Jewish activists outraged over United For Peace & Justice‘s re-involvement with International ANSWER, have decided to organize their own activities at the upcoming anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
The charge, led by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center, was spurred on by the noted Renewalist’s editorial in The Forward:
There is a broad spectrum of organizations that opposed the invasion of Iraq and is working to end the American military presence there. Many of these groups are also critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. That’s not terrible — after all, so are you.
But some of these anti-war activists taint their opposition by demonizing the whole of Israeli society and by refusing to criticize the “violence of the oppressed,” even when it includes terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian groups. Their misguided views make it much easier for some parts of mainstream America to reciprocally demonize the entire anti-war camp and deprive it of support.
They have posed a problem to a major anti-war rally scheduled for September 24 in Washington. The broad anti-war group organizing the weekend-long gathering, United for Peace and Justice, had insisted for months that on principle it would not co-sponsor the event with Act Now to Stop War & End Racism, an ultra-left fraction, known as Answer, that has a bitterly anti-Israel policy.
But just three weeks before the event, United for Peace and Justice agreed to do just that. The Shalom Center had been urging Jewish support for the anti-war weekend, and we and many other progressives felt betrayed and outraged by the change.
Waskow has commented further on his own blog here.
In response, Waskow has helped organize several events, many with the involvement of other institutions of the religious Left, including Shabbat services for activists visiting the D.C. area, and a direct action Monday at the White House. For more information about these activites, click here.
(If anyone’s going down with The Shalom Center for the demo and would like to cover it for Jewschool, give a holler. My e-mail’s in the sidebar on the upper-right.)