Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Blog

Tomorrow evening, hundreds of people are expected to march from the State Department to the White House, in a show of support for greater democracy in the Middle East, and an end to US military aid to Israel. The grievance with military to Israel lies in Israel’s use of that aid in perpetuating the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and in committing the human rights violations that are routine under that occupation. The march is sponsored by several organizations, including Code Pink, the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, and several other organizations.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee's sub-committee on foreign operations and a “long-time friend” of Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, has suggested that Israel should not be exempt from the rules that prohibit foreign aid from groups that commit serious human rights violations. This has particularly important implications for the Israeli Defense Force units that regularly engage in such legally-questionable activities in the occupied territories. While Leahy didn’t go near as far as to suggest the halting of all US military aid to Israel, the activists engaged in tomorrow’s march are calling for a total suspension.

Far away from the protests and marches, the Arab American National Leadership Conference (NLC) will be held in Dearborn, Michigan in a couple of weeks to build a national Arab American strategy in the lead-up to the 2012 elections. The conference will address several foreign and domestic policy concerns, including US engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the failure of the so-called “peace process.” As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes headlines across the globe, let’s not forget the importance of being engaged here within the US to promote a better and more balanced US foreign policy.

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