|Progressive Calendar 02.26.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 00:51:28 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.26.07 1. Klobuchar sit-in 2.27 8:30am 2. Tillie Olson 2.27 6:30pm 3. 9-11 video 2.27 6:45pm 4. NC Coop/WAMM 2.28 8am 5. N-V peaceforce 2.28 10am 6. Violence/women 2.28 12noon 7. CCHT housing 2.28 4:30pm 8. IRV caucus info 2.28 7pm 9. Nikki Giovanni 2.28 7:30pm 10. Kevin Zeese - Can Hillary be trusted? 11. Dave Lindorff - Impeachment is on the loose 12. Gary Leupp - AIPAC demands "action" on Iran 13. Larry Portis - The cultural connection: Zionism & the United States 14. ed - Zionist/BushCo nationalist anthem --------1 of 14-------- From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Klobuchar sit-in 2.27 8:30am You are invited to join other activists for Peace and Justice who are meeting at Senator Klobuchar's office at Fort Snelling to make your feelings clear on one of the most important issues we face today, the Iraq War and it's continued funding. Senator Klobuchar is on the record being opposed to the principle of stopping funding this illegal and immoral war for oil and corporate profit. She has been quoted saying that "we need to remember that the troops in Iraq are fighting for our freedoms". Senator Klobuchar has also said that "the idea of a pre-emptive, first strike on Iran cannot be ruled out." Given that there are now two Naval Strike Forces currently in the Persian Gulf and another on the way and the Bush Administration is continuing its bellicoise rhetoric and blatant lies, mirroring its actions before the Iraq War, we need to remind Senator Klobuchar of some things. She needs to remember that she is supposed to represent we the people of Minnesota and not simply the intersts of her wealthy, corporate campaign contributors. In that spirit, we ask you to join us every Tuesday, at Senator Klobuchar's Fort Snelling Office any time from 8:30 am till 5 pm. Even just 10 minutes of your time is welcomed. Bring your signs, your voice, your passion and compassion, your vision, bring a friend. Remind Senator Klobuchar of who she works for and what the will of the people of Minnesota is. To stop this immoral and illegal war now, bring the troops home and no support for the Bush Agenda in regards to Iran. 1 Federal Drive Whipple Federal Building Suite 298 Fort Snelling, MN (612)727-5220 The Whipple Building is easily accessable from the Fort Snelling stop on the LRT. Any questions or directions call Senator Klobuchar's office above or Michael Cavlan (612)327-6902 --------2 of 14-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Tillie Olson 2.27 6:30pm Hi, Tuesday, Feb. 27, guest, Judith Jones will present an evening of Tillie Olsen, feminist writer who died recently at the age of 94. Tillie Olsen found her voice while raising 4 children and finding the time to write while on the bus or after the children were in bed. A Socialist and Communist, she wrote to help those condemned to silence---the poor, racial minorities, and women, to find their voice. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------3 of 14-------- From: alteravista [at] earthlink.net Subject: 9-11 video 2.27 6:45pm Tues. Feb. 27, 6:45 pm: "9/11 Mysteries. Part 1: Demolitions." Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave., St. Paul. Free. This video moves from "myth" through "analysis" and into "players" of how a 110-story building collapsed in 10 seconds. The 9/11 picture is not one of politics or nationalism or loyalty, but one of simple physics. Listen to the voices of those who heard and experienced the explosions that brought the Twin Towers down, and discuss follow-up. Presented by MN911 group--people who question the official story about 9/11/01 and demand an independent investigation. FFI 651-633-4410. The next meeting of this group is Wed. 3/7 evening. Place to be determined, depending on number attending. Please e-mail your interest. --------4 of 14-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: NC Coop/WAMM 2.28 8am "Produce for Peace" North Country Co-op Donates 5% to WAMM Wednesday, February 28, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. North Country Co-op, Riverside and 20th Avenue on the West Bank in Minneapolis. Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) will be the beneficiary of North Country Co-op's "Produce for Peace" campaign. In recognition of the importance of the coming months for our country's involvement in the Iraq War, North Country Co-op is donating 5% of all produce sales to a group working for peace. North Country Marketing and Membership Manager Erik Esse. "More than ever, we need WAMM's energy to bring some sense back to our national priorities." North Country, the Twin Cities' oldest food co-op, has a tradition of supporting the peace movement from its inception in 1971 to today. FFI: Visit <www.northcountrycoop.com>. --------5 of 14-------- From: Mary Lou Ott <tfalk [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org> Subject: N-V peaceforce 2.28 10am Learn to talk about Nonviolent Peaceforce! As supporters we know you care about the Nonviolent Peaceforce Yet it is hard sometimes to explain to others just what NP is doing. We are having a Speakers Training Wednesday February 28 from 10-12 am. Pat Keefe and myself will assist Larry Olds who will facilitate the training. Larry is a retired professor and good friend of Nonviolent Peaceforce. He is currently working with American Alliance for Popular Adult Education. Larry is fun and this will be a spirited two hours. Please join us. RSVP to this office either by e-mail or phone. 