Yearly Archives: 2010

It’s better not to ask questions

Here’s a lesson in democracy. In preparation for the upcoming November elections a group of local activists sent a questionnaire to the 85 candidates from their county running for seats in the state legislature. They hoped the information they’d receive would encourage debate and allow voters to make better decisions at the ballot box.

What did they get instead? They got slammed. Their survey was called “abhorrent and repulsive,” and the newspaper that brought the charges against them ignored their calls for a reasonable policy debate and did not allow them to respond with as little as a letter to the editor.

The candidate survey from Peace Action Montgomery came under attack for a single question in it, that – you guessed it – addressed the Israeli occupation.

Del. Benjamin Kramer (D-Montgomery), one of the candidates receiving the survey, issued a public letter calling the questionnaire “anti-Semitic” and promising to encourage fellow candidates to ignore it.

Anti-Semitic? You be the judge.

Question 5 is composed of only three sentences. The first two are statements of facts:

1. “In the past, the Maryland state legislature has exercised its power to order the state’s pension system to divest its holdings in companies that are complicit in illegal activities in other countries.”

2. “The World Court has ruled that Israel’s separation wall and settlements in the West Bank are illegal.”

Based on those facts, a legitimate policy question is asked:

“Would you support a similar divestment bill targeting companies that knowingly participate in these illegal activities in Israel?”

The question does not single out Jews. It does not even single out Israel. It does single out actions that break international law. What’s wrong with that?

Ask Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, who described the questionnaire by Peace Action Montgomery as “abhorrent and repulsive.” The JCRC holds its own set of candidate forums and distributes questionnaires to inform its members. But apparently others cannot do as much.

This whole controversy erupted on the front page of the local Washington Jewish Week (“Parsing the D-word”). 

Peace Action Montgomery was quoted in the D-article, but its letter to the editor following the publication of the slander was never printed. In that letter, Peace Action Montgomery called for an open, reasonable debate on the merits of BDS, pro and con. The group even invited the paper that slandered it to co-moderate the debate. But the Washington Jewish Week has chosen to ignore the invitation altogether. What are they so afraid of?

We print here what the Washington Jewish week would not publish:

“Parsing the D Word” (July 29) not only pointed out the controversy over using divestment as a strategy to encourage Israel to abide by international laws regarding human rights; it also included statements by an unidentified Jewish backer to MD Delegate, Jim Pettit, that slammed Peace Action Montgomery as “a façade” and questioned its legitimacy as an organization that truly promotes peace. In reality, anyone who took the time to review our activities would see that we have consistently opposed military interventions and U.S. funding of ALL military occupations, but particularly those in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, since they garner by far the largest chunk of U.S. taxpayer dollars. We also vehemently oppose anti-Semitism and bigotry and are offended at being defamed for our support for human rights, protection of civil rights and opposition to violations of the rule of law.



Our question to the Washington Jewish Week is why the published article neglected to point out that our letter in response to Delegate Kramer invited him to join us in a public debate on the issue of how best to advance a just resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, with Washington Jewish Week as a co-moderator of the event, along with a representative of another organization.



We have had no response to that invitation and so propose it again. We hope that Del. Kramer and/or Washington Jewish Week will accept this invitation for a much needed dialogue on this significant issue.


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 disfunction 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 dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with vocational 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 cure is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Goldstone and the lies of the Smear Machine: No Accountability. For shame!

It’s nearly impossible to compile all of the profoundly shameful statements made by Israeli-Reputation-Gatekeepers against respected Jewish South African jurist Richard Goldstone and his report on Operation Cast Lead, last year’s Israeli war on Gaza. (Back then, MIT professor Nancy Kanwisher wrote about this under-appreciated but remarkable study she did on the ceasefires between Israel and Gaza, concluding,  “a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.”)

There’s Michael Jackson’s rabbi, Shmuley Boteach (and, presumably because of his sage advice to the singer, one of Newsweek’s top 50 rabbis) who said, “The Goldstone Report is a modern-day blood libel against the Jewish state.”

The Hudson Institute just called the report “the UN blood libel” while Alan Dershowitz, wanting to one-up his colleagues, likened Goldstone to the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. That, after he called him an evil, evil man. And as Hybrid States Yaniv Reich adds:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak described it as “false, distorted, and irresponsible“.  Information Minister Yuli Edelstein called it “anti-Semitic“.  Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren said it “insidiously… portrayed the Jews as the deliberate murderers of innocents“.  Foreign Minister Lieberman argued that its true purpose “was to destroy Israel’s image, in service of countries where the terms ‘human rights’ and ‘combat ethics’ do not even appear in their dictionaries“.  And the US House of Representatives banded together in bipartisan harmony to pass a resolution (344–36) that called “on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration” of it.

