Preaching Tikkun - Page 2

Rabbi Michael Lerner still courts controversy as he celebrates his magazine's silver anniversary

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Judge Richard Goldstone (left) and Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun's silver anniversary celebration
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the police have "no leads or identified suspects." She went on to say that the latest incident may be classified as a hate crime.

"When people start coming to attack your house, you don't feel safe," Lerner said. "You don't know what these crazy people will do next." But he insists he does not want to make a big deal out of the threats, saying extremists have never altered his actions or politics.

Lerner has always tried to challenge the American Jewish establishment, a term for organizations with an array of religious, cultural, and political concerns but a common hawkish stance on Israel and American foreign policy.

"Israel has been turned into God," he explains. "You can walk into any synagogue in America and you can tell them 'I don't believe in God, I don't like the Torah, and I'm not following the Ten Commandments' and be welcomed. But if you go into that same synagogue and say, 'I don't support Israel,' you are kicked out. People are worshiping Israel and God has been abandoned."

But Lerner notes shifting public opinion, especially among younger Jews. Many are experiencing ethical dissonance between the righteous and heroic Israel commonly portrayed in the Jewish community and the increasingly visible reality of Israel's military occupation of Palestinian lands, human rights abuses, and violations of international law.

While criticism of Israel coming from non-Jews is often dismissed as anti-Semitism, Jews who express dissent often get called "self-hating." But Lerner said the illogical conclusion that Israel is the same thing as the Jewish people, and that if you criticize Israel you hate yourself has become less effective in silencing dissent. "It simply isn't true that people are angry at Israel because of some internal psychological deformation," Lerner said. "[Increasingly] people are saying 'If being ethical is the same as being a self-hating Jew, then I choose to be ethical.' "

But Lerner comes under fierce criticism from Jewish hardliners for his views. Attorney Alan Dershowitz, an outspoken supporter of Israel's government, famously wrote a 2006 commentary in j., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California detailing Lerner's "offense against decency and the Jewish people," concluding that Lerner is a "rabbi for Hamas." According to Dershowitz, "Tikkun is quickly becoming the most virulently anti-Israel screed ever published under Jewish auspices."

But Lerner isn't really on the radical edge in criticizing Israel. Although Tikkun courted controversy in 1988 by denouncing Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, the magazine today doesn't support the movement that is pushing a policy of boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel initiated by Palestinian activists in 2005 as a nonviolent tactic to pressure Israel to change its policies. But Lerner still seeks to foster debate on the topic, as he did in the July/August 2010 issue, which featured Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace arguing for at least a partial support of the tactic.

Lerner's ire has always been directed at powerful institutions, from the military to the white Southern power structure. As a college student, Lerner directly engaged in the nonviolent protests of the 1960s. While working toward his first PhD (philosophy) at UC Berkeley, Lerner was president of Students for a Democratic Society. Later, while working on his second PhD (psychology) in Seattle, Lerner was arrested and found guilty of instigating a riot during a protest against the Vietnam War. The conviction was later overturned, but his reputation as a dangerous radical was solidified in the minds of Hoover and other establishment figures.

Comments

MY PERSONAL REACTIONS TO THIS STORY About ME:
1. It’s the fairest story I’ve ever had printed about me in S.F. And far better than the profiles of me in the NY Times Sunday Magazine, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal when they were describing me as "the guru of the Clinton White House,"not to mention far better than anything that has ever appeared in any Jewish magazine. Asaf Shalev did a masterful job of incorporating a lot of information and avoiding the normal cynicism of the media. I deeply thank the Bay Guardian for having such a competent reporter! I only wish he had stressed more that Tikkun magazine is now not only the largest circulation progressive Jewish magazine in the world, but simultaneously a voice for Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and atheists and agnostics, and publishes people like Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Sharon Kleinbaum, Imam Zaid Shakir, Tariq Ramadan, Marianne Williamson, Christine Stansell, Josephn Stiglitz, Jermy Ben Ami, Kim Chernin, Peter Gabel, Annie Dillard, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Estelle Frankel, Stephen Goldbart, Michael Ziegler, Philip Wolfson, David Korten, Riane Eisler, Hans Kung,Margaret Flowers, Rev. Walter Brueggemann, Terry Eagleton, Brian McLaren, Marge Piercy, Cornel West, Rev. J.Alfred Smith, Jorge Ferrer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Peter Dale Scott, Carolyn Forche', Arthur Waskow, Hazel Henderson, Rashid Khalidi, Josh Kornbluth, Swami Beyondanada, Mark LeVine, Stephen Zunes, Robert J. Lifton, Joyce Carol Oates, David Grossman, John Perkins, Robert Pinsky, aaron Tapper, Martin Jay, Michael Walzer, Arthur Green, Jim Wallis, and many many more. And I wish that the story could have included that we gave the Tikkun Award last week not only to Justice Goldstone, but also to Naomi Newman who founded A Traveling Jewish Theatre; C.K. Williams winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and whose poetry appears in Tikkun; Sheikh Hamza Yusuf founder of the Zaytuna College of Islamic Studies; Rabbi Marcia Prager who heads the rabbinic training program for the Jewish Renewal movement; and Congressman Raul Grijalva who leads the fight for immigrant rights in the US House of Representatives.

