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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's Open Letter to the Peoples of Lebanon

August 8th, 2006

August 2006

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Open Letter

To the People of Lebanon, of Palestine, and of Iraq, and to those who stand for peace in Israel

From People in the United States Who Believe that Only Justice Will Bring Peace

Dear Sisters and Brothers Living With War,

We write to you in anguish, to express what cannot possibly be contained in words.  We need a new language to speak about what humanity means and still can mean, what our humanity must create in this danger.

We send our solidarity, our commitment, our love. We write to let you know that there are many in this country who are organizing, educating, protesting, and engaging in civil disobedience, working night and day to call for an end to this horror, to change U.S. policy and reverse complicity in Israel's war, working for recognition of your sovereignty, your rights, your lives, your truths.

We are filled with anger at the U.S. role in supplying Israel with weapons - in violation of the government's own Arms Export Control Act - and at U.S. policies that gave Israel more time to continue its attacks.

We are women and men of all ages, from all parts of the country, all professions, all faiths, all races, all national backgrounds. We are not reflected in the mainstream media because of the stronghold of fear and lack of information strangling the imagination and collective public voice of this country. But we are here and we want you to know you are not alone. We work in small community groups, in nationwide coalitions, in places of worship and as artists, writers, teachers -- from all walks of life. We want you to know that when we see and hear the news we are imagining your families, your homes, your hearts, your hopes, your terror. We want you to know.

We grieve for all lives lost in the Middle East, believing that all lives are precious and equal, whatever the race or creed. We are working hard for peace with justice. The pro-war forces arrayed against us are far more powerful than us. The road to peace is far too long, and many will suffer. But we vow to do all we can to bring an end to the U.S. role in this violence.

 * We are putting pressure on our elected representatives to support an immediate ceasefire and then negotiate a just peace.  Although the war on Iraq still produces its unbearable toll of daily death, many more voices in Congress oppose the war since we came together to try to prevent the war and then to oppose it.  And although Congress still expresses its misguided and uncritical support for Israel's actions in Palestine and Lebanon, our efforts have contributed to unprecedented debates on the causes of conflict. And we will not give up.

 * We are educating U.S. citizens on the consequences of our Government's foreign policy. We organize teach-ins in places of worship, trade unions, schools and other public forums. We ground our teaching in universal human rights and international law. Many of us promote the call to support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it upholds international law, as called for by Palestinian civil society in July 2005 and by Lebanese cultural figures in July 2006.

* We seek to give voice to the suffering and the steadfastness of the people of Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon, and to the stand taken by Israeli and US citizens who refuse to serve in armies of occupation and who work for justice and peace.

* We seek as well to expose and redeem the damage to our own country. We know that militarism destroys our economy, our communities and our humanity. We know that many who fight our government's wars are the young and poor who feel they have no other options.  We know that our schools, our jobs, our democracy, and our civil rights are held hostage to the military economy that currently drives our government. Our struggle is thus one of solidarity, not of charity.

* We take our protests to the streets in demonstrations and vigils - outside Israeli Consulates, US Federal Buildings, and in all public spaces.  We cannot remain silent and simply let our countrymen and women watch other countries and other peoples burn.

We will work until our country stands for peace and justice in yours and throughout the world.

Signed by the following organizations

The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Steering Committee and Staff.The US Campaign is a nationwide coalition of 200 member groups

United for Peace and Justice, a nationwide coalition of 1,400 organizations

Signed by the following artists, writers, and public figures