Free Gaza’s Col. Ann Wright disinvited from Swedish Boat to Gaza

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 139 Comments

For those who don’t know Ann Wright, she served in the U.S. Army for 29 years, retiring as a Colonel, then put in 16 years in the U.S. diplomatic corps, until she resigned in 2003 to protest the war on Iraq. Since then she has been an indefatigable campaigner for peace and justice around the world.

I got to know her last year, when she led the U.S. Boat to Gaza, on which I was a passenger. Last week I had the honor of helping to chauffeur Ann Wright around Northern California as she delivered more than a dozen talks, plus several radio interviews, about Gaza, drones, and sexual harassment in the U.S. military. She arrived here straight from Pakistan, where she had gone with CodePink to support the anti-drone movement. When she left, she headed to Washington and Oregon for a few more talks, then planned to proceed to Europe to board the Estelle, the Swedish boat currently making its way to Gaza.

Then came some devastating news, detailed in a statement she just released:

Two days ago, on October 13, three hours before I was to board a flight to Europe to meet up with the Swedish boat to Gaza, the “Estelle,” the next boat to challenge the Israeli blockade, I was called by a board member of the Estelle who said that because of the furor around Greta Berlin’s posting and because I am a member of the new, 2 week old board of the Free Gaza Movement, I was no longer invited to be a passenger on the “Estelle.”

The board representative acknowledged that the reason for their invitation to me to be on the “Estelle” was that I am a retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war, that I am a vocal critic of Israeli and United States policies on Palestinians and that I have been to Gaza 4 times in the past 3 years, assisted 7 groups to go to Gaza in 2009, helped organize the December, 2009 Gaza Freedom March, was a passenger on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, helped organize the 2011 US Boat to Gaza and am an organizer for one of the latest initiatives, Gaza’s Ark.

But, because I am a member of the new board of the Free Gaza movement, and despite the fact I, and Greta and all members of the new board have made public statements posted on the Free Gaza Movement’s website that neither Greta, nor members of the current or previous board are anti-Semitic, bigoted or racist, the fact that I am on the new Free Gaza board was the reason the board of the “Estelle” was withdrawing the invitation for me to sail on the Estelle due to allegations of anti-Semitism of the Swedish Boat to Gaza by pro-Israelis groups in Sweden.

I am saddened by the decision of the board to withdraw its invitation and I believe it is wrong. All of our projects that have challenged Israeli policies toward Palestinians have been called anti-Semitic by pro-Israeli groups. This is not a new tactic used to scare pro-Palestinian groups.

Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz in an article posted on Mondoweiss said – “there is no room for racism in a movement working for equality, justice and freedom for all in Israel/Palestine”—and they are right, but at the same time, there is no room for throwing long-time international activists for Palestine “off the boat,” so to speak.

Greta Berlin is not an anti-Semite, a bigot or a racist, and neither am I.

I wish the passengers and crew on the “Estelle” a safe voyage in challenging the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and call for all who support Palestinians to keep their eyes on the prize—justice, dignity and freedom for Palestinians who are suffering under unjust Israeli policies and actions.

Peace to all and among us all,

Ann Wright

My two cents: this is sheer madness. I happen to admire Greta Berlin and to believe her explanation for her unfortunate posting, but whatever you think about Greta, remember that Greta is not the person the Swedish Boat group disinvited. Instead, they’ve disowned and, by implication, impugned the integrity of one of the hardest-working, most capable, and most respected campaigners we have. It’s indisputably a case of guilt by association. And if the Swedish Boat group really believes their action will ward off accusations of anti-Semitism against them, they’ve lost their grip on reality. In the end, this entire episode has divided and undermined our movement. How is that going to help the Palestinians?

139 Responses

  1. CitizenC
    October 15, 2012, 4:22 pm

    Simply unbelievable. The “movement” cannot even talk about Zionism, only “occupation”, cannot talk about AIPAC and US Zionism, because the Jewish left won’t permit it. But it can mount anti-anti-Semitic witchhunts and burn people at the stake. Unbelievable.

    • Walid
      October 16, 2012, 5:58 am

      If someone objects to discussing some of the not so illustrious historical events in the development of Islam, Christianity or the Arab conquest, would Mondo declare such discusions taboo because they could disturb the sensitivies of some people?

  2. mcohen
    October 15, 2012, 4:46 pm

    Ann wright states

    “All of our projects that have challenged Israeli policies toward Palestinians have been called anti-Semitic by pro-Israeli groups. This is not a new tactic used to scare pro-Palestinian groups”

    The projects are admirable and a worthy cause but unfortunately anti semites have used the causes to express their anti semitism under the guise of palestinian solidarity

    • seanmcbride
      October 15, 2012, 5:32 pm

      mcohen,

      The projects are admirable and a worthy cause but unfortunately anti semites have used the causes to express their anti semitism under the guise of palestinian solidarity

      Are you accusing Greta Berlin and Ann Wright of being antisemites?

      • freespeechlover
        October 15, 2012, 6:23 pm

        Good question.

      • mcohen
        October 15, 2012, 6:49 pm

        Seanmcbride

        Supporting a charity or cause by donating time and money is commendable
        Starting a disinfomation campaign using anti semitism as a cover is devious amd considering that the swedish fgm ship is on its way i prefer to not comment until this saga has played itself out.

      • seanmcbride
        October 15, 2012, 8:21 pm

        mcohen,

        I read your comment three times carefully and don’t understand it.

        Are you accusing Greta Berlin and Ann Wright of being antisemites?

        In particular, what does this mean? “Starting a disinfomation campaign using anti semitism as a cover is devious….”

      • kalithea
        October 15, 2012, 10:53 pm

        Baloney.

      • Danaa
        October 15, 2012, 11:30 pm

        mcohen – so you are one of those who see anti-semites everywhere? maybe you should go hunt some Islamophones instead – you can find them in every synagog (well, almost) and the hate speech against eg, Iran, and muslims, promulgated from half of our elected representatives (the others cowed into absject silence). It would be a heck of a lot easier then to use your little microscope to find the treif among the activists.

        What I see is just the same old same old tribal politics working over time to bring down the pro-Human rights movement. This time they are masquerading as “anti-zionists” or whatever mcohen considers himself. Ultimately – I don’t believe that these witch hunting McCarthites really care all that much for palestinians or Gazans. but they sure care about their own tribe (however they choose to define it (whether the jewish one or the israeli one – not quite the same – more like intersecting circles than concentric ones).

        Absolutely a disgusting spectacle.

        Maybe the tribal purists and peddlers of antiquated libel made out of thin air should just form their own little movement where they can expunge anyone not kosher enough? that would solve a lot of problems, me thinks.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        October 15, 2012, 11:45 pm

        Mcohen, you did not answer the question.

      • wes
        October 16, 2012, 3:17 am

        seanmcbride

        ground control to major tom

      • mcohen
        October 16, 2012, 3:30 am

        What question

      • Walker
        October 16, 2012, 7:54 am

        You just started your own “disinformation campaign using antisemitism as cover” right here.

        This is the most tried and true tactic used by supporters of Israel to smear opponents. And the most reprehensible.

      • Today in Palestine
        October 16, 2012, 10:32 am

        Hi. I’m not going to accuse Greta of being an anti-semite but it would really behoove all of her friends to pull her aside and have a serious talk to her about the responsibility she needs to show as a Palestinian solidarity activist. Her tweets on the free gaza twitter feed and on her Facebook page have been incredibly inflammatory and she uses the language of the neocons against Palestinian activists who dare criticize her carelessness and question her intentions and motives (which is our right and responsibility as Palestinian activists to scrutinize anyone that wants to be a part of our cause). Not only did she accuse Ali Abunimah of issuing fatwas but she also called him Ali Ayatollah. These things are happening publicly on social media, so perhaps her first tweet was a mistake? What’s the excuse for the second tweet? And for the Facebook posting? Are those also mistakes? She, and a lot of her supporters seem to have lost sight of who they are supposed to be expressing solidarity for and instead of attacking and criticizing Palestinian activists for not showing loyalty to Greta and her mistakes you can take a moment to explain to her the importance of scrutinizing her every word both verbal and written while she is “on the clock” for Palestine. Finally, though I am not Muslim I find her disgusting ayatollah and fatwa comments to be not funny and enough for her to lose all credibility as far I am concerned. Those that are disrespectful to our activists (who are doing their jobs by making sure that the Palestinians do not lose credibility based on the carelessness of international activists) have no room in our movement and should not be speaking on our behalf, she needs to check her white privilege and quickly.

        As far as Ann is concerned, this is unfortunate and I don’t place the blame on the “hysteria” of the movement but rather this proves how lackluster the response from FGM has been.

        Signed,
        A Palestinian that doesn’t have the privilege or desire to be publicly careless when it comes to the holocaust.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        October 16, 2012, 7:41 pm

        >> Not only did she accuse Ali Abunimah of issuing fatwas

        Well, that’s pretty much what he did, yes? Plane/train Ali branded Berlin an anti-semite before the world.

        As for the back channel after talk, well, please do tell. I have no doubt there must have been some heated discussion behind the scenes, but us plebs have not been privy to that.

        All we know is that Berlin mis-tweeted a reference to some nutbar video, apologized for as much yet was nonetheless dispatched into the wilderness as a result.

        Then came the oh-so-predictable pile-on. Who ever tbought the Zionist crazies would ever be appeased by a sacrificial scalp? Surely we should know better by now.

        –n49.

      • Inanna
        October 17, 2012, 12:10 am

        Well said, Today in Palestine.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 17, 2012, 1:37 am

        did you read this ianna

        link to mondoweiss.net

        that was at the beginning of our discussion here. people just don’t get it.

      • Inanna
        October 17, 2012, 3:32 am

        Thanks for the link Annie. I read Alex’s story early when there were few comments, so didn’t get the whole story.

        My view is that the focus should always be on our goal rather than personalities. Additionally, as someone who has been active both in real life and virtually on Palestinian activism, we need to ensure that we stay focussed on our goal rather than personalities.

        I don’t know if Greta Berlin is an anti-semite. At first, I thought this was a beat-up and would all die down with an apology. But the more I discover about Berlin’s tweets and facebooking and her responses to this issue. as well as the lack of transparency about this facebook group, I think she should step down. She has shown the type of lack of judgement that makes her, in my view, ineligible to continue leading the FGM or be an effective advocate for Palestinians.

      • LeaNder
        October 17, 2012, 7:55 am

        perfectly said, TiP, and thanks to Annie for leading my attention to your responses. I do not have the time to follow all discussions carefully.

        I wasn’t aware of the Facebook aftermath. I mostly try to avoid Facebook, admittedly.

        Hmm, Ali Ayatollah, fatwas? Strictly his demand for transparency is perfectly easy to understand, it’s probably the first thing on everybody’s mind. Well that is indeed a curious twist.

        Besides isn’t there a paradox in the choice of the video, and a “secret FB group”. Maybe it would make sense to discuss some matters secretly, but propaganda? Why would you want the study of propaganda secretly?

        The video too belongs to the type of “secret” revelatory lore claiming that everything you have ever been told by historians is wrong, and that the real facts are “secret”. …

      • Shlomo
        October 19, 2012, 4:19 am

        > “disinformation campaign using antisemitism as cover”

        Hmmmm. That could mean:

        (a) A CHARGE of antisemitism is being thrown like a grenade to quash/distract pro-Palestinian activists/activities, calling into question the legitimacy and motives of said activists/actions.

        or

        (b) An accusation is being LEGITIMATELY (from the view of the accusers) hurled at activists/actions deemed to actually BE antisemitic.

        The first option says, “We’re being distracted by a psyops/black flag operation that’s trying to get us attacking each other rather than staying focused on ending the Occupation (and helping to create a Palestinian state).

        The second is the typical, “You all hate Jews! You don’t really care about Arabs; you just want to kabosh the Jewish State.”

        I can handle the latter, being so typical. But if the former is what’s going on, yikes! It’d look like hasbarists have been doing their homework. That is, they would have succeeded in driving a wedge of suspicion into our midst. And it seems to be making an impact… a storm on FB and the bum’s rush given to a would-be flotilla participant.

        Not good.

        Still and all, the tsunami rising against Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish State won’t be stopped by an internecine squabble. The only worry might be the MSM covering the internal dust-up instead of the flotilla, BDS movement, and other protests.

        Then again, I suppose ANY coverage is good. Even bad shite might get some newbies checking things out on the Internet to find out more.

        Still, it IS a bit concerning. Like hearing rumors a troop leader molested some Boy Scouts. You know it happens, but can’t believe YOUR guy, the one in charge of your son during camping trips, might have done bad things. At the same time, you fear a witch hunt since the accused was about to run for public office. What better way to kill his chances than to make such an accusation? The town is now up in arms gossiping, forgetting that the accused was running on a platform to rein-in the area’s big-time polluters.

        We’ll have to see how this “You’re an antisemite! No, I’m not!” circus plays out. It will tell us something about the strength, character, patience, etc. of the “group.” A chance to test our “sumud,” as it were… if only online.

    • kapok
      October 15, 2012, 7:18 pm

      name one

    • David Samel
      October 15, 2012, 8:05 pm

      unfortunately anti semites have used the causes to express their anti semitism under the guise of palestinian solidarity

      mcohen, what is it you fear? That there are anti-semites out there who are too timid to directly express their Jew hatred, and instead get their jollies with “Palestinian solidarity” and criticism of Israel? Think about it. If someone does something or says something clearly anti-semitic, condemn it, but if not, don’t speculate about the secret motives of people who engage in anti-racist activities. I’ve heard your argument before and it’s absurd.

      • mcohen
        October 15, 2012, 10:39 pm

        David

        There is no need to speculate. The ship has already slipped its moorings.

      • Danaa
        October 15, 2012, 11:49 pm

        David, I don’t think logical thinking is what this is really all about. This is about goring the movement’s heart from within.

        Maybe, mcohen sees anti-semitism everywhere among activists because that’s what he is supposed to see? not that he is alone, – we had all of 4 or 5 commenters on the previous thread – plus a couple of the hair-splitters, as one might expect. the names don’t matter, because the pattern is what counts and it’s really beginning to come into focus.

        Anyways, I saw no evidence that anyone on the purgers side has any intention of listening or seeing reason. Clearly, that’s not what some people are or were after. Sorry to say it, but I really believe this is about something else entirely. There is a campaign to weaken the activist movement – not just FGM but also ISM, and soon it’ll spread to BDS (just in case Abunimah thinks he is free of blemish – he is just saved for later and no amount of denunciations of secret “bigots’ will help him when it’ll be his turn to go on the auto-da-fe).

        I am with SeanMcbride on this – am beginning to see an all too distinct a pattern. Notice how they go after the leaders first, and not just any leaders but the most effective ones when it comes to action. I think I can predict who the next two to be thrown off the boat are going to be.

        As i said, whatever this is about, logic or actual anti-semitism isn’t it.

        Anyways, I am off to the gulag now….thought I should beat ‘them” to it.

      • thankgodimatheist
        October 16, 2012, 7:32 am

        “There is a campaign to weaken the activist movement – not just FGM but also ISM, and soon it’ll spread to BDS (just in case Abunimah thinks he is free of blemish – he is just saved for later and no amount of denunciations of secret “bigots’ will help him when it’ll be his turn to go on the auto-da-fe).”

        Danaa
        You may want to have a look at this. It echoes what you’re thinking. This fellow from the infamous Israel advocacy Reut Institute confirms that it’s their objective:

      • Keith
        October 16, 2012, 4:02 pm

        DANAA- “…the pattern is what counts and it’s really beginning to come into focus.”

        Bingo! There is a pattern here that seems somewhat obvious to me. Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein, Greta Berlin, Ann Wright and, I submit, Jill Stein. Yup, Jill isn’t emphasizing those parts of the Green Party platform that these one-staters insist upon, so they’re going to show her too!

        In their introductory comments to the letter to Stein on their insistence that she emphasize the one-state solution per the platform, they say that they wish to avoid conflict. Rather, “It is Jill Stein’s disavowal of the Party Platform that sows the seeds of intra-party conflict.” They then misrepresent the platform and Stein’s stated positions. Let us note that toward the top of the section on Israel/Palestine, the platform states that “As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region.” The platform says several somewhat contradictory things regarding Israel/Palestine, which I commented upon and link to below. In my judgment, Jill Stein’s press releases have been consistent with the platform and in no way represent a “disavowal,” an untrue statement designed to undercut Stein unless she kowtows to their ‘leadership’. My comment: link to mondoweiss.net

        I have come to the conclusion that what I refer to as the professional left is acting in a manner consistent with their symbiotic relationship with the current power structure. Many have grown very cozy in their ‘radical’ niche, and don’t want to upset the applecart. As a consequence, they are an integral part of the system, providing de facto support by undercutting and containing challenges to business as usual.

        A perfect example of this is Cindy Sheehan when she ran for Nancy Pelosi’s congressional seat in 2008. Running for Congress isn’t like running for President. With even somewhat limited funding, which she more than had, a populist campaign strongly supported by volunteers can oust an unrepresentative incumbent like Pelosi. Cindy thought that she could count on the support of the Bay Area left, which was highly critical of Pelosi. Wrongo. Cindy found out the hard way that the professional left talks the talk while safeguarding its niche. One of the characteristics of our money-driven society is that the opposition is usually eventually co-opted.

      • David Samel
        October 16, 2012, 5:17 pm

        Danaa, I’m not completely with you on this. Of course, the dissing of Ann Wright for defending Berlin is ridiculous, but I have no problem with those like Abunimah who demand accountability from Berlin herself. She may be blameless but her faux pas was serious enough to put the burden on her to show it, and she hasn’t. As for Ali and others who have spoken out against her, they already have been accused many times of antisemitism and supporting terrorism, etc. They feel quite comfortable dismissing such attacks as baseless, and are particularly attuned to those very few instances, like the Berlin affair, where the accusation seems to have more weight. Berlin, for all of her valuable work, made a bad gaffe that has become a distraction, and indeed a gift on a silver platter to those who regularly hurl worthless accusations of a-s on a regular basis. It’s cause for celebration – finally, there’s one that does not appear ridiculous!

        As for mcohen, I was responding to his nonsensical accusation that closeted antisemites get secret Jew-hating pleasure from criticism of Israel.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        October 17, 2012, 12:14 am

        >> [Berlin] may be blameless but her faux pas was serious enough to put the burden on her to show it, and she hasn’t.

        She hasn’t? She a) apologized; b) explained what happened; and c) sought and received public corroboration from the private FB group she meant to post the link to. David, what else should she have been expected to do?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 17, 2012, 1:36 am

        received public corroboration from the private FB group she meant to post the link to

        not really. the discussion of the private FB group was not made public, ever. she’s been asked repeatedly to post screen shots of the discussion, she/they won’t. their privacy is more important to them than transparency, which would end the controversy if it corroborated her explanation. it’s not that complicated.

      • LeaNder
        October 17, 2012, 6:18 am

        not really. the discussion of the private FB group was not made public, ever.

        Hmm, I thought about this private FB group yesterday. I also would like to thank whoever censored a ill-reflected spontaneous reaction to one of the comments here. ;)

        Wouldn’t one almost automatically assume that this private group includes the board members?

        This could well be the basis for the Swedish decision.

        Defending her in this case is no good substitution for transparency. As long as they don’t come up clean, they are all somehow tainted by Greta Berlin’s action or her attempt at “secret storage” gone public. If, as she states, she didn’t event take a look at the video, why the hurried action? Doesn’t one have to assume her interest was evoked by the words that accompanied the video in the context she gives?

        Besides, what I am still wondering about. If, as she writes, it was sent to her privately. Why the haste? It would have been available to her in her mailbox at a later time.

        If someone of the supposed propaganda study group is around, I can highly recommend Jeffrey Herf’s studies on Nazi propaganda both his “The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust” and “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World”.

        On Zionism and the Nazis, I would recommend the well less know studies of Francis R. Nicosia. Bottom line yes to a certain degree they profited compared to the larger assimilated Jewish community, but they also heavily underestimated the Nazis.

      • LeaNder
        October 17, 2012, 8:04 am

        I am curious, but in a hurry. I was fiddling around too much it seems:

        the words that accompanied the video in the context she gives?

        the well less well know studies

        Thanks again to Annie for her alerts to Tip’s responses.

        What I never quite understand, is that people don’t realize and feel uncomfortable when they basically move into the direction of vindicating the Nazis. That’s the ultimate aim of this type of lore.

      • Dutch
        October 17, 2012, 9:19 am

        @ N49

        I agree completely. This should have been over and done with.

      • marc b.
        October 17, 2012, 9:59 am

        received public corroboration from the private FB group she meant to post the link to

        ….

        not really. the discussion of the private FB group was not made public, ever. she’s been asked repeatedly to post screen shots of the discussion, she/they won’t. their privacy is more important to them than transparency, which would end the controversy if it corroborated her explanation. it’s not that complicated.

        yes, really, the FB group did publicly corroborate her explanation. that their collective explanation doesn’t satisfy your evidentiary standard is a different issue. just because they are involved in a public movement does not mean that they have given up their right to some measure of privacy. if someone found that you and weiss had exchanged emails that they found objectionable, would you be willing to publish any and all of your correspondence, and correspondence between you and other contributors to the site, in order to ‘prove’ your innocence of this or that allegation? and the publication of the FB pages would not ‘end the controversy’, that’s just ridiculous. berlin, and now wright by implication, have been smeared, and berlin in particular will be treated as a toxic commodity by many in the movement regardless of what FB would or wouldn’t show. that’s the whole point of this controversy, once the accusation is made publicly, and by people within the movement, it will be exploited from here on out by opponents of the movement. don’t kid yourself, that’s a direct consequence people tripping over themselves to denounce her without knowing all the facts.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        October 17, 2012, 2:09 pm

        Annie,

        >> the discussion of the private FB group was not made public, ever.

        Do you see your mistake, Annie? You are asking that Berlin violate confidential relationships. This was a **private** group. Berlin has no right to violate the understanding with the other members of the group unless **all** members agreed. If it was a group of one — Berlin herself and no one else — then Berlin would have had full authority to release the screenshots. But insofar as other members had entered into a confidential relationship, Berlin had no authority to comply with your request.

        As it was, presumably, Berlin asked the members of the group “what should we do in the face of this request?” And, presumably, the group discussed this and decided that the best and fairest way to comply was to ask volunteers to come forward to vouch for Berlin. Again, if even **one** member objected to releasing screen shots it would have been improper to release the screen shots.

        I find it highly objectionable that Berlin was put into this position. Namely: violate a confidential relationship or be branded an anti-semite. This is an immoral request.

        David Samel is a lawyer and understands the common law issues surrounding duties of confidence. A duty of confidence is a duty that falls just beneath a duty of trust, the highest duty the law recognizes. This is not a trivial consideration. Yet the powers that be demanded that Berlin violate this duty. Or be branded an anti-semite.

        I don’t post here that often anymore. But I am still very proud of the work you guys are doing. I guess I lit up on this topic because I found it so disappointing that, with all the angels on your side, you could turn and act in so immoral a fashion. -N49.

    • kalithea
      October 15, 2012, 10:52 pm

      Bullshet.

  3. Scott
    October 15, 2012, 4:57 pm

    Yes, well stated. I’m familiar with Ann Wright through Code Pink. A formidable asset on the side of justice. I don’t know from Greta Berlin, though I’ve read most of the posts I don’t yet think I know the real story. But to attack Ann Wright like this is pathetic.

  4. Scott
    October 15, 2012, 4:58 pm

    It’s almost enough to make me want to dwell on Sweden’s World War 2 record.

    • Shlomo
      October 19, 2012, 4:44 am

      Or the way it treated Assange.

      Sometimes reality slaps the scales from our eyes. Like finding out Tibetan monks have a history of using child work-and-sex slaves. Or that the Swiss, historically, were badass hombres (hence popes et alia using them as guards).

      It’s one thing to learn there is no Santa Claus (I think…); another to find out what you thought pure-as-the-driven-snow is not.

      That was certainly the case with Israel. I grew up believing Leon Uris’ EXODUS was factual. When I learned it wasn’t, a frisson went through me like when I found out Jesus probably did NOT look like blue-eyed Paul Newman or a hippie viking.

      It’s tough when gilding rubs off a supposedly golden calf.

      On the other hand, we can’t let shite thrown by our enemies stay stuck on the good folks in the pro-Palestinian movement. Not all of us have the cojones of Finkelstein and company. If they’re brought down, who’s left standing? Like it our not, armies DO need leaders. They’re needed to rally around, get media attention, etc. If too many are neutered it not only confuses members of a movement, but convinces many that the price of standing up (that is, being cut down) simply isn’t worth it.

      • Cliff
        October 19, 2012, 5:45 am

        If the Left wants to follow the Mohawk Valley Model and dismantle itself in some RIDICULOUS demonstration of the non-existent purity of the Palestinian consensus towards Jewish this and that then by all means.

        Allow the Left to defeat itself and maybe people will learn something from this farce.

        You gotta admire the Zionists in this regard. They have conviction even if they are the villains of this story. It helps that they aren’t subject to the same social taboos and pressures as the Left. It helps that they can side-step the meritocracy because their partisanship is favored.

        Why haven’t more people brought up the irony in Phil’s earlier support (free speech/discussion) of Joachim Martillo. I was around in 2007 and remember that. Joachim has said some crazy shit – straight from his own mouth and not quoting others and not apologizing or possibly disassembling, and he was around for a long time.

        And yes, I get that MW was different back then and Phil wanted to foster debate and now it’s more about crossing over into the mainstream (not that debate has been swept under the rug or anything) and some views are just noise and distractions (like Joachim).

  5. pabelmont
    October 15, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Guilt By Association [GBA]

    like Gilt By Association, the gold-leaf that sometimes rubs off the front-cover of one book onto the back-cover of its [otherwise unrelated] neighbor on a tightly-packed book-shelf

    was a favored tool of McCarthy and other red-baiters. It is a totalitarian device. Its purpose is to scare people into not associating with anyone who does (or might in future) come into the “sights” of the totalitarian thought police.

    It is time for the pro-Palestine community to decide NOT to assist the practitioners of GBA by throwing their own under the bus (or off the boat) in order to avoid charges of anti-Semitism. For where will it end? And has not even a REAL anti-Semite the same right as anyone else to object to Israel’s occupations and settlements?

    At a minimum, we should give everyone THREE CHANCES at overt expressions of their OWN anti-Semitism before we disown them. It’s too easy to make mistakes in this trip-wired world, and FAR TOO EASY to say something that one of the Zionist-Zealots will condemn as anti-Semitism even when it (to others) clearly is not.

  6. ToivoS
    October 15, 2012, 5:12 pm

    This whole affair is tragic. This is making the story beginning with attacks on Greta look like a power struggle within the movement (at least its Western wing) for Palestinian rights. There seemed to be some things that were left unsaid last week suggesting something like that was going on.

    • freespeechlover
      October 15, 2012, 6:33 pm

      I agree. It’s an incredibly stupid thing for the board of the “Estelle” to do this, believing that this will placate those who are calling them anti-Semitic. It will do the opposite. It always incites further not diminishes charges of anti-Semitism, when “pro-Palestinian” activists throw each other under the bus, when those activists are not anti-Semites. Ann Wright in no way, shape or form is an anti-Semite and to be complicit with those who practice guilt by association, to feed false charges of anti-Semitism is not just disgusting politics. It’s also counter-productive. When you bow to opponents believing that you won’t be targeted or tainted, because you’ve acquiesced (it’s a version of the “battered woman syndrome”), the exact opposite occurs. You’ve emboldened your opposition and undermined yourself.

      There’s only one way of thinking about this kind of self-destructiveness on the part of the organizers of the Estelle–it’s politically stupid.

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      October 15, 2012, 11:32 pm

      Toivo,

      Two days ago you were front and center calling for Berlin’s head. Now you lament the damage this hath wrought.

      For myself, I pointed out that once you start running it becomes much more difficult to turn and fight.

      Now here we are. What a mess. -N49.

    • Danaa
      October 15, 2012, 11:59 pm

      ToivoS, I think you are getting closer now….it’s the things that are hidden that are important here. Ever since I read that Benjamin “expose” of Ofer Engel I have had a distinct feeling that this was not about Greta Berlin but about something else. maybe the power struggle with FGM was only to be expected.

      Isn’t this the first many of us have heard about the previous board resigning and a new one coming in? does anyone know what the reasons were for the old board walking out? surely it can’t be Greta’s tweet since Naomi Klein for example walked out before all this happened, to the best of my knowledge.

      So, can anyone appraise us about the politics of this?

      • W.Jones
        October 16, 2012, 12:48 am

        Sure, maybe there is something. I have seen semi-anonymous allegation(s) about Greta elsewhere. But to make a conclusion about someone’s character before the suspicion is proven is what witch-hunting is about.

        Maybe Adam and Phil have information we don’t. Maybe Klein and others walked away from FGM movement because of differences they were right to have. But maybe Adam and Phil don’t know much more than we do or is out there already about Greta. Maybe Klein left just because her term was up, or maybe any differences she had were incorrect.

        You, the reader, are faced with a decision here about what YOU choose to believe. If you do make a conclusion about someone’s character when the evidence doesn’t prove one thing or the other, your decision reflects your own background and personality.

        In my view, if a person is dedicated to human rights as well as to civil rights, they should respect the civil rights of the accused human rights activist and say: Innocent until Proven Guilty.

      • ToivoS
        October 16, 2012, 1:39 am

        In reply to North and Danaa. I suspected something like this when I first commented. Things are becoming a little clearer but we still do not know what is really happening. Yes Danaa it was the Benjamin article that raised my suspicions. Nevertheless, I still stand by what I said earlier.

        It is all about political leadership. Those who serve do not do so not as an inherent right but at the behest of the movement.

  7. Andre
    October 15, 2012, 5:15 pm

    What an incredibly stupid move. Pathetic.

  8. Dan Crowther
    October 15, 2012, 5:31 pm

    Ha! Wow. The Ol’ Collateral Damage Excommunication – now it’s really getting interesting. The “left” does the Right’s dirty work once again, awesome.

  9. justicewillprevail
    October 15, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Shoot yourselves in the foot, then. Throw more bones to the zionists, while you indulge in self censorship, flagellation and self harm. Meanwhile the zios have no qualms about the rampant racism they freely express within their myriad organisations every day of the week. Hold yourselves to a standard higher than expected of any other group…..

    • Adam Horowitz
      October 15, 2012, 7:47 pm

      So, is your argument that Israel’s critics should be as racist as Zionists? And what exactly would that accomplish?

      • Adam Horowitz
        October 15, 2012, 7:49 pm

        I should add that I disagree with the decision to disinvite Ann Wright, but to say “Hold yourselves to a standard higher than expected of any other group…..” makes absolutely no sense to me.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        October 15, 2012, 11:56 pm

        Doesn’t make any sense to me either, that comment. But surely, Adam, this latest news should give occasion for you and Phil and Annie to reconsider what many have felt was a capricious and short-sighted decision on your part? -n49.

      • kalithea
        October 15, 2012, 11:00 pm

        Oh lord! Seriously?

      • Danaa
        October 16, 2012, 12:06 am

        So, Adam, are you content to watch the entire FGM disintegrate because a minyan of sufficiently pure hearted ones cannot be found? because that’s what’s happening, you know. How many will now turn off from even watching the Estelle’s voyage to guaranteed interception, followed by…hmmm… oblivion? kind of like last year’s debacle (which is what it was, IMO)?

        Alas, there are many people out there (not that I am one of them, at least not yet) who watch and conclude that Greta’s sin, and now Ann Wright’s is that they were not Jewish enough….I’ll be watching with great interest to see where the next shoe falls…

      • W.Jones
        October 17, 2012, 1:03 pm

        Dear Adam,

        No, Justice’s argument isn’t that Israel’s critics should be as racist as Zionists. At best that would accomplish the “two state solution”, since neither the country nor its critics would be willing to live together. If everyone was dedicated to racism, we would see ethno-racist states all over the world, rather than binational ones.

        Yes I disagree with the decision to disinvite Ann, and I am glad you do too.

        The statement “Hold yourselves to a standard higher than expected of any other group…” does make sense. If you join a group where the expectations are so high than expected for another other group, you may not be capable of functioning. If your expectation for a group is that everyone will only ever link to accurate material on their facebook page, you run a huge risk that people who make many posts will accidentally include something they do not really intend to. By having such a high standard, or policy of “zero tolerance no matter what”, you could end up penalizing even a human rights leader who makes such a simple mistake, as may have occurred in this case.

        Regards.

    • Kathleen
      October 16, 2012, 8:54 am

      “rampant racism” for sure

  10. Donald
    October 15, 2012, 7:08 pm

    This is getting to be like six degrees of separation. I don’t know what to make of Greta herself, but at this rate it won’t be long before everyone in Israel itself is banned from Israel as an anti-semite. They all must know people who know people who know people and sooner or later–there’s an anti-semite. What more proof do you need?

    • David Samel
      October 15, 2012, 8:08 pm

      My sentiments exactly.

    • W.Jones
      October 15, 2012, 10:32 pm

      Donald,

      During witch hunts, a person is labeled an enemy or witch based on questionable evidence. A birth defect shows she is a witch, an off-color joke about Stalin shows he is against Stalin, a positive statement about the USSR shows he is a member of the CP during the McCarthy era.

