To watch this 1-hour interview, click HERE.
To read the following information in .pdf format, click Program Description — October 2014.
During the summer of 2014 Israel’s military conducted yet another massive assault on Palestine, especially Gaza, the small southern part of Palestine that borders Egypt. Israel’s military attacked innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure (homes, schools, etc.), and even a United Nations refugee camp.
As usual, mainstream U.S. news media, politicians and government officials grossly misrepresented what was really happening. They put nearly all of the blame on Palestine and made it seem that Israel’s government was merely defending itself. They implied equal danger for both sides, even though dozens of times as many Palestinians as Israelis were killed or hurt. The U.S. House and Senate unanimously passed a resolution rubber-stamping Israel’s attacks on Palestine.
And – as usual – mainstream U.S. news media, politicians and government officials ignored the historical roots of the problem.
The Olympia FOR’s October 2014 TV program discusses the realities and brings to light the historical and current realities. Our four guests are very well informed:
• Cindy Corrie is the mother of Rachel Corrie. Cindy and her husband Craig have worked tirelessly since 2003 to carry on Rachel’s work for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
• Mohammed Usrof grew up in Gaza, the part of Palestine near southern Israel and northeastern Egypt. He has lived and studied in the U.S. for two years and still has close family in Gaza.
• Sallie Shawl has a long background of working for peace and social justice, including nuclear weapons and the Israel/Palestine conflict. Sallie is active with several peace organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace and various activities in Pierce and Kitsap counties.
• Steve Niva teaches International Politics and Middle East Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He has written about U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East for Middle East Report magazine (www.merip.org), and his writings have appeared in many other respected periodicals.
We taped the TV program on August 28 for airing in October and beyond, so things might change by the time people watch the program. But the background information, insights, and recommendations for peace and justice will remain valid long into the future, regardless of day-to-day news.
Our guests summarized Israel’s most recent attacks and dispelled some of the misinformation. They also summarized the historical realities of Israel’s ongoing invasions and encroachments into Palestinian land. When the State of Israel was created in 1948, Palestinians were already living in Palestine, but Israel’s government has been occupying and building new cities (misleadingly termed “settlements”) on Palestinian lands, forcing Palestinian farmers away from their lands, depriving them of water, building a separation wall, and committing other crimes that clearly violate international law.
However, the U.S. government has prevented the United Nations or international judicial bodies from taking action against Israel’s government.
Also, in the Gaza part of Palestine, Israel has destroyed a great many Palestinians’ homes, prevented Palestinians from coming and going from their land, prevented them from importing materials they need for daily life, destroyed infrastructure (factories, electricity, and so forth), prevented much re-building, and interfered with their lives in other ways – all in violation of international law.
The U.S. government gives billions of dollars of military aid to Israel every year, and the U.S. blocks any action by the United Nations that would hold Israel accountable for its many violations of international law.
Our guests dispel a number of widely held misconceptions about this ongoing conflict.
Israel’s own peace movement opposes Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Likewise, the U.S.’s Jews do not speak with one voice. A great many U.S. Jews oppose Israel’s policies and seek real jus-tice and peace for Palestinians and Jews alike.
When Americans work on issues related to Latin America, Afghanistan, Iran, or other nations, the people of those nations do tell us that they distinguish between the American people who want justice and peace – versus the U.S. government that is hurting their nations. This is true also for Israel and Palestine. Thoughtful people do distinguish between human beings who live in those nations vs. the governments that may act unjustly or violently. This TV interview is not anti-Jewish or anti- Israel, because our guests clearly distinguish between the people and the governments that claim to represent them.
Some very good organizations are working on these issues, including:
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project
Jewish Voice for Peace
Compassionate Listening Project
International Solidarity Movement
Interfaith Peace Builders
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation