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by Cindy Sheehan on Daily Kos
Thu Aug 18th, 2005 at 10:02:17 PDT

Our candlelight vigil at Camp Casey was beautiful tonight. There were hundreds of people here and we are hearing that hundreds of people were involved in vigils around the country. We at Camp Casey are so amazed and gratified that there were almost 1700 vigils around the country.

CNN followed me around for the morning to do a "Day in the Life" of Cindy Sheehan. I kept asking them if they were falling asleep from boredom yet. I was on Anderson Cooper and it was pretty good. Anderson didn't ask me about the Israel thing because he had checked with Nightline. But he followed with a talk show, hate monger host, Darrell Ankarlo who I have had problems with in the past. He said that I have said that I believe all of the troops are murderers and I have never said that, either. Darrell Ankarlo wanted me to be on his show, but I don't think so.

Another thing is that the Israel thing has not died. I did not say that my son died for Israel. I have never said it, I don't think it, I don't believe it. It is just another lie, smear tactic from the right. It needs to die right now. It's not the truth. I stand by everything that I have said. But I will not stand by things that I haven't said. I am not anti-Semitic. I am just anti-killing. George Bush is responsible for killing so many people, but nobody scrutinizes anything he says, especially leading up to the war. Since there is nothing to smear me about with the truth, they have to tell lies. A former friend who is anti-Israel and wants to use the spotlight on me to push his anti-Semitism is telling everyone who is listening that I believe that Casey died for Israel and has gone so far as to apparently doctor an email from me. People have to know that he doesn?t speak for me. ABC Nightline can't confirm his email is real and therefore any reporting on it is irresponsible. That is not my issue. That is not my message and anyone who knows me knows it doesn't sound like me.

I'm focused on my mission in Crawford: to meet with the President and demand answers. That's it. I have spent enough time on that. Enough is enough.

So, tonight was a great night with the vigil capping it off. There are so many good things happening around the country. I love the people of America, especially after seeing the most amazing stories from the vigils across the country.

I am attaching a letter from Rabbi Arthur Waskow from the Shalom Center. A very amazing Rabbi for Peace that I first met at the Nightline Townhall meeting and whon I spoke with at the MLK Jr event at the Riverside Church in NYC.


Dear folks,

Today I received a letter from a friend of The Shalom Center enclosing a long diatribe from the Republican Jewish Coalition against Cindy Sheehan.

The RJC release alleged that she had said that Israel was the reason the US went into the Iraq war, so that her son died for Israel, not America. And the RJC statement acted as if the entire Democratic Party believed what they said Cindy said.

Earlier, as some of you know, I had seen vague and unsupported, unsourced charges along the same lines. Since they didn't fit with anything I knew about Cindy, I was very skeptical.

But this one claimed to have precise quotes and citations. So as an historian, rabbi, and citizen, I felt responsible to check.

I called Celeste Zappala, also a Gold Star Mother for Peace, who lives here in Mt Airy and who was in Crawford with Cindy for several days. She said this Republican attack on what Cindy allegedly said had just surfaced, and sent me to Cindy's blog for today, which says: --

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

A Message from Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, TX

The right wingers are really having a field day with me. It hurts me really badly, but I am willing to put up with the crap, if it ends the war a minute sooner than it would have. I would like to address some specific concerns that have been raised against me.

The first one is about my divorce. I addressed this on my blog the other night. My divorce was in the works way before I came out to Crawford. My husband filed the papers before this all started. It just recorded last Friday. My husband didn't know that it would become public record, and public knowledge. He had told his lawyer not to serve me with the paperwork or even bother me while I was at Camp Casey. He was trying to do the right thing. He didn't want me to find out. Enough about that.

Another "big deal" today was the lie that I had said that Casey died for Israel. I never said that, I never wrote that. I had supposedly said it in a letter that I wrote to Ted Koppel's producer in March. I wrote the letter because I was upset at the way Ted treated me when I appeared at a Nightline Town Hall meeting in January right after the inauguration. I felt that Ted had totally disrespected me. I wrote the letter to Ted Bettag and cc'd a copy to the person who gave me Ted's address. I believe he changed the email and sent it out to capitalize on my new found notoriety by promoting his own agenda. Enough about that.

[Emphasis added by me. -- AW]

So - now back to me, Arthur -- the most immediate point is that Cindy says she never said or wrote what the Republicans say she did.

