Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Horrifying News: Seattle Jewish Center Targeted

It is with sadness that I report that the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle was the target of a hate crime yesterday. One woman was murdered and five other women were wounded when a man claiming to hate Israel forced his way into the center. The shooter called 911 and was arrested on the scene.

6 Shot, 1 Fatally at Seattle Jewish Center, by AP via ABC News

"Fatal Seattle Jewish center shooting a "hate crime"," by Daisuke Wakabayashi of Reuters, via Yahoo News

"One dead in hate-crime shooting at Jewish center. Suspect in custody; three women in critical condition," by CNN

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Online Activists Calling for a Cease Fire

In my travels through the blogosphere this evening, I found a link to http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org

I encourage everyone to sign the petition (site sponsored by Res Publica) in support of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's call for an immediate cease fire and the deployment of an international force to stabilize the situation. (I would add that it is imperative to head UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security in all aspects of conflict resolution.)

While I admire their desire to publicize their campaign through newspaper advertisements, I must encourage you to donate to WILPF if you feel impelled to make a financial contribution to this cause. Trust me when I say you have never seen an international advocacy organization do so much on so little. (And if you don't believe me, I'd be happy to discuss our finances with sister WILPFers.)

Returning to the crisis at hand, the Jews of Lebanon have started a blog. While it is relatively new, it offers a glimpse into the frustrating history of Israeli - Arab relations. The blog's mission statement begins:
It is the intent of this blog to reestablish a connection between Lebanese of the Jewish faith around the world with their country of Lebanon. The message of coexistence and genuine national unity is not applicable so as long as a fragment from Lebanon’s mosaic of minorities is missing. If religious coexistence fails in Lebanon it will ultimately fail throughout the world.

It is the intent of this blog to provide a venue to express an adamant rejection of the intertwining of politics and humanitarian and moral endeavors. We reject the discriminatory and ignorant tendencies to equate the religion of Judaism to the politics of Zionism.
I know that a lot of people in the United States have difficulty understanding WILPF's position that Israel has the right to self defense but that it's actions in Lebanon and Gaza are disproportionate acts of aggression and that all sides should accept an immediate, unconditional cease fire. My hope is that by offering these alternative perspectives, people will have a richer understanding of the crisis.

First site found via Continental Ops' blog on The Progressive Blog Alliance HQ. Second site found via Jews sans frontieres.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

US Speeds Up Arms Delivery to the Israelis

US Speeds Up Arms Delivery to the Israelis, by David Cloud and Helene Cooper in the NYT
WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.
Tell me again how the US can be an impartial peace negotiator in this conflict. The US government is supplying weapons to the Israelis - why would anyone look to it to stop the war? And what can we as individuals and members of WILPF do to stop this insanity?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Action Alert! Demand US Urge Israel Declare a Cease Fire!





Take Action Now!

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom urges its members to take action now regarding the escalating violence in the Middle East. We demand an end to the violence and negotiations under U.N. auspices.

The massive humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the war between Israel and Lebanon calls for our immediate attention. The civilian deaths are rising as the United States Government remains complicit in Israel’s attacks. The Israeli Army is using weapons provided by the United States to carry out this aggression, and US support of this assault is allowing Israel to act without accountability to international law, The Geneva Convention, the Road Map to Peace, or any previous treaty or negotiation.

We must oppose our government's unquestioning support of Israeli policies. This recent escalation of violence and civilian casualties is a direct result of 39 years of occupation of Palestinian land. We must demand that members of Congress, the State Department, and the President end our military support of Israel on the basis of its consistent violation of human rights and international law. Our leaders must demand that Israel end attacks on civilians, end attacks on infrastructure and immediately cease all human rights violations.

Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act and the Geneva Conventions.

The mainstream media coverage of this crisis is unbalanced and biased, and we must change the discourse and work to influence the general public through our media outlets. Visit http://wilpf.org/letter-editor/ to write a letter to the editor of all your local papers, and be prepared to challenge radio and television talk show hosts on their language.

