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Author Topic: Rabbi Lerner BANNED
Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 01:08 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is Rabbi Micael Lerner's response to being banned fro a pro-peace rally
Rabbi Michael Lerner

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Mandos
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posted 12 February 2003 01:29 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ack! Another one that requires a membership cookie. Ack!

As for Rabbi Lerner, anything that says that it was dumb/stupid/mean-spirited to ban him is something with which I agree. I don't know his writings very well, but I'm going on what I have seen.


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Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 01:38 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry folks:

Here is the text of the linked article.

ON THE LEFT

The Antiwar Anti-Semites

Peace protest organizers tolerate no dissent.

BY MICHAEL LERNER

SAN FRANCISCO--Imagine my surprise when I found out that I am banned from speaking at a peace rally here this Sunday. As editor of Tikkun, the largest-circulation liberal Jewish magazine in the world, I have been an outspoken critic of the proposed war in Iraq. I have also unequivocally condemned Saddam Hussein's brutality and called for the world community to bring him to justice for crimes against humanity. But we at Tikkun do not believe that this war--in which thousands of Iraqi civilians are likely to die--will bring democracy to the Middle East. Instead, it is bound to increase the threat of terrorism to American citizens and provoke more violence. It will also fuel American fantasies of world economic and political domination.

So why was I being blackballed over the peace rally?

My sin was publicly criticizing the way that A.N.S.W.E.R., one of the four groups sponsoring the San Francisco demonstration, has used the antiwar demonstrations to put forward anti-Israel propaganda. An A.N.S.W.E.R. spokesperson, speaking on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, said that they didn't want a "pro-Israel" speaker at their rally.

The other groups have said that while they disagree with A.N.S.W.E.R., they will honor an agreement giving each group an effective veto on speakers. Yet it is inconceivable that these antiwar coalitions would let A.N.S.W.E.R. ban a speaker if he accused that group of racism, sexism or homophobia. Why should anti-Semitism be treated differently, as the acceptable -ism?

It is outrageous that those of us who wish to protest against what we see as a fundamentally unjust war must be subjected to a barrage of slogans and speeches that are one-sidedly hostile to Israel. That is just as outrageous as some in the Jewish community claiming that our opposition to war makes us champions of Palestinian groups which use terror and violence against Israeli civilians.

There is a huge difference between criticism of Ariel Sharon's repressive treatment of the Palestinian people and a refusal to accept the fundamental legitimacy of Israel's existence. For years, those of us who want democratic rights for Palestinians have been dubbed "self-hating Jews" by right-wingers in the Jewish world. Now, some on the left insist that if we support human rights we must also uncritically support the violence of some Palestinian "freedom fighters" who make no secret of their desire to overthrow the Zionist enterprise.

That's why we recently created a new national organization supporting a "progressive middle path" that is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. We call for an end to the occupation, the creation of a Palestinian state and reparations for Palestinian refugees. But we also call for reparations for Jews who fled Arab states, and for Israel's admission into NATO--or some other equally powerful military alliance--to give the Jewish state genuine security.

The most painful thing has been watching other antiwar groups make unprincipled compromises with A.N.S.W.E.R. As a result, there is support on the left for self-determination for every group in the world except the Jewish people. Fellow progressive Jews, some anxious to speak at these rallies, have urged me to keep quiet about anti-Semitism on the left. After all, they say, stopping the war against Iraq is so much more important.

Why should we have to choose? Tikkun will be bringing thousands of our supporters to the demonstration Sunday. But just as we fought against the sexism and homophobia that once infected the left, we will challenge anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing on the left, even as we say "no" to a war with Iraq.

Rabbi Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine and www.tikkun.org, is the author of "Healing Israel/Palestine," to be published in July by North Atlantic Books. He is rabbi of the Beyt Tikkun synagogue in San Francisco.

Copyright © 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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Mandos
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posted 12 February 2003 01:41 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
While Rabbi Lerner probably would not like my position on Israel, I think that ANSWER was misguided and in mixing issues a little too much.
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josh
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posted 12 February 2003 01:51 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
To paraphrase Groucho Marx: Any group that bans Rabbi Lerner is not a group I would want to be a member.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
darkhorse
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posted 12 February 2003 01:53 PM      Profile for darkhorse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is defamatory and libelious to call someone a racist, when what they are doing is putting forward legitimate criticisms of Israeli policy and public support for such policies. If the amiable Rabbi indulges in such defamatory activities he shouldn't be surprised at people not enjoying his company.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: darkhorse ]


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writer
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posted 12 February 2003 02:01 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Reason #423 for not having any speeches at rallies like this. Most folks can't hear 'em. Many speakers are boring, anyway. Often they say things we already know (which is why we're going to the protests in the first place). Then there are the times they say things that any number of people want to raise their hands to and say, "But that's NOT what I think! Please don't speak for me."

Egos ... power trips ... politics ... bullshit ... efforts for change turn into efforts to tear each other down. Geez, we're trying to stop a WAR here.

Speeches are really for media clips, anyway. Do thousands of people have to stand around being aggravated for this? Aren't we for equality? Why do a select few need to speak for the many? The many are there to show what they believe. What more really needs to be said?


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'lance
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posted 12 February 2003 02:02 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It is defamatory and libelious to call someone a racist, when what they are doing is putting forward legitimate criticisms of Israeli policy and public support for such policies. If the amiable Rabbi indulges in such defamatory activities he shouldn't be surprised at people not enjoying his company.

This wasn't what Lerner was doing, as this Nation column by David Corn -- admittedly, a critic of ANSWER or at least of the Workers World Party -- makes clear.

quote:
Lerner's crime: he had dared to criticize ANSWER, an outfit run by members of the Workers World Party, for using antiwar demonstrations to put forward what he considers to be anti-Israel propaganda. That ANSWER objected to Lerner is not surprising. The WWPers in control of ANSWER are socialists who call for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, who support Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il, who oppose UN inspections in Iraq (claiming they are part of the planning for an invasion aimed at gaining control of Iraq's oil fields), and who urge smashing Zionism. Last month, referring to an upcoming ANSWER demonstration, Lerner wrote, "In my view, the organizers of this demonstration have allowed far too many speakers who believe that this war is being done because Israel wants the war, far too few who share my view that this war is not in the best interests of either Israel or of the United States." Yet Lerner didn't let his differences with ANSWER trump his opposition to the war; he encouraged people to attend the rally. After that protest, he told The New York Times, "There are good reasons to oppose the war and Saddam. Still, it feels that we are being manipulated when subjected to mindless speeches and slogans whose knee-jerk anti-imperialism rarely articulates the deep reasons we should oppose corporate globalization."

...

ANSWER could cite Lerner's criticism of ANSWER as a reason for blocking him. But its objection to Lerner also jibes with the group's political agenda. On January 28, Tony Murphy, the media coordinator for ANSWER, appeared on a radio show in New York and said, "I know that the ANSWER coalition would not have a pro-Israel speaker on its platform." (Lerner is pro-Israel in that he supports the existence of the Jewish state.) ANSWER's anti-Israel stance has also been reflected in its relationship with at least one troubling anti-Zionist. At its January march in Washington, ANSWER handed a microphone to Abdul Malim Musa, a Muslim cleric. On October 31, 2001, Musa had appeared at a news conference at the National Press Club with other Muslim activists and members of the New Black Panther Party, where speakers asserted that Israel had launched the 9/11 attacks and that thousands of Jews had been warned that day not to go to work at the World Trade Center. At that press conference, Musa blasted the "Zionists in Hollywood, the Zionists in New York, and the Zionists in D.C." who "all collaborate" to put down blacks and Muslims. ANSWER has room in its antiwar coalition for Musa, but not Lerner.


For once, we have some evidence of a leftist group that's prepared to deal with obvious anti-Semites. Corn, at least, is able to name names and cite specific examples.


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Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 02:26 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Lance, forget it. DH has his own agenda and it gets clearer all the time.
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WingNut
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posted 12 February 2003 02:32 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Speeches are really for media clips, anyway. Do thousands of people have to stand around being aggravated for this? Aren't we for equality? Why do a select few need to speak for the many? The many are there to show what they believe. What more really needs to be said?

Thank you.

I went to the peace rally in London.
It had been endorsed by some 26 organizations. A representative of everyone of them had to have a turn at the mike. It was frickin' freezing. By the time they were done I was almost sorry I went.


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Mimichekele2
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posted 12 February 2003 03:43 PM      Profile for Mimichekele2        Edit/Delete Post
There was another thread on this topic.

I wrote and I think it is true based on what I can find in many different US sources:

quote:
I think ANSWER's kind of politics will gradually be discredited and drowned out. For a little while, they had the field to themselves. Now there are many anti-intervention voices out there in mainstream USA that know how to talk to real ordinary folk, so ANSWER's influence will dwindle.

Also, more and more activists will come into politics and they will get to know that ANSWER's tactics are fascistic (what else is Stalinism if not a form of totalitarian state fetishism?), that it supports North Korea, that it is totally uncritical of a monster like Saddam Hussein and that it actively supports a genocidal leader like Slobodan Milosevic.

So, overall, I would not worry about ANSWER over the long term. The more exposure they get, the less power they will have.


