Two events arrive next month on the American political calendar: The annual AIPAC Policy Conference, and the anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death.
These two events are related the way yin relates to yang, a concept from Asian philosophy which "is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn." (Wikipedia)
I have referenced this connection before, and it continues to resonate, for me, in the complex interconnection of contrasting approaches to political action.
Rachel Corrie was killed March 16, 2003, by an Israeli soldier who drove an American-built Caterpillar bulldozer over her. When she died, Rachel, a 23-year old American from Olympia, Washington, was wearing a clearly visible orange vest. She was shouting at the driver through a bull horn, asking him to stop.
She was crushed to death by the bulldozer. Mother Jones reported what happened next:
"The Israeli government, which rarely acknowledges the deaths of Palestinian civilians killed during its military operations, went into damage-control mode. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President Bush a 'thorough, credible, and transparent investigation.' Later Israel declared the killing a 'regrettable accident' and blamed it on overzealous Corrie and the other activists working as human shields."
Subsequent calls for Congress to investigate Rachel Corrie's death were ignored. A civil lawsuit brought by her family against the Israeli military, has been in Israeli courts since March 15, 2005. A final verdict on the suit is expected this spring.
Before this year's ninth anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC, will hold it annual Policy Conference, March 4-6, 2012, in Washington, DC. These two events recur every year.
The annual gathering of AIPAC receives considerable media attention, while the anniversary of the death of a young American working for peace through a non-violent protest, registers hardly a blip.
The difference is easily explained. AIPAC is the power center lobby engine that drives American foreign policy. It reaches, rewards, and where needed, threatens, members of the US power elite.
This year AIPAC has Iran on its mind, prompted, of course, by Israel's obsession over Iran. Enabling that obsession, Senate leaders sprang into action. Atlantic blogger Robert Wright writes:
"Late last week, amid little fanfare, Senators Joseph Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, and Robert Casey introduced a resolution that would move America further down the path toward war with Iran. The good news is that the resolution hasn't been universally embraced in the Senate.
"As Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, the resolution has 'provoked jitters among Democrats anxious over the specter of war.'
"The bad news is that, as Kampeas also reports, 'AIPAC is expected to make the resolution an 'ask' in three weeks when up to 10,000 activists culminate its annual conference with a day of Capitol Hill lobbying."
Israeli leaders Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli President Shimon Peres will attend this year's AIPAC gathering. They are also expected to speak.