2. It’s obviously been cut in various places by an illiterate editor, and at times leaves out important information. For example, that we at Tikkun are looking for new young writers, poets, and interns and volunteers (info at www.tikkun.org/jobs). Below I try to correct some of the mistakes in the article, but only in the context of deep appreciation for the competence with which it was written.
3. My part in raising and loving my son Akiba, not Tikkun, is the greatest accomplishment of my life. Tikkun is next, and then my 11 books including my 2 national best sellerd come in 3rd. And 4th is my Bay Area community—Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-without-walls at which I lead services and teach Torah, mostly now in Berkeley though we were started in San Francisco. A warm and welcoming community—welcoming also to non-Jews and to people who don’t believe in God but are open to deep connection with the Jewish tradition. Come to our Passover Seder or our High Holiday services in Berkeley—worth the trip over the bridge!! www.beyttikkun.org.
4. I was not working at Seattle on my 2nd ph.d.—I was an asst prof. on the faculty of the Philosophy Dept. I studied for and received my 2nd ph.d. several years later from the Wright Institute in Berkeley in social/clinical psychology.
5. I was not found guilty of instigating a riot—I was found guilty of “contempt of court”—and it was for that that I was sent to Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary, and that charge was later overturned by the U.S. Appeals Court
6. The Right has grown in popularity not because it champions “church and family,” but because it addresses the yearning Americans have for a framework of meaning and purpose that transcends the selfishness and materialism of the capitalist marketplace. Unfortunately, it then ties that legitimate need to an illegitimate racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and support for right wing economics—none of which can in any way address the legitimate hunger for a world based on love and caring and mutual recognition and a sense of respect for each individual that is at the heart of Americans’ yearning for meaning and purpose. So many on the Right could be split from the Right if the Left were to begin to address these spiritual needs and show that what creates selfishness and materialism and undermines loving relationships and families is NOT liberal programs, but rather the very essence of the values of capitalism. However, to do that, progressives would have to be able to validate spiritual needs, and begin to talk about the central importance of building a world of love, kindness, generosity and caring. But given the religio-phobia on the Left, and the prevalent assumption that anyone who is spiritual is fundamentally either a New Age flake or on a slippery slope toward reactionary ideas, the Left can’t speak to these needs in a convincing way. That is why we created the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives (not only for religious people but also for the many many “spiritual but NOT religious” including atheists, agnostics, etc. Please join us at www.spiritualprogressives.org. And please read Tikkun on line regularly—at www.tikkun.org.
7. The article fails to mention our two main campaigns:
. A. The Global Marshall Plan to eliminate global poverty, hunger, inadequate education, inadequate health care and to repair the global environment. Our plan has just been re-introduced into Congress by Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison (the chair of the Progressive Caucus) as H.Res 157. Please read it at www.spiritualprogressives.org/GMP.
B. Our plan to overturn citizens’ united and create a more democratic and environmentally sane society—The ESRA (Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution) which would go way beyond overturning Citizen’s United and require that national elections for President, Senate and the House of Representatives be fully funded by public funds and that no other private funds would be allowed to be spent directly or indirectly, that media would be required to give free and equal time to the candidates and no other advertising would be allowed, that corporations with incomes over $100 million/yr would have to get a new corporate charter which would only be granted to those corporations which could prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a jury of ordinary citizens, and that public and private education would have to include education for environmental and caring-for-others consciousness at every grade level from K-graduate or professional schools! This has been introduced into the Congress by Congressman Dennis Kucinich as H.Res. 156. Please read it at www.spiritualprogressives.org/ESRA.
If you’d like to join us in getting local elected officials, the Board of Supervisors of SF, your state legislators, or your Congressional reps to endorse the ESRA and/or the Global Marshall Plan, please contact me through my assistant at Tikkun: mike@Tikkun.org.
--Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun

Posted by Rabbi Michael Lerner on Mar. 23, 2011 @ 9:14 am

I also wish the story had mentioned a very important fact about Tikkun--that Tikkun is NOT Michael Lerner, though I play an important role. But what has made Tikkun possible is a. the 2,000 plus authors we've published over the course of the past 25 years, and the many more who will write for us now that we are also and primarily a web-magazine at www.tikkun.org b.the many fine people who have worked at Tikkun, not only our current staff of Dave Belden, Alana Price, Pete Catrell, Natalie Wollner, and Mike Godbe, and our associate editor Peter Gabel and our poetry editor Josh Weiner, but also people who have played an important shaping role in the past, including our founding publisher Nan Fink (now Gefen), people in our editorial collective in the past including Todd Gitlin, David Biale, Ruth Rosen, Lisa Rubens, and managing editors Alice Chasen, JoEllen Green Kaiser, and Deb Kory. Plus the Design Action Collective, the Web design people Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi at Reach and Teach.
So whenever anyone says, "Oh, Tikkun--that's Rabbi Michael Lerner" please correct them and say, No, that's Michael Lerner assembling some of most talented and creative people in the liberal and progressive worlds from the U.S. and all around the globe in the process of "tikkun-ing" (healing, repairing and transforming) our badly screwed up world. And read it each week at www.tikkun.org and you'll see why so many people think it is the most exciting intellectual, political, cultural and spiritual magazine in the world!

Posted by Rabbi Michael Lerner on Mar. 23, 2011 @ 9:27 am

While we are all grateful that Tikkun and Michael Lerner have often strongly criticized Israel, it is important for readers to know that there is another very questionable side to Mr. Lerner’s position on Israel, and it should be better aired.

Lerner has specifically attacked and even called anti-Semites, proponents of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel (likely the only strategy that can possibly work now that the crisis in Palestine has reached such a terrible and intractable stage).

