Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

US Representative Betty McCollum speaks summit attendees on February 27, 2016. (Photo: Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith)US Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) speaks to a summit audience on February 27, 2016. (Photo: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith)

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If you count yourself among the folks who might be willing occasionally to engage Congress to try to help protect Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military occupation if there were a plausible story that your action could have a positive impact, I have some good news. Today is your special day. Today is your opportunity to serve.

Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum is circulating a letter to House colleagues urging President Obama to take action to protect Palestinian kids in Israeli military detention. The letter closes early next week.

The American Friends Service Committee; Defense for Children International, Palestine; Jewish Voice for Peace; the Friends Committee on National Legislation; the US Campaign Against the Israeli Occupation; American Muslims for Palestine and Just Foreign Policy are collaborating on generating contacts to the House in support of this letter. Churches for Middle East Peace did an alert. CODEPINK did an alert.

Now, you might think to yourself: McCollum’s letter looks great, but there’s no way my poopy-doopy representative in the House is going to sign it. Well, let me be perfectly honest. (What other way is there to be?) You might be right.

If your representative is a Republican, then you are surely right. This is a Democratic letter. Three-fourths of the current signers are Congressional Progressive Caucus. There is no way on God’s green earth that your poopy-doopy Republican representative is going to sign this Democratic letter. So don’t bother to call them. Instead, sign a petition, share it on Facebook or Twitter or however you share things; some of your friends online aren’t represented by poopy-doopy Republicans in the House.

Now, you might think, my representative is a Democrat, but my representative is a poopy-doopy Democrat who is never going to sign the McCollum letter. Again: you might be right.

If your representative is a Democrat who opposed the Iran deal, then you are almost surely right. Your representative missed a slow pitch that was lobbed right over the plate. There’s no way on God’s green earth that your poopy-doopy representative is going to sign a letter implying that Palestinian kids are human beings with “certain, inalienable rights.” Don’t bother to call them. Sign a petition. Put it on the ground, spread it all around.

If, however, you have reached this part of the flow chart, then it is my sacred duty to inform you that relative to the matter at hand, your representative is not a lost cause. Regardless of what you think of them otherwise, if your representative supported the Iran deal, then it is a historical fact that one fine day, when the sun was shining and the birds were singing, your representative told AIPAC to go drink the water of the sea. And therefore, your representative is not a lost cause. QED.

If you don’t remember where your representative was on the Iran deal, you can check here to see if they were one of the 150 Democrats who signed the Schakowsky letter in support of the Iran framework agreement, widely understood at the time as “I pledge to help block Republican/AIPAC efforts to scuttle the Iran deal.”

If your representative signed the Schakowsky letter, call them right now at 202-225-3121. Ask to speak to the staffer who handles foreign policy. When you speak to a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

“As a constituent, I urge you to sign the McCollum letter asking President Obama to take action to protect Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.”

When you’ve made your call, you can report it here.

If you think this is impossible, consider this: the Iran deal was impossible. The Bernie Sanders campaign was impossible. Maybe some things that used to be impossible are now possible. Let’s put this proposition to the test. What kind of sacrifice is it to try? Not a very big one.

You can learn more about the “No Way to Treat a Child Campaign” here.