Militarism and Foreign Policy :

End the Siege

The WESPAC Committee for Justice & Peace in the Middle East is a group of concerned people from the Westchester County area formed to educate the general community, promote open discussion and dialogue and advocate for just solutions to the current destructive situations in the Middle East, particularly in Palestine/Israel. WESPAC supports the call by over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations for punitive measures including boycotts, divestment, and sanctions to be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian People’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law. We call for an end to all occupations in the region. The committee meets regularly and invites participation from the public. Please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or email [email protected] for more information.

Charlottesville Through a Glass Darkly

Charlottesville Through a Glass Darkly
 
 
Richard Falk
Global Justice in the 21st Century (blog)
August 18, 2017
 

I suggest that Zionists fond of smearing critics of Israel as ‘anti-Semites’ take a sobering look at the VICE news clip of the white nationalist torch march through the campus of the University of Virginia the night before the lethal riot in Charlottesville. In this central regard, anti-Semitism, and its links to Naziism and Fascism, and now to Trumpism, are genuinely menacing, and should encourage rational minds to reconsider any willingness to being manipulated for polemic purposes by ultra Zionists. We can also only wonder about the moral, legal, and political compass of ardent Zionists who so irresponsibly label Israel’s critics and activist opponents as anti-Semites, and thus confuse and bewilder the public as to the true nature of anti-Semitism as racial hatred directed at Jews.

There must be less incendiary ways of fashioning responses to the mounting tide of criticism of Israel’s policies and practices than by deliberately distorting and confusing the nature of anti-Semitism. To charge supporters of BDS, however militant, with anti-Semitism dangerously muddies the waters, trivializing hatred of Jews by deploying ‘anti-Semitism’ as an Israeli tactic and propaganda tool of choice in a context of non-violent expressions of free speech and political advocacy, and thus challenging the rights so elemental that they have long been taken for granted by citizens in every funcitioning constitutional democracy. It is worth recalling that despite the criticisms of BDS during the South African anti-apartheid campaign, militant participants were never, ever smeared, despite being regarded as employing a controversial approach often derided as counterproductive in politically conservative circles.

And of course it is not only Zionists who have eaten of this poisonous fruit. As a result of Israel’s own willingness to encourage such tactics, as in organizing initiatives seeking to discredit, and even criminalize, the nonviolent BDS campaign, several leaders of important Western countries who should know better have swallowed this particular cool aid. A recent statement by  President of France, Emmanuel Macron: “Anti-Zionism…is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism,” and implicitly such a statement suggests that to be anti-Zionist is tantamount to criticism of Israel as a Jewish state.

After grasping this tortured reasoning, have a look at the compelling Open Letter to Macron,* written in response by the famed Israeli historian, Shlomo Sand, author of an essential book, The Invention of the Jewish People. In his letter Sand explains why he cannot himself be a Zionist given the demographic realities, historical abuse of the majority population of historic Palestine, and the racist and colonialist overtones of proclaiming a Jewish state in a Palestine that a hundred years ago was a national space containing only 60,000 Jews half of whom were actually opposed to the Zionist project. This meant that the Jewish presence in Palestine represented only about 7% of the total population, the other 700,000 being mostly Muslims and Christian Arabs. The alternative to Zionism for an Israel that abandons apartheid is not collapse but a transformed reality based on the real equality of Jews and Palestinians. Shlomo Sand gives the following substance to this non-Zionist political future for Israel: “..an Israeli republic and not a Jewish communalist state.” This is not the only morally, politically, and legally acceptable solution. A variety of humane and just alternatives to the status quo exist that are capable of embodying the overlapping rights of self-determination of these two long embattled peoples.

To avoid the (mis)impression that Charlottesville was most disturbing because of its manifestations of hatred of Jews it is helpful to take a step backward. Charlottesville was assuredly an ugly display of anti-Semitism, but it only secondarily slammed Jews. Its primary hateful resonance was its exhibition of white supremacy, American nativism, and a virtual declaration of war against Black Lives Matter and the African American and immigrant struggle against racial injustice. Jews are doing better than all right in America by almost every indicator of economic, political, and social success. African Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims are not. Many of their lives are daily jeopardized by various forms of state terror, as well as by this surge of violent populism given sly, yet unmistakable, blessings by an enraged and unrepentant White House in the agonized aftermath of Charlottesville. Jews thankfully have no bereaved victims of excess uses of force by American police as have lethally victimized such African Americans as Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. Jews in America do not fear or face pre-dawn home searches, cruel family disrupting deportations, and the mental anguish of devastating forms of uncertainty that now is the everyday reality for millions of Hispanic citizens and residents.

