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Pro-Saddam "Peace Protestors" Tolerate NO Dissent. Why?

This will be in tommorrow's Wall Street Journal. Hopefully, those with an open mind will read on (if this doesn't get censored by Indymedia executives). Believe me, there are some out there that consider the WSJ to be the Egyptian Book of the Dead..... Anyway, let's see what discussion/debate this sparks.
The Antiwar Anti-Semites -

BY MICHAEL LERNER
Wednesday, February 12, 2003 12:01 a.m. EST

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.

Good Article 11.Feb.2003 21:54

Y. Arrafat

But I can't believe that the Wall Street Journal would use such a silly nonsencical title.

Lerner and ANSWER's Becker in their own words 11.Feb.2003 22:15

ziggy

This is a KPFA Evening News presentation of interviews with ANSWER's Richard Becker and Rabbi Lerner. It provides helpful perspective. The clip runs for 5 minutes, 4 seconds; 1.5 megs.


TITLE of this post is Disinformation. 11.Feb.2003 22:37

ed crane

why would anyone repost Michael Lerner's article with the false title,

"Pro-Saddam 'Peace Protestors' Tolerate NO Dissent. Why?"

because they are a Disinformationalist Troll, intending to cause a disturbance on the newswire.

WHICH demonstrators are pro-Saddam?
TITLE of this post is Disinformation.
TITLE of this post is Disinformation.

Coalition Statement re. Michael Lerner 11.Feb.2003 22:50

Mitchel Cohen (via repost)

Coalition Statement in response to Michael Lerner & Commentary

by Mitchel Cohen

Dear friends and fellow antiwarriors,

This past week, the Nation ran a denunciation of International ANSWER Coalition, and the petition was posted on CommonDreams website as though its claims were true. In it, various individuals -- without first checking
the facts -- blasted ANSWER for allegedly "banning" Rabbi Michael Lerner from speaking at the San Francisco anti-war rally on Feb. 16 because of his "pro-Israel" position. The petitioners not only stated their position, but
went on to slam ANSWER as "unfit ... to lead mass mobilizations against war in Iraq."

As the media coordinator for the Greens/Green Party USA, which had endorsed ANSWER and organized for ALL the antiwar demonstrations, I immediately became suspicious that something here was AT BEST being taken out of context. When I read that summary -- "unfit to lead mass mobilizations against war in Iraq," that should have been a dead giveaway to most astute activists that there is another agenda being played out here that is not in the best interest of the anti-war movement. Reviewing the names of some of the signees made more even more suspicious; some of those same individuals have disrupted various progressive movements over the years (the movement to take back Pacifica from the corporatizers being prominent among them). In fact, although there are a couple of well-respectedradical signatories to the petition that had been circulating (Howard Zinn, for instance), the list contains and was organized by a veritable stable of liberal Democratic Party manipulators.

The following should set the record straight. It is issued by the Coalition organizing the demo in the Bay Area, which includes United For Peace and Justice, Not In Our Name, Bay Area United Against War, and International ANSWER. (I note parenthetically that only in NYC has there been little success in forging a coalition. Everywhere else in the country there are coalitions that include all the main groups.)

You will see when you read this that the claims pertaining to Lerner have no basis in fact. I will ask:
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS?
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS NOW?
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS IN THIS PUBLIC WAY?
- WHY DID THEY NOT FIRST CHECK WITH THE ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED? and
- WHOSE INTERESTS ARE THEY ACTUALLY SERVING?

More on this later. First, the report.

Mitchel Cohen
the Greens/Green Party USA
 http://www.greenparty.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
February 11, 2003 Bert Knorr (510) 644-8071, (415) 307-8028 (cell)

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR
NOT IN OUR NAME PROJECT
INTERNATIONAL ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) COALITION
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE

STATEMENT FROM FEB. 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 ANSWER (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 UFPJ that since he had publicly attacked ANSWER 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.

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, and those views will be heard on Feb. 16. On that day, two rabbis, David Cooper and Pam
Frydman-Baugh, both of whose views are similar to those of Michael Lerner, will be speaking. 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 donšt 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 forFeb. 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

*****************************
ORIGINAL POSTING ON COMMON DREAMS

Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
Let Anti-War Rabbi Michael Lerner Speak

Also See:
The Banning of Rabbi Lerner
by David Corn / The Nation 2/11/02

Rabbi Michael Lerner has been banned from speaking at the antiwar rally in San Francisco this Sunday, February 16. One of the rally organizers, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), has stated that it will not allow a "pro-Israel" speaker to take the stage -- despite the fact that Rabbi Lerner has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy in the occupied territories, has endorsed ANSWER's antiwar rallies in the past,
has signed the Not in Our Name petition against the war, and is widely known to be among the most progressive of American rabbis. Other coalitions organizing the rally, including Not in Our Name and United for Peace and
Justice, have acceded to ANSWER's opposition to Lerner, on the grounds that they had previously accepted as a condition for participation in the demonstration the agreement that if one of the groups vetoed a speaker that
all would have to agree.

We, the undersigned, protest ANSWER's refusal to let Rabbi Lerner speak at this Sunday's rally. At a time when the antiwar movement needs as broad a platform and as broad an appeal as possible, ANSWER has chosen instead to put the interests of sectarianism ahead of the interests of all those who oppose this foolish and unnecessary war. We believe this is a serious mistake, and that it exemplifies ANSWER's unfitness to lead mass
mobilizations against war in Iraq.

Partial List of Signers:
Greg Goldin, writer
Robert W. McChesney, writer
Jack Newfield, writer
Howard Zinn
Doug Ireland, writer
Ariel Dorfman, writer
Marc Cooper, writer
Michael Berube, Penn State
Candace Falk
Janine Jaquet, Nation Institute
John Powers, writer
Katha Pollitt, writer
Suzi Weissman, professor and author
Eric Alterman, writer
Kateri Butler, writer
Todd Gitlin, writer
Suzy Marks
Wally Marks
Michael Pugliese
Judy Bertelsen
Nelson Lichtenstein
Richard Falk
Tom Christie, writer
Eyal Press, writer
Jon Wiener, historian UCI
Mark Schubb
Lee Smith, writer
Michael Balter, writer
Carl Bromley, Editorial Director, Nation Books
Harold Meyerson, writer
Stew Albert
Judy Albert
Al Wasserman
Anne Wasserman
Celeste Fremon, writer
Matthew Rothschild, Editor, The Progressive
Stanley Aronowitz
Isaac Balbus
David Bensman
Ken Brociner
Shirley Bryant
Chaz Bufe
Leo Casey
Bogdan Denitch
Tom Edminster
Stuart Elliott
Irene Theodore Heinstein
Maurice Isserman
Peter Kosenko
Justin Paulson
Jason Schulman
Timothy Sears
Clifford L. Staples
Luke Weiger
Arthur Wilke
Ian Williams
Ellen Willis
Adam Shatz, writer
Emily Jane Goodman
Sonia Jaffe Robbins
Phyllis Chesler
Richard Healey
Dorothy Healey
Roy Ulrich, attorney
Naomi Glauberman, writer
Judith Long, The Nation
Maurice Zeitlin, author and professor
Bruce Shapiro, writer
Tad Daley, UCLA
Andrew Gumbel, journalist
Dr. Aryeh Cohen, University of Judaism, Los Angeles
Nalini Lasiewicz, Lasiewicz Foundation
Barbara Osborn, Liberty Hill Foundation
Fr. Chris Ponnet, Co-Chair Pax Christi USA, Los Angeles Chapter
Anita Frankel, former Public Affairs Dir. Pacifica Radio
Roane Carey, The Nation
Reverend Ed Bacon, Rector, All Saints Church, Pasadena CA
Prof. Steve Ross, USC
Dr. Lawrence Littwin, CSUN
Kenneth Pomeranz
Ella Taylor, writer
Daniel Sokatch, Executive Director, Progressive Jewish Alliance
Francisco Letelier, writer
Devra Weber
Jules Tygiel, SFSU
Ellen Carol DuBois, UCLA
Mike Davis, UCI
Marla Stone, Occidental College
Terrence McNally
Vicki Ruiz
Peter Dreier, Occidental College
Bobbi Murray, Journalist
Ginger Varney
Kevin B. Anderson, Purdue University
Jody Zonenchin
Robert H. Silk, Attorney
Susan T. Silk. PhD, Biochemist
Frank Smyth, journalist
Laurie Salen
Dave Anderson
Sam Bottone
David Nasaw, CUNY Grad Center
Moshe Machover
Robin Arie-Donch
Amie Potsic
Ana Villa-Lobos
Constance Bernstein
Gretchen Mackler-Lipow
Arthur Lipow
Maggie Helwig, writer
Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, University of Florida
Richard H. Schwartz, College of Staten Island
Marcia Diaz
Howard A. Rodman
Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Nathan Cummings Foundation
Scott Tucker
Daniel Pope, University of Oregon
Jordan Elgrably, Open Tent Middle East Coalition
Don Bustany, host "Middle East in Focus" KPFK
Marge Piercy
Richard Applebaum

Lerner says . . . 11.Feb.2003 23:14

protestor

Lerner thinks that no one at the Iraq rallies should protest Israel, because that's not what it's about.

Sorry Rabbi, that doesn't fly.

Protestors protest what they want to, not what you say they should.

ANSWER may not be the answer 12.Feb.2003 05:13

spider spider0@myway.com

Whereas ANSWER has been in support of many
issues in which I can empathize, the
historical bio of Ramsey Clark leaves one
to wonder what is going on.

Check out this story from the Shadow:

<a href=" http://shadow.autono.net/sin001/clark.htm">THE MYSTERIOUS RAMSEY CLARK:</a>