President Obama was presenting the comprehensive vision
of his Middle East policy, a contingent of St.
Louis activists were landing in Tel-Aviv. The St. Louis
Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) is composed of Jewish-Americans,
Palestinian-Americans and other concerned Americans focused
on bringing peace to the peoples of both countries. For
the last several months, northern African and the Middle East have been the place of uprisings by its people and bloody
suppressions by despotic dictators. The region is literally
crying out for a new and different political and economic
recommendation for Israel
to negotiate, based upon 1967 borders has the mainstream
media and GOP conservatives all a-flitter. Thereís absolutely
no reason for President Obama to be the target of these
attacks except that heís the first black president. Two
presidents - Clinton and Baby Bush - advanced the same policy
without so much a whimper from the same echo chambers that
are bashing President Obama. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu defiantly called the proposal ďindefensible.Ē
What is indefensible is the vanishing lands of the Palestinian
people and the Israeli occupation of the land thatís left.
usual manner, centrist Obama has managed to navigate through
the age-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict by not satisfying
either of the stakeholders. Israel feels abandoned and Palestine feels betrayed. Israel has a powerful lobby group, the American-Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that will take up its interests;
not. AIPACís influence on U.S. policy is indisputable: Israel is the only country in the world to which
citizensí donations are tax-deductible and depending on
whom you ask, Israel receives from $3-5 billion in aid from the
annually, about one-fifth of Americaís
entire foreign aid budget. Like I said, thatís a powerful
member on the current trip to Gaza
is Anna Baltzer. The young activist was detained for hours
when the group first arrived in Israel, and some of her personal belongings were
temporarily confiscated. Anna is one of many concerned Jewish
people who have made peace their lifeís work. Her documentary,
Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories
and Photos, gave me new insights into the occupation
situation when I viewed it a few years ago. Anna is part
of a long and growing support base for advocating a fair
and humane approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hedy Epstein has long been a part of that struggle as well.
The 86-year-old Holocaust survivor has been unrelenting
in her efforts to bring peace to the region. The diminutive
human rights activist has been roughed up on more than one
occasion for her stance.
activists from across the U.S.
will sail to Gaza
in late June aboard The
Audacity of Hope
as part of the International Freedom Flotilla II. They will
be delivering thousands of letters of solidarity to the
Palestinian people. The last flotilla was not exactly welcomed
with open arms by the Israeli government. The six ships
bringing humanitarian aid and construction materials and
carrying over 600 people were attacked by Israeli naval
commandos. Several flotilla participants were killed and
many injured. The incident immediately and rightly received
international condemnation. So, you can see that going to
the Gaza Strip is no vacation; one is actually putting their
life on the line.
Obama may be trying to tell Israel
that it is a new day and to get with the program. The country
is surrounded by Lebanon, Jordan Syria, Saudi, Egypt and the winds of change are blowing in the
region. Those of us in the U.S.
should be putting pressure on the Obama Administration to
pursue a policy that respects the land and self-determination
of the peoples in Israel and Palestine,
and not be swayed by leaders who have a different agenda
than the people.
you to follow the PSC trip through its blog at www.pscinpalestine.blogspot
and to join the letter-writing campaign to the Palestinian
people. For more information on how to get involved, visit
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Jamala Rogers, is the leader
of the Organization
for Black Struggle in St.
Louis and the Black
Radical Congress National Organizer. Click
here to contact Ms. Rogers.