“This is just what we need to be doing,” was the reaction of many of the participants in two Connecticut “Eyewitness to Occupation” events featuring remarks by Judith Le Blanc following her two-week fact-finding tour as part of a delegation of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Le Blanc, a member of the People’s Weekly World editorial board and a vice chair of the Communist Party USA, shared the podium in New Haven with Mazin Qumsiyeh of Al-Awda, a Palestinian professor at Yale Medical School, and Yael Martin of Promoting Enduring Peace, a Jewish peace activist formerly of Israel. The event attracted a wide, multi-racial and multi-generational sprecturm of peace and justice, religious and labor activists.

Le Blanc’s passionate working-class approach to the complex and critical situation in the occupied territories of Israel and Palestine created an atmosphere in which questions could be asked and differences aired. The responsibility of the people of the United States to build a movement that can end the Bush administration’s never-ending war policies was a unifying conclusion.

The New Haven event was sponsored by the Greater New Haven Peace Council and the Basics Forum of the New Haven Peoples Center. The event was endorsed by Promoting Enduring Peace, Al-Awda and the Connecticut Project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

In Hartford, a backyard program was quickly organized by the AFSC and the People’s Weekly World. Le Blanc’s remarks sparked a lively exchange about how to open a discussion among labor and community activists in support of the rights of the Palestinian people.

Participants at the two events left with a deepened understanding and commitment to a just peace in the Middle East, and contributed generously toward the expenses of Le Blanc’s trip.

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