For example, here is Lerner’s statement upon his learning that the Green Party supports BDS:

“I think the Greens have made a big strategic as well as moral mistake. What Israel is doing is a violation of human rights and a big sin. But it is not in the same league with the sins of many other nations, first and foremost the U.S. If the Greens were calling for divestment from the U.S., Russia (because of Chechnya), China (because of Tibet), and Sudan (because of Darfur) then adding Israel to that list would be appropriate and I’d support such a multi-focused divestment. But to single out Israel, while not calling for divestment from U.S. corporations that make possible the far more bloody occupation of Iraq, is a double standard that smacks of traditional anti-Semitism.”

(See the full article at http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2006/atinsky110206.html )

Supporters of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel are of course not anti-Semites, and such a retrogressive statement from Mr. Lerner is very troubling, because it suggests that he has no problem railing at Israel's behavior in the media; but when it comes to actually -changing- Israel's behavior through stern effective interventions that may cause Israel real pain, he changes his tune, and has turned against progressives, attacking them.

It seems in those moments, that Lerner is far more concerned with only protecting Judaism from negative cross connotations with reactionary Israel, rather than truly protecting the Palestinians from the deep oppressions and abuses of illegal occupation.

So I would ask you Mr. Lerner, since you made that statement a few years ago, have you matured and changed your position?

Can we count on you to help us take the real steps of boycott and divestment to help force an end the brutal occupation of Palestine?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 4:48 am

Mr. Brooks may be happy to know that while Michael Lerner may not openly support BDS vs Israel, he has been openly supportive of groups which do, such as Jewish Voice for Peace (better known in some quarters as "Jewish Voice for Palestinians"). Moreover, the author of the above piece, Asaf Shalev, was a prominent member of a Berkeley student group, Kesher Enoshi, which strongly supported BDS vs Israel.

Actually, the Guardian piece reads more like a Tikkun press release. And it won't surprise me if it actually was written by Lerner and submitted by Mr. Shalev. After all, in 1997 editors at Tikkun Magazine outed Lerner for having written under psedonyms fawning letters praising both Tikkun Magazine and, of course, Michael Lerner. Those of us who have known Lerner since our SDS days, aware that he is the quintessential narcissist, would hardly be surprised if this were the case.

Posted by Guest Dan Spitzer on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 8:44 am

I can assure you that Kesher Enoshi never took any position on BDS whatsoever. That is because Kesher Enoshi does not claim to speak for all its members collectively. Rather, we encourage our members to have opinions and act on them individually.

Posted by Asaf on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 11:41 am

support BDS. As you bloody well know. Asaf, it's clear whether you are addressing the Tikkun situation or anything regarding Israel/Palestine, that telling the truth is not something to which you are partial. Ditto your hero, Michael Lerner. That unfettered egotist was loathed by fellow members of SDS during the Vietnam War just as he is loathed by most Jews. The "cause" always was and always will be about Michael.

As a counterweight to the ridiculously conservative Commentary, Tikkun was a terrific idea. But Lerner became so obsessed with using it as a diatribe against Israel to call attention to himself that the magazine's readership has plummeted. Lerner may say he cares about Israel and opposes BDS but he supports ridiculous Jews like JVP and your pals at Kesher who support the delegitimization of Israel. And to give an award to the likes of Judge Goldstone who acknowledges that he could somehow run his investigation w/o the help of either Hamas or Israel and thus, w/o having much of substance to go on, pilloried Israel, is simply pathetic.

Finally, when Lerner published the likes of Holocaust denier Norman Finklestein, much of Tikkun's readership left Lerner's sinking ship. Likewise, his congregation was so diminished in SF that he had to move it back to his hallowed home in the Berkeley hills...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

The contention that Norman Finkelstein is a 'holocaust denier' is absolutely absurd.

The families of both Finkelstein's mother and father were wiped out by the Nazis during the holocaust, and Finkelstein has clearly cited this grim history and its deep impression on him, as one of the most foundational moral drivers of his lifelong effort to study, report on, challenge, and end, Israel's genocidal and murderous oppression of the Palestinian people.

To get the straight dope on Norman Finkelstein, go to his web site at:

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

It's hard to figure who is more ridiculous between Dershowitz or Finkelstein in that feud.

That a leftist complains about a industry around professional victim hood is just pure entertainment.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

I also find it humorous when commenters just don't get it.
Like I do.
After all, it's perfectly obvious.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

I also enjoy laughs when noticing that one member of a group acts dcifferently than another!
I deem this to be a contradiction on the part of the entire group!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

snicker

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

(Since the reactionary Zionists feel the only way they can win a debate is to post numerous one phrase replies to get comments they don't like to drop out of the links list, I'll just have to post this again here, and higher up, so readers get a proper chance to see it.)

First let's clarify a very crucial point.

Since when is the State of Israel synonymous with the Semites? Or even simply Jews themselves?

Supporters of BDS criticize Israel as a rogue nation, not Jews. The religion that Israel was founded upon, and the ethnicity of the people for whom Israel was largely founded (Jews all over the world) has almost nothing to do with the issue whatsoever (with one very key exception that I will note further below).

The actual issue is simple. For the last 63 years, Israel has illegally, flagrantly, and violently occupied vast tracts of land which do not belong to it, and has forcibly and illegally ejected millions of that land's indigenous people in order to pursue that occupation. Along the way, Israel has murdered thousands of innocent people; and in a -vastly- higher proportion than the number of Israelis who have been killed in response to that illegal occupation.

Now, we have established that since Israel is clearly not the embodiment of Semitic peoples, Judaism, or Jews, it is ridiculous slight of hand to call criticism of Israel 'anti-Semitism'.

So the next question is - since so much other brutal oppression is happening in so many places, is it somehow biased to focus right now on a specifically targeted boycott and divestment campaign against Israel for its crimes.

The answer is no, for many reasons. Here are just three of them.

