Witness for Peace at UC Berkeley’s Livermore National Lab
Good Friday: April 14, 2006
Vasco & Patterson Pass Road
Featured Speaker: Reverend Ama Zenya,
First Congregational Church of Oakland
Dismantling Our Terror
It is time we, as a world, dismantle our weapons of terror, so that we may dismantle the culture of fear used by our national governments to escalate the violence and development of tools of violence. We have seen this cycle before, and we know it doesn’t serve humanity or the planet. We want more from our world.
The US government’s weapons are used to control the world, and our culture of fear is used to control the citizens of the US — used to control us from stopping the continuation of global violence.
Our witness is a foreign policy decision and a domestic policy decision. We believe we are safer when no one - not even us — has weapons of mass destruction. We also believe that our nation’s tax money and intellectual resources can be better spent rebuilding the Gulf Coast, funding public education, establishing national health care, creating affordable housing, and researching alternative energy sources, than in building more and more weapons.
We, as global citizens in solidarity with our kin in Iraq, in Iran, in Israel, in Palestine, in Japan, in the Marshall Islands, and all over the world, feel responsible to voice our fear of and our protest against this nuclear madness.
We fear the nuclear weapons themselves. We are all potential victims of their terrible violence.
We fear the ecological and environmental health effects of nuclear technology, on lab workers and neighboring communities as well as on victims of weapons used.
We fear the waste of domestic resources, of money, energy, and talent, on tools of violence instead of healing the wounds of an already broken world.
We fear our unacknowledged guilt as US Americans, for what we have done and what we are doing to the world.
We fear the perpetuation of the US Empire, of which nuclear weaponry is but one element, and the Empire’s unsustainable and oppressive relationship to the world.
We are already victims of having to live in a world where we fear each other and our human potential, instead of loving each other and celebrating our power as human co-creators with God. We intend to start dismantling our terror.
by Charlie Hinton
Haiti Action Committee
For the fourth time since 1990, Haitians voted massively on February 7 to support the Lavalas movement founded by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, this time led by René Preval, under the banner of the Lespwa (Hope) Party. Now that they have lost, the Haitian elites and the "international community" have started once again to undercut the victory, seeking at the negotiation table what they could not win at the polls.
The foothold for the negotiation comes over an impasse whether Mr. Preval won the absolute majority necessary to avoid a runoff election or not. Although early official results and unofficial polls showed him co mfortably above 50%, after 5 days of counting, his official results dropped to 48.7%.Two members of the electoral commission declared fraud was taking place. Preval’s outraged supporters demonstrated and blocked intersections. They marched to the site of the vote count, Haiti’s most exclusive hotel, and demanded the vote of the majority be respected.
The next day garbage pickers found tens of thousands of burning Preval ballots in a dump. No longer able to cover up the fraud, the powers that be ruled Preval the winner. The sore losers have challenged the results, although the second place candidate got less than 12% of the vote.
As of March 10, the commission has still not announced a final count, the results of the parliamentary elections held at the same time, or set a date for the next round of parliamentary elections. Yet they’ve postponed Preval’s inauguration until there is a seated parliament. They’re using every possible tactic to cast a doubt on the election results, challenge Preval’s mandate, and most of all, prevent Aristide’s return.
Haiti’s pro-Lavalas majority outsmarted and out-organized those who are still trying to prevent them from playing a role in Haiti’s future. The State Department line is that Haiti is a "failed state," a basket case unable to take care of its own business. Most Haitians, however, think they were doing better with Lavalas, and that’s why they voted once again for their vision of the future and not that of France, Canada, or the United States.
Haiti has much to offer the world. It has a rich cultural heritage and an incredible fighting spirit that has resisted enslavement and colonialism for 250 years. If we confront Haiti honestly, we must confront our own history of colonialism, racism, slavery, and class privilege. Poor Haitians are eating dirt baked with salt, because they have no other food, and because they refuse to be enslaved again. Can the world do the right thing for once and listen to what the people of Haiti are saying? Can we gain the humility to realize that we might actually be able to learn something from Haitians, even follow their example? Maybe the next time the Bush family tries to steal an election here, we’ll stand up like Haitians and demand that our votes be counted too. That fear of a good example terrifies the Haitian and U.S. elites. It’s why they hate President Aristide, and why they will do everything possible to prevent democracy in Haiti.
by Carolyn S. Scarr
Iraq, with its considerable reserves of oil, is well on its way to becoming a "Third World" country.
