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Alameda County drops Palestinian cultural day following pressure from Pamela Geller

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Santa Clara County’s Palestine Cultural Day, May 15, 2009. A similar cultural day designated for Palestinians was canceled today by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.                           (Photo: Sharat G. Lin/IndyBay)

Yesterday, Oakland’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors should have rubber stamped a proclamation marking June 5th as Palestine Day. But after noted Islamophobe and birther Pamela Geller lambasted county officials as “Jew-haters” working with Muslims “goosestepping armies,” and following a secret 11th hour meeting with an unnamed Zionist organization, Palestine Day was erased.

“What’s next? Auschwitz Proclamation day? It’s the same thing,”[emphasis in original] opens Geller on an Atlas Shrugs appeal pushing to have the event canceled. Geller then continues her call to action with her bread and butter, Islamophobia:

The mission of the mystical ‘Palestinian’ narrative is the destruction of the tiny state of Israel so as to satiate the racism and Jewish genocide as commanded by quran. The same devout Muslim world that was aligned with Hitler during the shoah is itching to annihilate Israel for the very same reasons. Same people, same ideology, same racism, same savage. They opposed the Jewish people in Israel (Palestine) in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, when Muslims conducted pogrom after pogrom against Palestinian Jews. The Muslims engaged in war after war against Israel in the 50s, 60s, 70, 80s, 90s, and post Oslo. The Muslims refuse to accept a Jewish state.

Proclamation? In America. Below is what the Muslim groups are sending out to their goosestepping armies. I strongly advise Atlas readers to get on the phone and condemn this bloody, anti-human proclamation. Why is it they are exalting? The 64-year-old war on Israel or the 1,400 year Islamic war on the Jews?

Alameda County is under siege. Infiltration.

Despite Geller’s description of Muslim “infiltrators,” Palestine Day is not a sectarian project. The resolution was co-sponsored by Supervisor Wilma Chan, the Arab Cultural and Community Center, and the Buena Vista United Methodist Church; no Muslim organization sponsored the proclamation. The text of the bill celebrates Palestinian “books, poetry, music, dance, oral history, folktales, proverbs, and handicrafts” and honors the “major contributions” of the community’s 20,000 Palestinians “in the fields of arts and culture, community organizing, student activism, law and medicine, and are valued members of the community as small business owners.” In fact, the single mention of religion in the bill is a reference to the community’s composition as “profess[ing] either a Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith.” Yet, during public comment at today’s county meeting, it was this mention of religious diversity that was called into question by two of the three Zionist protesters, one of which was armed with a hand-held recorder.

Matthew White, former member of the rightist student group Tikvah and supporter of Stand With Us recoiled over the inclusion of “Jewish” Palestinians. White asserted that “Jews,” are a separate and distinct national group from “Palestinians”. But Loubna Qatami, executive director of the Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC), and one of the drafter of the Palestine Day proclamation, said Stand With Us is off base. “It’s a historical fact that is contested on their end to reaffirm their political power. For us, it’s just about illuminating a historical narrative as to what our communities are,” said Qatami. Continuing, by acknowledging the Jewish members of the Palestinian community, the resolution is “de-legitimizing the myth that it [the Palestinian-Israeli conflict] is a religious conflict.”

Last week when Qatami was hammering out the bills language with Chan and other supervisors, she received informal approval from the board. “We modified the text and Thursday evening they approved the proclamation,” said Qatami. Continuing, “As of Friday, all of the board of supervisors were ready to go on that text.”

Yet, late Monday evening, Qatami and the other sponsors received notification without explanation that Palestine Day was taken off of Tuesday’s board meeting agenda.

“It’s really disappointing, we feel that the decision does have racial undertones. For this to happen due to inflammatory rhetoric posted on the internet, than there is a larger conversation that we need to have with our county representatives,” said Qatami. Chan also expressed regret over axing the event during today’s board meeting.  However, at the time of publication, the supervisor was not available for comment.

The board’s decision to cancel Palestine Day marks the first time Alameda County maneuvered out of recognizing one of the community’s immigrant groups. Yet, despite the unexplained decision to strike Palestine Day, the Bay Area is still home to other government sponsored Palestinian cultural days, including Santa Clara County, San Mateo and San Francisco.

