Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pasadena Coalition Repeats Demands for Rep. Adam Schiff to Heed His Constituents

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pasadena Coalition Repeats Demands for Rep. Adam Schiff to Heed His Constituents

Article excerpt

Pat and Samir Twair are freelance journalists based in Los Angeles.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been put on notice that his constituents--at least those who seek world peace--will vote him out of office if his voting record continues blindly to support Israel.

Disgruntled with Schiff's pro-Israel stance, his constituents organized the Pasadena Area Coalition for a Just Palestinian-Israeli Peace and met with him April 22 to present him a petition signed by 83 religious leaders within his 27th district, which comprises Burbank, Pasadena, Altadena and Glendale. When Schiff sidestepped their requests to consider recommending a peacekeeping force in the West Bank, more than 200 people staged a vigil April 28 in Pasadena's trendy Old Town. Lining both sides of busy Colorado Boulevard, they handed out fliers demanding peacekeepers in the West Bank and an end to the occupation.

On June 14, coalition members gathered for a press conference expressing their concerns over Schiff's voting record, then marched two blocks to his office to deliver more petitions asking Schiff to support the need for international monitors to protect Palestinians from Israeli violence.

"Israel flaunts U.N. resolutions on settlements and refugees," noted peace activist Blase Bonpane. "Only one side has tanks, military bulldozers and helicopter gunships."

Stated Cal Poly Pomona Professor Mahmood Ibrahim: "The Israeli occupation is in itself the ultimate violence. The West Bank has been cut into eight separate zones with a hundred checkpoints. It is an evil message that will be sent by Congress if it rewards Israel with $200 million for invading Palestinian civilian centers."

A Schiff aide welcomed the 60-plus demonstrators to the congressman's district office, offering them cookies and soft drinks. Carol Smith of the National Lawyers Guild told the aide that Congressman Schiff is a smart man, and knows that each time he votes for money for Israel, he is complicit in abetting war crimes.

"It is a war crime to use grenade launchers and military gunships to wipe out a civilian population," she said. "How can Schiff be voting for more military aid for Israel to slaughter an occupied people?"

The aide assured the group that Schiff shared its goal for peace in the Middle East.

"Sharon supports peace, too," retorted one activist. "It's peace with justice that matters."

The Rev. Darrel Meyers asked how it is possible for those who make foreign policy not to travel to the Middle East and see what Israel is doing to the Palestinian people.

A member of the California Teachers Association voiced concern that the Democratic Party is slipping on human rights.

"The Democratic Party is listening more to its corporate sponsors than to its human rights sponsors," the teachers' union representative said. "But we are responsible for voting out your Republican predecessor, and we can cause another Republican victory by switching our vote in September to the Green Party."

Many in the group described themselves as Jews who don't approve of Schiff's voting to please the Israeli lobby.

A copy of the Washington Report was presented to the aide, who said he would pass along the coalition's viewpoints to Representative Schiff.

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"The thing that frightens me is that the last few weeks are not unique--this has been going on for 54 years," said British photographer Peter Fryer, during a May 17 exhibit at East Los Angeles' Galleria Coyolaxauhqui of his black and white stills of Palestinians refugees. …

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