Thursday, December 16, 2010

AIPAC goes Far Right for Speakers in Bay Area

AIPAC held 3 events this past week in the San Francisco Bay Area, and surprisingly, it gave us two speakers whose views in regard to Israel are quite extreme, even just relative to AIPAC as a whole. The events were held in San Jose, Oakland, then San Francisco. With the exception of the San Francisco event, the speaker is Rep. Shelley Berkley of Las Vegas.

Here is aerHerHhhkjdkj brief look at Berkley’s record. Back in March of 2009, Berkley called for an end to all US aid to Gaza, as it was trying to rebuild from the brutal Israeli attack of just a few months earlier. That attack left thousands of homes and factories destroyed. Haaretz reports:

Berkley, a Jewish politician well-known in Congress for her support of Israel, backed the Israeli operation in Gaza during December and January, and even told Haaretz that maybe Israel had been too tolerant.

Too tolerant? Does that mean that Israel dropped too few Cluster Bombs, that “only” a few hundred Palestinian children were killed in the onslaught? That it is too much that still 5% of the water in Gaza is actually fit for human consumption?

Then there is Rep. Berkley’s attack on Obama’s mild and ultimately ineffective policy of pressuring Israel to stop settlement expansion. Berkley said in June of 2009:

“I think it would serve America’s interest better if we were pressuring the Iranians to eliminate the potential of a nuclear threat from Iran, and less time pressuring our allies and the only democracy in the Middle East to stop the natural growth of their settlements.”

In AIPAC’s original write-up of Berkley’s bio, (viewable here), she was described as a “strong proponent of the natural growth of settlements”. That sentence was deleted, for whatever reason, but it was an honest statement. Berkley does not believe in making way for a future Palestinian state.

Finally, there is the speaker chosen to keynote the San Francisco AIPAC event, Dr. DeeDee Coleman. An articulate and politically astute African-American Baptist preacher who also serves on the AIPAC National Council, she knows how to say the right things to the right audience. She is not always afraid to share her fundamentalist beliefs however, and she tells us that simply stated Israel, all of it, belongs to the Jews, and there is nothing anyone, including Jews, can do about that. In an interview that can be seen here, she throws out these bits:

“I do believe that you cannot give away what god has given to you. It cannot happen.” “If god has given you the land, you cannot give the land away.”

For Dr. Coleman, the deity has already apportioned the land based on ethnicity. Case closed.

Despite the extremism of AIPAC, we can expect that some “liberal” (we could not find any, however, more about that in my next post) Bay Area politicians will show up to pander to this lobby for war and occupation. They will be greeted in Oakland by a coalition braving the elements outside supporting peace and human rights, and demanding better uses of our resources, like funding for building homes in West Oakland, not demolishing homes in the West Bank. Some AIPAC attendees will also see ads calling for an end to military aid to Israel, if they use BART to get to the event. Now that’s sweet.

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