      Then the person’s associates are rounded up. “I saw you in the woods with Emily that night”, “I saw you at a political meeting in that person’s house” (eg. Obama and Avery), etc.

      What motivates witch hunts? It was claimed that Stalin led the purges not just because he was paranoid, but because the USSR was isolated internationally. There was a kind of siege mentality. Trotsky thought it may also have been that Stalin felt his grip on power was weak. Leaders in the army and party saw problems with Stalin’s method of rule. He may not have seen how to deal with his problems of rule better than by purging people.

      I think the best thing you can do is speak out, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said- otherwise no one may be there to speak when they come for you. Alot of people are often afraid to speak out in defense of others. In those situations the persons accused may say:

      I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

    • Hostage
      October 16, 2012, 5:45 pm

      They all must know people who know people who know people and sooner or later–there’s an anti-semite. What more proof do you need?

      LOL! Well you’re screwed in the first place if you claim to be in solidarity with the Palestinians. Holocaust denial and Zionist-Nazi conspiracies are a staple for the readers and viewers of http://www.palestine-info.org, Al-Risala, Al-Ayyam, Al-Quds, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA television, and etc.

      The Estelle’s Board of Directors might even have to distance themselves from the UNRWA school teachers union, e.g. Last year, the association of UNRWA employees endorsed a decision to ban the introduction of Holocaust studies in UNRWA schools, Jordanian daily Al-Ghad reported Tuesday, a decision the teachers said was still binding. . . . “Teaching UNRWA students about the so-called ‘Holocaust’ as part of human rights harms the Palestinian cause”. link to timesofisrael.com

      Hamas vows to foil Holocaust lessons in UNRWA schools : Fatah officials also express opposition to teaching “enemy’s false claims and lies”; Hamas says UNRWA plan would be a “cultural crime.” link to jpost.com

      • Donald
        October 16, 2012, 6:11 pm

        “Holocaust denial and Zionist-Nazi conspiracies are a staple for the readers and viewers of http://www.palestine-info.org, Al-Risala, Al-Ayyam, Al-Quds, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, PA television, and etc.”

        I gather it’s not uncommon in the Arab world, or so I’ve heard, but don’t know what the numbers are. Zeroing in on the Palestinians, I knew about Abbas’s Holocaust denial, so I figured it was mainstream. Kind of understandable that Palestinians would react that way if the Holocaust is used as a justification for what Israel does, but unfortunate. Are there any polls on what most Palestinians think about it?

        I guess your point is (here and elsewhere) that there are a lot of ugly beliefs on both sides of the fence (in another post you mentioned some unsavory beliefs in the Israeli mainstream, which they must obviously have to justify their own behavior.) So is your point that we should probably not get too bent out of shape if people have crazy unsavory views?

      • W.Jones
        October 17, 2012, 12:55 pm

        My understanding is that the general feeling among Palestinians is that the Holocaust is being abused to justify mistreating Palestinians. I think Abbas did research on connections between the Zionists and Nazis, but so did the Israeli historian Brenner, who published primary documents on the subject.

        However, Abbas did not deny the Holocaust. In fact he said it did happen. I think he gave a lesser figure than 6 million casualties in his research. I forgot what he came up with- several million or five million etc, but it was still a high number of casualties.

      • Hostage
        October 17, 2012, 2:10 pm

        So is your point that we should probably not get too bent out of shape if people have crazy unsavory views?

        Not exactly. I cited the example of F.W. de Klerk, who still defends the idea of separate nation states. He was nonetheless the right person, in the right place, at the right time, to make a significant political compromise and bring an apartheid regime to an end. People are seldom perfect. If Great Berlin and the Free Gaza Movement directors have offered an explanation and apologized for any misunderstandings, we should be gracious enough to accept them at face value and stop polarizing the solidarity movement.

        If by some miracle the Estelle ever reached the shores of Gaza, its crew and passengers would encounter officials and ordinary people there who would not explain or apologize for their hatred of Zionists and their government’s propaganda campaigns regarding the Holocaust. The same sort of thing applies to many Israelis and the Nakba. That’s why this conflict has lasted such a long time. We can’t contribute in the most effective way if we adopt an attitude of guilt by association; once wrong always wrong; or that just because people have said or done offensive things that they don’t deserve equal human rights, protection from the use of force, and an end to the armed conflict or occupation..

      • Donald
        October 17, 2012, 4:54 pm

        “We can’t contribute in the most effective way if we adopt an attitude of guilt by association; once wrong always wrong; or that just because people have said or done offensive things that they don’t deserve equal human rights, protection from the use of force, and an end to the armed conflict or occupation..”

        Can’t argue with that. I think though, one makes a distinction between the people actually involved in the conflict and bystanders like most of us. It’s entirely understandable that Palestinians would resent how the Holocaust is used against them and that they’d find it tempting to believe it’s all been exaggerated. But Westerners shouldn’t feel that temptation. (Which doesn’t have anything to do with Greta. I’m just speaking more generally).

      • eibieman
        October 18, 2012, 4:06 pm

        The idea that Palestinian freedom is a single issue that exists in and of itself, is not viable. We even see now that the Palestinian revolt enlightened the Arab revolution. The newbies in the Palestine struggle are willing to accept, or excuse Antisemitism thinking that to be Anti-Zionist excuses one from Antisemitism. Now, if so then the neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel could be included in the secrect FB group/cabal that took over Free Gaza, since he presents himself as Antizionist. Actually Hitler was Antizionist in his book Mein Kamph, so being myopic on Antisemitism should allow for his admittance as well, or not!

      • Hostage
        October 18, 2012, 10:03 pm

        My understanding is that the general feeling among Palestinians is that the Holocaust is being abused to justify mistreating Palestinians.

        For whatever reasons, Palestinians are not flooding the internet or mailing lists with denunciations like those that have targeted Atzmon and Berlin.

        However, Abbas did not deny the Holocaust. In fact he said it did happen. I think he gave a lesser figure than 6 million casualties in his research. I forgot what he came up with- several million or five million etc, but it was still a high number of casualties.

        The comments and explanations offered by Abbas haven’t satisfied his critics among Holocaust scholars or historians (more below).

        The hasbara fellowship talking points that go completely unanswered are invariably about official party statements or remarks made by major party leaders or cabinet ministers, including Abbas, Rantisi, Meshaal, and Nasrallah who’ve publicly claimed that the Holocaust was a myth invented by Jews or funded by Zionists and that the 6 million figure was a fantastic lie, e.g.

        Of course, if the EU does not care about terrorism against Israel, it certainly is not moved by the vile anti-Semitic rhetoric emanating from Hamas leaders (“Hamas Leader Rantisi: The False Holocaust—The Greatest of Lies Funded by the Zionists,” MEMRI, Special Dispatch— Palestinian/Arab Anti-Semitism, August 27,2003, No. 558).

        If they would have cared, they might have a problem embracing Abu Mazen, who has a Ph.D. in holocaust denial (and whose premiership now both the U.S. and Israel are desperately trying to salvage). Hamas views the holocaust as “false” and as a “great lie,” it claims that the “Nazis received over $100 million from the Zionists” (probably in an attempt to annihilate themselves?), and that “comparing Zionism and Nazism insults the Nazis”.

        –http://books.google.com/books?id=UBavSQq-2tEC&lpg=PA272&ots=ecim5t-2Nb&dq=&pg=PA272#v=onepage&q&f=false

        Reliable sources, like Al Jazeera, Reuters, and AFP have carried reports confirming that Nasrallah and Meshaal have labeled the Holocaust a myth, e.g. link to aljazeera.com

        Historian Benny Morris noted that Abbas had published a book, based upon his Ph.D. thesis in Arabic as “The Other Side: the Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement” which declared:

        that the gas chambers were never used to murder Jews and dismissed as a “fantastic lie” that six million Jews had died in the Holocaust; at most, he wrote, “890,000” Jews were killed by the Germans. And they were killed, Abbas wrote, in part as a result of Zionist provocation orchestrated by Ben-Gurion from 1942. Or, as he put it: “The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule, in order to arouse the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them, and to expand the mass extermination.”

        Exposing Abbas, May 19, 2011, link to nationalinterest.org

        Raphael Medoff notes that the very low casualty figure that Abbas employed doesn’t actually appear in the works of the historian that he cited:

        Abbas then asserts: “The historian and author, Raoul Hilberg, thinks that the figure does not exceed 890,000.” This is, of course, utterly false. Professor Hilberg, a distinguished historian and author of the classic study ‘The Destruction of the European Jews’, has never said or written any such thing.

        A Holocaust-Denier as Prime Minister of “Palestine”? link to wymaninstitute.org

        In a subsequent Haaertz interview Abbas didn’t attempt to offer any explanation for his controversial claims that the 6 million figure was a “fantastic lie” or that the gas chambers had never been used. He pretended that he was only citing figures from a published dispute between other historians. He said that one had claimed 12 million while another had claimed 800,000 – and that he did not wish to dispute those scholar’s figures. That explanation obviously hasn’t satisfied his critics, even though he did admit the Holocaust was a real tragedy. Even Haaretz placed his comments under the subheading “Holocaust Denier?” link to haaretz.com

      • Hostage
        October 19, 2012, 12:07 am

        Actually Hitler was Antizionist in his book Mein Kamph, so being myopic on Antisemitism should allow for his admittance as well, or not!

        Hitler wasn’t anti-Zionist, he was simply anti-Jewish. Like CitizenC, he accused Liberal anti-Zionist Jews of being closet Zionists. So their actual beliefs were irrelevant to him:

        Once, when passing through the inner City, I suddenly encountered a phenomenon in a long caftan and wearing black side-locks. My first thought was: Is this a Jew? They certainly did not have this appearance in Linz. I watched the man stealthily and cautiously; but the longer I gazed at the strange countenance and examined it feature by feature, the more the question shaped itself in my brain: Is this a German?

        As was always my habit with such experiences, I turned to books for help in removing my doubts. For the first time in my life I bought myself some anti-Semitic pamphlets for a few pence. But unfortunately they all began with the assumption that in principle the reader had at least a certain degree of information on the Jewish question or was even familiar with it. Moreover, the tone of most of these pamphlets was such that I became doubtful again, because the statements made were partly superficial and the proofs extraordinarily unscientific. For weeks, and indeed for months, I returned to my old way of thinking. The subject appeared so enormous and the accusations were so far-reaching that I was afraid of dealing with it unjustly and so I became again anxious and uncertain.

        Naturally I could no longer doubt that here there was not a question of Germans who happened to be of a different religion but rather that there was question of an entirely different people. For as soon as I began to investigate the matter and observe the Jews, then Vienna appeared to me in a different light. Wherever I now went I saw Jews, and the more I saw of them the more strikingly and clearly they stood out as a different people from the other citizens. Especially the Inner City and the district northwards from the Danube Canal swarmed with a people who, even in outer appearance, bore no similarity to the Germans.

        But any indecision which I may still have felt about that point was finally removed by the activities of a certain section of the Jews themselves. A great movement, called Zionism, arose among them. Its aim was to assert the national character of Judaism, and the movement was strongly represented in Vienna.