1) Boycotts and divestment don't make sense in most, if not all, of those other places mentioned by yourself and Lerner, because it only works to launch such a campaign, if it will actually achieve results. For example: Of course the U.S. is far worse than Israel in its murderous genocidal oppressions all over the world. But would a boycott and divestment campaign against the massive globally reaching U.S. economy be an effective way to challenge the U.S.? Not likely at all. And in most of the other countries you mentioned, the complex relationships between those countries and others near them or allied to them, make it highly unlikely that enough global unanimity could be achieved to make boycotts effective. Israel on the other hand, is both small enough, isolated enough (largely because of its own hubris, belligerence, and arrogance) and dependent enough on foreign trade and aid, that a boycott and divestment campaign could indeed be viable, and have a powerful impact on its behavior.

2) Israel's actions over the past six decades have been outrageously illegal. No other country vulnerable to a boycott, has so repeatedly, onerously, and egregiously violated international law as has Israel. The violations formally recognized by the UN and, even solely the Security Council itself, are record setting in number.

3) Israel's actions amount to the deepest and most misguided hypocrisy ever perpetrated by any nation in history, bar none. After the terrible, terrible abuse and genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, after nearly every Jewish child has quite rightly had the phrase 'NEVER AGAIN' drilled into them irrevocably from early childhood, it is the absolute -pinnacle- of outrageous hypocrisy for the nation of Israel (which was -founded- to be a place of refuge for Jews from genocidal oppression) to then turn around and treat the Palestinian people with almost exactly the same sort of murderous, genocidal, and terrorizing oppression as that which was visited upon European Jews, Romas, and others, by the Nazis. Such a macabre immoral turnabout is absolutely unconscionable, and if there is a god, amounts to one of the most unforgivable sins perpetrated before her eyes.

So Israel is both a potentially effective target for boycotts and divestment, and, is clearly so profoundly outrageous and out of control in its behavior, that it has sparked an unprecedented moral outrage in people like myself, and catapulted itself right to the top of the list of countries which should be boycotted in order to bring it into compliance with both international law, and fundamental human decency.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 12:11 am

OK, it's becoming clearer now. Eric Brooks is not an anti-Semite, even though he declines to use BDS tactics against (or protest in any other way) the behavior of every other evil-doing state in the world except Israel (except maybe the most criminal of all genocidal, imperialist countries, the United States). The reason Eric Brooks is not an anti-Semite is because BDS tactics wouldn't work against Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, China or Russia---Israel is a very special case, and these would only work against Israel. Otherwise, of course, Eric Brooks would be protesting vociferously against these other oppressive, violently genocidal apartheid states---but really the only thing he can do about the world's evil is mount a BDS movement against Israel .What's more, Eric Brooks is not an anti-Semite because Israel has nothing to do with Jews. The fact that it was founded by Jews as a Jewish state, who see Palestine as their homeland because they have lived on that land uninterruptedly for several thousand years is beside the point---that's a smokescreen. Eric Brooks is not an anti-Semite because Israel is simply a land grab by a bunch of greedy colonial interlopers (whose common religion and ethnicity is not worth mentioning---ptui!) who stole (never paid a dime for) land from people who did not own this stateless land and who never had a state on this land and never mentioned a state until 1967. That's why Eric Brooks is not an anti-Semite. Got it.

Posted by Guest Jim Sinkinson on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 11:55 am

Your fantasy view of Palestine (based on a book of myth - the Old Testament/Bible) and your ludicrous belief that it is somehow ok to have a 'religious' state shows that you are way off in la la land on this one. For Jews to believe that they should have a religious state is just as screwed up as running an Arab state by Sharia law.

And centuries of common law give the indigenous Palestinians completely legal title to the land that their families have actually been living on (in real life not in books of myth) for centuries.

The land was indeed stolen from them. Period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

may be seen in his posting of 7:32 below and my commentary which follows. Of course, an anti-Semite like Brooks would embrace a fellow anti-Semite, Norman Finklestein.

And indeed there are Jewish anti-Semites: those who hate the still living half of the Jewish population, citizens of the throughly democratic nation of Israel. Among them are Finkelstein, KPFA's Dennis Bernstein, Barbara Lubin, the imbeciles of JVP and Kesher Enoshi, and-of course-Michael Lerner.

What accounts for this pathology of those who hate their own kind? While some say it's self-hatred, I disagree. I believe it is an astounding neurosis of self-love, enabling these bigots to sanctimoniously say, "Look at me! I'm so ethical that I can lie and denigrate my own kind--even call for its destruction."

First and foremost among these narcissists is Michael Lerner...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

Total nonsense Spitzer.

Let me give you the short list of seven of the top heroes in my all time top ten list:

Albert Einstein
Howard Zinn
Noam Chomsky
Woody Allen
Carl Sagan
Ralph Nader
Jesus of Nazareth

That's -seven- out of ten of my top ten heroes, six Jewish, and Nader, of Lebanese decent, is most definitely Semitic.

Hence, I am by no stretch of the imagination anti-Semitic.

And as I said before, neither is Norman Finkelstein (also Jewish and also a great personal hero of mine).

Again:

The contention that Norman Finkelstein is a 'holocaust denier' or 'anti-Semitic' is absolutely laughable.

The families of both Finkelstein's mother and father were wiped out by the Nazis during the holocaust, and Finkelstein has clearly cited this grim history and its deep impression on him, as one of the most foundational moral drivers of his lifelong effort to study, report on, challenge, and end, Israel's genocidal and murderous oppression of the Palestinian people.

