Middle East Policy
Nader/Gonzalez would reverse the current policy in the Middle East.
The current political strategy of pre-emptive war in the Middle East is a disaster for both the American people and the people of the Middle East. It has bloated the already wasteful military budget and has cost at present over 4,000 American lives, nearly 100,000 American injuries, and over a million Iraqi civilian lives, plus the destruction of their country.
Nader/Gonzalez propose a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
A target of withdrawing troops in six months will be set.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans want troops withdrawn from Iraq and a January 2006 poll shows that 72 percent of American soldiers in the field in Iraq wanted the U.S. out of Iraq within six to twelve months.
The war is costing taxpayers nearly $4,600 every second — and that doesn’t include the long-term reconstruction costs.
Nader/Gonzalez proposes that a rapid negotiated withdrawal from Iraq, with UN sponsored elections, is the first step toward delivering peace to Middle East.
On Israel/Palestine, a recent Haaretz poll showed that 64 percent of Israeli people want negotiations for peace between Israel and Hamas, while only 28% oppose it.
The Israeli people want peace. The Palestinian people want peace.
All kinds of people to people peace groups are forming in Israel and Palestine.
The Combatants for Peace – fighters on both sides of the divide who have put down their guns to join together for a non-violent solution.
The Bereaved Families for Peace – the brave Israelis and Palestinians who have lost a loved one to the conflict and who are joining together to seek a non-violent solution.
The Arab-American and Jewish Americans who have stood up courageously together for a non-violent solution to the unending conflict.
And of course, the majority of the American Jewish community want peace.
By a 46-to-43 percent plurality American Jews continue to support the creation of a Palestinian state. Other polls show even higher support, among Jewish Americans, for a two-state solution.
Instead, both Democrats and Republicans reflexively support the militarists in Israel.
Israel has militarily occupied Gaza for forty years. It pulled out its colonies in 2005 but maintained an iron grip on the area — controlling all access, including its airspace and territorial waters.
Its F-16s and helicopter gunships regularly shred more and more of the areas’ public works, its neighborhoods and inflict collective punishment on civilians in violation of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Israeli government’s blockade of Gaza prevents critical food, medicine, fuel, electricity and other necessities from coming into this tiny enclave through international relief organizations.
The resulting humanitarian crisis is received with predictable silence or callousness by members of Congress, including John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Nader/Gonzalez will continue to speak out about this humanitarian crisis and side with the strong and courageous Israeli/Palestinian peace movements who are working for a peaceful two-state solution.
- Washington Reporter on Middle East Affairs
- Encounter Point
- Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
- Jewish Voice for Peace
Letters to the Editor
Below is the complete letter Ralph Nader sent to the Washington Post in response to an editorial criticizing his comment that Israel is a puppeteer of the US government. When it published the letter on August 21st, the Post edited out the 4th to 6th paragraphs. These are important paragraphs illustrating that Nader’s positions are consistent with those of many Israelis and American Jews. These paragraphs highlighted the views of the Refuseniks, members of the Israeli Defense Force who refuse to participate in the occupation of Palestinian territory; and the views of over 400 rabbis who criticize the demolition of homes of hundreds of Palestinians. They also highlighted Senator John Kerry’s failure to face up to the human rights abuses of Israel.
Below that is another letter the Post refused to publish that highlights how charges of anti-semitism are used to stifle debate on Israel-Palestine in the United States.
Nader Continues to Urge Peace in Middle East
Your editorial’s (Aug. 14th) juxtaposition of my words, taken from my statement which was rooted in an advocacy for an Israeli-Palestinian peace, with a passage from a domestic group, rooted in prejudice, was shameful and unsavory, at the very least. Suffice it to say that your objection to my description of the need to replace the Washington puppet show with the Washington Peace Show serves to reinforce the censorious climate against open and free discussion this conflict in the U.S., as there has been among the Israeli people. When Israelis joke about the United States being "the second state of Israel," it sounds like they are describing a puppeteer-puppet relationship. Or, would The Post prefer using the descriptor "dominant-subordinate?"
The New York Times columnist and Middle Eastern Specialist, Tom Friedman, used stronger words than "puppet" when on February 9th, he wrote: "Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he’s had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who’s ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates … all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing."
When AIPAC works to obtain a recent 407-9 vote for a House of Representatives’ resolution which supported the latest Sharon strategy and rejected any mention of an independent Palestinian state, how would you describe such a surrender of the privately held positions of many Representatives, favoring a two-state solution?
Half of the Israeli people and over two-thirds of Americans of the Jewish faith believe the conflict can only be settled by allowing an independent Palestinian state together with a secure Israel.
Four hundred American rabbis, including leaders of some of the largest congregations in the country, protested the Israeli government’s house demolition policy. Hundreds of Israeli reserve combat officers and soldiers signed a declaration refusing, in their words, "to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people." www.seruv.org.il
That these and many other Israeli and American peace advocates with impressive political, business, academic, military and intelligence experience, receive no hearing in official Washington is further indication of a serious bias inside both political parties. George W. Bush is a messianic militarist with a tin ear toward these courageous collaborators in peace. And what is John Kerry’s problem? He told us he has "many friends" in the broad and deep Israeli peace movement. Yet, Mr. Kerry issues a pro-Sharon statement that in its obeisance goes to the right of Bush.
Given that your editorial did not have any problem with these views, why do you object to a description of AIPAC as an awesome lobby on Capitol Hill, labeling it "poisonous stuff?" AIPAC has worked hard over the years to enlist the support of both Christians and Jews. Its organizing skills are the envy of the NRA and other citizen groups. Muslim-Americans are trying to learn from its lobbying skills to produce a more balanced Congressional debate on Middle Eastern policies. How does acknowledging such an achievement "play on age-old stereotypes?" The bias may be in your own mind.
August 19, 2004
To the Editor:
It is difficult to find an acceptable language with which to criticize the hard-line policies of successive Israeli governments.
Ralph Nader is charged (Washington Post Editorial, August 14, 2004) with anti-Semitism for speaking of the Israeli government and the Israeli Jewish lobby as "puppeteers" and American politicians as the "puppets" by the same people who charge Arafat and the Palestinians of being the "puppeteers" who mastermind votes critical of Israel in the General Assembly and in the Security Council of the United Nations.
The danger of anti-Semitism is a red-herring in a country in which the two major parties and their presidential candidates – cheered on by Christian Zionists — are competing for first prize in championing the cause of Sharon.
It is an open secret that the Israeli-Jewish lobby is among the most influential lobbies in Washington and beyond. Indeed, the leaders AIPAC and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations would be the first to make this claim. What is so distressing is that these leaders arrogate to themselves the right to be more Catholic than the Pope in their support of Israeli hard-liners but also far more hard-line than most American and Israeli Jews. Indeed, the likes of Ronald Lauder and Malcolm Hoenlein never accepted Oslo and the principle of "land for peace."
The American supporters of the Peace Now and affiliated peace organizations in Israel are frozen out of these Jewish-American organizations.
In any case, the accusation of anti-Semitism is a tried and effective tactic for silencing criticism or opposition to the policies of Israeli governments and of American administrations.
The Nader campaign is a natural home for American Jews committed to the peace process who are appalled at Kerry’s efforts at out-Bushing Bush on the Israeli question and many others. It is neither Jewish nor Democratic to stifle debate with false charges of anti-Semitism.
Arno J. Mayer
Arno J. Mayer is professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and the author of "Why Did Not the Heavens Darken?: The 'Final Solution' in History."