        To outward appearances it seemed as if only one group of Jews championed this movement, while the great majority disapproved of it, or even repudiated it. But an investigation of the situation showed that those outward appearances were purposely misleading. These outward appearances emerged from a mist of theories which had been produced for reasons of expediency, if not for purposes of downright deception. For that part of Jewry which was styled Liberal did not disown the Zionists as if they were not members of their race but rather as brother Jews who publicly professed their faith in an unpractical way, so as to create a danger for Jewry itself.

        Thus there was no real rift in their internal solidarity.

        This fictitious conflict between the Zionists and the Liberal Jews soon disgusted me; for it was false through and through and in direct contradiction to the moral dignity and immaculate character on which that race had always prided itself.

        link to greatwar.nl
        See pdf pages 52 & 53

  11. bangpound
    October 15, 2012, 7:19 pm

    The people on the Estelle are the ones who are taking the risk to sail into the port of Gaza, and they get to say who can be on their boat.

    • Joe Catron
      October 15, 2012, 8:13 pm

      And like you, the rest of us get to say what we think of their decisions.

      This one is notable for being both shameful and self-defeating: an unusual combination, but certainly not unheard of.

      (And “sail into the port of Gaza” is a little hyperbolic, no? I don’t recall hearing a peep from anyone expecting their arrival!)

      • Walid
        October 16, 2012, 5:29 am

        Don’t expect anyone to in the future either, Joe, they have more meaningful things on their mind, like the Emir’s visit to Gaza this week and his gift of $450 million to build roads, bridges and 1000s of homes; it will do more good to Gaza than all the publicity the Swedish ship is going to generate. The Israeli gatekeepers have already approved a new list of 12 construction products that the Gazans may now import. It looks like the Gazans too have grown tired of these flotilla circuses:

        From the UAE National:

        Qatari emir to visit Gaza as ‘Hamas reward for breaking Assad ties’
        Hugh Naylor
        Oct 16, 2012

        GAZA CITY // The Qatari emir is to make an official visit to the Gaza Strip this week, in a move analysts say is to strengthen the country’s influence with Arab Islamists and reward Hamas rulers for breaking ties with the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad.

        Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani would be the first Arab head of state to officially visit Gaza since the Palestinian Islamist group wrested control in 2007.

        Hamas leaders hope his presence will provide a boost to its legitimacy after years of crippling Israeli blockade and diplomatic isolation by much of the international community.

        link to thenational.ae

    • Danaa
      October 16, 2012, 12:12 am

      And the rest of us get to maintain our interest in their mission – or not. perhaps this whole business of sending out boats tthat can never reach their destination is not effective any more. Interest is waning – this tactic has been tried and has outlived its usefulness. Time to morph into something new maybe?

      Anyways, most of us don’t believe it’s really the Estelle boat people who really made the decision, at least not without prodding from elsewhere. There is obviously a power struggle of some sort going on. maybe it’s time to come clean with it?

      • Walid
        October 16, 2012, 3:15 am

        “Interest is waning – this tactic has been tried and has outlived its usefulness… Time to morph into something new maybe?”(Danaa)

        Anything new would meet the same fate; the bad guys have been around for over a hundred years and nobody will ever catch up to them. You’re right about it being a foregone conclusion that boats would never be allowed into Gaza. This conclusion turns these freedom voyages into circuses. The BDS effort isn’t that much different and Ali’s unjustified assault on Greta proved it. It was shown here that it was a deadly sin to venture into certain historical aspects of Zionism and now with this ridiculous thing out of the blue about Ann Wright, it’s not only J Street that’s showing its true colours.

      • NickJOCW
        October 16, 2012, 9:38 am

        @Danna.

        Ann Wright is well out of it. They were ever only gestures, powerful ones at first but they have lost their novelty. Now it’s a fashionable thing to do and talk about later, a bit like climbing Everest; won’t make a headline anywhere but the local rag. Make a statistic, though, for anyone interested; 11 climbers have died this year on Everest.

    • akayani
      October 16, 2012, 12:11 pm

      Many of the ‘rest of us’ don’t appreciate the trouble that is being caused by Benjamin Doherty (bandpound) and Ali Abunimah who have been told to shut it down but know better. Even though they know nothing because the only conspiracy is a series of projects that are about raising money to help people with very little. Projects that have been going on for years and consumed time and money from those involved. Projects by people that have deep networks of connections within Palestine, Israel, the US, Australia, England, Germany and Scandinavia.

      I would have thought that Mary Ann Wright as a former United States Army Colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department enhances the safety of those on the boat well beyond measure. That her now not being on the boat diminishes the safety of others.

  12. eibieman
    October 15, 2012, 8:22 pm

    It would be a simple matter for Ann Wright to dissociate herself from the Antisemitic Gilad Atzmon. That is the crux of the matter. While Greta Berlin has chosen to excuse the Atzmon brand of Antisemitism and Holocaust denial, it is up to Ann Wright to make her position transparent.
    While it is unacceptable to submit to the Zionist pressures to accuse all who oppose the governments of Israel as Antisemitic, it is equally illogical to consider that all critiques of Israel are not Antisemites.

    • Eva Smagacz
      October 16, 2012, 6:13 pm

      Is this about Gilad? Is agreeing with anything Gilad said is ultimate Unforgivable Sin?

      “Are you or have you ever been in agreement with any opinion ever expressed by Gilad Atzmon?”
      “Have you, or have any of your family or friends ever agreed with any opinion ever expressed by Gilad Atzmon?”

      • Dutch
        October 17, 2012, 9:20 am

        Touché, Eva.

      • Mooser
        October 17, 2012, 5:04 pm

        And then, Eva, comes the question which get’s ‘em every time: “Do you believe Gilad Atzmon is in agreement with statements made by Gilad Atzmon?”
        If they answer ‘yes’ to that, they’re a hopeless case. Although I can’t help sorta thinking “Well criminey, he oughta know!” Confusing.

  13. Richard Congress
    October 15, 2012, 9:14 pm

    something is getting out of hand here. Greta Berlin send out a tweet. It gets denounced as anti-semitic. She says she made a mistake and the content of the tweet was an example of propaganda to be opposed and it went to the wrong list. A group of people say they don’t accept the apology and Berlin is still radioactive. Ann Wright is deemed guilty by association with Berlin and is kicked off the Swedish boat to Gaza…it seems pretty easy to stir up a hysteria over the issue of alleged anti-semitism, creating a pond in which any provocateur can fish.
    Anyone old enough to remember COINTELPRO? Police agents started feuds inside the anti-Vietnam war movement, stirring up rumors that someone was an FBI informer… Shoot outs were triggered by FBI agents between the Black Panther Party and the United Souls (US) of the then Ron Karenga…
    This is going in a bad direction and it’s sad to see people whom I thought had fairly good judgment fanning the flames…snap out of it Phil and Ali and Adam.

    • Danaa
      October 16, 2012, 12:16 am

      Richard – glad to see you brought up COINTELPRO – that’s just what i was thinking of.

      There were also not a few infiltrators among the Occupy people – I recall seeing a really good essay about the tactic of starting fights within the movement through agent provocateurs. I wish i remembered where i stashed this essay.

    • MRW
      October 16, 2012, 7:08 am

      @Phil, Ali, and Adam,

      As Richard Congress implies, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. You’re losing sight of the issue.

      I’ll let Israeli-born Miko Peled speak for me. This is from 1:03:00 of the Q&A period of Peled’s speech to the University Temple United Methodist Church (Seattle) on October 1, 2012. link to youtube.com
      (Incidentally, why wasn’t this headlined in light of ELCA’s October 5, 2012 letter to Congress? Peled’s been spearheading the Presbyterian and Methodist churches in talks since his book came out last June. Are these the talks that made the difference, and not EI or MW? Why didn’t he join in the Greta Berlin spear chucking if it was so vital and important to a ‘movement working for equality and freedom’?)

      Miko Peled: “This anti-semitic thing. People ask me this all the time. They say, well look, you can say this because you are you, but when we say it, they call us anti-semitic.”

      And my reply to that is, fine…they call me a self-hating Jew, or that I hate Jews or something…fine, I’ll take that.

      Now let’s talk about something else:
      Can you explain to me why Palestinian children get no water?
      Can you explain to me how you justify dropping 100 tons of bombs on children?
      Can you explain to me throwing people out of their homes and making them homeless?
      Can you explain to me taking kids, yanking kids out of their beds at 2 o’clock in the morning, throwing them in prison, and torturing them?

      Can you explain all this to me?

      Perhaps I am anti-semitic.

      Now you explain all this to me. What does that make you?

      And, this has to be the conversation. Calling people anti-semitic is a very weak weapon, it’s a very weak tool. It’s all they’ve got.

      But when you actually look at it, it’s completely meaningless. Because they do not have an answer for all those other questions, and that has to be the issue.

      The rest of his answer is even more pointed, but you can listen to it yourselves.

      • Danaa
        October 18, 2012, 4:37 pm

        MRW, I am really glad you transcribed Miko’s response here. Miko’s answer is right on the money. Kind of what I have been trying to say, but he is so much more pointed.

        Compare his straightforward answer to that ultra-convoluted exercise in “Greta deconstruction” that Gabriel Ash put up.

        I get a sad chuckle imagining what palestinians who just got kicked out of their 100 year home might think of all this ‘anti-semitic” meme pilpul. Reckon that whether one European activist, Greta Berlin, is or has ever been sympathetic to one ex-Israeli, Gilad Atzmon, may mean awfully little to them now made homeless by those who use the “sacredness” of a 7 decade old atrocity to justify a new, ongoing one.

    • W.Jones
      October 17, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Good analysis Richard. But in the end, imagine if Berlin made a technical error without any “help” and a random person noticed it and brought it to the attention of her current opponents. Would their condemnation of her be any less harsh and unforgiving without that “help”? It’s more than “fanning the flames” when people you work closely with make the same denunciations.

    • Shlomo
      October 19, 2012, 6:08 am

      It got weirder. Karenga was arrested for torturing women, then created….Kwanzaa!

  14. AlGhorear
    October 15, 2012, 9:22 pm

    Ann Wright was dis-invited but look whois on the Estelle

    “Passenger 1: Elik Elhanan, Israel

    Elik Elhanan, Tel Aviv, Israel, is one of the passengers on board the Estelle on its last lap toward Gaza. He belongs to a well-known Israeli family whose forefathers emigrated to Palestine in the 1920s. His great-grandfather was the first Israeli ambassador to Sweden . His grandfather, Matti Peled, a general, was the first military person of high standing to oppose the 1972 occupation, and he formed peace groups with the Palestinians. He later retired from the army and devoted his time to writing a PhD in Arabic literature.

    Erik is 35 years old now. When he was young he was a punk rocker. In 1995 he joined the Israeli army and became a paratrooper, over time advancing to become a member of an elite formation.”

    Another member of the Peled family. It’s a little ironic that his short bio highlights his military service when Ann Wright’s military service was one of the reasons given for her exclusion.

    • Emma
      October 16, 2012, 10:31 am

      Her military service was one of the reasons for her inclusion, not exclusion.

      • W.Jones
        October 17, 2012, 12:37 pm

        Emma, you are correct. It originally said she was included for her service IIRC.