The term "Third World" is a carry-over from the Cold War when the capitalist countries, the U.S., western Europe and Japan, were called the "First World", the communist countries, particularly those aligned with the U.S. S. R, were sometimes referred to as the "Second World". All the rest sometimes called non-aligned, were the battlefield of the struggle between the First and Second Worlds and were referred to as the "Third World". With the close of the Cold War, the term "Third World" fell briefly into disfavor and was intermittently replaced by "underdeveloped countries" and "developing countries".
The term "Third World" is making a comeback, perhaps because development isn’t happening as was optimistically projected. In fact these countries – particularly those in possession of considerable natural resources – are in fact being developed, but in a special way, such that their resources are exploited by foreign corporations for the benefit of foreign corporations.
This state of affairs is usually imposed by the military power of a "First World" country which sets up the political situation in the Third World Country to accommodate the needs of the foreign corporation. The rule of Third World Countries in these "post-colonial" times is generally in the hands of a small group of people, often referred to as "the elite", who serve the interest of foreign powers in exchange for a share of profits and power.
Among the characteristics of Third World Countries are:
• a low standard of public services.
• military and police forces which violently stamp out any efforts to improve the lives of the people such as providing schools and clinics or attempting to organize unions or organizing for political change.
• an economic system designed to export the wealth of the nation to foreign entities.
• a political structure controlled by those who collaborate with the foreign entities, in exchange for a share of the wealth and for power over their compatriots.
Currently in Iraq we can see the transformation of a social structure with many of the characteristics of a "Second World" country into what can only be considered a classical "Third World" country.
In 1958, the pro-West government [put in place by the British] was overthrown by ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim. Qasim survived a Ba’athist coup that included participation of Saddam Hussein in 1959. Kuwait and other neighboring protectorates became independent of Britain beginning in 1961, and Iraq laid claims on them owing to oil resources and the need for outlets to the sea. Qasim was overthrown in 1963 by Abd al-Salam ‘Arif, apparently with the help of the CIA. Arif’s government was overthrown by a Ba’athist coup in 1968 with the aid of the US Central Intelligence Agency, which had supposedly been encouraging the Ba’ath and Saddam Hussein for many years. (from http://www.mideastweb.org/iraq.htm)This CIA/Saddam link is reported by journalist John Pilger in his documentary film on the sanctions, Paying the Price.
During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) Saddam Hussein was supported by the United States, which provided both weaponry and strategic information. Of course the weaponry was bought from U.S. weapons manufacturers, which accounts for much of the debt Iraq suffers under today and which was part of the motivation for Iraq’s attack on Kuwait in 1990. Iraq felt that war-related debt was incurred when it was acting to help protect the rest of the world from the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. This is not to excuse the attack on Kuwait, but to understand what was going on.
It must be recognized that under Saddam Hussein, while political opposition was ruthlessly suppressed, the oil resources were used to finance one of the best public health care systems in the world, free education for both males and females through university level. Prior to 1990 Iraq’s literacy rate was about 90%; after a decade of sanctions it has dopped to below 70%. The U.S. Defense Information Agency wrote in January of 1991, in their analysis of Iraq water treatment vulnerabilities "Iraq has made a considerable effort to supply pure water to its population." The report recognized that the effort was not entirely successful nation-wide. The report predicted epidemics of water-borne diseases "unless water treatment supplies are exempted from the UN sanctions for humanitarian reasons." A group of doctors traveling under the auspices of Harvard University, reported that as sanctions impacted Iraq’s economy, a system of food distribution was put in place which prevent widespread starvation. This system was eventually utilized by the Oil for Food program. These reports and accounts are cited to contrast the Ba’ath Party practice of using the resources to meet the needs of local people with the practices imposed by the neo-colonial powers under the structures being put in place in Iraq today.
