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News :: Human Rights : International : Organizing : Politics : War and Militarism
Boston Protest to Stop Invasion of Palestine and Lebanon
22 Jul 2006
Modified: 24 Jul 2006
Boston, Mass. -- “This is not a war based on religion; it’s a war based on politics,” said orthodox Rabbi Dovid Feldman from the Neturei Karta International, Jews United Against Zionism, “There was a co-existence of Jewish and Arab people before the creation of the state of Israel.”
Huda Ghalya, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl who lost her father, stepmother, and three of her siblings, when an Israeli artillery attack hit a northern beach in Gaza on July 12th.
Over 500 people gathered today at City Hall plaza in Government Center to denounce the indiscriminate attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese population. Organized by a coalition of organizations including the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts (ADCMA), the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, and the Muslim American Society (MAS); the rally included several speakers and intellectuals from different religious backgrounds.

Rabbi Feldman, among them, urged people to educate their friends and families about the resistance of “tens of thousands” of Jews against the Israeli aggression in the region. “This is not done in the name of Jewish religion or Jewish people, it is in the name of Zionists,” he said.

Emotions ran high as the crowd listened intently, interrupted only for a call to Muslim prayer, and cheered for those who dared raise their voice against the hostilities. “Just like we demand that Hizbullah and Hamas release their prisoners, we also demand that Israel releases the thousands of civilian prisoners that it holds,” said Dr. Essam Omeish, president of MAS, which amounts to 9,800 Palestinians, 125 women and 450 children under the age of 18, according to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.

Sherif Fam, a Palestinian American lawyer, reminded people that the day before Hamas took the Israeli soldier hostage, a Palestinian doctor and his brother were kidnapped from Gaza by Israeli forces. “All we hear is Israel’s right to defend themselves, well Mr. President, Palestine also has the right to defend itself,” said Mr. Fam.

He then passed around the photo of Huda Ghalya, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl who lost her father, stepmother, and three of her siblings, when an Israeli artillery attack hit a northern beach in Gaza on July 12th. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied responsibility for the killings, but an independent investigation by Human Rights Watch overwhelmingly supports the allegations that the Israeli artillery fire was to blame. Seven Palestinian civilians picnicking on the beach were killed that day and dozens of others were wounded.

“They say they are fighting a war against terrorism,” said Marilyn Levin, a middle-aged member of the United for Justice with Peace group based in Arlington, “Who are the terrorists? It is the US and Israel that wage terror in the Middle East, indiscriminately killing civilians, destroying their economies and the essential infrastructure that allow people to survive and prosper.”

Since the conflict in Gaza and Lebanon began a few weeks ago, 29 Israelis (15 civilians, including 3 children) died from Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets, compared to more than 115 Palestinians (half of them civilians) and 335 Lebanese. In Lebanon there are also an estimated 1,000 wounded and some 500,000 displaced.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to veto a UN resolution calling for a cease-fire, and gave Israel a window of one more week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah, according to British officials. Thursday, Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a call for an immediate end to hostilities and said that Israel’s main aim was to end the threat posed by Hizbullah in Lebanon, a move confirmed today by Israel’s amassing of tanks and troops on the southern border.

An official from the UN monitoring force in south Lebanon, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, told The Associated Press in Beirut that between 300 and 500 troops are believed to be in the western sector of the border, backed by as many as 30 tanks. An Israeli military radio station warned residents of 12 border villages in southern Lebanon to leave before 2 p.m. Friday.

Elaine Hagopian, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Simmons College, explained that Hezbollha arose in Lebanon due to the historical repression of Shia people in southern Lebanon, first by feudal lords in Lebanon and later by Israel’s collective punishment of the civilian population in 1982 because of the PLO’s presence there. Professor Hagopian said that back then Iran and Syria began to support Hizbullah, but it became a force of its own, finally ending the 22-year occupation of Israel in southern Lebanon.

“This of course, was a humiliation for Israel,” she said, “Hizbullah understands, rightly or wrongly, that if they try to be disarmed by the UN Resolution 1559, the area would be wide open and Israel would be able to infiltrate Lebanon, control it, and thereby also control Syria.” She said the US is allowing Israel do their dirty work in order to eventually, isolate Iran in the region.

“This is part of a broader imperialist invasion,” said Kaveri Rajaraman, a graduate student at Harvard and member of the Stop the Wars Coalition, “Those with monetary and military privilege try to control the information so that the victims are portrayed as criminals.”

Abbas Kafel, 18, and his brother Ahmed Kafel, 13, sat on the steps of Government Center, their faces painted with the Lebanese flag, to call for an end of hostilities to their country of origin, although they grew up mostly in the United States. “We lost a lot of relatives in Lebanon. We don’t have a house anymore because they bombed it. My grandparents are there; all my cousins are there trying to escape and be safe,” said Abbas.

A Foxboro High School graduate, Abbas said a few family members made it into Syria but most are unsure where to go because the bombing is everywhere. He already lost a few family members, including a 6-year-old cousin. “I rather die there with them than sit here and see them die on their own,” he said, “We’re hoping for some peace and hopefully things will go alright in Lebanon — and in Israel, the innocent Jews, innocent lives everywhere.”

“We Palestinians with our Arab, Jewish and Christian friends, will not be silent,” echoed Sharif Fam.

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Boston Protest to Stop Invasion of Palestine and Lebanon - PHOTOS
21 Jul 2006
Modified: 22 Jul 2006
Photos of Boston Protest to Stop Invasion of Palestine and Lebanon - July 21st 2006.

For print sized images contact jonathan.
See also:
Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition
21 Jul 2006
Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition

To The Concerned Citizen of The World:

"Killing innocent civilians is NOT an act of self-defense. Destroying a sovereign nation is NOT a measured response."

Lebanese civilians have been under the constant attack of the state of Israel for several days. The State of Israel, in disregard to international law and the Geneva Convention, is launching a maritime and air siege targeting the entire population of the country. Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as described in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

The Lebanese people feel left out by the world that is turning a blind eye on the savagery of the Israeli state. Israel does not seem to be capable of approaching any problem outside the realm of the military power bestowed on it by the government of the United States of America and other western governments.
Naturei Karta
22 Jul 2006
Not a bad article, but you can really find better Jewish representatives than Neturei Karta. Many Jews oppose what Israel is doing to Lebanon, and Neturei Karta is just a tiny sliver.

I've noticed that many non-Jews gravitate toward them because of their traditional dress , thinking that this gives them more Jewish authenticity. Be aware that that they're viewed as another small group in the community, not as a particularly authoritative one.
Lebanese not innocent
24 Jul 2006
In war innocents pay a heavy price. There is no way to fight a war without “collateral damage” to civilians unless the opposing armies agree to meet in a desert and let the superior force prevail. It certainly cannot be done when the aggressor is a terrorist army that deliberately places its headquarters, its weapons depots, its missile launchers and its staging bases in the middle of large urban centers like Beirut, or in the small villages abutting the border of its victims.

Sometimes the death of innocents comes not from collateral damage but from the deliberate targeting of civilians – as is almost invariably the case with terrorist armies like Hezbollah and Hamas. In World War II wherever the Wehrmacht went, Jews were rounded up for the slaughter. Guernica and Lidice are the names of innocent towns with no military value that were deliberately destroyed by the fascists. Sometimes innocents are targeted even by civilized armies with military ends in view. The allied bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians for military reasons. The allied bombings were designed to break the morale of the enemy and to end the war, and save millions of lives. They did, and we can all be grateful for that (or at least the honest among us can).

Critics of Israel’s defensive war against Islamic terrorists are busily wringing their hands over the destruction that has been wreaked on Lebanon, which is portrayed as innocent. They invoke these tragedies while calling on Israel to cease its fire and leave the Hezbollah aggressors intact. Since Israel had no role in starting this war, this is like blaming the Allies for the damage inflicted on Germany in World War II – and doing so in the midst of the war. Critics who make such charges and demands in the midst of a war are aiding and abetting the aggressors.

But the very idea that Lebanon is an innocent bystander in the war against Israel won’t wash. Lebanon is host to the terrorist aggressor which has sworn to eliminate Israel and its Jews from the face of the earth. This is the explicit creed of both Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran. And not just in their charter or in statements made months or years ago. Iran’s little dictator reiterated the threat even yesterday in the midst of Islam’s aggressive war against the Jews: “Israel has pushed the button of its own destruction. The Zionists made their worst decision and triggered their extinction by attacking Lebanon." Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, occupying two cabinet positions and seats in its parliament. The Lebanese government agreed to enforce UN Resolution 1559 which calls on it to disarm all militias on its territory, namely Hezbollah. If the Lebanese Government had performed this obligation, there would be no war, and there would be no Lebanese civilian casualties.

Instead the Lebanese government allowed Hezbollah to build its headquarters and underground bunkers in the populated neighborhoods of Beirut. It allowed Hezbollah to import 13,000 missiles to be fired into Israel’s cities and towns. The 75,000-man Lebanese army has not sealed off the Syrian border and, according to reports, has allowed Syria to re-supply Hezbollah in the midst of its aggression. The Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to build underground fortresses on its southern border in position to attack. It has allowed Hezbollah to launch rockets into the towns of northern Israel to terrorize and kill innocent civilians.

Israel has done nothing to provoke this attack from Lebananese territory. But in the midst of Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel, Lebanon’s prime minister has joined the attackers, blaming Israel for Lebanon’s misery instead of its source.

It will be objected that Lebanon is helpless, that its democracy was destroyed and its territory conquered by the PLO, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. It will be said that the Lebanese cannot resist the superior force of Hezbollah’s “state within a state.” But this is an argument in bad faith. No one is helpless. When France was occupied by Germany during World War II, DeGaulle organized the “free French” into a fighting force. The so-called “Cedar Revolution” showed that there are ways of manifesting opposition and resistance to the occupiers. Even though it failed, it showed that resistance is possible. If there is resistance to Islamic terror in Lebanon today, it is as invisible as moderate Islam. Put bluntly, while the Lebanese have demonstrated their resistance to the Syrian occupier in the very recent past, there has been no evidence of it when the aggressor is an Islamic force bent on obliterating the Jews.

The Lebanese army has not lifted a finger to obstruct Hezbollah’s aggression, but the Lebanese prime minister has been out front in attacking Israel. Who, watching the Lebanese interviewed by reporters during the war – including the Lebanese Americans evacuated to safety – can doubt that their hatred is for Jews and not for the Islamic killers of both the Jews and the Lebanese.

These attitudes do not make the Lebanese deserving of the war that Hezbollah and Iran have inflicted on them; but it does not make them innocent either. Hezbollah's Shi'ite fanatics are Lebanese. Over the last twenty years Hezbollah has become an integral part of Lebanese society and Lebanon's government. All the while Hezbollah has sworn to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. If war has come to Lebanon, no one can pretend that they didn't see it coming.

The last stand of Western imperialism is the patronizing attitude displayed by Western radicals and liberals toward Third World Muslims and Arabs. If Americans taught their children to murder Muslims as a quick pass to heaven, the left would regard this as a crime against humanity. But if Palestinians are the perpetrators of such crimes and Jews are the targets, it’s a different story. In this case terror is the only means (and therefore the understandable means) of a “desperate” people. Jews who have been told by Iran and Hezbollah that their extinction is imminent of course aren’t desperate.

Hassan Nasrallah is not a victim, let alone a helpless one; nor is he stupid, or unaware of what he is doing. He knows just what his agenda is. “There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel” he told a crowd of supporters. “I promise Israel that it will see more suicide attacks, for we will write our history with blood.” His supporters responded with chants of “Death to Israel, death to America.” Counseling the Israelis to lay down their arms in the face of these threats and negotiate with a movement that seeks their destruction is a not so surreptitious support for the malignant agendas themselves.

Making excuses for Lebanese appeasement of these agendas while directing moral outrage against the intended victims repeats a familiar pattern among leftist critics of America and Israel. In weighing in on the frontline battles against the terrorists in Lebanon, Gaza and Iraq, critics attribute civilian casualties not to the terrorists but to their opponents; liberation and self-defense are denounced as “occupation.” This is not even moral equivalence; it is sympathy for the devil.

Until the arrival of Arafat and the Palestinian terrorists, Lebanon was a Christian democracy. But Islamic radicalism could not tolerate either Christianity or democracy. This – not the presence of tiny Israel (one hundred times smaller than its current antagonists) is the root cause of the violence in the Middle East. The cause is Arab intolerance and Islamic hate. One Jewish state among 22 Arab states was one too many. Six million Jews among 300 million Arabs was too much to bear. A sliver of land, less than one percent of the Arab land mass, which belonged to first to the Turks and then to the British was an imperialist outrage. Lebanon, a country raped by the Syrian-Iranian axis and the Palestinians has become an integral component of the terrorists’ war plan to push the Middle Eastern Jews, who have lived continuously for 3,000 years in the region, into the sea. Lebanon is a tragedy of the 58-year Arab war against Israel, against democracy, and against Christianity in the Middle East. But it is not innocent.
And congratulations on discrediting the rally!
24 Jul 2006
Congratulations to those with the pro-Hezbollah banners, particularly the couple of white folks calling for victory for Hezbollah. In addition to probably offending a huge number of the Lebanese (y'see, lots of Christians and Sunnis don't like Shiite fundamentalists), you also gave huge fodder to right-wingers who wanted to discredit the rally. Your signs are the talk of right-wing websites, drowning out the message of groups like MAS and the ADC.

I'm guessing you meant well, but if you want to help, how about next time, you come to a rally and listen to those who organize it? That'd do a lot more than proclaiming a tone-deaf, oversimplified position.
To clarify
24 Jul 2006
I should be clear--I wasn't one of the organizers. But I didn't see MAS or ADC folks with pro-Hezbollah signs--just you all. I hope you noticed the discrepancy too.
Real solidarity
25 Jul 2006
Agreed. Those signs were as unhelpful and unthinking as the Sparts or WWP signs and positions. Why not ask the organizers for a message to put on your sign if you want to stand in solidarity with them?