What goes around, comes around. Testimony by Daniel Smith on May 6 to City Commission.

I’m Daniel Smith, I don’t live within the city limits, but I worked at Upjohn and Pfizer, studied and worked at Western and I stand for peace every Sunday in front of the Federal Building on the corner of Park and Michigan.

It’s important that we not conflate criticism of Israel government policy with antisemitism.  We must all come together and fight racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.  The focus of this resolution is human rights and security for all, which would come about through a just and equitable settlement.

There is a saying, “What goes around, comes around”.

The $3.8 billion dollars which we send to the Israeli military enables it to deprive 5 million Palestinians of their human rights.  This cannot be done without a sophisticated system of checkpoints, mass surveillance, collective punishment, militarized borders, militarized policing, detention without warrant or trial, and violent suppression of protest.

“What goes around, comes around”.

Since the early 2000s, thousands of U.S. police officers, sheriffs, border patrol agents, ICE officers and FBI agents have trained with Israeli military and police forces.  They learn techniques which are put into practice back here in the USA.

In Ferguson, Missouri, the police chief had gone for training in Israel, and we all know about the human rights abuses that happened in Ferguson.

This is partly why the Movement for Black Lives has a plank in their platform of solidarity with Palestinians struggling for their rights.

Israel has one of the most powerful armed forces in the world.

On the Palestinian side is a stateless people living under military occupation, with no artillery, no navy, no tanks, no anti-aircraft weapons, no fighter jets.

I condemn the rockets coming from Gaza, and mourn the loss of life.  I also condemn the Israeli missile and bombing raids upon Gaza.  This is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with nowhere to escape, and ordinary civilians pay a high price.

Now we have a chance to stop the cycle of violence.  We have an opportunity to send around a message of love, hope, peace, nonviolence and justice.  Let’s remember that Nelson Mandela said after the fall of apartheid South Africa, quote We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians. unquote

Let’s remember Rachel Corrie, the student from Washington state. Rachel was run over and killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while she was protesting the demolition of a family home in Gaza.  Let her spirit of courage and love guide us today.