New lobby group launched for Palestinian rights
A new lobby organisation has been launched to advocate for Palestinian rights. Americans for Justice in Palestine Action aims to impact US policy on the Palestinian issue.
“We feel like we have a special obligation to lobby for human rights, with all of the diplomatic and military support Israel gets from the US,” Ayah Ziyadeh, advocacy director for the group, told The New Arab.
AJP Action, established in August, will lobby politicians to oppose legislation that supports the Israeli occupation and related violations of Palestinians’ human rights. The group is affiliated with American Muslims for Palestine, a non-profit that focuses on education. As a 501c3, AMP is prevented from engaging in politics. With the new group’s classification as a 501c4, it can be politically active.
Compared with US lobby funding for Israel, they have a tall task ahead of them in getting their voices heard. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, pro-Israel donors have given a total of $143,362,385 since 1990, an average of $9.6 million per cycle. The record high was $17 million in 2016, and in 2018 donations amounted to $15 million. Overall, in the last 14 cycles, as of 2020, pro-Israel groups outspent pro-Arab/Muslim groups by 40 to 1 ($62.7 million to $1.6 million).
The timing of AJP Action’s launch comes after news this past spring of Israeli expulsions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem a military assault on Gaza. Unlike many times in the past, the news elicited sympathy from a wide spectrum of the American public and political elite. Residents affected by the expulsions were interviewed on mainstream cable news, in addition to garnering worldwide followings on social media.
“We came in the midst of this momentum,” she said. “There’s a shift that’s happening. Progressives still got re-elected. They’ve stopped making it such a taboo topic.”
The organisation is now getting ready for its Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days at the end of September, in which they will train people how to talk to their congressional representatives and set up meetings. They are expecting an attendance of between 750 and 1,000.
“We wanted a better space. We’re getting into the political scene instead of just focusing on education,” she said. “We have a voice, and we deserve to have it heard.”