An Open Letter to Senator Jeff Merkley
July 22, 2014
By Gilbert Schramm
Read more: An Open Letter to Senator Jeff Merkley
As a former supporter of yours, I was angered and saddened to see your response to my concerns about the Gaza conflict. Your position is simply not good enough. It is cowardly and enables pointless Israeli violence. In view of the fact that you voted for S Res 498, I cannot view you as worthy of the distinguished leadership position that Oregonians have conferred on you.
Like many progressives, I worked hard for your election. I will now suspend my work and contributions on your behalf—you clearly don’t have the good of our nation in focus.
Your statement decries the deaths on both sides, but the resolution you signed (S Res 498) is a one sided travesty that places a US seal of approval on the ongoing Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinian territories and the ongoing war crimes that are the direct result of that occupation.
The truth is that Israel is the guilty party here. This is a war of choice by Israel. Your statement misinforms your constituents by blurring that reality.
Please join us this Thursday, July 24, in this urgent call to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza. In this latest round of violence by Israel, over 500 Palestinians have been killed and thousands are injured. Seventy-two percent of those are civilians, including over 80 children. One hundred thousand are displaced and living in makeshift shelters; electricity has been reduced to four hours a day for 80% of the population; water has been cut off to hundreds of thousands; hospitals have been bombed and there are shortages of everything from food to medicines. We must act now!
See event Facebook for updated details:
6:00 pm- Rally Pioneer Square
6:45 pm- March with stops along the way at stores targeted for BDS actions
7:45 return to Pioneer Square
There will also be a Bike Swarm for Palestine and Freedom Ride for Palestine that will circle Pioneer Square as we rally and then join the march. Look for Facebook pages for details on those actions.
Bike Swarm for Palestine- https://www.facebook.com/events/350235151800341/
Freedom Ride for Palestine- details coming soon!
Sponsored by SUPER, ISO, JVP, Friends of Sabeel Portland, AUPHR
WHAT WOULD history look like if it were written in the style of the [Israeli] "Solid Cliff (a.k.a. Protective Edge) operation?
Winston Churchill was a scoundrel.
For five years he kept the population of London under the unceasing fire of the German Luftwaffe. He used the inhabitants of London as a human shield in his crazy war. While the civilian population was exposed to the bombs and rockets, without the protection of an "iron dome", he was hiding in his bunker under 10 Downing Street.
He exploited all the inhabitants of London as hostages. When the German leaders made a generous peace proposal, he rejected it for crazy ideological reasons. Thus he condemned his people to unimaginable suffering.
From time to time he emerged from his underground hideout to have his picture taken in front of the ruins, and then he returned to the safety of his rat hole. But to the people of London he said: "Future generations will say that this was your finest hour!"
Read more: Who is Winning?
Published in Socialist Worker: Palestinian activist Wael Elasady examines Noam Chomsky's critique of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israeli apartheid.
IN 2003, I picked up a copy of Noam Chomsky's Hegemony and Survival and devoured it within a week. It had been two years since 9/11, and I was still reeling, trying to wrap my head around the daily racism that I was now being subjected to.
The year before, I had spent hours watching Israeli forces pummel the West Bank on my parent's Arab satellite stations--dramatic images of Israeli soldiers laying siege to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, combat bulldozers crashing through the homes of families in the old city of Nablus, helicopter gunships firing missiles at the refugee camps in Jenin, Israeli tanks surrounding Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah.
With the racism unleashed by September 11, the drowning of the Second Intifada in blood, and the shock and awe of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, I, like many young Arabs and Muslims in the U.S., was beginning to draw radical conclusions about the nature of U.S. empire, the roots of Islamophobia and its connections to a system of capitalist exploitation.
Hegemony or Survival helped fortify my newfound radicalism, confirming my suspicions of the long and ugly history of U.S. imperialism and the economic interests that it served. I soon was reading every Chomsky article and digging up every Chomsky YouTube video I could find. Along with Edward Said and Karl Marx, Chomsky's ideas and biting critique of the capitalist system were critical in helping to shape and give confidence to my emerging socialist leanings.
Over a decade later, Israel is again terrorizing Gaza and the West Bank, and the Israeli state is, as Max Blumenthal aptly put it , inciting Israel's population into a "tribalistic frenzy."
But the most recent article I've read by Chomsky was published on July 2 at TheNation.com, with the title "On Israel-Palestine and BDS."  The article on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid amounts to a disappointing rationalization for abandoning some of the core rights of the Palestinian people.
Read more: Why doesn't Noam Chomsky support BDS?
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