For nearly a year now, vicious attacks on the Goldstone report and on Judge Goldstone himself have been the thing for Israel’s numerous apologists to do.

But now, partially because of pressure created by the Goldstone Report, the Israeli military, the IDF has released it’s own report. As Reich says:

There is just one not-so-minor problem with this knee-jerk criticism of the report and infinite stream of ad hominem libel against its main author.  A majority of the most damning—and damaging—war crimes that are alleged to have taken place have now been confirmed by the IDF’s own investigations into the matter, themselves only conducted in an effort to derail the Goldstone report’s referral to the International Criminal Court.

Reich has the details. A must-read.

Meanwhile, I suppose the Smear Machine has no more chance of being made accountable for their outrageous attacks than the still highly-paid US pundits who said the US war with Iraq would be a walk in the park.

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 version 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 malfunction 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 vocational 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.

Civil society groups protest possible banning of Muslim group at UC Irvine

Here’s the letter:

Coalition Letter_Support UCI MSU_For Press Release

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 remedy 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 medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Israeli Knesset completes step 1 of 3 in criminalizing nonviolent economic pressure against the Occupation

Real News Network, a professional online alternative to US corporate media, has this comprehensive report about a Knesset bill to criminalize Palestinian, international and Israeli efforts to promote and enact boycotts against Israel. Last week, it passed its “preliminary reading” in the Knesset, with two more rounds to go to become law.

If passed, this stunning bill will mark the most severe and antidemocratic backlash thus far against the boycott, sanctions and divestment movement (BDS) to pressure Israel to abide by international law. Continue reading

Liberal PR firm drops Gaza advocacy group under pressure

Fenton Communications is a well-known liberal, Democratic public relations firm that caught the “adoring” eye of the Israeli Likudnik crowd because liberal Zionist lobby group J Street founder Jeremy Ben Ami is a former Senior Vice President. Back in March, 2009 Fenton signed a contract with the Qatar based Fakhoora campaign to advocate for accountability over Israel’s attacks on Gaza. Accountability and Israel-now that’s a no-no for the pro-settler lobby. But back then, the right wing echo chamber couldn’t do anything with that information, Ben-Ami had left the year before and denied any connection.

Fast forward over a year and The Israel Project and their right wing buddies are after Fenton (and Ben Ami) again. Amazingly, this time, they were successful and Fenton dropped the account. Completely. JTA reports:

July 11, 2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. public relations firm said it will not renew its contract with a pro-Palestinian group that helped to organize the flotilla that aimed to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The announcement from Fenton Communications, which specializes in PR for not-for-profit groups, followed The Israel Project’s distribution of a news release publicizing Fenton’s representation of Fakhoora on June 23.

The release noted Fakhoora’s role in helping to organize the flotilla of six aid ships. An Israeli raid on one of the ships on May 31 resulted in the deaths of nine passengers on board.

The release was issued to The Israel Project’s mailing list and Fenton clients.

“The purpose of a public relations firm is to help provide a good name to their clients, and only a PR firm with their own good name and reputation can succeed in business,”  said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder of The Israel Project.

Representatives from Fenton were unavailable for comment. The firm, well known in Democratic and liberal circles in the United States, has represented Jewish groups, including the American Jewish World Service, a relief group.

According to its website, Fakhoora is a campaign to help improve education for children in Gaza. The organization is supported by the second wife of the emir of Qatar, whose office paid Fenton to represent Fakhoora from March 1 to Aug. 31.

Fenton distributed materials on the Fakhoora’s website, such as a “flotilla action alert,” and helped spread the organization’s message through social networking sites such as Facebook. Fenton has offices in New York, Washington and San Francisco.

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 malfunction 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 remedy 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 unwanted 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.

Octavia Nasr,20-year CNN career ended over a tweet. UK ambassador Frances Guy removes blog post under pressure.

There’s really little to add to Glenn Greenwald’s comprehensive post on the hypocritical firing of (until now, the very safe and non-controversial) CNN Senior Middle East News Editor Octavia Nasr over just one short tweet she posted this weekend:

“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah  . . . . One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

Fadlallah was one of the world’s most revered Shia leaders. He was also the religious leader most associated with the political party of US ally Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Upon his death, UK ambassador to Lebanon Frances Guy wrote in a piece (which, believe it or not, she has now taken down, presumably due to pressure after the Nasr uproar- on her official blog) called (cached version) The Passing of Decent Men, “When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person.  That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith…The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.”