To get the straight dope on Norman Finkelstein, go to his web site at:

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

Come on, Eric, Jews are either Friends of Israel or Self Hating Jews. Get with the program. That's why Israel had to pass a law making it illegal to call for the state's elimination.

I call for the immediate dissolution of the United States of America into bioregions by any means necessary. See? That was not so difficult.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

Yes indeed. I am in fact seriously considering converting to Judaism, so that, I too, can be a self-hating Jew :^)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

I can take a break from hating myself for my own sake to hate myself for you for a moment, if that is what you need. Then I will push myself into the sea.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 8:26 pm
Ok

Alright, but wear a life jacket.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

read his posts on this site. ;-)>

Even a Kapo like Lerner might have difficulty justifying converting you, Eric, to Judaism, given your manifest hatred of Jews...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

I don't hate Jews. I hate Israel. There is a big difference between the two.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

Eric, it would be wonderful if all of Israel's enemies were as pathetic as you.

You don't hate Jews. You only hate half the Jews of the world who--wait for it--live in Israel.

Fee, Fie, Foo, Fum, We all smell the blood of an anti-Semitic bum.

Eric, you are like JVP, ISM, Kseher Enoshi and Michael Lerner and his Amen Corner: yes, you clearly hate half the Jews of the planet. And, you poor wretched ignoramus, that does indeed make you an anti-Semite. Alas, you are too mentally impaired to realize it.

Please don't convert to Judaism as you have threatened. We have enough kapos on are plate, starting with Lerner Da Ludicrous...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 25, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

You still can't quite figure this out can you?

Let me spell it out for you in the simplest phrases possible.

I hate the -state- (i.e. the government, institutions, military, security apparatus) of Israel. Not the majority of the people who -live- in Israel; who I am sure are just as normal and human as anyone else.

To use another example, I hate the United States government, its pathetic legal system, national security state, institutional arrogance, murderous military, etc. Does that mean I hate all of the people who -live- in the United States? Of course it doesn't.

Are you capable of having a thought more complex than a Spongebob Squarepants cartoon...?

Your total inability to separate in your mind the state of Israel, from the Jewish people, is both incredibly juvenile, and also the core of why the conflict in Palestine is so completely fucked up and intractable. Because it is so easy to brainwash fools like you into believing hook, line and sinker, the lame brain idea that there is no difference between Israel and Jews; and then steer you in the direction of perpetual hatred of everyone who doesn't think like you do.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 4:00 am

Eric, you've given all who real this site a good look at your ignorance and bigotry. Nothing more need be said as your very own words revel who you are and your unbridled anti-Semitism.

David Duke has a website for his neo-Nazi magazine. The likes of other Israel-loathing anti-Semites such as Alison Weir have had entire pieces published on it. May I suggest you next post on Duke's site rather than submitting the rest of us to your hatred of Jews sewage?

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 6:32 am

Let's get back to reality Dan. It is safe to say that anyone who is not a rage driven, knee-jerk, right wing Zionist like yourself, will see from reading my words that neither bigotry nor anti-semitism has anything to do with why I so strongly criticize Israel. On the contrary, what Israel is doing to the Palestinians (and what you are doing when you so viciously, cartoonishly, and unjustifiably attack those who criticize Israel) is -creating- hatred of both Israel and Jews. You yourself, have become, exponentially, the very quintessential vehicle of hate against Jews and Israel, that you accuse others of being.

At any rate, no one of conscience is buying your lame accusations of anti-semitism, so let's get to your other accusation, where we might actually be able to have a debate that is edifying to both each other and the readers of this thread.

You said my comments were ignorant. Tell me. In what way, and on what points, are my comments ignorant?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 11:43 am

Why is it whenever the State of Israel's actions are criticized, those who dare to criticize Israel are labeled "anti-semitic?"

I recall the Israel BDS resolution was formulated in response to Israel's mass-muder of Palestinians in January 2009, a slaughter in which 1000 Palestinians were indiscriminately murdered; Israel's response to rockets being fired by Palestinians into lands confiscated from Palestinians by Israel.

The State of Israel was created in 1948 to create a permanent home for Jews who had been persecuted throughout Europe and culminating in the horror of the holocaust. Prior to 1948, Jews and Arabs lived relatively peaceably side-by-side in what was then greater Palestine.

The only viable solution now is to move forward to a two-state, pre-1967 border solution, an agreement that also includes the partitioning of Jerusalem.

Posted by Yaweh on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

Thank you Yaweh,

As to your first point, their accusations of anti-semitism are simply a cynical propaganda ploy; and one that is increasingly not being taken seriously.

On the second, I disagree with you about a two state solution. Palestine has now been so partitioned and marginalized into a swiss cheese, that there is simply not enough left of the West Bank and Gaza with which to form a viable independent Palestinian state.

A true, unified, free democracy within the full borders of the original Palestine region, is the only viable option left.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

You're devaluing the currency of antisemitism by even saying that.

Devaluing the currency of antisemitism is like crying wolf, nobody will ever believe you when there really is antisemitism.

Why do you hate The Jews so much, Spitzer? Is that good for The Jews?

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 9:29 am

that dude accusing you of being anti-semitic is straight out of the lefty text book?

As an example, every time the left screams racism when people are too stupid to agree with the leftists on immigration.

It's entertaining to see a doctrinaire lefty have to defend himself on charges of racism, after tossing it out so cavalierly.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

supporting group. So much for even a scintilla of fairness in this pathetic piece. Surely, if the Guardian wishes to cover a story, it can find a reporter with less manifest biases, in this case stridently in opposition to Israel and in support of the egoistic Lerner...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

Kesher is by no means composed of a majority of people who support BDS. In fact, I dont even know the position of most people associated with BDS. Thats not what people talk about in Kesher Enoshi.