612- 871-0005 We look forward to being with you. Mary Lou Ott - Nonviolent Peaceforce 425 Oak Grove Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 tfalk [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org --------6 of 14------- From: erin [at] mnwomen.org Subject: Violence/women 2.28 12noon February 28: 2007 Violence Against Women Action Day Rally at the Capitol. Join the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition and the Minnesota Network on Abuse in Later Life at Noon at the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda. More info: 651/646-6177 or www.mcbw.org. --------7 of 14-------- From: Philip Schaffner <PSchaffner [at] ccht.org> Subject: CCHT housing 2.28 4:30pm Learn how Central Community Housing Trust is responding to the affordable housing shortage in the Twin Cities. Please join us for a 1-hour Building Dreams presentation. St. Paul Session: Feb 28 at 4:30p We are also happy to present Building Dreams at your organization, place of worship, or business. Space is limited, please register online at: www.ccht.org/bd or call Philip Schaffner at 612-341-3148 x237 Central Community Housing Trust 1625 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 341-3148 www.ccht.org --------8 of 14------- From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net> Subject: IRV caucus info 2.28 7pm Greetings DFL Caucus Goers! The Saint Paul Better Ballot Campaign is making a move to bring Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) to our fair city! Critical in this endeavor will be getting the official nod from the St. Paul DFL. For those of you "IRV Friendly" and "IRV Curious", we will be holding an Instant Run off Voting Caucus training at 2 convenient locations next week. Please join us at either Linwood Rec Center* or the East YMCA** on Wednesday FEB 28 at 7:00 pm to learn more about why IRV is a better way for St. Paul to vote. We will provide a short, entertaining training session, an IRV resolution for you to present at caucus and some hot-off-the-presses IRV literature (see a preview at our website http://stpaul.betterballotcampaign.org/stpaul/home <http://stpaul.betterballotcampaign.org/stpaul/home> ). We currently have about half of the precincts in your ward covered. Even if there is a presenter for the IRV resolution, we would like to have as many supporters there as possible. We expect strong support, but we would like to have folks be willing to speak in support of the resolution. If you are interested in sponsoring an IRV resolution or learning more about the St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign, but cannot make it to the training, please contact Paul Busch at pobusch [at] msn.com <mailto:pobusch%40msn.com> . We are looking for a sponsor for each precinct, so please include your ward and precinct in your email message and we will be in touch! Thanks! Paul Busch 651-646-4656 Training locations: *Linwood Recreation Center 860 St Clair Avenue St. Paul, MN 55105 http://www.ci.stpaul.mn.us/depts/parks/recprograms/linwood.htm <http://www.ci.stpaul.mn.us/depts/parks/recprograms/linwood.htm> **East YMCA 875 Arcade Street Saint Paul, MN 55106 651-771-8881 http://www.ymcatwincities.org/locations/east.asp <http://www.ymcatwincities.org/locations/east.asp> --------9 of 14-------- From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Nikki Giovanni 2.28 7:30pm At Institute for Advanced Study: Subject: Poet, Activist, Nikki Giovanni at Ted Mann Feb 28!! AN EVENING WITH NIKKI GIOVANNI Celebrate Black Heritage Month and Women's History Month with Poet, Activist, and Professor Nikki Giovanni. Giovanni's presentation, "Truth Telling and the Need for Poetry: From the Harlem Renaissance to Hip-Hop," will demonstrate the power of words as a call to action. Reception and book signing follow. 7:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall FREE, but Tickets Required - Information: 612-624-2345 Tickets: 105 Northrop - Coffman Union - W Bank - Skyway - St. Paul Student Ctr --------10 of 14-------- Senator Clinton, Iraq and the Peace Movement Can Hillary Be Trusted? By KEVIN ZEESE CounterPunch February 24 / 25, 2007 The 2006 election showed the Republican Party that opposition to the Iraq War was the dominant political issue of the year - trumping all others. Their failure to understand voter anger over the war cost them the majority in the House and Senate. Candidates are now learning that the war is continuing to trump all other issues. And a recent Gallup Poll shows that 7 out of 10 Americans say the war will be a key factor in whom they support in 2008. The front runner in the Democratic primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton, is feeling the heat. Even though she will raise more money than any candidate in history, has universal name recognition and is building an unprecedented political machine - the Iraq War looms. While her allies are trying to portray her nomination as inevitable it is evident she now knows the Iraq War can undo her inevitability. Seventy-four percent of Democrats say the Iraq War will be a factor in their 2008 vote according to a February Gallup Poll and one out of two say it will be a major factor. Wherever she goes the Iraq War follows her. She is starting to have public confrontations with voters about the war. At a widely reported town meeting in New Hampshire New Hampshire resident Roger Tilton urged her to apologize for her vote in favor of the use of force resolution and told her that voters can't hear all the good things is saying until she deals with the war. Anti-war voters, who are becoming an organized force, are letting her know - if you're wrong on Iraq you are wrong for America. But, she doesn't want to look weak so she postures for the cameras. At another New Hampshire town hall when she was asked again about her vote for the war she said: "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from." She may live to regret that comment. Clinton will not apologize pundits say because she wants to be seen as decisive, confident and strong, especially important because she is a female. But she did say that if she knew what she knows now she would have voted differently. That is a major step forward for a candidate who has been a consistent supporter of the war. When it became evident that was not enough she took the next step and put forward her own Iraq exit strategy and in the press release announcing it said: "Now it's time to say the redeployment should start in ninety days or we will revoke authorization for this war. This plan is a roadmap out of Iraq. I hope the President takes this road. If he does, he should be able to end the war before he leaves office." Sen. Clinton obviously does not want to be shackled with the Iraq War when she becomes president. More than once she has criticized President Bush for letting this war continue through the end of his presidency. And, at the recent Democratic National Committee meeting she promised "If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will." When