THE FOLLOWING POSITION LETTER (PREPARED BY JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE, LOS ANGELES) WAS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF THE MT. DIABLO PEACE & JUSTICE CENTER ON AUGUST 18, 2014
Senator Barbara Boxer
312 N Spring St # 1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
As people of conscience, we are deeply disappointed with your unconditional support of Israel’s ongoing and increasingly violent occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, and of the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. You have continuously supported providing Israel with over $3 billion of annual military aid and recently you voted for Senate Resolution 498, which expressed support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and made no mention of Palestinian deaths and the disproportionate use of force against Gaza’s civilian population.
We are shocked by the brutality of Israel’s assault on Gaza. We are appalled by the massive destruction of homes, mosques, schools and hospitals. Israel has already killed close to 2,000 people in Gaza – an estimated 80% of them civilians. Of these, nearly 500 are children who comprise 25% of those killed by weapons you have voted to give Israel. More than 10,000 people are seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are homeless and living in fear.
• We call upon you to support the international commission of inquiry appointed by the United Nations to look into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
• We call upon you to condemn violence on both sides and to stop justifying Israel’s use of disproportionate force and killing of innocent civilians because of “its right to defend itself,” which leads only to an escalation of violence.
• There is no military solution to the political issues dividing Israelis and Palestinians; therefore, we urge you to demand that Israel immediately end its blockade and siege of Gaza and commit yourself to joining an international effort to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
• We call upon you to support genuine peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian unity government. If the Israeli government will not participate in talks with that unity government, then no further American aid of any sort should be provided to Israel.
• We call upon you to support the United States providing immediate humanitarian aid and supplies to Gaza. Our tax dollars have played a significant role in the destruction of Gaza; now our tax dollars must be used to rebuild Gaza and aid the civilian population.
There can be no peace in the Middle East until there is genuine peace in Israel/Palestine and that will only come with equal rights and justice for all who live there.
Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, Walnut Creek
Estee Chandler, Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles Organizer
Taher Herzallah, West Coast Regional Coordinator, American Muslims for Palestine
Shakeel Syed, Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine
Rev. Jerald M. Stinson, United Church of Christ
Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA
Rev. Ann Schranz, Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Montclair*
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen
Edie Pistolesi, Ph.D., Professor of Art, California State University, Northridge
David Klein, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Director, Climate Science Program
California State University, Northridge
Anthony J. Litwinko, Friends of Sabeel, Los Angeles
Karin Pally, member, Women in Black-Los Angeles
Sarah Thompson, Executive Director, Christian Peacemaker Teams
*affiliation for identification purposes
No Comments »
Resolution adopted by the board of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, California in support of granting unaccompanied child migrants refugee status and political asylum.
A. Whereas nearly 70,000 children are expected to show up alone at our border this year, driven violently out of their countries and with their government not willing or able to protect them,
B. Whereas our laws have clear precedents for this humanitarian crisis and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommends to designate most of the Central Americans fleeing regional violence and gang extortion as refugees,
C. Whereas we receive mounting evidence that these children are escaping Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Guatemala to save their lives, to prevent becoming sex slaves or being forcefully recruited to join drug gangs and become murderers themselves,
D. Whereas 400 personal interviews of 1 hour each that where conducted on the children by the UN Agency of Refugees have revealed that 58% of them have received specific death threats, often by gangs leaving body parts in front of their houses, which have urged their parents to pool their meager resources and send them on their dangerous journey North rather than face certain death at home,
E. Whereas gang violence qualifies as grounds for international protection and the US has granted many claims to children with attorneys requesting asylum, therefore we have a proven legal framework to handle these cases,
F. Whereas the scale of this humanitarian challenge pales in comparison to the 2 million+ Syrian refugees, with 700,000 of them received by Turkey alone, after we encouraged them to do so even when they have a country 12 times smaller than we do and are already 7 times as crowded (per square kilometer, Turkey has 94 people and our United States only 13),
G. Whereas this crisis is regional, it requires a concerted effort by the US to coordinate a unified response with other countries in the region, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, therefore the burden of future migrations can be shared in the region,
H. Whereas this call for help can galvanize the compassion of communities all over the US, with families offering loving homes and schools as the children wait for the courts to decide their future,
Therefore the Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, California resolves:
1. To encourage our Immigration Authorities to expedite the processing of these young asylum seekers so they can be eligible to be hosted by their relatives and by volunteer American families as they wait for their court date.