The attacks on Lerner are what set up the piece to make him seem like a sympathetic character, which is usually the case for people who attacked, especially when the motivations are political.

To address your overall tone and argument: it's predictable . You're spewing the same empty and incendiary rhetoric that is commonly used to portray people who disagree with Israel's policies as crazy and extreme. I probably could have written your comment better than you, Ive heard it so many times. It great you want to be on record as critical of the article but the inflammatory words will no work to silence debate anymore. And, may I ask, who are you Dan Spitzer?

Posted by Asaf on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

On the other hand, while people like me would condemn vandalism toward Lerner or anyone else for that matter, few individuals who have known Lerner over the years could imagine anything which would find him "a sympathetic character." As I said, I've known Lerner since our anti-Vietnam days with SDS and the contempt most who knew Lerner from that time to the present because of his overwhelming egoism is grounded in reality.

What extraordinary powers you must have, Asaf, to believe you know how readers will respond to criticism! Clearly, it reached you as your pathetic attempts to rationalize away reality reflect.

And why would you wish to know what I "am?" Would it make any difference if I was a factory worker or-I have no reason to hide my profession-a writer? I am familiar with both Lerner and your fellow hate-mongering simpletons at Kesher Enoshi. And I am hardly alone in this...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

Michael Lerner rightfully calls the BDS movement anti-Semitic because it singles out Israel and fully ignores the far more egregious offenses of other nations, especially the gender, religious and racial apartheid of Arab and most Muslim nations. By this definition---a hypocritical double standard---there's no doubt that the Goldstone Report was fundamentally anti-Semitic because it singled out Israel's actions in Gaza among all the nations involved in violent conflicts around the world (e.g., Sudan, Somalia, China, Russia). Why in just the last month thousands more unarmed citizens have been killed by repressive Arab regimes than all the people who were killed by Israel in Operation Cast Lead---and Israel was fighting back against an enemy sworn to its destruction, which had launched some 10,000 missles at its citizens (not its military) over the previous eight years. So show me the U.N. war crimes reports on Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya and I'll retract my judgment. Until then it stands. It's curious that Eric Brooks blithely dismisses Lerner's anti-Semitism label for the BDS movement and proceeds to NOT refute it. He and others on the far left simply refuse to address the fundamental prejudice in their position---their focus on Jewish state to the total exclusion of all the other (much more heinous) evil-doers in the world. That's classic anti-Semitism, period. Indeed, if Brooks is so intent on changing behavior to achieve peace between Israel and her neighbors, he might spend some energy getting Hamas and the Palestinian Authority simply to say it aloud just one time in public: "We want peace with Israel and we accept the existence of the Jewish state." Until that happens, no matter what Israel does about settlements or Jerusalem, there will be no peace. So, Eric, I'm ready for a BDS directed at Hamas and the PA, or Iran or Syria or Libya---you name the date for the big demonstration, and I'm there. Until then, best keep it zipped.

Posted by Guest Jim Sinkinson on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

I'll be happy to explicate this for you Jim, but first let's clarify a very crucial point.

Since when is the State of Israel synonymous with the Semites? Or even simply Jews themselves?

Supporters of BDS criticize Israel as a rogue nation, not Jews. The religion that Israel was founded upon, and the ethnicity of the people for whom Israel was largely founded (Jews all over the world) has almost nothing to do with the issue whatsoever (with one very key exception that I will note further below).

The actual issue is simple. For the last 63 years, Israel has illegally, flagrantly, and violently occupied vast tracts of land which do not belong to it, and has forcibly and illegally ejected millions of that land's indigenous people in order to pursue that occupation. Along the way, Israel has murdered thousands of innocent people; and in a -vastly- higher proportion than the number of Israelis who have been killed in response to that illegal occupation.

Now, we have established that since Israel is clearly not the embodiment of Semitic peoples, Judaism, or Jews, it is ridiculous slight of hand to call criticism of Israel 'anti-Semitism'.

So the next question is - since so much other brutal oppression is happening in so many places, is it somehow biased to focus right now on a specifically targeted boycott and divestment campaign against Israel for its crimes.

The answer is no, for many reasons. Here are just three of them.

1) Boycotts and divestment don't make sense in most, if not all, of those other places mentioned by yourself and Lerner, because it only works to launch such a campaign, if it will actually achieve results. For example: Of course the U.S. is far worse than Israel in its murderous genocidal oppressions all over the world. But would a boycott and divestment campaign against the massive globally reaching U.S. economy be an effective way to challenge the U.S.? Not likely at all. And in most of the other countries you mentioned, the complex relationships between those countries and others near them or allied to them, make it highly unlikely that enough global unanimity could be achieved to make boycotts effective. Israel on the other hand, is both small enough, isolated enough (largely because of its own hubris, belligerence, and arrogance) and dependent enough on foreign trade and aid, that a boycott and divestment campaign could indeed be viable, and have a powerful impact on its behavior.

2) Israel's actions over the past six decades have been outrageously illegal. No other country vulnerable to a boycott, has so repeatedly, onerously, and egregiously violated international law as has Israel. The violations formally recognized by the UN and, even solely the Security Council itself, are record setting in number.

