Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:26 PM
What an impressive Conference put on by the Government of Malaysia and the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW). Absolutely incredible. And the audience was packed with information. I will definitely make a more detailed report later and include the information learned at this Conference in my next economics report, too, on the state of our economy and common sense solutions as I promised you.
The Malaysian Foreign Minister, Dr. Rais Yatim, spoke passionately this morning about the need for accountability in the face of war crimes. And so too, did the founder of the KLFCW, Tun Dr. Mahathir. Dr. Mahathir spoke of the long history of Sionism, starting with the Balfour Declaration, and explained that we were in London because there had been a request from a British citizen in Malaysia attending our Forum for Palestine there, to take this information to the source of the problem--England. Dr. Mahathir recommended that we remember the Balfour Declaration and all the events leading up to the creation of the state of Israel for a better understanding of the challenges we face on our road to peace.
After our tea break (of course, we were in London), Lauren Booth, PressTV reporter who was trapped in Gaza for one month, reported on her experiences with individual life stories of how life is made unbearable by the Israelis as they deny health care and education to Palestinian women and children. Lauren is also a Free Gaza Movement success story as she was on one of the boats that successfully challenged the Israeli seige. Unlike me, she made it into Gaza and received a hero's welcome. She was also with George Galloway as he successfully entered Gaza City by land in a convoy of over 100 vehicles.
Then I spoke. My comments are included at the end of this report.
Former M.P. Tony Benn delivered wonderful historical context and gave us hope for the future. All day, for some reason, speakers kept calling him Tony Blair, instead of Benn. It was quite funny, since I think Blair is Lauren Booth's brother-in-law and was pretty much reviled roundly by everyone in the audience. At one point, Benn leaned over to me and asked wryly, "You think I can win the Nobel Peace Prize?" And at that point, I remembered that I was the sole vote against honoring him for his support of the "Global War on Terror."
And Rabbi Aharon Cohen of Naturei Karta explained to us what their perspective is on Israel. Paraphrasing, Rabbi Cohen said that Sionism is the root of the problem and until Sionism is addressed, there will continue to be a problem. Even in the panel discussion, he brought us back to the problem of Sionism, itself. He made it clear that Sionism is not Judaism. His remarks were particularly educational since I had never had the opportunity to dialog with member of Naturei Karta before. He also gave the significance of the name that means, protectors of the city. For when the Sionists came to the land, Jews and non-Jews lived together in harmony. But the Sionists came to steal the land from the non-Jews and the Jews joined with the non-Jews to protect the City, thus, Naturei Karta--protectors of the City. I will defintely read more about them.
Finally, Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman basically said that Israel, by its actions, is becoming indefensible. He said this: "The Israeli electorate have proven themselves incorrigible," noting that only 3% of Israelis voted for peace in Israel's last election. He has said as much on the Floor of the House of Commons, and a tape was played at the Conference of him saying it. He talked about his hate mail. Well, I think we could go toe-to-toe on the hate mail. Only, in the mail he receives, they call him a self-hating Jew.
Finally, there was a panel discussion where the audience asked questions of the speakers. And just before people left the room, I was able to make an announcement. When the gentleman showed me his blackberry, I was sure he was joking. That he was playing some kind of cruel joke on me. That is was a hoax. Because all the night before and in my remarks, as you will see, I touted the judges of Spain and their courage as one of our hopes for justice in the legal arena. And when I didn't believe him, he showed his blackberry to me and I could see that it was a real news item: Spain had agreed to investigate Bush and his cronies for war crimes. Hallelujah!! What a wonderful end to a wonderful Conference. What a wonderful way to welcome the G20 into town!!!!
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Here are my remarks:
Forum for Palestine
London/March 31, 2009
Not too long ago, I received an invitation to participate in the Malaysia Peace Organization’s effort to Criminalize War and establish a tribunal to try the heads of state who violated the peace and led their countries into war and occupation.
When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I had the opportunity to meet one of my heroes, Tun Dr. Mahathir, who stood up against the very same individuals who are today wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy in a feeding frenzy on the imperial carcass. As a result, Malaysia became an outpost of resistance in Asia. Dr. Mahathir’s bold action was the first time I came to know Malaysia, and that was by way of the news reports. And when I had the opportunity to travel there for the purpose of fashioning a world without war, I dubbed Kuala Lumpur the world capital of peace. Thank you, Malaysia, for showing the world, along with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and others, that national dignity is possible.
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