Global, Israel, Justice

Continued coverage…

Attempting to speak to a broad audience, each of the actions had different target audiences, some of which weren’t Jewish, and therefore reached people differently–some more than others “where people are at”.
Reaching Jews where Jews are at is hard since Jews are all over the spectrum on this issue. The protesters in San Francisco wanted to speak to this. As covered in this article, the SF action was in front of the Jewish Community Federation.

“Samantha Litman, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators, said they were disputing a claim that all Bay Area Jewish organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli military action. “We’re appalled by what we’re seeing happening in Lebanon and Palestine,” Litman said. “Killing civilians, attacking government institutions and destroying the infrastructure of modern society is an immoral course of action that will ensure security for no one.”

The protests have continued to receive varied coverage (here, here and here) and some who were involved in the actions have commented in the rolls–since some want to judge the individuals rather or along with the issues, and while some want to infer that I was there (because I wasn’t involved) i’m going to let two of the people who commented in the rolls who were involved in the actions (Micah and Abu-Esther) stand below:

From Micah: “Daniel: there is nothing ‘reflexive’ about our actions today. It is very painful for myself and the other Jews there to see what Israel does in our name as Jews. I just returned from the West Bank 2 weeks ago and was horrified to see what is being done in the name of Judaism. To look at the violence from Palestine and Lebanon as equal to Israeli state violence, is to ignore history and power. Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian and Lebanese territory. Therefore, the Palestinian and Lebanese people have a right under international law to armed resistance to this occupation. Of course we all condemn suicide bombings and the targeting of civilians in any form. Our press release did include the fact that over 50 Israelis were killed in this war, and part of the reason we are protesting because we know that Israel’s policies will lead to less security for Jews. All people’s lives and deaths are holy and of equal, precious value. However, it is very clear in the Western media, and in US and Israeli policy, who’s lives carry more value. The mainstream media covers Israeli deaths with more frequency and sympathy that Palestinian deaths, even though Palestinian are killed far more frequently []. Far more international coverage was given to the kidnapping of one IDF soldier, than to the fact that Israel took over 600 new political prisoners (22 of whom are children) during the war, in addition to the 10,000 they already hold. EV: US Zionist organizations have been conducting massive fundraising drives for Israeli victims, and there is again extensive media coverage of the suffering of Israelis as they flee their homes. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Lebanese no longer have homes and over a million are displaced. Over 1300 civilians are dead because Israel chose to target them. I have never seen any acknowledgement, never mind fundraising for the disproportionate suffering caused by Israel. The Jewish Community Relations Council (a target of our SF action – see refuses to dialogue with or include the voices of Jewish groups who offer even slight criticism of Israel. Many of us here in the Bay Area have been trying to engage with them for years. Our protests yesterday gave a voice to those who are being ignored and censored the mainstream Jewish community and international media.”–Micah

From Abu-Esther: “I was at the protest, lying on the ground. The night before I was re-reading the statements, and thought it really was too one sided. The point is that with this kind of langauge, we are alienating the very progressive margins that might otherwise applaud our sentiments and policy prescriptions. On balance though, it felt more important to dissent publicly with the official party line, and at least try to provoke some level of conversation. It was also true that I had been given plenty of opportunity to influence the outcome, and it was my choice to have a low level of participation. The standard for me is to ask ‘is this statement showing love and concern for all parties, or does it dole out sympathy to the victims on one side and blame only to the other?’ It’s hard for those of us feeling our nuances acutely. Where do we turn when the far left and the mainstream walk off in opposite directions? I want to feel my kinship with both parts of the community. On the plus side, I thought it was really well organized and I congratulate the folks who did the heavy lifting on this. You did a great job, and I’m happy I was able to join you.”–Abu-Esther

15 thoughts on “Continued coverage…

  1. Why does Jewschool so closely follow the Jewish anti-Israel (or “critical of Israel to a point of pathology”) contigency of mostly youthful activists in Left Wing outposts like New York and SF? It’s interesting to know that there is a hardcore, and fringe, anti-mainstream Jewish protest group, but it hardly seems fit for constant coverage. Is Jewschool making a statement as to where its editorial sympathy lies? If so, then it makes a wonderful blog a hard place to spend time for the vast majority of Israel-loving Jews who don’t mind criticizing our homeland, but only within the context of a fundamental commitment to the State of Israel.

  2. “it is very clear in… Israeli policy, who’s lives carry more value” well, duh! after all, we would expect israel (or any country) to value the lives of the attackers more than its own civilians (most of whom, in the attacked region are poorer, more recently immigrated and less likely to be Jewish than average, btw.) as for US foreign policy, almost everyone agrees how stupid it is, so why don’t you attack it in a less distasteful way. why aren’t you protesting against american support for egypt, among the most corrupt regimes in the world (bad even by african standards) too? or did you forget, as much as the left (except me and, i hope, some others) wants to pin this as a “proxy war for the US,” siniora is a bush buddy, lebanon is an american ally, and what the US wanted was a war against Iran/Syria in typical “we’re being attacked by a group in one country, let’s use it as an excuse to go to war with a different country” fashion that we’re all so easily tricked by. israel intentionally didn’t do this in order to avoid claims of proxy, but of course, desire/jew-hatred/internalized oppression will always win out over logic. Yay to the oppressed-by-their-own-identification-with-an-oppressive-rich-white-male-dominated-straightist-ethnicity group for making their ridiculous and biased point so dramatically.