In judging the history of all that, what occurs to me is that the rest of the Republican diatribe is aimed at the whole Democratic Party - which is utterly ridiculous. No matter what Cindy might have said, it has nothing to do with what the Democrats think. Most of the Democratic office-holders are not even calling for an end to the war, despite the change in their constituencies' views.

Don't take my word for what it said. We have posted it at the Shalom Center.
So if that's the logic and truth-value of what clearly went out from the RJC in an explicitly partisan defense of Bush, I am dubious about their accuracy. And in any case, Cindy has clearly repudiated that view.

But I am not at all surprised by the Republican attack. Clearly Cindy has given a face to what is now the very widespread disgust with the war. Clearly the Republicans are frantic to undermine that. Clearly they would like to discredit her. Clealry they are frantioc to change the subject.

But Cindy is not the issue: the war, and the growing number of American and Iraqi dead and maimed, and the multiplication of terrorists that is resulting from the US invasion and occupation, and the starving of urgent domestic needs - that is the issue.

There are much fancier strategists than Cindy who thought support for Israel was one of the reasons the US went to war. (They included Senator Fritz Hollings and General Zinni, who was the special envoy sent by President Bush to try to shape a detente between Israel and the Palestinians. Then Zinni headed all US forces in the Middle East region, till he said in public that if the US really wanted to occupy and control Iraq, it would take hundreds of thousands more troops than the Bush Administration was claiming. He was
fired. On that he was right).

But on the Israel question I think he was wrong. I looked carefully at that argument more than a year ago, and I did not and do not believe it. For my article on it, see --

SOME of the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) people and Neo-cons were in one aspect of their lives strongly pro-Likkud. But others were not. And when it came to Iraq, what they all said and wrote was that the US should and could now dominate the world, and control of the Middle East and the strategic commodity of Oil was crucial to US control of the world.

They had a lot bigger fish to fry than shielding Israel from a non-existent danger. (Remember, the Iraqi army had been shattered, and the evidence was already strong and growing that in fact there were NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as the UN inspectors kept reporting in great detail. They could have kept right on with their inspections if the US had not decided to attack. The PNAC people were arguing for the war even before the 9/11 attack. They had BIG reasons: Today Iraq, tomorrow the world.)

I have written Cindy, asking whether - aside from the specific quote she denied - she might have believed what General Zinni did, and if so whether she has changed her mind. And I laid out my argument above. I hope she'll respond, but in the storm of messages she's getting, who knows whether she will even see it?

What matters now is that the war is a disaster, and that it gets worse every time the Bush Administration says all is well.

What matters now is that Cindy has been able to give a face to the disaster because her son was killed in the war and because she has had the guts to confront the President himself.

What matters now is that Cindy is saying clearly now - and I think correctly - that her son died not for the American people or American freedom but for oil and a cockamamie plan for the present US government to control the world.

My understanding of Judaism is that, with occasional deviations and departures, it is ultimately committed to resisting Pharaoh, the one on the throne and the one in our households and the one inside our souls.

And my understanding of the Iraq War is that it has been imposed upon us and the Iraqis by a Pharaoh in the White House. That's why I oppose it. Even though some Jews - not the key US officials but various people in the American Jewish community -- have supported it because they thought it might benefit Israel (I know there are such people; they have said so to me), I opposed and oppose it because its origins and its impact are an expression of Pharaoh, not of the Judaism I love.

The war kills the innocent, steals food from the poor, steals schools and health-care from the middle class, benefits terrorists, rewards corrupt corporations, and is used as a political bulwark by people who demean or hate homosexuality and deny the moral validity of women's choices.

That's what I mean by Pharaoh.

Shalom, Arthur

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I do not doubt Cindy Sheehans' disclaimer of the statement attributed to her concerning her son's death. But I wonder at the contrivance whereby every criticism of Israel seems to be branded "anti-Semitic" almost automatically -- at least in America today.

First of all, the term Semites applies to a group of peoples closely related in language, whose habitat is Asia and partly Africa. In other words, the category itself includes not just Jews, but Arabs as well. So, at the very least, it is a verbal distortion to say that anti-Israel criticisms are anti-Semitic.

But, even if we leave aside such semantic distinctions, the automatic branding seems like a huge confusion of racial and political issues. Perhaps this is deliberate as it makes it almost impossible for Americans even to discuss such legitimate concerns as Zionism and its impacts, AIPAC-PNAC connections, etc., without being labelled as racist and therefore politically incorrect.

Israelis themselves, on the other hand, seem to face no such constraints and are frequently more critical of their government's policies and actions than are Americans cowed by the likely misbranding of valid issues.

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