Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lebanon, Palestine, Israel

Because he is both more knowledgable and eloquent than I am in writing about these issues, I am sharing with you the words of my friend and comrade Max Elbaum, who has written for War Times and other publications, and is the author of Revolution in the Air.

It is at times like this that I am flabbergasted that anyone can take the American government seriously when it speaks for us and says it supports 'human rights' and 'democracy'. Who can blame anyone who equates the U.S. government with violence, imperialism and oppression?

Thanks Max, for allowing me to post this on my blog.

In Peace, Justice and Hope for an End to All War,


Dear family and friends,

Yesterday the Prime Minister of Lebanon pleaded with the conscience of the world to bring about an immediate internationally-sanctioned cease-fire, saying that Israel was acting to destroy "everything that allows Lebanon to stay alive".

This morning's New York Times reports that "the death toll has reached at least 230 Lebanese dead [up to 310 by noon today], most of them civilians, and 25 Israeli dead, 13 of them civilians. In Gaza, one Israeli soldier has died from his own army's fire, and 103 Palestinians have been killed."

Yet spokespeople for the Israeli military say their offensive may continue "for weeks" and the Bush administration openly approves.

Yes, there are many complexities to the situation, but the essence of it is quite simple: Israel, with the world's fouth most powerful military, is inflicting massive "collective punishment" on civilian populations - targeting power plants, villages, heavily populated urban neighborhoods and even a Lebanese dairy farm. And the world's sole superpower, in violation of this country's own Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act, is supplying jet fuel, financing and political support for these violations of international law and crimes against humanity.

None of this would be possible without the blatant anti-Arab racism that treats Israeli killings of Palestinians and Lebanese as a normal "fact of life" like the day's weather: The sun also riseth; Israeli fire killed a Palestinian child today in the name of "security"; And the sun goeth down.

This is a moral outrage, a political disaster, and an affront to people of conscience of all backgrounds all across the planet. Even in 1623 John Donne wrote: "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never
send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." With the most modern technology on the globe, Tel Aviv and Washington are taking the world back to the morality of the Middle Ages.

I urge all of you to raise your voice in protest as loudly and strongly as you possibly can.

Below are some possible ways to take action from a message sent out yesterday by the United for Peace and Justice Coalition. There are also a number of websites listed for more background information and analyses of all the complexities. If you would like me to send you particular articles I have found useful in understanding Israel's recent offensive, and how it fits Israel's historical pattern of choosing expansionism, colonizing, and war over peace and a society with equal rights for all, let me know and I will forward these to you.

Thank you. Peace,


TAKE ACTION: Hold the Bush Administration to account for its backing of Israel's killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

*Pressure the Bush Administration and Congress: Call the White House (202-456-1111), the U.S. State Department (202-647-4000), and the Congressional switchboard (202-224-3121), which will connect you to your Congressmembers' offices, to demand that the U.S. take immediate action. Organize delegations of peace advocates to Congressional offices. We need to end Bush's war policy in Iraq and in the Middle East.

*Send a letter to the editor at your local newspaper: People in your community need to hear from you. Your neighbors are probably as appalled by this as you are, and they need to see your words in print so they know they are not alone. Click here
to send a letter to the editor at your local paper:

*Find a protest in your area.

* American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
* Electronic Intifada
* Gush Shalom (Israeli organization)
* Jewish Voice for Peace
* US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
* United for Peace and Justice

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