        The fact is that one of these two persons was in the Isr.army and came from a famous Israeli military family. Meanwhile the second is an American denounced by association with another person denounced for linking to a misleading anti-Zionist clip, for which this second person apologized.

        The two people are different, and so is the type of their service. The key factor in this selection thus is how much weight they can carry with the Israeli state and/or Zionist movement. A US serviceperson can be seen as important, but a US serviceperson discredited in this way would not.

  15. American
    October 15, 2012, 9:43 pm

    The plot thickens doesn’t it?….

    ” the reason the board of the “Estelle” was withdrawing the invitation for me to sail on the Estelle due to allegations of anti-Semitism of the Swedish Boat to Gaza by pro-Israelis groups in Sweden.””

    LOL…….”pro” Israel groups should have no say in anything in the FG. If some pro Israel screecher called me as FG board member to demand anything all they would get is the click of the phone as I hung up on them. No one has to listen to or pay any attention to these pro Israelis…..let them screech and scream and hurl their anti semite bullshit all they want…..the whole world knows that is what they do and why they do it.
    The Palestine activist better smarten up and learn to ignore them…they act like they are all suffering from Stockholm syndrome and sympathizing with their kidnappers.

    • W.Jones
      October 17, 2012, 12:31 pm

      Stockholm Syndrome- well, it’s a Swedish boat. It’s ironic. They are brave enough to go on a boat to a blockaded city, but then they cave from pressure. The added factor is that they are getting pressure from inside the human rights movement. Their opponents can point to the fact that otherwise strong supporters of Palestinian rights are denouncing the FGM.

      It’s like normally you may have a challenge sticking up for your younger brother at school, but it’s even harder when another sibling is attacking him too. This means those strongly dedicated to full Palestinian rights must be especially strong and devoted, and ready for attacks from within and without.

      Be Strong.

  16. biorabbi
    October 15, 2012, 9:49 pm

    I applaud this group’s actions. It shows the nobility of those who may oppose certain aspects of Zionism without tolerating Jew hatred. Bravo.

    • Donald
      October 15, 2012, 10:04 pm

      That doesn’t make any sense biorabbi. We’re not talking about someone where there is any evidence of Jew hatred. This is just bullying.

    • ToivoS
      October 15, 2012, 10:27 pm

      The implication here is that Ann Wright is part of “Jew hatred”. Or is this just a case of a concern troll (you biorabbi) just trying to stir the pot?

    • kalithea
      October 15, 2012, 11:11 pm

      You apppplaaaaaaud only one thing: a victory for Zionist injustice!

    • LeaNder
      October 16, 2012, 7:19 am

      biorabbi, if you don’t mind, this reminds me of the Nazis': Sippenhaft, kin liability or collective liability, I can’t help. Look, here we go, this comment already can be considered antisemitic. I use the Nazis as a comparison. The rest of the argument, I’ll leave to you.

      I don’t know much about Anne Wright, but I watched her reports from the night on the Marvi Mamara and the arrest, if I remember correctly. It was a realistic report it felt at the time and in no way propagandist.

    • Walker
      October 16, 2012, 8:07 am

      Do you ever think before you type?

  17. biorabbi
    October 15, 2012, 9:55 pm

    Phil and Adam, I would like to posit a Stalinist critique against my occasional critique of MondoWeiss. The entire L’affaire Greta Berlin and the numerous well intentioned commenters make me realize a modern day state for the Jews is not an outdated concept. Annie, is it a conspiracy theory to question rather the entire MondoWeiss community could actually be a Mossad False Flag Neocon operation, designed to lure out anti-semites into the open? Just asking.

    • ToivoS
      October 15, 2012, 10:29 pm

      Actually you are not “just asking”. You are trying to plant ideas to undermine legitimate criticisms of Israel. More concern trolling I do believe.

    • kalithea
      October 15, 2012, 11:12 pm

      Delusional projection.

    • mcohen
      October 16, 2012, 2:54 am

      By controlling info flow that oppose each other you create a fact on the ground where none existed

    • Mooser
      October 17, 2012, 5:30 pm

      “Annie, is it a conspiracy theory to question rather the entire MondoWeiss community could actually be a Mossad False Flag Neocon operation, designed to lure out anti-semites into the open?”

      The answer to your question is “yes”. You would be, in fact, almost certainly assuming some kind of conspiracy exists to ask the question you do. Okay? Your question was completely tangential, irrelevant (I once shot an elephant…) and very stupid, but the answer is yes.

      Here’s a question for you, Johnny Rebbe! Are you a real Rabbi, ordained, or do you just impersonate one, or insinuate you are one? Be nice to know.

  18. Kathleen
    October 15, 2012, 11:02 pm

    Have had the great pleasure to hear Colonel Ann Wright speak in public many times. She is a remarkable, no nonsense individual. Focused on the facts. No fuss no muss kind of person. Focused on the facts. Too bad this group did not see through the fuss and muss.

  19. Scott
    October 15, 2012, 11:04 pm

    Really cunning of these “Jew haters” to take major roles in Jewish led organizations, isn’t it biorabbi?

  20. Newclench
    October 16, 2012, 12:40 am

    FWIW, I think this is crazy too. I’m not a fan of AW, I’ve got bones to pick with the boats to Gaza movement.
    And yet….
    Fucking boats to Gaza is a great solidarity action. I still remember the ‘almost’ ship that was supposed to leave Cyprus for Israel in 1988. I guess…. it is such a great action, it is so useful for the movement, that it seems worth it to treat AW this way. Hrm. There’s a line between careful and WTF, and for me, this kind of crosses it.

    I’ve done nothing for the various Gaza ships. But I’ve been to Gaza, been friends with Gazans. It is so awful there, and so awful what the Israelis, Egyptians and the Quartet have allowed it to become (with some help from Palestinian factions and mis-steps.)

    I hope the Swedish ship makes it and does good service to the movement.

  21. chrisjj
    October 16, 2012, 1:25 am

    Thank you Henry for this. We are now seeing the consequences of the efforts by Abuminah, JVP, and this site to exclude certain activists from the movement, by fostering a climate of guilt by association, (after seeking to discredit Greta Berlin even though she apologized for and explained her mistake). Now, Colonel Ann Wright, someone who has not an ounce of pretense or self importance in her, has been excluded from this important effort to break the blockade. It’s time for some solidarity and some apologies from those who have so disrupted the movement.

    • Dutch
      October 16, 2012, 11:23 am

      @ Chrisjj

      I fully agree.

      It’s a shame the earlier thread was broken off, as there was valuable stuff being discussed.

      It seems to me that an important point in the debate was Annie’s claim that ‘Berlin’s actions offended practically every Jewish person in this movement’. Well, it didn’t. It’s the opponent’s language being used here. What offended me is that Berlin was not believed and that she received zero credit from her allies.

    • W.Jones
      October 17, 2012, 12:13 pm

      I completely agree. I apologize for failing to speak out more in their defense.

  22. RoHa
    October 16, 2012, 1:31 am

    “Annie, is it a conspiracy theory to question rather the entire MondoWeiss community could actually be a Mossad False Flag Neocon operation, designed to lure out anti-semites into the open?”

    Curses! Blown! So where’s my cheque from Mossad?

  23. wes
    October 16, 2012, 3:26 am

    lets have a quick survey

    hands up those who have personally spoken to gb or aw in the last 48 hrs concerning the high seas saga
    maybe they can rename the ship estelle the “LADY GAGA”

    a song by the lady -quite apt

    Ohohohoh
    I’m in love with Judas

    Ohohohoh
    I’m in love with Judas

    Judas! Judaas Judas! Judaas
    Judas! Judaas Judas! GAGA

  24. HarryLaw
    October 16, 2012, 4:46 am

    An accusation of anti-Semitism not refuted [ they have done so]can destroy a persons career, as it can even if refuted, Ann Wright and Greta Berlin need apologies, not least from Mondoweiss. Only when the charge is proved beyond doubt should action be taken. It would appear the moderators do not do sarcasm my last two comments never made it.

    • American
      October 18, 2012, 2:10 pm

      “Only when the charge is proved beyond doubt should action be taken.”…HarryLaw

      Exactly! Been arguing the same thing.
      And that to me is what has exposed her accusers for what they are.

  25. mcohen
    October 16, 2012, 5:32 am

    I just found out that ship is not going to gaza but to el arish.it was diverted by a tsunami caused by an eathquake off the coast of israel.estelle is destined to become a ship of the desert and will be carried inland to its final resting place by the wave.this will be the first sign

  26. mig
    October 16, 2012, 5:52 am

    I don’t understand this fuzz around Greta Berlin at all. Call someone antisemite and everyone goes ballistic + what some published video does.

  27. Kathleen
    October 16, 2012, 9:01 am

    Keep pushing folks. Contact your Reps, MSM outlets, let them know what you think about U.S. support of Israel no matter what. Request that they cover this critical issue. Go to If Americans Knew and order fact sheets, post cards etc hand them out where ever you go.

  28. NickJOCW
    October 16, 2012, 9:19 am

    Anti-Semites all over the place! They say the Queen’s yacht was full of them.

    No, dear, that was homosexuals.

    Well, you may be right, but as far as I’m concerned they’re all the same. Disgusting!

  29. Emma
    October 16, 2012, 10:34 am

    This is absurd and tragic.

  30. Bruce
    October 16, 2012, 10:59 am

    @ Henry Norr

    Before you came down with the vapors, did you talk to the Swedish Boat-to-Gaza people for their version? If yes, what did they say? If no, why not?

    Although it may be hard for all the MW drama queens to grasp, the Swedish Boat-to-Gaza have their own concerns to worry about. They have the Estelle at sea. They have received a message from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland that they were informed by Israel of the following: “in case SV Estelle seeks to break the blockade at sea on Gaza (20 nautical miles), Israel will intervene in the situation by using force. Should this take place, the safety of the people on board may be jeopardised.” They have Members of Parliament from Greece, Norway, Sweden and Spain now on the Estelle, including one of the party leaders of Sweden.

    No matter what the reasons, Greta Berlin screwed up big time, handing a golden club to the Hasbarists. There is still confusion about what really happened and then there are the discussions on the 1000+ member Facebook site which Greta Berlin administers and where Ali Abunimah didn’t like what he found (probably was just like the comments sections here). I haven’t seen any public explanation yet of the reasons for the split between the old and new FGM boards, but they have opposite public views on this. FGM decided to keep Berlin in her position and to support her full stop. In most other goal-directed organizations, she would have resigned or been discreetly removed from her position.

    Within Sweden and Scandinavia, the Ship-to-Gaza folks have already had to fend off the usual hasbarist attacks, and the accusation from a broader group, that although perhaps well-meaning, they are being used as tools of Hamas. Perhaps due to the fact there is more sympathy for the Ship-to-Gaza in Sweden than for FGM in the USA, the Ship-to-Gaza people see the problem differently. When the ramifications of Berlin’s errors were forced upon them, they decided it was best to make public their disagreement with the FGM tweet and their complete independence from FGM. The Ship-to-Gaza press release was clear and concise. They did not accuse Greta Berlin, Ann Wright or FGM of anything.

