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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



US Senator wants aid stripped from IDF units in West Bank, Gaza

U.S. Senator seeks to cut aid to elite IDF units operating in West Bank and Gaza

Senator Patrick Leahy claims Shayetet 13 unit, undercover Duvdevan unit, and the Israel Air Force Shaldag unit are involved in human rights violations in occupied territories.
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is promoting a bill to suspend U.S. assistance to three elite Israel Defense Forces units, alleging they are involved in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Leahy, a Democrat and senior member of the U.S. Senate, wants assistance withheld from the Israel Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag unit.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a long-time friend of Leahy’s, met with him in Washington two weeks ago to try to persuade him to withdraw the initiative.

According to a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem, Leahy began promoting the legislation in recent months after he was approached by voters in his home state of Vermont.

A few months ago, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters staged a rally across from Leahy’s office, demanding that he denounce the killing by Shayetet 13 commandos of nine Turkish activists who were part of the flotilla to Gaza last May.

Leahy, who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee’s sub-committee on foreign operations, was the principle sponsor of a 1997 bill prohibiting the United States from providing military assistance or funding to foreign military units suspected of human rights abuses or war crimes. The law also stipulates that the U.S. Defense Department screen foreign officers and soldiers who come to the United States for training for this purpose.

Leahy wants the new clause to become a part of the U.S. foreign assistance legislation for 2012, placing restrictions on military assistance to Israel, particularly to those three units.

Leahy says these units are responsible for harming innocent Palestinian civilians and that no system of investigation is in place to ensure that their members are not committing human rights violations. According to Leahy’s proposal, U.S. military assistance to Israel would be subject to the same restrictions that apply to countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan.

The senior Israeli official said that the Israeli Embassy in Washington had been trying unsuccessfully now for some months to persuade Leahy to back down from the initiative.

Two weeks ago, during Barak’s visit to Washington, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, asked Barak to meet with Leahy to dissuade him from promoting the legislation.

Leahy, who is on the Democratic Party’s left flank, has for many years promoted human rights issues globally. He has been sharply critical of Israel in recent years, especially following Operation Cast Lead in late 2008.

However, he also signed Congressional resolutions supporting Israel’s right to self-defense.

Leahy, 71, has served in the Senate for 35 years. He was a personal friend of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and has known Ehud Barak since the latter was IDF chief of staff.

Barak, who met with Leahy privately, was quoted by the senior Israeli official as telling the senator: “The difference between Israel and terror groups or other countries in the Middle East is that we give an accounting and there is monitoring.”

Barak also said the IDF had a strict judiciary with broader powers than the judiciary in the United States armed forces.

Barak was also quoted as telling Leahy that the IDF military advocate general is not subservient to the military command, but rather to the attorney general, and has complete autonomy.

“If a Palestinian is injured, he can approach the High Court of Justice,” Barak said. “The investigations undergo judicial review that is independent of commanders. There are dozens of hearings every year that are based on Palestinians’ complaints against soldiers. They reach the highest and most independent authorities,” he said.

Leahy listened to Barak, but he did not say whether he would withdraw his initiative. According to the senior Israeli official, Israel does know whether Leahy has done so.

However, the official said Barak felt Leahy had understood his message, and that the Israeli Embassy in Washington was following the matter. If necessary, Barak and Leahy would hold another talk, the official added.

Leahy’s spokesman, David Carle, said the senator did not comment on his private conversations.

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