****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****
At 10am this morning, January 23rd, 2009, approximately 20 local residents entered and sought to occupy the Minnesota Trade Office in downtown Saint Paul demanding an immediate end to all trade between Minnesotan companies and the State of Israel. They have issued the following statement signed by some of the participants and their supporters:
“We are here at the Minnesota Trade Office today, as we should be every day, demanding an end to all business between Minnesota and the State of Israel. While the recent devastation of the Gaza strip weighs heavy on our conscience, the violent occupation of Palestine and the systematic killing of Palestinians is unfortunately nothing new. Although Palestinians, and all people, deserve sovereignty, justice, and peace, we are here today as residents of Minnesota, many of us Jewish, because state-sanctioned genocide in the occupied territories continues without
Over the past three weeks the Israeli army has freely dropped white phosphorous and 300 meter shells over the schools, hospitals, and refugee camps which house the majority of the almost 2 million residents in Gaza. Over the past three weeks more than 400 children have been killed under the pretense of self-defense. And over the past three weeks politicians from both the left and the right have remained passive spectators to the indiscriminate killing of the indigenous people of Palestine. In this absence of a democratic process to implement a politics of ethical accountability we are left with no choice but to take direct action to shut down the business that finances the genocide in Palestine and the military arms that carry it out.
The Minnesota Trade Office is the bureaucratic middleman in the economic relationship between Minnesota and Israel, facilitating the economic collaboration of the nations and their corporations that exceeds $125 million in domestic exports annually, of which $4 million alone comes from military contracts with local arms merchants such as Napco International in Hopkins, and Alliant Techsystems in Edina. Funding over 70% of its total military spending alone, the United States’ continual sponsorship of the State of Israel places its tax-paying residents in a position of direct complicity in the continuation of atrocity, and its corporations in a position of direct profit from mass suffering.
We come here today to demand the immediate end of all Minnesotan business with Israel because it is the business of massacre, it is the business of killing children, of killing doctors, the business of chemical warfare, of starvation. We believe that demanding an end to all economic collaboration with nations violently enforcing policies of racism and dispossession is legitimate and necessary. This demand is part of the urgent project of ending all economic relations between the United States and Israel, relations that directly enable the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land, people, and culture. We refuse to be obedient in the face of mass murder, and we refuse to allow Minnesotan
business to remain unaccountable for the actions of the nations from whom they draw their profits. When a population is being routinely killed on the basis of their race, ethnicity, and nationality, we have not only the right, but the obligation to stand in its way.”
There is an emergency support rally occurring now outside the Minnesota Trade Office on the corner of Minnesota and Fifth Street in downtown Saint Paul. Media inquiries should be directed to liaisons Flo (612.850.4942) and Raphi (847.207.6356) .