Labor and the Middle East War sign now

Labor and the Middle East War
New York City Labor Against the War
August 11, 2006

For weeks, Israel has turned Lebanon into a killing ground, slaughtering
and maiming thousands of people, destroying the civilian infrastructure,
and turning a quarter of the population into refugees in their own
land. At the same time, it continues to brutalize Palestinians in the
West Bank and Gaza.

Israel's crimes are carried out with U.S.-made F-16s, Apache
helicopters, and cluster bombs. These high-tech lethal weapons are part
of $5 billion that Israel gets each year from the United States,
courtesy of the Republican and Democratic parties, with enthusiastic
support from Neo-cons and right-wing Christian fundamentalists.

The U.S. does not arm Israel to "promote democracy" or for
"self-defense." Even Zionist historians now admit that Israel's origins
are rooted in dispossession of the Palestinian people -- whose labor
then built the Israeli economy -- through an unrelenting campaign of
ethnic cleansing: exile, squalid refugee camps, imprisonment, torture
and murder.

Since the 1970s, Israel has also pursued territorial expansion by
repeatedly invading and devastating Lebanon, as exemplified by the
slaughter of thousands of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatilla in
1982. That occupation lasted until 2000, when Hezbollah forced Israel
to withdraw.

Since then, Israel has killed thousands of Palestinians, taken thousands
of Palestinian and Lebanese political prisoners, and tried to strangle
the democratically-elected government of Hamas. When Hamas and
Hezbollah responded by capturing a few Israeli soldiers, Israel
unleashed a new, bloody, long-planned attack on Lebanon; only then did
Hezbollah respond by firing crude rockets at Israel.

Behind its empty platitudes, the U.S. government supports this Israeli
racism and state terrorism because, along with dictatorships in Egypt
and Saudi Arabia, it is a cornerstone of U.S. domination over the
world's most important oil-producing region.

Now, with the Iraq war in shambles, the U.S.-Israel partnership seeks to
break Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, while recklessly provoking
confrontations with Syria and Iran. The U.N. has done nothing to stop
this war of empire -- what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
sickeningly calls "birth pangs of a new Middle East."

It is not surprising, therefore, that Hezbollah has won tremendous
support in and beyond the Arab world, even amongst those who question
some aspects of its ideology or tactics. For this spiraling cycle of
oppression and resistance evokes Iraq, Afghanistan, Soweto, Vietnam,
Algeria, the Warsaw Ghetto, or David and Goliath.

Horrified by the images from Palestine and Lebanon, international labor
has strongly denounced Israel's attacks.

On July 10, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urgently
called for sanctions and boycotts against the "apartheid Israel state,"
which it branded worse than the former racist regime in South Africa.

On July 31, the General Union of Oil Employees in Iraq issued an "appeal
to all the honorable and free people of the world to demonstrate and
protest about what is happening to Lebanon."

On August 5, major British trade unions supported a massive London
protest against Israel's attacks. Even before the current escalation,
several labor bodies in Britain, Canada and elsewhere called for
divestment from Israel.

In the United States, however, nearly all labor bodies either support
Israel or say nothing at all.

State employee retirement plans and union pension funds invest hundreds
of millions of dollars in State of Israel Bonds. In April 2002, while
Israel butchered hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Jenin, AFL-CIO
president John Sweeney spoke at a "National Solidarity Rally for
Israel." The American Federation of Teachers has specifically embraced
Israel's new assaults.

In the antiwar movement, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), which
consistently segregates the Palestinian cause, has organized no mass
response. U.S. Labor Against the War, which promotes union resolutions
against the war in Iraq, remains disturbingly silent.

Fortunately, growing protests have been organized by the Arab-Muslim
community, people of color, anti-Zionist Jews, and other activists who
recognize that Lebanon and Palestine are inseparable from Iraq and
Afghanistan.

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) is part of this grassroots
movement, and with Al-Awda New York, The Palestine Right to Return
Coalition, a cosponsor of Labor for Palestine
.

NYCLAW believes that the labor and antiwar movements in the United
States have a special obligation to speak out and demand:

1. End the U.S.-Israel war against the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

2. No aid for Israel.

3. Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

4. End Israeli occupation, and fully implement the Palestinian right of
return.

5. Out Now from Iraq and Afghanistan -- No timetables, redeployment,
advisors, or air-war.

--------------------
NYCLAW Co-Conveners (other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid
Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million
Worker March


http://www.traprockpeace.org/nyclaw_blog/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/

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Nola AlvaradoBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
Labor and Antiwar Movements

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