3) Israel's actions amount to the deepest and most misguided hypocrisy ever perpetrated by any nation in history, bar none. After the terrible, terrible abuse and genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, after nearly every Jewish child has quite rightly had the phrase 'NEVER AGAIN' drilled into them irrevocably from early childhood, it is the absolute -pinnacle- of outrageous hypocrisy for the nation of Israel (which was -founded- to be a place of refuge for Jews from genocidal oppression) to then turn around and treat the Palestinian people with almost exactly the same sort of murderous, genocidal, and terrorizing oppression as that which was visited upon European Jews, Romas, and others, by the Nazis. Such a macabre immoral turnabout is absolutely unconscionable, and if there is a god, amounts to one of the most unforgivable sins perpetrated before her eyes.

So Israel is both a potentially effective target for boycotts and divestment, and, is clearly so profoundly outrageous and out of control in its behavior, that it has sparked an unprecedented moral outrage in people like myself, and catapulted itself right to the top of the list of countries which should be boycotted in order to bring it into compliance with both international law, and fundamental human decency.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

Actually, Jim, Goldstone's report on the conflict was also quite critical of Hamas and said the indiscriminate firing of missiles at civilian targets also amounted to war crimes. But it was Israel's actions that caused the most death and destruction by far in that conflict, and Israel is also a recognized nation-state, so the report necessarily came down a little harder on Israel. But remember, this was a UN-commissioned study, similar to other studies of war crimes before it (some of which Goldstone also conducted, earning him international respect and acclaim), so it's just not fair or accurate to cast this Jewish man and his study as "fundamentally anti-Semetic." Frankly, only a fundamentalist would hold that view.

Posted by steven on Mar. 28, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

Goldstone demonstrated that our tax dollars are being used to finance Israel's war crimes, and that puts the onus on American taxpayers, especially American Jews, to demand that our resources not be used for criminal purposes against civilian populations.

If Israel decides to continue on this course, they must do so without our resources and be prepared to take solely responsibility for their criminal conduct.

Palestinians are allowed to fight back against illegal occupation under international law. Israel is not allowed to occupy nor to establish an blockade against civilian populations. International law agreed to by democracies and dictatorships alike is crystal clear on this. But Israel appears to be the kind of democracy that blows off whatever laws don't meet their needs at any given moment.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 29, 2011 @ 6:42 am

Your comments say it all:
1) "Of course the U.S. is far worse than Israel in its murderous genocidal oppressions all over the world." The US and Israel, "genocidal?" Moron, you've got it ass backwards. It's the covenant of Hamas and the charter of Fatah--that is to say the leaders of the Palestinian people--who have called for genocide. As for America being "genocidal oppressors," I won't dignify that nonsense with a response. Only the Stalinist ideologues of the likes of International Answer, and the Convenient Idiots of KPFA's news department and ISM would hold that ridiculous notion.

2)"No other country vulnerable to a boycott, has so repeatedly, onerously, and egregiously violated international law as has Israel. The violations formally recognized by the UN and, even solely the Security Council itself, are record setting in number." The UN is a democratically run institution comprised largely of dictatorships-a contradiction in terms. And when the oil-rich Arab nations tell the energy-needy Third World nations in the UN to jump, they say "How high?"

If the UN can define international law, those truly on the receiving end of human rights abuses like most of the people of the Islamic World and Darfur, where genocide of blacks by Muslims has been supported by Palestinian political leaders, have no hope. Ditto the Congo. That the brutality evident in those places has not been cited by the UN and the Middle East's sole democracy so regularly has, speaks volumes about the validity of what you call international law as defined by the thugocracies and anti-Semites of the UN.

3) "Israel's actions amount to the deepest and most misguided hypocrisy ever perpetrated by any nation in history, bar none." Eric, when you write something like this, do you really believe any sane person would take you for being something other than a flat-out lunatic?

If you want to see the real oppressors of human rights, look no further than the apartheid of the Palestinians for the way they brutalize women, gays and dissidents. None of this applies to democratic Israel, which none other than Judge Goldstone says is emphatically "not an apartheid state."

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

Nice work, Eric,

Personally I believe in God more than anything and I hate churches and religions of all manner. They're all the true religion with the true god and feel completely justified in murdering and divesting anyone who disagrees with them.

The Book of Joshua in my bible is 29 pages long and is the blood-soaked journal of a people who made the Nazis look like pacifists. At the behest of their god the Jews murdered every single man, woman and child who occupied the lands they occupied. In Judges there is an account of a Jewish commander who spared the women and children of one town and the Jewish God (through his prophet) admonished him and explained that this land was to be their land (the Jews) and thus everyone had to be murdered.

So, the land of Israel is the 'Promised Land'. Well, who the hell promised it to the Jews and upon what authority? What right did they have to murder the inhabitants of that land?

The pendulum swings to and then it swings fro. 'What goes around comes around.' You aren't going to convince these people of anything, Eric. They are the 'Chosen' and are allowed to do anything they desire. Just like every other pagan religion.

Go Giants!

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 9:22 am

Very true H, however, it is not Spitzer and his ilk that I seek to convince, it is the uneducated who might be naively swayed by what Spitzer is writing, who I seek to educate with the truth.

That's who we serve in this debate.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 11:56 am

It took only the words of Becky O'Malley and those who denigrated Israel to provide the rationale for the Berkeley Daily Planet's advertisers to decide they wished not to provide revenue for such an overtly bigoted paper. Correspondingly, they pulled their ads and that anti-Semitic rag closed down.

And it takes merely the words of Eric Brook, Asaf Shavlev, and some hater who goes by the screen name of "h." to expose their own anti-Semitism.

