2003.12.11: Issues for the December UFPJ Steering Committee Meeting

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW), December 11, 2003

1. UFPJ Should Consistently Advocate “End the Occupation and Bring the Troops Home Now!”

In contrast to empty promises by Bush and numerous other politicians, protests on October 25 and U.S. Labor Against the War’s conference on October 24-25 unambiguously demanded “End the Occupation and Bring the Troops Home NOW.”

This cutting-edge slogan effectively conveys growing sentiment amongst Iraqis, military families, vets, G.I.s, workers and people of color – those who suffer the war most acutely and whose resistance is critical.[1]

While its importance may seem obvious, “now” does not appear in UFPJ’s campaign plan. One result is the proposed demand that presidential candidates “commit to withdrawing all troops from Iraq by a fixed date.”

We propose instead that UFPJ consistently and prominently emphasize “now” throughout our work.

2. UFPJ Should Not Endorse U.N. Military Occupation of Iraq

UFPJ member organizations almost certainly agree on the need to oppose U.S. military and economic occupation; to demand reparations for sanctions, war and occupation; and to support Iraqi trade unions and other democratic institutions.

But it would be presumptuous, unnecessary and divisive for UFPJ to call for military occupation by the U.N. — whose brutal sanctions, complicity in the war, and blessing for U.S. occupation hasearned it well-deserved Iraqi enmity.

3. UFPJ Should Not Endorse “Geneva”

Palestinians throughout the world have denounced the “Geneva process” as a betrayal. As one recent statement argues, “Geneva” would “terminate the Palestinian march to freedom . . . nullify indefinitely and de-legitimize the Palestinian right to return, and . . . subordinate the Arab nation to a heavily militarized outpost.”[2] Numerous other Palestinian statements express the sameview.[3]

It may not be essential for UFPJ, as such, to take any position on “Geneva.” But given the overwhelmingly (and understandably) negative Palestinian response, we certainly have no business adopting Tikkun’s proposal that UFPJ support it. Member organizations can express their individual positions on this issue. But UFPJ should remain focused and united inopposition to U.S. support for Israeli apartheid.

4. UFPJ Should Not Seek to Marginalize ANSWER.

Notwithstanding backlash and some red-baiting, October 25’s display of broad and growing antiwar sentiment vindicated UFPJ’s decision to cosponsor with ANSWER, which, like UFPJ, has played a major role in mobilizing thousands of people against the war and occupation.

Therefore, while UFPJ’s recent outreach to other coalitions is welcome, it should not serve as a maneuver to marginalize or isolate ANSWER.


1. See, for example, NYCLAW Report on October 25 Protests, USLAW (November 17, 2003), http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LaborAgainstWar/message/1915.

2. The Reality of the “Geneva Accord,” December 11, 2003, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2249.shtml. At least two UFPJ Steering Committee members have already signed this statement.

3.  These include, in chronological order:

**Throwing away Palestinian refugee rights, (BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, October 13, 2003), at http://www.badil.org/Press/2003/press315-03.htm

**Al-Awda Action Call: The Right to Return Under Attack (October 13, 2003), at http://www.al-awda.org/defendtherightofreturn/

**Haithem El-Zabri, Palestinians Outraged by Geneva Accord, Alaqsaintifada.org, October 19, 2003, at http://www.palestinemonitor.org/Analysis/palestinians_outraged_by_geneva.htm

**Ali Abunimah, A disastrous dead end: the Geneva Accord, The Electronic Intifada, October 28, 2003, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2110.shtml

**The Geneva Accord: Beyond Time and Space, Challenge Magazine editorial, November 3,  2003, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2130.shtml

**Final Statement:  4th Annual Meeting Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition (November 5-10, 2003), at http://www.badil.org/Campaign/4th-London-Statement.htm

**Switzerland and the Geneva Accord: Undermining the Rule of Law (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, November 13, 2003), at http://www.pchrgaza.org/Interventions/possi.htm

**George Bisharat, Who caused Palestinian Diapora?, Sacramento Bee, November 30, 2003, at http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/forum/story/7896505p-8834995c.html

**Marwan Bishara, The Geneva Accord: a critical assessment, The Daily Star (Lebanon), December 1, 2003, at http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/01_12_03_b.asp

**Iqbal Jassat, “Geneva Accords” Endows Spurious Legitimacy to a “Bantustan” Palestine, Media Review Network, December 3, 2003, at http://www.montrealmuslimnews.net/genevaaccord.htm

**Khaled Amayreh, Geneva dissension, Al-Ahram Weekly, December 4-10, 2003, at http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/667/re1.htm

**Ali Abunimah, The False Hope of the Geneva Accord, Chicago Tribune, December 3, 2003, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2223.shtml

**Fateh, What Palestinians are saying about the Geneva initiative (BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, December 5, 2003), at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-News/message/13503

**James Bennett, An Ally of Sharon Foresees a Palestinian State, N.Y. Times, December 6, 2003, at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/06/international/middleeast/06ISRA.html

**Abdul-Ilah As-Saadi, The right of return, Aljazeera, December 9, 2003, at http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C82E25A7-9393-40EC-9011-C9F5468C8BB4.htm

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