Dear Senator Wyden,
We, the undersigned organizations, represent Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular residents of the state of Oregon who are struggling for peace in the Middle East through justice for Palestinians who have been denied equal rights and the right to self-determination for far too long.
In a recent letter to constituents, you stated that you are both "pro-Israeli" and "pro-Palestinian." Unfortunately, your record shows that you are neither.
For Israelis who hope for peace, you have nothing to offer but the status quo, which you back unequivocally every year by voting for $3 billion in military aid to the Israeli government, ensuring that it will continue its policies of settlement expansion, colonization, and authoritarian military rule over millions of Palestinians. You back the most right-wing government in Israel's history, and you gave its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, 37 standing ovations when he recently addressed Congress. He thanked you by openly supporting Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
For Palestinians who hope for justice, you are silent in the face of Israeli massacres that have killed hundreds of children and thousands of civilians in attacks that even an American general has called "absolutely disproportionate," a violation of the Geneva Conventions. You are silent in the face of an apartheid legal system and an apartheid system of roads, housing, and water rights in the West Bank. You are silent about the more than 50 laws that discriminate against Palestinians who make up 20 percent of Israel's population. And you say nothing about the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, even though this right is guaranteed by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Senator Wyden, you say you oppose the influence of Big Money in our elections, but you dutifully support every resolution proposed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has a donor network that rivals Wall Street and the National Rifle Association. AIPAC supports every action of the Israeli government. It pushed for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and it promotes an aggressive military approach toward Iran. It is a racist, militarist lobby that opposes fundamental human rights for Palestinians simply because they are not Jewish. AIPAC does not speak for the Jewish community.
The $3 billion that the U.S. government gives to Israel in military aid each year is blood-stained money that props up and ensures the continuance of the Israeli occupation. U.S. law--the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act--prohibit providing weapons to countries that habitually violate human rights. Israel has kept the Palestinian people stateless and without equal rights for nearly 70 years. It has illegally annexed East Jerusalem, transferred its population to illegal settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law, and imposed an illegal blockade on Gaza, in itself an act of war.
The truth is that Israelis cannot be free until Palestinians are free. The time is now for you to become truly pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian, Senator Wyden, by standing for equal rights, a genuine democracy, and peace with justice. It’s time to end the joint U.S.-Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Friends of Sabeel-North America, Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland Chapter, Tree of Life Education Fund.