Rally in September

Following up on the D.C. rally in April, there will be another Israel Day parade Save Darfur rally in New York this September in order to save on commuting costs and time take the message to the U.N.
And don’t worry! My previous fears about it being perceived as “too Jewish” were completely unwarranted. It’s a real melting pot, no less than the demands for U.S. military intervention against Iran.
As the JTA reports,

Though she [Gitta Zomorodi, senior policy associate at the American Jewish World Service] said key players, such as AJWS President Ruth Messinger, may use their contacts to reach out to leaders in other religious or ethnic communities, “generally speaking it works better when we play to our strength, and that’s with the Jewish community.”
Raffel agreed.
“Our principal responsibility is to work within the Jewish community,” he said. “To the degree that we have relationships outside the Jewish community, we’ll certainly take advantage of those relationships.”
While he hoped that other groups “will be encouraging greater participation from their end,” Jews don’t need to tone down their level of involvement, Raffel said.
“A question I often get is, ‘Are we over-participating?’ ” Raffel said. “The answer to that is no.”

Well, that settles that!
So please remember, this is an opportunity for us to make a kiddush Hashem with all the gentiles at the rally, and there will be many such opportunities. Policemen and food vendors will be out in full force, as well as the media.  So please be on your best behavior! And remember, as Jews it is our historical responsibility to shout out to the world that Islam sucks and look at the mentality of the type of people Israel is fighting! “Never Again!”

35 thoughts on “Rally in September

  1. Sudanese leader blasts Jewish groups
    “We in the Jewish community take pride in our leadership role in opposing this genocide and calling for international intervention. The Sudanese leader’s ranting is a badge of honor for the Jewish community,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
    “In pointing the finger at Jewish involvement in the campaign to draw attention to genocide in Darfur, President Bashir is playing an old game. Those who engage in or tolerate genocide always try to divert attention from their actions. Blaming Jews is a favorite choice.”

  2. it really stings to be on the same side as foxman, but in this case i think he is right. we ought not waste a moment considering the motives of those who show up opposed to tyranny, genocide, or intimidation. the concern ought to be directed towards those who fail to show up. in this case AJWS is doing the right thing, is well within its charter, and i’d be very upset if it didn’t work intensely around this issue.

  3. DK, this is really offensive. Is the reason AJWS works to set up clinics in Kenya, development in S. America, and strives to help Sudanees refugees? You’re rediculous and offensive and its obvious that because it has become mainstream jewish thought to fight genocide in Sudan, you can do nothing but consider yourself outside of the mainstream and thus you must doubt the motives of the establishment…way to go…
    and of course you will respond and say, “look at the david project, etc…” and i will tell you 2 things:
    1) meshum she-ain lishma, ba lishma
    2) just cause david project or another organization might have some motive behind fighting this genocide, your implying that most jews do as well is offensive. most of my friends support this cause because it is important to them and they see it as a jewish imperative to fight genocide (remember Elie Weisel’s speech aimed at Clinton @ the opening of the holocaust museum in DC calling for intervention to stop ethnic cleansing in kosovo….).
    but thanks for the insight and all your hard work.

  4. *yawn*
    DK once again strains to find an evil ulterior Zionist motive behind some good old fashioned Jewish activism.
    Blog entry we won’t be seeing from DK any time soon: Good reasons why Jews should sit idly by and watch genocide unfold rather than run the risk of offending people that already hate us.
    Save it, dude. Get out of the way and let some people more altrustic than you actually get some tikkun olam done.
    Your cynicism isn’t saving any dying people. (But I’m sure it puts a self-satisfied smirk on your face; which is no doubt an accomplishment in your mind.)
    Where would the Darfuris be without your courageous blogging?

  5. I agree that much of the action around Darfur is a Jewish Zionist plot.
    Having said that, I wish New York has some kind of formal networking going at the shul level, and the interfaith level. It doesn’t exist now, and the JCC can’t do from above. Whose with me in building up this rally from the ground up?
    Specifically, the Darfur Response Committee at BJ want this event to be successful according to our standards…. Who is willing to sign up?

  6. So effin cynical. Even if motivations were negative, better than the everso wonderful responses that we have seen over the years in Kosovo, Rwanda, etc…

  7. Oh, crap.
    You’re totally right, Kelsey. Other things I’ve learned recently: A few bad apples always spoil the entire bunch, and babies ought to be thrown out with bathwater.
    Hell, while we’re at it, why don’t we start poisoning the food that Catholic missionaries hand out because we don’t agree with their motives?
    Like it or not, there will never be any cause, person, or movement that I’m 100% in sync with. It’s called compromise. If Charles Manson fed a puppy, I couldn’t call it an innately evil act, even if he was merely trying to drum up sympathy, y’know?