    If I read these MW comments correctly, the Ship-to-Gaza folks should not have been worried about Scandinavian public opinion, or that the parliamentarians might cancel out on boarding their ship. Instead, they should have been prepared to spend the month the Estelle is at sea defending Greta Berlin and Gilad Atzmon to the Swedish media and public. What should be paramount is whether they can maintain Danaa’s interest in the mission.

    Had Ann Wright not gone public on this, there would be no brouhaha and nobody at MW would even had been aware what happened, as there was no announcement from Ship-to-Gaza that I could find. Obviously, Wright felt defending Berlin and the FGM board is more important than the Estelle mission. She’s free to make that choice, and so are the MW commenters. But the moral condemnations here are ridiculous.

    • Today in Palestine
      October 16, 2012, 12:08 pm

      Great comment Bruce.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 16, 2012, 12:34 pm

        common sense.

      • Danaa
        October 16, 2012, 2:41 pm

        annie, it is a sad day to find ourselves on opposite sides on this. there is no way that one can find any “common sense” in bruce’s comment. the opposite is more like it.

        Something is definitely going on behind the scenes.

        Also, I asked above and no reply came through. When and why did the “old” board of FGM walk out? is there any account of this available somewhere? i know this happened before the Greta spectacle burst into the open, so there must have been rumblings for quite some time. Personally, my guess would be that there was disagreement over tactics. It must have become much more difficult to raise money for these blockade running boats since it just doesn’t look very effective and this particular campaign has obviously lost its bite. Most of us did not even know about the Estelle for example and even now have no clue where it is on its journey. israel has become quite effective at intercepting the boats further away from the shores and developed techniques for dealing with whatever negative PR is generated. I expect they are quite ready with their tool kit, and Bruce is way off the mark when he points out the “danger’ to the passengers. Israel will not let anything happen to them, and what humanitarian aid is on board it’ll be confiscated along with all the belongings. So what’s the point of even putting it on board?

        yet this boat sending business must cost quite a bit of money, and there are much better means of bringing attention to the plight of the people of Gaza.

        Maybe that’s where the disagreements were among the FGM board members? some question the efficacy of the boat running efforts and others who remained wedded to this as publicity tactic? just wondering….

      • Bruce
        October 16, 2012, 4:58 pm

        @ Danaa

        How can I be way off-the-mark about the “danger” to the Estelle passengers when I didn’t say anything? I only quoted from a Ship-to-Gaza press release in which they reported the message they received from the Finnish government.

        Please, everyone let the Estelle passengers know that Danaa assures them “Israel will not let anything happen to them.” That should put them at ease.

        And if you want to know where the Estelle is, you are only one click away using a Google Search of “Ship to Gaza.” It requires less than five minutes of your time.

        I wouldn’t pretend to know what are the best means of bringing attention to the plight of the people of Gaza – and I wouldn’t expect you to read the Scandinavian media – but, at the moment, the Swedish government is quite annoyed with Israel, having called in its ambassador. What is desperately needed is at least one EU country to stop going along with US dictates on Iran sanctions and I/P, and to use its veto against EU policies. I’m not hopeful, but with Sweden there is at least the possibility. An Israeli confrontation with the Ship-to-Gaza could be the spark to prod Sweden to action.

      • American
        October 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

        @ Danaa

        I agree with your conclusion possibilities about the board of FG and looks to me the boat trips have had their day and they need to move on to something else….maybe to something on the ground in Palestine where the activist could use their numbers and support.
        And Bruce is ridiculous, Wright being on board or not has nothing to do with safety concerns about the boat or voyage.

        I am still perplexed by the Palestine ‘activist’ and their way over the top deference to the anti semite accusation and the way they eat their own.

        I am curious…when Bad Rachel, the wife of the former US Ass. Elliot Abrams, Called in her blog for feeding Palestines to the sharks among other racist screeds she has done on Arabs in general did any of the Palestine activist storm the Jewish/Israeli orgs. demanding Rachel be fired from the Emergency Committe for Israel? Or that the man she sleeps with be fired from his Israel orgs? Did they demand the WP fire Jennifer Rubin when she parroted Bad Rachel in her WP blog? The only ones who said a peep about it except MW was JStreet and they backed down when….you guessed it….Rachel’s supporters accused those who protested Rachels hate speech of being ..”Anti Semites”!!!!…..just makes you laugh your ass off that the Palestine’ activist’ would cower and pee all over themselves at the first whiff of zio anti semite slur when calling people anti semites is ALL they do all the time.
        If the FG people do anything else for Gaza they should cull their ranks first of any members who might apologize to the IDF for being in their way or offer them a match to burn down some olive trees to prove they aren’t anti semites.

      • Danaa
        October 16, 2012, 9:06 pm

        I doubt Sweden will do anything that would displease the US. The course of action they took with Assange kind of shows where their priorities are. Sweden has been toeing the line just fine these past few years , at least based on what the public outside gets to see. They will absolutely join in every sanction against the Iranian people, despite ramblings from their own citizens who’d rather they plotted an independent course of action.

        As for the Estelle, I think I can assure the passengers that their physical safety is not in danger. One has to think like an Israeli sometimes to know what Israel will do. And i think they now figured out how to deal with these “pesky” boats so as to minimize any adverse PR..

    • Danaa
      October 16, 2012, 1:13 pm

      Somehow I am not surprised that you would express the opinion that you do, Bruce, based on your past fondness for ‘smelling out” hidden so-called “anti-semitic” types. I think that by now we can all see what’s going on with the “purges” and perhaps are beginning to have an idea of what’s behind it. Note that the majority of MW commenters (which is probably representative of the much larger group of people reading the blog but not commenting) is clearly with Colonel Ann Wright on this rather than those trying to stick marks of cain everywhichway. Henry Norr is to be absolutely commended for this post and your words go long ways towards confirming that there is some kind of an attempt to purge the activist movement of its most effective members.

      Unfortunately, the Gazans are the losers in this co-opting of the certain elements of the activist community . To me and to most people reading this it is now pretty obvious that there is a tribal ‘circling of the wagons” going on in the hysterical responses to Greta’s tweet. The Palestinians can only watch and learn how dirty the PR fight can get among those ostensibly on their behalf. As Richard Congress above said, there are whiffs of COINTELPRO in this entire affaire, and Bruce’s comment now makes me really wonder.

      What common sense tells us is to believe what we see unfolding in front of our eyes (ie a witch hunt) rather than get swayed by the attempts to to spin the obvious into fairy tales of righteous ferreting out the witches and goblins. Them who secretly walking out there and/or cowering among us, always at the ready with that mysterious venom, that only certain people can get a whiff thereof.

      I think that it’s really interesting how immune to reason the ones quick at the ready to smear Greta – and now all who associated with her – are. No matter what is pointed out, no matter what the logic of the situation is, they continue to agree with the purging. I liked the clear-thinking comment by David Samel’s above and am amazed more people refuse to see the logic thread he points out.

      BTW, do you actually know anyone who takes the “tool of Hamas” Hasbara crap seriously?

      • Bruce
        October 17, 2012, 2:01 am

        @ Danaa

        You can fully disagree with me and still have my respect, but what I don’t respect in you is that you don’t do your homework and go off without carrying out proper research.

        Let’s start with your remark, “Somehow I am not surprised that you would express the opinion that you do, Bruce, based on your past fondness for ‘smelling out” hidden so-called “anti-semitic” types.” If you checked out my 75 or more postings at MW you will not find a single one accusing anyone of anti-Semitism. In fact, I started writing for MW with several posts about an Israeli/JPost hoax falsely accusing Norway of anti-Semitism. There are at least 4 other postings where I take on false accusations of anti-Semitism. Hence, if I am so fond of “smelling out” hidden or so-called “anti-semitic” types, that fondness doesn’t rise to writing posts about it, not here, not anywhere. (And by the way, it is clear you and your admirers here love the “sniffing” and “smelling out” metaphors, as if to say the objects of your scorn are curious dogs.)

        Now, I have in the MW comments at various times expressed my opinion that certain remarks are anti-Semitic, and I stand by those judgements and you are entitled to disagree. Ironically, the most heated exchanges were around my objections to historical claims being made about the collaboration of Jews and Zionists in the Holocaust and in the rise of the Nazis. Several years ago I did out a posting from Keith’s own site called “ZIONazis,” which he was very upset about. When he sounded off earlier this year with a similar “sniffing” remark, I reprinted the posting. And after he repeated his “sniffing” characterization the other day, I refrained from reprinting again, although I have to admit I was tempted.

        Perhaps I am clueless, but it is not at all clear to me what “purges” are going on and what’s behind it. I went through more than 10 pages of Google results on Greta Berlin, and I am not prepared to write any conclusions from what I read other than that (1) Greta Berlin through her own negligence made a big mistake with her tweet on FGM, (2) there were some (maybe more than some) ugly comments made on a 1000+ member FB site of which she was an administrator, and (3) a number of people whom I respect have not been satisfied with her explanations of the incidents. I have not accused Greta Berlin of being an anti-Semite or anything else. If asked, I would say from what I read, Greta did not carry out the role of spokesperson for FGM with sufficient care, and in my opinion she should have resigned for the good of the cause (not because she is necessarily guilty of any hasbaric charges but because that is sometimes what you have to do when you make a big mistake no matter how unintentional.) However, I admit that I am not a player in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, so other opinions are more relevant than mine.

        I have not heard of anybody criticizing Colonel Wright. From what I read, she seems like an admirable person. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

        In fact, you have not presented any evidence for any of your various speculations the last few days. You suggest that I am part of some COINTELPRO operation? Do you have any evidence of that or are you just completely unhinged?

        While I do agree with you that a significant majority of MW commenters have expressed reactions similar to you, I have no idea whether the 50 or so most active commenters on MW are representative of the 12000 unique viewers per day that visit the site. I believe Adam and Phil really need to make a concerted effort to determine who is the real MW audience. Right now the MW commenters feel that they are an essential part of the site and that their views should be given special attention from the site owners. Others believe the MW comments embarrass the site.

        Phil and Adam presented a strong position in their posting “No room for racism in a movement working for equality and freedom.” A number of unanswered questions were raised in the comments, which appear to have been prematurely closed at 355. If Phil and Adam’s statement was based on facts that have not been presented, it certainly would be helpful if that information was released to the rest of us.

        If Phil and Adam’s statement is partly based on the postings in the 1000+ member FB closed site which received Greta’s video link – and from the leaked screenshots out there that I have seen this would be understandable – then in my opinion Phil and Adam should take their principles seriously and analyze their own comment section’s content. Many of the offensive posts in Greta’s group could easily make it on the MW threads. It would be quite interesting to compare “the role of the Zionist movement during the Holocaust” discussions on Greta’s more exclusive and private 35+ FB group with similar discussions on the MW boards.

      • lareineblanche
        October 17, 2012, 4:43 pm

        there are whiffs of COINTELPRO

        Oooh, I spit my drink out on that one, Danaa. That’s just an insult to the victims of this particularly pernicious and pervasive program. There are major differences between COINTELPRO and this, the main one being that COINTELPRO was a nation-wide espionage and infiltration program run by a federal agency, was very wide-ranging and even resulted in the death of a political dissident in at least one case.
        Just for the record:
        link to icdc.com

        If this is COINTELPRO, then that time I slipped on the tiles in my bathroom and hit my dead was a holocaust.

