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Dr. E. Faye William's Statement at the
IRmep Capitol Hill Forum on
“A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Gold Room- Rayburn Congressional House Office Building

I'm delighted to be here to discuss a subject that has been troubling me for many years now. You know, there was a time when we as Americans could trust our leaders; we could depend upon them to first and foremost do what is in the interest of the American People, without violating the rights of people around the world.

Now Richard Perle's study group document outlines a set of policies to be pursued in the Middle East, not only by Israel, but also by the United States, and if you've not read this document, let me just say that it is a chilling document.

For this group, not elected by anybody in the United States or Israel, or any country for that matter, to so brazenly plan the manipulation and the management of U.S. leaders to comply with policies the ‘Clean Break' group felt were in the best interest of all regarding Syria and Lebanon and Turkey and Jordan and Palestine, and many others. Now, if you don't do research, if you didn't analyze daily events, if you didn't listen carefully to the news and other the other contradictions and then you didn't look for the other side, then you're not hearing these things from mainstream media. So you really have no way to ‘get it' except for the occasional brave, alternative voice that gives a view.

You wouldn't understand the impact of the Perle document that others have on determining U.S. Policy in both the Middle East but for Israel as well as the United States of America. And, of course, you know why, if you read this document, and you understand it, why we are becoming isolated in the world.

Now, have those policies brought peace and justice anywhere in the world? No they have not and they won't. And you've heard the professor say many of the reasons they won't.

There was a time when Americans were welcomed everywhere around the world, I know. But, in essence, now we have been denied a fundamental right to travel because of the danger of identifying yourself as an American. Now when you analyze “Clean Break”, you understand why this is so.

I don't believe the rest of the world belongs to some ‘axis of evil' as some of our leaders have pointed out. That is what I've seen them say, but I've not seen that as I've talked with people around the world, and I've criss-crossing this wonderful planet of ours. I don't believe that Cold War metaphors that ‘A Clean Break' suggests are relevant in today's complex international system. They were irrelevant the moment they were ‘out there' from this group.

I still believe in the basic goodness of the Iraqi people, the Palestinian people, the Muslims, almost all Muslims; and many of the Israelis that I've met, around the world, those whether they are in the US or abroad.

And I can express this belief because I know many of these people. I see them as human beings. I have traveled to their homes, I've spent time with them, I've been guest in their homes, I've heard their cries and felt their spirit often—and they just want to be treated fairly. And they want peace. I mean, that's the normal thing to want.

Now, I know this, also because I am a Black American, and that's also what we as Black Americans want, and what we've had to fight for and to explain all of our lives. So I have an affinity with people who are being treated unfairly.

If you're in power, I know that it's difficult for you to understand what the lost, the least and the left out want, because dissenting voices are rarely heard in our nation. We rarely have a platform to give those alternative, or as they're called, alternative views.

I have faith that when the American people pause and think about what is happening to our world as a result of the policies and the obvious alignment of policies with those of a small group purporting to represent that nation. When the news people begin to think and begin to pause they will too begin to challenge some of the things that they are just repeating right now. And the world, of course, will be better for that pausing and thinking.

In 1995, you've heard that I played a pivotal role in what was called the “Million Man March”, bringing more than a million men to Washington, DC for peaceful purposes to speak for the often maligned Black man in this country, and rarely did we have mainstream media covering what we were doing either before we got here, or after the march was over, to capitalize on bringing that one million men together. Actually, the one million plus men were already here in Washington, staring the media in their eyes, before they began to address or to show what was going on. They gave us little or no help.

Now, as a Black American, despite the consequences, I have often been compelled to speak out for people who cannot speak for themselves, whether they are here in the United States or whether they're abroad.

And in these days of managed media, alternative voices have got to seek greater opportunities for the masses of the people to be heard. And about what the impact of this document, ‘A Clean Break' can have on us, as people who are not in the majority race in this country, but who are not in the minority around the world.

Now, for several years, some of us have had the audacity to speak out on a subject like Middle East policy and, of course, I dare say that we've been punished for it. Because somehow the Middle East is supposed to be an untouchable subject, except for those who are in power.

I have seen otherwise strong, honest, eloquent, powerful people just somehow cringe, and kow-tow, and become mum, in the subject of Middle East Policy. They babble, they back down, you hardly know them as the same people on anything that might be perceived as critical or unflattering to Israel or to U.S. policy in the Middle East. Even presidents find it difficult to speak out on this issue, and to perform their duties. In 1991, after the first president Bush threatened to veto loan guarantees as a foreign policy lever, he correctly quantified the wall of opposition that stifles all debate on this subject. And I'll quote what he said. He said there is “something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill” and that may be an understatement, “to work the other side of the question. … We've got one lonely little guy down here doing it."

Now since that time, the situation has gone down hill, if there is such a thing as going down hill from there.

Now never mind the fact that many of Israel's high-ranking intelligence and military personnel have begun stepping forward to openly question Israeli policies and tactics toward Palestinians as they use the word “disgraceful”. I applaud them for their courage. Our own Congress is quiet or they're defensive on this subject. Their cowardice is palpable here on the Hill. It is well known around the world. It is even beneath contempt. And apparently those who say that they care about young children, are just kind of “out of it”. They're not hearing. Their hearing has gone bad.

Having been fortunate enough to travel to Israel, having heard Israelis discuss the inhuman way in which Palestinians are treated by the Israelis in power, I have no doubt that it is safer to criticize Israel within its own borders than it is to criticize Israel here in our country.

Now, after carefully examining Richard Perle's document, and seeing how closely aligned it is with the Bush Administration leaders who say and do many things, then I am more concerned than ever that U.S. Policy in the Middle East has gone seriously wrong. It has very little to do with protecting the world from terrorism or what is in the best interest of the United States. Or in the best interest of our allies. Or the best interests of Israel, for that matter.

You see, I am a disciple of the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and Dr. King once said, “There comes a time when we must speak out, there is a time when silence is betrayal.” And I know the personal price that one can pay for speaking out on U.S. policy in the Middle East, and yet it must be done.

More people must begin to speak out.

There are many others in our country who've been punished because they've had the audacity to simply question the billions of dollars that are spent on Israel annually. Many believe that a program of “tough-love” that keeps family members from going astray, would work in this relationship as well. Many Israelis believe that such massive aid distorts their own economy and damages their economy. Many of them have said it. Many of their leaders have said it. And of the few redeeming qualities of ‘A Clean Break', and I say a few, because there are only a few, the call for economic reform and less reliance on aid is a positive thing in the document. Now many of the same leaders here on Capitol Hill, who continue to support a reckless and unconditional U.S. Policy in the Middle have privately said to me, “I wish I had the courage you have.”

Well to you I say this: “Tough love is true love. Unconditional support is a path toward disaster.” And so we must begin to take a look at that.

If members of Congress have any doubts that they can fight the negative currents, I offer myself as a humble example that it is possible. After years of having my credentials and qualifications and certifications questioned, I've gone back to school, and you've heard all of the five or six, or I lose track, terminal degrees that I've gotten or will be getting in the next few months, I just want you to say, those who are afraid, that I'm still standing, and I'm still fighting, and I'm going to continue to do it until we see a balanced Middle East policy.

Now like many others who are horrified by the implications of the Perle document, “A Clean Break”, I say to them, GIVE ME A BREAK!

It's not a “Clean Break” that's needed for bringing peace and justice to our world. It is a “Clean Fix”.

Now, my mother told me “never bring problems to me without bringing some suggestions on how to resolve it”. So let me see if I can do just a few. My recommendations are, first of all:

1.    To help our leaders to understand that where there is no justice, there will be no peace. The Palestinian people deserve the right to diplomatic recognition toward accelerated statehood now.

2.    Organize Americans to join in a coalition of conscience of millions of people around the world, of every race, creed, color, national origin, just as we worked together to get the Civil Rights Act, to get the Voting Rights Act, the Public Accommodations Act, Housing, and to get the Martin Luther King Holiday. It was done then, it can be done again.

And this coalition is now led by former Congressman Walter Fauntroy, who has a long history of speaking out on human rights. And we find that true of many African Americans in this country, because we understand. Damu Smith of Black Voices for Peace is on the right track. Gene Bird of Council for the National Interest is on the right track. Gerri Bird of Partners for Peace, these are groups in which I am involved also, they are on the right track. Now, we must come together as one big group.

3.    We must register millions more of people in this country, so that on election day they can go to the polls and they can hold people accountable who do not have the best interest of the United States at heart, but rather they are more concerned about someone else and they are more concerned about a “clash of civilizations”.

4.    We must re-institute and increase cultural exchanges between our schools and our universities and schools and universities abroad, we must bring more Arab groups, we must bring more Arab staff, and even Israeli staff and others, and we must have these exchanges and have these discussions.

5.    We must speak out against our leaders who alienate us from the world by using technological and military superiority to dominate the world politically and economically, and which advances policies that have devastating effects on our lives and the lives of millions of people around the world.

6.    We must urge more people to come together--the elderly, the young, the rich, the poor, Asians, Hispanics, Arabs, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, it doesn't matter, Native Americans, we must come together.

These things at a minimum, we must do if we ever want to see peace and justice. We must break the silence on U.S. Policy in the Middle East—more than a Million Man March is needed. We need more than 300 million people marching for peace and justice.

Having an outdated, bi-polar, militaristic approach to resolving challenges is too costly and is also na�ve. Also the impact on Black Americans, of these policies, is much greater on us, more so because we have, I'm told, some 16-18 percent involved and dying in the military. (Note: Black Americans make up approximately 12.33% of the general population and 16.67% of the total 2002 Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard and other reserve forces). So it is more costly to us, but we would be concerned about anyone.

If black America could lead a million men to Washington for peaceful purposes without mainstream media, then surely the administration has the ability to execute a sharp change in the course, to lead a million men and women and more, not to combat, but peacefully to do what should be accomplished through intelligent diplomacy.

Our ability to bring back diplomacy is limited by our inability to be heard—because the militaristic voices of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, and Bolton and Perle are drowning out the rational voices.

With many voices speaking out for world peace and justice, we have a better opportunity to be heard and to make a difference.

I believe America both needs and wants to hear voices other than the ones we're hearing every day.

I thank you, God bless.

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