Monday, July 21, 2014

Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem

Boeing Corporation headquarters, Chicago
Yesterday I marched with other members of local Lutheran congregations in a march to protest the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Estimates put the number of marchers at between 5,000 and 10,000. (Watch this Youtube video "Protest in downtown Chicago on 7/20/14" and judge for yourself.)

As the march neared its objective -- the office building at Madison and Canal where the Israeli consulate is located -- the nearby Boeing building came into view.  For the first time, I wondered at its proximity.

Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the top military contractors in the world; and it's one that hides behind the veneer of providing civilian airliners, for "nice" travel. The antiwar community in Chicago has long sought to shine a light on Boeing's grisly war business and has called for it to cease those activities. (See "Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research".)  Getting the public to pay attention isn't easy in our see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, above-it-all society.

Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

"An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip
on Saturday as Israeli forces pressed ahead with a ground offensive."
(Source: Baz Ratner/Reuters/Landov, retrieved from 89.3 KPCC website.)

You can read the description of the "Boeing AH-64 Apache (Hebrew nickname: 'Peten' ('Adder'), 'Saraph')" on the Israeli Air Force website.

"An F-15I over the IAF’s Hatzerim air base."
(Photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90. Retrieved from End Time Bible Prophecy website.)

You can read the description of the "Boeing F-15I (Hebrew nickname: 'Ra'am' ('Thunder'))" on the Israeli Air Force website.

It seems that Boeing has an Israel problem. And considering the close relationship between Chicago and Boeing, that means Chicago has a problem, too.

Most recently, several groups in Chicago took action in light of Boeing's leading role in the Gaza killings, with a protest where Boeing lives. (See "Police Arrest 5 Anti-Israel Protesters At Boeing HQ")

What will happen in just a few weeks, when Boeing sponsors a full-volume enactment of fighter jets and other military aircraft roaring over the Chicago lakefront in front of a half million spectators? Isn't the sight and sound of jet fighters coming in low over people on a narrow strip of land next tot he water a little too close for comfort?  Isn't the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show likely to be a public relations disaster for Boeing?

"Die-in" at 2012 Chicago Air and Water Show.

Numerous peace and justice groups long ago committed to have a presence at the Air and Water Show to protest U.S. militarism, drone killings, abuses of the "war on terror," and recruitment of youth for war. (See, for instance, August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest )

It's beginning to look like Boeing's role in the Gaza killings may be the big story at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show.

Related posts

July 2014 - Many organizations from across the city joined the call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice: Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza: Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!

(See No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show)

Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people from Chicago and the surrounding area gather on the lakeshore to watch aerial displays by an array of planes. Most don't suspect that they are being subjected to an intense propaganda effort by multiple branches of the U.S. military.  The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo views this as a perfect opportunity to engage with the public and enlist them in the growing movement against U.S. war, torture, surveillance, and other crimes.  We will join activists from many other peace and justice groups who have had a growing presence at this event in recent years.

(See August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest )

When Chicagoans fully succeed in fully connecting the dots -- especially to the crimes being committed in their name with their tax dollars and the weapons produced by their favored corporate citizen, Boeing -- I think there will be some new and different phone calls taking place . . .

(See What's New in Chicago: Connecting the Dots - US Aid, Boeing Weapons, Gaza Massacre, Chicago Complicity )

Isn't the real problem that fully half of Boeing's business consists of making and selling war materiel? Is it really necessary to identify the one, or two, or three most egregious weapons that Boeing makes? Do we need to pick and choose?  Isn't the real issue that nice, all-American, fly-the-friendly-skies Boeing is one of the core purveyors of war and misery in the world today, by virtue of its Military Aircraft division? I mean, look at their own sanitized version of what they do -- "Strike, Mobility, Surveillance & Engagement, Unmanned & Missile Systems, Global Support" -- even in their own words its readily apparent that they're peddling poison.

(See The Wrong Labor Struggle at Boeing )

There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks and months about the problem of gun trafficking in Illinois, and how we will never meet our goal of stopping the violence in our communities if we can't stop the flow of guns. Maybe it's time for us to eat our own dog food . . . .

(See What If Illinois Became a "War-Profiteer-Free Zone" ? )

Other related links

Students at DePaul University had a graphic message for weapons suppliers when they protested the killings in Gaza:

F-16s, Apache Helicopters, and Fighter Jets
are NOT in line with
Vincentian Values

Protest poster outside of the DePaul University Arts building
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (Amanda Crane / The DePaulia)

Students at DePaul have voted for divestment "from corporations that include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing among others."("Protest over deaths in Gaza held outside Arts and Letters building" by Matthew Paras in The DePaulia, September 30, 2014)