U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) delivered the following
speech to the U.S.
Campaign to End the Occupation organizers conference,
Washington, DC, July 19.
October 25, 2001 I stood at the United States Capitol House
Triangle with individuals from walks of life much different
than my own. But we all shared one thing in common:
a desire for a peace in the Middle East that was fair and
just to all who live there and to those others who would
like to live there.
I was proud to have extended to Uri Avnery
an invitation that turned out to be his first visit to Capitol
Hill. Uri Avnery, former Member of the Israeli Knesset
and presently leader of Gush-Shalom Peace Bloc is one of
the foremost human rights activists in Israel. His
Theses for Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” published in
October 2001 makes for compelling reading. Today,
his courageous campaign against the Separation Wall and
support for the Israeli Conscientious Objectors makes him
a force of conscience, if not a political force, in a part
of the world where lone voices cry out for justice and peace.
It was good to hear a new Israeli voice
in Washington, DC. Could this new voice be projected
across the American political landscape? Could we
really put a stop to the endless trail of blood and tears?
So, just as I stood with the East Timorese; the U’wa in
Colombia; Native Americans in New Mexico, I stood with JUNITY.
The media turnout was fantastic. Even
C-Span came. When the event was over, everyone rushed
back to their respective offices, some started the long
drive home, and searched on the web for when C-Span would
broadcast its coverage of the event. And then it began to
called C-Span to find out why the event had disappeared
from its website only to learn that the event, itself, had
been "disappeared." What C-Span had previously
thought was newsworthy enough to send a camera to, was suddenly
deemed not so. The event was "delisted"
from C-Span’s website and never aired. Incredibly,
I was derided in the Atlanta press for associating with
fringe elements of the Jewish community.
I would never think that Jews Against
the Occupation, Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel,
Not in My Name, Boston Women in Black, Jewish Voices for
Peace, and the many other organizations that participated
in our press conference were "fringe." In
fact, these groups are doing the hard work of educating
for peace that the White House could use right now.
Well, in addition to the derision, we
now know that stories emerged that AIPAC had targeted me
David Kahn and Jeffrey Snyder wrote in
a solicitation letter:
"Hilliard has been extremely dangerous
to not only our community but the U.S./Israel relationship.
As Chairman of the Black Caucus he has lobbied members of
the Black Caucus to oppose initiatives supporting Israel
together with Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Atlanta,
GA . . . It is important that Earl Hilliard be defeated
in the June 4th Alabama Democratic Primary. Money
is the deciding factor on who will win this primary race."
Writing for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
Eli Klintish wrote that:
"In the 2002 election cycle, wealthy
Jewish donors from around the country, many of them AIPAC
members, supported Democratic primary challengers against
incumbents McKinney and Hilliard."
I was outspent and after 48,000 Republicans
crossed over and voted for the black woman Republican that
had been drafted to run in the Democratic Primary against
me, Josh Ruebner said to the Washington Times:
"This is a dangerous dynamic. Jews
are the ones who started picking off African-American politicians
because of their views on the Middle East, and that was
undue meddling. It is doing irreparable harm to relations
And then, on March 21, 2003, Elie Kintisch
wrote in the Forward:
"Embattled Rep. James Moran could
face a primary challenge next year from a former staffer
at the country's top pro-Israel lobbying group. . . . [Jeremy]
Bash's supporters say he will be able to tap into the same
national network of Jewish political donors that last year
helped oust two black Democratic incumbents in the House,
Earl Hilliard of Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia."
The point I’m trying to make here is
that what happened to me will happen over and over and over
again unless you make a stand. You say you want a
better US foreign policy, but what are you willing to do
about it? What are you willing to risk about it?
Dr. King wrote that it’s not where we
stand at times of comfort that count; but rather where we
stand in times of discomfort that reveal our true character.
Our country should be able to sit with
credibility at the table of peace and recommend solutions
that are sustainable for all parties. We should be
able to do that with Northern Ireland, North Korea, Kashmir,
Currently in METRO trains around DC is
an ad campaign launched by California Peace Action.
