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Protest in front of Capitol

As the war in Gaza enters its sixth month, grassroots advocacy for a ceasefire continues to grow stronger. Each single lobby visit, each letter to Congress, each phone call to Capitol Hill, and each letter to the editor is adding pressure to end this catastrophic violence. In the process, it is also helping to save lives.

Early in the war, U.S. officials called efforts to press for a ceasefire “repugnant” and “disgraceful” as they doubled down on unconditional support for Israel’s indiscriminate military campaign.

But the tone of the conversation in Washington, D.C., has significantly changed since then due to both the worsening humanitarian disaster and the outpouring of grassroots pressure.

Now, nearly 80 members of Congress have called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Responding to mounting Congressional pressure, Vice President Kamala Harris recently called for an immediate six-week ceasefire. President Joe Biden said that an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, where 1.4 million people have sought refuge, could result in restrictions on U.S. military aid to Israel.

FCNL’s grassroots advocates around the United States have made an enormous contribution to this momentum. Together, our network has generated over 625,000 emails to Congressional offices and conducted at least 170 lobby visits.

As Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) made clear, our voices are making a tangible difference. “They’re all, I think, very mobilized voices and have had an impact,” Rep. Khanna told the New York Times about the FCNL grassroots advocacy network. “They’ve had constituents reach out to different members of Congress, they’ve organized a lot of demonstrations in districts, they’ve done a lot on social media, they’ve raised a lot of awareness.”

Days after FCNL’s Advocacy Team from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania met with Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s (PA-6) staff in February, the representative voiced support for a permanent ceasefire for the first time.

FCNL’s grassroots network is also shifting the conversation in the media, publishing at least 72 articles or letters calling for a ceasefire in publications across the country.

One such article in the LA Times co-authored by longtime FCNL advocate, Jonathan Evans, encapsulates the urgent need for the Biden administration to use its leverage to push for a ceasefire.

“Over the past five decades, American taxpayers have invested more than $7 billion to finance hundreds of projects in humanitarian relief and development in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, all under the banner of ‘peacebuilding.’ But the Biden administration is currently providing the weaponry that is killing the very people the government set out to help,” Evans and his co-authors write.

Other advocates like Sacramento-based organizer Avinash Tiwari have found creative ways to strengthen grassroots advocacy for a ceasefire. He hosted a soccer tournament and information session for Bhutanese elders. Avinash connected their history to the Gaza conflict while motivating his community to support a ceasefire.

Quakers and friends around the country are proving that putting faith into action can yield big results.

Quakers and friends around the country are proving that putting faith into action can yield big results. We must keep taking action for a permanent ceasefire to protect every civilian, bring all the Israeli hostages and Palestinian political prisoners home, and support lasting peace for everyone in the region.

Each day the Gaza war drags on, the consequence for civilians continue to be devastating. Since October 7, more than 31,000 Palestinians and over 1,476 Israelis have been killed, while 134 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.

The United Nations continues to warn of unprecedented famine in Gaza if urgent action is not taken to increase humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has suspended funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the largest humanitarian group in Gaza.

Odeliya Matter Headshot 2024

Odeliya Matter

Program Assistant for Middle East Policy (2023-2024)

Odeliya Matter is a program assistant for the Middle East Policy team.