  8. Charles/Kelsey,
    both of you have been talking about a zionist strategy behind darfur action. who are you suggesting is behind this? from the folks i know in AJWS, they are certainly not interested in sneaky zionist activism. they don’t even work on israle issues, the New Israel Fund takes care of that.
    If AJWS is leading the charge and has no zionist motives, who is really pulling the strings guys?

  9. I do not think the AJWS is doing this out of Zionism. That is certainly not their record.
    I do think some Jewish groups may be partially influenced to join the coalition out of Zionism.
    But I think that gentile groups are suspicions of Zionism. They are not joining. Wiesel’s role in this is not going to ease the mind of anyone in the know. This is the guy who cares about all genocides very, very much but not the Armenian one because Turkey is alles with Israel.
    There is clearly a problem here in terms of recruiting gentile groups. If we can’t even recruit protestors, how do you tikkun olam folks think we are going to convince the U.N. to do something substantial?
    Oh, go back to your fantasies. You care, so that’s enough, right?

  10. let’s accept for a second that zionism is playing a major role here. why aren’t the zionist evangelical chirstians on the bandwagon? There are several dozen million of them.

  11. Here DK goes again with the martyrdom act. “If only people would listen to me!” Hope it works out for you. Really.

  12. By the way, don’t know if you read another post. Remember when you said Sharpton and the NAACP wouldn’t get involved with the movement. Dead wrong. They were both at the DC rally. But you can keep taking your shrill paranoia for gospel truth. It won’t stop anybody from tuning you out.

  13. Hey DK,
    Youre wrong about Elie Weisel and the Armenian genocide. I think you are referring to Noam Chomsky’s account on something that happened in 1982-Wiesel withdrawing from a conference on genocide because Israeli pressure on him because of the Turkish issue. I dont even know if that happened cause the only source i found for it was counterpunch referencing Chomsky. But even if he did that, which would be wrong, you should pay attention to what has happened since, including Wiesel signing a letter in 2000 in the NYTimes that stated that the Armenian genocide did occur. see here:
    So if it happened, that was weak of Wiesel in the early 1980s, but using it as your support for why the jewish endeavor into fighting darfur is for selfish reasons is just dumb since he has clearly since come out to recognize the genocide.
    Anyone who doesnt join this cause is not doing it cause they are suspicious of zionism, they arent joining because they just dont care enough and want an excuse.
    It amazes me to what lengths you would go to make an “intellectual” or “original” point about something so serious that the only point you should be making is that the killing must end.

  14. the chomsky quote:
    Similarly, when Elie Wiesel intervenes personally to try to convince Yehuda Bauer not to attend a genocide conference in Tel Aviv because it will deal with the Armenian genocide, I do not know whether he really believes that the genocide didn’t take place, or is just following the dictates of the Israeli authorities who tried to cancel the conference because it might harm their relations with Turkey.
    LA Times:
    For example, Wiesel does not believe that Gypsies and gays should be remembered alongside Jewish victims of the Holocaust, although hundreds of thousands of them perished. He has frowned upon the use of the term “genocide” in reference to the Armenian holocaust.
    Hitchens on Weisel:
    In 1982, after Gen. Ariel Sharon had treated the inhabitants of the Sabra and Shatila camps as target practice for his paid proxies, Wiesel favored us with another of his exercises in neutrality. Asked by the New York Times to comment on the pogrom, he was one of the few American Jews approached on the matter to express zero remorse. “I don’t think we should even comment,” he said, proceeding to comment bleatingly that he felt “sadness– with Israel, and not against Israel.” For the victims, not even a perfunctory word.

  15. “why aren’t the zionist evangelical chirstians on the bandwagon?”
    And then there were questions raised by the composition of the coalition itself and the views of some of the speakers who were to participate in the Washington mobilization. It is a fact that a number Evangelical Christian organizations who had been engaged in controversial missionary/conversion efforts in Darfur were involved, as were some Jewish groups who had a history of using Sudan as an issue to drive a wedge between Arabs and Africans.
    Some of the rhetoric in the US about Darfur has been shaped by these groups and their perspectives. In some articles, the conflict is presented as an “Arab-led genocide against black Africans,” others have either mistakenly or deliberately conflated their oversimplified view of the Southern Sudan-Khartoum conflict with Darfur and have, therefore, portrayed Darfur as if it were an “Muslim assault on Christian and animist Africans!”

