A new petition has been created 'from the grass roots' to Democratic candidate Howard Dean to explain his hawkish position on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and his relationship to AIPAC. Dr. Dean is a solid, electable candidate, but we cannot support him in good conscience without a change in his (apparent) position on these issues. The stakes are too high.
To join us in this effort to 'turn' Dean, please go to http://www.stop-us-military-aid-to-israel.net/deanpetition/ and sign the petition. IMPORTANT: after you sign the petition go to your email and click on the link that is sent to you. This email confirmation adds integrity to the petition.
Thank you for your support!
To: Dr. Howard Dean
As members of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, The Green Party, Progressives, Independents, and other parties interested in your candidacy, we would like to express our deep reservations regarding your stated positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Based on speeches and interviews given last year and early this year, you spoke often of the Israeli victims of terror, yet you failed to acknowledge the three-fold number of Palestinian civilians who have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces, or the Israeli military's incursion and illegal occupation of large portions of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. These incendiary actions by the Israeli military have fueled much of the animosity in the region, and they must be acknowledged in any fair assessment of the situation. It is also important to recognize that the expropriation of land and settlement activities have been repeatedly condemned by the U.N. Security Council, and the United Nation's General Assembly has determined that Israel's occupation of the territories have "no legal basis".
Additionally, in an interview with The Forward earlier this year, you stated that your views are closer to AIPAC's (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) than APN's (Americans for Peace Now). We view AIPAC's positions as more hawkish and one-sided, resembling the vision of the neocons within the Bush administration; and APNs as multilateral, reaching out to all sides of the conflict. We understand that statements can be taken out of context and misread. Can you clarify this statement?
Lastly, you said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that you support the $8 billion in loans recently given to Israel and would in fact increase the amount of annual aid from $3 billion to $4 billion [Alternet]. Consider the following facts:
1. Israel already receives close to 1/3 of all foreign aid--granted without any significant oversight on the part of the U.S.
2. The grant money alone is close to 20 times the amount going to the Palestinians to help them rebuild after years of demolition.
3. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Washington Report for Middle Eastern Affairs (WRMEA), from 1949-2003 the U.S. has granted or extended in waived loans a total of $97.5 billion through 2003—which exceeds that given to all of the countries of South and Central America, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean combined with a total population of over 1.1 billion people.
4. With only 6.6 million people (smaller than El Salvador), the total U.S. taxpayer aid amounts to over $70,200 per Israeli household from 1974 to 2003.
5. Israelis have a longer life expectancy than Americans, and their per capita income is higher than African-Americans and Latino-Americans.
6. The Israeli military is already vastly superior to the militaries of all of its neighbors combined.
7. According to the World Bank, 70% of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are living on less than $2 per day and malnourishment and anemia among children in the territories are reaching catastrophic proportions due to rapidly declining economic conditions [BBC Report]
Do you think this is a fair and equitable relationship? Dr. Dean, we respect and fully support your agenda to transform health care, promote economic development, protect the environment, end our dependence on fossil fuels, and cultivate our relationships with other nations around the globe (instead of inflame them as the Bush administration has done repeatedly). The views cited above do not appear to be consistent with other, more peace-promoting and inclusive statements you have made. It is imperative that the suicide attacks on Israel stop. It is also imperative that the Israelis end their military incursions and occupation. We believe—as does most of the world represented in the U.N.— that the U.S.'s position has been decidedly one-sided, and has in fact exacerbated the conflict by unilaterally opposing U.N. Security Council resolutions and providing interminable military aid to Israel.
In light of recent events, we believe that our policy towards the Middle East will lie at the heart of America's foreign policy in the next presidential term. The repercussions of another reckless policy in the region could be calamitous. As voters who wish to support your candidacy but have serious concerns about your vision for the Middle East, we respectfully request that a clarification be made on the issues cited above. You should know that the members of MoveOn are very passionate about this issue. Many of us learned of these (apparent) associations after the primary vote. You should also know that the views of AIPAC do not represent the views of many Jewish-Americans as can be seen from the signatures below. A growing number of Jewish-Americans, Arab-Americans, and concerned citizens are working side-by-side to end the injustices of the occupation and implement a fair two-state solution as soon as humanly possible.