What may Iraq anticipate under the rules put in place by the U.S. occupation?
The 50 Years is Enough Network is one of the best resources for economic analysis of the debt picture for Third World nations.
To summarize from their analysis——
The cancellation of Iraq’s debt is a Trojan horse for the IMF, World Bank, and WTO to enter Iraq and start restructuring the economy further, continuing where Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) left off. In a move reminiscent of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, not only debt but debt relief is being used as a tool to restructure Iraq’s economy….essentially conditioning debt cancellation on the subjugation of Iraq’s economic policy to the IMF. . . .
The Coalition Provisional Authority restructured Iraq’s economy. Bremer passed a series of Executive Orders (without any accountability to Iraqi people) that, among other things:
• Laid off 500,000 government workers. This lay-off thus represented nearly 8% of the workforce.
• Changed laws governing foreign investment to "make Iraq one of the most liberalised economies in the developing world and go beyond even the laws in many rich countries," according to the Financial Times. (CPA Order No. 39)
• Made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to plant saved seeds and to exchange knowledge freely. Now they are allowed to plant only "protected" crop varieties which remain the property of the multinational seed companies. Previously, the Iraqi constitution did not allow patenting of plants. The CPA, however, changed the law to allow "intellectual property" control over plant varieties. (CPA Order No. 81)…
Bremer also reinstituted Saddam Hussein’s prohibition of all labor unions not authorized by the government.
IMF and World Bank Loans will put Iraq further under the control of these institutions. The IMF made its first-ever loan to Iraq in September 2004. In July 2005, the World Bank made its first loan to Iraq since 1973. This was followed by a $100 million World Bank loan for the education sector last November, and an IMF Standby Arrangement in December. The cancellation of Iraq’s debt. . . is conditioned on Iraq entering into this Standby Arrangement, and implementing it to the satisfaction of the IMF. Timing the IMF deal immediately after the elections is a move that appears designed to prevent Iraqis from having a say in the deal. If the deal had been signed before the elections, it would have been an election issue. "The timing of the decision spared politicians from voters’ wrath," The Washington Post,December 28, 2005.
Other conditions imposed by the IMF and World Bank on Iraq include the following:
• Privatization of all state-owned enterprises in Iraq except oil. This IMF-imposed condition will lead to the lay-offs of an estimated 145,000 workers. It will also provide foreign corporations with control of vital sectors of Iraq’s economy. As for the oil industry, while it will not be totally privatized, legal changes are underway to provide for partial foreign ownership. Former Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi (who is now one of Iraq’s two Vice-Presidents) admitted that these legal changes would be "very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." The IMF calls for "expanding the participation of the private sector in the domestic market for petroleum products" in its press release announcing the Standby Arrangement.
• An end to food subsidies. Subsidized food rations have been a lifeline for 60% of Iraq’s population, and often their only protection against starvation, but the IMF and World Bank want to eliminate them. The elimination of subsidized food distribution will facilitate the control of Iraq’s market for food by corporate agribusiness.
• Liberalization of food prices. The World Bank wants to eliminate regulations that keep food prices under control. "Liberalization" of food prices has led to severe food shortage, even famine, in many countries, most recently in Niger and Mali.
•Further layoffs and/or wage and benefit freezes in the public sector. . . a ceiling on the Iraqi government’s non-security/defense wage bill, as a "performance criterion" . . . . It is significant that the only sector of government expenditure that is exempted from the IMF payroll budget ceiling is defense! The IMF celebrates the fact that the Iraqi government withdrew legislation in the National Assembly requiring pensions to be set at 80% of final salary — making it clear that neither the existence of a democratic process in Iraq, nor retirement security for senior Iraqis, are any concern to the IMF.
The Iraqi reaction to IMF and World Bank policies in general, and to the recent fuel price increases in particular, has been one of near-unanimous disapproval. Thousands have demonstrated against the fuel price increases throughout the country; the Oil Minister, Ibrahim Bahr-al-Uloum, resigned in protest in early January (and has been replaced by the notoriously corrupt Ahmed Chalabi); and some provinces, including oil-rich Basra, have refused to implement the price increase. A number of Iraqi labor unions issued a joint statement on January 16, condemning the oil price increase, and unequivocally rejecting the entire IMF and World Bank agenda of privatization and deregulation.