After the Twitter controversy first happened, Nasr wrote a thoughtful explanation. But to no avail.

Greenwald goes on:

That message spawned an intense fit of protest from Far Right outlets, Thought Crime enforcers, and other neocon precincts, and CNN quickly (and characteristically) capitulated to that pressure by firing her.  The network — which has employed a former AIPAC official, Wolf Blitzer, as its primary news anchor for the last 15 years — justified its actions by claiming that Nasr’s “credibility” had been “compromised.”  Within this episode lies several important lessons about media “objectivity” and how the scope of permissible views is enforced.

First, consider which viewpoints cause someone to be fired from The Liberal Media.  Last month, Helen Thomas’ 60-year career as a journalist ended when she expressed the exact view about Jews which numerous public figures have expressed (with no consequence or even controversy) about Palestinians.  Just weeks ago, The Washington Post accepted the “resignation” of Dave Weigel because of scorn he heaped on right-wing figures such as Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh.  CNN’s Chief News Executive, Eason Jordan, was previously forced to resign after he provoked a right-wing fit of fury over comments he made about the numerousand obviously disturbingincidents where the U.S. military had injured or killed journalists in war zones.  NBC fired Peter Arnett for criticizing the U.S. war plan on Iraqi television, which prompted accusations of Treason from the Right.  MSNBC demoted and then fired its rising star Ashleigh Banfield after she criticized American media war coverage for adhering to the Fox model of glorifying U.S. wars; the same network fired its top-rated host, Phil Donahue, due to its fear of being perceived as anti-war; and its former reporter, Jessica Yellin, confessed that journalists were “under enormous pressure from corporate executives” to present the news in a pro-war and pro-Bush manner.

Bottom line-the tectonic plates are shifting.

And yet, with all this movement, in the mainstream media in the US, as Greenwald says, holding the Israeli government narrative is still seen as neutral, while anything even slightly more critical (or, I would argue, more reality-based) is seen as biased. Cross that line, and as journalist Letty Pogrebin calls them, “the Israel right or wrong mafia” won’t hold back in making sure a price is paid. It is shameful that institutions of all kinds capitulate to such threats. It’s only a matter of time, though, before the extremist settler ideology pit bulls are revealed to have nothing in their favor but empty threats.  Meanwhile, bigots can feel safe knowing that they can offer racist platitudes about Arabs and Muslims, celebrate Israeli terrorist attacks on civilians and so forth, and remain good friends to the US, and respected journalists in good standing.

Some must-reads on the incident:

Juan Cole

Stephen Walt

Matt Duss at Think Progress

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 drug 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.

Pinkwashing: Listen to Elle Flanders, Cecilie Surasky on WBAI, Healing the Gay-Jewish Divide

New York’s WBAI Gay Pride 2010 programming: Listen to Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director Cecilie Surasky explain Pinkwashing and Brand Israel and Canadian filmmaker and activist Elle Flanders on efforts to censor “Israeli apartheid”.

If you have been following the story, you know that Pride Toronto, the LGBTQI group that puts on Toronto’s annual gay pride parade, yielded to outside pressure to ban the words “Israeli apartheid”, and then, in the face of a huge backlash, rescinded the ban.  Proponents of the ban, led by Canadian Jewish groups, are now fighting back. One legislator, who would rather see Pride Toronto destroyed, is seeking defunding of the organization.

You can write a letter of thank you to Pride Toronto here.They should hear from you-they need thanks for making the right decision and they’ll need support for standing up to censorship.

Elle Flanders is a member of QUAiA, Queers United Against Israeli Apartheid, the group whose mere existence at Pride prompted the censorship campaign. Read Flanders’ moving piece here:

Healing the Gay Jewish Divide-Elle Flanders

As a Canadian Jew who grew up in Israel, I am stymied. My Israeli friends debate what is happening in their country freely. I say the same in Toronto, and I am not only an anti-Semite, but an enemy of the state. As a gay Jew I am told that my only legitimate presence at Pride would be as pro-Israel, running down the street with Israeli flags to ‘show my allegiance’ to the Jewish state. As a gay Canadian I have NEVER carried a Canadian flag at Pride, homonationalism has never been my thing. Does that mean I am anti-Canadian and a Canadian hater? Does it make me an enemy of the Canadian state? Why do I have to show my Jewish pride by not only carrying an Israeli flag, but also silencing all debate on what’s happening in Israel at the moment?

