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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
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.