Peace Agenda Forum Speaks Out Against U.S.-Israeli Aggression

June 15 , 2004

On June 2, the Peace Agenda Forum held a public meeting in the Chicago area to denounce U.S.-Israeli aggression and support the Palestinian people's struggle. The forum was sponsored by End the Occupation - Northern Illinois (ETO), the Workers Party, Youth and Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy and the DuPage Peace Through Justice Coalition. About 40 people, from many walks of life, participated.

The first speaker, from the ETO, gave a history of Palestine. With a series of maps, he graphically showed how the zionist movement and the state of Israel have continually expanded, usurping the homeland of the Palestinian people by force of arms and depriving them of their independence and rights. In his speech and through the screening of a short video, the speaker also depicted the harsh conditions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza and exposed some of the brutal tactics of the occupiers, including the demolition of Palestinian homes. The speaker zeroed in on the Israeli strategy of expanding its territories through illegal settlements in the West Bank and cantonizing Palestinian population centers in such a way as to undermine the creation of a genuinely viable Palestinian state.

A second talk was given by Michael Thorburn, a member of the Workers Party, who began by calling for the immediate and complete cutoff of U.S. aid to Israel and support for the Palestinian people's just struggle for their own independent state. The audience vigorously applauded, showing its support for these demands.

Michael Thorburn provided a detailed history of U.S. policy over the last 50 years, showing how Israeli aggression and expansionism derived its economic, political, and military strength from U.S. imperialism. The U.S. uses Israel as a garrison in its struggle to dominate the oil-rich and strategic Middle East and to suppress the Arab peoples' struggles for national independence. Michael Thorburn exposed how none of the "peace plans" authored and advertised by various U.S. administrations call for a genuinely independent Palestinian state which has the attributes of sovereignty.

Michael Thorburn stressed that today, the stepped up U.S.-Israeli aggression in Palestine must be placed in the context of U.S. imperialism's so-called "war on terrorism" which aims at recolonizing the Middle East. He showed how the real terrorists are the U.S. imperialists and Israeli aggressors and showed how the Palestinian liberation struggle is part of a worldwide people's front against war and imperialism.

A lively discussion period followed the presentations. In both the formal and informal discussions, many people remarked how the Forum hit the nail on the head, bringing sharply home both the conditions facing the Palestinian people as well as the paramount need for the American people to direct their efforts against U.S. aid to Israel.

The Peace Agenda Forum is a new initiative of anti-war activists in the Chicago area. It aims to bring the people's demand for peace to centerstage, to bring together the many currents and organizations in the anti-war struggle and to develop the grassroots peace movement in the schools, neighborhoods and workplaces.