The open anti-Semitism of ANSWER as shown by their banning of Lerner is simply another element that will contribute to their gradual discrediting. Lerner is about as Left and as pro-Palestinian as you can get in the US Jewish community while still being officially INSIDE the Jewish community - if they can ban him, it means all Jews are unwelcome in ANSWER's eyes.

They are a small Stalinist front but they are gradually losing ground as increasing numbers of people come into the political game. More and more people know what ANSWER is and are turning to other more serious, less authoritarian, less racist organizations. With time, ANSWER will lose influence so I am less worried than people like Mishei.


From: More lawyers, fewer bricks! | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 03:51 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I am less worried than people like Mishei.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


What me worry?

From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mimichekele2
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posted 12 February 2003 03:57 PM      Profile for Mimichekele2        Edit/Delete Post
Well, kind of, no?

Worried about the Left being blind to anti-Semitism? No?

Most people I talk to are 1) convinced it is a minority phenomenon in some segments only of the Left 2) but nonetheless sick of it and 3) increasingly willing to speak up and say "now wait a minute, there..."


From: More lawyers, fewer bricks! | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
rbil
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posted 12 February 2003 03:57 PM      Profile for rbil     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
STATEMENT FROM FEBRUARY 16 ANTI-WAR COALITIONS REGARDING RABBI MICHAEL LERNER

We would like to clarify the misunderstanding regarding Rabbi Michael Lerner's perception that he was "banned" from speaking at the peace rally. His charges are untrue, and we wish to set the record straight.

As the Bush Administration continues its relentless drive toward war, the mass mobilizations in cities around the world on the weekend of Feb. 15-16 have taken on great significance. Millions of people are expected to demonstrate in cities around the world in what may be the last opportunity to stop a new war on Iraq before it starts.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, four coalitions -- each comprised of many organizations and individuals -- have come together to sponsor a broad and united anti-war march and rally on Sunday, Feb. 16. The four coalitions -- Bay Area United Against War, Not In Our Name project, United for Peace & Justice, and the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition -- have been working together successfully for the last several weeks to maximize the turnout on Feb. 16.

One of the first agreements that was made between the groups organizing the Feb. 16 anti-war protest was that none of the coalitions would propose rally speakers who had publicly attacked or worked to discredit one of the coalition groups. When members of the Tikkun Community, who have actively participated in the organizing meetings for Feb. 16, suggested to Bay Area United for Peace and Justice that it propose Michael Lerner as a speaker, it was explained by members of UPJ that since he had publicly attacked A.N.S.W.E.R. in both the New York Times and Tikkun community email newsletters, his inclusion in the program would violate the agreement among the Feb. 16 organizing groups. At that time, Tikkun representatives expressed that it would not be a problem if Michael Lerner was not proposed as a speaker.

It was this issue, Michael Lerner's public attacks against one of the anti-war coalitions, that resulted in his not being formally proposed as a speaker on Feb. 16. His views on Israel and Palestine had nothing to do with it. Within the anti-war movement, there is a wide spectrum of diverse and opposing views regarding Israel and Palestine, which will be expressed on Feb. 16. To reiterate, the fact that Michael Lerner was not invited to speak on Feb. 16 was not the consequence of a "veto" by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. None of the coalitions have veto power over the Feb. 16 program.

We strongly abhor all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. At the same time, we don't believe that criticism of Israeli government policies should be labeled as anti-Semitism any more than criticism of U.S. government policy should be labeled as anti-American.

On the eve of a terrible war, we call upon everyone to join together in making Feb. 15-16 a massive and powerful statement for peace and justice. We're heartened by the broad range of participation that is developing for Feb. 16, including within the Jewish community, and invite one and all to join with us in our efforts to stop the war on Iraq.

Issued by: Bay Area United Against War, International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, Not In Our Name Project, United for Peace and Justice


From: IRC: irc.bcwireless.net JOIN: #linuxtalk | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mimichekele2
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posted 12 February 2003 04:00 PM      Profile for Mimichekele2        Edit/Delete Post
At this late hour, they would say that, now wouldn't they?

I would too to avoid embarassment.

Despite ANSWER's behaviour, Lerner and his group are mature enough to mobilize tens of thousands to show up at a rally, some of whose organizers are deeply hostile to them because of their background. This is obviously to the credit of people like Lerner.

But the debate on what to do about pro-North Korea, pro-Milosevic Stalinist fronts like ANSWER will be for Americans to decide, not Canadians.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: Mimichekele2 ]


From: More lawyers, fewer bricks! | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 04:13 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is an interesting email I received today from a listserve I am on. FYI

>Friends,
>According to the statement "Four Coalitions Respond
to Michael Lerner" on the website of ANSWER, right-
wing and pro-war forces have been trying to use the
>debate for their own ends. Therefore I propose that
we circulate our own protest letter. Here is a draft
text below. Please Send me your opinions as
>soon as possible. The witch-hunt against Rabbi Lerner
is a disgrace, but also a golden opportunity for us to
speak out against the racism we, as left-wing
Jews, have been forced to endure from our fellow left
activists.
>Lisa Taylor
>--------
>
>Antisemitism out of our movement!
>Protest against the banning of Rabbi Lerner from
antiwar demonstrations!
>
>
>Rabbi Michael Lerner, who has a long record of
opposing Israeli government policy in the Occupied
Territories, has been banned from speaking at the
>anti-war demonstration by the leadership of the
ANSWER coalition. His crime? He supports the rights of
both Palestinians AND Israeli Jews to live in
peace. This is a legitimate point of view; in fact,
any point of view that denies human rights to either
ethnic group is NOT legitimate.
>
>In fighting the murderous policy of Bush/Blair in the
Middle East, it is not necessary to resort to
antisemitism. The war is being launched to support
corporate interests in the area, not Jewish interests.
Racist lies that Jews control the US government, the
media, etc have no place in the left. Yet a speaker
voicing exactly those sentiments was given the
microphone at a recent ANSWER event.
>
>We condemn the planned war against the Iraqi people.
We condemn the avalanche of media hatred and
institutional and social hostility against people of
Muslim or Arab background in our own countries. But
that does not mean we have to match it with hostility
to Jewish people.
Our own western governments are guilty of centuries of
past and continuing atrocities (this war is one of
them) which dwarf actions committed by the government
of Israel. Yet we do not support hatred or terrorist
actions against ourselves and our families, neither do
we call for our own removal from the countries where
we were born. Jews, who came to Palestine fleeing
racist oppression, have as much right, if not more, to
live in the land of their birth, as a left activist
whose ancestors came to America to amass a fortune,
killed Indians and enslaved Africans.
>
>We, activists of the labour, antiracist and antiwar
movement, call on the leadership of ANSWER to issue a
full apology to Rabbi Michael Lerner, and to invite
him to address the next mass mobilization against the
war.
>
>Lisa Taylor
>Moderator, Fighting from Within
>(Internet discussion list for left Jews concerned
about antisemitism from
>their fellow activists) >>


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mimichekele2
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posted 12 February 2003 04:21 PM      Profile for Mimichekele2        Edit/Delete Post
Just to add to the discussion.

Protest letter of US progressive activists against ANSWER's banning of Lerner:

Protest Letter

As I wrote:

quote:
Worried about the Left being blind to anti-Semitism?... Most people I talk to are 1) convinced it is a minority phenomenon in some segments only of the Left 2) but nonetheless sick of it and 3) increasingly willing to speak up and say "now wait a minute, there..."

It might be a minority phenomenon but we still need to kill it.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: Mimichekele2 ]


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Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 04:41 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you Mimi..that's all I have been trying to say...each time I do I get shit on
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Mimichekele2
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posted 12 February 2003 04:48 PM      Profile for Mimichekele2        Edit/Delete Post
Because perhaps you give the impression that you sometimes see it in places where it isn't.

You also get shit because you give the appearance of reacting to each misplaced or ill-chosen word. This is a web board - sometimes the sentences and thoughts are not as perfect as we would like them to be.

Now, some people here definitely know what they are doing and do harbour racist feelings towards Jewish people and they know what the words mean when they choose them. I'm not a moderator - I'd kick them off, and friends of mine who moderate boards for various associations would to. But there are only a handful of those violent extremists here. The kind who say Israelis are Nazis or who think suicide bombings are OK.

Most other people you get into fights with raise legitimate questions, so many of us don't understand why you react so strongly to them.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: Mimichekele2 ]


From: More lawyers, fewer bricks! | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 05:02 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you, Mimi. I'd elaborate, but I don't want this to turn into another Mishei-focussed pissing match.

This event makes me very sad. Is it anti-Semitism at work? I think functionally it is. I don't know exactly what Lerner said about ANSWER, so maybe I'm mistaken. I hope I am. But I'm afraid not. And like josh, I'm not interested in being part of any organization that wouldn't want Lerner as a member.

It's comforting and saddening that the mainstream pro-Israeli organizations that would normally ignore Lerner or denounce him as self-hating (or, as with some posters here, say he is not a real Jew or a real rabbi) are rallying behind him now.


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 12 February 2003 05:31 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mimi I would be interested in where you feel I see antisemitism " in places where it isnt".

I dont mean to be confrontational over this but for the most part I have just posted articles from legitimate and credible critics on this matter. It has been as a result of these posts that I have been beaten up.

People are certainly free to agree or disagree but my position has been similar to the one put forward by Ruby et al which if memory serves me correctly you too agreed with.

So for a better understanding of your critisicms please illusatrate where i have cried wolf in your opinion.

Thanks.


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Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 05:40 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mishei, honestly, if you don't know where we're coming from by now, you never will. I'd suggest we just move on.

(Mimi, I don't mean to cut you off or play mod, but could you maybe consider PM as a way to communicate this stuff to Mishei? I don't want this thread to get derailed so early and I'm afraid it will if we get into this. If you disagree with me, please disregard this.)

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: Smith ]


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
darkhorse
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posted 12 February 2003 06:21 PM      Profile for darkhorse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
DH has his own agenda and it gets clearer all the time.
That's not true. Lerner's article doesn't quote ANSWER or provide real evidence of their anti-semitism. I presumed them innocent, but I may be wrong. In that case I apologize and retract my assumption. Its just that so many of the topics you post label the left as anti-semitic and exploit the issue of racism to forward an agenda of simply silencing all criticism of Israeli policy.

Having looked into the issue, I agree with you that this is a sad injustice towards the good work Lerner is doing.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: darkhorse ]


From: in transit | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 12 February 2003 06:30 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mishei? Mimi? If you are going to continue this discussion of Mishei's inner workings and Mimi's take on how they project, could you do it through private messages? Or start a specific thread on the subject? I would really appreciate it.

And Mishei, nowhere on this thread have I shit on you or beat you up.


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satana
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posted 12 February 2003 06:32 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I still don't understand why Michael Lerner was banned, could someone point out for me how ANSWER was being anti-Semitic?
From: far away | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 06:40 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, Lerner is a Zionist, as are most Jews (and by Zionist, I mean that he believes Israel should exist). But he's about as progressive a Zionist as you could ask for - he wants the Arabs in the region to have equal rights, he wants an end to the occupation and settlements, he is very much for peace and reparations.

So it may not be anti-Semitic to ban him per se, but banning him essentially says "If you accept any form of Zionism at ALL, we don't want you. If you believe Israel has a right to exist, we don't want you." And that probably eliminates 99% of all Jews right there.


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
satana
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posted 12 February 2003 06:47 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So it really isn't anti-Semitism, just anti-Zionism.
...and 99%?!
quote:
he wants the Arabs in the region to have equal rights
but that is completely contrary to Zionism.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: satana ]


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darkhorse
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posted 12 February 2003 06:51 PM      Profile for darkhorse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
nevermind

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: darkhorse ]


From: in transit | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 06:54 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But that answer is signed "Rabbi Dov."
From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
darkhorse
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posted 12 February 2003 07:00 PM      Profile for darkhorse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I just noticed. How confusing. The first part is addressed to Lerner.

Kindly disregard my above post.

Actually, Rabbi Lerner is on the ball. He even criticizes Pipes.

quote:
One of the ironies of this period is that as the raw aggression and destructiveness of the Occupation has increased, so too has the propaganda offensive by Israel which attempts to portray itself as innocent victim. Aided by the disgusting acts of terror like the recent bombing of a bus filled with Israeli civilians, the Israeli P.R. offensive is able to obliterate from public discourse the daily realities of Occupation in which innocent children and families are wiped out every day.

There is never any sufficient excuse for the murder that goes on - not the few acts of terror that are often acts of revenge for the brutality of the Occupation, and not the systematic destruction of homes, the vengeful acts of destruction of property, the killing of children and civilians that is a regular reality of the Occupation, and the IDF protection of settlers who rampage against Palestinian villagers. Yet the American media has told the story in a one-sided way that makes it seem as if only Israel is the victim of terror, when in fact the Palestinians are equally and in some respects even more broadly suffering from Israeli terror.

Now this victim story is being used in the U.S. with an amazing twist. Jewish students whose support for Ariel Sharon has been vigorously challenged on campus are claiming that they are facing violence and fear. Yet when we investigate many of these stories we find that what Jewish students are facing is not violence but anger at Israeli policy - and then that anger is sometimes expressed in unacceptable anti-Semitic or demeaning of Israel language. We don't have any tolerance for intimidation. But we also have to note that the most frequent subjects of violence and intimidation on campus have been Palestinian and Islamic students. Yet a recent statement by college presidents about ending the atmosphere of intimidation focused only on Jews and didn't mention the plight of those who have criticized Israeli policy, or those who are Islamic or Palestinian. Instead, the Jews who defend Israel's victimization of the Palestinians are now being presented as the primary victims!! To add to this bizarre twist, a new Campus Watch website has been set up which encourages students to report on their professors who have made statements which can be construed as anti-Israel. This extends to us as well - to those of us who have been creating a "progressive middle path," because our critiques are viewed by the pro-Sharon lobby as "anti-Israel."
Scroll down to ISRAEL/PALESTINE and the New McCarthyism


[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: darkhorse ]


From: in transit | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 12 February 2003 07:09 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As someone who deosn't know ANYTHING about A.N.S.W.E.R or Rabbi Lerner, I have to say that the letter Mishei posted at the beginning of this thread is, to my mind, one of the most thoughtful and rational formulations of issues that I have read from the pro-Israel types on this MB. Based on this, I would be reassuring to know that the good Rabbi had a substantial following among Zionists.
From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 07:12 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's really sad that an organization like ANSWER would choose to oppose someone like Lerner. It undermines their credibility significantly.
From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
satana
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posted 12 February 2003 07:29 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
ANSWER is opposed to Zionism. So, as "progressive" as Lerner may be, I understand their opposition.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: satana ]


From: far away | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 12 February 2003 08:58 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I guess so, but I don't think that's a reasonable stance to take at this point. Israel exists. You can argue for further secularization and democratization (is that a word?), but I don't think it's possible to argue that it shouldn't be there, period, end of story. It's too late for that.

[ 12 February 2003: Message edited by: Smith ]


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
satana
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posted 13 February 2003 08:51 AM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, Israel exists. No one can undo the damage. But it is still possible to stop the damage from continuing.

The idea behind Zionism is that Israel must remain a Jewish state, even at the cost of human rights. If you say you want equal rights that means Palestinians have a right to return to their homes inside Israel. But that would mean Israel would no longer be a "Jewish state". You are either Zionist or egalitarian, you can not be one without compromising the other.

Opposing Zionism shouldn't mean "destroying" Israel. It means changing its discriminatory laws, and allowing Palestinians to be equals within it. It doesn't mean forcing anyone from their homes, but allowing people who were forced from their homes to return. At least that is what it means to me, and to most people I know who oppose Zionism.
The problem is that even the most moderate of Zionists see such changes as threats to their "establishment".

If ANSWER is really against racism then taking a strong stance against Zionism only supports their credibility.

Maybe their stance was not reasonable at this point in time. Antagonising moderate Zionists doesn't help the anti-racism movement. A much better move would have been to replace Michael Lerner with a non-Zionist Jewish speaker.


From: far away | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 13 February 2003 09:43 AM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The thing is, if you read Tikkun, that's what it's basically for - inclusiveness.
From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 13 February 2003 11:03 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If ANSWER is really against racism then taking a strong stance against Zionism only supports their credibility.

This Zionism=racism evil is just what progressive Jews feel adds fuel to the fires of antisemitism.

Zionism is the aspiration for the return of the Jewish people to the Jewish homeland, the land of Israel, and the creation of a Jewish state. Zionism arose in response to centuries of persecution, expulsion, and complete denial of human rights to Jews. It only became popular with the majority of Jews during and after the Holocaust.

While the suffering of Jews does not justify ill treatment of the Palestinians, understanding the context and motivation behind Zionism as a strategy for Jewish liberation from institutionalized oppression should help us find a way to support the dreams and aspirations of both peoples without demonizing anyone.

Those that claim there is no place for a Jewish state in the Middle East mostly on the basis that Jews are not indiginous to the region are simply wrong. It has been said here over and over again..

There has always been Jews living in Palestine and the Middle East. About half of all Israeli Jews were refugees from North Africa and Middle Eastern countries (Morrocco,Algeria,Iraq,Lebanon,Syria,Tunisia,Iran,Turkey,Egypt,Yemen). Jews have historical rights and that should be understood


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 13 February 2003 11:13 AM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mishei, I think everyone gets that. I am not anti-Zionist, but I think even the anti-Zionists on this board get that. It's not the presence of the Jews anyone objects to. It's the co-opting of a particular piece of land where a Jewish majority must be maintained and where Jews enjoy rights and privileges that non-Jews do not.

That area of the world is largely Arab. To keep a Jewish majority, Israel basically has to find some way of keeping the Arabs out or relegating them to second-class status. THAT is the issue people debate. No one is denying that the Jews have a historical claim to the land, or saying they shouldn't be there.


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 13 February 2003 11:17 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Those that claim there is no place for a Jewish state in the Middle East mostly on the basis that Jews are not indiginous to the region are simply wrong. It has been said here over and over again.

Mishei, I think you'll find that most people here who argue against a Jewish state are not arguing that Jews shouldn't be allowed to return to their homeland. They argue that a religious state (for any religion) necessarily leads to the exclusion of citizens who don't belong to that religion. They argue that the state of Israel would serve the region better with a secular government, rather than a religious one. I know that some posters rail against the immigration of "Brooklyn Jews", but they are in the minority, I would guess. I'm well aware of the counter-argument (that Jews will not be safe unless they are protected by a Jewish government). I'm just trying to clear up what I see as a misunderstanding of motivations.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 13 February 2003 11:21 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The problem is not the basic underlying sentiment of Zionism--Jewish liberation through land. The problem is the following:

1) the means that must be used to realize it.
2) the ideological structures that must be built to justify those means.

These two factors mean that the real, functional embodiment of Zionism is, alas, racist, regardless of the root motivation. The problem is that I do not see a Zionism coming to existence at this juncture that can avoid legitimizing at least part of 1 and/or 2, as above. Mishei certainly isn't contributing to one. Alas, ethnic/religious liberation through the acquisition of land/a state is quite impossible to do in any way that is just and non-racist.

This is a matter quite apart from Rabbi Lerner himself and really deserves its own thread: is there any national liberation through the acquisition of a state that is not inherently racist and therefore to be avoided? I do not think so.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 13 February 2003 11:27 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think there are different issues that get mixed up in these discussions, and that there is on babble a fair range of positions on those different issues.

For instance, some are not bothered at all by the idea of establishing a state where a particular ethnic majority is constitutionally mandated and maintained.

Others are utterly opposed to such states anywhere.

Probably more recognize that such states are less than ideal, but that both the intensity of present and historical conflicts and the very slow pace of deep social change anywhere mean that they are often the best short-term solution ... short-term certainly meaning a generation or two, and perhaps as much as a century.

Civil wars are the worst wars of all, and the international community has already accepted, in a number of other places, that some kinds of "ethnic cleansing" are the only way to keep people alive and peaceful long enough to build or rebuild civil societies that might one day have a chance at going beyond their founding exclusivity.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 13 February 2003 12:05 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I know that some posters rail against the immigration of "Brooklyn Jews", but they are in the minority, I would guess.

Although it is pretty rich, you've got to admit, when a person of Russian or Polish heritage and North American birth tries to claim that he or she has a natural right to be there while a Palestinian Arab does not.

It's the denial of the other that I object to. Brooklyn Jews immigrating to Israel/Palestine are not offensive unless they intend to push other people out.

[ 13 February 2003: Message edited by: Smith ]


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
darkhorse
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posted 13 February 2003 12:29 PM      Profile for darkhorse     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Zionism is the aspiration for the return of the Jewish people to the Jewish homeland, the land of Israel, and the creation of a Jewish state.
If Zionism means exclusionary, if it involves the disenfranchisement of native inhabitants, and no right of return for Palestinians, if it means a non-secular government and measures approaching apartheid, then how can anyone support Zionism? I'm not sure I understand the precepts of Zionism. Does the current State of Israel approximate the ideals of Zionism?

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satana
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posted 13 February 2003 01:22 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know this is a discussion for another thread, but I have to clear up a few things:

I have nothing against Jews living in Palestine or the Middle-East. I believe everyone in the world should have the right to live wherever they want to in safety and without fear of being forced out of their homes. I don't see anything wrong with Jewish people (or any people) buying land in Palestine and building settlements. However it is wrong to force other people off of their land and denying them the right to return to it.

It is ridiculous to claim Jews aren't indeginous to the middle-east. Jewish people should have the right to settle anywhere and live in security and peace with their neighbours. But these rights should never infringe on the rights of any other people to live in peace and security.

I don't even have anything against a Jewish monarchy or Islamic caliphate in Palestine or anywhere so long as the basic human rights of everyone in that state are respected.

skdadl: The conflict in Palestine/Israel is not about "ethnic strife" or rival "nationalisms". Ask any Palestinian and they will invariably tell you they don't want to get rid of Jews. All they want is to return to their land and live with them.

I am appalled that so many people can still talk about "seperation" and "population transfer", such fundamentally racist concepts, as "solutions" to conflicts.

We should be working to create a world where everyone can live anywhere in safety and dignity regardless of their culture or ethnicity. Not ethnic seperation! Only movements that work towards equality are progressive. In this regards Zionism is a very regressive ideology.

[ 13 February 2003: Message edited by: satana ]


From: far away | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 13 February 2003 02:04 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The basic problem is that nationalism is easy to couch in biological terms rather than in national terms. As a result it becomes easy for Jewish nationalism to take the form of booting everybody else out, or Russian nationalism, or whatever nationalism.

I absolutely oppose the formation of a nationalism on the basis of ethnicity or language. Nationalism is the attachment to the land and to the country that one lives in. It is a deep abiding belief that your nation and all who choose to preserve it should continue as they have, and to thus make your nation the very best it can be for its people.

This form of nationalism is not exclusionary. Even the most recent immigrant to Canada can fit this definition of a nationalist, and by the same token, a person whose family is 9 generations Canadian can nevertheless be an offence to nationalism if he or she chooses to work to destroy this country rather than preserve it.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 13 February 2003 02:55 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
In this regards Zionism is a very regressive ideology.

Is it aany more regressive than say, Quebec nationalism?

From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 13 February 2003 03:11 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Depends. More regressive than Parizeau-style Quebec nationalism, "we" vs. the "ethnic vote"? No, it's not. More regressive than Quebec nationalism in general? I think so.
From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Moredreads
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posted 13 February 2003 05:51 PM      Profile for Moredreads     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This:

quote:
Lance, forget it. DH has his own agenda and it gets clearer all the time.

Deserves this: F.ck Off.

In the place of substantive critique we are subjected to inuendo and personal politics at its worst.

As to the ANSWER debate both arguements have merit. I would also warn those people here who automatically assume that anti-semetism is at work in the internal workings of an organization, which none here are directly involved with, is premature. This site itself has been subjected to such attacks, I am sure, and people here know that it is not the case that Babble is anti-semitic, but to those who do not know the site, they may take this critique at face value, while not understanding the internal politics at hand.

Really, all we have is Mr. Lerner's statement and the statement of the group. Both have value, in that it is absolutely true that Lerner did publicly attack ANSWER and that Lerner's critique of the organization may underscore some problems within the organization.

The very fact that ANSWER has taken up a position enforcing a very traditional reading of a 'Democratic Centralist' approach to organizing, whereby members are not allowed to critique the organization is worrying indeed. The kind of dissembling 'bureaucratize' used in the ANSWER response is very indicative of this.

One has to ask why Lerner could not be invited to speak, but within a clearly outlined anti-war in Iraq theme, that all speakers would adhere to?

DH, although I disagree with Rabbi Lerner's views on Israel on points, allies must be recognized as allies. It is fundamental that dialogue be open with Israeli-Jews who recognize the fundamental injustice of the occupation. There is no better way to do this than to maintain cordial relations and dialogue with American Jews, for this community has a huge impact on US policy in regard to Israel.

It seems that ANSWER has missed a golden opportunity to increase its political relevance and heal a growing rift within the US anti-war movement, but I doubt that anti-semetism is the root of the problem. No proof of this has been provided except some nebulous 'connections' of 'some' people to 'some' other who may have this bent.

One could just as easily suggest that Lerner has associations with some anti-arab racists, in that there are many of those in Israel, and in the pro-Israeli lobby in the US.

[ 13 February 2003: Message edited by: Moredreads ]


From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
LionKeeper
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posted 19 February 2003 02:49 PM      Profile for LionKeeper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If anyone has ever visited Israel they will see that above the main entrance of the “Kennest” or Israeli parliament, you will notice engraved in the stone in Hebrew “From the Mediterranean to the Euphrates”. This is exactly the goal of the Zionist and the Israeli nation. In addition, up until the early 90’s Zionism by definition was considered racism by the United Nations. This was then reversed through the great lobbing skills that this movement has developed.

I agree that Jews belong in the Middle East, and places of their ancestors. In fact the black listed nation of Iran even has Jews to this day that number in excess of 200 000, and even have representatives in the Iranian parliament. Co-existence is possible in the Middle East, and it even is happening today. There are still small communities of Jews in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan as a matter of fact a significant number of Jews in Israel are Arab Jews.

To take it one step further; before, during, and after the crusades the general area used a system called the “Millet” system of existence and it worked well. The basic concept of this system was that if you were a Jew and committed an offence in a Christian area you would be sent back to your community for trial and vise-versa.

Why would Israel want to import 20 000 -30 000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel as they have stated this week, when they can’t guarantee the right of return for the original inhabitants. This is very clear and identifiable, is it called racism in its greatest form. It’s not like we are restricting them to certain cable cars on the sub way system or denying them access to our favorite cafes. What we are doing, not only saying, is that we are taking your land, kicking you out and you can never come back because we have people from all around the world that share our faith that will use your house to live in, your farm to grow food, and walk all over your dignity in the name of Zionism. If you don’t like it too bad because we have the greatest power in the world backing us up!

All I can suggest to those who are oppressed by this movement is to appreciate the words of Lord Atkins “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.


From: The Lion's Den | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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