An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi on Israel
Celebrating Ethnic Cleansing
By KATHLEEN M. BARRY
Dear Nancy Pelosi,
Check your history books.
Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel is celebration of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine, the celebration of the expulsion of 750,000 Arabs who generations later still people the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria, Jordon, who still mourn their families slaughtered by Zionists as they completely destroyed Arab villages in Palestine, who still hold keys to their homes that were seized by the new Israeli state in 1948.
I stand with Jews, with Palestinians, with every people who seek protection from persecution, but never with those who persecute others, who conduct well documented ethnic cleansing to gain their own protection which in six decades of Israeli wars has been no protection at all for Israelis.
I expected George Bush to align himself with the war mongering far right wing government of Israel. He after all provided most of the millions of laser guided smart bombs Israel directed at apartment buildings and cluster bombs that still take lives in the south of Lebanon. Israel's crimes against humanity in the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon go unnoticed by you and your delegation as you are only concerned with Hezbollah's threat to Israel, kidnapping of three soldiers. In that war, the Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500 bombardments. Does that sound at all proportional to the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers? Neither are justified, but reason is required, although with your personal convictions override reason making you very dangerous in a position of leadership.
Are those the Israeli tags of kidnapped soldiers you carry from that war? Do you wonder at all about the families of the 1200 dead Lebanese while you worry for those soldiers? Check the details Nancy, Israel's aggression of Lebanon's borders has outnumbered Hezbollah's.
Bathing in self-congratulations on Israel's 60th anniversary, without any acknowledgment of the Naqba, the disaster wrought upon the Palestinians by Zionist in what was then Palestine, you have told me and all Americans clearly that as Speaker and therefore head of the people's house, you are not representing Americans. You are representing the current Israeli government without ever questioning, in fact, implicitly condoning their crimes against humanity.
For a long time, many of us have been discouraged by the number of Senators and Representatives who have been bought by the Israeli Lobby in the US. Your press conference of May 20 on your return from celebrating Israel and hence its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians proved how wrong we have been. Your personal allegiance to Israel outstrips reason and aligns with George Bush's Christian fundamentalist alliance with Israel. Americans must seriously question your fitness to represent us – all of us – in Congress.
Having fought for women's rights for over three decades and campaigned around the globe against sexual exploitation of women, as a woman I was proud to see you assume the highest Congressional office in the United States. Having opposed the war in Iraq, and now writing on war and masculinity, I was relieved to see you and the Democrats retake control of the Congress in 2007. But watching you in your press conference tonight celebrate your return from Israel's celebrations, I see that even though the US Congress was manipulated by George Bush in 2003 to support a war that should not have been fought, you stand with him today on the brink of another war. Your collusion with George Bush's War on Terrorism may well be the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East.
It has been nearly eight years since George Bush's violent disregard for human life, especially human life in the Arab world where he has chosen to make and support wars, made me ashamed to be an American. Listening to you, following your speech to the Knesset, I am deeply saddened that you have only reinforced that shame.
I long for the America who will not justify the persecution of ANY people, who will protect and defend the human rights of ALL human beings. I no longer imagine you as part of that possibility.
Kathleen Barry, Ph.D.
Kathleen Barry is Professor Emerita of Penn State University. A feminist and sociologist, she is the author of Female Sexual Slavery, Prostitution of Sexuality: Global Exploitation of Women, and Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist and is now completing Expendable Lives, a new book on masculinity and war. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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