What Charlottesville now becomes is up to the American people, and to some lesser extent to the reactions and responses throughout the world. The Charlottesville saga has already auditioned Trump and Spence as high profile apprentices of white nationalism. Whether an array of Republican tweets of disgust and disapproval gain any political traction remains to be seen, or as in the past they dissolve as bubbles in the air and soon seem best regarded as empty tropes of political correctness. What counsels skepticism about this current cascade of self-righteous pronouncements is the awareness that many of these same individuals in the past quickly renewed their conniving habits behind closed doors, working overtime to deprive the racially vulnerable in America of affordable health insurance, neighborhood security, and residence rights. As is so often the case in the political domain these days disreputable actions speak far more loudly than pious words.

If the majority of Americans can watch the torch parade and urban riot of white nationalists shouting racist slogans, dressed for combat, and legally carrying assault weapons, in silence we are done for as a nation of decency and promise. If the mainstream does not scream ‘enough’ at the top of its lung it is time to admit ‘game over.’ This undoubtedly means that the political future of this country belongs to the likes of Trump/Spence, and it also means that a national stumble into some kind of fascist reality becomes more and more unavoidable. The prospect of a fascist America can no longer be dismissed as nothing more than a shrill and desperate ploy by the moribund left to gain a bit of attention on the national stage before giving up the ghost of revolutionary progressivism once and for all.

So we must each ask ourselves and each other is this the start of the Second Civil War or just one more bloody walk in the woods?

 
 
  
Richard Falk is a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University where he taught for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He initiated this blog partly in celebration of his 80th birthday. 
 
Falk is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” He has been variously criticized by U.S. ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon for his positions on Israel and the September 11 attacks. [Wikipedia]

GERMANS TAKE HISTORIC STANCE AGAINST ARMING DRONES

GERMANS TAKE HISTORIC STANCE AGAINST ARMING DRONES

 

For the first time in history, a national legislative body has taken a position against installing weapons on drones.

 

As reported in the linked Reuters article, German SPD party members have blocked the leasing from Israel of drones that can carry weapons.   http://www.reuters.com/article/germany-defence-drones-idUSB4N1GS015

 

This historic, remarkable decision may be revisited after German elections in September, but for now it stands as a signal victory of concern for human rights and ethics within the German Bundestag and an exemplary position in dramatic contrast to the avoidance of consideration of international human rights law as it applies to drone killing within the United States Congress.

 

The German decision is completely in line with the intent of the linked Roots Action petition that has been circulating since 2013, calling for an international ban on weaponizing drones, and the decision offers hope that other national legislatures will endorse a ban against armed drones.http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6180

 

Here is an article that gives further background on the German developments.https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4980423,00.html

 

A central figure in achieving the German decision is Elsa Rassbach, a German-Anerican anti-war organizer and CODEPINK activist who has over the last several years organized meetings between German politicians and American anti-drone war organizers.

 

Ms. Rassbach asked that the following letters be written to help persuade German parliamentarians to oppose the leasing of droneS that could be armed from Israel:

  1. From Nick Mottern, Coordinator, KnowDrones.com

Dear……….

I understand that there is a proposal before the Bundestag that will lead to the German government leasing from Israel unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, which could be weaponized.

I understand further that Germany may use these drones in Afghanistan.

I am writing you as the Coordinator of the United States website and organizing center KnowDrones.com to urge the defeat of any measure that would authorize the German government to purchase, lease or develop drones that have the capability of carrying weapons of any kind, for the following reasons:

  1. Drone stalking and assassination, as undertaken most widely in the world by the United States, violates international human rights law because these practices violate privacy and long-held principles of due process.  While Germany might not initially decide to arm its drones, the possession of drones with the capability to be armed will expose Germany to international criticism for being willing to participate in drone killing and will almost inevitably lead to the arming of the drones given the likely pressure by the United States to join it in drone killing.

I say likely pressure because, as you know, the United States is having difficulty keeping drone operators and so is having a hard time meeting the demand for drone attacks in the various theaters in which it has chosen to be at war, now covering at least seven nations.

