M. Beal is a political columnist for the San Francisco Bayview newspaper
and national secretary of the Black Radical Congress.
the American Israel Political Affairs Committee is tasting blood
with the defeat of Earl Hilliard in Alabama. The U.S. Congressman
had enraged the Zionist lobbying group by often voting against legislation
that one-sidedly favored Israel and introducing a bill to drop sanctions
against Libya and Iraq.
is now aiming its big financial and political fangs at Cynthia McKinney
from Georgia's 4th congressional district. She faces a primary runoff
on August 20th, which for all intents and purposes, determines the
general election with an overwhelmingly Democrat constituency. Her
stance on a balanced Mid East policy and her outspoken criticism
of the Israeli occupation army has enraged AIPAC and it has arranged
for hundreds of thousands of dollars to be poured into her opponent's
Black female opponent is a former Judge who was appointed by Sen.
Zell Miller, a Georgia democrat who initially appointed this Jonetta
come lately to the bench. He has joined the AIPAC chorus with an
unprecedented assault on Democratic Party colleague McKinney. Thus,
AIPAC is joined in this all-sided assault by the local and national
apparatus of the Democratic Party because of McKinney's views on
peace, human rights and civil liberties.
question posed sharply is whether progressives will permit AIPAC
and the Dixiecrats tofoist Israeli policy on voters as the defining
issue for the mainly Black district in the Atlanta suburb McKinney
represents. More importantly, will they tolerate AIPAC to further
subvert 37 years of struggle to implement the 1965 Voting Rights
Act by its use of the discriminatory campaign financing laws to
oust an African American woman whose outstanding performance on
a peace and justice agenda has earned her the hatred of the racists
and the war mongers.
of slanderous assaults have been directed at this first African
American congresswoman from Georgia, including labeling her a "loony"
for suggesting that the Bush Administration be investigated for
what it may or may not have known and failed to act upon about the
tragic events of September 11th. Even though she has been vindicated
by subsequent exposures, the attacks on McKinney's "intemperate
remarks" continue unabated.
politicians, however, are beginning to feel threatened by outside
support of Black stooges and have begun to mobilize on behalf of
McKinney, the first African American female elected to the U.S.
Congress from Georgia. The Georgia Association of Black Elected
Officials (GABEO) unanimously adopted a resolution on June 22nd
accusing Zell Miller of "scurrilous comments" and demanded
that he repair his relations with the Black community by offering
McKinney "the same respect given to other elected leaders in
the state of Georgia."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on the other hand, has been unrelenting
in its attempts to discredit McKinney. "[She] has shown herself
to be a fringe lunatic, well outside the congressional mainstream,"
writes Cynthia Tucker in a typical commentary. She asserts that
is "incapable of aiding any cause," and exhibiting an
astonishing level of hypocrisy writes, "The plight of the Palestinians
and their desire for an independent homeland is a serious cause
deserving of thoughtful, mainstream advocates. Hilliard wasn't one
and neither is McKinney."
problem with Tucker's own "intemperate remarks" is that
there are no "thoughtful, mainstream advocates" prepared
to take up the defense of Palestinian sovereign rights. But there
are others, and they are determined to build a financial and political
fight back to protect the outspoken advocate that is not afraid
of AIPAC's vilification nor its financial war chests.
spirit and courage alone do not win campaigns in the year 2002.
It takes grassroots organizing combined with financial support -
lots and lots of financial support. A national grassroots campaign
to provide Cynthia McKinney with the necessary funds to fend off
AIPAC's blood lust has emerged from coast to coast. Peace and justice
forces nationwide are combining with local Black political organizations
to draw a line in the sand.
"We must stand by those who stand by us," CAIR-PAC, a
Moslem based group has called for its members to "step forward"
and donate to McKinney's campaign. "Her victory will also give
strength to those other members of Congress who also want to vote
their conscience on issues relating to the Middle East" CAIR-PAC
concludes. Other Arab American groups are also soliciting their
members for financial support for her re-election efforts.
of the peace forces galvanizing support is Just Peace Contacts,
which includes many Jewish activists. They have set an ambitious
goal. "Through our networks across the country of Jews, Arabs,
Christians and others active in the struggle for Justice in Israel
and Palestine, we ought to be able to raise $100,000 by August 1,"
they say. Lastly, a variety of Black websites
and free thinkers like The Konformist are also carrying calls for
financial assistance as are scores of listserves of racial justice
and peace advocates.
irony here is that Hilliard's defeat in Alabama may very well have
provided the impetus for Cynthia McKinney to amass the financial
means necessary to push back AIPAC's reactionary assault on Black
political power in Georgia and on a congressional peace advocate
info for Frances M. Beal:
e-Mail - [email protected]
Black Radical Congress - http://www.blackradicalcongress.org/
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