I posted the Clinton plan to the VotersForPeace discussion list one person commented: "Excuse me, but am I the only one who remembers how brown her nose was not too long ago? Is it me or do these politicians just change their minds with the flow of public opinion? I want a candidate that is strong on what they believe, not one that is blown with the wind. Tomorrow she may forget what her plan is if elected. I don't trust her anymore. She's changed her mind too many times as far as I'm concerned." Another asked: "Could Hillary Clinton be in a hurry to play catch up due to the anti-war voices being so vocal at her Iowa appearances?" Others have expressed concern about her willingness to support a military attack on Iran, particularly her comments to AIPAC, the hard right Israeli lobby: "We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table." These anti-war voters reflect the view of many who have serious doubts about Sen. Clinton's new anti-Iraq War stand. Not only did Clinton vote wrong on the initial use of force resolution, she has consistently opposed any discussion of exit strategies and has voted for every penny of more than $420 billion appropriated for the war. She has been a critic of President Bush but she has given this irresponsible commander in chief a blank check for war. She is someone who saw the U.S. having a long term military stay Iraq. When she returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq in 2003 Senator Clinton was asked on ABC's This Week how long the U.S. would be in Iraq. Her response was a reminder that the U.S. still has bases in Korea and elsewhere long after those wars had ended. In December 2005 she wrote that she would not accept any timetable for withdrawal and would not embrace Rep. Jack Murtha's call for "redeployment of troops." Further, she called on President Bush to finish "this war with success and honor" restating her rejection of "a rigid timetable that the terrorists can exploit." In June of 2005 she spoke to the progressive-Democratic "Take Back America Conference" in Washington, D.C. and was booed and jeered by progressive activists in the Democratic Party. As she left the podium people chanted "Bring the troops home; stop the war now." No doubt, she thought this might be a moment where she could show that she did not kowtow to the anti-war interests in the party. Norman Solomon described this as "premature triangulation." Since 2005 she has moved at glacial speed toward her new "I'll end the war" position. The question for peace voters is, can voters opposed to the war trust her? Populist anti-war candidate, former Senator Mike Gravel, told the DNC Convention this year that anyone who voted for the initial use of force resolution showed they did not have the judgment to be president. The other clearly anti-war candidate, the only person running who voted against the use of force resolution, Dennis Kucinich also referred to the 2002 vote as a test at a candidate forum in Nevada "We had an audition for president in October, 2002." Even those who voted wrong on the Iraq War in 2002 criticize Clinton for her vote. Senator Chris Dodd, who has apologized for his mistaken vote, has chided Clinton for not apologizing. John Edwards indirectly criticized Clinton saying "We've had ... six years of a president who is incapable of admitting that he was wrong, incapable of admitting that he's made a mistake. It's time for a different kind of leadership in this country. We need a leader who will be open and honest with you and with the American people, who will tell the truth, who will tell the truth when they've made a mistake." Clinton was not only wrong in 2002 when she gave Bush the authority to attack Iraq but she has been wrong for most of the time since then. Can peace voters trust her judgment? Can her newfound anti-war views be trusted? More than election year words and promises are needed. Sen. Clinton needs to start to lead now on this important issue. That means really taking strong action to end this war. She is already perceived as a leader of the Democratic Party. If she says she will not support another penny for the 'stay the course' approach of the president that is such a disaster for U.S. foreign policy, U.S. troops and the Iraqi people then she will move the Democratic Party which has the power to end the war with her. It only takes 41 votes to stop the $93 billion supplemental requested by President Bush for Iraq. If Senator Clinton were to lead a filibuster to end the war then she would be doing more than making election year promises and telling the voters what she thinks they want to hear. She would actually be leading the U.S. out of a quagmire and correcting the error of her pro-war votes. Can Senator Clinton convince 41 out of the 51 Democrats to join her in ending the war? If she can then she will really be showing leadership and will become a legitimate anti-war candidate for 2008. Otherwise the inevitable nomination may be lost to the power of the anti-war voter in 2008. Kevin Zeese is executive director of Democracy Rising and co-founder of VotersForPeace.US. --------11 of 14-------- Impeachment is on the Loose Breaking the Dam in Olympia By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch February 24 / 25, 2007 If the state of Washington ends up passing a joint legislative resolution next month calling on the US House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, it will because 900 people who crammed into this capital city's Center for the Performing Arts last Tuesday evening, and countless others across the state, pushed them into it. The crowd at the arts center had come to attend an event organized by the Citizens Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney, a local ad hoc citizens' organization in this little burg that had convinced the local city council to make the 1000-seat auditorium available for a hearing on impeachment. When I and my two co-speakers, CIA veteran Ray McGovern and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, came out on the stage, we all felt not like political speakers or authors, but like rock stars. The applause was deafening, not just at the start of the program, but after each speaker's points were made. It was clear that