Even if the German drones do not carry weapons Germany will be under suspicion of drone killing because it will be participating with the United States in drone activities, and the United States is notorious for its failure to tell the truth about its drone operations.

  1.   The United States first started drone killing in 2001 in Afghanistan. Afghanistan appears to have experienced more U.S. drone attacks than any other nation, according to statistics provided by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  The Bureau reports that, as of the date of this letter, the minimum number of confirmed U.S. drone attacks there was 2,214 with a total death toll of up to 3,551. 

 This is a dramatic underestimate of U.S. drone killing in Afghanistan, however, since the Bureau only began keeping these statistics in January of 2015.  The German television service ZDF estimated in their 2015 Webstory “Drohnen:Tod aus der Luft” that between 2001 and 2013 no less than 13,026 people were killed by drones in Afghanistan (based on data provided by U.S. Central Command, CENTCOM, and the book “Sudden Justice” by Chris Woods). 

  1. The United States is presumably conducting drone killings to suppress opposition to the government it has established in Afghanistan.  However, judging from the announcement yesterday that the United States will be sending thousands of more troops to Afghanistan, it appears that the military effectiveness of the United States drone surveillance and killing campaign in Afghanistan must be reevaluated.  Indeed, it is quite likely that the United States drone attacks have led to an increase in the size of the force opposing it, a concern expressed by the former commander of United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. https://www.dawn.com/news/784919/mcchrystal-opposes-drone-strikes

Germany’s use of drones of any kind in Afghanistan will expose it to charges that, rather than simply training Afghan police and troops, it is joining the new United States offensive.

Germany’s use of drones, in and of itself, is likely to increase Afghan anger over German presence and increase risk to German soldiers.

  1.   The United States drone attack campaign, in which Germany will inevitably be seen as participating, is a particularly unsavory part of a larger military campaign to subdue an indigenous force comprised of extremely poor, Muslim people.  I respectfully suggest that the German people may not want to increase their level of participation in this ignominious endeavor.

You will find supporting material for the points above at KnowDrones.com.

Thank you very much for considering this letter. 

Sincerely,

Nick Mottern – Coordinator – KnowDrones.com

 

  1. From Ed Kinane – Counter drone war organizer, Upstate (NY) Drone Action.

Dear……….

I write hoping you will do all you can to stop the plan of the German government to make Germany into a killer-drone nation like the United States. I understand that this plan, to be voted on in the Bundestag by the end of June, includes immediately leasing weaponized drones from Israel…while at the same time developing a European killer drone.

I also hope that you will do all you can within the Bundestag to remove the U.S. military from bases in Germany. My particular concern is with the base at Ramstein. Ramstein plays a key role in facilitating the U.S. drone war on so many peoples to your east, including in Afghanistan.

Admittedly I know little about political practice and reality in Germany (a country I have fond memories of, having lived on the U.S. military Caserne at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the early eighties). But I do know that Germany, thanks to its hospitable spirit has become a beacon to many abroad who have lost their homes and land and livelihood. Like many U.S. citizens I am grateful that the Bundestag has been investigating the U.S. drone program in Germany that fuels the global refugee crisis.

We know that the U.S. weaponized drone program afflicting several Mideast and West Asian countries is leading to many non-combatant fatalities. Further, the MQ9 Reaper drone, triumphantly called “Hunter/Killer” by the Pentagon, terrorizes whole communities in the Islamic oil lands. Surely such terror contributes to the flood of refugees from those nations now desperately pressing on the gates of Germany and other nations near and far.

Further I believe that the U.S. drone war, while tactically clever, is strategically counterproductive. Not only is it leading to what I call “defensive proliferation,” but it almost inevitably must lead to enormous ill will toward the U.S. and to the West generally. That hostility will have consequential reverberations –- blowback — for any nation perceived as a U.S. ally. Surely a German killer drone program would also cause untold non-combatant fatalities and would generate hatred for Germany in the targeted regions.

You may well ask: who is this Ed Kinane who presumes to address you? In 2003 I spent five months in Iraq with  Voices in the Wilderness (a mostly-U.S. NGO, now suppressed). I was in Bagdhad before, during and after the several weeks of “Shock and Awe.” I know firsthand the aerial terrorism of the Pentagon’s overseas interventions and invasions.

In 2009 when I learned that Hancock Air Force Base – almost within walking distance of my home in Syracuse, New York – was becoming a hub for the MQ9 Reaper drone attacks in Afghanistan, I was shaken. Along with others here in Upstate New York I felt that if we (who live near this hub for the 174th Attack Wing of the New York National Guard) don’t speak out against this shameful, cowardly, illegal, inhumane way of waging warfare, who else would?

In its public relations efforts to win over the local civilian community, the then Hancock commander bragged in our local daily newspaper (the Syracuse Post-Standard, www.syracuse.com) that Hancock remotely pilots weaponized Reapers over Afghanistan “24/7.” It’s likely that the Hancock Reaper may also attack targets in North Waziristan (if not elsewhere) as well.

In 2010 here in New York State grassroots activists formed the Upstate Drone Action (sometimes also known as Ground the Drones and End the Wars Coalition). We were keenly aware that, according to the post-World War Two Nuremburg Principles, we each – especially those among us who paid federal taxes – bore responsibility for the actions of our government. Hardly being in a position to physically impede the Pentagon’s predations on other countries, we realized that at least here we could help expose those actions to the general public…and help awaken the consciences of Hancock personnel. These personnel typically are very young and live within a military cocoon, cut off from direct communication with us.

Via conventional activist tactics – rallies, leafleting, letter and article writing, street theater, vigiling, lobbying our Congressional representatives, multi-day marches, etc. – Upstate Drone Action has sought to share with the public our distress. Since 2010 a handful of us have vigiled across the road from Hancock’s main entrance at the afternoon shift change on the first and third Tuesday of every month. In the years since 2010 we have also blocked Hancock’s main gate a dozen or so times. Our scrupulously nonviolent blockades have led to my own and roughly 200 other arrests. These have led to many trials and some incarcerations.

Upstate Drone Action has not been the only grassroots group protesting U.S. drone warfare. Similar, mutually inspiring campaigns have been mounted at Beale Airbase in California, Creech Airbase in Nevada, and other bases across the U.S. With a kind of relentless persistence these direct actions keep recurring despite police and judicial attempts to deter us.

Let’s be clear: what we do isn’t civil disobedience, but rather civil resistance. After all, we aren’t disobeying the law; we seek to enforce the law. In many of our direct actions we attempt to present “People’s Indictments” to the base. In these documents we cite not only the Nuremburg Principles, but also the U.N. Charter and other international law and treaties that the U.S. has signed. We also cite Article Six of the U.S. Constitution which declares that these treaties are the highest law of our land. Those among us religiously motivated also cite the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Having lived and worked in Islamic lands, I am also motivated by what I perceive is the Islamophobia of U.S. military policy – akin to the racism that so plagues our civilian society. Currently, the primary target of U.S. aerial terrorism is the people and communities and regions identified as Islamic.

 I could cite statistics regarding the untold victims of drone attacks. I could cite the number of those attacks – steeply escalating with each new U.S. president (Bush/Obama/Trump). I could provide estimates of the millions of refugees displaced from not only their communities, but from their nations. Frankly such numbers leave me numbed. I cannot fathom them.

Instead, with apologies for not writing to you in German, let me cite just one text among many (see attached bibliography of English language sources) that have helped shape my understanding of the drone scourge: the Stanford and New York Universities’ 165-page, “Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan” (2012). I encourage you to seek out this deeply human yet rigorously documented report at http://livingunderdrones.org/.

I write to you today, not only with urgency, but with desperation. Too many U.S. people — and their Congressional representatives, regardless of party — see the U.S. drone wars as somehow making the U.S. safer. In fact the opposite is true. My hope is that Germany will not follow the Pentagon’s lead and that Germany will end its current collaboration with that entity’s global war of terror. Any nation, especially a highly nuclearized superpower, possessing the means to assassinate any person and any leader anytime, anywhere only increases global precarity and undermines its own national soul. That nation does not need allies who facilitate its barbarity.

Sincerely,

Ed Kinane

 

 

Why has the Israeli occupation lasted so long? It’s good for business.

Michael Friedman reviews Jeff Halper’s book “War Against the People,” where Halper argues Israel has no intention of “winning” the conflict with the Palestinians. It’s protracted state is far too valuable for its international export brand, “In Halper’s view, Israel is an essential partner in this global pacification effort because it has developed such a model and used it successfully against the Palestinians for over 50 years. Governments buy what Israel is selling because it is not only sophisticated and comprehensive, but it has been field tested and shown to work.”

Source: Why has the Israeli occupation lasted so long? It’s good for business.