And what about all the Jews that have NO affiliation with Israel whatsoever? Should they have to join Kulanu’s pro-Israel stance if they simply want to march showing their Jewish identity? Is allegiance to Israel-at-all-costs the prerequisite for being Jewish at this point? Bernie Farber and the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B’nai Brith, Hillel, Kulanu and the United Jewish Appeal would like you to think so and it’s damaging our community.

Kulanu, which means ‘everyone’ in Hebrew, is a gay Jewish contingent that marches at Pride, it claims to be Canada’s only gay Jewish organization. I think some other gay Jewish groups may beg to differ, but as they are not pro-Israel, they are dismissed for all intents and purposes. Kulanu says in its mission statement that they do not take a position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, yet their actions over the last two years would lead one to believe otherwise. I am guessing that although I fit the bill of ‘everyone,’ I would not be welcome with my Israel critique at Kulanu who have said expressly in their emails and website, that they march in support of Israel and all Jews who feel similarly, gay and straight, should join them this year.

According to Martin Gladstone, the anti-QuAIA crusader (Queers Against Israeli Apartheid), we should not be marching, as our issues are not ‘queer’. With all due respect, one might ask what ‘support for Israel’ has to do with queer issues? But unlike Gladstone, I would never argue that they should not march. If that is their expression of queerness, support for Israel-at-all-costs, so be it.

The truth is that Israel, through its ministry of foreign affairs, has launched a campaign here in North America to turn all eyes away from the human rights abuses and violations, towards the ‘good stuff’: gay rights; innovations in science; technology; the arts, etc. This campaign as it relates to the gay community has been called Pinkwashing—the using of a gay agenda to cover up less-pleasant realities in Israel at the moment. That’s where this all comes together. That’s one of the reasons QuAIA marches, saying don’t use our queer bodies to justify your war crimes. Sure there is a gay parade in Tel Aviv, that’s fantastic, but it doesn’t make the rest of the issues disappear does it?

Back to the issue of why mainstream Jews in North America seem to be liberal on so many issues yet cannot bring themselves to critique Israel, even in the slightest way. There are issues there that would make the average queer’s hair stand on end, and that get debated in Israeli society regularly. Specifically to the gay plight, do we ever hear about how Rabbis and religious members of the Knesset lead the fight against Gay rights there? Or do we only hear about Israel, the land of tolerance and democracy that has a Pride parade? Do we talk about the gays that got stabbed at a Jerusalem Pride two years ago by orthodox Jews, or do we simply celebrate that a Pride parade occurred? Why the silence on the complexities in Israel by the mainstream Jewish community?

From a liberal perspective, how does a Canadian Jew distinguish between rights for gays and rights for Arabs for example? Just recently, the Knesset passed a law forbidding Arab citizens of Israel from purchasing homes within Jewish settlements (those inside Israel, not the West Bank). Effectively the law states that based on one’s ethnicity (not citizenship), one may not buy property in certain areas. If we simply replaced this for ‘gays’, would the liberal Canadian Jew then be outraged? What if a gay person was forbidden by the Canadian parliament from settling in Alberta? Or let’s make it simpler: What if a Jew was forbidden from living in Mississaugua? Sounds ludicrous? Well, it may, but that’s one of the many laws recently passed as it relates to Arab citizens of Israel. But the community remains mum; they’d rather talk about Iran and its threat to Israel’s existence rather than the daily erosion of democracy therein.

My Israeli friends are baffled by the lack of honesty in the Jewish Canadian community and my Jewish Canadian gay friends are nervous that they have become targets in the ever-more polarizing campaign of Kulanu and the mainstream Jewish Canadian organizations who maintain that ‘either you are with us or against us, you are pro-Israel or for its destruction’. For Jewish members of the LGBT community and their friends, this has produced acrimoniousness and a sense of fear as evidenced by a young gay man who would not take my free speech pamphlet at an event last week. He glared at me and said: “I’m Jewish!” I retorted, “Wow, cool, me too!” His confusion was legitimate in the face of Kulanu’s messaging. He looked even more baffled when I told him I grew-up in Israel. He said, “So, you’ve even been over there? What’s it like?” Despite his absolute ignorance, his mind had been made-up—Those who questioned Israel were the enemy.

