Events: Get Involved!

Tell Pelosi Impeachment Is On the Table!
Monday July 9th
The Fairmont San Francisco
950 Mason Street
San Francisco

Join CODEPINK outside of The Fairmont Hotel to tell Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Impeach Bush & Cheney on Monday July 9th 12noon-12:45 or 1:15-2:00pm.

George Bush and Dick Cheney have lied the nation into a war of aggression, are spying in open violation of the law, and have sanctioned the use of torture. These are high crimes and misdemeanors that demand accountability. It's time to say NO to impunity for lying, spying, and torture. Stand with us behind the huge pink IMPEACH banner. Wear Pink! Wear Your Pink Slip!

The 1st Pelosi Watch discussion took place on Thursday February the 22nd at the San Fracisco Public Library with Medea Benjamin, Alan Benjamin, Antonia Juhasz and Dr. Stephen Zunes, here is a sample of the evenings discussion:

Pelosi Watch
--Dr. Stephen Zunes

When President George W. Bush defended Israel's assaults on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure this summer and defied the international community by blocking United Nations efforts to impose a cease-fire, Pelosi backed a resolution commending him for "fully supporting Israel." In this resolution, Pelosi claimed that Israel's actions were legitimate self-defense under the U.N. Charter and she challenged the credibility of reputable human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which documented widespread attacks by Israeli forces against civilians in areas far from any Hezbollah military activity. Pelsosi went on record praising "Israel's longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss and welcom[ed] Israel's continued efforts to prevent civilian casualties."

Similarly, Pelosi echoed President Bush's support for Israel's 2002 offensive in the West Bank. In response to Amnesty International's observation that the massive assault appeared to be aimed at the Palestinian population as a whole, Pelosi co-sponsored a Congressional resolution supporting the devastating Israeli offensive and claiming that it was instead "aimed solely at the terrorist infrastructure."

In March 2003, Pelosi signed a letter to President Bush opposing the White House-endorsed Middle East "Road Map" for peace, which she claimed was too lenient on the Palestinians. Pelosi insisted that the peace process must be based not on an end to Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land seized in the 1967 war, but "above all" on the end of Palestinian violence and the establishment of a new Palestinian leadership. She has subsequently insisted that the Palestinians alone are responsible for implementing the first stage of the Road Map and has failed to even mention any of Israel's reciprocal responsibilities, such as ending the sieges and military assaults on Palestinian population centers and halting the construction of additional illegal settlements. Pelosi's letter also voiced opposition to the United Nations or any government other than the United States monitoring progress on the ground.

Pelosi attacked the International Court of Justice for its landmark 2004 ruling calling for the enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention in Israeli-occupied territories. Pelosi also condemned the World Court's near-unanimous advisory opinion that Israel's separation barrier could not be built beyond Israel's internationally-recognized border into the occupied West Bank in order to incorporate illegal settlements into Israel.

Pelosi supports Bush's policy of refusing to resume normal relations with the PA unless the cabinet excludes members of Hamas or any party that does not recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. By contrast, Pelosi raised no concerns about Olmert's recent appointment of Avignor Lieberman, who has called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel and much of the West Bank, as a cabinet minister and his new deputy prime minister.

Pelosi has also pushed for increasing U.S. military aid to Israel and has rejected calls to condition the aid on an improvement in Israel's human rights record. Pelosi has also pushed for an increase in economic assistance to Israel's rightist government, already the recipient of nearly one-third of all U.S. foreign aid, despite the country's relative affluence and the fact that Israelis represent only one-tenth of one percent of the world's population.

She has voted to impose sanctions on Syria for its failure to unilaterally disarm its missiles while voting to send far more deadly missiles to Israel, Turkey and other U.S. allies in the region. She has threatened Iran for its nuclear program while defending Israel for its development of a sizable nuclear arsenal

She has favored sanctions against a number of Middle Eastern countries that have violated UN Security Council resolutions but has defended Israel's ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolutions, while she has voted for a series of resolutions praising George W Bush, she did not hesitate to criticize former president Jimmy Carter for raising concerns about Israeli violations of human rights an intl law Carter has always been and remains a strong supporter of Israel's right to exist in peace and security, but Pelosi denounced him for his opposition to the Israeli occupation, insisting that Carter "does not speak for the Democratic Party". Public opinion polls, however, show that more Democrats agree with Carter on this issue than they do with Pelosi. Therefore, it is Nancy Pelosi, not Jimmy Carter, who does not speak for the Democratic Party!

Indeed, if you look at her votes and statements regarding U.S. policy toward Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and a number of other nations in that region, you'll find that Nancy Pelosi's position is:

-Closer to right-wing Christian coalition than the moderate National Council of Churches
-Closer to rightist Rev Jerry Falwell than late liberal clergyman William Sloan Coffin
-Closer to the neoconservative Project for New American Century than to liberal group Peace Action
-Closer to right-wing American Enterprise Institute than the liberal Institute for Policy Studies
-Closer to right-wing Jewish groups like AIPAC and Zionist Organization of America than liberal Jewish groups like Americans for Peace Now, Tikkun, Jewish Voice for Peace or Birt Tzedek v'Shalom
-Closer to right-wing Israeli Likud party than the liberal Israeli Meretz party
-Closer to Tom DeLay than to Barbara Lee
-Closer to George W Bush than to Jimmy Carter

Now, there are apologists for Nancy Pelosi who insist that it is not her fault she takes such right-wing positions. Despite being the most powerful woman in the history of American politics, there are some people who claim she is actually a victim of the so-called "pro-Israel lobby"; these Pelosi supporters claim that there is this sinister cabal of rich and powerful Jews behind the scenes that tell her what to say and what not to say, how to vote and how not to vote

Frankly, that is bullshit:
She is not a victim, she is a perpetrator
She is in one of the safest districts in the country, routinely winning elections by 80% of the vote; she doesn't need Jewish votes or Jewish money to win
Besides, polls show that, on average, American Jews are actually more liberal on Israeli-Palestinian issues than Pelosi is, presumably even more so here in San Francisco, and, contrary to popular belief, it is necessarily not politically-dangerous to criticize certain policies of the Israeli government, for example, every single Democrat who opposed this summer's resolution in support of the Israeli assault on Lebanon was re-elected by a larger margin than they were in 2004

The problem is NOT that Pelosi is "too pro-Israel". The policies she advocates are a disaster for Israel, she supports Israeli policies for the same reasons she has supported unconditional funding for Bush's war in Iraq:  to advance an imperialist agenda in the Middle East and to guarantee profits for American arms merchants

This summer, for example, at the urging of the Bush administration, Israel launched massive bombing raids throughout Lebanon and, in retaliation, Hezbollah began targeting Israeli civilians with rockets. Thousands of Israelis took the streets in protest, chanting "We will not kill and die for Bush" Pelosi's response was, "Oh yes you should!"

The war was a disaster for Israel on many levels, just as the occupation and colonization of the West Bank has made peace with its Arab neighbors and security of Israel impossible, but Pelosi doesn't really care about Israel, an Israel at peace with its neighbors would be less likely to support Washington's militaristic agenda than an Israel in a constant state of war

So, for the sake of the people of Palestine and Lebanon, as well as for the people of Israel, we must stop Pelosi's right-wing agenda, she knows that the vast majority of her constituents don't agree with her, but she hopes that most of them don't know about it and, if they do, they won't do anything about it - That's where we come in-- We need to expose Pelosi's right-wing militarist agenda in the Middle East and her despicable efforts to discredit human rights activists and undermine international law, and we need to mobilize to build a movement that will be strong enough to either force her to change her policies or run her out of office.

Stephen Zunes has been at USF since 1995, teaching courses on Middle Eastern and African politics, nonviolence, conflict resolution, and globalization for the Politics department, the Peace & Justice Studies minor (which he chaired from 1998 to 2005) and the International Studies major. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College, his M.A. from Temple University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Professor Zunes serves as a writer and Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project, an associate editor for Peace Review.