Jul 29, 2006

Toledo Residents Protest Israeli Military Campaigns in Lebanon, Palestine

Share
(Toledo, OH) Approximately 100 Toledoans gathered on the corner of Talmadge and Sylvania to express their desire for peace in Lebanon and Palestine.

Many of the vehicles passing honked horns and waved. I did not see any counter-protesters at the rally, which took place during a heat index of 100 degrees.

Most of the protesters carried signs calling for peace, or for the US to take a more active role in brokering a cease-fire. There were a few more pointed placards that referred to Israel as a terrorist state.

I only saw one media outlet (WTVG-13) at the rally, although others may have arrived and left by the time I visited. It will be interesting to see if the local media covers this event with a comparable amount of attention as was given the rally at the Jewish Community Council last Monday.

The military campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, begun 17 days ago, has resulted in the deaths of over 400 civilians and billions of dollars worth of damage to roads, power plants, bridges, and airports. Approximately 130 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the concurrent military offensive in the territories of Palestine.

The US continues to refrain from endorsing any cease-fire deal that does not include the de-arming of Hezbollah and other preconditions, what US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice called an "urgent, but enduring" Middle East ceasefire.

Israel, however, today suggested for the first time that it might accept a cease-fire without an immediate disarming of Hezbollah, which may prove to be a major breakthrough.

11 comments:

Stephanie said...

Good for them for taking a stand!

Michael said...

I can't comment on the JCC rally and what was said there. However, did anyone today voice opposition to Hezbollah's kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers or its attacks against Israel?

This has nothing to do with religion. Just about power and who controls land in the Middle East.

All must realize that Israel will exist. Then, all most work together to get along and not resort to violence to resolve differences.
Mike

historymike said...

Thanks for commenting, Mike.

1. Some protesters were pushing more positive peace agendas, while others took a more condemnatory stance, blaming Israel.

2. Agreed about the importance of a 2-state solution. While one might argue that the 1947 UN Partition Plan screwed the Palestinians, there are now about 6 million Jews and 5 million Palestinians in the combined territories. Any plan that suggests a "new home" for either group is idiocy.

3. Getting sidetracked with arguments about "which side started this round of violence" is pointless. The focus needs to be on balancing the needs of both the Israelis AND Palestinians. The US, as the world's dominant superpower, needs to play mediator, not "Israel's best friend."

4. I also agree with a permanent (for the forseeable future) UN security force to secure Israel's borders while preventing a recurrence of the wholesale destruction of Palestinian and Lebanese civilian infrastructure by an Israeli military bent on attacking terrorists.

5. The best way to get Hamas and Hezbollah out of the picture is not through military action, but by improving the quality of life of the citizens of Lebanon and Palestine. Hamas and Hezbollah are popular not simply because of their ideology, but more for their ability to provide schools, hospitals, and social services in countries that lack the revenues to do so themselves. The best analogy I can think of is the Mafia, who obtained loyalty from residents in Mob-dominated neighborhoods by their ability to provide necessary services for the poor.

In both cases, people see these extra-legal groups as necessary evils, and accept the violence that accompanies their presence as an unavoidable cost.

Anonymous said...

4. I also agree with a permanent (for the forseeable future) UN security force to secure Israel's borders while preventing a recurrence of the wholesale destruction of Palestinian and Lebanese civilian infrastructure by an Israeli military bent on attacking terrorists.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


May G-D help anyone who's "security" is in the hands of the UN. The very thought of it conjures up images of those poor suckers, about 9,000 if I remember correctly, in Bosnia being marched off to their deaths while the "UN Blue Helmets" stood there watching, helpless, like cub bears playing with their pri*ks.

Photodan said...

Careful Mike, the US becomes labeled as "interfering world-police" whenever we take a stance on anything outside our borders. Of course, we're also denounced when we *don't* take a stance. Ahhh the joys of being the last superpower.

I'm afraid I disagree about your belief that the violence will end if Palestinians and Lebanese enjoy prosperity. I'm going to chance being over simplistic but the two groups have cultivated a deep seated hatred of each other for generations. We're talking about biblical hatred over who has a right to the holy lands or to exist outright. No amount of money or prosperity can cool the fires in the Middle East.

Until one side wipes the other out, any peace will be temporary at best. I'm not advocating that either side be eliminated, that's just the unfortunate truth as I see it. The US, as a predominantly Christian nation, will never be able to make the two sides respect each other enough to end the lust for spilling the other's blood. Sometimes I wonder about the wisdom of having anything to do with the conflict at all as we are bound to accomplish nothing but receiving a bloody nose from it.

-Dan

Dariush said...

Great news. Even if (naturally) such protests don't garner anywhere near the attention that pro-Israeli demos do.


"...did anyone today voice opposition to Hezbollah's kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers or its attacks against Israel?"

A timeline of events leading up to this conflict.

Dariush said...

Meanwhile Zbigniew Brzezinski has accurately characterized Israel's actions in Lebanon as the equivalent of killing hostages.

