This was put out by one of our close allies in the ANSWER Coalition,
UFPJ: The Absence of Moral Character
As we join people around the world in mobilizing against the
unspeakable atrocities being committed by the Israeli military in
Lebanon and Palestine, we are forced to turn our attention to attempts
by forces within the US justice movement who have made a habit of
condemning the popular resistance of the Arab people.
We feel that this is important due to the continued and unabated
attempts to marginalize the voice of those at the receiving end of war.
A comprehensive position paper on this matter will be issued shortly
addressing language manipulations, political construct, and historical
On July 18, 2006, during peak wholesale murders at the hands of the
Israeli military, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) issued a
statement that condemned the popular resistance movement in Lebanon as
it equated it with Israeli actions. This was followed by a call on
July 19, in which UFPJ not only completely eliminated Palestine (once
again) from the political scene, but also escalated its condemnation of
the resistance and declared that it was in violation of International
Law. UFPJ went further to echo the US administration's own political
constructs, that the Israeli forces should not use a "disproportionate
response" - as if a proportionate one exists, and as if the violence of
colonists is just a mere "response".
UFPJ's statements join the US-proxy regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
and Egypt, in holding the popular resistance movement responsible for
the savagery of Zionist colonial conquest - a textbook example of
blaming the victim.
Given that the vast majority of the Arab masses support popular Arab
resistance movements, condemning this movement from the vantage point
of a privileged people is very troubling. However, when such a
practice becomes habitual, with reckless disregard to the concerns of
the victims, the practice amounts to bigotry.
This outlook from UFPJ is no surprise. UFPJ has consistently and
vehemently opposed the inclusion of Palestine in the anti-war movement
(and continues to do so every time it has a chance), and demanded the
removal of Palestinian flags from the New York stage on March 20, 2004,
because, according to UFPJ leadership, these flags invoked images of
"terror". UFPJ's current leadership rejected opposition to the
invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 during a major anti-nuke mobilization
in New York's Central Park while the invasion was taking place. The
UFPJ leadership also raised the slogan "sanctions not war" during the
first Gulf War, later back-peddling from what is now best known as a
policy of infanticide against Iraqi children. And, of course, UFPJ
continues to reject the Palestinian right of return to their original
homes and property all while always claiming to know what is best for
the Arab people, and always charging that the Palestinians just have to
wait their turn.
The position taken by UFPJ (an increasingly Democratic Party
functionary organization) regarding the current Israeli colonial
conquest is the same as that of the various Saudi and Gulf-funded Arab
organizations in the United States. The collective goal of these
organizations is to contain the justice movement in the various
community sectors and to divert them as far from effective goals as
possible. Their modus operandi is always typical and transparent: to
condemn "both sides" so as to appease their fund-providers and
political sponsors; to issue some benign call for "peace" (albeit,
false and unjust); and to declare that the only way to that
pseudo-peace is through a specific wing of the existing power
The UFPJ leadership also lacks basic moral courage. Only two years
ago, in Beirut, Lebanon, UFPJ claimed to support the resistance
movement in the Arab World, including that of Lebanon, Iraq and
Palestine, and joined in opposition to Zionism. Yet, while in the US,
UFPJ condemns that very same movement and does not dare speak against
Zionism, lest they anger UFPJ's political sponsors.
We wish to remind the leadership of UFPJ that the Arab people are the
architects of their own destiny, and no amount of condemnation by UFPJ
will move one solitary grain of sand in the Arab march for justice. It
is the Arab people who stand clear against the advance of empire for
the benefit of all, as the likes of UFPJ stand on the side hurling
condemnations. UFPJ's continuous racist positions towards the Arab
people will only enter the history of social movements as a succession
of disgrace after disgrace, befitting of a so-called leadership
sheltered from the world and alienated from its suffering.
The UFPJ leadership must stop peddling the struggle and suffering of
our people as an "exciting" commodity to achieve funding and financial
support, as that leadership must not think, for a moment, that their
manipulations will not be opposed.
We call on the member groups of UFPJ and the social justice movement at
large to challenge these self-imposed "leaders", who appear to be bent
on destroying the moral compass of the anti-war movement, and to deny
them the opportunity to brand the US peace movement as racist.
Some argue that organizations that stand against US and Israeli
policies, such as UFPJ, should be allowed to express a "differing
political point of view". We do not think that continuously insulting
the aspiration of the Arab people, through denigrating cherished
symbolisms and popular social movements, should be acceptable as a
"matter of opinion". Racism is never a "matter of opinion".
Furthermore, we believe that we would all be doing the movement a great
disservice if we collectively allow the process of normalizing racist
concepts to remain unchallenged. The examples of these concepts are
many, including, a "resisting Arab" is a "terrorist Arab". As if the
Arab people can only be supported if and when they are seen as
"helpless victims", or, better yet, dead.
Since the people of the US suffer from their alienation from the world,
the last thing we need is for the movement to also echo that same
troubling alienation by mirroring the behavior of empire within.
The Arab people have assumed their responsibilities. The people of the
US must do the same, at least within the justice movement.
Free Palestine Alliance - July 20, 2006
info @ freepalestinealliance.org
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