It is clear that the consequences of the U.S. occupation, and of the subsequent economic occupation and restructuring of the country in the interests of foreign investors by the IMF and World Bank, will last well after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Getting US troops out of Iraq, while an important first step towards winning self-determination for Iraq, is exactly that — a first step. If the U.S. anti-war movement is serious about standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq, and challenging the deep-rooted economic motivations of an interventionist U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and around the world, then it needs to make resistance to the neoliberal economic agenda of so-called international institutions a central plank of its campaign
excerpted from http://www.50years.org/cms/updates/story/320
Detailing how World Bank and CPA rules will benefit foreign investors: In CPA Order 39, "Iraq announced a foreign direct investment policy that would make the country one of the most open in the world. The law permits full foreign ownership of businesses in all sectors (with the exception of natural resources [e.g., oil]), permits foreign firms to enter Iraq as direct owners of branches or through joint ventures, provides for national treatment of foreign firms and permits the full and immediate reparation of profits." These radical policies provide an extremely lucrative investment environment for foreign investors, and will, according to the Financial Times, "make Iraq one of the most liberalised economies in the developing world and go beyond even the laws in many rich countries." By claiming "national treatment," which means being treated as any Iraqi company would, foreign firms will receive a number of benefits typically reserved for domestic investors. They will most likely pay lower taxes, avoid tariffs, and avoid paying various fees for conducting business in Iraq.
excerpted from http://www.50years.org/cms/ejn/story/169
The Other Side of the Coin
Military Occupation and Death Squads
People everywhere will resist being robbed and seeing their children starve. To keep in place a system which exploits the Iraqi people a combination of ongoing occupation and support of death squads can be anticipated. There are plans for fourteen permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. Evidence is mounting of the ongoing death squad operations in Iraq’s ruling forces, supported by the U.S. occupation.
Two respected U.S. Army experts on the Middle East argue … the United States [must] be willing to place stability above democracy, at least in the near term, and to swallow the "bitter pill" of supporting an authoritarian regime in Iraq backed by sectarian militias….
San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2005
In fact the U.S. has already gone well along the path of what is called by some analysts the "Salvador" Option. Supporting and training death squads is almost certainly underway in Iraq. Christian Peacemaker Teams member Sheila Provincher wrote on November 23, 2005 about the commando units roaring along Baghdad’s streets, picking up and imprisoning for torture and execution Iraqi citizens at will.
James Steele, one of the U.S. military’s experts on counterinsurgency, is an advisor to Adnan Thavit, the leader of the Special Police Commandos, known as one of the most brutal of Iraq’s new forces.1 In his previous life, James Steele led U.S. Special Forces in El Salvador in the 1980s, aiding a repressive government’s military that killed thousands of peasants, students, and activists — anyone perceived as aiding or supporting the guerillas.2 In addition, Steve Casteel, a former top official in the Drug Enforcement Administration who spent years in Latin America, is the senior U.S. adviser in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, which has operational control over the commandos.1 Funding and training for the commando groups come from the Iraqi government, as all of them fall at least nominally under the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Defense.3 And from which country does a great deal of the funding for the Iraqi government come?
1. Maass, Peter , "The Way of the Commandos," New York Times Magazine, May 1, 2005;
2. Fuller, Max, "For Iraq, The Salvador Option Becomes a Reality," Global Research, http://globalresearch.ca/
3. "Q&A: Iraq’s Militias," New York Times, June 9, 2005
Units of the Interior Ministry, which Casteel "advises", has been revealed in recent BBC news reports to have been operating as death squads, picking up Sunnis who are later found handcuffed and shot.
It is evident that the characteristics of a Third World Country listed at the beginning of this article are all present in contemporary Iraq, under the rule of the U.S. and its collaborators. The purported reconstruction which the U.S. is running in Iraq is clearly a means by which the U.S. taxpayer and the Iraqis through the sale of their oil are enriching large American corporations and assorted embezzlers of various nationalities. Iraqi engineers who had maintained the water systems under the harsh conditions of sanctions were disregarded as Bechtel was brought in to make money on Iraq’s water resources. The US military and advisors, instead of respecting the Iraqi citizens and their capacity to learn and to teach themselves, treat the country and its citizens as if they already are and had never not been a 3rd world country.
