“Freedom is not free,” goes the old bumper sticker slogan, commonly accompanied by an image of a flag or soldiers or some other bullshit.
Freedom is not free, the saying goes, because military personnel are out there laying their lives on the line fighting for your right to do as you’re told and toil away at a meaningless job making some rich asshole even richer.
Freedom is not free, because we’re all just so much freer after murdering families on the other side of the planet for corporate profits and geostrategic domination.
Freedom is not free, because we’re all so much freer after teenagers get thrown into the gears of the imperial war machine to provide a good quarterly statement for Raytheon shareholders.
Freedom is not free, because this thing we’re calling “freedom” has been paid for with the blood, lives and limbs of millions of innocents throughout the Global South.
Freedom is not free. That’s why the only people doing as they please in our world are wealthy oligarchs.
Freedom is not free. And unless you’re wealthy enough or psychopathic enough there’s no way you’ll ever find a way to pay the price.
Freedom is not free. That’s why you don’t have any.
Since the Israeli/Palestinian ceasefire began this week, the Biden administration’s refrain has been that Israelis and Palestinians should have “equal measures of security, peace, and dignity,” but not a word about equal rights.
The administration’s silence on Palestinian rights is an affirmation of the Israel’s apartheid policies, which deny Palestinians equal citizenship, restrict their movement, and dispossess them of their homes and land.
We demand that the U.S. cease all military aid to Israel until it respects the human rights of Palestinians. The cutoff of US military aid to Israel is the leading demand on the U.S. of the Palestinian National BDS Committee, which has broad support in Palestinian civil society.
Biden’s Unconditional Support for Israel
The cease fire came despite the Biden administration, not because of it. Biden’s UN Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, gave Israel the greenlight to continue bombing Gaza three times by repeatedly blocking UN Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire.
Biden’s unconditional support for Israel’s expansionist colonial policies was underscored in the first weeks of his administration by his decision to affirm Trump’s move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli-occupied territory of Jerusalem prior to a negotiated solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict.
Biden’s unconditional support for Israeli policies was reaffirmed when he approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel in the middle of the recent Israeli/Gaza war.
Israeli Repression Continues Despite Ceasefire
The ceasefire came as we approached the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of the police, an event that sparked the global Black Lives Matter uprising against police brutality. Now the world is outraged by Israel’s militarized policing of Palestinians.
Even as the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza was beginning, militarized Israeli police continued to wage a campaign of fear and intimidation against Palestinians inside Israel’s own borders.
Israeli authorities continue the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, one of the precipitating causes of the Israel/Gaza war. At Friday prayers last week, Israeli security forces again used stun grenades and rubber bullets against Palestinian worshippers outside the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem where earlier attacks on worshippers helped provoke the war.
Israeli security is now making mass arrests of Palestinians in Israel who took part in protests and defended their neighbourhoods from assaults by right-wing Israelis. Israeli Arabs face new police checkpoints and spying by plain clothes cops, while police stand by and allow racist anti-Arab gangs of Israelis to assault Palestinians. Israeli police have used violence and nighttime raids against Palestinians in mixed cities like Haifa, Jaffa, and Lod, where there has been unprecedented inter-ethnic violence between Israeli Jews and Arabs in recent weeks.
What is striking about Palestinian resistance in this recent conflict is the degree of solidarity among Palestinians across Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank. In protest against the Israeli campaign in Gaza, Palestinians staged a broadly-supported general strike on May 18 across Israel and the occupied territories. The Israel Builders Association said that only 150 of the 65,000 Palestinian construction workers showed up for work.
In the United States we must demonstrate our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for human rights by demanding an end to U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to the Israeli military. Since World War Two, Israel has been the largest overall recipient of US foreign aid. In 2016 President Obama signed a $38 billion 10-year military aid package. U.S. tax dollars are helping Israel to develop one of the most advanced militaries in the world and to purchase sophisticated military equipment from the United States.
We urge participation in the National March for Palestine in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 29, from 3:00 to 8:00 pm. The march is called by a broad coalition of pro-Palestinian organizations who are have initiated a new campagin to #SanctionIsrael.
It was around noon and I was texting a friend about who-knows-what when I added, almost as an afterthought: “tho they seem to be invading the Capitol at the mo.” I wasn’t faintly as blasé as that may sound on January 6th, especially when it became ever clearer who “they” were and what they were doing. Five people would die due to that assault on the Capitol building, including a police officer, and two more would commit suicide in the wake of the event. One hundred forty police would be wounded (lost eye, heart attack, cracked ribs, smashed spinal disks, concussions) and the collateral damage would be hard even to tote up.
Shortly after the mass killing in Georgia—including six Asian women—earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the violence, saying it “has no place in America or anywhere.” Blinken made the comments during his first major overseas trip to Asia with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, where Blinken warned China that the United States will push back against its “coercion and aggression,” and Austin cautioned North Korea that the United States was ready to “fight tonight.”
Yet such hawkish rhetoric against China—which was initially spread by Donald Trump and other Republicans around the coronavirus—has directly contributed to rising anti-Asian violence across the country. In fact, it’s reflective of a long history of US foreign policy in Asia centered on domination and violence, fueled by racism. Belittling and dehumanizing Asians has helped justify endless wars and the expansion of US militarism. And this has deadly consequences for Asians and Asian Americans, especially women.
Anti-Asian violence through US foreign policy has manifested in the wars that have killedmillions, torn families apart, and led to massive displacement; in the nuclear tests and chemical weapons storage that resulted in environmental contamination in Okinawa, Guam, and the Marshall Islands; in the widespread use of napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Korea; in the US military bases that have destroyed villages and entire communities; in the violence perpetrated by US soldiers on Asian women’s bodies; and in the imposition of sanctions that result in economic, social, and physical harms to everyday people.