And Israel's ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, is drawing a great deal of opposition from within the political establishment itself.

Come September, he and his moustache may will be standing outside the American Enterprise Institue building, handing out resumes to all those coming or going.


Links to some BBC footage of the devastation in Lebanon here; Christian, Shi'a and Sunni alike fleeing the destruction, drinking filthy, brackish, probably contaminated water just to survive, being bombed and shelled as they flee in convoys with UN or Red Cross vehicles.

Here on Israel's Dresden strategy for Lebanon.


Billmon: I've felt many emotions about the Israelis before. I've admired them for their accomplishments -- building a flourishing state out of almost nothing. I've hated them for their systematic dispossession of the Palestinians -- even as they smugly congratulated themselves for being the Middle East's only "democracy." I've pitied them for the cruel fate history inflicted on the Jewish diaspora, respected them for their boldness and daring, honored them for their cultural and intellectual achievements. But the one thing I've never felt, at least up until now, is contempt.

But that is what I'm feeling now. The military and political leaders of the Jewish state are doing and saying things that go way beyond the blustering arrogance of a powerful nation at war. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they are behaving like a gang of miltaristic thugs -- whose reply to any criticism or reproach is an expletive deleted and the smash of an iron fist.

The most brutal public example would probably be the suggestion by the Israeli Justice Minister (!) that the IDF now has the world's blessing to simply line up the artillery and turn every village in southern Lebanon into a rubble pile -- lest too much Jewish blood be spilled in the vicious door-to-door fighting required to "make something happen" on the ground.

But I think the most eloquent expression of Zionism without a human face was the reaction of Israel's UN ambassador (who's apparently been taking asshole lessons from John Bolton) to Kofi Annan's complaint about the deaths of four UN observers in Lebanon -- an incident which appears to have been the result of either negligance on a world-class scale or cold-blooded murder.

"Dan Gillerman, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, was more outspoken, demanding an apology. He said he was 'shocked' by Annan's 'premature and erroneous' accusations."

So the IDF wipes out a clearly marked, long-established UN observation post after an eight-hour artillery barrage, and Gillerman wants Annan to apologize. He sounds like some monacled Prussian general who's just been told the Belgians are complaining about the behavior of the Kaiser's troops. One can almost see the cold-eyed sneer on his face.


[snip]

Massively disproportionate use of force (as defined in the Geneva Conventions, not the fevered war porn fantasies of Right Blogistan) reprisal terror bombings, an if-it-moves-shoot-it mentality on the ground:

"Over here, everybody is the army," one soldier said. "Everybody is Hezbollah. There's no kids, women, nothing."

Another soldier put it plainly: "We're going to shoot anything we see."


And now a proposal to turn all of southern Lebanon into a free fire zone.


[snip]

The fact that Hizbullah is now demonstrating the limits of Israeli power -- or rather, the limits on how much Jewish blood the Israeli government is willing to spend to exercise that power -- is only making matters worse. The Israeli leadership elite is starting to sound like the semen-crusted violence addicts at Little Green Footballs.


Btw, the Spanish-language cable channels are consistently referring to Hezbollah as "guerrillas" not "terrorists". One can only speculate as to what differences there are between their media and "ours".

liberal_dem said...

Regarding the demonstration itself, it is not surprising that the media did not cover it.

The NW Ohio Peace Coalition demonstrates every Sunday at a different intersection in Toledo. It becomes a ho-hum experience for the passers-by. Even during the run-up to Bush's War on Iraq, the media barely covered these dedicated people.

We have become a ho-hum citizenry, evidenced by our entertainment mindset and absence at the voting booth. I suspect that the motorists passing by were more interested in what they were going to buy at the mall.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

"I'm afraid I disagree about your belief that the violence will end if Palestinians and Lebanese enjoy prosperity. I'm going to chance being over simplistic but the two groups have cultivated a deep seated hatred of each other for generations."

It may not totally end, but it would decrease greatly--it's easier to incite people who have lost hope and are at the end of their ropes.

liberal_dem said...

The 'unfortunate' bombing of the apartment in Lebanon resulting in +50 deaths of women and children points out how stupid this entire 'campaign' is.

patrick said...

Bravo Toledo, as an ex Toledoan now living permanently in Europe, I wonder about what is going on in America. I am so glad to see that there are people in Toledo with guts enough to gather publicly and demonstrate.
I watch American News via satellite and European News and Mid East News and I think that you are watching a different war in America than the one the rest of the world sees.
Israel has to stop its campaign of violence now for its own sake and of course the sake of Lebanon.
Where is this leading? To a waste land destroyed and littered with uranium hardened shell casings?
The oil slick from the bombed Lebanese oil facility has already created the biggest ecological disaster the Mediterrenean has ever seen. They are creating generations of hate instead of eliminating a present threat.
The first blogger was right in a sense, it isn't about
religion. This is about power and the control of the energy resources and which way the oil from Iran will flow....to Asia? or tankers to the USA?