Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 9 (since 2010-11-16 16:20:20)

long-time member Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area chapter

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  • Anti-BDS legislation faces crucial hearing tomorrow in California Judiciary Committee
  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
    • I do think Bernie is ill-informed about Israel-Palestine, but willfully so. He does not want to enter the morass, and resorts to an "it's too complicated" vagueness. Amazing contrast to his specificity and facts and figures when he deconstructs domestic economic issues.

      I hold out some hope that he can be educated, just as he was educated about institutionalized racism by Black Lives Matter activism.

  • A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral'
    • Samantha, thank you for your fresh, witty and astute take-down of Dershowitz. And don't be concerned that your ripostes are "snarky", as you say - more like righteous mockery! Look forward to reading more from you.

  • Senator Warren's progressive supporters demand accountability for her rightwing pro-Israel positioning
    • Bernie Sanders gave the same Hasbara 101 response at a Vermont town hall meeting when angry constituents questioned his sign-on to the "Israel's right to defend itself" senate resolution. Here's the link to video. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2014/08/20/answering-question-on-israel-bernie-sanders-tells-townhall-hecklers-to-shut-up/

      He framed the issue as Israel under siege by (inexplicable) Palestinian violence. 47 years of the violence of military occupation is not so much as mentioned. The senator who deconstructed the mystique of American capitalism pleads that when it comes to Israel-Palestine "it's too complicated" to unravel. He evokes Islamophobic tropes for his analysis - for example, that militants in occupied and besieged Gaza are to be identified with the fanaticism and brutality of ISIS

      As far as I know, he's stayed under the radar on Israel-Palestine for most if not all of his political life. Many of his admirers (like me) have assumed he had to steer clear to deal with his bold progressive domestic agenda.

      Is Sanders just decades behind on any cogent analysis and clueless about the shift in public perception of Israel, or is he (as he appears in this clip) emotionally a true believer?

      And have we arrived at the point where fidelity to Israel comes with its own real political risks -- especially for those with a progressive base?

  • Complaint alleging anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley claims Palestine activism creates 'echo' of 'Nazi regime'
    • The complainant Jessica Felber was a co founder of Tikvah at the UCB campus and a Senior Hasbara Fellow during her college years. She was then employed by Hasbara Fellowships as their California Campus Coordinator and then as their West Coast Campus Coordinator.

      Hasbara works in conjunction with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bring hundreds of students to Israel every year, training them in techniques to fight "anti-zionist" and "anti-Israel" activity on campus which Hasbara describes as "modern day forms of anti-semitism"on its website

  • Savage Geller bus ad hits San Francisco Muni
    • "Hate speech" is often protected by the First Amendment, particularly when it concerns political issues and takes places in a public forum (which bus advertising has been found to be). There are exceptions to 1st Amendment protection of speech against government restriction, such as when speech is obscene, libelous, or constitutes "fighting words" likely to inflict injury and provoke a breach of the peace. .

      In the NY case, the MTA refused Geller's ad because it violated their "no-demeaning" rules (a form of the "fighting words" exception) which applied to cases where specified categories of people were being demeaned - because of their race, religion, gender, and the like. The court decision against MTA turned on the fact that the no-demeaning rule was not generally applied, but singled out specified classes of people for protection. It was therefore a "content-based" prohibition on speech, which is presumptively invalid under the 1st Amendment. Had the "no-demeaning" rule been written to apply to people more broadly. it would have been "content-neutral", and passed constitutional muster. In fact, the NY federal district court postponed its ruling for 30 days, in which time the MTA could presumably redraft the rule to be "content-neutral".

      Muni doesn't have anything like a no-demeaning" law as in the MTA case. What has been described in the media as a "no-politics" rule actually applies only to political candidates and ballot initiatives, and not to other kinds of political messaging. Maybe Muni could have refused to accept Geller's ad on the basis that it constituted a "fighting words" exception to free speech (even though Muni had not articulated such a rule in its advertising policy). But Muni was leary of litigation, particularly after the NY MTA case.

      We have to be careful about what we wish for, because, of course, we're accused of engaging in "hate speech" against Israel/the Jewish people all the time. If the government is given increased power to proscribe speech that offends, we'll be a likely target. ACLU's advice is: Fight hate speech with more speech

  • 'Be on our side': Bay Area ad campaign features Palestinian and Israeli women calling for U.S. sanctions against Israel
    • ErsatzYisrael says "Two Israeli women, one Palestinian and the other Jewish..."
      makes no sense. It makes sense if you are aware, as surely you should be since 1948, that Palestinians within the Green Line are Israeli citizens, along with Jews and small percentages of other ethnicities. They are second-class citizens, it is true, denied many rights that Jewish citizens enjoy.

      The words that do not make good sense are in the headline to this article, which refers to "Israeli and Palestinian Women". This suggests, incorrectly, that Palestinians cannot be Israeli.

      Citizenship of any kind is denied to those Palestinians living outside the Green Line in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel. Since Israel also refuses to allow Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to create an independent viable state of their own, these Palestinians have remained for 45 years stateless subjects of Israeli's military rule, while their land and resources are relentlessly stolen for use by Israel's Jewish citizens.

  • Palestinian and Palestine-solidarity activists issue critique and condemnation of Gilad Atzmon
    • I think Atzmon gets a pass from some on how crudely he expresses his ideas because he is, I understand, a brilliant jazz musician. But his jazzy approach to Jewish history, riffing on a few themes (tribalism; exceptionalism) and ignoring the myriad of others that evolved, often in direct tension with those more primitive precepts, leads to a ridiculously superficial analysis that smells of racism.

      If Atzmon had written a journal about his struggle with, and repudiation of, Jewish identity following years of zionist indoctrination, I would read it with interest and empathy. But for historical understanding, why would anyone rely on his narrative, which skims through the millennia on the whirlwind of his disillusion and rage, without depth or data?

  • Visit to the Office of Congressional Ethics about AIPAC junkets to Israel
    • if the focus is put on AIEF, have they violated the Foreign Agents Reporting Act by failing to disclose that they are involved in lobbying activities without meeting registration and disclosure requirements?

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