City Commission Resolution: Paul Clements comments in support of Resolution to Support Human Rights for Israelis and Palestinians by Ending US Military Aid to Israel
Thank you, Commissioners, fellow citizens, and friends. I would like to speak to why I support the resolution.
The establishment of the state of Israel can’t be understood outside the context of the long and terrible history of anti-semitism. The Jewish people suffered discrimination and atrocities for centuries in Europe and Russia, culminating in the tragic crimes of the holocaust, and atrocities continue today. We must all condemn anti-semitism.
In the early part of the 20th century, however, the great majority of people living in the land that is now Israel were Palestinian Arabs. The establishment of Israel as a Jewish homeland in 1948 was the result of an invading, dispossessing and displacing political presence, similar in these respects to the establishment of the United States. The international community has come to accept the state of Israel with its 1967 borders. Since 1967, however, Israel has continued the Zionist project, subjecting Palestinians to a police-state, and with the settlement movement taking more and more Palestinian lands.
There is much injustice and innocent suffering in the world, but Israel could not have maintained its oppression of Palestinians without US support, so here we bear direct responsibility. While I support US security guarantees for Israel with the 1967 borders, we should stop financing Israeli oppression and use our influence to support the well-being of both Palestinians and Israelis. This would also help to reduce other conflicts in the Middle East and enhance our credibility with the international community.
As a people we need to respect the dignity of each human being. The day we stop striving for this is the day we begin to lose our soul.
This is why I urge the Commission to adopt this resolution.