Moderator’s Note : This message was Ken’s response to an announcement today on the email list of the Progressive Democrats of Somerville (PDS) of the planned July 19th “No Attack on Iran” demonstration. Although the event was announced on the PDS list, it has not been endorsed, nor proposed for consideration of an endorsement by PDS.
I would like to briefly explain why I will NOT be participating in the “No Attack on Iran” demo in the hope that it might provide some food for thought for PDSers (of which I am one) and others on the left.
First off, I am against an attack on Iran – by the U.S. and/or Israel.
But…the way this particular demo is framing the issue is – unfortunately – all too typical these days (on the left).
Nowhere in the demo’s “Call” or in the brief “background” is there any mention whatsoever of one of the root causes of the current crisis (I would argue it is THE root cause) – namely Iran’s constant calls for and predictions of the destruction of the state of Israel.
One of the things about PDS that I have always liked is that – as far as I can tell – it has avoided getting sucked up into the kind of political dogma that has proven to be so counter-productive to the growth of a truly vibrant left in this country.
While I agree with some of the positions that United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) takes (and Saturday’s demo has been called by their local affiliate in Medford-Somerville as part of a nationwide series of demos called by UFPJ), it is important to realize that UFPJ has always taken a very one-sided stance on any issue related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In fact, it has never even endorsed a two-state solution to conflict because so many of its members do not support the existence of Israel.Instead UFPJ has chosen a somewhat “neutral stance” by refraining from supporting either a two-state solution (which practically every other peace group in the US supports without reservation)or a so-called one state “solution.”
My point here is that it comes as no surprise whatsoever that the local affiliate of UFPJ would not even see fit to even mention WHY Israel feels so threatened by Iran and its apparent rush to develop nuclear weapons…. and why even a parallel demand of the demo – to call on Iran to STOP calling for/promising Israel’s destruction – why this simple demand has not been incorporated into the political perspective of the demo’s “Call” or “Background.”
I doubt PDS endorsed this demo (if in fact there has been an official endorsement)with all these factors in mind. But I hope that in the future any involvement we might have with the conflict in the Middle East will reflect a much greater sensitivity to Israel’s very real and legitimate fears. One way to do this is to be more aware of UFPJ’s politics when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate that though I strongly oppose an attack on Iran for all sorts of reasons, I won’t be going to this particular demo because of all the reasons cited above.