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Become the Good Samaritan – International Peace Coalition Meeting #50

Become the Good Samaritan – International Peace Coalition Meeting #50

by Daniel Platt

May 17, 2024 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, opened this week’s 50th consecutive meeting of the International Peace Coalition by discussing the implications of the attempted assassination of Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico yesterday. She referenced the assessment of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, that the crime must be seen in the context of the Western preparation for a war with Russia. Zepp-LaRouche reviewed the press attacks on Fico by various international functionaries of the Anglosphere, who had charged him with “polarization” because Fico questioned the utility of the sanctions against Russia; suggested that the Ukraine war began because of Nazi elements terrorizing the Donbass; and pointed out that NATO broke its 1990 promise to the Russian Federation not to move Eastward.

She reported that Fico’s would-be assassin belonged to an organization called “Progressive Slovakia,” which needs to be investigated further. Was he really a “lone assassin”? There is now a rapid degeneration of democracy in many European states, where free speech is increasingly denounced. U.S. Secretary of State Blinken has just said, in response to Russian statements, that Ukraine can do “whatever they decide” with U.S. weapons, but “all the weapons in the world cannot compensate for the fact that they are running out of soldiers,” insisted Zepp-LaRouche.

She went on to underscore the significance of the Putin/Xi strategic partnership, which is causing conniptions among neoliberals and neocons. It is also extremely important that South Africa went back to the International Court of Justice to demand that Israel implement ICJ’s rulings.

Next, Fr. Harry Bury, Coordinator of the Nonviolent Cities Project of St. Paul, Minnesota, and a leading member of Pax Christi and the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, reported that Catholic bishops and nuns in Washington, Oregon and Montana have put forward a peace plan for Gaza, which calls for a ceasefire, the mutual return of hostages, and a two-state solution. Significantly, the plan also calls for the re-development of Israel and Gaza. The latter converges on the Oasis Plan originally proposed in 1975 by economist Lyndon LaRouche. Father Bury emphasized that the Oasis Plan means not only development for Southwest Asia, but for the entire world. Reflecting on the economic experience of post-World War II history, he observed that the 1948-1952 Marshall Plan in Europe, and the 1945-1952 occupation and reconstruction of Japan, had worked: there is no mass emigration today from Germany and Japan. He concluded by saying, “Peace is a good investment.”

While he was not able to attend, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, an American economist and public policy analyst, provided a video, conducted by IPC member Mike Billington, which was shown. “The political solution is that there should be a State of Palestine, and it should live alongside the State of Israel,” he said. But the U.S. veto in the UN Security Council is the obstacle to this. The nations of the region are ready for peace with Israel, but they don’t want Palestine to live under an apartheid regime, or worse, a genocidal one. The American people and the world want Palestine to have rights. The U.S. government is hurting both itself, and Israel, which is seen as “a war crime state protected by the United States.” “There is a water crisis and desalination is the way forward,” Sachs said, in reference to the proposed Oasis Plan.

Sachs warned that “Israel is absolutely radicalized, extremist, compared to 25 years ago.” He said that we need a return to the 1967 borders, and an economic framework that will go along with that. He explained the importance of Pope Francis’ October 2020 encyclical Fratelli Tutti! (“On Fraternity and Social Friendship”). Pope Francis insists that the only way the world can be saved is for everyone to be like the Good Samaritan, opening the encyclical, that St. Francis “declares blessed all those who love their brother ‘as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him.’”

In conclusion, Sachs marveled at the fact that Biden has not tried to speak to Putin even once since 2021: “That’s the telltale sign of the recklessness and stupidity of U.S. policy.” The U.S. does not have the idea of diplomacy: “We have a Secretary of State, but we don’t have a diplomat.”

Dr. Mubarak Awad, founder of Nonviolence International, provided an update on Gaza and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He described himself as a Christian Palestinian, deported in 1988 by Israel, and fully committed to the policy and practice of nonviolent direct action. He offered seven steps to end the present cycle of violence: First, to the Palestinians, he uncompromisingly says, stop killing the Israelis. Welcome them as neighbors. Choose your leaders by elections. To the Israelis, stop killing Palestinians. End the siege of Gaza. Reverse the land grabs. End apartheid. Don’t do the dirty work of America.

To the international media, Awad asks that they stop using the word “terrorist” to describe actors on either side. To the Americans and Europeans, he says: there is no military solution. Stop supplying weapons for killing.

He emphasized that we need a humanitarian solution for Gaza. Why build a port, instead of getting Israel to open access by land? To the soldiers, he says: don’t cut anyone’s life short. Don’t seek revenge. He applauds those Israelis who refuse to fight, and he expressed concern for those who return, traumatized, from Gaza. “Every country that attacks another has a problem with their returning soldiers.”

In response to Dr. Awad, Helga Zepp-LaRouche admonished, why does the international community stand by and watch this? If we cannot intervene when there is a genocide in front of the eyes of the world, what does that say about us? She reported that, in contrast, responses to Oasis Plan have been extremely positive, wherever it becomes known.

Jason Ross provided a brief report on the IPC Energy Committee Meeting for the Oasis Plan held this past week. This committee is addressing the question of the Plan’s technical requirements. A million cubic meters of water per day would be a good objective for desalination, and it is the job of the Committee to identify not only the nations, but the sectors of engineering, water management, construction, etc. that are required to bring this dream to fruition.

During the ensuing discussion period, a representative of the JFK Peace Speech Committee invited attendees to participate in their June 10 upcoming meeting on Zoom. The Committee takes its name from the June 10, 1963, American University commencement speech of President Kennedy, which he called “possibly the most important speech ever made by an American President.” It signaled a bold attempt to reverse direction and move away from the Cold War.

Danish Schiller Institute leader Michelle Rasmussen gave a report on the Institute’s May 8 conference in Denmark for diplomats, which followed the Schiller Institute’s April 13 Oasis Plan conference. Videos and transcripts are available here.

A university professor in the West Bank reminded the participants that the attacks of October 2023 are not the actual reason for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He graphically conveyed the surreal character of life in Gaza for those who have tried to avoid all political involvement, and have had no contact with Hamas at all. He was an eyewitness to an occurrence in a village of 2,000 people near Nablus: Days ago, three IDF jeeps entered the village, began shooting for no reason, and then left, just as suddenly as they had arrived, with no explanation. Others discussed their frustrations in attempting to persuade others, as well as fear that what is being done by individual citizens is useless in the face of the madness of institutions and so-called elites.

Zepp-LaRouche, in her concluding remarks, mentioned the ongoing attempts to foment “color revolutions” in the dissident states of Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, and especially Georgia (see EIR, May 10, 2024, “Unrest in Georgia: Maidan Redux?”). During the discussion, a military veteran had raised the issue of St. Augustine’s conception of a “just war,” suggesting that the Palestinians in Gaza and the Russians in Ukraine might be seen as conducting just wars. In response, she proposed that the whole matter of nonviolence, as well as the specific topic of just war, should be discussed by an IPC committee more intensively, with the results then brought to the body. She observed that in St. Augustine’s time (354-430 AD), nuclear weapons did not exist. The world today requires a shift in human identity. “Violence is a form of lack of development of the character of people,” she said. Returning to the idea of the Good Samaritan, she said that that idea is echoed in the “Kallias Letters” of Friedrich Schiller: the Good Samaritan embodies Schiller’s concept of the “beautiful soul,” whose emotions naturally lead him to do what is morally necessary. “We are in what may be the worst situation humanity has ever faced,” she said, but it does no good to simply be upset: “We have to use that energy to transform the situation. We must become good Samaritans, beautiful souls.”

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