Letter: Panetta opposes halting weapons to Israel

Santa Cruz Sentinel Letter to the Editor May 20, 2024:
Once again, our Congressperson Jimmy Panetta is out of step with his constituents.
   Polls show that a majority of Americans, including two-thirds of Democrats, support halting all military aid to Israel as a result of its ongoing war crimes in Gaza. President Biden has refused, however. He has only agreed to suspend one shipment of certain kinds of bombs, such as a notorious 2,000-pound weapon human rights groups have documented as responsible for numerous mass-casualty events, including leveling entire apartment buildings filled with civilians.
   While the vast majority of congressional Democrats approve of Biden’s decision to delay this one shipment, Panetta joined 25 hawkish Democrats in criticizing the president, insisting that his $14 billion of other armaments he is sending to Israel isn’t enough, and he must also deliver these deadly explosives regardless of civilian casualties. Panetta ludicrously claims that withholding these particular bombs goes against Israel’s right to defend itself, buttresses terrorist groups, allows them to steal humanitarian aid, and even emboldens antisemitism.
   We need a congressional representative who cares about international humanitarian law.
— Professor Stephen Zunes, Santa Cruz

The Chilling Effect of Equating Criticism of Israel to Antisemitism

The Progressive May 17, 2024:
Broadening the federal definition of antisemitism is a disingenuous attempt to quash dissent. Campus protests against U.S.-backed wars have a long history, and so do campaigns for ethical investment policies. As much as college and university administrators, corporate interests, and Washington policy-makers may have wanted to suppress such student initiatives, the principles of free speech and the cultural role of institutions of higher learning have made that difficult. Opponents of the current protests on college campuses targeting U.S. support for Israel’s war are, however, attempting to reverse that tradition through the disingenuous application of Civil Rights legislation.

Israel’s War on Gaza: 11 Zunes’ articles published Oct. 7-Dec. 31, 2023

Political Costs of Biden’s Support for Israel’s War Mount [Source]
U.S. Attacks on the ICJ are a Declaration of Empire [Source]
Biden’s Gaza Failure Could Cost Democrats 2024 Election [Source]
Applying International Law to Israel’s War and Hamas’ Attack [Video & Transcript]
Scholars Weigh in on Gaza-Israel Conflict Counterpunch interview of Professors Zunes and international legal scholar Richard Falk [Princeton] on Israel, Gaza, and U.S. policy, 10/13/2023 [Source]
How U.S. Policy Failures Have Helped Hamas [Source]
Hamas, Israel and the U.S. Have Learned Nothing [Source]
Biden’s Backing Israel War Crimes Carries on Sordid U.S. Tradition [Source]
O Globo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, on Israel’s war on Gaza (English translation and original Portuguese transcript) [Source]
Dr. Zunes is quoted in this Al-Jazeera article: Why are US Republicans pushing for aid to Israel but not Ukraine? [Source]

More Articles and interviews on the Gaza Crisis

Nonviolent Activists Laid the Groundwork to Oppose a Coup. They May Have Saved the Republic

Yes!Activists prepared for months, expecting Trump to steal the election. They were right, and he failed. [FULL LINK]
Since Joe Biden’s decisive win in November, efforts by President Trump and his supporters to steal the election… have been unsuccessful. In the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election, many of us were warning that, even in the face of a clear Biden victory, Trump and the Republicans might attempt a de facto coup. .. Trump might declare victory election night before all the votes are counted… make false charges of vote fraud, and refuse to concede… wage a legal battle to challenge the legitimate results, try to convince Republican election officials not to certify the results, encourage state legislatures to appoint Republican electors regardless of the vote count in the state, and convince the Republican-dominated federal judiciary to uphold these illegal measures.

Biden’s Pick for Secretary of State Has a Record of Militarism

[Truthout, Novmber 24, 2020] – President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Antony Blinken for secretary of state is a worrying sign. Despite Biden owing his election to the Democratic Party’s progressive base and left-leaning independents, he has nominated someone The Washington Post has described as having “a centrist view of the world” and who has “supported interventionist positions.” Prior to serving in the Obama administration, initially under Vice-President Biden and later in the State Department, Blinken was Democratic staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Chairman Biden during the critical months leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Under their leadership, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee limited hearings to only a day and a half and stacked the witness list with war supporters… [FULL LINK]

Most Dem Voters Are to the Left of Biden on Foreign Policy. Can He Be Moved?

Truthout, November 16, 2020: While a likely Republican-controlled Senate could limit many of the progressive domestic policies President-elect Joe Biden has promised to enact, presidents have far more leeway to advance their agenda in the realm of foreign policy. As a result, Biden — who has perhaps the most extensive background in foreign affairs of any new president in U.S. history — has the ability to make a positive difference. While he will certainly be an improvement over Donald Trump, Biden’s record is well to the right of most Democratic voters. Scores of foreign policy officials from the Bush administration and allied pundits endorsed Biden. This is not surprising in light of his support for Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Arab dictatorships and the Israeli occupation… [FULL LINK]

Is the U.S. Prepared to Resist a Coup?

[The Progressive October 26, 2020] President Donald Trump’s refusal to agree to a peaceful transfer of power has raised concerns that the Republicans may try to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. And while the courts may be insufficient to hinder a Trump coup—especially after the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett—a growing network of organizations is already preparing to launch a large-scale civil resistance movement to defend American democracy. [FULL LINK]

Resisting Stolen Elections: Lessons from the Philippines, Serbia, Ukraine, and Gambia

[ICNC October 23, 2020] Discussion has grown for months about how the upcoming U.S. election results could be contested and possibly subverted. No one knows for certain what will happen, but there are precedents we can learn from about how attempts to overturn election results have been stopped. Four cases in recent decades—one in Southeast Asia, one in Africa and the other two in Eastern Europe—involved an incumbent president or party attempting to steal an election only to have it reversed through large-scale nonviolent direct action. This article looks at these cases, and identifies key lessons. [FULL LINK]

Abortion Foes Should Vote Democratic

[The Progressive October 8, 2020] The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, which could result in the eventual reversal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, has brought this contentious issue to the forefront of the 2020 election campaign. The most effective means of dramatically lowering the abortion rate is to make it less financially prohibitive for couples or single parents to raise children… the Republican emphasis on banning the procedure and imposing other legal restrictions has not proven effective in reducing abortion… For all these reasons and more, voters for whom reducing abortions is of paramount concern should vote Democratic. [FULL LINK]