During the Hitler-Stalin pact of WW II, Jewish hating members of the Communist Party served as both Convenient Idiots for Hitler and Stalin in saying that the Jews had not been mistreated by the Third Reich. CP ideology thus provided the smoke-screen for anti-Semitism just as today, castigating Israel serves the same function. Yet another equation may be made on CP USA's support for the Hitler-Stalin pact. Some of the CP members who bought into the myths that Jews were not being poorly treated by Hitler were Jewish ideologues. Today, the new Convenient Idiots who work for the destruction of their own people are the likes of Lerner, Finklestein, Chomsky, Dennis Bernstein, Barbara Lubin, etc. And, of course, Asaf Shavlev and the Amen Corner of Kesher Enoshi.

Any fair minded person need take one look at the swill penned by here by Brooks, Shavlev, "h," and egotist par excellence Lerner and they will find all the reason they need to see the manifest anti-Semitism in these haters.

Oh, one last matter: bigoted ideologues such as Eric Brooks try to paint those of us who support Israel as "rightwing." To be sure, there are some Zionists on the political right but the vast majority of Jews who support Israel fall, like me, politically on the left. If you don't believe this, all polls of American Jews show the overwhelming number consider themselves to be Zionists. Yet this vast majority voted both for Obama and Democratic Congressional candidates. So much for the political stereotyping of simpletons like Eric Brooks...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

Any person like yourself, who ridiculously seeks to point fingers at the Palestinians as the oppressors in the conflict (when it is in fact the Israelis who are the clear oppressors) is taking a right wing position.

As to your other comments, they mispeak for themselves as totally irrelevant to the conversation, and simply don't merit a response.

Let's do what I asked above. Let's talk facts on the ground as they are today, and see you stop slinging McCarthyesque reactionary mud about communism and anti-semitism.

What about the facts, happening today in Palestine, do you feel we are not analyzing properly?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

Gee Spitzer,

Does that mean I can't count on your advertising dollar in my SFBulldog.com site?

Giants on in 10 minutes.

Channel #3 in SF.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

Every time you post, you're words provide evidence that you loath Jews and that Israel is in the right. So we Zionists appreciate your clearcut and exemplary commentaries which exemplify how Israel is serving as a smokescreen for your anti-Semitism.

And you intimate that you are progressives? Do progressives support the oppression of women, the brutalization of gays, and the suppression of dissenters? Only a fool would fail to acknowledge how the Palestinians engage in overt oppression of women, gays, minorities and dissenters. Israel, to its credit, is an exemplary democracy where females, gays, minorities and dissenters experience as much freedom and tolerance as would be found anywhere on the planet.

It is evident that those who champion the Palestinian cause care little about those who the Palestinians brutalize. If one seeks to find an apartheid society in the Middle East, Palestinian society embodies the very notion of a culture of apartheid.

Yes, you guys are some progressives. Thanks again for outing yourselves...

Posted by Dan Spitzer on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

Spitzer you are so full of crap.

The Palestinians are not by any stretch rampantly anti gay, neither are they anti woman to any greater degree than any other nation in the Middle East and North Africa. Does Israel get slightly higher marks on this stuff because of its European roots? Perhaps.

But the key here is that your remarks aren't really meant to champion gender rights, they are simply a calculated cynical ploy to deflect attention from the -far- greater crimes of the Israeli mass murders and occupation in Palestine; not to mention the racist apartheid conditions meted on Palestinian Israelis within Israel itself; a nation which does not -remotely- resemble the egalitarian fairy tale democracy that you evoke in your comments. That Israel does not exist. There is no equality for Palestinians there, I assure you.

Your crocodile tears for women and gays are an absurd and shameful joke when placed against the cold backdrop of the racist, concentration camp style oppression of Palestinians, both within and outside of Israel's borders.

And do you really want to bring up oppression of dissenters? Really? When the IDF shoots and kills peaceful Palestinian dissenters regularly, including children throwing rocks, (and often condemns and bulldozes their homes and farms to silence them and drive them out of both Palestine and Israel) while callously treating them as little more than vermin.

Give me a break.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

A doctrinaire leftist complaining about race and identity used as a weapon.

Spitzer is pulling the same scheme that Brooks has championed in the past, brooks is just pissed that it is being pulled on him.

Too rich.

Take it like a man Eric.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

Honestly 'Matlock' what in god's name are you talking about? Either say something intelligible which actually makes sense, or crawl back under your rock.

Oh and don't forget to take your cheese puffs and your list of game cheats with you.

Let me guess, you are still living with your mother at, what age is it?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

On the race card

"
Oh Brother

You guys are doing a good job of playing the divisive race card, I'll give you that. Standard underhanded reactionary San Francisco politics; when the Downtown machine can't win any other way, it divides and conquers using race as a wedge to alienate good working people from eachother. You've used it on nearly every big developer project. This latest disgusting circus show is no different.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 09, 2011 @ 9:11 am
"

Eric you survive on blathering about race at every turn, you toss out the race card as a debate killer like all "progressives" do, and when someone uses it against you, you scream foul. Not agreeing with an Eric Brooks is racism.

Accusing you of antisemitism because of your position on Israel is a scummy low blow, and you are pointing it out, but screaming about race is your go-to whine at every turn. Not agreeing with Eric Brooks is racism, just ask Eric Brooks.

Watching you whine here is hilarious. Man up for a change dude is playing your game and you are crying like a little bitch.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

If Spitzer's tolerating here, I'd like to see what his intolerance looks like.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

Marcos is saying that just screaming racism from one side doesn't make the other sides position racist.

MY GOD! After years of progressive hectoring about not agreeing with their opinions being racist, they have found nuance?

Next thing you know Obama will bomb some nation that didn't attack the USA.

Marcos after the racism card is played you need to just roll over and beg for forgiveness from all parties, thats how this game is played. Screaming racism is the end of the debate, how dare you defend yourself?

Posted by matlock on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

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