The campaign reminds us of a handshake between a grinning
Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein.
to Paul Wolfowitz, it is Saddam Hussein who is responsible
for not only September 11th, but also the 1993 World Trade
Center bombing as well as the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Building
bombing in Oklahoma City. So I want to know, what’s
our Secretary of Defense doing shaking this guy’s hand?
Thanks to the British press, we also
know Rumsfeld’s company, ABB, sold nuclear material to North
How is it that in 2000 Rumsfeld’s company
felt that North Korea was a good business partner and in
2002 he’s calling for regime change there?
How is it that Dick Cheney’s Halliburton
can do business with Iraq and Iran and now Cheney’s calling
for regime change there?
we know exactly what they’re doing.
In his book, “Fortunate Son,” J. H. Hatfield
meticulously researches the life and times of George W.
Bush. He informs us, after detailing the various
business and personal relationships, that "Ironically,
the money used to underwrite the first business venture
of a future president of the United States [Arbusto Energy]
may have been derived at least in part, from the family
fortune of Saudi terrorist, Osama bin Laden."
The Boston Herald ran a two-part series
on the money connections between the Saudis and the Bush
coterie of influential men.
It starts out:
"Many of the same American corporate executives who
have reaped millions of dollars from arms and oil deals
with the Saudi monarchy have served or currently serve at
the highest levels of U.S. government, public records show."
The Boston Herald goes on to inform us
that The Carlyle Group "has. . . financial interests
in U.S. defense firms hired by the kingdom to equip and
train the Saudi military."
"Dick Cheney’s firm, Halliburton,
last month was awarded a $140 million contract to develop
an oil field in Saudi Arabia by the kingdom's state-owned
petroleum firm, Saudi Aramco, and a Halliburton subsidiary,
Kellogg Brown & Root, . . . was hired by the Saudis
to build a $40 million ethylene plant. The current national
security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is a former longtime
member of the board of directors of another giant oil conglomerate
with business in the Saudi desert, Chevron. . . .
Rice even has a Chevron oil tanker named after her."
Incredibly, the Senate is about to hold
hearings on a bill drawn up by the Administration basically
designed to torpedo lawsuits aimed at holding guilty foreign
governments responsible for terrorist acts that kill Americans.
Bush’s legislation would establish a compensation fund paid
for by US taxpayers, instead of the perpetrators, and deny
Americans the right to sue the terrorists and their supporters.
This is in direct contradiction to a bill that I introduced
that would give the right to any US victim to claim compensation
from any US-taxpayer funded compensation fund and allow
them to sue the perpetrators, too.
Why would our President stand in the
way of victims’ compensation?
I want my government to fund health care,
education, social security, Medicare, prescription drugs,
reparations; I don’t want it shielding terrorists and their
supporters from punishment.
Helen Thomas reminds us that oil makes
strange bedfellows, too.
You have called this conference to explore
ways to change US policy. US policy will never change
unless you have people elected to office who are willing
to stand up for peace. And then you must protect them.
Administration has filled Washington DC with warmongers
and profiteers. There is a place in our process for
advocates of peace, but the advocates of war are squeezing
us out. While our President says "Bring it on"
to the Iraqis who harm our soldiers, we mustn’t forget that
this is the same man who went AWOL when he had the chance
to serve his country. Sadly, the death toll of The
Son’s Gulf War now surpasses that of the Daddy’s.
These are the same Republicans who considered
Nelson Mandela a terrorist and supported impeaching Bill
Clinton for having an affair.
California Republican Congressman Darrell
Issa recently appeared on Canadian TV. Congressman
Issa has put nearly $1 million of his own money into the
Gray Davis recall effort, that is apparently now successful.
On Canadian TV Congressman Issa said:
"This governor has been felony stupid
in the operation of the state; he has used the power of
his office to deceive the people; and ultimately in three
more years he will bankrupt this state."
Well, if Gray Davis deserves to be recalled
under these standards, then George Bush deserves to be impeached.
Republicans have set these standards.
Now, let George Bush live by them.
You should also pay very close attention
to Terry McAuliffe and Democratic Party behavior in the
California matter and compare it to their treatment of me,
where a known Republican was allowed to stand in the Democratic
You must agitate for peace. Change
Washington, DC. If you don’t, neither America nor
the world will be safe.