To Avoid Another War— We’re Keeping Up The Pressure On Congress
Feb 24, 2016
As part of a follow-up to our petition campaign this autumn, in which Brooklyn For Peace members collected over 700 signatures on petitions, the Peace And Economic Justice committtee of BFP has been requesting meetings with Brooklyn House members. The petitions were sent to the Congress members as well as to our two U.S. Senators and President Obama. Collected over just a few weekends in September, the signers demanded that the U.S. use diplomacyand negotiations instead of war to solve the festering crisis in the Mid-East that has the potential to ignite the whole region and beyond.
Our first meeting was with Congress Member Yvette Clarke and we were greeted with a friendly and favorable response. Clarke told us she was in agreement with all the points on the petition, a copy of which can be viewed or signed online HERE.
We began the meeting by expressing our gratitude for her vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. We told her she had done “the right thing” in supporting the President’s quest for a diplomatic solution to disagreements with Iran even in the face of venemous vocal protests on the part of some of her constituents who supported more sanctions on Iran and a muscular military approach.
Besides expressing our grave concern about the administration’s sending of more and more U.S. troops to Syria and Iraq (a slippery slope of incremental escalation) and calls by GOP candidates and legislators and some Democratic lawmakers for more military involvement there, we also asked Clarke about raising her voice in the House on the question of welcoming the Syrian refugees because we felt the United States has made a tepid, indeed minuscule offer to accept refugees compared to other countries. We also urged a campaign and to call a Town Hall meeting to “put Brooklyn on the map” as a haven for refugees who are fleeing death and destruction in their homeland. She said she would certainly consider it and agreed when we said that shining a light on Brooklyn’s welcoming stance would have a national impact beyond the borders of our borough.
Finally, we asked her about opposing the latest Pentagon war budget that has just been presented. It calls for almost $600 billion for war and weapons. She indicated that she would most likely be voting NO on it as she has done consistently over the years of her tenure. She said she sees these bloated budgets as promoting a militaristic approach to foreign policy, something she very much opposes, adding that it robs her constituents of tax dollars that are urgently needed at home to solve pressing problems. We thanked the Representative for meeting with us and spending time on these important questions and came away with a very positive feeling about her and her positions on war and peace.
A meeting is now scheduled with Brooklyn Rep, Hakeem Jeffries for March 7th and delegations to the other members are in the works. If you live in Jeffries’ district and would like to participate in the delegation please conctact Fort Greene Peace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action Alert: Right to Boycott Threatened by NY State Legislation!
Recent legislation (S6378a) which was rushed through the NY State Senate and now coming up in the NY Assembly (A9036) threatens our constitutionally protected right to boycott. If passed, this legislation would require that New York not do business or grant contracts to individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations which boycott a country (or companies based in that country) from a list of “allied nations” (including Israel.) For example it would bar United Methodist Churches from contracting with NY State to run homeless shelters and soup kitchens because the church supports the boycott of Israeli settlement goods. It will also require that NY State divest its holdings from any corporation which boycotts an “allied nation.”
This is a frightening attack on the our right to use boycott as an important form of political expression, protected by the First Amendment (as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the important case NAACP v Claiborne Hardware Company.)
Your action now is important to prevent this bill from becoming law. Use this link to contact your Assembly member, asking that they oppose A9036. The link will also identify who represents you in the NY State Assembly, and give you their phone number. In addition to e-mail, a phone call is very important. Ask to speak with the rep’s legislative staff or key staff person.
Please e-mail email@example.com to let us know that you took action, and who represents you in the NY Assembly.
Legislative Meeting with Congressmember Yvette Clarke on the crisis in the Mid-East
Feb 17, 2016
As part of a follow-up to our petition campaign this autumn, in which BFP members collected over 700 signatures on petitions, we requested meetings with Brooklyn House members. The petitions were sent to the Congress members as well as to our two U.S. Senators and President Obama. Collected over just a few weekends in September, the signers demanded that the U.S. use diplomacy and negotiations to solve the crisis in the Mid-East rather than resort to military escalation and yet another disastrous war.
Our first meeting was with Congress Member Yvette D. Clarke (9th CD) and we were greeted with a friendly and favorable response. Clarke told us she was in agreement with all the points on the petition, a copy of which can be viewed or signed online here: www.bit.ly/bfp-syria-petition.
We asked her about raising her voice in the House on the question of welcoming the Syrian refugees because we felt the United States has made a tepid, indeed minuscule, offer to accept refugees compared to other countries. We also urged a campaign and perhaps a Town Hall meeting to “put Brooklyn on the map” as a welcoming haven for refugees who are fleeing death and destruction in their homeland. She said she would certainly consider it and agreed with us when we said that shining a light on Brooklyn’s welcoming stance would have a national impact beyond the borders of our borough.
Finally, we asked her about opposing the latest Pentagon war budget that has just been presented. It calls for another $600-plus Billion to be spent on war and weapons. She indicated that she would most likely be voting NO on it as she has done consistently over the years of her tenure. She said she sees these bloated budgets as promoting a militaristic approach to foreign policy, something she very much opposes. And, she added, it robs her constituents of tax dollars that are desperately needed at home to solve urgent problems and fund vital programs.
We thanked the Representative for meeting with us and spending time on these important questions and came away with a very positive feeling about her positions on war and peace.
Syria, ISIS, Refugees and War Forum
Over 125 people crammed into The Commons on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue for a forum on Syria, ISIS, Refugees and War sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace on January 13, 2016. The event was co-sponsored by Fort Greene Peace.
The standing room only event featured two speakers who are noted experts on the Middle East: Phyllis Bennis of the Institute For Policy Studies and David Wildman, who is the Executive Secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries.
The evening began with a rousing performance by singer/songwriter Judy Gorman and then moderated by BFP Vice-Chair, Carolyn Eisenberg who introduced the speakers.
Phyllis Bennis concentrated on providing a historical background and overview of the rise of ISIS. David Wildman concentrated on the plight of the millions of refugees that that the Middle East wars have produced. He urged a campaign that would counter the racist anti-refugee campaign that has been confusing and striking fear into Americans from the likes of Fear Mongerer In Chief, Donald Trump as well as other elected officials.
After their remarks, BFP’s other Vice-Chair, David Tykulsker, asked for contributions so that the organization could continue their work for peace in the Middle East. He also announced that the receipts would be split with the renowned humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, which has been under attack by U.S. warplanes and, more recently, by Saudi Arabia which is waging a cruel war in Yemen.
The evening concluded with a question and answer session in which audience members asked for further information on various subjects. Brooklyn For Peace has announced that it will continue to oppose war and military action as a solution the crises that is creating such misery, death and destruction in the region. It has collected hundreds of signatures on petitions which can be signed online here: bit.ly/bfp-syria-petition.
See more pictures here: http://smu.gs/1ROk7wb
Brooklyn Agrees—No New U.S. War In Syria! Use Diplomacy Not War!
Nov 7, 2015: (Updated Dec 9, 2015)
Brooklyn For Peace set up tables in several Brooklyn neighborhoods today (11/6/2015). At one table, in front of the borough’s Central Library, residents lined up to sign petitions that urge Congress and the President to pursue diplomacy instead of war in settling the conflict in Syria. President Obama, who has said in the past that there is no military solution to that war, nevertheless reversed himself last week by ordering U.S. troops, placing them inside Syria. Viewing that escalation as the first step to what could easily become a much wider involvement, flyers were handed out demanding an end to U.S. military involvement in the complex civil war in Syria which has already claimed well over 200,000 lives and has produced a flood of refugees fleeing death and destruction. We must use diplomacy to bring all the parties together to hammer out a cease fire and a solution to the Syrian conflict. That must include the United States, Russia, Iraq, Iran and the Assad government. Only with such a regional diplomatic approach can ISIS be isolated and the terrible war be brought to an end. This will also help to end the refugee crisis whose root cause is the war.
Over a thousand marched today, encircling City Hall, demanding immediate action by government on the very real threat of climate change. Brooklyn For Peace was a co-sponsor of the event and many of its members participated.
This protest was one of thousands around the globe, called to express solidarity with the giant march in Paris that was cancelled by the government in the wake of the attacks in that city. The Paris march was to take place outside the U.N. Climate Summit which is ongoing for the next two weeks as governments meet to decide on actions to tackle this threat to the planet and civilization.
Protests are necessary because governments are stymied and controlled by economic interests that put profits before planet and people.