Let's be careful about new Iran sanctions. The Iran deal was designed solely to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Before we introduce new sanctions to counter Iran's other nefarious activities, we must be certain that those sanctions would not cause us to violate the Iran accord.

Trump seems to have abandoned his promise to tear up the Iran deal, but U.S. violations of it could lead to the same result: If we don't hold up our end of the bargain, Iran could then claim justification for ending inspections and resuming prohibited activities.

The new Iran sanctions bill, S. 722, is being sold as a sanctions bill carefully drafted to avoid violations of the Iran deal. But the Arms Control Association warns that "Although the legislation (S. 722) focuses on areas not explicitly covered by the nuclear deal, such as Iran's ballistic missile activity and support for terrorism, sections of the legislation risk undermining U.S. commitments in the agreement."

The ACA advises that "Before rushing to support this legislation or future bills on Iran, members of Congress should carefully and fully consider the impact on the Iran nuclear deal and the consequences of undermining the accord."

Please urge your senators to study S. 722 carefully, read the ACA post, and ask experts, including former Obama administration officials, about whether S. 722 could violate the Iran agreement. We cannot afford to get this wrong.

Four senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to boost U.S.-Israel cooperation on cybersecurity. The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act would establish a grant program for private sector investment.

Urge your senators to oppose Neil Gorsuch. His record is unacceptable. The judiciary is the only branch of government not under Republican control. How do you think lower court decisions striking down unconstitutional actions taken by Trump would fare under a Supreme Court where Gorsuch was the deciding vote?

Democrats are right to filibuster. As Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said, "Earning a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court requires much more than a genial demeanor and an ability to artfully dodge even the most pointed of questions."

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