I would hence ask Israel’s liberal supporters, when IS it justifiable to speak out against one’s country (or one’s that you support in any case)? Amongst my Israeli friends, the line was crossed so long ago that this is not even the question anymore—their question is back at us—“As Jewish gays in Canada, when will you speak about what is really happening here? Because our government, the rise of the religious right, and the erosion of democracy makes Israel a dangerous place to live in for gays and straights alike. When will you support us as people and not as an ideology?”

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 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.

In honor of US Social Forum: my first encounter with the “new anti-Semitism”

Cypriot journalist Christiana Voniati, with whom I recently did this interview, Echoes From The Warsaw Ghetto In Gaza, reminded me this week of an article I wrote in early 2004 about going to the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India. Its cousin, the US Social Forum is happening right now in Detroit, so I thought this would be a good time to reprint what I wrote in 2004 because in many ways it marked my first personal encounter with the way so many groups, in this case the Simon Wiesenthal Center, were willing to lie and dehumanize in service of a political agenda. It also describes what I feel is even more true today-the parallel yet all too often deliberately hidden universe of mutual respect, love and friendship that already exists between many Arabs, Jews, Palestinians, Israelis and others, especially in this movement for justice and equality.

I also thought about my World Social Forum piece because of Robert Fowke’s personal essay in the UK Guardian this week, Why this obsession with Israel and the Palestinians?

One reason why Israel is singled out for so much attention is because its supporters are so very vociferous, pushing their agenda at every opportunity. As a consumer of news, the speed of their responses and their sheer ubiquity inflames my interest and my antipathy. Why do they persist in trying to defend the indefensible?

Another reason for my disproportionate interest in this conflict is that I feel I have been lied to, and I feel that people are still trying to lie to me and I don’t like it. Why try to convince me that those Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara were terrorists? Whatever else they were, they patently were not that. If the word “terrorist” is to have any meaning at all it must refer to those who attack innocent civilians. From an Israeli propaganda perspective, silence would be better than lies.

This is precisely what happened to me when I went to Mumbai.  I was in many ways naive, and it was the confrontation with the smear-machine that politicized me even more. One can only ask the Israeli government – With friends like these (Simon Wiesenthal Center, Canada’s B’nai Brith etc), who needs enemies?

Anti-Semitism at the World Social Forum? A Personal Report
February, 2004
By CECILIE SURASKY
It is my first morning at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India and I am at a workshop on Palestinian women and the occupation. In the audience is a woman who I first think might be Israeli–she could easily be one of my friends and I feel an immediate kinship with her. She tells me she is 34 and has lived her whole life in Gaza except for college. I ask her if I can interview her.

She cautiously eyes my card, on which I have purposely written in thick, visible letters: Jewish Voice for Peace. “I don’t know, she says. “Do you support the occupation?” It seems such a surreal question. How could anyone support an occupation?

The very word evokes domination, a kind of cruelty. No, I say, we want to end the occupation. We want a peace that is just.

I ask about the checkpoints. She describes sitting in her car waiting to be allowed to drive through. The young Israeli soldiers are in sniper posts. You can’t see them, but they can see you, she explains. They signal it’s time to go by shooting their guns. She waits a long time until the soldiers say, “OK, now the dogs can go.”

“You think, ‘Do I want to be called a dog, or do I just want to go?’ ” she tells me. “I don’t care, so I start my car and they yell ‘No! Not you, I said dogs!’ So she turns her car off, and sometime later they say, “OK, now humans can go!” She starts her car and they look at her and the others and say “No! I said humans.” And she turns her car off and waits until finally this “other” category of Palestinian–neither human nor animal–is allowed to pass. “This,” she says, “is my only contact with Israelis.” And this, I think, and is my first contact with someone from Gaza.

The WSF and the new anti-Semitism
The World Social Forum (WSF) is the populist answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Instead of a gathering of the world’s mostly wealthy, white, and male heads of state and captains of industry in Davos, the WSF is a cacophony of anti-globalization/human rights activists from all over the globe. The roughly 100,000 participants represent every imaginable cause–from Indian “untouchables” and Bhutanese refugees to child trafficking and sexual minorities. They are seen in the hundreds of marches that seem to appear out of nowhere down the main thoroughfare, at the 500 information booths, in more than 1,000 workshops, and on the political posters filling every inch of available wall space.
I have come because my New Voices human rights fellowship has decided to send the fellows to the WSF. But I have an additional reason for being here. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has cited the WSF as one of the centers of what it and others refer to as the “new anti-Semitism”, and these charges have been picked up by various journalists as evidence of a dangerous new trend on the left. Upon closer reading, most of these accounts make little if any distinction at all between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, or between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Continue reading

Under pressure, Pride Toronto reverses censorship of “Israeli apartheid”

We’ve written extensively about the pressure campaign led in part by Canada’s B’nai Brith to ban the group Queers United Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) from all Pride Toronto events including the LGBTQI pride parade, the Dyke and Trans marches.

