Opinion Editorials, April 2007, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
It's the United States that has been under attack, not just Al-Jazeerah.info
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, April 20, 2007
The orchestrated campaign to silence Al-Jazeerah.info by anti-peace groups should alert the US peace camp. I'll summarize the lessons learned from the previous five-year experience of promoting peace through Al-Jazeerah Peace Information Center, in order for the US peace camp to benefit and in response to readers' questions.
First, there's no freedom of speech or freedom of expression for individuals, groups, or institutions if they are not independent financially. I realized this fact early on, and therefore asked for big donations to transform Al-Jazeerah Information Center into a financially independent institution. I have not received such big donations. Even small donations from readers became rare in the last two years, to the extent that I had to cover the expenses of the publication by myself. Millions of readers have used Al-Jazeerah.info services (over fifty million hits a year). A small percentage of them could have made Al-Jazeerah.info a financially independent institution. So far, the publication depended on me personally, it has continued as long as I was capable and willing to volunteer my time, energy, and money. It would stop if I stopped working for any reason.
Anti-peace groups also realized this fact and focused their mean-spirited and smearing campaign on my employer, bothering officials with an internet and corporate media campaign in order to influence me indirectly to stop the publication. As a result, the most important lesson learned is that US peace activists should bond together and make their institutions and publications financially independent, in order to avoid similar events in the future. Readers should subscribe financially to the publications and institutions they believe serving them; otherwise, corporate media will regain the grounds they lost to alternative media in recent years. More important is that peace activists need to organize themselves to initiate campaigns of their own, promoting peace and defending each other. There has to be some form of coordination among peace activists and alternative media publications in order to be effective, just like what the anti-peace groups have been doing.
Second, attacks of anti-peace groups on Al-Jazeerah.info and other US alternative media units and peace activists are essentially attacks on the United States, with all what it has stood for. They want to silence any voices calling for peace and for resolving international conflicts peacefully. They represent the war and oil industries, on the expense of the interests of the American people as a whole. While the military industry and the oil industry have prospered as a result of recent wars, the US has sunk so deep in national debt (over $9 trillion so far). It will take generations to repair the damage to the US economy, if the repair starts now.
What's amazing is that the true patriots who want to save the US from self-destruction are attacked and silenced instead of being encouraged and protected. For five years, Al-Jazeerah.info has proudly warned against war. All authors and contributors to this great effort can say, though it's painful now to say it, I told you so. Wars and invasions result in that one nation occupy another by force. The occupied nations are going to resist until they get their freedom, as was the case throughout history in all continents without exception. Invading empires all had collapsed. The most recent was the Soviet empire in 1989-90 and before that the British, French, Italian, Japanese, and German empires following World War II.
Al-Jazeerah.info has warned against the war consequences and promoted peace between the US and the Arab and Muslim worlds. How can this be wrong? We have seen before our eyes that invading Iraq was unwarranted, as stated by the bi-partisan committees that investigated it. Both military leaders and the Baker-Hamilton Committee have stated that there is no military solution. However, instead of accepting the people's decision in November 2006 to end the Iraq war and withdraw US troops from Iraq, the Bush administration has escalated the war, through the new "Surge" plan. If we want a healthy society, different views should be allowed to be heard. Al-Jazeerah.info, through the writings of hundreds of authors, promoted the US withdrawal from Iraq and the closing down of all US military bases abroad.
In the 21st century, we need to engage the world peacefully. We need to trade with the world. We need to sell our technology and our civilian products to the world. We do not need to conquer the world. The imperialist thinking is stupid, it only brings self-destruction, like what happened to the other empires before our eyes. The US should not attempt to replace the UN, to do that is naive, to say the least. This has been the message of Al-Jazeerah.info. How can a sane person find it wrong?
Third, the anti-peace groups attacking Al-Jazeerah.info have a major common denominator, they support the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Israeli subjugation of the Palestinian people. These are Israel-firsters who are willing to sacrifice the US for Israel. Their support for the Israeli continuous aggression against the Palestinian people blinded them from seeing the horrors inflicted on the Palestinian people on daily basis, since the Israeli war of aggression in 1967. They want to silence Al-Jazeerah.info because they do not want the American people to know about what the Israeli occupation forces have been doing in the occupied Palestinian territories. They label Palestinians as terrorists for resisting the Israeli occupation. They also label those who publish news about the Israeli occupation brutality as supporters of terrorists. Actually, anyone who defends the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine is a supporter of terrorism, state terrorism in this case.
Every now and then, I would receive an explanation of support for the Israeli occupation as a religious duty for Christians and Jews. My answer has been that if you read the Bible carefully, you would find the Palestinian people (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Arabs) as the closest to be considered as descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; closer than Eastern European Jews whose Khazari ancestors had no roots in the Middle East. God promised the Holy Land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the Palestinian people), not to the Khazaris. It follows that anyone who supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine really supports the persecution of the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The bi-partisan commissions investigating US invasion of Iraq concluded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no links with Al-Qaeda, the two official reasons for the invasion. Then, why did the US invade Iraq. Three beneficiaries stand to be scrutinized here, the military industry, the oil industry, and supporters of the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories. In his latest book, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," President Carter told us about the brutality of the Israeli occupiers, which made him also a target of a smearing campaign by the Israel-firsters in the US. Mearsheimer and Walt have documented for us how the "Israel Lobby" silences anyone who dares to criticizes Israeli policies. Paul Findley and many others also warned us before against the excesses of the Israel Lobby in the US in silencing those who dare to criticize Israeli policies.
The continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the other Arab territories means the continuation of the US aid bonanza to the Israeli occupiers. While ending that occupation means peace between Israelis and their Arab neighbors, it also means an end to the dreams of supporters of the Israeli control over the Middle East.
While Al-Jazeerah.info has promoted peace between Israelis and Palestinians by ending the Israeli occupation and establishing the Palestinian state, supporters of the Israeli occupation in reality support the continuation of the conflict, which dragged the US to invade Iraq without any American interests threatened in the region. The continuation of the conflict resulted in trillions of dollars in losses to Americans for generations, in addition to hundreds of thousands of people who paid the ultimate price, or were injured, or suffered as a result, in all sides.
Why would a call for peace be silenced? Why would officials listen to pro-war groups who promote conflict with all its horrible consequences?
Finally, why are the true patriots silent, particularly those in government agencies? I applaud the prosecution of Franklin and Libby, but what about Wolfowitz, Pearle, and Feith? Why were they allowed to leave quietly? Why aren't they prosecuted for dragging the US to invade Iraq? Why aren't they questioned about their real motives?
Where are the true patriots in Congress and the Department of Justice from raising questions about the US military and economic aid to the Israeli occupation government? The Israeli occupation is illegal under international law and the US is a signatory on the UN Charter and related conventions. Why do we support the Israeli occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people by money and weapons?
Aid to the Israeli occupation government should be stopped.
In addition, aid to Israel should be stopped on another legal basis. The US system is based on the separation between church and state. The Israeli state is based on religion. The Israeli right of return law discriminates against Christians, Muslims, and people of all faiths and creeds by limiting the right of immigration to Israel to Jews only. If Israelis are free to have that discriminatory law, US officials are not free to help the Israeli government implement that law, which deprives the Palestinian people (Christians and Muslims) the right to return to their homeland.
It is the responsibility of both Congress and the Department of Justice to force the executive branch of the US government to stop aid to Israel until it ends its occupation of the Arab territories and until it repeals its religion-based laws. It's amazing that the separation between church and state is vigorously adhered to within the US by Israel-firsters but when it comes to Israel, everyone is violating this principle.
As you see, the issue is much bigger than silencing Al-Jazeerah.info. The smearing and threatening campaign is a symptom of a wider danger that has already targeted US civil liberties, sunk the US deep in debt for generations, and dragged the US into a permanent-war course.
Correction is needed on all levels for the sake of the US future generations and for world peace.
Let's save America and the world from the selfish interests of anti-peace groups.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.