(Juneau Empire file photo)

Letter: Local Veterans for Peace chapter calls for ceasefire in Gaza

The members of Veterans For Peace Chapter 100 in Southeast Alaska have over the last six months voiced support for a ceasefire in Gaza. A ceasefire is the essential first step to stop the killing, facilitate the full return of hostages, and allow anything approaching an adequate flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

In January our chapter president pointed out the devastating effects of Israel’s U.S.-furnished bombs on Gaza’s people and infrastructure. In February our national VFP body publicized a list of the national and international laws our nation has likely violated in our support for Israel’s grossly disproportionate response to the horrific attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

VFP Chapter 100 now adds its voice to calls for the CBJ Assembly to support a ceasefire. We encourage the Assembly to continue to engage with this urgent matter and to issue a bold statement on behalf of the community in support of a ceasefire. We respect the challenge this presents to Assembly members, given the diversity of sincerely held views within our community, including unwavering support for Israel alongside strong defense of Palestinian rights. However, we urge Assembly members to recall the adage: “Friends don’t let friends drive while drinking.”

The longer the killing goes on, the more certain and severe will be the blowback in the form of revenge-seeking and further terrorism. Israel’s harm to the Gazans under siege will become national self-harm in time. Will we shirk our duty to our friend? Isn’t it time for “tough love” for Israel?

We note that we also have duty to our own country, to warn of the harm that silence on this issue can bring. We are deeply concerned about the U.S.’s reputation worldwide and the wounds our reputation is now sustaining, as our representatives block international condemnation of war crimes and ethnic cleansing, or continue to provide weapons to Israel while calling for restraint.

We are not blind to the many ways we have already weakened our country’s standing in the world. However, we wish to maintain “…a decent respect to the opinions of mankind…” as stated in the Declaration of Independence and to preserve whatever goodwill remains. And so we speak out once again and encourage the CBJ Assembly, as representatives of our community, in our nation of communities, to do likewise.

Veterans For Peace Chapter 100