What can we do?
Political lobbying, public witness, and non-violent civil disobedience are all possible actions which we may engage in to bring to an end this war.
• Maintain a public witness for the end to the war. Communities all around the country are holding regular vigils for peace.
• Some discussions are underway to build a movement along the lines of the Pledge of Resistance to engage in a series of civil disobedience actions to demand an end to this war.
• Counter-recruitment and support of our young people in their discernment process regarding conscientious objection to war are essential. We must make it clear that refusnik U.S. soldiers will be welcomed in our communities and will receive help in getting jobs and education. The fear of having "bad paper" (a less than honorable discharge) must be removed.
• We must support the will of the Iraqi people and oppose all moves to restructure Iraq’s economy and privatize public resources. An immediate halt to the construction of U.S. military bases in Iraq is essential.
• Lobbying at the congressional level is important. We must ask Congress to go further than selecting a distant time to begin withdrawal. We can demand of Congress the disclosure of all briefing papers alleging Iraqi possession of development of WMDs or connection with terrorist groups of whatever level of secrecy.
At a basic level, it is necessary to challenge within ourselves the sometimes unconscious tendency to think that the U.S. can’t really be doing such awful things. People who exclaim "We have never done something like this before" have forgotten Vietnam, Grenada, the Philippines, the Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua …… This sense of pre-established innocence is sometimes called "U.S. exceptionalism." It is the curious conceit of feeling one is without sin.
On the more hopeful side, it seems that a Confessing movement is struggling to be born in the soul of the interfaith peace and justice movement.
Let us be a part of it.
East Bay Coalition to Support Self-Rule For Iraqis (EB-COSSI) tabling at Hayward Farmer's Market, with information on the impact of occupation rules on Iraqi agriculture.
– compiled by Esther Ho
The question of anti-Semitism seems to arise whenever the policies of the Israeli government are questioned or challenged. Most serious analysts agree that the situation in the Middle East is one of the most dangerous obstacles to world peace, and most of them concur that to some degree, if not to a high degree, the conflict between Israel and the Arab world is a key to the Middle East conflict in general. Since the issue of anti-Semitism is greatly complicating that struggle, we feel compelled to attempt to clarify thinking in regard to it. In that hope we bring you thoughts from the writings of several outstanding students of anti-Semitism.
Israeli Policies Feed the Cancer of Anti-Semitism
Paul Oestreiche, Catholic chaplain at the University of Sussex, and the offspring of a German Jewish-born father who escaped in time and a Christian mother who did not, writes:
"It is a lie that to reject Zionism as it is practised today is to be the inheritor of Hitler’s racism.
If, as some now think, today’s Jews are the Muslims - hatred transferred - that simply means there is a battle to maintain our common humanity on more than one front. All collective hatreds poison the body politic.
"If I feel all that in my guts and know it in my head, I cannot stand by and watch the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - one of the world’s most dangerous outbreaks of collective hatred - as a dispassionate onlooker. I cannot listen calmly when an Iranian president talks of wiping out Israel. Jewish fears go deep. They are not irrational. But I cannot listen calmly either when a great many citizens of Israel think and speak of Palestinians in the way a great many Germans thought and spoke about Jews when I was one of them and had to flee.
"If the Christian in me has good reason to be ashamed, so now does the Jew in me. I passionately believe that Israel has the right, and its people have the right, to live in peace and in secure borders. But I know too that modern Israel was born in terror and made possible in its present Zionist form by killing and a measure of ethnic cleansing. That is history. Tell me of a nation with an innocent history. But the Zionism at the heart of Israeli politics is about the present and the future. It makes me fear for the soul of Israel today and the survival of its children tomorrow.
