Monday, March 8, 2010

Omar Barghouti debates BDS, Israeli Apartheid with Rabbi Arthur Waskow

After a day packed with events in Washington, DC (including a standing-room only event at Busboys & Poets featuring local artist Head-Roc), Palestinian human rights activist and BDS advocate Omar Barghouti headed to the West Coast, where Democracy Now! caught up with him for a debate on BDS and Israeli apartheid with Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center. Check it out: A couple of comments. First, it's obvious that, as in the South African case, support for Israeli apartheid comes both from governmental sources (half of the uses of the U.S. veto were to defend Israel from criticism; a third of the United States' veto votes were to defend apartheid regimes in southern Africa from criticism) and from economic and corporate sources. Secondly, we are proud to represent exactly the sort of widespread social movement--a movement that includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as thousands of concerned citizens--that gives lie to Rabbi Waskow's claim that "Those are the only Americans, aside, I guess, from the big oil, who care about the Middle East." Third, Omar Barghouti is right--opposing U.S. military aid and working to change U.S. policy is not at all in conflict with the BDS movement. In fact, the US Campaign is working to do just that, within the framework of international law, human rights, and equality for all that is also called for by Palestinian civil society. Even as I write this, hundres of participants in the US Campaign/Interfaith Peace-Builders' Grassroots Lobby Day are on Capitol Hill, meeting with their members of Congress to advocate for a more just and accountable U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. Whether you're in Washington DC today or not, you can be part of this movement. Click here to take action against the $3 billion in U.S. military aid that the Obama administration has requested for FY2011. Click here to find out how to get involved in BDS in your community. And click here to learn more about Israeli apartheid and what you can do to oppose it. This movement is moving--and you can be a part of it.