  16. Hey Robbie and Adam,
    Why then, according to you is there insufficient gentile support of this campaign? Or are you satisfied with the current level of activity?
    If there is no significant perception as I am describing it (and my concern has from the start been focused more on this perception, and the problems with such perceptions) give me a better explanation than my own.
    Or do what some did before–when I first raised this issue, and deny there is a problem of sufficient gentile support at all, even if the AJWS is conceding that this is the current situation.

  17. xisntox,
    Thanks for the links!
    When the Holocaust museums first began flourishing, I didn’t understand how a man like Wiesel could be so naive, thinking that hatred could be successfully combatted through education. Only when I understood–from his lesser known writings than Night and his personal history (say, working as a pressman for the Irgun) that he was a hard-core nationalist–and not a universalist–did his policy of Holocaustism=Zionism (and NOT Holocaustism=the end of Hatred, which is what he actually states as his goal, at least in public) begin to become clear, and it does make sense. In fact, I recognize that he is not naive at all, but a quite brilliant strategist. I personally have much more respect for him as a talented Jewish leader than I did ten years ago, but feel it is a strategy than has–at best–been overplayed on a Jewish communal level.
    Of course, I’m clearly not the only one wise to him. The lack of gentile support suggests many are wise to him.

  18. “Of course, I’m clearly not the only one wise to him. The lack of gentile support suggests many are wise to him. ”
    Right, I’m sure the millions of complacent, selfish, insulated gentile Americans that can’t be bothered to turn out to these rallies are making a calculated decision to stay home based on the lesser written works of Elie Wiesel.
    Be serious. You’ve taken your little “critique” of Jewish action on Darfur to a pretty absurd level here. Time to stop.

  19. DK-
    The reason there isnt sufficient gentile support is not because too many jews are involved. It’s because PEOPLE DONT CARE. people never have cared, ie rwanda. Most of the time, jews dont care either. In this case, as with kosovo, jews got involved because they have a moral imperative to do so. I think genocide prevention appeals to us whose grandparents were holocaust survivors but now need to turn the lesson of the holocaust into something positive in our own lives. Now that we have secured, for the most part, our own lives and the security of the jewish people, we need to apply that lesson to something broader than ourselves.
    Are you one of those people who travels around europe and tells people you are canadian? Because you seem like you care what other people think way too much. Who cares if someone thinks or accuses you of using this as a way to further zionism (by the way, this cause doesnt help israel, especially when it is clear that israel couldnt give 2 shits about this and its reported in the media that they are holding refugees as prisoners). The fact is the people who say things like that arent interested in helping the situation, they are interested in sounding smart and exposing zionist conspiracies. And most of the other people in the world just dont care whats going on around them. Or they care, but they are lazy or unsure of what to do. It’s what happened when we were being killed in Europe and it’s what will happen forever unless some people stand up and say NO. People can use the zionism excuse to not be involved if they want, but the fact will still remain, there is a genocide going on and we are all doing nothing about it.
    To the person who posted that LA times article. The author clearly didnt do his research, as in 2000 Weisel undeniably called what happened to the armenians a genocide (see aboive in my comment, the nytimes link for the primary source) so when the author writes, “He has frowned upon the use of the term “genocide” in reference to the Armenian holocaust.,” he clearly didnt do his homework. He clearly wants to make a point about Weisel and the palestinians and he selectively chose what research to use and you fell for his unsopported comment.

  20. Also, of course AJWS should conceed that not enough people are involved. NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE WILL EVER BE INVOLVED AS WITH AN ISSUE LIKE THIS, THERE IS NOT A SOUL IN THE WORLD WHO SHOULDNT CARE.

  21. And, DK, Robbie’s explanation is the obvious one, which posters have said again and again during these little rants. I second it, again.

  22. Jewish exceptionalism is your answer? No one cares exept the Jews?
    Would you like me to list other possible explanations why people are wary of joining us at this time on this venture?

  23. No, we’ve already heard your bunk reasons, you dont need to list them again. And you dont need to go misrepresenting jewish leaders again either based on your selective research…
    It has nothing to do with us or anyone else being exceptional. The reason jews are involved is the same reason christians were involved in combating the violence in S Sudan-namely, its a cause that mattered to them (because christians were being persecuted and denied their religious rights). Sure, that violence and persecution bother me, but i didnt lift a finger cause of all the causes on the world stage, it is but one of many i care about. For me, as a jew though, genocide is something that drives me to care, and i believe that is true of most jews who want to get involved.