"The Israel characterised by the words of Golda Meir that ‘there was no such thing as Palestinians ... they did not exist’ is an Israel that is inevitably surrounded by enemies and that can only survive militarily and economically as a client state of the world’s only superpower, for now. Nor can its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East last for ever. Peace cannot be made by building a wall on Palestinian land that makes the life of the miserably conquered more miserable still. A Palestinian bantustan will be a source of unrest and violence for ever….
"But the main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-Semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler’s racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-Semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel’s betrayal of its true heritage.
"I began with the recognition that the cancer of anti-Semitism has not been cured. Tragically, Israel’s policies feed it - and when world Jewry defends Israeli policies right or wrong, then anger turns not only against Israel, but against all Jews. I wish it were mere rhetoric to say that Israeli politics today make a holocaust the day after tomorrow credible. If the whole Muslim world hates Israel, that is no idle speculation. To count on Arab disunity and Muslim sectarian conflict and a permanent American shield is no recipe for long-term security."
The Dangers of Crying "Wolf"
Mitchell Plitnik, director of education and policy for Bay-Area-based ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’, writes:
"Those of us who are involved in activism around Israel/Palestine, and take a position critical of the standard American and Israeli views of the conflict are constantly peppered with accusations of anti-Semitism; or, in the case of Jews, we are told we are "self-hating." Indeed, for Jews active on this issue, it becomes incumbent upon us to prominently and frequently argue that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. It can get frustrating. …when that argument is over something that should be obvious — such as the right to criticize the actions of a state with one of the world’s strongest militaries, which has been in occupation of another people for 35 years — the argument becomes all the more tiresome. In fact, it can become so tiresome that many people, Jewish or non-Jewish, can easily become so frustrated that they cannot or do not wish to hear about genuine issues of anti-Semitism. It is fast becoming the cry of ‘wolf’ that can portend a horrible fate down the road."
Plitnick points out that the horrors of the European Holocaust in which millions of Jews, gypsies, gays, and others were slaughtered remain very much a part of the Jewish psyche. He states that while these traumas convinced many Jews they "would always be at risk" and that "the world does and would always hate (them)," it is also true that "institutionalized discrimination against Jews in the West came under fierce attack as shame over what had been done in Europe spread," and gradually a period of freedom and prosperity emerged for most Jews.
He continues: "We must not forget the Holocaust, nor the fact that some of our greatest historical tragedies have come on the heels of some of our greatest periods of prosperity. But the road to sustaining our security lies not in fear of a repeat of our greatest trauma, but in vigilance, consciousness and cooperation with our many allies in creating a world where all forms of hatred based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or any other innate characteristics has no power to threaten people….
"Much is made of growing anti-Semitism in the Arab world. …all the Jews most people in those countries see are Israeli leaders, soldiers and settlers, and occasional American Jews who voice views at least as hawkish. When a group of people are absent from one’s life, and one sees only frightening images of them, this provides the most fertile soil for bigotry. Little reason is given for Arabs to distinguish between the actions of the Israeli government, of which they see only the very worst, and the Jewish people, who are purportedly represented by the Jewish State….
"The question in the US is made even more complicated by the presence of real anti-Semites… Dispensationalist Christian evangelicals, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, provide fanatical support of Israel as they promote their end-of-days vision, which depends on a fulfillment of the prophecy of a Jewish return to Zion, where Armageddon will see the Jews all converted or destroyed. It is worthwhile to remember that this branch of right-wing Christianity is the source of much of the power of the incorrectly-named "Jewish lobby." The Christian Right is what gives pro-Israeli lobbying its voter power, generates stacks of letters to representatives and pressures editorial boards with potential loss of circulation...
Citing Stephen Zunes’ book Tinderbox and writings of Noam Chomsky, Plitnick states that there is "an alarming increase in the belief that Israel controls the US in regards to the Middle East. (It) harkens back to all sorts of Jewish conspiracy theories…. In many cases, people who believe this theory may be acting out of a lack of facts rather than antipathy for Jews. There is no doubt that the lobby that supports Israel is very powerful in Congress and the media activism of Israel’s supporters has been remarkably effective. It is also true that while the Christian Right may provide a lot of the financial and people-power of this activism, the Jewish groups are providing the public face and most of the leadership….
