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"The conflict in Gaza is not religious or racial, it is a position based on values": Camilo Pérez Bustillo, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild

Conflict in Gaza is not religious or racial, it is a position based on values: Camilo Pérez Bustillo, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild
This Saturday on Por la Libre, Manuel Ortiz spoke with Camilo Pérez Bustillo, who reflected on the conflict in Gaza.

Listen to the interview:


This Saturday, March 16, 2024 on Por la Libre, Peninsula 360 Press Rodante Community Radio, Manuel Ortiz spoke with Camilo Pérez Bustillo, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild (National Lawyers Guild) in San Francisco, who reflected on the genocide conflict in the Gaza Strip, carried out by the State of Israel, as well as its impact in other latitudes, such as the Bay Area in San Francisco, California.

Manuel: We already have the link with Camilo Perez Bustillo, Camilo, how are you, very good afternoon

Camilo Pérez Bustillo: Thank you very much, a pleasure to accompany you, thank you Manuel.

Manuel: Camilo, the mobilizations to ask for, to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and in general against the Palestinian people have continued here on our land, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, this Wednesday, there was a blockade at the airport, that's where we met, that's where we saw each other. What can you tell us about that blockade where you were an observer and what else is happening here in the San Francisco Bay area around this bombing and these aggressions by Israel against the Palestinian people? 

Camilo Pérez Bustillo: It is a really key, urgent issue. I think what we have to think about is that, although it may seem very distant to us, very far away, what is happening in Gaza is reflected and has an impact on our communities. There is widespread uncertainty around the world and throughout the United States, and a restlessness that is manifested in these mobilizations and protests; There is, let's say, a permanent rejection that is expressed in various ways in the face of what it implies, what many of us have characterized as a genocide, where the United States plays a decisive role, and all of us who have roots in Latin America and who have lived there have already experienced that. arrived here for one reason or another, let's say, we are a fruit of those same processes of militarism, of intervention, of repression that are expressed in various ways.

Deep down there is a lot in common between what the people of Gaza and Palestine are suffering, in general, in that specific scenario, and what we have experienced, are experiencing and what will come in Latin America, that characteristic militarism, sadly of the role of the United States in the world that, honestly, has no better exemplary case than that of Israel, that is, the way in which the United States has served as a companion to terror in the Middle East through Israel and the policy towards the Palestinians and towards Gaza, specifically, and that also challenges us, let's say, it is an ethical, political and legal issue, because the issue of genocide implies a response, a responsibility, we are talking about United States authorities who are responsible for the massacre that is being experienced. there, from famine, from dispossession, etc.

Meanwhile, we know that there are these electoral processes, of course, that they are also very important processes that we reflect on and that we can influence, both in Mexico and in the United States. The coin is in the air on both sides of the border, and the uncertainties come from there too, because all this is part of the electoral agenda.

We also have, of course, the very pressing situation on the border between Mexico and the United States, what is being experienced on the ground, all the processes of migrants in transit. Let us think that the Palestinian people are also a pilgrim people, they are a migrant people, a people that has been massively displaced and forced into migration. There are thousands of migrants who die in the Mediterranean fleeing Palestine and Gaza, among other places, and they are migrants like many of us and many of us too.

Manuel: In San Francisco there is a large population of Palestinians and refugees as well.

Camilo Pérez Bustillo: Exactly, and that is a key point, because there is a very organic local link, because there is a lawsuit that we have been working on as the National Lawyers Guild, the organization that I represent here in San Francisco, that I lead. We are accompanying this lawsuit before the federal courts of the United States here in the Northern District of California, that is how this entire region is defined, it is a lawsuit launched and promoted by families of Palestinian origin who have relatives currently in Gaza, who are suffering. the attacks of this genocide, this violence and this terror, who have been forcibly displaced, in some cases three or four times in recent months, almost monthly let's say, and who are also living in the most precarious conditions possible.

We know that there is this attempt to get humanitarian aid to Gaza, this Open Arms boat that is a process of trying to alleviate that suffering, we also know that these communities here of Palestinian origin, from Gaza, Arab, in the Bay region of Northern California, are communities that suffer discrimination, that also suffer attacks in the sense of racist, xenophobic violence, and stigma; that idea that, the same as they usually try to make an equivalence between migrants and criminals, and we know how political campaigns in this country work, sadly, Trump, and everything we know, but we also know that it has to do with the idea that Arabs or people of Arab origin, or of Muslim faith religions, Islamic, are automatically terrorists, for that matter it does not matter. They are criminalizing us. 

There are very valuable, very brave organizations that are working at ground level here, and that are worried every day and at all times about what is happening to their relatives in Gaza, and it is a pressing reality.

This is the holy month, the one we are experiencing, Ramadan in the Islamic religion; Of course, those of us who share those traditions, in our countries, in our families, are preparing for Holy Week; it is also a time of the most important Jewish religious festivities; All of these peoples agree this month of March, culminating in this Easter Sunday, on Easter, we agree that it is a time to reflect and to think about what our values are and what is happening in the world and how we can respond.

Manuel: Furthermore, we are not only talking about the Palestinian communities, because it would seem that the narrative is Palestine against Jews and here in the demonstrations what we have said is that Palestinians and Jews are, let's say, on the same side, asking for a ceasefire, a stop the genocide, they are holding hands. Here it is a matter of Zionists attacking the Palestinian people and also attacking the Jewish people, because, also, how many Jews have not been imprisoned for opposing a genocide at this time.

Camilo Pérez Bustillo: That detail is very important. It is not, of course, about what is sometimes defined as anti-Semitism, about pointing out Jewish people or religion, the Jewish faith, it is not about that, about that identity, it is about the policies of a State. , which is the State of Israel, which is sadly assumed to be a Jewish State, but which is deeply divided.

And, what you have said, there are many people of Jewish origin who are at risk, that on the day of the blockade at the Airport (in San Francisco), organized through the organization called Jewish Voices for Peace (Jewish Voice For Peace), were there on the front line, defending the rights of the Palestinian people, and who identify with the Palestinian cause as Jews from their faith and from their identity. 

Of course, very renowned public figures in the world like Noam Chomsky, and many more scholars on the issue of Gaza like Norman Finkelstein, there are many references, and they are available on the Internet, in Spanish and in many spaces, which are of Jewish origin, but from there they repudiate Israel's policies; So, let's not go with the idea, with the feint, that it is an issue of religious conflict, it is not about that, nor a racial conflict, but rather it is about a position based on values, it is a rather about how we think about things and how we see the world and those of us who are in favor of human rights and those who sadly trample and violate those rights.

You may be interested in: Protesters at San Francisco International Airport urge ceasefire in Gaza after 158 days of attacks

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
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