  24. I just think if stopping this genocide is the goal, more needs to be done to put pressure on this government. And to do that, we need a hell of a lot more people involved than American Jewry. And to do that, we need to coalition build, and the perceptions of this being a Zionist cause are harmful, and this goes back to the Antisemitism on the Left. I had to lay the smackdown on a few list serves: do you really think Nick Kristoff and Ruth Messenger are pushing this because they want Sudan’s oil? Or because they’d rather focus the attention elsewhere?
    It should be possible to both organize the Jewish community and do proper outreach on this situation. I’m not suggesting Jews should not do anything; but that we need to do more to get other organizations, other ethnic groups, other segments of the population involved.

  25. Thanks Ruby. I think thats definitely true and a given. As I said, everyone should be involved. But this insistence that people arent involved because of the connection to people who are also zionists (ooh, what a dirty word…) is just ludicrous. The people who say things like that are a minority and probably spend all day on listserves…People will come up with all kinds of reasons not to be involved, just like in previous genocides.

  26. From Bob Woodward, “Plan of Attack,” (NY, 2004) pp. 320-1:
    “Elie Wiesel, writer, survivor of Auschwitz and Nobel Peace Prize winner, came to see [Condoleeza] Rice on February 27 and the president dropped by her office. Rice moved to the couch so the president could take the chair closest to Wiesel. Wiesel told the president that Iraq was a terrorist state and that the moral imperative was for intervention. If the West had intervened in Europe in 1938, he said, World War ll and the Holocaust could have been prevented. “It’s a moral issue. In the name of morality how can we not intervene?…. In the face of such evils, neutrality was impossible, Wiesel said. Indecision only promoted and assisted the evil and the aggressor, not the victims. “I’m against silence.” In the days after, Bush routinely repeated Wiesel’s comments. “That was a meaningful moment for me,” he recalled later, “because it was a confirming moment. I said to myself, Gosh, if Elie Wiesel feels that way, who knows the pain and suffering of tyranny, then others feel that way too. And so I am not alone.”

  27. You can always rely on xisntox to provide a “gotcha” quote. Not to offer his own opinion, share his own feelings, or take a stand in a straightforward and nonsarcastic way. But gotcha quotes, he’s got thousands of them in his Roladex. But this one, xisntox, I don’t understand. How does it indict Elie Weisel? That he supported the Iraq War. Sure, disagree with that. You’re not alone. He shared a position with Bush? Fine. I don’t support him, didn’t vote for him, and want to get him out, too. But it’s not a crime to agree with him on an issue. And it doesn’t prove his oh-so-sinister Zionist motives.

  28. DK: You know why so many people are annoyed with you about these threads? You’re so busy theorizing dark motives from the Jewish establishment that you can’t fathom the possibility that the people involved actually care, too. And, yes, I know you care, in your own strange way, but you’re dead wrong about this. What’s more, it doesn’t seem that you really believe that actual activists care. You call it Holocaustism. Did it ever occur to you that some people might be care because they feel memory of families murdered in the Holocaust? In a completely sincere and non-opportunistic way? You are insulting people who are actually concerned with the issue and doing something (perhaps miniscule) about it. Like me and my family. And you have the nerve to call us deluded. Without any evidence at all! Just unoriginal, conspiritorial theory. It’s as though there’s a dusty, old Chomsky essay where your heart should be.

  29. Adam,
    I have no doubt there are people who are motivated because of motivations similar to your own. But that doesn’t mean these are Wiesel’s sole motivations.
    And anyway, having pure motives does not detract from needing to be shrewed and insisting upon efficacious policy.
    For instance — Band Aid was attended and supported by bands, fans, and donations–many with the best intentions of aiding those starving to death in Africa.
    But the food rotted, because a delivery system in a war zone rampant with cooruption had not been considered and ironed out in the first place.
    And people continued to starve unabated. The big concert where we Americans showed that “we care” accomplished awareness.
    And little else.
    If you are going to insist that this is a different situation — and this hopefully will be a different situation — that means recognizing real obstacles we are facing in both alliance building and perception. Simply dismissing these problems as coming from a place of apathy or pretending that a few black leaders attending a rally is the same as if they mobilized their forces is not going to be effective.

  30. Glad about your response. A lot level-headed than mine, I have to admit. Still, I very much disagree with you, and I don’t think we’ll ever see eye to eye on this. You’ve posted really frequently about this, and never showed me any evidence to suggest that your theory is remotely true. There is a lot of apathy about Darfur, and there are many complicated reasons for that. There are also obvious reasons why Jewish people care about it and are involved. I’m sure you’ll find there’s a relatively high number of Armenians and Bosnians involved as well. It’s not about Jewish exceptionalism, it’s very little about vested interest, and there’s not much to suggest that Jewish involvement is keeping people away. If you’re going to suggest otherwise, it’s a pretty huge accusation, and it needs to be backed up. More than I believe you have backed it up on in the past. Best, Adam

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