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News from the struggle

July 5, 2002 | Page 10

Justice for Palestinians

By Aaron Hess

NEW YORK--A diverse crowd of more than 70 pro-Palestinian activists packed the Brecht Forum June 26 to hear a panel of speakers refute the accusations of anti-Semitism hurled at us from all quarters of the U.S. media.

Such charges have long been a trademark of the pro-Israel mainstream media. But more recently, they have been echoed in traditionally progressive outlets like the Village Voice and the Nation.

The panel was sponsored by the Palestine Action Forum of New York , a citywide coalition of pro-Palestinian activists. "It is assumed that at any moment our movement is on the verge of tipping over into irrational hatred," explained Sherene Siekaly from New York University's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. "This is wrong. In reality we are fighting for the most basic human rights, including the right to live free from colonial occupation."

Rachel Neumann, who traveled to Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement, spoke about how "the struggle for Palestinian rights is in synch with a rich tradition of Jewish resistance to oppression."

The audience was divided in its response to panelist Norman Finkelstein, who has argued that the "Jewish lobby" is primarily responsible for U.S. support for Israel. Many activists disagreed with this perspective.

Hadas Thier from the International Socialist Organization argued that at the heart of the U.S.-Israel partnership is Corporate America's need to secure command over its oil interests in the Middle East. "A watchdog for the West but especially for the U.S.--this is the role that Israel has bent over backwards to play," Thier said.

Protest George W. Bush

By Anthony Badgerow

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--When George W. Bush paid a visit to Kansas City June 11 to raise money for Republican Sen. Jim Talent, not everyone who showed up was there to welcome him. About 100 protesters challenged Bush on issues ranging from sanctions against Iraq to Bush's "war on terror" to Attorney General John Ashcroft's domestic war on civil liberties.

As the rich and famous of Kansas City crossed the street to enter the $500 a plate fundraiser dinner, protesters chanted "1-2-3-4, We don't want your racist war!"

Talent, who has voted against raising the minimum wage, raised about half a million dollars for his campaign. As the rich dined on a plate of food that could have fed hundreds, a successful protest targeted the people responsible for starving the rest of the world.

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