To University of Rochester Divestment Campaign Organizers: Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and 50 years of state-sponsored terror must stop. The task you have undertaken is enormous, but not insurmountable. My greatest disappointment during the eight years of the Bushco regime was the virtual absence of student involvement in standing against that inhuman regime's ghastly war and also civil (anti-Constitutional) crimes.
Perhaps, finally, the students--those that always have the stupendous task of standing against wrong and evil, and to struggle for what is right, what is humane, what is uplifting--are beginning to wake up. Indeed, during the struggle against the brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa, few would have thought it possible that a system, nourished by American support (as is the case with racist and imperial US policies, in region after region of the world) would crumble within our lifetimes. But then it surely did--bringing to fruition MLK Jr's famous words regarding Justice cascading down mountains like unstoppable rivers.
Even through the late 1980s, Ronald Reagan was in continuing support of, and in collusion with, the virulently racist regimes of South Africa. I distinctly recall that divestment movement on campuses across this country, combined with boycott of the war profiteers and disgraceful arms manufacturing corporations (GE, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin, Grumman, and the like)--brought about what might have seemed impossible only years earlier. Who will forget the victorious emergence of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment, starting a new chapter of social justice in South Africa.
These are revolutionary changes, the kind we also witnessed right here in the US this past election--a decent, eloquent and bright young man with a Kenyan father, becoming the POTUS--something, I say often, even MLK Jr., might not have dreamt possible within 40 years of his civil rights campaign.The non-stop demonization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims for the past many decades has turned the world itself tone-deaf. Only one US President has had the decency to call this for what it really is- APARTHEID. And we know of course how much he has been ridiculed as a result.
AIPAC and the unimaginably mighty/influential Israeli lobby are ever ready to pounce upon anyone who might dare to even utter words that these crooked warmongers have appropriated from humanity. Brand names like the Holocaust, Terrorism, Axis of Evil, Clash of Civilizations, and the like prevail. Few organizations are more fundamentalist and ruthless as these crooked warmongers and war profiteers. The task is stupendous--perhaps more so than even the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. But it can be, and must be, done.
Peace loving Jewish people everywhere will be, without any doubt, affiliated with this effort. They will never forget that Anne Frank, even from her tragic/noble hideout, wrote about the efforts of India's Gandhi towards the task of freeing an occupied nation and an occupied people. I do not doubt for a moment that Ann Frank would be absolutely aghast at what Israel has been doing, in collusion with US Imperialism, for the past 50+ years.
The new US administration has yet to show clear signs of its divestment from the imperial hubris and war crimes of the past eight years. Pressure needs to mount upon these new hands to forge a clear new direction. Moreover, as the well-worn slogan says--No Justice, No Peace. The criminals of the Bushco regime MUST be brought to justice. Looking forward, as Barack Obama likes to stress, is entirely meaningless, if brutal crimes are not corrected or atoned for. Humanity demands justice for Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans and all others (including young American men and women sacrificed for the war profits of soulless killers) who have been terrorized, bombarded and murdered by an imperial machine.
Students of America, representing a patchwork quilt of the world, it is time to take a stand for justice and humanity, for the very least among us, for those without voice, for those terrorized by imperial military and the imperial sound machine that drowns out all cries in the wilderness. Join hands with Dennis Kucinich and Amy Goodman, with Gore Vidal and Harold Pinter, with John Pilger and Bruce Springsteen, with Studs Terkel and Kurt Vonnegut, with Nelson Mandela and Harry Belafonte, with Bishop Tutu and Rachel Corrie. This is the great task of the 21st century--to declaw, spay and neuter Imperialism and its killing apparatus once and for all.