Full text of the Palestine Day proclamation that was slated to pass:

WHEREAS, Palestinians trace their roots back to the historic land of Palestine and primarily speak Arabic and profess either a Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith; and

WHEREAS, Palestinian culture is presented through books, poetry, music, dance, oral history, folktales, proverbs, and handicrafts made with cross-stitch embroidery patterns that often display ethnic or regional identity and honor a rich cultural legacy from centuries past that are important symbols of Palestinian culture; and

WHEREAS, Palestinians have embraced for over 2,000 years core values such as love of family, commitment to education, hospitality, and reverence for land, community empowerment, strong sense of justice and they now share these values with the residents of Alameda County; and

WHEREAS, Palestinian residents of Alameda County now number approximately 20,000 and continue to make major contributions to the County in the fields of arts and culture, community organizing, student activism, law and medicine, and are valued members of the community as small business owners; and

WHEREAS, Palestinians Jiving in Alameda County will hold the first annual Palestinian Cultural Day that honors the local Palestinian community and its contributions to the County’s civic life as well as the historical and cultural contributions o f Palestinians throughout the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that this Board of Supervisors, County of Alameda, Does hereby proclaim June 5, 2012 as ‘Palestinian Cultrual Day’ and recognizes the contributions of the local Palestinian population 10 Alameda County residents and communities.

Palestine DayInvitation to Alameda County Palestine Day.
Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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14 Responses

  1. annie on June 6, 2012, 10:21 am

    how despicable. doesn’t the country have a whole month dedicated to jewish american heritage? and there cannot be one day in alemeda county for thousands of palestinian americans to celebrate their culture.

    • seafoid on June 6, 2012, 4:44 pm

      They can’t be allowed to present themselves, Annie. There is no such thing as a Palestinian, remember. There never was a country called Palestine. And hummus is Jewish too.
      Plus Zionism is far too fragile for parity of esteem.

  2. Woody Tanaka on June 6, 2012, 10:55 am

    Geller is trash. She is simply dispicable. A raging bigot; the opitome if a zionist in America. I can’t say that I’m surprised that here in zi0-infected America that this garbage goes on; disappointed and, frankly, sick and tired of the zionist trash, but not surprised.

  3. Talkback on June 6, 2012, 11:35 am

    This ugly woman is so full of hate, she just has to project it onto others.

    • Citizen on June 7, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Yeah, botoxed, vulgar Geller should be on the E channel dissing celebrities for their bad fashion sense.

  4. Sumud on June 6, 2012, 11:42 am

    Really disappointing to see this evil witch get her way and SHAME on Alameda County for being so spineless.

    For those not familiar with Geller, she’s a jewish zionist that has adopted nazi propaganda techniques and is busy trying to organise another shoa, this time for muslims.

    Lauren Lyster from RT took her to task during the Park51 brouhaha (which Geller was largely responsible for) and did a fine job:

    Pamela Geller: ‘Hitler Inspired by Islam’

    Loonwatch have declared her ‘The Looniest Blogger Ever’, this is the best place to start:

    Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever

    The Loonwatch posts are actually pretty funny – until you remember they are written about a real person that some people are crazy enough to listen to.

    What else – oh yes, Geller and her cohort Robert Spencer have a big fan in Anders Brevik, the Norweigan crusader who killed scores of Norweigan youth nearly a year ago on Utoya:

    Southern Poverty Law Center: Christian Crusader

    SPLC have an in-depth profile on her also:

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/pamela-geller

    One has to ask what pressure was brought to bear and by whom. Why did Alameda County cancel this at the 11th hour? Are they so ignorant and stupid actually they paid attention to Geller?

    Alameda Palestinians ~ don’t give up. It’s a lovely proclamation – and if not this year then next year. Let it be a rallying point, an opportunity to educate your neighbours and peers (like BDS – a lose is still a win because everybody learns a little more about Palestine), and an example to all that Palestinians are not safe from attacks by zionists anywhere in the world today.

  5. justicewillprevail on June 6, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Jesus, what a hate-filled harridan. How would it impact her if Palestinian citizens of this country celebrated for one day their culture? Yet she takes it on herself to drown in her own ugly loathing of anyone not on board the ziobus. Importing Israeli style apartheid to the US is disgusting, and the demonstration of her sick paranoid mind only reinforces the symbol for racism that Israel has become. What a crackpot, but these are the type of people who cheerlead for the purity of blood and soil.

  6. Henry Norr on June 6, 2012, 1:59 pm

    Evil and ugly as Pamela Geller is, she’s really not the problem in this episode: the problem is the Alameda County supervisors – all of them professed liberals, to one degree or another – who so cravenly bowed to such blatant bigotry.

  7. Henry Norr on June 6, 2012, 3:30 pm

    As a resident of Alameda County, I’ve been on the phone to the offices of the county supes to protest the pulling of the proclamation, and I’ve learned a few interesting things:

    1) The staffers I talked to were of course very discreet and non-committal, but several of them managed to make it unmistakably clear that they agreed with me that this move was outrageous and that those opposing the proclamation are bigoted maniacs.

    2) Any supervisor has the right to pull an agenda item for two weeks, after which it can be brought up again. In this case, the perp was Supervisor Nate Miley, an African-American and former community organizer (bit of a pattern here!) who lives in Oakland, but whose district is primarily in the Oakland hills and suburbs such as Castro Valley and Pleasanton – i.e., largely rich white people. here are a video and transcript of a recent campaign debate in which he explained that he paid his dues to several high-class clubs out of campaign funds because he needed to get away from constituents trying to talk to him. (Apparently most of his constituents don’t mind – he was re-elected yesterday with 72.4 percent of the vote.)

    You can send him your comments at this web page, call (510) 272-6694, or (for those stuck in the 20th century) fax (510) 465-7628. Obviously, it’s especially important that he hear from residents of Alameda County. And for what it’s worth, no matter what one thinks of Miley and what he did yesterday, I personally think that firm but polite messages are likely to be more effective than abuse.

    3) It’s not clear whether or to what degree the other supes are prepared to stand up to Miley and the Zionists and bring the resolution back in two weeks. It can only help, though, to commend and encourage Wilma Chan, the supervisor who introduced it in the first place, who is a genuine progressive. Her contact page is here, or phone (510) 272-6693, or fax (510) 268-8004.

    —-

    While we’re on the subject of the Alameda County supes, folks outside the Bay Area maybe amused to learn about a juicy scandal involving another one of them, Nadia Lockyer, glamorous wife of California State Treasurer and former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who in effect purchased a seat on the board for her. Unfortunately, she had to resign a few months ago in the wake of a bunch of revelations about her methamphetamine addiction and a prolonged and tumultuous affair with her pusher, including a sex tape, explicit text messages, and X-rated photos found on her computer. Part of the story is here – google her if you want more.

    • seafoid on June 6, 2012, 4:26 pm

      Good work, Henry.

      Geller is such an insult to the memory of the victims of the Nazis.

    • Sumud on June 6, 2012, 8:32 pm

      Great Henry, thank you.

      I’m glad someone local can follow up.

      You’re right of course that Geller isn’t the problem, but she is so despicable that any pressure she brings should be immediately dismissed – and if the responsible refers to her as a legitimate source of information source they need to be told a few truths about just what a toxic nut job Geller is.

      I’m interested to know who the midnight meeting was with – which unnamed zionist organisation? Why haven’t they been named?

  8. dbroncos on June 6, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Geller and her pals only pour gasoline on the fire with these tactics. News about cancelling Palestinian Culture Day, and its implications, has its own beneficial effect.

  9. Reality Check on June 7, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Thanks Henry for the contact info. I sent them both appropriate messages. I reminded Mr Miley that as a member of a race who’d also suffered historic oppression that it was shameful to turn his back on Palestinians also suffering an even worse form of apartheid than blacks in South Africa as Desmond Tutu has noted..

  10. Quagmire on June 12, 2012, 11:57 pm

    What’s sad is that, as liberal Democrats, most of the people pushing this Palestine Day proclamation aren’t willing to say a word of criticism to the likes of Nate Miley and the rest of their colleagues on the Oakland City Council, nearly all of who are also liberal Democrats..

    So the racists won’t pay any price for insulting Palestinains in this way, not with the ‘leadership’ we have currrently. Of course Miley and the City Council should be picketed and leafletted whenever they appear in public..but their Demo Party friends aren’t about to do that, of course.

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