[pjw] REPORT BACK: Lopsided war: Friday rally #60 under stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat May 15 15:50:48 EDT 2021

Hello peaceful people

While the state is gearing up to say "if you're vaccinated your life can 
get back to normal," we continue to take the precautions to wear masks and 
distance at Friday rallies until the pandemic has been declared officially 
over for everyone. (Hoping this happens for everyone on the planet soon.) 
Only three of us made it last night, but regardless we still got many 
signs and sounds of support at the rally and along the march route.

We started the rally talking about the biggest war and peace story of the 
week, the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians that has led to over 
100 Palestinian deaths and, as of yesterday, 7 Israeli deaths. It's not 
difficult to see that this is a very lopsided conflict, where Israel has 
far superior weaponry (most of it provided by the USA). The conflict began 
as the Israelis moved to push Palestinians out of their homes in East 
Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu called it a "real estate dispute" 
rather than ethnic cleansing. The Israelis, for instance, deliberately 
destroyed an entire multi-story building in Gaza using airstrikes. The 
Palestinians do not have warplanes. I likened this to the US heading into 
a Native American reservation in modern times and declaring they were 
taking over homes and land, then if the indigenous people fought back with 
rocks and sticks the US just started shooting everyone. Our President is 
saying he doesn't think Israel is "overreacting" despite the clear 
difference in death tolls.


The other big ticket item, which I noted meant addressing both our 
along-the-route topics at the main rally, is that Monday is Tax Day. The 
War Resisters League has put out data every year for as long as I can 
remember showing how much of America's discretionary budget (don't trust 
people who include things like Social Security when tackling this topic) 
goes to the military. In this fiscal year it is 48%.


Because it's been a long time, many people may not know that we once had 
an active Affinity Group called the Pentagon Porkbusters which did a Tax 
Day penny poll at the Post Office. We set up 5 jars with various places 
your tax dollars could go. Without any indicators we are a peace group, 
the jar for the military still always got the lowest number of pennies.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan the US seems to be making good on getting its 
troops out, but as noted in previous reports that doesn't mean they'll 
stop interfering politically and militarily. The air base in Kandahar was 
handed over to local control this week.


Continuing its ramp-up of a new cold (or perhaps active) war with China, 
the US joined Japan and... France??? in war games aimed at supposed 
Chinese threats to Japan's safety.


In Iraq, another attack on a base where the US has military personnel took 
place; the people initiating the attacks are now using drones. According 
to this article there have been at least 30 attacks total on US bases 
since Biden took office. Luckily there's still no talk of retaliation.


Oh, and going back to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, 44 Congressional 
Republicans took the opportunity to somehow blame what's going on there on 
Iran and tell Biden to stop renegotiating the nuclear deal.


Along the march route, I did take back up the regular topics at their 
usual sites.

--Speculation is that one reason for the Israelis' aggressive stance is 
that Netanyahu desperately wants to stay in power.


--In a local version of "fund human needs, not war," the City Council 
declined to expand the Portland Street Response program meant to divert 
police money to a program sending fire and mental health workers to 
non-police situations, and instead agreed to boost the PPB's budget by $2 
million, supposedly to try meeting the guidelines of the US Dept of 
Justice Agreement.


The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign turned off sometime in the first four 
blocks of the march. It went right back on after a reset, but then went 
dark again at Pioneer Place Mall. We're going to look at some experiments 
in the coming weeks to see what's going on.

Multnomah County failed to file an equity plan to the state and we're 
still in extreme risk lockdown at least until next Friday. Once we've 
reached the level of safety that makes you feel ok coming to a public 
event feel free to join us any Friday at 5 PM, at SW Yamhill and Broadway, 
to promote peace on the planet.


dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

More information about the pjw-list mailing list