Freeing the Captive

Pidyon Shvuim
By Lisa Alcalay Klug

A Jewish man and an African-American woman are both imprisoned, thousands of miles apart, under very disparate conditions. On this national day of mourning, Tisha B’Av, both deserve our attention.

Noam Shalit, the father of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than 1,131 days, is asking that the U.S.’ scheduled aid package of $300 million to Gaza be delivered only after the release of his son. Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas in June, 2006. Noam Shalit recently testified before the Goldstone Committee, which is investigating illegal conduct by combatants during Operation Cast Lead on behalf of the United Nations, that Gilad’s abduction was a war crime according to the definitions of the Geneva Convention. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the elder Shalit also testified the abduction of his son preceded all the other events in the Gaza Strip: “the IDF siege on the territory, the launching of rockets by Palestinian groups, and finally the Israeli offensive – and argued that that action had resulted in the subsequent actions.”

Gilad_Shalit
For the more than three years Gilad has been held in captivity, he has not been visited by the Red Cross. No one even knows what has happened to him. And at no point has Hamas been required to release this information as a condition of foreign aid.

Please take a moment to sign this petition , which urges the U.S. to make its upcoming $300 million gift to Gaza dependent upon the release of Gilad Shalit. This petition will be delivered to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Please also share this message with your representatives in Congress. Just cut and paste this note into an email. The entire process takes only a minute or two.

Noam Shalit, the father of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than 1,131 days, is asking that the U.S.’ scheduled aid package of $300 million to Gaza be delivered only after the release of his son.

Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas in June, 2006. Noam Shalit recently testified before the Goldstone Committee, which is investigating illegal conduct by combatants during Operation Cast Lead on behalf of the United Nations, that his son’s abudction was a war crime according to the definitions of the Geneva Convention. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the elder Shalit also testified the abduction of his son preceded all the other events in the Gaza Strip: “the IDF siege on the territory, the launching of rockets by Palestinian groups, and finally the Israeli offensive – and argued that that action had resulted in the subsequent actions.” And for the three years Gilad has been held in captivity, he has not been visited by the Red Cross. And at no point has Hamas been required to release this information as a condition of foreign aid.

Please urge President Obama and your colleagues to make the upcoming $300 million gift to Gaza dependent upon the release of Gilad Shalit.

Almost half around the globe, in California, a woman wrongly imprisoned is nearing death behind bars. Debbie Peagler is a domestic violence survivor who, thanks to a tragic miscarriage of justice, has spent more than 26 years in prison in connection with the death of her batterer. Now she is dying of terminal lung cancer that has already spread throughout her body. According to one of her attorneys, Joshua Safran, who has been working pro bono on her behalf for more than six years, Debbie’s condition is so severe, she may not live beyond the summer.

free debbie
Earlier this month, on July 10th, Debbie was found suitable for parole. In light of Debbie’s terminal illness, the State of California’s Decision Review Committee agreed to expedite its review of the Parole Board’s decision, and it, too, found Debbie suitable for parole. These are big steps, but Debbie is still behind bars.

Debbie’s freedom now lies in the hands of California Governor Schwarzenegger. Under state law, he has 30 days to affirm or veto the Parole Board’s decision and thereby decide whether Debbie will spend her last days with her family or behind bars.

Because the Governor often reverses Board of Parole decisions, DEBBIE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT NOW MORE THAN EVER.

Please take three minutes to go to http://www.freebatteredwomen.org/Alert_Deborah.html, Then drop down to parole issues. Please call or email Governor Schwarzenegger or send him a free fax and urge him to release incarcerated domestic violence survivor Deborah Peagler.

Please also express your support by reaching out to First Lady Maria Shriver. You can reach her at

State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

Please also express your sentiments to the Governor’s Legal Affairs Secretary’s office at this address:

Governor’s Office of Legal Affairs
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-0873
Fax: (916) 323-0935

It’s now or never. Every fax, email, and phone call matters.

Thanks to attorney Joshua Safran for bringing this to our attention.

Lisa Alcalay Klug is the author of Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe and the founding editor of Tolerant Nation.

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About tolerantamerica

On her recent tour for her book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, Lisa was inspired by the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American elected president of the United States, to encourage cross-cultural dialogue about multiculturalism in America. To increase tolerance and understanding across communities, Lisa launched "A More Tolerant America" to feature guest bloggers, authors, activists, artists and other writers, who, like her, are multicultural. Klug's father is a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor from Poland and the descendant of a Spanish Jewish family that escaped the Spanish Inquisition. During her tour, Lisa encountered ignorance and bigotry toward Jewish Americans. As part of her campaign, this blog will giveaway books and other materials that promote cross-cultural dialogue.
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One Response to Freeing the Captive

  1. Pingback: Jewlicious » Remembering the Captive On Tisha B’Av

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