An enthusiastic "Thank You" seems an ineffective expression for all the positive effect your life and work has generated within the culture, especially on social justice issues of illiteracy, universal health care and resistance to racism and oppression for people everywhere.
Oprah, you have a unique gift of empathy and Americans have had the sense for several years that you are open-minded to seek out and process alternative information in order to understand all sides of an equation. It is in this spirit that I respectfully ask you to reconsider your position on your pending trip to Israel.
Imagine this: If you woke up one sunny morning (recall Sept. 11) and saw armored military tanks of a foreign invader pounding loudly through the streets of Chicago, you would be stunned. Visualize how horrific that would be. If we were continually attacked here in our streets and neighborhoods of America, and forced to suffer under an illegal military occupation for years on end, we would be resentful, angry, and naturally resist, as is our human right. The recurrent horror of Sept. 11 takes place on a smaller scale daily in the Occupied Territories, in Iraq and around the globe at the behest of a US-sponsored War Machine. Water, jobs, health care and other resources are intentionally with-held by Zionists, who differ drastically from peace-oriented Israelis. People in Gaza and the West Bank are beaten, humiliated and/or killed daily by Israeli soldiers with US-made weapons. Many who do survive are parlayzed for life. All for no good reason–merely money, power, "security" and control. Things which are illusions, anyway.
Statistics have shown that for every one Israeli killed, four Palestinians, including women and children, are killed. The trauma endured by the victims of apartheid in S. Africa is parallel to the current situation in the Occupied Territories. Human rights are non-negotiable, no matter what era or location.
Similar atrocities took place in Lebanon during the the summer invasion by Israel last year. The true origins of the devestation was hidden from the world by a complicit, corporatized press. Dr. Noam Chomsky of MIT has stated that "Israel is America’s client state."
Forty years of needless suffering and direct occupational oppression by the US-sponsored Israeli state armed with US-manufactured weapons– including countless firearms, F-16 machine guns, Apache helicopters, fighter jets and Catapiller bulldozers which are shockingly used to violently level Palestinian homes, infrastructure and olive trees, destroying a formerly viable way of living.
Since 1948, the Palestinian people people have been terrorized on a daily basis and intentionally prevented from progressing in a meaningful direction or having a reasonable quality of life on land that they shared in peace at one time with those of Hebrew origins. In fact, up until 1948, Palestinians and Israelis lived side-by-side in relative co-existance. This is something rarely communicated to the world due to the focus on negative aspects by the mainstream Western press. With mainstream press often sanitized, distorted and corrupt, I hope you can review Independent Media sources such as www.democracynow.org (Pacifica radio network), www.palestinechronicle.com , www.truthout.org and www.palestinemonitor.org. for the other side of the story. The US supplies more US aid to one of the smallest countries–Israel– than any other entity on earth. Billions more. And still, there is no peace, no "security"??? Because it is impossible to attain under these inhumane circumstances.
Myself and many others–sincerely hope you will take the time and energy to visit the Occupied Territories on the same trip to Israel and gain clarity about the Truth based on allowing both sides of the narrative to be told. Suffering on all sides must cease if there is to ever be any peace in the Middle East. It is imperative that you courageously bear witness to that which has been mostly hidden from the rest of the world.
Ann V. Williams
-Ann V. Williams is an American peace activist and a member of several US based peace, justice and human rights organizations.