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Speech by Lois Griffiths - Viva Palestina Teach In.


Good evening everyone. I'm Lois Griffiths. I'm on the program as being from
Justice for Palestine. Justice for Palestine is, only, some individuals who have come together, recently, from different directions.

So I should point out that we don't have a party line; we’re not organised like that . We are speaking as individuals. The others don't know what I'm going to say & I don't know what they are going to say. So if you want to question what anyone says, take it up with that person
But I must emphasize that we are not anti-Semitic, not anti-Jewish. We are pro-justice , pro-humanity, pro-decent people everywhere.
The most we can accomplish here today, is to whet your appetite to want to find out more, learn more, to read more. and to take advantage of any opportunity to hear people with first hand experience, like we will today.

Surely for decades Palestinians must have been asking this question
Where is Humanity? Why doesn't the world help us?
Robert Fisk has asked, “When did we stop caring?”
The Israeli journalist Amira Hass was told, by her mother, of being a prisoner in Poland and being marched past villages. People looked the other way. So Amira Hass swore that she would never look the other way & she hasn’t . She has reported horror stories from within Palestine.

Corporate media has turned its back Gaza. . The world must not walk away. Not this time.
Some do care and humanity has not died. A huge convoy of, well-over 100 trucks, is making its way across North
Africa, led by a fire engine, ambulances, stockpiles of humanitarian relief under the slogan Viva Palestina, thanks to funds raised by George Galloway.

That’s where we got our name for this meeting.

They’ve chosen a Spanish name, to remember the Spanish Civil War, when British citizens sent relief supplies to the Republicans fighting the fascists. Other attempts have been made to break the Israeli blockade.
The first Free Gaza ship got through because Tony Blair's sister-in-law was on board . But other ships have been stopped, even fired on, in international waters, against international law.

I’ve agreed to focus on 2 aspects of the whole story. First: The American connection.
At the last election, as at every election, we witnessed obscene groveling of candidates before certain powerful wealthy groups, who claim to speak for all American Jews, but they don't . They are small numbers of very rich, very well-organised lobbyists for the State of Israel, and very powerful politically. You have to understand that political success in the US depends on huge sums of money. Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark, has said, " America is not a democracy, it's a plutocracy “. Naomi Klein has gone further & said it's a corporatist state.

The richest most organised most powerful lobby group is AIPAC American Israeli Public Affairs Committee . It has a huge staff . They organise letter writing campaigns. They intimidate, even Jewish, politicians or writers or intellectuals who make the slightest criticism of Israeli policies. They even intimidate university administrations ; universities depend on private money . They threaten to withdraw advertising revenue from media.
A weapon they use is charges of anti-Semitism. And when Jews criticize Israel, as does, not only, Noam Chomsky, they are called neurotic self-hating Jews
What is called the Israel Lobby, is very powerful, very influential in American foreign policy.
The Israel Lobby is defined by Mearsheimer & Walt as these powerful wealthy lobby groups like AIPAC, also the neoconservatives very pro-war & pro-Israel, some Jews & some not, and Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists, some of them anyway, believe in dispensationalism, favour Armageddon in the Middle East with victory by Israel. They want the Middle East to be devoured in flames when, they believe, the chosen ones, meaning themselves, will rapture to heaven. They are powerful politically, although small in numbers, because they are obsessed about Israel, whereas most Americans aren't interested in foreign affairs, and vote for bread & butter reasons.

Israel can claim to be a miracle, to have made the desert bloom. It's all thanks to American money. Billions, have gone and are still going, unconditionally, to Israel even though they have a high standard of living. The US should be giving more of its aid to places where it's really needed like in Burkina Faso, like Haiti, not far from the US, where people are so desperate for food that they are trying to eat mud cakes. And as we all know, US provides Israel with massive amounts of military aid, the newest , most technologically advanced weaponry, and well as access to intelligence.

If America is going to change, & use its wealth & influence to bring big changes to Israel, it won't come from the top. It won't come from Obama who has surrounded himself with Zionists, including his VP & Sec of State, unless enough pressure is exerted from below. There are groups like, Jews for Justice . I read of a Boston group that said" No, Desmond Tutu is not anti-Semitic". These groups aren't wealthy. However, there are growing signs of change. Hampshire College in Massachusetts is disinvesting from corporations that profit from the occupation. Hampshire College was the first to disinvest from apartheid South Africa. Now NYU students are calling for disinvesting At Manchester University in England, and at the University of Western Sydney, students are joining campaigns calling on their administrations and student unions to boycott Israeli companies and support Gaza .
The Church of England has disinvested from Caterpillar, the corporation that makes bulldozers designed for house demolitions. However, to our shame as a nation, our NZ Superfund invests in Caterpillar.
International trade union support for political action against Israel is growing in many parts of the world, for example in South Africa, where dock workers refused to handle a ship bound for Israel.

