The Tampa 5 - Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio
On 24 September, the FBI subjected about a dozen anti-war and international solidarity activists to raids of their homes, subpoenas and searches in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. Activists in California, Wisconsin and North Carolina were also harassed. These raids on activist communities should be deeply troubling to all social justice activists, whether their work is focused within the U.S. or internationally.
The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) joins the chorus of international condemnation of the US government attempt to silence people in the United States who act for human dignity and justice and who speak out against war and occupation.
From Colombia to Palestine, from the Philippines to Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, the United States and its allies promote or instigate war and military repression of indigenous people, providing weapons, ammunition and training to suppress local struggles against economic, political and social injustice. The US supports the Israeli occupation of historic Palestine to the tune of $3 billion dollars a year and more in direct military aid. In return, Israel provides the US with a military and political stronghold in a region whose resources it needs. Like Israel, Colombia is a primary US partner and largest recipient of US military aid in its hemisphere. Six billion US tax-dollars over the past ten years have made Colombia the third largest recipient of US military assistance in the world, after Israel and Egypt. Meanwhile, basic resources for people who live in the Unites States – access to employment, health care and education – are crumbling.
These priorities and policies are not new, nor is the dissent against them and the attempt to quell, crush and silence that dissent. Throughout US history, those who suffer from domestic policies, and who refuse to accept the suffering caused by U.S. foreign policy, have always spoken out, and are consistently threatened or punished for doing so effectively.
By removing those who protest dehumanization and disregard for human life in the name of power and control of resources, the checks and balances of a society are removed. The blatantly political use of anti-terrorism laws to suppress dissent reveals these laws' cynical purpose. We must be vigilant in assuring the right of concerned people to push governments to act in more just ways without the threat of being labeled terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. The laws used to target these activists, and indeed the whole list of terrorist groups itself, are inherently illegitimate and are being used to push a political agenda, not to ensure public security.
We, anti-Zionist Jews involved in global anti-war, Palestine solidarity and social justice movements, encourage the anti-war movement in the United States to place Palestine squarely in the center of its anti-war agenda. Challenging the US funding of Israel will not detract from critiques of the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. On the contrary, reducing the isolation of the Palestinian struggle, advancing challenges to Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and directly challenging the mutually beneficial relationship shared by the US and Israel are key to shifting US policy and practice that set the stage for endless war.
Struggles against police brutality, incarceration, deportation and detention, poverty, homelessness and environmental racism inside the US are increasingly understood alongside the need for the US to end its foreign occupations and funding of wars abroad. Likewise, the struggles to live in dignity in Colombia, Haiti, Palestine, Yemen, and so many countries around the world share the task of challenging U.S. intervention. We must continue to bolster the cross-struggle anti-war movement in the US that is being targeted precisely for its potential as a force of peace and justice with which the warmongers must reckon.