Killer Drones and the Militarization of US Foreign Policy

In the eyes of many around the world, diplomacy has taken a back seat to military operations in US foreign policy. The drone program is a prime example.

Source: Killer Drones and the Militarization of US Foreign Policy

The Real Reason Behind Qatar’s Gulf State Freeze Out | The American Conservative

Officially, the narrative on the split among Gulf Arab nations, between Saudi Arabia and the tiny nation of Qatar, has centered around support for terrorism. The reality of the situation is far more n

Source: The Real Reason Behind Qatar’s Gulf State Freeze Out | The American Conservative

Sara Roy · If Israel were smart: In Gaza · LRB 15 June 2017

Person after person told me that growing support for extremist factions in Gaza does not emanate from political or ideological belief – as these factions may claim – but from people’s need to feed their families.

Source: Sara Roy · If Israel were smart: In Gaza · LRB 15 June 2017

No Apartheid in Our Name: LGBT Jewish Groups Block “Celebrate Israel” Parade

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40870-no-apartheid-in-our-name-lgbt-jewish-groups-block-celebrate-israel-parade

Help Us Defeat Kaplowitz and Maisano Anti-BDS Resolution

Help Us Defeat Kaplowitz and Maisano Anti-BDS Resolution

On Monday, June 12 at 10 a.m. the Legislation Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators is scheduled to discuss an anti-BDS resolution referred to on their website as ID # 10140  Resolution – LEGISLATORS KAPLOWITZ AND MAISANO: Proposed Reso – Anti BDS Movement.  We are asking for people to attend this public hearing and contact your legislator (contact information can be found here  http://westchesterlegislators.com/contact-us.html ) with the following points:

1.Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the U.S. Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 2. Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. Their indirect effect is to exercise government censorship, undermining First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

3. The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by many in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory policies the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. It is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state.

4. Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  Supporters of BDS are thus acting in concert with international law and standards of justice.

5. For decades the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under International law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are giving substance to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

WESPAC is fully in support of the Jewish Voice for Peace – Westchester Chapter Statement below in strongly opposing this proposed resolution and we urge supporters of the United States Constitution and supporters of justice to stand up to the Westchester County Board of Legislators and urge them not to support this proposed resolution:

I write on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester, the local chapter of an influential national organization that seeks to promote a peace in Palestine/ Israel based on international law, human rights, equality, justice, and security for all the peoples of the region. As an organization and as individuals, we support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).   

Like many JVP members, I have been to the West Bank and East Jersualem. In November 2012 I saw up close what the occupation looks like. It is unspeakably ugly – physically brutal and psychologically Kafka-esque. It operates through an arbitrary and cruel imposition of unpredictable rules and regulations enforced through overwhelming force against a subject people that make their daily life an unrelenting grind. Some 40% of Palestinian men have been held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial.  

Children as young as five and six have been detained not only without lawyers but also without the comfort of their parents. Youths throwing stones confront soldiers carrying heavy arms and driving tanks, radically upending the David-Goliath motif. Houses are demolished, orchards uprooted, access to property and livelihood made difficult if not impossible. Military checkpoints at shifting points and schedules make movement from one village or town to another endlessly time-consuming.

The Occupation amounts to ethnic-cleansing: it makes life so intolerable that people who can leave are tempted to do so, and some others drift into hopelessness and despair.  That the vast majority of Palestinians resist this abusive regime nonviolently day in and day out is testimony to their courage, their humanity, and their steadfastness in the face of injustice. I was deeply ashamed to see the Israeli policies abetted by U.S. connivance. Much of the equipment and weaponry used to enforce the occupation is stamped “Made in America.”  This poisonous fact does not escape the notice of the peoples of surrounding lands for whom American involvement is synonymous with repression and violence.

We oppose the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution for many reasons. Among them are the following.

Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. They are a form of indirect government censorship that undermines First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by many in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory policies that the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. Contrary to misinformation and the assertion in the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution that  BDS as “a movement that seeks to undermine Israel and malign the Jewish people,” BDS is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state. Many Westcheter Jews have written you protesting this misrepresentation. To misuse the term Anti-Semitism in this way is to trivialize an odious phenomenon.

Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  Supporters of BDS are thus acting in concert with international law and standards of justice.

