Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Capitalism & Economics
Stephen R. Shalom
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
I travel around this country speaking about the need for the United States to support a balanced foreign policy toward the Israel-Palestine conflict. At these events, inevitably I encounter staunch defenders of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine who refuse to question the morality of Israel’s policy of denying people their fundamental human rights to live in freedom and dignity. It is difficult to encounter people who view Palestinians as being less deserving of universally recognized human rights than others. Nor- mally, I just take these types of statements to be representative of a hate-filled fringe, refute them, and move on.
However, Adam Cherrill’s remarks, delivered in response to an address I gave at the University of Arizona, were different. Cherrill, manager of business development at Ratheon, stated on November 18, “To qualify for self-determination, a people must show some kind of national identity…. What political organizations, social institutions, literature, art, religion, or private correspondence express any ties between the Palestinian people to the Land of Israel?”
Cherrill is a person of considerable clout—the program manager for Raytheon’s joint marketing of the Black Sparrow ballistic target missile with the Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael. Why would Raytheon—one of the largest U.S. weapons makers, employing 77,500 people worldwide and generating $16.9 billion in revenues in 2001—place an ideologue of the expansionist notion of “Greater Israel” in such a prominent position in the U.S.-Israeli military relationship? What does it say for U.S. foreign policy to have an American responsible for marketing Israeli missiles who believes “Israel has a far stronger claim to Judea and Samaria, which is considered the West Bank, than the Arabs?”
The answers to these questions become clear when one examines the business perks that Raytheon and other defense contractors enjoy from U.S foreign policy, which bankrolls Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. For FY2003, Congress has earmarked more than $2.1 billion for Israel in foreign military financing. Israel will use this money to purchase the American-made weapons it needs to entrench its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the U.S. arms industry will get a lump- sum of guaranteed business—a sweetheart deal for all involved.
Unsurprisingly, Raytheon has been a beneficiary of this American taxpayer largesse in recent years. According to the Federation of American Scientists, since 1998 Raytheon has sold to Israel through foreign military sales more than 200 AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles for more than $100 million, 14 Beech King B200 fixed-wing aircraft for $125 million, and a Patriot missile system for $73 million.
But the export of weapons to Israel can take place only if Congress is willing to turn a blind eye to the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which bans such weapons from being used against civilians. Unfortunately, Israel has used U.S.-provided weapons on several occasions to kill innocent Palestinian civilians. The most egregious example of this happened in July 2002 when F-16s reduced to rubble an apartment building in Gaza City, killing 17 Palestinians civilians in what Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon termed “a great success.” Even White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer admitted that it was “a deliberate attack against a building in which civilians were known to be located.” However, to admit that Israel is in violation of this law would jeopardize future U.S. arms exports to Israel and present the defense industry with a nightmarish scenario in which their $2 billion yearly subsidy would dry up.
To prevent this from happening was one reason why the defense industry doled out a whopping $13 million in total contributions in the 2002 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Raytheon Co. PAC alone gave $523,725 of hush money to federal candidates. It is no coincidence that stalwarts of the deadly U.S.-Israeli military relationship—such as Martin Frost ($4,000), Dick Gephardt ($3,000), Jane Harman ($12,500), Anne Northup ($6,000), Ed Pastor ($8,000), and Mitch McConnell ($6,000)—were rewarded quite handsomely by Raytheon for turning a blind eye and acting unaccountably, while the few brave members of Congress who have called into question Israel’s violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act—Robert Byrd, John Conyers, John Dingell, and Nick Rahall—received zero.
Of course, Israel is not the sole determinant in how the defense industry dishes out its hush money. But the $2 billion subsidy that it receives from the American taxpayer isn’t exactly chump change either and creates interests that are surely worth protecting.
Joshua Ruebner is co-founder of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI) and former analyst of Middle East Affairs for Congressional Research Service.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.