  3. oh, one more thing:
    “Samantha Litman, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators, said they were disputing a claim that all Bay Area Jewish organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli military action.” Who, besides groups like this one, ever made such a claim? They made this up, because if nobody claimed it, they’d have no reason for existence. i have never heard such a claim from anyone except groups like these, all of whom claim they’re speaking up for the jews.

  4. First Cole lauds anti-Semite George Galloway and now a link from anti-Semitic rag “Counterpunch.”
    What’s next? David Duke’s opinons on the “war for Israel”? The fascist National Alliance on the “Zionist Occupied Government”?

  5. Ev says “Over 1300 civilians are dead because Israel chose to target them.:
    Hello EV, but I think that you missed the whole “using civilans as a cover” issue that everyone else on the planet seems to know about.
    I understand hating war, I just wonder why you would call an end to Israeli agression without an equal call to end the Islamic agression and the kidnapping, bombing adn suicide missions by the Lebonese and Palestinians.

  6. Thanks for this post, Cole. I’ve got some comments, but am heading out the door right now. For now, I’ll simply say, please keep up the good work!

  7. Is there anyone else here who is shocked that any “Bay Area Jewish organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli military action” let alone All?
    By the way, I caught Anthony Bordain’s latest show. He is a chef that travels the globe looking for good food. Anyways, He was in Beirut filming his food show when the war started. There is an hour long special on the Travel Network called Anthony Bordain in Beruit. It is upsetting but also interesting. It comments well on the way we are spectators of war.

  8. “i have never heard such a claim from anyone except groups like these, all of whom claim they’re speaking up for the jews.”
    Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Just like the people who say “any criticism of Israel is termed anti-Semitism in order to silence protest.” It’s simply b.s. Even Abe Foxman from the ADL has said criticism of Israel is fine, it is the content that matters. Is Israel held to a double standard, for instance.

  9. Did some schmuck in your quotes actually justify terrorism and this war?
    Just like your petition, this is nothing less than shameful.
    A Jew of Conscience,

  10. oh i so miss my days in berkeley….not! once again, the wingnut branch of the left claims they love israel and are simply engaging in dissent. whatever. you cannot lie down with those who expressely stand against israel’s right to exist and actively support those who wish to destroy while simultaneously claim that you are a friend of israel and simply criticizing the actions of the israeli govt.
    i’ve had enough conversations with alison weir (who runs the notinourname website – even though she is not jewish) and others of her ilk to understand exactly where they come from. you do not have to support the policies of the israeli government, but once you make common cause with those who stand for the liberation of palestine – from the river to the sea – you are beyond the pale. and the gallery of leftist Bay Area Jewish groups pretending to have israel and the jewish peoples’ best interests in mind (jewish voice for peace, et al) are beyond the pale.
    how can anyone take these jokers seriously? oh wait i forgot, outside of the SF Bay Area and irrelevant and politically impotent circles in NYC and certain college towns nobody does.

  11. I agree with everyone’s comments that Cole’s posting is irrelevant and clearly a thinly veiled attempt at justifying self-oppression (repression?) and anti-Jewish/anti-Israel “activism.” My question is: who is Cole and why is he allowed to post to Jewschool? Is he contributing to the ongoing dialectic of what it means to be Jewish and a supporter of a contentious polity, or is he just throwing a spanner in the works?

  12. “please keep up the good work!”
    Posting links and comments from known anti-Semites and anti-Semitic publications (“Counterpunch,” Galloway, etc.) is not good work. It’s actually a sad reflection of the state of the far left these days and one of the reasons I “left the left.” At least the far left.
    You folks wonder why your ideas are marginalized and your policy recommendations go nowhere. It is not due to some grand conspiracy. It’s because the vast majority of people in this country do not buy into your worldview. Thanks goodness for that and our democratic system of politics.
    I shudder to think about what would happen if the anarcho/communist left or fascist right had any measure of power in this country. Thankfully it ain’t gonna happen. Anti-communists and anti-fascists are far too numerous in this country. And we have enough common sense to know that both extremes offer nothing but the gulag.

  13. Just to clarify, I didn’t say the remarks above. Either it’s another EV, or they are Micah’s remarks addressed towards me, I guess.

  14. Zachary, I posted a few posts about protests people did throughout the country, meanwhile a number of other contributors have posted numerous posts about their opinions and perspectives on Israel, Palestine and Lebanon…many of them multiple posts about it…to say that this is skewed or giving an editorial perspective is just wrong…it’s another perspective amidst a number of other perspectives, many of whom agree with you…Providing people with continued coverage is what many contributors do, whether we agree, disagree, have critiques or have complicated feelings about a subject….so unless you’re asking everyone to not continue to cover an issue, like BZ’s past post or Josh’s last post, then acknowledge that you don’t like it because you don’t agree, not because it’s a continued coverage of an issue.

  15. It is really interesting to read these comments and see how quickly people can reinforce each others perspective. It is short-sighted at the least to say that established Jewish communities are open to a wide range of views about Israel and Palestine. In New York in the past month I have personally heard about people being silenced, targeted, demoted and had their jobs, education and friendships threatened for question the over-whelming force with which Israel is attacking Lebanon.
    I also thank Cole for posting and engaging in a community that states it is progressive but from the comments I have read is really not interested in alternative perspectives, especially about Israel and Palestine. If Jewschool is a place for progressive Jews to debate ideas, I do not believe it is useful to term posts “irrelavant”or “marginal” because 10 people diasagree with it. There are many Jews who disagree with Israeli military policy, but even on blog comments are afraid to say so. As Jews we relish debate, no? So I say, let it continue and thrive!

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