Flying Focus Video Collective

August 2004 Newsletter

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Bv     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321-5051    •

Israeli Soldier, American Analyst: End Occupation Of West Bank / Gaza

Two recent Flying Focus programs bring unique perspectives to the Israel/Palestine debate. In "Refusenik! Israel's Soldiers of Conscience" (VB #52.7&8), Israeli journalist and author Peretz Kidron speaks about and reads from a book he compiled with the same title. The book features the writings of dozens of Israelis who, like Kidron, served in the military but would not follow what they saw as illegal orders, including enforcing the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Most of them were sentenced to jail time as a result of their acting on their moral beliefs.

Kidron spoke in Portland in June, 2004, relating his own refusal during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. He points out that most of the Refuseniks are not pacifists, in fact they were proud to serve their countryˇbut only when their country was following international law. Kidron is an engaging and at times amusing speaker whose broad picture and detailed stories help clarify a complex situation.

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, also spoke in Portland on the issue of Israel's occupation. Bennis' talk at Reed College in February covered a host of issues, including the connections between the U.S. policy in Iraq, Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and U.S. support of Israeli policy. Bennis, who follows affairs at the United Nations, notes how the U.S. has repeatedly used its political power (and its veto power) to shield Israel from numerous international condemnations.

Her talk was taped and edited by new Flying Focus volunteer Daniel Goldman, and is featured in "Phyllis Bennis: Palestine and Occupation" (VB #51.4&5).

Portland Activist Brings Report From Italy's Women In Black Conference

Yvonne Simmons, local activist (and Flying Focus member), traveled to Italy in August, 2003 to join women from around the world speaking about peace issues. Part of a movement called "Women in Black," the conference included women from countries currently at war, suffering the aftermath of war, and causing war. "Let's Dare Make Peace: Report on Women in Black's 2003 Conference" (VB #50.11) also includes photographs from the conference and a sample exercise in which women reclaim words like "smart bomb" and "butterfly land mine" by deconstructing them.

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