For decades the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under International law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are giving substance to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

The anti-BDS initiative before you is wrong-headed. It discriminates against thinking and action that are humanitarian in outlook. It distracts attention from pressing local issues, serves no discernible local interest, and alienates politically active sectors of Westchester’s residents who believe that the freedom to hold dissenting views without government pressure is a foundation of American democracy. It encourages Israel to persist in policies toward the Palestinians that undermine its claim to democracy and its standing in international public opinion and contravene international law and human rights.

Below please find the text of a thoughtful resolution adopted recently by the California Democratic Party. It addresses many of the issues relevant to discussions of Palestine/Israel and BDS. You can consult it on the CA Democratic Party website at

http://cadem.org/sidebar/Convention-2017-Floor-Report-FINAL.pdf . See page 4.

On behalf of JVP-Westchester, I urge you to vote against the anti-BDS resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Priscilla Read

Tarrytown, New York 

RESOLUTION 17-05.05

Opposing Trump’s Dangerous Provocations; Supporting Peace, Justice and Equality for Israelis and Palestinians — And Robust Discourse in California

WHEREAS for decades some members of both parties and Congress have expressed criticism of Israel’s now nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian lands, while failing to back up that criticism with actual steps to change the status quo and bring about a real peace process; and

WHEREAS the new administration has indicated that it is likely to adopt an even more one-sided policy, threatening to provoke havoc and further instability by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and appointing an ambassador (opposed for confirmation by all but two Democratic senators) who is an avid supporter of illegal settlements and opponent of Palestinian statehood; and

WHEREAS empowered by the new administration’s policy, the government of Israel has accelerated its construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories and has adopted new anti-Democratic measures internally, denied entry into the country of representatives of mainstream human rights organizations and passed a law that would bar many visitors with critical views;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party favors a U.S. policy that would work through the United Nations and other international bodies as well as with Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people for a just peace based on full equality and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike, human rights and international law, in line with the words of Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 message to AIPAC: “Peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for the Palestinian people”;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CDP rejects any effort to restrict or discourage open public discourse on issues surrounding Israel and Palestine; disavows conflation of criticism of a country’s policies with hatred of its people; but also opposes anti-Semitic or Islamophobic language brought into the debate and also opposes any attempt to restrict or penalize those who exercise their right to express their views through nonviolent action to effect change.

Authors: David L. Mandel, AD 7; Murad Surama, AD 7; Karen Bernal AD 7

Sponsors: CDP Region 3; Norma Alcala, AD 7; Gina Barkalow, AD 9; Peter Brogan, AD 9; Alice Chan, AD 10; et al.

California Resolution supporting Peace, Justice and Equality for Palestinians and Israelis

RESOLUTION 17-05.05

Opposing Trump’s Dangerous Provocations; Supporting Peace, Justice and Equality for Israelis and Palestinians — And Robust Discourse in California

WHEREAS for decades some members of both parties and Congress have expressed criticism of Israel’s now nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian lands, while failing to back up that criticism with actual steps to change the status quo and bring

about a real peace process; and

 

WHEREAS the new administration has indicated that it is likely to adopt an even more one-sided policy, threatening to provoke havoc and further instability by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and appointing an ambassador (opposed for confirmation by all but two Democratic senators) who is an avid supporter of illegal settlements and opponent of

Palestinian statehood; and

 

WHEREAS empowered by the new administration’s policy, the government of Israel has accelerated its construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories and has adopted new anti-Democratic measures internally, denied entry into the country

of representatives of mainstream human rights organizations and passed a law that would bar many visitors with critical views;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party favors a U.S. policy that would work through the United Nations and other international bodies as well as with Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people for a just peace based on full equality and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike, human rights and international law, in line with the

words of Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2016 message to AIPAC: “Peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights and economic well-being for the Palestinian people”;

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CDP rejects any effort to restrict or discourage open public discourse on issues surrounding Israel and Palestine; disavows conflation of criticism of a country’s policies with hatred of its people; but also opposes anti-Semitic or Islamophobic language brought into the debate and also opposes any attempt to restrict or penalize those who exercise their right to express their views through nonviolent action to effect change.

 

Authors: David L. Mandel, AD 7; Murad Surama, AD 7; Karen Bernal AD 7

Sponsors: CDP Region 3; Norma Alcala, AD 7; Gina Barkalow, AD 9; Peter Brogan, AD 9; Alice Chan, AD 10; et al.

Kaplowitz Proposed Resolution

Kaplowitiz resolution

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