"It is high time that we took the fight against anti-Semitism from those who use it to legitimate policies and actions that oppress others and use it to stifle legitimate debate over issues that touch millions of lives. We do this by confronting anti-Semitism where it really exists … and by confronting with equal vigor those…who would dishonor the millions of people and centuries of persecution of Jews by cynically manipulating this issue for their own ends to defend policies which are antithetical to the justice and universal equality that is necessary for Jews and all other historical victims of oppression to exist in peace and security.
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish Peace Walk in southern California, adds the following perspective: "We did not come here as slaves. Jews of European descent were legal immigrants to this country who live on appropriated Native American lands. The majority of Jews in the South … identified with the Confederacy during the Civil War. Some Jews owned slaves and participated in the international slave trade. The foundation of American prosperity was built on the genocide of Indigenous Americans and African Americans from which we have prospered….
(However,) like most of my peers I have always lived with a sense of alienation from American society based on my Jewishness. Our disturbing history at the hands of the white Christian world includes the horrors of the Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms, and the Holocaust that murdered one-third of the entire world population of Jews less than sixty years ago. The story of the St. Louis, the ship of Jews turned away from American shores and returned to Germany during the most profound period of genocide in Jewish history, confirms the assumption that Jewish safety, even in America, is always conditional. Accusations of "Christ killer" and the oft-repeated stereotypes that Jews control the media, the world’s money, and the world’s government, coupled with the pressure to assimilate and convert, cause Jews to feel insecure about our status even in America….
"The leadership of the American Jewish community has been unable to address the brutality of Israeli state policy for decades. This leadership constantly calls for a "balanced approach" and monitors speech about Israel…. Those of us committed to human rights cannot countenance Israel’s building a massive separation wall with American tax dollars, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians through policies of internal and external transfer, the use of collective punishment, torture, administrative detention, targeted assassinations, land confiscation, daily humiliation at checkpoints, the lawless actions of settlers throughout the West Bank, and a whole host of policies perpetrated upon Palestinian society….The horror of suicide bombing, the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and the anti-Semitism propagated by some in the Islamic world cannot justify these violations of Palestinian human rights….
We can only effectively challenge anti-Semitism while struggling in solidarity for Palestinian human rights… We cannot truly deconstruct racism in America without addressing the invisibility of the Native American community and its struggle to achieve historical justice…. Native people are the bearers of the spirit of the American continent. Their cultural recovery is at the heart of transforming American society, because it will restore our memory and interrupt the vast wall of denial that most white people have about our history.
The History of Anti-Semitism
From the "Jewish Liberation Draft Policy Statement No. 5," a document produced by Re-evaluation Counseling, an organization that does co-counseling around issues of oppression and liberation:
The statement sketches the history of oppression of Jewish people, noting that they were often invited to settle in a given country bringing their talents and traditions of learning and organization. To avoid exile and plundering of whole Jewish communities, the leaderships of those communities became dependent on the rulers’ favor, agreeing to serve as the rulers’ public agents while the majority of Jews who settled in each country remained as economically oppressed as the indigenous population, but the roles that some Jews played as officials, administrators, etc., placed the entire Jewish community in a visible and vulnerable position in relation to other oppressed people. The latter were encouraged to direct their hatred and resentment of their socio-economic difficulties against the Jews rather than against their actual oppressors, the ruling classes. As the resistance of the general population threatened to reach open revolt, the ruling classes blamed the Jewish communities for all the ills of oppression. Traditionally, they would be deprived of civil rights and property, subjected to individual and mass murders, and threatened with deportation and extermination. The most familiar examples of this turn to the scapegoat roles are the pogroms in the Pale of Eastern Europe and the Nazi concentration camps. Having spent their resentment and having been weakened by guilt and shame over their mistreatment of the Jews, the general population would sink back into submission. In this way, rulers were often able to preserve their control.
During the present period in advanced capitalist societies we find large numbers of Jews as teachers, social service and health care personnel, lawyers, bureaucrats, etc. Within these roles Jews exercise some degree of daily power and control over other groups, and they are seen as the obstacle to the advancement of other groups who compete for scarce jobs with Jews who are already heavily concentrated in these occupations. When this situation is combined with the periodic references to "Jewish power and influence" by government officials and others in the ruling classes and with other cultural myths and stereotypes which are perpetuated by right-wing publications and organizations, we begin to understand the actual vulnerability of the Jewish communities today.
