[pjw] ACTION: Protest war criminal Ehud Barak in Portland Sun 10/14 6 PM

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu Oct 11 17:39:14 EDT 2018

Iraq Affinity Group supporters:
The IAG agreed Monday to endorse this action organized by Occupation Free 
Portland, Jewish Voice for Peace and others. Spread the word!
--dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

For Immediate Release

EVENT: Occupation Free Portland Protests Ehud Barak's Appearance in

Time: 6:00pm

Date: Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Location: Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Hwy,
      Portland, OR 97219

Occupation Free Portland (OFP), a coalition of Local Human Rights
Organizations, to Protest former Israeli Leader, Ehud Barak

Local organizations, including Portland's chapters of Jewish Voice for 
Peace and the Democratic Socialists of America, will be gathering outside 
a local fundraiser to protest the keynote speaker, former Israeli Prime 
Minister, Ehud Barak.

"This man has direct responsibility, as Israel's Defense Minister during 
the military Operation Cast Lead in 2008, for the massacre of more than 
1,200 civilians in Gaza, including 350 children," explained William 
Singer, a member of the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. 
"International investigations, most notably the United Nations Human 
Rights Commission Report, accused the Israeli Defense Forces of war crimes 
and crimes against humanity, including the deliberate targeting of 
civilians; Barak's role in these crimes makes him centrally culpable and 
this fact alone makes him unfit as an honored speaker in our city."

"With the recent Great March of Return in Gaza, we have seen Israeli 
snipers murder unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, including children, 
paramedics, and journalists," noted Rod Such, speaking on behalf of the 
OFP coalition. "Israel continues to act with impunity precisely because 
Ehud Barak and others in the Israeli government were never brought before 
the International Criminal Court for their actions during Operation Cast 

Ehud Barak is currently on a speaking tour promoting his memoir, My 
Country, My Life. His stop in Portland is sponsored by the Jewish 
Federation as the keynote address for their annual fundraiser dinner.

"Ehud Barak has a long and well documented history of direct involvement 
in human rights violations," added David Newman, another member of 
JVP-Portland. "As a Jew and a Portlander I am outraged that the Jewish 
Federation has chosen him to speak to our community; his presence here 
taints us all with the stain of injustice and oppression."

"As Prime Minister, Barak approved tens of thousands of homes being built 
in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territories, part of a 
consistent policy of vastly expanding these settlements to ensure the 
crushing of any hope for a peace settlement based on a meaningful 
two-state formula," explained Singer. "It was also during his tenure as 
Defense Minister that Israeli commandos attacked and killed ten civilians, 
including a US citizen, on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Mamara, in 2010; 
again any one of these crimes should have been enough to disqualify Barak 
as an honored guest in our city."

In addition to his record as Israel's Defense Minister, Barak's role in 
enforcing a brutal siege on the Gaza territory, a blockade that restricted 
food, electricity and medicines to a people living in what is widely 
considered the world's largest open-air prison. So extreme was this 
blockade that in 2009 54 members of the US Congress called on President 
Obama to pressure the Israeli government to end the siege. In their 
letter to the newly elected President, they described the blockade as a 
"de factor act of collective punishment." Oregon congresspeople Earl 
Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio were co-signers on this letter.

The engagement of the US Congress is crucial, as Israel receives massive 
military aid, financial support and diplomatic cover from the United 
States. None of the aggression against the people of Gaza could continue 
without tacit and active US support for these crimes. Israel has been a 
key and central strategic asset of the United States, a virtual client 
state, in the Middle East and has performed auxiliary functions in the 
service of US foreign policy globally as well, providing weapons and 
training to brutal dictatorships, US allies, in Central America through 
the 1980s and supportive roles throughout Africa in earlier years. 
Israel's key function, however, has been as the local barrier to any 
independent Arab nationalist movements in the Middle East, effectively 
smashing that emerging force under Nasser in Egypt, intervening in Jordan 
to prevent the Syrians from aiding Palestinians who were being massacred 
by the forces of the then King Hussein of the Hashemite Dynasty in 1970, 
and of course the brutal crushing Palestinian resistance to the illegal 
theft and occupation of their lands.

The protestors will be gathering at 6:00pm outside the Mittleman Jewish 
Community Center for the 7:00pm program with Ehud Barak.

Member organizations of Occupation Free Portland include the Portland 
chapters of Democratic Socialists of America and Jewish Voice for Peace, 
Friends of Sabeel, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Tree of Life 
Educational Fund, the United Church of Christ Palestine/Israel Network and 
the Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. For a 
complete list of member organizations of Occupation Free Portland may be 
found here: http://occupationfreepdx.org/members/


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