Letters to the editor, one of the most widely read parts of newspapers, can reach, educate, and inspire a broad audience. That’s why they’re such a powerful tool for advocating for the rights of Palestinian children. Local politicians often monitor the letters in their local papers to understand what their constituents care about, so it can also be a good tool to influence their views.
No Way To Treat A Child advocates around the world have submitted letters to the editor in support of H.R. 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act," a bill prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children by any country, including Israel. Here are examples from New York, Missouri, and even New Zealand.
Writing a letter to the editor in support of H.R. 2407 is straightforward. Here are five tips to make your letter stand out.
1. Do your research.
Know the letter to the editor requirements from the publication you’re submitting to. What is the word limit? Does the paper take general commentary, or does it need to reference a recent article? Publications typically explain the requirements for letters on their website. Following these guidelines increase the chance of your letter being published.
2. Start strong and explain the issue clearly.
Letters to the editor are typically short—less than 250 words—so you need to make your point quickly and concisely. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find sample text that explains H.R. 2407 and the No Way To Treat A Child campaign that you can use in your letter. Begin your letter with a strong hook that grabs the reader’s attention. Overall, you want to make sure you explain the issue—Israeli forces detaining and ill-treating Palestinian children with American taxpayer support—and a way to help—in this case, supporting H.R. 2407.
3. Know your audience.
You are probably submitting a letter to your local paper, so you’re familiar with the community. Make sure you express why people in your community, specifically, should care about Palestinian children and H.R. 2407. Use everyday language people understand and avoid jargon and acronyms.
4. Make it personal.
If you’re writing a letter to the editor in support of Palestinian children, you clearly care. Why? By including your personal story and perspective in the letter, readers will be able to relate to you and the issue
5. End with a strong call to action.
After reading about the widespread and systematic detention of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, many people will feel called to help. By including a strong call to action, you are giving them a tool to help. The specific call will depend on your community and whether your lawmaker has already co-sponsored H.R. 2407. Here are some example calls to action:
- Thank your lawmaker for co-sponsoring H.R. 2407
- Call your lawmaker and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 2407
- Endorse H.R. 2407 as a citizen co-sponsor
- If you have a local group or organization they can join or contact to learn more, include that too!
You can use the tool below to send out your own customized letter to the editor in support of Palestinian children, complete with text that helps explain the importance of H.R. 2407.Read more
Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.
Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.Read more
Faith-based communities and organizations are key partners and supporters of the #nowaytotreatachild campaign. They educate their communities about Palestinian children’s experiences in military detention through film screenings and speaker events, by organizing conferences, and bringing delegations to Palestine to expose individuals to the reality of life under Israeli military occupation.Read more
We get it. It can be stressful to approach and engage congressional offices on Palestinian rights issues.Read more
On April 30, 2019, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H.R. 2407, the "Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act," a bill prohibiting U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children by any country, including Israel.Read more
Chicago, June 16, 2017—For the past two years, AFSC has partnered with Defense for Children International – Palestine on a campaign to challenge Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing the widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces.Read more