The following is a speech delivered by Carl Messineo at the August 12 National March on Washington. The speech received an overwhelming response, and afterwards was requested by many individuals in the crowd.
As a Jewish American, there is nothing I would wish more for the people of the Middle East than for peace. But it is not enough to merely demand peace, or an end to violence. We must demand an end to injustice.
Because so long as the injustices of the Middle East persist, there will be the never ending violence of oppression and there will be resistance to that oppression.
The formula of Israel - - a state built upon the domination by the Jewish people over historically Arab lands - - is a formula for never-ending conflict. This is also the formula of the imperial powers and the U.S. government which use Israel as a proxy in their efforts to recolonize and establish geo-political domination over the so-called "new Middle East." There is no security for anyone. Not for Muslims, not for Christians, not for Jews. Israel is destined to forever be a garrison state, walling itself in from the Arab and indigenous people who have worked the land for centuries and who seek to recover what is rightly theirs.
The Israelis assert that the slaughter of Lebanon is in the self defense of Zionism. As a progressive Jew, I want nothing to do with that brutal and unjust ideology.
There are those within the Jewish political establishment who charge anti-Semitism against any who dare condemn these terrible acts, or who condemn Israel fundamentally.
But being opposed to Zionism is not the same as being anti-Semitic.
You can be Jewish and believe the imposition of a Jewish theocracy in the historic land of Palestine is an obstruction not only to the inherent rights of the Palestinians, but is an obstacle to the peaceful coexistence of the Muslims, Jews and Christians who make the Middle East their homeland.
You can be Jewish, and share a meaningful connection with your religion, ethnicity or culture, but reject the idea that the Jewish suffering at the hands of others somehow entitles Israel to engage in brutal violence murder and torture, to inflict collective punishment, and to oppress or slaughter the Lebanese, the Palestinians, or others.
You can be Jewish and support the Palestinian right to return to their land. Not just to the West Bank, but to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and anywhere from which they were displaced.
Where do I stand on the issue of Israel and the Middle East? Right here, alongside the Palestinians. Right here, alongside the Lebanese. Right here, alongside the many Jewish people who demand fundamental change for the sake of justice and peaceful coexistence.
We will keep speaking out on this issue, and we will not be silenced by threats or intimidations. We will keep struggling in genuine friendship and mutual respect until we can together achieve a lasting peace in the historic land of Palestine, in Lebanon, in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.