        This does look like guilt by association, and it is – but only the people on that boat have the right to decide who participates in the voyage and who doesn’t, and unless we are privy to the discussions around the decision to exclude Wright, and the particular tensions and problems they were forced to confront, I’m afraid we don’t have much relevant to say about it.

      • Danaa
        October 18, 2012, 2:34 pm

        lareinblanche, the reference to COINTELPRO was not meant to draw a precise analogy. This has become common terminology for infiltration by agent provacateurs representing the PTB of activist/ant-war movements in an effort to elicit or cause acts that can then be used to smear the movement. the original COINTELPRO was done by the FBI and has now been exposed. But we also know of ‘sting” operations where some hapless muslim person – often not too bright – is induced and indeed, directed every inch of the way, to commit something the security apparatus could waive triumphantly as “terror”.

        When I have time I’ll find my good link for a really classic case of how this was done not very long ago, trapping a rather naive person and snaring a few others in the web.

        What I was implying is that what the reut Institute set out to do is exactly what they are doing. There are people – agents you can call them – who have and are infiltrating every influential pro=palestinian activist group out there. I’d be willing to bet that FGM had its share of infiltrators and so did Greta Berlin’s “private” facebook. Not all these agents are obvious – some will be sleepers – perfectly bona fide until the right opportunity comes along. There are probably some among us commenters at MW (no, I don’t know who and don’t spend too much time figuring it out). I am pretty sure that some trolls who walked in waiving some crazy banner with obvious anti-semitic themes (Jews + bankers can be one tell-tale sign) were provacateurs, but they were too obvious to be any good, and the commenters here are generally too sophisticated to fall for such ploys.

        I will note, that now that we know Joachim martillo was a key cause of the strife following that private GB facebook, some things should become clearer. He was here too for a while (forget under what name) and got banned in due course with only minor grumblings among those who like total transparency. Martillo is IMO too obvious – and frankly, a bit crazy, to be a useful agent, but others often follow in his wake as soon as he manages to get access to any one group.

        The one thing that can get activists is a certain naivite, born out of belief in the righteousness of their cause, coupled with the kind of intellectual isolation that comes with the territory of spending much time with like-minded people. In my case, I stray perhaps too far in the direction of a certain cynicism, maybe because I know what the movement is up against. Going up against huge well-funded powers comes with a price, and that price is not always exacted in the kind of coin even the most well-meaning people are willing to pay.

    • Donald
      October 16, 2012, 5:22 pm

      That makes some sense Bruce, and I agree that the MW commentariat (including myself) can be drama queens sometimes. I agree that anti-semitism is poison to the cause of Palestinian rights–it contradicts the whole basis of it, which is the idea of universal human rights, no collective guilt, and no discrimination against anyone because of their race, religion or ethnicity. Still, as best I can tell Ann Wright is being excluded not for any evidence of anti-semitism on her part, but because she defended Greta. Well, Greta might be innocent or guilty for all I can tell, but someone could defend her in good faith and if Greta turned out to be guilty, then the only thing that would tell us about Ann is that she was fooled.

      OTOH, your point that the Estelle mission should be the main focus, not this sideshow, is hard to argue with.

      “defending Greta Berlin and Gilad Atzmon”

      Is Wright an Atzmon fan or is that a reference to Greta? It’d be disappointing if Atzmon has picked up another admirer.

    • Klaus Bloemker
      October 16, 2012, 7:38 pm

      Yes Bruce – it’s a good and very knowledgeable comment.
      —————-
      You say also: “No matter what the reasons, Greta Berlin screwed up big time.”

      I think the reason is this: The ‘best way’ to discredit the Zionists (or anyone else)
      is to link them/him to the Nazis. Since the Nazis are the quintessential evil it’s devastating if you can establish a link to them. That may have been the reason Greta Berlin was interested in that video and posted it.

      Although there are some similarities between Zionism and Nazism, there are fundamental differences.
      – Nazi-Germany was not established by diaspora Nazi-Germans.
      – Nazi-Germany was a Führer/leader state, Israel isn’t.

    • NorthOfFortyNine
      October 16, 2012, 7:58 pm

      >> Had Ann Wright not gone public on this, there would be no brouhaha and nobody at MW would even had been aware what happened, as there was no announcement from Ship-to-Gaza that I could find.

      Wboa!! According to Ann’s note, she was asked to leave at the behest of pro-Israelis based in Sweden. Presumably, they were given an ultimatum. Needless to say, then, Ann’s decision would have been publicised either way.

      First we blame Greta. Now we blame Ann. You guys are *classy*.

    • rws450
      October 16, 2012, 11:42 pm

      Sorry but I think it was a crappy comment. Bruce.

      You publicly call for Greta Berlin’s resignation or “discrete” dismissal, but did you ask her whether she believes the antisemitic video?

      Since she has stated she had not even viewed the video but thought it might be interesting to view, was that her crime ….. that is , the crime of viewing (not supporting) anti-semitic material?

      You might think people who are angry about this witch-hunt are “drama queens”, yet it shows an amazing frivolousness to see the public castigation and dunning of a long time activist for ….what was her crime exactly? Oh yes, she forwarded a link to an anti-semitic video. She did not endorse it. She did not say she agreed with it.

      Most of us understand the risks and challenges of boats to Gaza. After initial success, most of them don’t make it.

      Regarding criticism and Zionist publicity attacks, time will tell if disinviting Ann Wright reduces these for the Swedish Boat to Gaza. I strongly suspect it will not reduce the criticism and may even increase it. Why? Because the action of disinviting Ann Wright shows a cowardice which will embolden the enemy even more. It also shows a lack of integrity and willingness to appease the oppostion by casting principles overboard. How else can one describe it when you give more weight to hasbara lies and assumptions about a one second tweet than years of activism?

      Bruce, you say that none of this would have happened if Ann Wright had just kept quiet. To her credit she did not. She saw someone with whom she has worked being unjustly villified. It’s not wrong or inappropriate to speak out in such a situation. On the contrary it shows integrity. Sadly this is something that is apparently lacking in the Swedish Boat to Gaza or whoever made the decision.

      • Bruce
        October 18, 2012, 1:31 pm

        @rws450

        You need to read more carefully. I did not publicly call for Greta’s resignation or “discrete” dismissal. I stated that is what usually happens in such situations. Not enough facts have been presented publicly for me to publicly call for her resignation. What would my call matter anyway?
        I defended the Swedish Boat-to-Gaza people.

        From the snapshots of threads I saw of Greta’s 1000+ FB group, I have my own preliminary conclusions, and now we have Bekah Wolf’s posting in MW today, which I’m sure will also be roasted here. In time, I am sure we will find out who has integrity.

  31. pianoteacher
    October 16, 2012, 11:31 am

    Thank you Henry for bringing some sanity into all this.
    I too was greatly honored to spend time with Ann, and drive her around, and greatly appreciative of you sharing the driving so I could teach.
    In our many conversations, we discussed the Hapless Tweet Crisis. She said that she would make one statement in support of Greta, but otherwise not get involved with the witchhunt. “I have better things to do with my time.”
    Sure enough, she stoically gave lecture after lecture after lecture on very little sleep and severe jet lag, never complaining. The first day she had a 24 hour journey from Pakistan, (including a 16 hour flight) then went straight to Berkeley from the airport to give a lecture on Gaza’s Ark. She finally got to bed after 33 hours on the go.
    Ann does not waste time on idle conversation, but gets on with the job.
    Now she, too, has been dragged into this mess.
    Shame on us all.

  32. LanceThruster
    October 16, 2012, 12:00 pm

    Zionists seem to be masters of the Chewbacca defense.

  33. akayani
    October 16, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Last I looked post a flotilla where people died, Israelis were in the streets in force waving flags and yelling ‘kill the Arabs’. This one tweet, that I know was a mistake made by Greta who removed a post in a public group and parked it on her profile while running about the US on a book tour, mostly because she is thorough in what she does and imagined that she would have to answer as to why she deleted the post… This one tweet, sent by a Facebook plugin, this accident, is going to launch a sub at a boat and cause paratroopers to drop from the sky and shoot people.

    Will there be a street party with flag waving and yelling ‘kill the Greta’? Or is that something that is restricted to Zionists claiming to be Palestinians and faking concern across the blogosphere?

  34. HarryLaw
    October 16, 2012, 2:32 pm

    Bruce, “No matter what the reasons, Greta Berlin screwed up big time, handing a golden club to the Hasbarists. There is still confusion about what really happened” There you have it, guilty before you know what really happened, An accusation of anti- Semitism not refuted [they have done so] can destroy a persons career, as it can even if refuted, Ann Wright and Greta Berlin need apologies, not least from Mondoweiss. Only when an accusation is proved beyond doubt should action be taken, that’s elementary natural justice, some of us drama queens care about such things, even if you do not.

  35. Elliot
    October 17, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Did the recent anti-Semitic attacks in Malmo influence the Swedish group’s deplorable decision?

  36. wes
    October 17, 2012, 6:06 pm

    to be honest ? i have read about the fgm from time to time but after this latest rumbargo i fail to see what the whole project is about.ignorant is my stick so help me here-you set up an organization that requires time and money so people can sail to gaza .this in turn draws attention to the plight of the gazonians.the boats themselves are supposed to be delivering humanitarian supplies that are already available
    qatar is about to begin rebuilding gaza to the tune of 240 million so what purpose will the fgm now serve
    none
    so what happens
    someone throws the fgm under the bus -i wonder who did that
    one final ship, everyone is happy and the activists can now return to save the olives

  37. mtorres
    October 18, 2012, 11:46 am

    For many such as I who lived through the McCarthy years and the COINTELPRO years, this connection has been obvious from the beginning (reference comments by R. Congress and Danaa).

    We’ve watched the comments on various websites as they start out criticizing Greta for a bad decision to park in haste a controversial link without comment, to hysterically morphing her into an anti-semite and holocaust denier based on absolutely nothing except the writers’ own hysteria, and then pasting Ann Wright with all manner of crimes because of her association with Berlin and Free Gaza.

    It’s simply too much of a coincidence for me to swallow, coming as it does at a time when the Palestine solidarity movement is stronger and broader than it has ever been and a wedge is finally being made in the stranglehold of Israeli power to do to an entire group of people what they’ve been doing for more than 60 years. Coming as it does just when the wheels are coming off the Apartheid bus.

    It’s too much of a coincidence that a strong woman, Greta Berlin, one of the most effective and longtime activists we have seen yet, is the target of this hysteria, followed by the attacks we see on this page on yet another strong activist, strong woman, strong voice, Ann Wright.

    It is too much of a coincidence that the ACTION and organization that suffers most by their association with Berlin is the one most effective by non-Palestinian activists in breaking same stranglehold.

    Will the other and even stronger action, the BDS movement, coming directly out of Palestine, be next? It certainly will be if we continue the Witch Hunt that has now erupted from the issue of Greta Berlin’s tweet, and if we continue to damage the reputations and value of many good people on both sides of this particular disagreement.

    It’s long past time for name calling and accusations to stop. It’s time to back up and shut up, to take a good look at what happened, how it functions, what damage it does and will do, and figure out how to move forward for Palestine. It’s time to get the egos out of the way, and focus on the purpose for our gathering together, so to speak, in the first place: justice for Palestine.

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