Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nall to Attend Peace Vigil

I have been invited to attend the Birmingham Peace Project's Anti-War Rally and Peace Vigil on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006. If you are in or around Birmingham please come out and join us in calling for an end to the American occupation of Iraq and the heartbreaking conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

AUGUST 10, 2006
DIANE MCNARON 205.838.1391


PRESS CONFERENCE "Answering the Challenge: Veterans Respond to Riley"
Saturday, August 12
4:30 PM
Birmingham Festival Theatre
Immediately following THE EYES OF BABYLON, info below *
1901-1/2 11th Ave. So
Birmingham 35205

Saturday, August 12,
5:00 PM
Five Points So! uth at the Fountain

Gov. Bob Riley, at a news conference last Tuesday stated, "I've never talked to a person in the military yet who didn't say we ought to stay and we ought to win the war." The Birmingham Peace Project, unable to remain silent before this blatantly ill-informed assertion, announces a press conference to precede its Saturday Peace Vigil in cooperation with Pax Christi, and invites Gov. Riley to meet Iraq veteran and creator of the one-man show THE EYES OF BABYLON, actor and former US Marine Jeff Key; former Navy recruiter Susan Mims; Veteran for Peace leader David Waters and others who will afford Riley the opportunity to meet military personnel who, for many reasons, condemn the Iraq War.

Following the press conference, which will be held at Birmingham Festival Theatre, where Mr. Key's performance of his show has been so successful its run has been extended, the public and press are invited to a Vigil for Peace at the fountain at Fiv! e Points South. Members of the Birmingham Peace Project will deliver a recently written statement, copied below, condemning the latest illegal and immoral war of aggression, that of Israel against Lebanon.

In a retaliation utterly disproportionate to the alleged provocation, Israel rains terror upon those least able to defend themselves, the helpless civilian populations who are unable to flee, cutting off humanitarian aid channels with funds and arms supplied by the US. The Birmingham Peace Project stands in solidarity with International ANSWER in demanding that the people of the United States reject the quest for wider wars and the "reorganization" of the oil-rich Middle East to serve the interests of the already bloated energy companies, and instead spend these public funds on those things the people of this country need, including education, jobs and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.

*See the one-man show before it closes!
Antiwar play, THE EYES OF BABYLON, matinee preceding Press Conference
starring Former US Marine, Alabamian Jeff Key
Saturday, August 12, 2:30 PM
Birmingham Festival Theatre
phone 933.2382 for reservations or visit

Joint Statement on the current crisis in the Middle East issued by:

Birmingham Peace Project (David Gespass, 205-323-599, the or Jack Zylman, 205-933-7678)
Tuscaloosa Peace Project (David Lowe, 205-246-6126,
Alliance for Peace and Justice-Auburn/Opelika (Michael Mulvaney, 203-948-8803,
Mobile Citizens for Peace (Fairlie Schreiber, 251-450-5970[w], 251-645-8539[h])

-------------------------------------! ---------------------------------------------------------------
Recently, an interfaith meeting was hosted at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Alabama which developed "Ten Principles For Living in Community." The principles included: use of religion as an agent of healing, reconciliation and peace; everyone enjoying the same rights; understanding, cooperation and respect being encouraged; and no one using religion to gain advantage over others.
Recent weeks have demonstrated that the State of Israel has no interest in upholding these principles. Sadly, for Israel, more and more "Never Again" means never again will Jewish people be victims. If the phrase were to have any real meaning, "Never Again" would mean never again will the world community tolerate massive violations of human rights, but the Israeli government, protected by the United States, eagerly violates Palestinian, and now Lebanese, rights under that banner.
We cannot be silent in the face of the assault on the people of Gaza and, now, Lebanon. Indeed, those actions must ! be condemned by all who value peace, justice and human rights. Yet much of the media in this country, as well as government officials, call only for Palestinian concessions to end the suffering raining down upon them by US-supplied weapons.

The facts are not really open to debate. A free and fair election in the Occupied Territories resulted in a Hamas victory. Israel and the United States then refused to send to Palestine money that belonged to it because they opposed the democratically elected government there.
Israel, despite its claims, continues to occupy Palestinian land beyond the 1967 borders. A military target, a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, was captured, following severe provocation. In addition to the withholding of funds, Israeli troops stormed a Palestinian prison and seized a number of inmates after US and British troops who were supposed to protect the prison suspiciously abandoned their posts when Israeli forces approached. Some thirty P! alestinians were killed in the weeks before the capture. The captors s ought a prisoner exchange and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert flatly refused, claiming that he would not negotiate over what he - and the US media - refer to as the "kidnapping" of an occupying soldier.
Then, Israel launched an assault on Gaza that is truly unimaginable. Due to Israel's bombing, the main electrical generating plant has been destroyed. What little water Israel allows people in Gaza is unavailable. Sonic booms are constant. Artillery fire does not let up. People there live in constant terror and fear for their lives. What little infrastructure Israel has left to Gaza is fast being destroyed. It is evident that Israel's only interest, whatever its rhetoric, is in denying the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

Israel has committed numerous violations of international law. It is imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian and Lebanese people and has targeted the civilian populations in violation of the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions! . Its response, resulting in countless deaths in the civilian population, is entirely disproportionate to the capture of a total of three soldiers. Every United Nations agency on the ground in Gaza is reporting a growing humanitarian crisis in a population that was already suffering an 80% poverty rate and a 40% unemployment rate.

Terrorism is not perpetrated only by rogue individuals. It can be imposed by governments. There is no term more descriptive of the Israeli assault than state-sponsored terrorism. And there is no better way to describe the US in this regard than Israel's sponsor, so Americans have a special responsibility to demand the siege end immediately.

The current Israeli bombardment of Lebanon -- and especially Beirut, systematically destroying infrastructure and civilian escape routes -- is likewise brutal and naked aggression, raining terror upon innocent civilian populations and, as in Gaza, utterly disproportionate to the provocation. We therefore demand:

1. That Israeli aggression in Gaza and L ebanon cease immediately and that Israel withdraw behind the 1967 borders and that it cease the economic embargo and release all Palestinian funds to the legitimate government.

2. That Israel immediately and unconditionally release all Palestinian parliamentary and government officials it has kidnapped.

3. That Israel respect and act to implement the right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination.

4. That Israel comply with its obligations under the findings by the International Court of Justice that the wall it has constructed on Palestinian territory violates international law.
We recognize that some will accuse us of ignoring Palestinian acts of terror. In response, we can only quote Rabbi Michael Lerner, long a critic of both sides to the conflict: "But this week it's impossible as a Jew and as an American to not notice that a new human rights violation by Israel has taken place which manages to surpass many of its previous vio! lations in cruelty and in the outrage it has generated." Support of Israeli aggression is a betrayal of all that is good and noble in both Jewish and American traditions. We cannot be party to this and we cannot silently allow the United States to continue to facilitate it.
We support peace and security for all states in the Middle East but we condemn aggression and terror and all the more so when sponsored by a government in power.

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