Posted January 15, 2003
Cleansing: Some Common Reactions"
Thank you, not only for writing the truth about Israeli and Palestinian matters, but for being an Israeli Jew who has the honesty and courage to do this.
I am a refugee from India in 1947, where ethnic cleansing on a very large scale was practiced, along with other unspeakable barbarities. Because of this experience I have reacted towards the Indians, and in the case of Palestinians towards the Zionists, with an intensity that clouded my reason. I bordered on being an anti-Semite, and Indian hater.
It is by the example of people like yourself, that I learned that I was becoming a 'bigot in denial'. It was only when I looked at myself for what I was becoming that could begin to purge myself of this perverse self righteous state of mind.
Though I agree in principle with much of what you have to say, I learn a great deal from your articles. Not only do your articles educate a curious American about some of the history behind the Arab-Israeli, but it is also very encouraging to know that there are Israelis who do not support the (what appears to be) murderous policies of Ariel Sharon and co. Please keep up the good work, for those who both agree and disagree with you.
A year ago my opinion on the State of Israel was the product of being entombed for fifty years in its propaganda avalanche. Today I say to those who would bury us deeper and deeper, "Let my people go." Thanks for digging me out. Peace will come when enough of us, especially in Israel and America, are standing on top brushing off the snow. Truth will win.
The Arabs living in Palestine in 1948 were reportedly strongly urged and frightened into leaving Israel by neighboring Arab states who did not trust the offer of Israeli citizenship for Arabs in Palestine/Israel. However the neighboring states did not really want to assimilate the "Palestinian" Arabs who were considered by other Arabs to be inferior. I don't believe there is evidence that the Israelis tried very hard to dissuade the Arabs from leaving. Eventually about as many Arabs were self-displaced from Israel as Sephardic Jews were displaced to Israel after 1948. (See From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters)
Account of the Casualties
Thank you very much for your excellent website which I visit almost every day. It gives me valuable information and different points of view compared to the general media offer.
I think your [Justin Raimondo's] account of the US/UK bombings in Iraq for the last four years is excellent and clearly shows that the war started long ago.
According to what is happening in Israel it would be very interesting with a similar account of the casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How many children, women and men have lost their lives on both sides? How many houses, farms and plantations have been demolished? In the rhetoric the Palestinians are blamed for killing innocent people but how may have been killed or assassinated by the Israelis? I would like to see a sum up of all the victims.
Do you and Antiwar.com have the possibility to show the world and add the casualties day by day I am sure it will contribute to emphasize the meaninglessness of the conflict. The people in Israel and Palestine are neighbours and must find the way of living side by side. Negotiation is the only way. Israeli armed power is just feeding the Palestinian resistance which manifests in suicide bombings.
Regarding "Turning Point" by Justin Raimondo:
I am glad to see that you are making a serious effort to keep the political 'left'-'right' directions from crashing into each other. It is essential that the differences are minimized, and that precious media opportunities are not lost on slamming and name calling those who are passionately against the U.S. war party grab for hegemony. The most profitable approach would be to unite groups for large actions, without trying to diminish or demean past rallies which were not ideal, but which many many people attended who were not part of the core organizers' thinking in respects other than being against a massacre (I hate to call it a war, as Morford so clearly expressed in the essay on your Viewpoints). There will be plenty of mainstream criticism of any antiwar efforts, so why not let it all come from the 'in power' media, and save our energy for uniting around the most urgent goal of stopping the immediate madness that threatens to engulf us all.
For years while Clinton was president, it was so fashionable to label everything "liberal" the media, and everyone who had the nerve to oppose just about anything from people like Jerry Falwell to permission to place machine guns on your balcony. So I think it would also lend credibility to your perspectives if you maybe used the term less often and maybe with less derogatory connotations. It is just too reminiscent of the viciousness that pervaded the press for the last 10 or 12 years. And it will not help unite the anti'war' forces. Further, there is a limit to how valuable name-calling is, as an educational tool.