Economic weapons are powerful.

Gatherings have been held in over 40 cities around the world this week, 01 March-08 March, Israeli Apartheid Week with a message of BDS, Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions.
The most encouraging news I've heard recently came from New York, where a group of Jewish activists staged a twenty-four-hour protest in front of the building that houses the World Zionist Organization .

A Tel Aviv University scholar has written a book, When and How Was the Jewish People Invented? , challenging the claim of European Jews to be descendents of early inhabitants of that part of the world, the nation-building myth in other words.
A French author, whose grandfather was gassed at Treblinka in 1943, has written an open letter, published in Le Monde , to the President of Israel and to the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial, calling his grandfather's name to be removed from Yad Vashem, Yad Vashem, being the memorial dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism.
The Frenchman wrote:

“I ask you to honor my request, Mr. Chairman, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally, the injustices to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, disqualifies Israel to be the center of the memory of the harm done to Jews, and thus to all humanity.”

A Canadian university professor & his sister, have also written to the Director of Yad Vashem demanding that the name of their grandmother who died at Theresienstadt, be removed .

“I do not believe that the Jewish people, in whose name you have committed so many crimes with such outrageous complacency, can ever rid itself of the shame you have brought upon us.
Nazi propaganda, for all its calumnies, never disgraced and corrupted the Jews; you have succeeded in this.”

Strong words!

The other issue I'll touch on is
War Crimes
I'm in my late 60s. My parents’ generation was horrified by what happened at Guernica. Guernica is the Spanish town that the Germans bombed in the Spanish Civil War, an outrage that inspired Picasso's famous painting . Our generation, mine & yours, should shudder at the very names of more recent atrocities: Grosny, Fallujah, Cana, Ramallah, Jenin and now Gaza.
The world has finally got to say NO MORE.
The siege itself constituted a war crime, shutting people up & leaving them to slowly starve. Uri Avneri founder of Gush Shalom, described that as “ genocide in slow motion.”
The attack on Gaza: the timing of the bombing when people would be out and about , the bombing of mosques , clinics, ambulances, of a UN school whose GPS co-ordinates had been provided to the Israelis and where people were sheltering , the shooting of people with their hands up .
And some of the weapons that were used: white phosphorus, an experimental weapon called DIME (dense inert metal explosive) , depleted uranium. Norwegian doctors with international war experience reported they'd never seen anything this terrible. British surgeons who were in Gaza have written in Lancet about what they witnessed.
This time the world has to say these are war crimes, committed by war criminals.
A group of American lawyers, has visited Gaza & reported back of evidence of war crimes. So has a group of British lawyers. Uri Avnery has said, yes , war crimes have been committed & he has a list of suspects including politicians, soldiers, army rabbis, and lawyers.

So here we are in far away NZ. Can we do anything?

Yes, we can.
I’ve prepared citizen’s petition that will be presented to Parliament. I hope when we have a break , you'll read the petition and consider signing. It says,

To the House of Representatives

We request that the New Zealand Parliament takes note of the fact that the United Nations Board of Inquiry is investigating the attack on UN facilities during the Israeli Defence Force's recent incursion and bombing of Gaza. We ask the Parliament to support this investigation and others being conducted by reputable international agencies as to whether Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.

Just before I hand over to my friend Mary Hamilton, I'll like to quote from Margaret Mead.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever does."



Re: Speech by Lois Griffiths - Viva Palestina Teach In.

is'nt lois griffiths a character off that cartoon called family guy?

Re: Speech by Lois Griffiths - Viva Palestina Teach In.

Thats Lois Griffin.

Re: Speech by Lois Griffiths - Viva Palestina Teach In.

thanks so much for sending this to be posted on Indy Lois. It was a great opening speech.
jo p.

Re: Speech by Lois Griffiths - Viva Palestina Teach In.

Yes its all coming out now. We need an International War Crimes Tribunal to look into these people.