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An Appeal from American Jews to the Green Party of Germany

by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, Robert Naiman

An Appeal from American Jews
to the Green Party of Germany

We are Jewish Americans who are deeply concerned that the memory and tragedy of the Holocaust is being invoked in order to justify an unjust bombing campaign against the civilian population of Yugoslavia. Many of us have friends who lost family members in the Holocaust, or have lost relatives ourselves. We are deeply aware of our own history and the need for the world community to intervene in situations where there is a threat of genocide, in order to prevent it. However, this is clearly not what is happening in Yugoslavia today.

We do not believe that our government’s war against Yugoslavia is motivated by humanitarian concerns. This is evidenced by their refusal to airlift food and water to desperate refugees within Kosovo, as well as the paltry sums allocated for refugee relief as compared to the billions of dollars spent on the bombing. The Clinton Administration’s great reluctance to pursue a negotiated solution to the conflict also indicates that this intervention is mainly about power: showing the world that the United States (and NATO, which it largely controls) is the self- appointed international policeman, and stands above international law and the United Nations. They are waging their war against civilians, destroying the Yugoslav economy and killing hundreds of innocent people, in order to demonstrate and consolidate their power.

Many supporters of the bombing have drawn analogies to the Holocaust, arguing that the world cannot simply stand by in the face of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. But the bombing has greatly worsened the situation of the Kosovar Albanians, as is now universally recognized. It has also destroyed the pro-democracy movement within Yugoslavia, and is destabilizing neighboring countries.

We urge you to reject these false and exaggerated analogies to the Holocaust and World War II, which are being used to garner support for a bombing campaign that is intensifying the suffering of all nationalities in Yugoslavia. We appeal to the Green Party of Germany to oppose this war, and to support a negotiated solution of the conflict.

(Organizations listed for identification only).

Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor of Linguistics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Edward S. Herman
Professor Emeritus, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Mark Weisbrot
Research Director, Preamble Center

Dean Baker
Senior Research Fellow, Preamble Center

Robert Naiman
Research Associate, Preamble Center

Note:

The above letter could make a difference in helping to
stop the bombing of Yugoslavia. We have just 6 days to gather
signatures and deliver it to the Green Party of Germany, which is
meeting on Thursday, May 13. Many Green Party members are
very angry about their party’s support of bombing, and if the
conference votes to oppose the bombing, the ruling Social
Democratic-Green Party alliance will be under tremendous
pressure to change its policies or risk the collapse of its coalition
government.

We are circulating this letter from American Jews because in
Germany (as in the US), many liberal and progressive people are
being told that those who oppose the bombing of Yugoslavia are
committing the same mistake as those who failed to intervene in
the events leading up to the Holocaust. We disagree strongly, as
explained below.

Please circulate this letter as widely and rapidly as you can,
especially through e-mail and web sites. To sign on, simply return
your name, and any title or organizational affiliation (it will be
made clear that this is for identification only) to: naimanr@preamble.org

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