Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network Newsletter | November 2023
Like many of you, we have been devastated by the Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza in recent weeks. We applaud the many Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network members taking action to confront U.S. complicity in Israel’s actions, including Hawai’i chapter leader and Women Cross DMZ Board Member Ann Wright, who this week protested U.S. support of Israel’s genocide of Gaza and called for a ceasefire at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Biden administration’s request for $106 billion in military funding.
It’s worth noting that Biden’s request not only seeks $106 billion in military funds to send to Israel, but also to send military funds to Ukraine, the U.S.-Mexico border, and the “Indo-Pacific” region. In particular, the funds allocated for the Indo-Pacific seek to bolster the “American submarine industrial base to increase [the U.S.] ability to build and sustain attack submarines.” The request also allots $50 billion to invest in “the American defense industrial base—ensuring [the U.S.] military continues to be the most ready, capable, and best equipped fighting force the world has ever seen.”
Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Senator Patty Murray said, “Make no mistake: we need to address all of these priorities as part of one package—because the reality is these issues are all connected.”
As the highest-ranking U.S. government officials waste no time tying together military spending across the globe, we must also undertake global acts of solidarity. As Korea peace advocates based in the U.S., we know all too well the costs of U.S. warmaking. The Korean War quadrupled U.S. military spending, inaugurated the U.S. military industrial complex, and set the U.S. on the course to become the world’s military police. An estimated four million people were killed—more than half of them Korean civilians. Seventy years later, the war has not ended. Since World War II, the U.S. has also doled out more funds to Israel than to any other country, totaling at nearly $300 billion. With this U.S. backing, the Israeli government has imposed an apartheid system on Palestinians for 75 years, forcibly removed Palestinians from their land, and now levels collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza. This history informs solidarity across our movements and why our movement for Korea peace is tied to the movement for a free Palestine.
Women Cross DMZ issued this statement a few weeks ago:
As a feminist peace organization that advocates for ending war and militarism, we mourn for the Israelis and Palestinians who have been needlessly killed, oppose violence against civilians, and condemn the collective punishment that Israel is inflicting on Palestinians in Gaza. We join global calls for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire, an end to violence in Israel and occupied Palestine, and the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.
As advocates for peace in Korea, we know that violence leads to suffering and deep, lasting trauma, especially for those made most vulnerable in society. True peace can only be achieved by addressing the root causes of violence and tensions, and ensuring justice, equality, and freedom for all people. In this case, it means ending the apartheid system that Israel has imposed — with the backing of the U.S. government — on Palestinians for 75 years. The U.S. government provides $3.8 billion annually in military aid to Israel, which it uses to forcibly remove Palestinians from their land. Furthermore, we denounce the racist, Islamophobic backlash against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in the U.S., including the tragic stabbing death of six-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al Fayoume. As an organization based in the U.S., we recognize the foreign and domestic consequences of aggressive militarized policy, which leads to brutal consequences and more violence far beyond Israel and Palestine.
We urge the U.S. government, as the most powerful supporter of Israel, to call for a ceasefire, to stop sending military aid to Israel, and to pursue policies that end the occupation so that Palestinians and Israelis can peacefully coexist.
WCDMZ also joined partner organizations in endorsing the Ceasefire Resolution upon its introduction and signed on to the Joint statement on challenging the appropriation of feminism: A call to action on Palestine and Genuine Feminist Foreign Policies, challenging the appropriation of feminism by international foreign policy makers in the Hague, which also outlines the numbers of pregnant women in besieged Gaza unable to access maternal health or reproductive health services, and face increased risks of sexual violence.
We would like to uplift several actions you can take:
- “Stop Gaza Genocide, Ceasefire Now”: Take any of the actions listed here by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
- Organize a Gaza Solidarity Action Pod: KPNGN New York member Jungwon Kim co-hosted this webinar on how to form pods to take collective congressional action for Gaza while grounded in community practices of meditation, care, and compassion. Collective action is the most sustainable path; organize a pod, take action, and take care of each other!
- Join the Korean Contingent at the DC Palestine March on November 4. Read here for more information. If you plan to attend, please get in touch with Jeongyi (Janis.email@example.com) or HK (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Sign on to this Open Statement: US Koreans for Palestine. You can sign on as an individual or as a Korea Peace Now! Grassroots Network chapter. If you have questions about signing on as a chapter, please be in touch with your regional leader, or contact Cathi (email@example.com).
- Share this statement from the Heung Coalition addressed to Koreans on solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and decolonization.
A reminder our national meetings are the second Thursday of every month. Our next gathering will be Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 5pm PT / 8 pm ET. Register here. We will be joined by partner organizations American Friends Service Committee and Mennonite Central Committee to make calls to our Representatives in support of the Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act and discuss further actions for solidarity with Palestine.
Additionally, join the Christian Caucus of Korea Peace Now Grassroots Network (KPNGN) for a presentation on Christian Nationalism and Imperialism in the U.S. and Southern Korea, and Their Impacts on Peacemaking on the Korean Peninsula on Thursday, November 30, at 5pm PT / 8 pm ET. Zoom here.
Director of Policy and Organizing
Women Cross DMZ