The paper concludes with the view that "Israel has been manipulated by Western imperialist nations into an antagonistic relationship with her Arab neighbors and turned into a convenient scapegoat for many reactionary Arab rulers who have been able to divert their peoples’ attention away from the difficulties and contradictions within their own countries by rallying them against Israel…
"The survival of Israel depends upon a change of policy, a change to one in which the Israelis initiate an alliance with the Arab people based on a common interest in replacing the reactionary regimes and governments installed or elected within their countries and in ending all foreign exploitation in the region that dominates and damages their societies.
"Proposals for cooperation, however, should start from the present situation and not the past. They should take into account only the actual present and future interests of the peoples involved, including the correction of continuing injustices, but not the distresses of the past nor atonement for the distresses of the past."
The compiler of this article is convinced that on the one hand the United States is guilty of using Israel to serve its own interests in the Middle East and that on the other hand Israel has been using US power, influence and money to further an expansionist ideology. I agree that there is an urgent need for the Jews in Israel to discover their common interests with the Arab people and suggest that much more discussion is needed as to the how the glaring injustices which have torn the fabric of Palestinian life can be mended to enable a viable future for both peoples. By understanding the genuine fears of Jewish people and by giving support to those Jews who are willing to speak out against the unjust policies of Israel, along with putting pressure on our government to stop supporting destructive Israeli policies with our tax dollars, we can help to bring about the sea change that is so desperately needed.
Boston, September 1870
Julia Ward Howe
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be that of water or tears, say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace.
Calendar & Announcements
Friday, April 7, 7:30 pm, To Bethlehem and Beyond, Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance. Report-back from Jim Haber. St Joseph the Worker School, 2125 Jefferson St., Berkeley, behind the church (not wheelchair accessible)
Sunday, April 9 from 1pm to 4pm, STEPS FOR PEACE, A Celebration for Peace and Peacemakers in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area, Season for NonViolence and the Department of Peace presents a PEACE FESTIVAL AND PEACE WALK AROUND LAKE MERRITT starting at the
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church (1330 Lakeshore Ave)
May 5 - 7 Taking Heart in Tough Times, retreat with Joanna Macy, at San Damiano Retreat, benefit Nevada Desert Experience. www.nevedadesertexperience.org
Plan Ahead -- August 6 & 9
August 6th action is at Livermore Laboratory
•one of the world's primary sites for nuclear weapons design
•which released over a million curies of airborne radiation
August 9th action is at Bechtel Corporation, San Francisco
•a partner in management of the Nevada test site
•a partner in management of the Y-12 nuclear bomb production facility in TN
•a partner in management of the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab
•poised to bid to co-manage the Livermore Labs.
•won billion dollar contracts in Iraq
for info contact www. trivalleycares.org or www.wslfweb.org
Weekly Vigils & Such
Sundays, 3:00 p.m. peace walk around Lake Merritt.
Tuesdays, Noon - 1:00 p.m. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, oppose the continued war on Iraq.
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Castro Valley Peace & Justice Vigils, Castro Valley Blvd. & Redwood Rd.
Thursdays, Noon - 1:00 p.m. San Francisco Federal Building.
Thursdays, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Jackson, Mission, Foothill triangle, Hayward.
Thursday 4:30 — 5:30 p.m. in front of Boalt Hall on Bancroft Ave. on UC Berkeley campus. Teach-In and Vigil on American Torture and the Dictatorial Presidency.
Fridays, Noon - 1:00 p.m. Women in Black Vigil, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph.
Fridays, 5:30 - 7 p.m., corner of Mowry & Fremont, Fremont.
Regarding that Envelope
There is an envelope included in each issue of Planted by the Waters. If each person who received Planted put a check into the envelope and mailed it to EPI/CALC, it would greatly improve our ability to do the work for justice and peace which we are called to do together.
It doesn't have to be a lot. Every little bit counts.
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work of Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC.
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