2. To encourage our State Department to set up safe houses and processing centers within Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to pre-qualify them, as we have done in the past in Vietnam and Haiti, giving high priority to those who have been already targeted by the criminal gangs.
3. To encourage our Government to coordinate their efforts with neighboring countries, for example giving preference to a host country where children already have relatives or friends willing to host them.
4. To encourage our political leaders and fellow Americans to extend compassion towards these innocent children, while embracing the promise represented by each one of them.
# # #
No Comments »
Was held on Sunday, June 22, 2014
We had our 2nd annual 5k run/walk on the Iron Horse Trail and Danville Blvd. in downtown Alamo
Proceeds will benefit our educational programs!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Over 100 runners participated. We had kids, and dogs and loads of fun.
THANKS TO ALL OUR SPONSORS, PRIZE DONORS, VOLUNTEER MONITORS AND PARTICIPANTS FOR MAKING THIS WORTHWHILE!
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
AND THE WINNERS ARE!
Top Female overall: Tori Tyler (27) of Danville 17:08 Top Male overall: Tim Keenan (52) of Walnut Creek 17:13
Women 1—19: Chloe Chapman (12) Walnut Creek 25:27 ; Women 20-29: Tori Tyler (27) Walnut Creek 17:08 ; Women 30-39: Nicole Miller (39) Alamo 24:02
Women 40-49: Lorena Cicciari (46) Danville 27:57 ; Women 50-59: Holly Starr (59) Walnut Creek 24:35 ; Women 60-69: Diane Correa (63) Danville 30:48
Women 70-99: Dee Farkas (86) Lafayette 55:51 ; Men 1-19: Nicholas Ward (17) Danville 18:31 ; Men 20-29: Anthony Ziebarth (27) Citrus Heights 18:58
Men 30-39: Clint Newman (33) Oakland 23:22 ; Men 40-49: Kevin Downie (44) Dublin 18:03 ; Men 50-59: Tim Keenan (52) Walnut Creek 17:13
Men 60-69: Bill Hermans (62) Concord 21:40 ; Men 70-99: Rob Robinson (70) Alamo 27:19
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF TIMES FOR ALL RUNNERS CLICK HERE
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
No Comments »
WE HAVE A GROWING SELECTION OF NOTECARDS
(with artwork from our Art & Writing Challenge kids!)
SERGIO LUB JEWELRY
BEA JOHNSON’S GUIDEBOOK ON SUSTAINABLE LIVING
Click on “WEBSTORE” above for more information.
You can help support the work of the Peace and Justice Center!
No Comments »
Opposition to attacking Syria wasn’t limited to the traditional crowd–it drew in progressives, libertarians and Americans who simply wanted nothing to do with the civil war.
Protesters in San Francisco against an attack on Syria.
Photo Credit: Steve Rhodes/Flickr
September 17, 2013 |
As I took part in rallies, marches, vigils, conference calls, personal conversations and meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area during the recent crisis over Syria, these are the reasons I heard that Americans opposed even a “limited” US strike on that country:
1 – It won’t do any good. The insanity of killing people with cruise missiles and other conventional weapons to “send a message” that killing people with poison gas is WRONG, was repeated over and over, to good effect.
2 – We’re supporting Al-Qaeda now, really?! I heard this at the August 4 Restore the 4th rally in San Francisco as this crisis started to build. I have the sense that this was mostly a libertarian and right-wing perspective, though Dennis Kucinich came down hard on this as well.
3 – Don’t get involved in someone else’s civil war. People expressed overall wariness not only about Al-Nusra and/or Al-Qaeda in Syria but also unease about the violent and divided Syrian “rebels.” Sometimes an ugly “let the bastards kill each other” or “they’re not worth us getting involved” message was a barely hidden subtext to this oppositional messaging.
4 – Iraq. The US didn’t help that country. Yeah, no kidding. For millions in this country who believed the propaganda in 2002-2003, the lessons from the horror of the Iraq War are finally sinking in. Many people saw a US “strike” as the beginning of Iraq II, and they weren’t having it.
5 – We’re not going to war for Obama. Republicans and Libertarians were the first and some of the strongest opposition; see Bruce Gagnon’s analysis. Some of this opposition was based in a racist desire to thwart our first “black” (really, biracial) president regardless of the issue, but some was principled opposition based on a lack of trust and respect for Obama’s policies overall, including his “dirty” drone strikes and special operations in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
6 – It costs too much, and we need the money at home. The Bring Our War $$ Home messaging has been circulating since 2009, and many people across the political spectrum picked up on it. Also sequester cuts happening simultaneously with this latest propaganda push, and the weak economy, added to the force of “we can’t afford it.”
7 – Our military has been stretched and overdeployed for too long. Active duty troops photographed themselves opposing another war – an unusual and brave move link. People didn’t believe Kerry’s/Obama’s reassurances about how limited a US (air) war on Syria would be.
8 – Afghanistan. The US is still engaged in a “hot” war, one that is still sending young Americans home in coffins or wheelchairs. Even if the mainstream media can’t be bothered to cover that war, Americans, especially veterans and military families haven’t forgotten.
9 – Libya. Americans are (dimly) aware that all is not right in Libya and there have been many unintended, negative consequences from the US/NATO air war there.
10 – The UK Parliament voted NO. Last but certainly not least. It’s one thing to say, write, chant “Say no to war” — it’s quite another, and more mobilizing, thing for our country’s closest ally to do so in a public vote of their legislature, pushed by their citizens. The vote being close didn’t even matter – it was an historic NO, and a pivotal moment in this crisis – and the push to “take it to Congress” really took off after this vote.
Final thoughts: This crisis isn’t over, and the US warships, jets and other machinery of destruction are still hanging fire in the eastern Mediterranean, at vast taxpayer expense. Going forward, we in peace/antiwar organizations, from whatever political perspectives, need to amplify these “talking points of the people” and stay ready to take action again.
There isn’t a single “movement” against war, but an informal, multifocal opposition from across the political spectrum. “Yelling at empty buildings” aka the huge marches of the past especially in DC, may be a tactic that’s outlived its usefulness. Americans live on our phones these days, and we found ourselves ready to use them to call Congress. The timing of this crisis was helpful – we were able to show up at representatives’ town halls during the August recess and speak our minds in person. For now, that was enough to avert a war. More may well be needed later in the year, as the military-industrial-media complex hasn’t gone away. But for now, let’s reflect on a rare, and much-needed victory, staying humble and nimble for the challenges ahead.
Janet Weil is a longtime CODEPINK-er and a co-founder of SF 99% Coalition and member of the Peace Center’s Advocacy Committee
No Comments »
Just a few weeks ago the US government appeared dead set on attacking Syria. Media such as CNN seemed to be pushing for war with discussions where all sides want war.* Meanwhile the powerful lobby group AIPAC was sending hundreds of their members to Congress to press for authorization for war. **
Secretary of State Kerry seemed to be pounding the drums of war more feverishly each day.
Now things look vastly more optimistic. Diplomacy and cooler heads have prevailed, at least for the moment.
OUR THANKS go to…..
The American people for saying loudly and clearly “We do NOT want another war.”
The British Parliament which said NO they will not join an attack.
Our Congressional representatives who listened and spoke out.
President Obama who listened and made the crucial decision.
Let’s hope this will be the start of a new era in international relations and US foreign policy. The credibility of our country is enhanced when the President listens to the American people and the international community and when we respect and abide by international law.
Board of Directors, Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center
No Comments »
Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center Resolution of Support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on their legal action against the National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM Program, the clandestine national security electronic surveillance.
– Whereas our Constitution is the highest law of our land, which no other law can challenge without a Constitutional Amendment, and whereas our Constitution must be obeyed by every US Citizen, specially by our government and its agents, who are publicly sworn to respect our Constitution since they have the highest potential to do harm if they do not, and
– Whereas our Constitution and its Amendments guarantee our right of free expression and privacy, and whereas the secret electronic surveillance program that the NSA has undertaken violates both our First Amendment rights of free speech and association, and our Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, and
– Whereas the National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander, after many false denials, has gone on the record admitting that thousands of NSA employees and contractors really do listen to our phone calls and read our emails without warrants to do either one, and
– Whereas listening to the phone calls and reading the email of Americans without the justified authorization of a judge is a felony crime, even under the Patriot Act, and therefore this means that the NSA is committing thousands of felonies a day, and
– Whereas the official “fact sheet” explanation about the NSA surveillance efforts posted on their website was removed after Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall had accused the agency of lying, and
– Whereas we are aware that whistle-blowers are fully protected by our laws when exposing an illegal conspiracy such as this one, therefore we support the granting of immediate freedom from prosecution to the brave individuals that at great personal risk exposed this massive and secret spying ring on the American People. They deserve our highest recognition for making us aware of our enemies within, therefore
– The Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center hereby supports the ACLU in its lawsuit against the NSA’s PRISM Program.
Board of Directors – Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center – www.OurPeaceCenter.org
No Comments »