I am sorry to hear your format is changing I absolutely love it the way it is right now. It is eye-catching, organized well and easy to locate past articles. I also appreciate the inclusion of writers from all ends of the spectrum. I am a strong supporter have told numerous people and will continue to contribute to keep Antiwar.com going. I firmly believe that well-documented essays which refrain from slamming other antiwar positions are your best hope for a highly successful site, along with a clear, uncompromising position against the 'warparty' aims, which so far, I believe you have maintained.
Thank you for the opportunity to express my views.
Firstly let me say that I read your column on a biblical level, and although I have never seen you speak in person, or met you to a degree where I could actually say I "know" you, I consider you one of the few true patriots out there shooting from the hip. For the same token, I was let down that you take such a hard stance against those on your same side of the fence, such as A.N.S.W.E.R.
I understand your desire to "keep it real" for yourself, but in times when no one is stepping up to the plate for justice, we all have to stick together and not sweat the small stuff. We're already at risk as it is in a minority. To further divide the "Antiwar" movement within isn't good for the cause a whole.
For the record, I was in Washington in October, and there were no calls to Free "Mumia". There were differences, but the people seemed to be able to sort that out all by themselves. Example:
Some at the front of the March chanted: "Free Palestine." Others at the front, like myself, who were there to stop the aggressive actions against a starving nation, weren't there for "Palestine," and let our voices be heard by chanting: "Stop the war."
Regardless, we were 100,000 strong and showing a little muscle about one common issue: No war.
We on the nutso left, as you are found of describing ANSWER, have and will continue to organize masses of people against war in ever increasing numbers. People in the streets, not corporate TV ads or celebrity sponsorship, will change the course of history. It is the only thing that ever has. In your opinion, shared by other divisionists, the antiwar movement must focus on only one issue without pandering to the trivial issues of Political Prisoners, Oppression of Minorities, Destruction of Civil Rights, Apartheid in Palestine, Genocide, Economic Destruction of the Third World, Capitalism, Labor Struggles, Health Care, Education, Housing, Support for Liberation Struggles, Support for the Self Determination of Nations, Environmental Destruction, Fighting the Rise of Fascism, Police Brutality, Gay-Lesbian-Bi-Transgender Equality, Racism, Sexism, Human Rights and the Lack of True Democracy. The fact is, Justin, these issues all have one thing in common. They educate and unite all people in the struggle against US imperialism and the mechanisms that are employed to facilitate war and aggression.
Come to a rally instead of relying on the same old tired media reports. A mostly white, conservative movement of the middle class supported by some wealthy people of conscience can only do so much. A true movement that represents workers and oppressed people, those who suffer in and are used to prosecute all wars, can stop it and destroy the system that has created and propagated misery for centuries. A true social revolution that was thwarted in the Vietnam era by the very divisions that many, for obvious reasons, seek to create today at the expense of the Iraqi people! A slogan "the people united will never be defeated" is known in every language and is heard around the world when demonstrations erupt against US foreign policy and military intervention for economic gain. Let us all unite to create that better world we know is possible. The only fear we have is the fear of change.
Once again Justin's article is not near as much about the antiwar message as it is about bashing the left. As I have stated in the past, in order for any antiwar movement to be effective, we need to forget our political leanings and come together as a cohesive force against the coming war. Therefore I will no longer bother to read Raimondo's columns and I will concentrate on this site's gathering of news from so many great sources. If Justin can't manage to leave his politics out of his messages, perhaps he should not be writing as many. Save it up until he has the message that we "all" want to hear. Congrats Antiwar.com for bringing us the excellent antiwar news at least.
The Chickenhawks' Perpetual War
In response to the letter submitted by Tom C. perhaps he should be questioning why the US has been the target of choice of groups such as those led by Bin Laden. I too am a vet, (World War II), and often wonder how America, once a beacon on the hill for mankind, is now the bully of the planet, the leading killer of starving, barefooted people. The attack on 9-11 did not happen in a vacuum but were a direct consequence of Washington's flawed foreign policies. I viewed the Twin Towers two days before they were brought down and when viewing the second building hit on TV I had no doubt as to why it happened. However, power creates its own arrogance and the US has become the most arrogant nation in history. This blatantly shown when President Bush appeared before the U.N. and told that organization he would unilaterally launch preemptive attacks upon anyone, anywhere thus negating the very purpose for which the UN was created. By advocating such a policy he forever justified the Japanese "sneak attack" upon Pearl Harbor ... which we have been condemning for over six decades. Washington's flawed policies have now entangled us into a perpetual war with Islam's billion-plus adherents.
