Press Release concerning Israel-Palestine in 1988 elections


Dr. Mohammad Said

Member Platform, National Democratic Committee



I am Dr. Said, a physician from the small town of Ephrata, home of the Tigers, who just won the championship of their football league.

I am a member of the Platform, Democratic National Committee. I am also a Palestinian-American. Indeed, I am the only Palestinian-American on the Platform of the Democratic National Committee.

As a U.S. citizen, like many of my fellow Americans, I am concerned about the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It is not just peace makes sense, it is also a human rights issue which comes from our constitution, to recognize the rights of people anywhere in the world, including the Palestinians. It is an economic issue because for the last 40 years we subsidized the government of Israel for more than $5o billion, and we are still providing more than $5 billion every year for economic and military assistance when we need desperately that money for our people.

My efforts are strengthened by having relatives still in the West Dank, and my concern about their safety and the safety of my friends in this uprising.

During 1988, as a delegate for Jesse Jackson, I worked very closely with a Jewish group at the state level, where we introduced a resolution which called for security for Israel and an independent Palestinian State in the West Dank and Gaza.

It is heartening that resolution passed by unanimous vote by our Democratic State delegates. I took that resolution to Denver, Colorado, where the Democratic National Committee meeting was held.

I was very frustrated and very upset to find out that everything that went, in that meeting was anything but democratic! I found that drafting committee of eleven people, which is similar to the Commission, had things dictated to the delegates present, and that the delegates had to follow very strictly the candidate lines on the issues. As a member, representing the State of Washington I tried to introduce three new amendments which deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I was hoping, at least, those issues could be debated, or presented to the floor, but I was denied an access to the floor to present those new amendments, which made me wonder if all this hoop-la of input from the national and state delegates is simply boloney and if everything in the platform is cooked from the top

From Denver, I went to Atlanta, and I was very frustrated to see how the Democratic establishment behind the scene tried to prevent even a debate of the Palestinian issue, when the majority of American public opinion favors resolving that conflict on a mutual recognition between the Israelis and the Palestinians and a self-determination for the Palestinian people.

I came to the conclusion that neither party is courageous enough to stand up to the almighty, powerful AIPAC (American Israeli Public Relation Committee), which is interfering in our electoral process at the service of a foreign government called Israel.

I spent most of August and part of September in the Middle East, meeting with top representatives of the Palestinian people. Though I am not a PLO member, I do have my relatives and friends who hold top positions in the PLO, and I have been in touch with them.

During the last two weeks, several times I have called the headquarters of Governor Dukakis, in Boston, and explained the situation, that I wanted to meet with him to talk about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but to no avail, I was never able to talk to one of their top campaign people.

About a week ago, I talked with Debbie, Dukakis campaign manager in the state of Washington, who promised to carry my proposal to talk with Dukakis to the top and unfortunately, I have not received any answer, so I decided to come myself and try to meet with the Governor.

I have been invited to participate in the Palestinian National Council, which will be held this-week in Algiers, and it is highly likely that I will be participating in their discussion and addressing their meeting.

Unfortunately, every single issue was debated in this campaign except the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I feel there is a lack of courage and leadership from either candidate. Mr. Bush told the audience over and over again to read his lips, “no new taxes.” I wish he had come out and said, no new funding for Israeli occupation, no new funding for illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Gaza. I wish he said no new military aid to Israel until they end the occupation. I wish he came as a patriot, who cares about our economy, to say that we are spending $14 billion on this conflict every year, that we provided Israel with $50 billion in the last 40 years, and that is enough and that money is to stay in the United States.

As far as Dukakis and the Democratic establishment, it is the ultimate hypocrisy. They outcast South Africa for their Apartheid, when every single thing going on in Israel is similar to that. I have not seen Dukakis condemn this brutal oppression of Palestinian civilians. It is also the ultimate hypocrisy when Dukakis is for cutting aid to the Contras, which amounts to less than $3O million when he does not care to send $5 billion to Israel, to oppress the civilian population and to continue the occupation. I wanted Mr. Dukakis to come out and declare according to our constitution, that everybody has legitimate human rights and self determination, including the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. I wanted him to come out and say 1 do support Israel and its security, but I also support security and self-determination for the Palestinians. I support free elections in the West Bank and Gaza, I support an international conference where representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestinian people can meet and discuss all the issues involved. If he comes out and declares this, I am sure there are millions of people in this country, independents, Republicans, and Democrats who will come out and support Dukakis and follow him as a leader with courage. If he does not do that, he will have
lost this opportunity which might, just might, get him elected.

Dr. Mohammad Said
Member Platform
National Democratic Committee