Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Correction about the KGNU show tonight; the Israeli "Declaration of Independence from Fascism"

The KGNU show at 6 tonight (88.5 fm in Denver) will not include Michael Lerner, but former ambassador Phillip Wilcox and me. Today as Gush Shalom reports (below), many intellectuals and artists including my friend Yaron Ezrahi signed a Declaration of Independence from Fascism. They stand for Israel as a democracy, for the guarantee of civil liberties for all, and against new loyalty oaths for Arabs, subordinates to a "Jewish" state, proposed by the Netanyahu government. These citizens who protest stand with the prophets and not the kings. See here and here. It is sad that it has come to this.

Cynthia Papermaster, an organizer of protests against torture, has helped organize a week against torture in Berkeley. Its schedule is at the link in the second letter below. Given the bipartisan abdication of law, led by Obama's state secrets doctrine - see here - it would be very good for other cities to take up similar activities against torture. The decline of America, once 5th in the world in 1950 in life expectancy for women, now 49th - see here - proceeds apace. Perhaps tonight's show will include what ordinary people can do, here and elsewhere, to build pressure from below, engage in civil disobedience campaigns, declare independence from an interlinked fascism (Israel) and decadence (America).

From Gush Shalom
October 10, 2010

A protest rally against the government’s “Loyalty Oath Bill” was held outside the Tel Aviv house where Ben-Gurion read the 1948 the Declaration of Independence. There, today, the “Declaration of Independence from Fascism” was signed.

“We are citizens of the Israel which was depicted in the Declaration of Independence, a peace-seeking country based on the principles of equality and civil liberties. We do not intend to be the citizens of a state purporting to be Israel which stops being democratic and enbarks on becoming a fascist state,” proclaimed intellectuals, public figures, and Israel Prize laureates who gathered this afternoon for a protest rally against the “Loyalty Oath Bill” approved by the government. A protest rally was held on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, in front of the museum building where David Ben Gurion had read the Declaration of Independence in 1948.

Beneath the statue of Meir Dizengoff, first mayor of Tel Aviv, actress Hanna Meron read out from that Declaration of Independence: “The State of Israel will be based on based on Liberty, Justice and Peace, as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race or gender; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”. She noted that, sixty-two years later, the reality of Israel is very different than what the country’s Declaration of Independence envisaged. At the end of the rally, a “Declaration of Independence from Fascism” was signed (see full text below).

Among participants in the initiative were Shulamit Aloni, Uri Avnery, Alex Ansky, Shery Ansky, Menachem Brinker, Ran Cohen, Ruth Cohen, Yaron Ezrachi, Galia Golan, Haim Guri, Sna’it Gisis, Yoram Kaniuk, Dani Karavan, Yehoshua Knaz, Elia Leibowitz, Alex Libak, Hanna Meron, Sammy Michael, Merav Michaeli, Sefi Rachlevsky, Gabi Solomon, David Tartakower, Micha Ullman, and many others.

Following is the full text of the Declaration of Independence from Fascism:

A state which forcibly invades the hallowed realm of the individual citizen’s conscience, and which imposes punishment on those whose opinions and beliefs do not fit the authorities’ opinions and the prescribed “character” of the state, stops being a democracy and embarks on becoming a fascist state.

Behind these stairs where we stand, the state of Israel was proclaimed. The state which increasingly takes Israel’s place – a state which fills the country with a variety of racist legislation, promoted by the Knesset and the cabinet – is excluding itself from the family of democratic nations. Therefore we, citizens of the Israel envisaged in the Declaration of Independence, hereby declare that we will not be citizens of a country purporting to be Israel and which violates its basic commitment to the principles of equality, civil liberty and sincere aspiration for peace – principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.

"Hi Alan.

Michael Lerner has endorsed "Berkeley Says No To Torture Week." I hope they archive the radio show so I can hear it later, because I'm under it with our week of "No To Torture" activities.

Tomorrow we launch our campaign to get the Berkeley City Council to pass a resolution welcoming cleared Guantanamo detainees to settle here, as was done in Amherst and Leverette, Massachusetts. I'm inspired by Andy Worthington's work on behalf of Guantanamo prisoners; he's in Berkeley this week and showed his film "Outside the Law" tonight. Very very poignant interviews with torture survivors Moazzem Begg, Omar Deghayes, others. We have a press conference, protest against John Yoo on the UC campus, and a "giant John Yoo debate" tomorrow night where we're going to project film clips of Yoo speaking outside on the law school building and real live lawyers will debate him. Friday we're presenting "Reckoning With Torture", the ACLU/PEN "performance" of readings of excerpts from the torture memos, testimony, etc. by a huge cast of wonderful accountability activists such as Jason Leopold, Jeffrey Kaye, Ray McGovern, Ann Wright, Marjorie Cohn, Shahid Buttar, Fr. Louis Vitale, more.

If you want to let your list know about the week, and I hope you will since we want this idea to spread to other cities, please send them to www.wesaynototorture.net for the full calendar of events, Berkeley City Council Resolution in support of the "Week", statement by artist Fernando Botero in support of the "Week" and more.

All my best,
Cynthia Papermaster"

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