Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicago Hearing examines whether U.S. policy toward Palestine and Israel upholds our values

US Campaign member group American Friends Service Committee organized a remarkable event this past Sunday: a mock Congressional hearing on U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. From the Chicago Hearing website:
"The Chicago Hearing will bring together witnesses to tell seldom-heard stories from Israel-Palestine that raise critical questions about the effects of U.S. policies in the region. Does Israel's explanation of security legitimize its violations of international law? Does the U.S. government condone Israeli policies and practices that would not be tolerated if replicated in America by the U.S. government?

The Hearing highlights voices of those on the other end of the pipeline of U.S. aid to Israel. Israeli, Palestinian and American witnesses will testify to lives lost, freedoms denied and property destroyed by Israeli policies buttressed by U.S. aid and support. The witnesses will testify to the collateral effects of U.S. policies toward Israel: military and financial aid that totaled over $3 billion in 2009 as well as unconditional diplomatic support for Israel in the United Nations.

A Listener Panel of public officials, academics and religious leaders will ask questions and make comments following the testimony. The Hearing, modeled after a Congressional fact-finding hearing, will center on three topics: Property Rights; Freedom of Movement, Association and Speech; and Military Aid and Armaments. A speaker will provide the context for each topic and will introduce one or more witnesses"

The event was introduced by US Campaign Steering Committee member Jennifer Bing-Canar, moderated by Helena Cobban of Just World News, and included US Campaign National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner, US Campaign Advisory Board member Barbara Ransby, and US Campaign allies such as Cindy Corrie, Amer Shurrab (who also participated in the US Campaign's Capitol Hill briefing on civilian casualties caused by U.S. weapons in Israel/Palestine), and Jeff Halper. Check out the promo video, and visit the Chicago Hearing website for more video of this remarkable event: