Monthly Archives: October 2009

J Street Two-Step: Fights smear campaign, censors poets

CORRECTION: Theater J tells us that the poetry session at J Street is not theirs as we incorrectly reported in the first version of this post. Theater J’s Ari Roth was asked to introduce the poets and moderate the session, but the poets were invited (and later uninvited) to participate by J Street. Roth also tells us that Theater J, a model for artistic expression based in the communal Jewish world, was long ago discovered by “right-wing gatekeepers”, as I described them, and that they continue to flourish and receive broad community support. Amen.

____________________________________________

In its important efforts to challenge AIPAC and reclaim the center of Jewish liberal opinion, J Street walks an increasingly difficult line, demanding a more open discourse about Israeli policy for liberal Zionists, while simultaneously drawing a line in the sand between that which is kosher and that which is treyf (unclean): Jewish-staters and Congressional lobbying in, agnostics and one-staters and BDS out. Is this a viable, ethical or helpful strategy? It’s entirely possible to argue both sides. But only time will tell.

But for the moment, what is clear is that this approach leads to increasingly untenable situations like this: just a few days after J Street asked supporters to help them fight back on an undeniably terrible smear campaign about their upcoming conference, they announced they were canceling the entire poetry session at the same conference because of remarks invoking the Holocaust to describe the treatment of Palestinians, made some time in the past by one planned presenter, a young Jewish poet.

First, Jerry Haber of Magnes Zionist on the right-wing campaign:

A smear campaign against J-Street has been launched by – who else? The Weekly Standard, Commentary and the Standwithus crowd. They are telling their supporters to hound the members of Congress who are part of the J-Street Gala’s Honorary Host Committee and get them to withdraw. So why not? Hey, it’s a free country, isn’t it?

Sure, and if they played by the rules, that would be fine. But their rules include smearing and guilt-by-association. Remember how they went after Obama? Now they are saying that because one of the many speakers at the J-Street Conference, Salam al-Marayati, made a remark on radio suggesting that Israel should be on the lists of suspects for the 9/11 attack. He did this on September 11, and then immediately apologized for it the next day and on the same radio show.

So why is Salam al-Marayati speaking at J-Street? Because of something which he does not apologize for – his support of the two-state solution. In an op-ed he wrote for JTA

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a key issue of U.S.-Muslim world relations. My position on the conflict — and that of MPAC — centers on the two-state solution whereby Israel and Palestine exist side by side with security and opportunity. I believe also that the injustices that the Palestinian people have endured for more than 60 years, as well as the ongoing occupation that started in 1967, must be addressed and rectified through negotiation, not violence. Middle East wars have not resolved anything in the 20th century or in the first decade of this century”

In other words, the man is as extreme as…Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu!

Oh, did I tell you that al-Marayati’s support for the two-state solution is not mentioned in the smear campaign.

And now, this morning, J Street is putting the kibosh on the poets. JTA reports:

J Street nixes poetry session over speaker’s remarks

WASHINGTON (JTA) — J Street canceled a poetry session at its upcoming conference after the revelation of controversial remarks by one of the scheduled participants.

Monday’s decision comes a few days after some conservative Web sites critical of J Street posted examples of the work of Josh Healey, a scheduled speaker at the poetry session.

In one poem, Healey wonders whether “the chosen people” have been “chosen to recreate our own history, merely reversing the roles with the script now reading that we’re the ones writing numbers on the wrists of babies born in the ghetto called Gaza?”

Also, Healey talks in a video about showing solidarity with those protesting other causes, saying that for his friends, “Anne Frank is Matthew Shepard” and “Guantanamo is Auschwitz.”

“As J Street is critical of the use and abuse of Holocaust imagery and metaphors by politicians and pundits on the right, it would be inappropriate for us to feature poets at our conference whose poetry has used such imagery in the past and might also be offensive to some conference participants,” said J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami.

It’s not clear that J Street actually has a policy regarding speakers and their right to use – in creative pieces- the Holocaust to describe the treatment of Palestinians, or if J Street actually has made much of a point of criticizing the frequent use of Nazi imagery by the right-wing to describe liberals and Israel critics (so well documented by Glenn Greenwald. ) Nonetheless, the seemingly quick decision to yield to pressure regarding something-a-poet-once-said-in-a-poem-at-another-event-about-his-experience-of-the-Holocaust lands J Street squarely in the realm of retro thought-police like the Anti-Defamation League. We’re pretty confident that’s a place that many of J Street’s supporters would not like them to be.

J Street should be lauded for figuring out a way to broaden the field for Israeli-Palestinian bloggers at their conference next week by giving Richard Silverstein and Jerry Haber physical space to hold a completely independent session with some of the best-known bloggers on the topic: Monday, October 26, from 12:30-2:00pm at the McPhearson Square room in the Grand Hyatt. Muzzlewatch’s Sydney Levy will be among those presenting and touching on this and other important topics.

_ Cecilie Surasky

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variation for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when hard-on is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile disfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Goldstone, Human Rights Watch, New Profile et al. The Israeli govt. assault on human rights.

The proxy war between Israel and its critics is growing more intense, more desperate, more anti-democratic, more comically absurd.

Just a few weeks ago, and with a straight face, professional defender-of-Israeli-human-rights-violations Hillel Neuer of UN Watch happily compared Naomi Klein to Goebbels and said she was “today’s leading opponent of Israel in the Western world.”

The Goldstone Report goes further than Ahmadinejad and the Holocaust deniers by stripping the Jews not only of the ability and the need but of the right to defend themselves. If a country can be pummeled by thousands of rockets and still not be justified in protecting its inhabitants, then at issue is not the methods by which that country survives but whether it can survive at all. But more insidiously, the report does not only hamstring Israel; it portrays the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents–as Nazis. And a Nazi state not only lacks the need and right to defend itself; it must rather be destroyed.

Yglesias points out, “the Goldstone Report just doesn’t say anything remotely like this.”

But these uncommonly vicious, nasty and unintentionally campy attacks are no coincidence.

In The Nation, Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss have a very important article detailing the range of human rights groups that are being targeted by Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

“For the first time the Israeli government is taking an active role in the smearing of human rights groups,” says Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch workers had long been a target of Gerald Steinberg’s NGO Monitor, which seeks to gut the international law enforcement infrastructure because they believe it is a threat to the Israeli status quo- which of course it is. (They call journalists, diplomats and human rights workers part of the ‘axis of evil.’)  Steinberg has been busily scanning the internet to build extensive dossiers on anyone who has worked in the Middle East division at HRW, and is also part of the campaign to defund human rights groups in Israel that get EU funds. But there’s more:

The Israeli government has also sought to quash domestic dissent. In April it targeted the anti-militarism organization New Profile, seizing computers and detaining activists. In July, when a group of Israeli veterans called Breaking the Silence released dozens of anonymous soldiers’ testimonies from the Gaza assault describing indifference to civilian targets, the Israeli government went, well, ballistic. It threatened to cut off the financial support the group receives from the Dutch, Spanish and British governments and warned those governments that their support was illegal. Israel indicated that it would look into foreign support that Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Machsom Watch receive as well.

Ron Dermer, a Netanyahu adviser who was raised in Florida, struck a fearsome tone: “We are going to dedicate time and manpower to combating these groups. We are not going to be sitting ducks in a pond for the human rights groups to shoot at us with impunity.”

Meanwhile, Isi Leibler, writing in the Jerusalem Post, ominously wants to “exorcise the [Jewish] renegades from our midst,” through some form of excommunication.

In Toronto, Jews were at the forefront of a campaign to boycott Israeli films at a film festival because the anniversary of Tel Aviv – ‘built on the destroyed villages of Palestinians’ – was being celebrated; two Israeli women who evaded national service are conducting a North American campus tour under the auspices of ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ to persuade students to intensify their role in the “resistance movement”; in San Francisco the local Jewish Federation is providing funds for a film festival which promotes the vilest anti-Israel films; radical Rabbi Michael Lerner invited a woman who justifies suicide bombings to address his synagogue on Yom Kippur; and so on.

IM EIN ani li mi li? If we are not for ourselves, who will be? We are engaged in a battle against fiendish enemies committed to our destruction. The Israeli government must now take steps to neutralize the impact of renegade Jews who present themselves as legitimate alternative Jewish viewpoints. Such an initiative by a country which provides genuine democratic rights to all its citizens, including Arabs, could hardly be categorized as eradicating freedom of expression. It would rather represent a highly overdue effort to exorcise such odious groups from the mainstream and expose them as unrepresentative fringe groups with no standing.

The heightened discourse of nastiness is matched on the ground by what many observers believe is an  intentional effort by Netanyahu to trigger a third intifada.

Cecilie Surasky

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variation for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with occupational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Who’s afraid of young Israelis talking?

Are Israeli youth allowed to speak about their views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Not always.

Some believe that the ideals of Israeli democracy and free speech stop at the border. Take the example of the young Israeli conscientious objectors — the Shministm — currently in speaking tours both in the United States and in South Africa.

Here’s Dan Klein, the North America campus director for StandWithUs, speaking to the JPost on the issue:

I definitely understand that Israelis have the right not to agree with their government. That`s fine. Every citizen in a democracy has that right. But you take that up in your country. Once you take that abroad, what does that gain you?

I do not understand the distinction he makes. Maybe Dan believes that news and information stop at the border, at any border. Or maybe he ignores the fact that the Shministim have already gathered a great deal of international attention while they were still in Israel: over 60,000 letters of support and counting, over 53,000 hits on their short film in Youtube, and a great deal of media attention in a good number of countries around the world.

Here’s Dan again,

I definitely do not agree with what they`re trying to do because I think they`re misguided.

Misguided? Now, that’s a bit patronizing, isn’t it? These young Israelis do not need ‘guidance.’ They have been smart enough to develop their own political analysis of the Israeli occupation (you can read their letter here) and brave enough to go to jail for their convictions.

The Shministim have been greeted with interest in many campuses throughout the United States (UC Berkeley, University of Arizona-Tucson, University of Southern California, Cornell University, Hunter College, Brown University, Clark University, Vassar College, and Brandeis University to name a few.)

Why the interest? Many people are past the StandWithUs propaganda, either you are with us or against us kind of thinking. The Shministim offer a view of the Israeli occupation that is both critical of the human rights abuses and compassionate towards Palestinians and Israelis. And they’ve been extraordinarily open to dialog with those that disagree with them. I’ve been to a number of their talks in the Bay Area. They opened each presentation inviting people to share their ideas — whether in agreement or disagreement — and they answered all questions with care and respect.

Not everyone sees it that way, of course. Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler referred to them as ‘renegade Jews.’ He called them,

‘non-Jewish Jews,” many with no prior involvement in Jewish life, [who] exploited their Jewish origins or Israeli nationality to defame Israel.

In hysterical terms, he starts by calling for their excommunication and ends by calling for their exorcism.

Lucky for them, they are not alone. Dr. Neve Gordon, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, and many others — including me! — join them in that grey space between the excommunicated Baruch Spinoza and the exorcised dybbuk.

Some South African Jews may be victims of Leibler’s hysteria. Reportedly, some Jews in Cape Town are concerned that a visit by three Shministim could fuel anti-Semitism.

Here’s National Vice Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation David Hirsch,

They are speaking out to the greater South African population, that does not really know or understand the complex issues of the conflict in Israel.

You see, only us Jews really understand it.

Hold the presses… not even Jews can be exposed to the Shministim heresy!

They have been refused a chance to give a talk in Cape Town’s largest Jewish day school. One talk. This says a lot about the level of dialog and openness in Jewish communities around the world to be able to talk about what is going on in Israel from all points of view.

The Shministim are coming to talk about the Israeli occupation, about its effects on Palestinians and Israelis, and about the nonviolent path they have chosen for themselves. In other words, the Shministim are coming to present a more complex picture of the situation, not a simpler one. This should have been a welcome development.

I leave you with Ilan Strauss, of Open Shuhada Street (one of the groups sponsoring the Shministim’s South Africa tour),

…it is important that South Africans are exposed to these courageous, non-violent perspectives, which adhere to human rights for both parties and aim to ensure a just resolution to the ongoing violence.

If you are in South Africa, you should go hear them yourself.

– Sydney Levy

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variant for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile malfunction. Such disease is best solved with occupational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Anne Bayefsky is an anti-Semite and a hypocrite, attacks on Goldstone cross the line

In the embedded video (after 25 second ad, go to 6:10), The Hudson Institute’s wacky Anne Bayefsky couldn’t be clearer. She spells out her strategy of turning Israel into a perpetual victim to divert world attention from the serious charges in the Goldstone report, the UN’s human rights investigation of Gaza:

I think that the world of human rights has developed a weapon, I call it the ‘human rights weapon’. It’s one which inverts victim and perpetrator. It’s one which is designed to deflect attention from the human rights abuses by those who violate human rights. It is intended to circle the wagons, to invoke mass hysteria which suggest to people that they are under threat, which is in fact, imaginary. And to develop excuses for hatred and for terrorism. It’s a tried and trued formula after all isn’t it? To create imaginary enemies, to exaggerate what is a kernel of truth and to divert attention from the real violations in our midst.

Oops, she’s actually referring here to what she calls “the phenomenon that surrounds the rise of allegations of Islamophobia,” not, amazingly to the rise in allegations of anti-Semitism against all critics of Israel.

She and her friends at the American Jewish Committee’s UN Watch and NGO Monitor are some of the world’s top practitioners of this technique. They do everything they can to weaken and destroy the international human rights infrastructure so that Israel is never held accountable for its illegal occupation, siege of Gaza and more. And, just as she describes above, they do it through elevating the anti-Semitism threat level to HYSTERICAL RED! everywhere, all the time.

(Let’s be clear: The UN Human Rights Council unfairly targets Israel for opprobrium- that’s simply a fact. But the mission of these groups isn’t to restore balance; it’s to make sure Israel is never held accountable for its ongoing illegal behavior, which, it should be obvious to anyone, makes them the worst kinds of “friends” Israel could have. And their preferred method of achieving this goal is to use charges of anti-Semitism to vilify good human rights workers and institutions, peace activists, and from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, Islam and nearly all of its adherents.)

But back to Bayefsky’s talk from the video. “Imaginary enemy” #1 of the Jewish people? According to Bayefsky, in “UN report a 21st century blood libel, scholar says in Geneva,” it is none other than world-respected-jurist, friend-of-Israel, Hebrew University-board-of-governors-member Richard Goldstone.

South African jurist Richard Goldstone exploited his Judaism to endanger the State of Israel, the Hudson Institute’s Anne Bayefsky charged on Tuesday, slamming the chief author of the controversial UN report on the IDF incursion into Gaza in January.

“Richard, how does it feel to have used your Jewishness to jeopardize the safety and security of the people of Israel and to find yourself in the company of human rights abusers everywhere?” Bayefsky asked.

She was one of the few pro-Israel speakers to address the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which spent the entire day debating the report commissioned by the council, a draft copy of which was released two weeks ago.

Bayefsky compared the Goldstone Report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

“The Goldstone mission will go down in history as the 21st century’s equivalent,” said Bayefsky, a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute in New York and an outspoken critic of the UN’s stance on Israel.

“At its core, the Goldstone Report repeats the ancient blood libel against the Jewish people – the allegation of bloodthirsty Jews intent on butchering the innocent,” she said.

With this report, the UN has rendered the right of the Jewish people to self-defense a “crime against humanity,” she continued.

Someone has to finally call this kind of viciousness what it is and stop putting up with it- she’s an anti-Semite. The peculiarly epic charges she wields against Goldstone are clearly reserved for that most evil entity, in Bayefsky’s eyes, another Jew willing to take a clear-eyed look at Israel’s undeniable human rights violations. That level of demonization, in the context of a continued rise in violent religious zealotry, means she is literally willing to sacrifice him.

But he’s also a proxy. She hates Jews like Goldstone, but also Jews like Philip Weiss, Jews like Naomi Klein, Jews like Sara Roy, Jews like Norman Finkelstein.

She makes my family less safe because she cheapens the charges of anti-Semitism, which in itself is a form of Jewish hatred and contempt. And she makes my Muslim and Palestinian friends less safe because the only way she can make her case it to demonize them.

I first encountered Bayefsky at the UN’s Durban Review Conference in Geneva, where she put together a panel of all-stars like Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz (who actually called Goldstone “some Jew” while on the panel) and (a clearly not entirely there) Jon Voight, only too willing to serve their purpose of demonizing and dehumanizing Palestinians, and all other Muslims for good measure. One Palestinian friend who was also there called it, “the worst two hours” of his life.  I could barely believe that people displaying this kind of outrageous racism- at an anti-racism conference no less-could be taken seriously.

No one should take her seriously now, except as a dangerous bigot, willing to sacrifice not just Palestinians and Muslims, but now at least one Jew named Goldstone, by all accounts a good and decent man, to achieve her objectives of making sure that Israel remains above the law.

It’s entirely likely that Goldstone, who cares deeply about Israel, and who also condemned Hamas for their well-documented war crimes, understands the danger (to Israel) of wanting it to be above the law. If only Bayefsky and her friends did.

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment option for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile disfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile disfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.