A Transformation of the Moral Universe is Required
Feb. 9—This week’s online meeting of the International Peace Coalition began with moderator Anastasia Battle observing that the Coalition has now met for 36 consecutive weeks without interruption. She announced that a major focus of the Coalition’s activity will be to build a mass mobilization to restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which has been the target of undocumented allegations by the Likud regime in Israel and its neocon supporters in the US, UK and elsewhere.
Opening remarks were made to the meeting by Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She said that the most breathtaking and horrible development in Gaza has been Netanyahu’s rejection of the offer by Hamas for a release of hostages, and the announcement that the IDF will attack the town of Rafah. 1.5 million Palestinians who have been forcibly displaced from other parts of Gaza have been herded into a small area in Rafah, from which there is no escape. An IDF assault on these refugees will result in dreadful carnage. Zepp-LaRouche also commented on the efforts to disable UNRWA, noting that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called it “irreplaceable” and that if you defund it, you “condemn the people who depend on it to death.”
Even in U.S. establishment circles, she said, there is some recognition that this can’t go on forever. She mentioned an article in Foreign Affairs titled “Israel’s Self-Destruction,” which concludes by saying that Israelis must reach out to Palestinians, and to each other (because of the highly factionalized situation in Israel.)
Zepp-LaRouche reminded the participants that although the Palestinian situation is most urgent, we must keep in mind that there is a danger of escalation to global war unless we can implement a new security and development architecture like the one she proposed in November of 2022. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó recently warned of this exactly: if one more major conflict is added to the ones in Ukraine and Southwest Asia, it can mean global war. Zepp-LaRouche said that the most significant aspect of the celebrated Tucker Carlson interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which has already been viewed by at least 120 million people, is that Putin and Russia have at no point closed the door to cooperation with the West.
Greetings to the attendees were offered by South Africa’s ambassador to Mexico, who was thanked by the members of the Coalition for South Africa’s important contribution to the pursuit of justice for Palestine.
Former CIA analyst and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) cofounder Ray McGovern presented an analysis of the Tucker Carlson interview. He reminded the participants that U.S. President Eisenhower had warned that the military-industrial complex will succeed in dominating American policy if Americans are uninformed. Further, he said, one man who succeeded in making a dent in the otherwise pervasive climate of enforced ignorance was Julian Assange. Tucker Carlson has now made an additional, important contribution.
A significant aspect of the interview was Putin’s reminder that there had been an agreement in early 2022, concluded in Istanbul, to end the Ukrainian war. The U.S.and U.K. intervened to throw those signed documents into the dustbin of history. What followed was the unnecessary killing of up to a half million of the flower of Ukrainian youth.
Carlson asked Putin for his opinion on who’s in charge in Washington. Putin responded by saying that he didn’t know, but it was certainly not the president. McGovern said that Putin should necessarily be concerned about who really controls the nuclear button, and noted the contrast between Putin and Biden, pointing out that the Department of Justice has just said, in effect, that Biden can be excused for untruths because he is old and “not all there.”
The meeting heard from a number of clergy and religious activists. A Christian minister from Dearborn, Michigan was outraged that the American media say that Israel is waging war on Hamas, while in fact, it’s a war on the civilians of Palestine. People who speak the truth are labeled antisemitic, he said. A recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, which labeled Dearborn a jihadist city, provoked an outraged response from the city’s mayor who then ordered an increase in security due to the danger of Islamophobic violence. The clergyman warned of the danger that Israel will extend the war into Lebanon and other surrounding countries, and said that Israel’s blocking of humanitarian aid should be a major issue. He concluded by saying that the killing of civilians by the IDF will cause further recruitment to Hamas, and the cycle of violence will cause yet more extremist, Netanyahu-like leaders to come to power in Israel.
Other religious leaders discussed citations from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic scripture that bear on the present strategic crisis, concluding that “a total shift in the moral universe has to happen.” They reported on recent activism and discussed plans for the future. Pax Christi has numerous actions planned for tax day against American arms manufacturers, the “merchants of death” who receive a stupendous amount of U.S. tax dollars. Activists from Mexico and New York reported on successful embassy visits, urging funding for UNRWA and support for South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice. Rallies were also held outside the embassy of nations which had cut their funding for UNRWA.
U.S. Senate candidate Diane Sare, who was actually participating remotely in the IPC meeting while attending such a rally, said that she was optimistic about the future because she sees that young people are becoming active. But, she asked, what is next? What should the world actually look like? The rotten old empire is dead; what replaces it?
During the informal discussion, participants commented further on the Tucker Carlson/President Putin interview, saying that it shows Russia remains willing to be in a dialogue with the West. The former president of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, observed that the interview demonstrates that Putin knows he can have a military settlement, but he prefers a political, negotiated settlement. He went on to hail the government of South Africa for acting as the conscience for humanity as a whole. He said that they have ripped the mask off the face of the “genocide actors in Israel and the U.S.” He defended the Yemeni Houthis, saying their actions against Israel-related shipping constitute solidarity, not terrorism.
In her concluding remarks, Helga Zepp-LaRouche emphasized that the Rafah situation must be viewed with utmost urgency, but at the same time the entire world is changing. No one can speak of a “rules-based order” after the West has condoned what is happening in Gaza. Are we going to live by the law of the jungle, or by the universal principles in the UN charter? These ideas must guide our activism in the weeks ahead.