CORRECTION: We regret that the email we sent out earlier today contained a broken link to contact Ambassador Susan Rice. To email her, please visit: http://usun-ny.us/Issues/contactus.html
September 22, 2009
Last week, the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, a former member of the South African Constitutional Court and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, released a 575-page report documenting violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity committed before, during, and after Israel's December 2008-January 2009 assault on the occupied Gaza Strip.
The reactions of Israel and its supporters were swift and furious. Israel 's President said the report "makes a mockery of history." AIPAC condemned the report as "deeply flawed"
Read the Goldstone Report (575 pages)
Read the US Campaign's one-page FAQ about the Goldstone Report
Read US Campaign Advisory Board member Nadia Hijab's article "Sinking the Goldstone Report" and watch US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis on Grit TV discussing the report on the US Campaign's blog
and "biased." And Rep. Gary Ackerman, one of Capitol Hill's most vociferous defenders of Israeli occupation and apartheid, accused the authors of the report of living in a "self-righteous fantasyland."
Members of the UN Mission.
Why are Israel and its supporters so upset by the Goldstone Report? Because it fairly and even-handedly examined the actions of all parties to the conflict and made recommendations to hold all human rights violators accountable through enforcement mechanisms, including compensation and potential prosecution at the International Criminal Court.
As you can imagine, the Obama Administration is under immense pressure to bury this report at the level of the UN Human Rights Council where it will be discussed on September 29 so that it is not referred to international bodies with enforcement powers such as UN Security Council, General Assembly, or International Criminal Court, as the report recommended.
Unfortunately it appears that the Obama Administration is caving into this pressure. Speaking at the UN last week, Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations, characterized the report as "unbalanced, one sided and basically unacceptable." Assistant Secretary of State Phillip Crowley urged that the "report should not be used as a mechanism to add impediments to getting back to the peace process," as if holding human rights abusers accountable and establishing peace are mutually exclusive affairs.
It's a shame that the United States appears to be shielding Israel , yet again, for any accountability for its illegal actions in international forums. It's even more of a shame coming so soon after the United States, for the first time, assumed a seat on the UN Human Rights Council and, in the words of Dr. Esther Brinner, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, stated: "Make no mistake; the United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses. The truth must be told, the facts brought to light and the consequences faced."
The Obama Administration faces a serious test of its commitment to the universality of human rights on September 29 when it will vote on whether to accept the Goldstone Report recommendations.
You can help influence the vote by taking action below.
Contact Ambassador Susan Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations, before September 29 and urge the United States to vote for the recommendations of the Goldstone Report at the UN Human Rights Council.
Email: Click here
For talking points, please download our FAQ's about the Goldstone Report by clicking here or see our open letter below.
Join with the US Campaign, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Code Pink: Women for Peace, International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza, Jewish Voice for Peace, and many other organizations in signing on to our open letter to Ambassador Rice urging the United States to vote for the recommendations of the Goldstone Report at the UN Human Rights Council.
The US Campaign will accept signatures on the letter from organizations only please until COB, Thursday, September 24, and will deliver the letter the next day.
To read and sign the letter, please click here.
Ambassador Susan Rice
Permanent U.S. Representative to United Nations
United States Mission to the United Nations
140 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
September 25, 2009
Dear Ambassador Rice,
The following organizations are writing to you to express their strong support for the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict contained in the Goldstone Report and strongly urge the United States to endorse these recommendations when they are voted on in the UN Human Rights Council on September 29.
Earlier this month, the United States assumed a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the first time. Upon assuming this seat, Dr. Esther Brinner, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, stated that "We can not pick and choose which of these [human] rights we embrace nor select who among us are entitled to them. We are all endowed at birth with the right to live in dignity, to follow our consciences and speak our minds without fear, to choose those who govern us, to hold our leaders accountable, and to enjoy equal justice under the law. These rights extend to all, and the United States can not accept that any among us would be condemned to live without them."
We strongly agree with this statement and believe that the United States should put these words into action by voting to endorse the recommendations of the Goldstone Report.
The UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict did an exemplary job under adverse circumstances of investigating human rights abuses, violations of international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity by all parties before, during, and after Israel 's assault on the occupied Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009.
The mission was scrupulously even-handed in investigating these violations. As it stated in its methodology, "To implement its mandate, the Mission determined that it was required to consider any actions by all parties that might have constituted violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. The mandate also required it to review related actions in the entire Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel ."
Now that this mission has delivered its report and documented human rights violations by Israel, Palestinian armed groups, and the Palestinian Authority, it is imperative for the United States to support its recommendations. To do otherwise would undermine our country's commitment to the universality of human rights and contradict Dr. Brinner's promise to the UN Human Rights Council: "Make no mistake; the United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses. The truth must be told, the facts brought to light and the consequences faced."
The UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict has told the truth and brought the facts to light. On September 29, it is time for the United States to make sure that the consequences are faced for these violations of human rights. We strongly urge the United States to vote in favor of the recommendations in the Goldstone Report.
1. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
2. Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
3. Code Pink: Women for Peace
4. International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza
5. Jewish Voice for Peace
Have your organization endorse this letter by clicking here. Again the deadline for signing this letter is COB, Thursday, September 24.