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AIPAC and Me
By Bruce Taub
Friends - Last night I went to the AIPAC fundraising dinner here in Boston, specifically intending to speak out on behalf of the Palestinian people. This was not intended by me as an act of civil disobedience, but as an act of conscience. When I was in the Occupied Territories/Palestine about a month ago and asked the wonderful people I met there what I could do to help end their oppression by the Israeli state, to a person they said, "change US policy, expose AIPAC."
So when I heard AIPAC would be in Boston raising money I felt a virtually uncontrollable desire to act, to speak truth to power, to be as un-good a "good German" as I was capable of being.
The AIPAC affair itself was predictable. The room was immense, with amazing loudspeakers, twin jumbo screens, senators, congressmen and women, security, free flowing alcohol, and nearly 700 wildly applauding AIPAC toadies and sympathizers. Israel was wonderful. The United States was wonderful. The terrorists, the Muslims, the Arabs, the fundamentalists, the mullahs, the leaders of Arab nations, Hamas, the protesters outside the hotel, the sponsors of the divestment action in Somerville, were all detestable abominations. The words "terrorist," "9/11," "Islamic," "Arab," and "enemies of freedom" ran together repeatedly like the refrain of an advertising jingle.
During the incredibly jingoistic, intolerant, uncompromising, arrogant, ass-kicking keynote speaker's speech by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL], lead sponsor of HR4681, the so-called Palestinian Anti-terrorism Act of 2006," (the one that will cut off humanitarian aid to Palestine until the PA halts "all anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority-controlled electronic and print media and in schools, mosques, and other institutions it controls, and replaces these materials, including textbooks, with materials that promote tolerance, peace, and coexistence with Israel,") it was clear to me what I needed to say. Because believe it or not, in over two hours of speeches and declarations, the Palestinian people, the invisible people, the suffering, oppressed, subjugated, ethnically segregated people had never been mentioned once!!
"The people missing from this meeting are the Palestinian people," I called out as loudly as I could. "The issue of the Palestinian people is the painful crippling pebble in Israel's shoe. Without justice for the Palestinians there can be no peace for Israel."
Upon which I was promptly grabbed by some heroic AIPAC supporters, the plain clothes security detail I had identified earlier, and three guys who appeared out of nowhere and were each the size of an SUV.
As I was being escorted out, I placed some of the handouts I had prepared on one of the reception tables, where they were picked up by security no sooner than I had left them. I was in no position to argue. So here's a copy of that handout (below), with reference to the web site I mentioned - www.justandpeaceful.org - at the end. If you get a chance I hope you'll read it. The site was created in an effort to help advance the cause of peace and justice in Palestine and Israel and to provide some modest support to the many Palestinian, Israeli, and U.S peace activists who labor so passionately and conscientiously to realize a new vision for Israel and Palestine. Submissions to the site are more than welcome.
In peace and struggle, Salaam, Shalom, Bruce
PEACE IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE – An alternate view
There are many different narratives and different "truths" in Israel and Palestine. The one universal truth is that all people involved in the struggle have suffered gravely over many generations and that all are suffering still. Demonizing of the "other" cannot help bring about peace.
Peace with justice for most Palestinian people means ending the Israeli Occupation of their lands at the 1967 Green Line borders, establishment of an independent nation of Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem, and normalization of lives lived in peace with Israel.
Peace to most Jewish Israelis means no wars, no conflict, and keeping the status quo. Yet there can be no peace in Israel and Palestine if the status quo remains as it is today. And there can be no peace for the Israeli people or for the Jewish people without justice for the Palestinian people.
Neither peace nor justice can be achieved in Palestine and Israel while the sides continue to demonize each other or try to dominate one another.
This is from AIPAC’s own militaristic, brazen, conquest driven, one sided, lobbying site - http://aipac.org/cooperation.cfm.
This is my modest rejoinder – www.justandpeaceful.org
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension. True peace demands the presence of justice." M. L. King