Nov 18, 2012

Open Letter to the President - Gaza

An Open Letter to the President
Dear Mr. President,

My younger brother was an early believer in you. He worked for your Senate campaign. At the age of 25, he ran the GOTV campaign in North Carolina, delivering an improbable victory for you in a Southern state that helped give you your first term. This year, slightly less bright-eyed but nonetheless a believer, he was working on your campaign again when he died suddenly, a brilliant, energetic 29 year old, dead in his tracks. You know this. You called my parents. Your campaign, to my greatest appreciation and respect, brought grief counselors for his coworkers, dedicated a corner of the office and much of your fundraising efforts to him, and bussed his coworkers to join the hundreds of others at his funeral.

You may not know that after his sudden passing, many of his friends quit their jobs, moved, changed their lives to continue working on your campaign in his memory. One of these friends ran your GOTV effort in Ohio, delivering a close swing state that resulted in the race being called for you early. My mom and I joined these efforts in Ohio, door-knocking until right before the polls closed, pounding the pavement in Alex’s memory and in hopes of your next presidency. Despite my disappointment in some of your stances, I proudly kept my Ohio for Obama sticker on my jacket.

Until yesterday. Mr. President, when the bombs began raining on Gaza again and you reiterated Israel’s “right to defend itself”, I took that sticker off my jacket. Later, you called Prime Minister Netanyahu and asked him to “use restraint,” as though he were a glutton at a feast, rather than an elected official of a powerful military nation, using your own country’s weaponry to engage in a one-sided assault. Mr. President, you are the most powerful man in the world. You do not need to politely request anything of Mr. Netanyahu; you can stop him by ending U.S. military aid to Israel until Israel complies with international and U.S. law. Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing allies in the U.S. actively campaigned against your re-election, assuming that Governor Romney would be better positioned to give them carte blanche to violate Palestinian human rights and start regional wars. It is not to them that you now need to prove your allegiance, but to we the people who knocked doors for you, who made phone calls for you, who died getting you this 4 years more of opportunity.

My brother was an early believer in you. He knew, but disliked, that you would have to sway to right-wing Israeli interests. We watched you walk away from your Palestinian colleagues in Chicago. It became a painful issue in our Jewish family as we tried to support my brother all the while wondering how far you would go in continuing the charade that the American people and our interests, and not American money and its interests, really drove your Middle East policy. Mr. President, AIPAC’s star is fading. Not in your final term, maybe, but soon, politicians who hitch their ambitions to this tainted money will fall. You saw this at the DNC when Mayor Villaraigosa failed to get his 2/3 vote for an AIPAC-sponsored resolution but proceeded to pretend the support was still there; it’s not. My brother was an early American Jewish voice for Palestinians, but he was not alone and there are more of us than ever. And there are also Arabs now in your coalition; you saw them at the DNC in their “Yalla Vote!” t-shirts. You have a rainbow of supporters who worked to re-elect you. We voted for you. We fund-raised for you. We do not want to watch you pretend like it is for us that you allow these massacres to continue with our money.

My brother would be disappointed to see your impotence in the face of continuing Israeli aggression shortly after such a sweeping re-election victory. I am still proud of him. I am still proud of all of the Americans that worked so hard to deliver you this re-election. But I am so hurt and ashamed to watch you use restraint when you are the only person with the power to stop this massacre. Mr. President, I am barely over 5 feet tall and I am not afraid of AIPAC; why are you?


A bereaved sister 
Palestinian children stand over the rubble at their house after it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, in the Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza City on Nov. 17, 2012. Israel responded to rockets attacking on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by striking 200 targets overnight in Gaza. Health ministry of the Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip said on Saturday night that Israel has killed 45 Palestinians and wounded some 500 others since Wednesday afternoon. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

Why children are getting killed in Gaza

There is nothing more upsetting than a child being killed. In Gaza, the death of baby, after toddler, after seven-year old, after young teenager is massively heartbreaking.

Why is Israel killing so many children?

One can understand that an adult might put himself in a situation such where he gets caught in Israel’s attacks on Hamas. But kids, children? Surely this is a sign of recklessness on Israel’s part. Surely they must be hitting too close to schools, indiscriminately bombing houses, or worse yet–intentionally striking fear into the population of Gaza by targeting its most vulnerable members.

But the tragic deaths of children in Gaza a child is is at its heart a matter of demographics.

44% of the residents in Gaza are under the age of 15.

In Israel that number is 27.6%, with a median age of 29 compared to Gaza’s 17. In the United States the percentage is lower still at 20%.

If it seems like every time Israel drops a bomb on Gaza a child ends up dead, that is because there are a lot of children in Gaza. (This has serious implications in the larger conflict, and I can only imagine what growing up being bombed by Israel must be doing for future peace prospects.)

... and no Islamic countries can stop the killing
 only speak and express the feeling like 
they have done during election


Thanks for coming

Thanks for coming
Terima kasih sudi hadir

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