The text that follows was reported to me by recent California Congressional PEACE candidate Marcy Winograd, whose valiant campaign to unseat Pro-War Democrat Jane Harman, aroused excitement and attention nationwide.
In Marcy Winograd's words:
"Radio talk show host and community leader Lila Garrett, renowned Rabbi Stephen Jacobs, former ACLU President Steven Rohde, attorney and economist Stanley Scheinbaum, and I, Marcy Winograd, President of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, acting as an ad hoc delegation of Jewish leaders, held a conference call with Congressman Henry Waxman yesterday morning, urging him to take to the floor of Congress to introduce a cease-fire resolution and a bill to send emergency aid to the 1.4 million residents of Gaza.
Waxman agreed that collective punishment does not work but was not ready to accept that Israel was engaging in collective punishment. He said he would mull over our proposals for congressional resolutions.
In just 24 hours, the conflict has escalated to horrific proportions. Our ad hoc delegation denounces violence as a means to resolve this long-standing conflict. For Progressive Democrats of America's statement, see below:
Around the world, people are watching in fear and horror as the Middle East sinks further into violence. We are witnessing human rights violations and civilian deaths on a massive scale in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. And now, the conflict has escalated with added violence between the Lebanese Hezbollah and Israel. All of this comes on top of the chaos in Iraq caused by the unjust and ill-considered U.S. invasion and occupation.
Progressive Democrats of America asserts that any remedy to the escalating conflicts involving Israel and its neighbors must begin by addressing the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the consistent violence, humiliation and brutality the occupation entails. In the absence of this fundamental assertion, the violence will no doubt continue.
PDA proudly stands as the only premier Democratic Party organization that has the courage to make this demand. Even though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle privately question its logic, many Democrats are complicit in the failed American policy towards Israel and Palestine and the wisdom of America's overwhelming support for Israel's policies is not debated on Capitol Hill. It should be.
PDA joins our allies in the American peace movement who legitimately criticize the relationship between America's Mid-East misadventures and US military support for the Israeli occupation and Israeli settlement policies. PDA also supports the courageous voices of the Israeli, Palestinian, and American Jewish peace movements who have denounced violence on both sides. All are crying out - together with Palestinian victims of the current wave of violence - demanding an end to the systematic brutalization of Palestinians through checkpoints, land confiscation, settlement construction, and now bombing.
Now is the time for progressive Democrats to speak out in defense of Palestinian human rights; in defense, essentially, of American decency. Our elected leaders and newspapers must be reminded that Americans want our values reflected in a just and peace-pursuing foreign policy. PDA opposes the powerful and dangerous lobbies that distort US foreign policy in the Middle East, much as we condemn those Palestinians guilty of waging and supporting terrorist war against Israeli civilians. And while we condemn such terrorism, it remains our belief that the root cause of violence in Israel and Palestine is the Israeli occupation and intransigence, despite Israel's trumpeted withdrawal from Gaza.
To read more about PDA's position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, see http://pdamerica.org/policy/peace/israel-palestine.php#papers