- Identifies Israeli and American militarism and oppression as “the root injustices” that give rise to such phenomena as the Iraqi insurgency and Palestinian terrorism
- Offers “eyewitness accounts” of the suffering in Iraq and in Palestinian villages
- Has addressed audiences in hundreds of cities and thousands of venues
Founded in July 2003, Wheels of Justice (WOJ) is a bus tour that “canvasses the United States with education, outreach, training, active non-violent resistance, and network/community-building.” The tour was established to “build upon and reassert the massive domestic opposition to [the U.S.] war against Iraq and [Israel’s] occupation of the Palestinians.” Toward that end, WOJ “instructors” (i.e., activists and public speakers) have addressed audiences in hundreds of cities and thousands of venues—including many middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities—delivering “eyewitness accounts” of the suffering they personally witnessed during visits to Iraqi and Palestinian villages. These speakers—many of whom have been affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and (the now defunct) Voices in the Wilderness—identify American and Israeli militarism and oppression as “the root injustices” that first gave rise to such phenomena as the Iraqi insurgency and Palestinian terrorism.
Among the more prominent speakers associated with WOJ are Brian Avery (co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement); Anna Baltzer (author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories); Joe Carr (a self-described anarchist who has been active with the Christian Peacemaker Teams and ISM, and who is “dedicated to the overthrow of U.S.-led global capitalist oppression.”), Mazin Qumsiyeh (founder of Al-Awda); and Alison Weir (founder of If Americans Knew).
During the Iraq War, WOJ condemned the U.S. government’s “costly pursuit of foreign wars” for “hijacking … Iraq’s culture and resources” and depriving the Iraqi people of “self-governance.”
With regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, WOJ charges that virtually every social, economic, medical, and spiritual ill afflicting the Palestinian people can be attributed to Israel’s policies of “colonization,” “occupation,” “displacement,” “apartheid,” “house demolitions,” “collective punishment,” and “ethnic cleansing”—all part of a “legacy that began in 1947.”[
Reasoning](http://wheelsofjusticetour.org/the-wheels-of-justice-tour-platform) that the violence in Iraq and “Palestine/Israel” is “supported by our [U.S.] tax dollars and by our elected officials,” WOJ claims that: “Americans bear a great responsibility. The people of the world know this, and U.S. government policy provokes rage and retaliation against Americans.… To break the cycle of violence we must change our roles in these conflicts; as individuals and as a nation, we must move from instigator to negotiator, from enabler to resister.”
WOJ likens the allegedly brutal policies of the U.S. and Israel to those that, in times past, promoted “the dispossession and oppression of other peoples, including American Indians, African Americans, South African blacks under Apartheid, etc.”
WOJ has compiled a recommended reading list that includes books authored or edited by Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (a former member of the pro-Arafat Palestine National Council); Roane Carey (author of The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid); Noam Chomsky; Norman Finkelstein; Simha Flapan (the first National President of the pro-Soviet, pro-Stalin party called Mapam); Tanya Reinhart; Edward Said; and four so-called “new historians” who place all blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict on Israel—Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev, and Avi Shlaim.
WOJ implores its ideological supporters to engage in some form of nonviolent protest against Israeli and/or American wrongdoing. “Nonviolence,” the organization once stated, “can be interpositioning yourself between Israeli tanks and Palestinian civilians, or standing with Iraqi families as their backyards become a proving ground for the most powerful military machine the world has ever seen.” Less perilous measures, says WOJ, “can also take form in speaking truth to the power of a state’s legal system, refusing to accept one people as fundamentally ‘evil’ and another as ‘good,’ and refusing to bankroll war, terror and occupation.”
Other activities suggested by WOJ include: organizing public teach-ins, lectures, presentations, vigils, protests, movie screenings, slide shows, and poetry events; supporting “bands against bombs” concerts and musical performances; participating in religious services “for justice and peace in … Palestine/Israel”; attending campaign rallies and events featuring public officials; and taking part in protests against companies that “indirectly or directly participate in war/occupation and related activities.” WOJ specifically singles out such companies as Bechtel (which handled reconstruction projects in post-invasion Iraq); Boeing (which manufactures weapons and military aircraft); Caterpillar (which manufactures bulldozers that are used by the Israeli Defense Forces to raze the homes of Palestinian terrorists); and Lockheed-Martin (a maker of missile and missile-defense systems).
Funded mostly by merchandise sales and private donations, WOJ is sponsored by Al-Awda, the International Solidarity Movement, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance. A former sponsor was the now-defunct Voices in the Wilderness.
Though WOJ in recent times has been less active than it was in its early years, it does continue to make occasional presentations in various U.S. cities. In August 2013, for instance, Anna Baltzer and other WOJ spokespeople addressed audiences in Billings and Red Lodge, Montana.
For additional information on WOJ, click here.