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Death Threats in Berkeley

Left on our office voicemail at 2 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2003:

“Hi. I heard your speech today in UC Berkeley; the debate. I’m telling you this right now. On Monday, at 2 PM, you better not be in your office. Because me and my buddies, who were trained in the Israeli Army, will come and kill every single one of you son-of -a-bitches for what you are doing to destroy Israel. So watch out. This is not a joke. On Monday you better watch out. Don’t come to work.

And close your organization or you’re going to die.”

Dear Israel and your frenzied defenders,

No. We’re not going to die.

I know you’re used to killing people who are in your way. Old people, young people, leaders, followers, mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, factory workers, farmers.

It hasn’t seemed difficult for you. Human beings are immensely vulnerable. When people have no armor, no defending army, no power, all it takes is a few bullets. Skulls are easily penetrable by tempered steel. Rib cages are shattered with ease.

All it requires, really, is sufficient ruthlessness.

From the beginning of your nation you’ve made it clear that you possess this in abundance. In 1948 you ethnically cleansed the once-multicultural land on which you chose to impose your uni-cultural nation, of hundreds of thousands of human beings who did not fit your national vision of purity.

You call this your nation’s “War of Independence.”

Please explain this to me. Independence from whom?

From the farmers whose ancestors had tilled that land for centuries?

From the fishermen whose ancestors had fished in the Sea of Galilee and been turned, it is said, into fishers of men?

From the maintainers and harvesters of olive groves planted a millennium ago, orchards now daily uprooted by your cruelly efficient military bulldozers?

Independence from humanity? From morality? >From normality? From everyone else in the world?

And then you killed some more.

You called farmers trying to return to their farms “infiltrators” and killed them. You called the nations who had reluctantly but ineluctably sheltered them “harborers of terrorists” and killed their citizens. You invaded neighbor after neighbor after neighbor. Not a single one escaped your ferocity. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon.

And you assassinated. How you’ve assassinated. Your assassins have roved the world with great success – except when you’ve killed the wrong person here and there. You kill a waiter, mistaking him for a “terrorist,” and you don’t apologize.

You crush 23-year-old Rachel Corrie “unintentionally,” twice, and you don’t apologize. You shoot 21-year-old Tom Hurndahl in the back of the head, and you don’t apologize. You shoot 26-year-old Brian Avery in the face “by accident,” and you don’t apologize. You kill Palestinian grandmothers, nine-year-olds, infants, and you don’t apologize.

Approximately 85 percent of the people you kill in Palestine are “collateral damage,” and you don’t apologize.

Have you no manners?

In this country you kill some more. You killed Alex Odeh and Iris Kones, and at least five other Americans.

But that’s not all.

You’ve killed careers. You’ve killed businesses. You’ve killed hope. You’ve weeded out sprigs of integrity from our Congress, journalists of principle from our press.

But no more. Your reign of terror has ended.

There are too many of us. You’ve called “anti-Semitism” once too often. You’ve pressured one too many newspapers, one too many universities, one too many mayors. You’ve made one too many anonymous phone calls, emailed one too many crude messages. Threatened one too many organizations.

It is over. You will continue to win your battles, for awhile. But the war has turned.

We have awakened to the brutality of your injustice, and our numbers are growing. We are of every ethnicity and nationality, including your own citizenry, and we are joining together to uphold the holiness of our common humanity.

We are working to create a world of equality, of brotherhood and sisterhood, of compassion and respect, of laughter and love.

You are few, we are many.

You can’t kill us all.

Please join us.

ALISON WEIR is executive director of If Americans Knew, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing full and accurate information about Israel and Palestine. The organization was founded following her trip to the Palestinian territories as a freelance journalist in the winter of 2001. She can be reached at: alisonweir@yahoo.com

 

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Alison Weir is executive director of  If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest. An excerpt of her book was published in the March 21-23, 2014 issue of CounterPunch. Upcoming book talks can be seen on the book’s website.

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