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November 16, 2004

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Jon Haber

I've just started a new Web site, www.somervillemejustice.com, that provides daily updates on information needed to make an informed decision on the motion before Somerville's aldermen. I hope this will be of interest to your readers.

Jay Conne

The City of Somerville, MA is considering a motion to advise their Retirement Board to divest of any investments that benefit Israel in the name of Human Rights.

My statement below was prepared to present to the Somerville, MA Board of Aldermen at their meeting on December 7, 2004. Unfortunately, public input was not being taken, but I am putting it in the hands of all the Alderman and offering to get together with them individually to discuss the issues. I was interviewed by an Israeli TV crew. The vote is only symbolic, but it is a public moral showcase. I was told that it is referenced on the Al Queda website. A final vote is scheduled for Thursday 12/9 and there will be a large gang there representing each side.

Here is my statement:
-------------------------------------------------------------
Those proposing this divestiture from Israeli investments and those giving it any serious consideration have a profound ignorance of history and the basis for our country. Like spoiled children who take for granted the values and benefits they have been given, many Americans take for granted the ideas that they benefit from.

228 years ago in 1776, the US Declaration of Independence created a free country that has led to the greatest freedom and the greatest success in human history.
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of the press
- Freedom of assembly
- Freedom to invent, to build, to trade with our fellow men for our mutual benefit
That is what our capitalist system is about: freedom, creativity, production, trade, profit­pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

63 years ago today that way of life was attacked by people with a different idea about human rights and about human society. We smashed them down to unconditional surrender and led them to achieve our idea of human rights and human society to the inescapable benefit of all their citizens.

3 years and 3 months ago this Saturday we were again attacked by a people with a different idea of ethics, rights and society. This is fundamentally a clash of civilizations -­ it’s about ideas of what human life deserves.

Israel was founded with a UN mandate about 55 years ago. The Arabs of the region were offered a similar state which they rejected with the intention to drive Israel into the sea.

Since that time, Israel has created a country with freedoms similar to those of the United States. As a consequence, they have succeeded magnificently while all those around them have continued to seek their destruction. Over the same period, the regional Arab countries have kept refugees in camps, retained dictatorial power, and precluded the freedoms and success that Israelis enjoy.

Arabs living in freedom in Israel today, on the police force, in the Army, in the government, and in business, thank Allah for the freedoms Israel affords them.

To treat those who intentionally kill civilians, those who can only destroy but can't create, as morally equal to a free country like Israel is an abomination. It shows no concept of morality.

The government of Somerville, by stepping into this moral issue, has the responsibility to know the history and recognize morally competent judgment. If they can't, the people of Somerville will have to find others to represent them. I promise to do my part to bring that about.

Jay Conne, Somerville, MA

JSR

I am in the US military. I find your motion to divest in Israel disgusting and insulting.
You forget that your neighbors are fighting similar terror in distant lands (Afghanistan, Philipines). Israel is fighting the same war from its own territory. We are two theaters of the same war. Just ask UBL.
I am a New Englander now far away from home. Do not think that I would ever visit or spend one $ in a city that weakens our war on terror.

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