I am mystified by the failure of the mainstream media to acknowledge that Israeli military actions in the Gaza and southern Lebanon are targeting civilians and other non-military targets. The destruction being wrought on the Palestinian people, and now the Lebanese, has largely been ignored while all attacks - whether on soldiers or civilians - carried out by a Palestinian militant receives significant attention.

The silence of the vast majority of the mainstream media and political leadership in the USA regarding Israel's actions and the blind-eye taken toward Israel's continual failure to respect the United Nations' resolutions to withdraw from the Occupied Territories, makes a mockery of any concern regarding human rights and international law.

I ask that [THE NAME OF NEWSPAPER] provide more balanced coverage of the situation in Palestine, and offer a forum for legitimate debate on the issues at hand. Years after an atrocity, the people of the world look at themselves and ask '…why were we silent?' It is not too late to preempt that question.

1. Call, email, fax the White House:
White House comment line: 202-456-1111
Email: comments@whitehouse.gov
FAX: 202-456-2461

2. Call or email the State Department:
Phone: 202-647-5291
Website: http://contact-us.state.gov

Demand that the U.S. be accountable for its violations of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act and urge that military aid to Israel be cut off.

3. Write Letters to the Editor

4. Join sister activists in protests in front of federal buildings, Israeli consulates, and Israeli embassies.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

PDX WILPF Letter in the Oregonian

From the Letters to the Editor of the Oregonian on Friday, July 7:
We call upon the U.S. government to unequivocally condemn Israeli use of collective punishment and illegal detention. We join former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and the Israeli peace movement, along with voices from around the world, in condemning Israel's latest incursion into Gaza.

Our government must work toward a peaceful end of the Israel/Palestinian conflict by recognizing that Israel's bombing of Palestinian infrastructure and civilian areas, its imprisonment of democratically chosen Palestinian Authority cabinet members, and threats to murder Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Syria are "actions of violence and terror."

The U.S. government must work to end Israel's illegal use of force and insist that Israel release the politicians it arrested, immediately stop its military incursion in the Gaza Strip, and use the international legal system to bring alleged terrorists to justice.

GEORGIA PINKEL and OLIVIA WATT, Co-chairwomen Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Portland branch, Northwest Portland
Bravo to our sisters in Portland! Please join us in writing letters to the editor, to your Congressional representatives, and to the administration re this horrifying and one-sided war on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. Remember to include your WILPF affiliation in all correspondence. And if you get published, please email me, so we can keep track of our media outreach.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Air Force Spending $450K to recreate Technorati

Think Progress linked to the Foreign Policy magazine blog note about this asinine Air Force project.

Here's the deal: your taxpayer money is being spent to build a system for understanding the relevance, specificity, timeliness, and credibility (RSTC) of blog postings. The scientists in charge of this slush fund are going to use these new fangled links to determine what bloggers are talking about.

Funny thing is, Technorati already does a damn good job of that.
Then there's one of the early tracking systems, created at The Truth Laid Bear.
And there's the Blog Search Engine.
Let's not forget the Open Directory Project.

So tell me again what the Air Force is wasting $450,000 on?

As the copyrighted WILPF statement goes,
It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

WILPF on the Front Page of the LA Times

WILPFers were out in force to support one of our own, MacGregor Eddy, at her federal trespassing trial in Santa Barbara earlier this year. MacGregor is a member of the DISARM! Dismantle the War Economy! leadership team. Read her sentencing statement here.

This protest was noticed by the kooks at the California state office of Homeland Security and reported in today's lead story at the LA Times.

While it is a shame the government is wasting our taxpayer money spying on us, it comes as no surprise. WILPF recently filed a FOIA request. Our last one, 25 years ago, brought us 23 boxes of information dating back to 1923.

What can you do to help the peace and justice movement from further incursions on our civil rights? Join raging grannies, radical cheerleaders, and proud new parents in making peace a reality: Join WILPF!