B’nai Brith boasted in a May press release:

B’nai Brith Canada has contacted the organizers of Toronto’s Pride Parade to urge them ensure that the agenda of the annual Pride Parade is not allowed to be hijacked by the propaganda of anti-Israel agitators. The Jewish human rights organization has also contacted the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of Ontario, and the Mayor of Toronto, all contributors to the Pride Parade, asking for a review of the funding in light of the stated agenda of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

And after Pride Toronto remarkably agreed to censor the two words “Israeli apartheid” from the parades (while it’s perfectly legal to utter the phrase in Israel or write it in Israel’s most prestigious newspaper), it seemed as though B’nai Brith and friends won. But after a massive backlash, Pride Toronto has just announced it has overturned the ridiculous decision. Xtra reports:

Pride Toronto (PT) has reversed its May board resolution banning the term “Israeli apartheid” and will instead require all participants to sign and abide by the City of Toronto’s non-discrimination policy.

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) — the target of the ban — has declared a victory and congratulated the queer community for pushing PT to reverse its censorship decision.

“This is a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement, which has faced censorship and bullying tactics from the Israel lobby for far too long,” said QuAIA member Tim McCaskell in the release.

Of course, QuAIA now owes a debt of thanks to their opponents who have done more than anyone to make sure the phrase “Israeli apartheid” would be on the lips of just about everyone in Canada following the story. Plus, before the ban was rescinded, QuAIA didn’t waste any time in offering an alternative free speech track for pride events. This is creative organizing:

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 disfunction 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 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 cure is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union possibly suspended for 1 year for Israeli ambassador protest

When is the last time you heard of a student group being suspended for a year for doing what student groups do all the time-protesting a speaker? Probably never. And therein lies the question– some members of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) of UC Irvine planned to disrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s talk at the campus. Eleven of them did so and were peacefully escorted out of the room by security, one by one. The plan was discussed on the MSU e-list but planned separately, according to the students’ attorney Reem Salahi. In fact, MSU members were divided on the protest so did not endorse it.

And yet, as UC Irvine’s Daily Pilot reports: “A UC Irvine student conduct committee has recommended suspending the Muslim Student Union, following repeated disruptions by several of its members during a February speech by the Israeli ambassador, a campus spokeswoman said. The recommendation has not taken effect because the student group has appealed the decision, said UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon.”

If something seems off here, the Los Angeles Times thinks so too in UC Irvine protest case raises questions about discipline practices. They say “Experts say it’s unusual for a whole group to be sanctioned in civil disobedience cases.” Indeed. Is such a judgment fair or consistent? And if not, why not?

Attorney Reem Salahi responds with this damning litany of hypocrisy:

The University’s disciplinary recommendation never explains why the alleged violations and particularly the alleged lie justifies the massive, unprecedented sanction that the University has levied against the MSU.  In the past, UCI has permitted protestors to disrupt speakers by heckling, breaking into song and even, on one occasion, allowing an organized group of students to surround an MSU speaker critical of Israel with posters and continually shout him down to the point that he was unable to be heard. Neither these students nor their respective organizations were administratively sanctioned. Similarly egregious protests have taken place at the different UCs with little to no administrative response.

At UC Riverside earlier this academic year, Republican students shouted down and visually blocked a panel of speakers. These students espoused hate speech and yelled homophobic and racist epithets at the panelists.  Police and administrators stood by and permitted the presentation to be thoroughly disrupted for over an hour.  They made no attempt to detain, arrest or identify those students, even though the faculty speakers and others present could readily identify them.  Nor did they conduct an investigation, punish them, or punish the campus organization with which these disorderly students were associated. Similarly at UC Berkeley, pro Israeli students interrupted a distinguished pro-Palestinian scholar and UN Special Rapporteur using a bullhorn after they were explicitly told by the police not to do so. They were not arrested and following an internal investigation, no disciplinary sanctions were levied. So, while the University preaches the “marketplace of ideas,” the disparate treatment of those who speak on the wrong side of the Israel/Palestine question reveals the weakness of the University’s commitment to this ideal.

Continue reading