even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is "off the table," a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it. Washington is one of a group of states where a serious effort is underway to pass joint legislative resolutions that, thanks to Rules of the House penned by Thomas Jefferson and in effect for nearly length of the Republic, would put impeachment back on the table at the House right under Speaker Pelosi's nose. The significance of the gathering in Olympia is that a freshman senator from Olympia, Eric Oemig, has introduced a bill in the state senate calling for such a resolution. His bill, S6018, is slated to go to a hearing on March 1, to determine whether it can be considered by the full senate, and impeachment activists are planning to have hundreds - perhaps thousands - of backers on hand to make sure it gains committee approval. "We don't hear any of our leaders today talking about impeachment," Oemig told the crowd. "So the fact that the grass roots have built up the way they have is remarkable!" Oemig brushed aside what he said was a common argument among colleagues in the legislature that impeachment was not the state's business, and that it would "interfere" with more pressing state matters. Noting that the war in Iraq - one of the key impeachable crimes because of the lies that were used to justify it - is costing hundreds of billions of dollars, Oemig pointed out how many crucial projects affecting Washington State residents were in jeopardy because of lack of federal funding. He noted too that issues like the president's violation of civil liberties and his abuses of power directly affect citizens of the state. "I don't think this is a partisan issue," he said. "Many of my Republican colleagues have grave concerns about some of the Constitutional violations of this administration." In my own address, I focused on some key Bush constitutional violations and crimes which I believe are the best arguments to use in convincing conservatives and Republicans of the importance of impeachment. Among these are Bush's order for the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens, his use of so-called "signing statements" to invalidate (so far) 1200 laws or parts of laws passed by the Congress, and his authorization of torture. In the first case, I noted that the president has already been declared, by a federal judge, to have committed a felony by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the second case, I explained that Bush is claiming - illegally - that the so-called "War" on Terror makes him a commander in chief unfettered by the Constitution, with not just executive, but also legislative and judicial authority - a claim of dictatorial power that has no basis in the Constitution. Finally, I pointed out that in authorizing and failing to punish torture, the president, by making it less likely that enemy fighters will surrender, has been directly causing death and injury among US troops. The biggest laugh came when I pointed out that failing to impeach Bush over the signing statements issue would mean that the next president - perhaps Hillary - would be able to cite Bush as a precedent and also ignore Congress. "That," I said, "should put the fear of god into Republicans." McGovern told the crowd that the administration had destroyed the CIA, preferring "faith-based" to real, hard-nosed intelligence. With the angry intensity of a man who has given nearly 30 years of service to the government only to see it trashed by a know-nothing, criminal administration, he suggested that impeachment was the best way to bring the War in Iraq to an end and to prevent the launching of yet another illegal war - this time against Iran. De la Vega, a veteran federal prosecutor, and author of a new book, The U.S. v. Bush, which imagines a grand jury investigation and indictment of the president and vice president on a charge of fraud, laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron. Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime. Questions following the three presentations focused on why the Congress has been so unwilling to act to initiate impeachment, and on what the American people can do. The answer all the speakers gave in one way or another was to organize - to convince neighbors, co-workers and friends of the need to impeach the president, to lobby a cowardly Congress to act, and, most importantly, to help move Sen. Oemig's bill forward in the Washington Senate and House. At present, three states, Washington, Vermont and New Mexico, have bills calling for joint impeachment resolutions (other states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey and California, may also see bills submitted). Under Thomas Jefferson's Rules of the House, any one of those resolutions, if passed and forwarded to the House of Representatives, could start the process of impeachment. It seems likely that if Washington passed Oemig's bill (it currently has eight co-sponsors), or if one of the ones moving through the legislatures of Vermont or New Mexico were to pass, the other states might follow suit. As well, representatives in Congress could feel emboldened to submit their own bills of impeachment. In other words, the dam will burst, and impeachment will be underway. In Olympia, as 900 fired-up and fed-up citizens left the hall last Tuesday - signing impeachment petitions on the way out - it was clear that the dam had already burst, at least locally. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] yahoo.com --------12 of 14-------- "An American Strike on Iran is Essential for Our Existence" AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran By GARY LEUPP CounterPunch February 24 / 25, 2007 Former CIA counterterrorism specialist Philip Giraldi, comparing the propaganda campaign against Iran to that which preceded the war on Iraq, has recently declared, "It is absolutely parallel. They're using the same dance steps - demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux." He's only one of many in his field (including Vincent Cannistraro, Ray McGovern, and Larry C. Johnson) doing their best to expose the Bush-Cheney neocon disinformation campaign according to which Iran is planning to produce nukes in order to commit genocide, while abetting terrorists in Iraq who are killing American troops. Their efforts, and those of many others, are producing results. The mainstream corporate press is far more skeptical about administration claims pertaining to Iran than they ever were towards the equally specious claims made about Iraq on the eve of the 2003 invasion. The American people are now inclined to distrust claims made by nameless officials about Quds Force-provisioned IEDs and EFPs, etc., supposedly smuggled by "meddling" Iranians into Iraq. Unfortunately the Congress dominated by Democrats elected in a popular expression of antiwar sentiment has not taken a firm stance against an attack on Iran based on lies. Maybe given the nature of the power structure it simply can't. Giraldi matter-of-factly sums up the unfortunate politics of situation. "The recent formation of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus should. . . .be noted as well as AIPAC's highlighting of the threat from Iran at its 2006 convention in Washington, an event that featured Vice President Dick Cheney as keynote speaker. More recently, Senator Hillary Clinton addressed an AIPAC gathering in New York City. Neither was shy about threatening Iran. AIPAC's formulation that the option of force 'must remain on the table' when dealing with Iran has been repeated like a mantra by numerous politicians and government officials, not too surprisingly as AIPAC writes the briefings and position papers that many Congressmen unfortunately rely on." In other words, the American Israel Political Action Committee is the main political force urging - indeed, demanding - U.S. action. That's the AIPAC already under scrutiny for receiving classified information about Iran from Lawrence Franklin, former Defense Department subordinate of Douglas Feith. (That's the neocon Feith who supervised the Office of Special Plans - headed by Abram Shulsky, the neocon specialist on Leo Strauss who currently heads up the Iran Directorate at the Pentagon - that shamelessly cherry-picked intelligence to support the Iraq attack. That's the Franklin who worked in the OSP, and was sentenced last month to 13 years in prison. Feith has not been indicted on any charge and continues to insist in defiance of reason and even a Pentagon internal investigation finding it "inappropriate" that his office's disinformation project was "good government." Small wonder Gen. Tommy Franks, formerly head of the U.S. Central Command, famously called Feith "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth." Congressional investigations are just now getting underway into Feith's role in facilitating the invasion of Iraq.) That's the AIPAC embarrassed by the indictment of its policy director Steven Rosen and senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman for illegally conspiring to pass on classified national security information to Israel. Despite the already intimate ties between Israeli and U.S. intelligence (documented by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski among others) it seems the Israelis felt obliged to spy on the Pentagon to learn just how inclined the Americans were to oblige them by attacking Iran. Now, as Israeli calls for a U.S. attack on Iran become more shrill by the day, AIPAC recognizes that the American people profoundly distrust Vice President Cheney and the nest of neocon liars he has sheltered. The Bush-Cheney war machine has been pretty well exposed, and that must worry the warmongers within the group. Israeli Defense Force chief artillery officer Gen. Oded Tira has griped that "President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," adding that since "an American strike in Iran is essential for [Israel's] existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iran issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure." Tira urges the Lobby to turn to "potential presidential candidates. . . so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran," while Uri Lubrani, senior advisor to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, tells the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors that the US "does not understand the threat and has not done enough," and therefore "must be shaken awake." Many Americans would find such statements deeply offensive in their arrogance and condescension. President Bush has indeed been weakened by the "Iraq failure" Tira acknowledges, arising from a war that the Lobby once endorsed with enormous enthusiasm. (As Gen. Wesley Clark put it way back in August 2002, "Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel." Recall that that weapon was imaginary.) So now, the Israeli war advocates aver, the U.S. president needs to be helped to do the right thing and attack Iran by lobbyists who will use their power to force the fools in the Democratic Party, especially presidential candidates. Because Americans don't understand and have to be shaken out of their current skeptical mode. By who? By AIPAC, of course! The confidence expressed by these gentlemen (in the second most powerful political action committee in the country) is quite extraordinary. But alas, maybe it's warranted. Giraldi dispassionately concludes: "Knowing that to cross the Lobby is perilous, Congressmen from both parties squirm and become uneasy when pressured by AIPAC to 'protect Israel,' even if it means yet another unwinnable war for the United States. The neocons know full well that if a war with Iran were to be started either inadvertently or by design, few within America's political system would be brave enough to stand up in opposition." One should ask these spineless politicians how they suppose the people will remember their votes and positions within weeks of the "immediate action" Tira and his allies in the Bush administration (most notably Condi Rice's deputy Elliott Abrams, the most powerful neocon remaining in the team) are demanding. Will they not be blamed for the total collapse of cooperation between the U.S. occupation and Iraq's Shiite majority, the fall of the current client regime dominated by Iranian allies, the intensification of Shiite militia attacks on U.S. forces, the broadening of the current two-front war to enflame all of Southwest Asia? One should ask those squirming manipulators blissfully ignorant of the Islamic world - clueless about the difference between Arabs and Persians or Sunnis and Shiites, coached almost entirely by State Department Zionists who don't bother to conceal their Islamophobia - to recognize that American Jewry is not generally pro-neocon nor united in support of an Iran attack. Indeed many American Jews are alarmed at Israeli/AIPAC efforts to push the U.S. into another crusader war on a Muslim nation. (A lot of them are in New York. Hillary might consult with them rather than suppose that her ticket to the presidency is the support of the Cheney-friendly Lobby. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that.) One should ask the Lobbyists as well as the government of Israel that they think they serve (as well as the people of Israel, honestly divided in their opinions) how the security of the Jewish State will be abetted by a generalized war between Israel's great patron and the entire Muslim world. When one plays this Islamophobic game of exploiting ignorance, fear, hatred and bigotry; when one conflates al-Qaeda with Iraq with Hamas with Hizbollah with Iran knowing that most Americans know little about the details and will be inclined to side (for now) with Israel against Muslims in general; when one lies (as the neocons do with such arrogance, supposing they will escape any consequences of the lies down the road) - then one invites a backlash. We live in a racist culture that easily slides into religious bigotry. Why use that culture (not so dissimilar to the German culture of the 1930s) so shamelessly - against Arabs and other Muslim peoples of the Middle East? One's disinformation with its murderous results in the Muslim world might just produce the ignorant conclusion that could sweep Middle America down the road: "The Jews made us do it." That's what the red-necks including a whole lot of today's brain-dead Christian Zionist fundamentalists will say as soon as everything goes wrong in the Middle East, Jesus doesn't come back and is nowhere in sight, and the three U.S. troops killed per day becomes six or ten for no good goddamned reason. "They have the money, they control the media and the politicians. They made us attack Iran and now look what's happening." That's what the ignorant who can one day cry "Nuke 'em all!" referring to Muslims, and the next day swear "Fucking Christ-killers" will say. Is the Lobby's paranoia about Iran's uranium enrichment so severe as to risk that kind of assessment, that kind of blowback bigotry? We are perhaps arriving at a critical point in the history of the powerful Lobby, including its capacity to intimidate honest, critically reasoning people who do not embrace its fears, prejudices and preoccupations. It's under unprecedented scrutiny following the carefully argued paper by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" and Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid both published last year, to which it's reacted with its wonted technique of character assassination. The political power of the Lobby would appear to be reaching its zenith; and while it used its hand subtly in the build-up for war on Iraq, it now uses it in crude, bullying fashion. Israeli officials weren't publicly calling for the simple-minded Christian-Zionist Bush to "smite" Iraq to defend Israel in 2003, but now they're nervously demanding that Bush destroy Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent a "genocide" worse that that accomplished by Hitler! Their boldness betrays a confidence that they can indeed continue to shape American political discourse about the Middle East (to the exclusion of any audible Arab or Muslim voice) and that to challenge them is indeed "perilous." "Attack Iran! NOW! Or support GENOCIDE! and side with the new HITLER! Destroy Iran's nuclear facilities! NOW! Or reveal your thinly-disguised ANTI-SEMITISM!" That's the hyper-message calculated to stimulate an assault, to which the calm counterterrorism analyst Giraldi draws our attention. One could respond to the message with a polite, firm, principled refusal: No thanks this time, AIPAC. You're just not credible. Can't do it for you. My constituents aren't into more war, and they think this whole Iran thing's a lot of hype. I can't support nuking Iran, and frankly, I don't see how you can either. I don't think you speak for all or even most American Jews, and you can't scare me this time by accusations of anti-Semitism. I can't have an attack on Iran my conscience, sorry. I'd rather be defeated in the next election. Keep your money; I just can't do what you ask. Will the Congress targeted by the Lobby be able to say that? If it doesn't, all the belated, posturing moves to limit Bush's power, withdraw troops and end the imperialist war in Iraq will mean nothing. An attack on Iran will unleash the gates of hell. The attackers will argue that a new situation makes all prewar debate irrelevant (or even if encouraging doubt about the "existential" cause, downright treasonous). The fascistic proclivities of the administration will blossom immediately. The legal basis has been laid for the repression of the dissent an Iran attack will naturally inspire. Prison camps, suspension of habeas corpus. The proponents of the war are comfortable with these things, and the waters have already been tested. O nation miserable, With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd, When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again? Can the American people allow this unelected unpopular administration, headed by a manifestly stupid sadistic fool, to continue to provoke international contempt and fear, while planning more carnage? Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades. He can be reached at: gleupp [at] granite.tufts.edu --------13 of 14-------- The Cultural Connection Zionism and the United States By LARRY PORTIS CounterPunch February 24 / 25, 2007 Not long ago, I met Eyal Naveh, an Israeli historian, who explains that the United States has been the "model" for the Israeli state and society. He claims that the US was first a model for the Zionist pioneers, then for the founders of the state of Israel. Like the US, Israel was to be an entirely new country created in a savage, untamed land peopled only by savages. Like the US, Israel would be unique in its democratic institutions, its multicultural society and its modernity. Israel would also, like the US, apply the most advanced technology in the resolution of existential problems and towards the achievement of a high standard of living. I agree with Naveh that the US influence over the Zionist enterprise is important. What is less understood is how Israel has become a model for the US. Recently the work of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt has raised the question of how Israel, through the Zionist lobby in the US, has perhaps come to exercise a virtually direct control over US policy in the Middle East. This is an important debate in which others, such as Noam Chomsky and Bill and Kathleen Christison have made important contributions. In this debate, in my opinion, the cultural connections between Zionism and the United States should not be minimized. Because the state of Israel was created in part under the inspiration of the US - the frontier society forged in North America - images of the US have come to constitute an essential element of the vision that many Americans have of Israel and Palestine. In great part, the US understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves an image of the US itself, an image first projected onto the Zionist settlements, and then onto the state of Israel. This is a process of "image transfer" which began long before the recognition of the state of Israel in 1948 and the substitution of US authority in the region for that of Great Britain. The US presence, or involvement, in Israeli and Palestinian affairs was prepared long in advance of any concern for the "peace process". This US involvement has been not only the initiative of individual presidents - whatever their motivations - but an emotional commitment generated by a sense of identification. Identification between the American experience and the Zionist-Israeli experience was prepared by the refraction of a certain image of the United States through the prism of Zionist propaganda and colonization in Palestine. In the history of the United States in relation to Israel, this refracted image is both the means and the end (the objective) in the process of ideological formation. How did the historical experience of the United States help shape the image of Palestine? How did the "New Jerusalem" contribute to a change in the vision of the "old Jerusalem"? A first connection is between an understanding of the Jewish Diaspora and the Protestant-puritan Diaspora of the seventeenth century. Despite deep currents of anti-Semitism, the parallel between John Winthrop leading the brave Puritans to the Promised Land and Moses leading the children of Israel back to the Holy Land has been regularly exploited in (what is today) the United States. For example, Thomas Jefferson suggested that the official seal of the United States could depict the "Children of Israel" following a pillar light sent by God. The associations envisioned by Jefferson are eloquent: the notion of a chosen people - the Elect - to whom providence has assigned a spiritual mission linked to the conquest of a particular land. All this provides the basis for an affinity that is, in fact, more than elective - it is divine. More specifically, both chosen peoples were, ultimately, "people without a land" called upon to colonize "a land without a people". When we speak of the colonizers, of America and Palestine, it is logical to forget the indigenous inhabitants of both places, for it was the land that was colonized - not the people living on it. The importance of the American Indians and the Palestinians comes from the fact that they have figured as obstacles to the fulfillment of the missions in question. Both groups have, in different ways, been characterized as lower forms of civilization slowing the march of progress. Both peoples have been described as savage and cruel. This image, at its worst racist and genocidal, at its best paternalistic, is well documented as it concerns Native Americans. As regards non-Jewish Palestinians, there is less documentation and more controversy. The rise of cultural prejudice and even racism concerning the non-Christian and Jewish populations of the Middle and Near East is not a popular subject in the West. The ideas presented in, for example, Edward Said's Orientalism, or in Martin Bernal's Black Athena, are in no way flattering to Western culture or to Western people in general. The history of this negative form of "Orientalism" is being written today. I, for one, have attempted to elucidate how an already prejudiced perception of Palestinians was sharpened in the 1920s by Zionist spokespersons. Over a period of several years, religious designations, or territorial designations, ceased to be used in reference to non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. By the mid-1920s, only two parties in conflict were referred to-the "Jews" and the "Arabs". A concurrent tendency existed to refer to both groups as "races". I call this the "racializing of ethnicity". Although the vogue of racializing social terminology was abandoned (in most informed circles) after the outbreak of World War II, the cultural prejudices have persisted. The development of a more exclusionary terminology used to designate the undesirable populations is certainly one characteristic of colonization. In order to preserve their own dignity, the colonizers are morally constrained to denigrate the human obstacles to the accomplishment of their project. Comparison of the two colonial experiences reveals how one borrowed from another, and vice-versa. The history of the British colonies in North America, and then the history of the United States throughout the nineteenth century is that of continuous colonization. The religious and economic motives typical of the seventeenth century continued to inspire settlers until the "closing" of the Frontier in the 1890s. What appear as the real novelty of the nineteenth century were the various utopian experiments in communal living. Hundreds of socialistic communities were established throughout the United States during the nineteenth century. To our day, such initiatives continue as part of the social and cultural landscape. The Zionist settlements in Palestine combined all these same motivations. Not only were the Zionist colonies of different types, they sometimes - as in the case of the Kibbutzim - united in themselves religious Puritanism and secular socialistic modernity. This was a phenomenon appealing to United-Statesians reared on frontier myths, such as the idea of cultural-spiritual regeneration through a confrontation with adversity and violence. The "closing" of the US frontier in the early 1890s, accompanied by the rapid development of a mythologized literature and cinema concerning the Western hero, certainly facilitated support for the Zionist project. The idea of pioneers struggling to establish themselves in a hostile environment was romantic, and familiar. Related to the settlement of frontiers by hardy pioneers, another affinity between Americans is the development and application of new agricultural techniques. "Making the desert bloom" was a powerful slogan and image for both emergent national cultures. US botanical technology, such as new plant varieties, insecticides, and chemical fertilizers, contributed to the success of Jewish settlements in Palestine. Going from the Great American Desert to Palestine was more than a symbolic transfer of images. In addition, in both cases, it involved a denial of the agricultural achievements of the indigenous inhabitants. Another affinity between the creations of the American and Israeli "nations" is the demographic importance of immigration. Both populations are considered the product of disparate "waves" of new immigrants and their assimilation into a "New World" culture including a new language seen as deriving from those existing (although "American" cannot be said to be as innovative as modern "Hebrew"). The interconnection of American and Zionist immigration has meant the projection of an image of the United States onto the Zionist project. This projection has been assisted by 1) the idea of immigration as the means of recomposing or regenerating a population and, 2) the fact that so many Jews from Russia, Poland and elsewhere immigrated to the United States. Jewish immigrants in the US were prone to support emigration to Palestine. (In the latter half of the twentieth century, a significant number of their descendants immigrated to Israel.) Other factors in the development of support for Zionism in the United States include a Christian education tending to reinforce revulsion for the "loss" of the Holy Land to Islam. The Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages tended to be particularly celebrated in the US towards the end of the nineteenth century. Anti-Semitism also encouraged acceptance of the Zionist project in Palestine. Those who resented their presence viewed favorably the transfer of Jews to a relatively desolate part of the world. This factor intensified after World War II when the Jewish refugees became an embarrassment to Western governments, even though anti-Semitism was declining. Such are some of the cultural affinities and conditions that have contributed to the orientation of US policies relative to the Israel-Palestine conflict. In some significant ways, US nationalism is linked to, or seen as having affinities with Jewish nationalism as represented first by the Zionist movement and then by the Israeli state. It is why Israel is not seen in the United States as an alien culture in the Middle East, but rather as an extension of American historical experience. It is perhaps in this cultural-ontological sense that Israel is the "51st state" (and not primarily because of the extensive economic, financial and military ties). For all of these reasons, the rhetoric of nationalism in the Israel-Palestine conflict tends to reinforce established cultural values, values stemming from American historical experience. It is also why, in the United States, many people find it difficult to take seriously Palestinian claims, just as they could not take seriously the claims of the "Indian Nations". The similarities, in any case, are striking. One century later, the Palestinian resistance to colonization and ethnic cleansing is being dealt with in much the same ways as that of the Indians: forced evacuation, concentration in "reservations" (which could be called "Bantustans" or "autonomous territories"), periodic massacre and racist humiliations. Consider, in the above light, how differently Israeli and Palestinian leadership must be perceived. On the one hand, there have been Israeli leaders like Golda Meir and Benjamin Netanyahu, Americans or American-educated, speaking faultless "American". On the other hand, the Palestinian leaders most often have an alien aspect; not to speak of the late Yassir Arafat, with his colorful headdress and his strange uniform of dubious origin. The cultivated descendants of brave Western-like pioneers make a singular contrast with the Palestinians. The analogies and metaphors are there, underlying a US policy conceiving of "peace" mostly in terms of acquiescence or accommodation to the image and interests of the United States projected onto the Israeli state, an Israeli state considered by US policy makers to be a model for the Middle East in general. For these US policymakers, it is not only a question of propagandistic manipulation, of the conscious deception of the public. The metaphors and analogies founded upon the special affinities between the US and the state of Israel are rather rooted in the social and cultural histories of both their societies and politics. If hypocrisy and bad faith are integral to political behavior, in the service of collective interests as much as in the service of individual designs, it is to be expected that such self-deception should be pronounced in, on the one hand, the critical, early phases of nation-state-making and, on the other hand, during the construction of an imperial presence in the Middle East. Larry Portis is a professor of American studies at the University of Montpellier, France and a founding member of Americans for Peace and Justice in Montpellier. He can be contacted at larry.portis [at] univ-montp3.fr --------14 of 14-------- Zionist/BushCo nationalist anthem My land is my land Your land is my land From the east where I say To the west where I say All land is my land My land is all land This land was made for me and me ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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