Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Blog
I have just completed a day and a half, four-city Iowa speaking tour organized by the American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace, and other Iowa-based peace and justice organizations. They had put together events in Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids to mobilize opposition against a new Middle East war.
With the same cast of characters who pushed the US into the Iraq war, now ratcheting up the war talk against Iran, activists in Iowa are worried that unless a counter campaign is organized we could find the country being rushed headlong into a confrontation that would have disastrous consequences for the Middle East region and for the US.
In the four events, I spoke to over 400. We signed hundreds of letters of concern to local Congressmen and Senators, developed strategies to pass an anti-war plank and a Palestinian rights plank at the Iowa State Democratic Convention, and mapped out a plan to lobby Congressmen to sign onto Congresswoman Barbara Lee's House Resolution promoting negotiations and not war as the way to resolve tensions with Iran.
Iowa is a great state for progressive politics, with a strong and committed core of peace and justice activists. They have long been in the forefront of the movement for Palestinian rights. In 1988, Iowa was the first state to pass our resolution calling for a two-state solution. And our Concerned Iowans for Middle East Peace (CIMEP) formed in 2008 with over 2,000 caucus goers, continues to operate across the state.
What we have begun in Iowa will continue across the US. Israel has tried to take Palestine off the agenda, replacing it with hostile rhetoric about "all Iran, all the time". We are resolved to counter this by advocating negotiations and a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue and by insisting that Palestinian rights not be forgotten in the foreign policy debate.