rn: From Selma to Palestine


Jan Slakov

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 14:17:11 -0500 (EST)
From: TASC <•••@••.•••>
Subject: From Selma to Palestine

Dear People of Conscience,

Israel's Prime Minister Sharon seems intent on dealing with suicide bombers
by putting all Palestinians under a massive military thumb and utterly
repressing them, not matter how many Palestinians die.  As you know, he
justifies this as "defense" of Israeli citizens, yet such utter repression
will only motivate more and more people to devote their lives to revenge.

Part of Sharon's plan is to force foreigners and journalists to leave the
major cities.  High on his list of foreigners to eject,  undoubtedly, are
members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).  These brave
citizens of Europe, America, Canada, Australia, and other nations have
committed the ultimate sin in the minds of people like Sharon-they have
protected Palestinians from his wrath and focused media attention on the
true nature of the Occupation.

I helped organize the first ISM campaign in August.  Since then, the ISM
has challenged the military occupation and American media silence by using
the militant, nonviolent direct action methods of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Gandhi, and other strategists of human rights campaigns.  We have worked
with Palestinians and Israelis who share our commitment to achieving peace
with peaceful means, and justice by speaking truth to power with our lives.

On Monday, Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at a peaceful
demonstration led by ISM volunteers in Beit Jala.  There was no
provocation, and seven people, including two journalists, were wounded.

Since then, I have spent hours responding to over 50 Americans and several
other people who are VOLUNTEERING TO REINFORCE THE ISM by traveling to
Palestine NOW or in the near future.  Jews and Gentiles, nurses and
students and doctors and accountants, young and not-so-young, people are
saying "I saw the ISM at work on news broadcasts and am inspired by their
dedication to the best of human ideals.  I've never done anything like this
before, but I am determined to join them."

I am writing this to you to appeal for two things:

1.  Perhaps you or someone you know would be willing to become an ISM
volunteer.  It is dangerous work, and according to Adam Shapiro, the
Israelis are trying to block people from entering the West Bank.  However,
the ISM has strategies to deal with this.  If you are interested, please
reply to this e-mail, or call me at 734-668-1549.

2.  We are in DESPERATE need of money.  We can send more people if we have
money to subsidize them, and, as in the days of the Civil Rights Movement,
we need money for legal fees for our members who are arrested.  PLEASE send
a generous donation to:

The Center for Creative Democracy
2084 Pauline Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI  48103

This campaign began in the spirit of the great Selma Campaign of 1965, and
of Dr. King who urged Northerners to stand in solidarity with thousands of
people standing up to injustice.  The Palestinian people are no less worthy
of attaining their rights than were African Americans.  The circumstances
of their oppression are different than under Southern Jim Crow society, but
the tools for achieving justice are the same: Standing up to violence with
nonviolence, challenging lies with truth, meeting murderous hatred  and
racism with love and a willingness to die that all people might be free.

Please respond.

Thom Saffold
Ann Arbor, MI