When we served during World War II we knew our enemies were functioning nation states with which we could negotiate a truce or the later surrender. Fighting a gang of religious zealots dispersed around the globe offers no such options. It is for this reason that, though Colin Powell has written "when waging war there must be an exit strategy," as yet he nor any of those in the forefront of this war have told us what the exit strategy is for the unnecessary war their policies have enmeshed us. The answer is there is none and this war will not only be perpetual but unwinnable and our progeny will curse us in our graves for allowing it to have happened.
Light Up for Peace
Given that Australia, the US and Britain are now gearing up for war in a very serious way, all antiwar groups across the globe need a very visible form of protest in order to prevent this conflict.
The South Australian No War Collective (www.nowar-sa.net) has initiated an Australia-wide campaign Say no to war light up for peace, that will begin this Friday 17th January. We are currently organizing with other interstate bodies to organize an Australia-wide action. We wish to inform other international antiwar movements of what is sure to be a very effective and simple public campaign, so that they will take up the idea if they see fit.
The campaign is as follows:
All those who oppose this war that, according to UN estimates, may kill half a million people, should turn on their car lights whenever they are driving. It's a simple and easy step, yet will send a very visible message to many, will attract media attention, and, if broad enough, will assist in pressuring our governments to withdraw from this aggression. As the average Australian commuter spends about half an hour to an hour a day in traffic, the antiwar movement can help send a powerful message by utilizing this public space. This action thus constitutes a more continual, visually powerful, and wider form of protest than periodic street marching, which we will also continue to build. Its also a very easy action for people to take, and one in which thousands can actively participate.
It should therefore have a similar effect as one continuous street demonstration for days on end, and sent clear signals as to just how many people oppose the war.
We are putting out a press release to all media outlets about the campaign, and expect a number of sympathetic journalists to pick up on it. Once it begins, the press will seek interviews from the organizers, and this should generate its own publicity.
We call on all organisations opposed to the war to do the same and organise similar campaigns. ...
(People should also be reminded to put a sticker on their steering wheel and/or their driver side window to remind them their lights are on when they stop their car!)
Our website will contain a PDF file with the slogan Say no to war light up for peace that people can print off, cut out and stick on the rear window of their car to explain their action. Equally, people can type up and print it themselves.
Contacting prominent people to support the campaign is also an integral part of our strategy, as is sending out the message via email lists and discussion groups.
If the public response is very good, and depending on how urgent things became if open conflict occurs, coordinators of the antiwar movement could then call for a "We won't go - go slow" campaign, where people across the country drove with lights on at 10 or 20 kph for 5 or 10 minutes each day at 8.30am - morning rush hour (perhaps in left UK/Australia /New Zealand or right US Europe lanes only?). This would have another level of impact, sparking further debate. It would send a deeper message that considerable numbers of people were willing to engage in action at another level to stop the casualties of war. Such an escalation of the campaign would of course be a political decision to be made by activists at the time. But in the best case scenario, the feelings of solidarity it would engender in the sector of the population opposed to the war would be considerable.
Please pass this on to your group for discussion and action, if you agree with any part of the campaign. Wed appreciate feedback on what you think and what eventuates with the campaign in your part of the world. Needless to say, we wish you all the best with all your various efforts to stop this war.
Regarding "War and Its Discontents" by Joseph Stromberg:
As you know, Freud wrote Civilization and Its Discontents, so I can surmise that the war party are part of Freud's described group: as war represents an "advance to barbarism" that erodes civilization.
I shall make a point about slave armies in a string at the rlc discussion site. I shall "cc" thee.
When will the war party enlist? Some months ago there was a devastating list of chickenhawks and their rationales given for avoiding the Vietnam war. One was Cheney who said he decided that his time was better spent on other pursuits: the essence of individualism vs. the state.
I shall be looking for those quotes as I would like to make an essay out of it.
Well done on the this item.
Joseph Stromberg replies: