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Commentary :: Human Rights : Race : Social Welfare
Et tu, Tutu?
19 Sep 2007
Like most US Jews, we're Liberals From Birth. So what will we do when anti-apartheid hero Desmond Tutu headlines an anti-Israel hate-fest?
Most of our parents voted for Stevenson, despised McCarthy and fought racism before the rest of America saw it was the right thing to do. We stood with Martin Luther King and were crushed when he --and John and Bobby Kennedy -- were killed. We hated Nixon, boycotted grapes with Caesar Chavez, cheered for Bella and Gloria on women's rights and defeated apartheid in South Africa.

Like most of America's Jews, we're LFBs -- Liberals From Birth. Why? Because Jewish and American values are in almost perfect harmony.

On Israel, we were never uncritical, but loyal to the cause of a Jewish homeland and to the Jews who fought to keep it. Not only because we were Jews, but also because tiny beleaguered Israel is, or should be a, liberal cause.

But it's not. Not now. Many of our friends disagree with us about Israel, and in increasingly disagreeable ways. They got the story wrong, from the media, from academics, and from clergy. Painfully, we see former allies, even heroes of past struggles, attacking the Jewish state -- and its supporters: us.

So what will Boston's Jews do when Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid hero who likens Israeli treatment of Arabs to apartheid, headlines an anti-Israel hate-fest at the Old South Church in October? The "Israel Apartheid" Conference is organized by Sabeel, whose leader says Israelis are "crucifying" Arabs like the Jews did Jesus.

The two-day rant against Israel features speakers who pose as human rights activists who care about injustice -- yet their concerns are oh so selective. Israel is an "apartheid state," they say, with an "apartheid wall." It's worse for Palestinians than South Africa was for blacks. It's the world's worst human rights situation. None of this is close to being true.

Israel's Arab citizens vote, are elected to the Knesset, and enjoy better health care and education than most Arabs in the region. Yes, Arabs in the territories are treated differently, yet not because of their "race" -- but because their leaders are at war with Israel. Israelis don't act on the basis of race, like white South Africans did. Shame on Desmond Tutu for deliberately ignoring all this.

Calling Israel racist pleases the Sabeel-ites, but has nothing to do with a concern for justice. There is real apartheid in the Middle East -- racist apartheid: blacks slaughtered and enslaved by Arabs in Sudan; gender apartheid: women in Saudi Arabia may not drive cars or walk unaccompanied; religious apartheid: churches cannot be built in Saudi Arabia and Jews can't be citizens in Jordan. It's not justice these folks are fixated upon, it's the Jewish state.

Some LFB's may have turned away from this conflict. But now it's time to choose: When Tutu comes, many of us will protest. If the anti-Israel demagogues are led by a black man who led his people to freedom -- but who attacks and defames another free people -- Israel's and America's Jews, however liberal by nature, must decide: Which side will you be on?

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Not telling the facts
21 Sep 2007
We should not be surprised that the fashionable liberal left have jumped onto the bandwagon. in their quest though they refuse to study the subject in depth to understand the statements being made and how they often are not complete list of facts thereby distorting the perceptions of what has happened.
there they go again
21 Sep 2007
>the cause of a Jewish homeland and to the Jews who fought to keep it.

Is no different than the cause of an Aryan homeland and to the Nazis who fought to keep it. A racist is a racist is a racist. The only difference between a Zionist and a Nazi is the name of their favorite ethnic group. They both practice ethnic supremicism.

>tiny beleaguered Israel

"Tiny beleaguered Israel" is a myth. Israel is the fourth of fifth most powerful nation on earth.
Presume that if Nessie says it...
26 Sep 2007
Presume that if Nessie says it, then its a lie. He and his ilk operateon Goebels principle that if you repeat a lie( inhis case, "cut and paste a lie over and over and over again") people will believe that its the truth.

Lets grasp Nessie's basic idea; "Jewish national self-determination-bad, Palestinian national self-determination-good". Very simple racist double standard from a typical lying anti-zionist.
Well Charles Jacobs.....
27 Sep 2007
You and yours should do the right thing, the courageous thing- exactly what the Women in Black did in Oakland. You should protest this, and publicize the racist ethnic cleansing agenda of Sabeel.
You should also, if at all possible, have people inside the conference, documenting and bearing witness to the anti-Semitism that invariably emerges.
Seems like at least two independent bloggers found themselves inside Sabeel:
"Saturday among the Cannibals"


Maybe there are more.
Good luck, Charles, and let me know if I can help.
Uh, Dr. Jacobs
27 Sep 2007
I just googled your name Dr. Jacobs- and see what amazing work you've been up to. You don't need my help- you've been on the right track for years.
May you go from strength to strength.
Israel is ranked 26 in military strength, not 4.
27 Sep 2007
"Tiny beleaguered Israel" is a myth. Israel is the fourth of fifth most powerful nation on earth.

Ok- lets see a source:
I see here, that Israel is #26, lagging far behind Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for example.
Report from Earlier Sabeel Conference
02 Oct 2007
A combination of Arab petrodollars, Marxist zeal and good old-fashioned anti-Semitism will be on hand at Sabeel's conference in Berkeley this weekend.

What is Sabeel? It's the PLO's answer to Christian loyalty to scripture and the land of Israel.

Some of Sabeel's nonsense includes the idea that Jesus was not a Jew but a Palestinian Arab, despite the fact even the term "Palestine" was not invented until long after Jesus's death. Sabeel acolytes claim they seek a two state solution for peace in fundraisers, the same as any other ISM group, but in private
they call for a single state with the Jews under Arab rule.

In 2003 I attended a national conference of the ISM at Ohio State where someone mentioned at a seminar on how to put a good face on suicide bombings that the Bible was being "reinterpreted" so it would no longer be sympathetic to the Jews. I remember laughing at the notion.

But what I failed to consdier was the amount of funding and tenacity of the movement to destroy Israel. I'll report back later about the Sabeel event in Berkeley. I understand that Huwaida Arraf who founded the ISM and admits to working with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP will be lecturing there and recruiting again for her ISM groups.

And Paul LaRudee who I got deported from Israel a little over a year ago will be lecturing with her. Both claim they support "legitimate resistance" (translate that to "terrorism") but are now speaking for Christians in America who want Israel dismantled. Of course, there will be no discussions about suicide bombngs or the fact that the Arabs have fired hundreds of missiles into Israel since the forced evacuation of Jews from Gaza. In fact, this obscenity of a "Chrisitan conference" will feature groups like Alison Weir's If Americans Knew. Weir has written anti-Semitic articles for Nazi David Duke's website. Alison used to pass out literature at ISM events that claimed the Jews perpetuated the Holocaust on themselves to create Israel. Now she's trying to appear like she seeks reconciliation
throught the Church. Naim Ateek, the religious leader of Sabeel has openly said Israel has no right to exist, and Palestine Remembered is a major sponsor of the Conference. Palestine Remembered is linked to Al Awda (The Return), a group whose international convention I got kicked off the UC Riverside campus, and lists all the spots where allegedly Arabs lived in 1948 that must be retaken by Palestinians in what for publicity purposes Sabeel says is supposed to be an Israeli state living side by side with a new Palestinian one.

It's all, in fact, another ruse to promote anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in US churches. If you research the speakers, they are all pan-Arabists or Marxists who have always advocated destroying Israel. More later...
See also:
Protest Sabeel Conference in Boston!
02 Oct 2007
Report from racist Sabeel conference:

An independent blogger attended Sabeel and reports back
"Subtle suggestions of Jewish plots, and too much Jewish influence in the halls of power, and in Christian churches. The Jewish establishment. The Jewish lobby. The Jewish censorship.

Subtle, in this case, means fairly blatant.

No mention, of course, of the Sfardic / Mizrahi exodus from the Muslim world. No mention of the barrage of Qassams. No mention of the unceasing attempts to kill Jews. No mention of anything that would provide context or perspective. Just an unceasing flow of anti-Israel rhetoric, from eight-thirty in the morning till lunch-time, and then for another hour afterwards, before the workshops on practical anti-Semitism and how to propagate hate...... oops, I mean the workshops on 'Why Divestment Is the Best Method to End the Occupation' (by Fahad Abu-Akel, room 2005, from 2:15 PM to 3:15), and 'Christian Zionism in Mainstream Churches' (by Rosemary Radford Reuther, room 200, from 3:30 to 4:30)."

Boston protests Sabeel Last year
02 Oct 2007
Hillel Stavis, a local Jewish activist involved in the anti-divestment movement, described First Church Congregational U.C.C. and Christ Church, Cambridge – both located on Garden Street – as “red hot centers of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity.”
The Center for Palestine Human Rights (CPHR), a group associated with the Somerville Divestment Project – which in November lost a ballot initiative in support of the Right of Return for Palestinians and divestment from Israel – had until recently rented a space at First Church since March.
A few doors down, at the Christ Church, Cambridge, local members of Sabeel, a liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians, have also been conducting assemblies that are upsetting parishioners.
Stavis also expressed concern about the nearby First Parish in Cambridge on Church Street, which hosts speakers that he said speak inflammatorily against Israel.
“There is a philosophy that you can do almost anything you want to the Jews and the Jews won’t fight back,” Stavis said. “But if Jews rally in a factual, respectable and civil manner, you realize you can talk to these people.”
So Stavis, along with the help of a dozen other concerned citizens and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, succeeded last weekend in ousting the first of such groups from Cambridge churches. After weeks of holding signs and peacefully protesting outside, Jewish advocates achieved the removal of the Center for Palestine Human Rights from their headquarters at the First Church.
According to SDP board member Bob Cable, the group received a letter from the place of worship in late October that read: “During the last five weeks, our office has been receiving numerous calls expressing concern about the nature and purpose of your organization. Some of these calls have come from individuals and organizations with whom we have important relationships. In order to maintain these relationships ... our staff has expended unacceptable levels of time and energy. This is a distraction we can no longer permit.”
Though CPHR had a lease that was set to expire at the end of December, the group moved out Dec. 16. And the organization has sought legal advice, Cable said.
“We are trying to eliminate trouble in the world, but that’s an incredibly huge job,” Cable added.
First Church’s Senior Pastor Mary Luti declined to comment.
Seth Brysk, director of the Israel Action Center at the JCRC, said Luti contacted his organization in October to see if complaints about the SDP had merit. After conversations with members of the interfaith community, Brysk noted that Luti came to understand “SDP’s ulterior motives.”
“It’s important for the community to understand the true motivation and meaning behind the divestment movement and particularly behind the SDP’s intentions to find a way to de-legitimize and demonize Israel as a first step to Israel’s destruction,” Brysk added. “We are happy to see their efforts thwarted.”
Now, Stavis and others are moving forward with their mission. On Monday, Stavis held a meeting at Christ Church, Cambridge with the new rector, The Rev. Joseph O. Robinson to discuss Sabeel, the movement of Palestinian Christians. While Robinson declined to comment on the issue to the Advocate, Stavis said the conversation proved that issues of the Middle East and Israel will be treated with “objectivity and fairness.”
Sabeel had first been introduced to the church by the former leader The Rev. Robert Tobin, who learned about the group in 1994 when he traveled to Israel.
Brysk called the group “a nasty organization.”
“They use anti-Semitic tropes that were discredited from Christian theology for political gain,” Brysk said. “Sabeel tries to play upon the noble value of Christianity of compassion and charity for the purposes of demonizing Israel.”
Tobin, who retired from the church two years ago, noted that he feels these Jewish activists – and the JCRC – are stifling free speech.
“I think it’s sad that they can have this kind of effect over an issue that really demands, in this state of the game, knowledge of what’s really going on and debating the issues,” Tobin said.
The Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson of the First Parish in Cambridge, whose Unitarian Universalist church may be the next target, agreed.
“To me, any group that would want to shut down public dialogue is anti-democratic and troublesome to me,” Farber-Robertson said.
See also:
People Better Show Up to Counter-Protest and Help Palestinians
03 Oct 2007
Friends of Sabeel-New England presents . . .
“The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel:
Issues of Justice and Equality”

October 26 – 27, 2007
Old South Church, 645 Boylston St., Boston

Friday—2:30 PM—10:00 PM
Saturday—8:00 AM—4:30 PM

Keynote Address: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Naim Ateek * Anat Biletzki * Diana Buttu * Noam Chomsky
John Dugard * Farid Esack * Noura Erekat * Jeff Halper
Donald Wagner * David Wildman

Other Participants:
Phyllis Bennis * Joan M. Martin
Nancy Murray * Bishop Thomas Shaw
path of Ghandi and King
03 Oct 2007
You have it backwards, racist organizations like Sabeel devoted to hate and propaganda, HARM the Palestinians and the possibility of peace. Its time that the Palestinians abandoned hate and their campaign of violence and pursued the path of Ghandi and King. Its the only way it will ever work out.
Protest Racist Sabeel Conference
03 Oct 2007
This isn't about helping the Palestinians.

Sabeel is a racist organization that subverts church doctrine and seeks to ethnically cleanse the Jews from Israel.

Progressive anti-racist groups such as Women in Black have protested Sabeel before. I hope Boston Women in Balck will protest Sabeel this time.
"I see here, that Israel is #26"
05 Oct 2007
. . . not counting the nukes.