Thursday, June 10, 2010

Words, words, words

Well those delicate flowers at Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) seem so bent out of shape (or so busy jumping for joy) over events from the last few weeks that they have lost track of the fact that their Muzzlewatch site, which pretends to be advocating for free speech and open discussion of the Middle East, has broken into a huff over the fact that someone dares say things with which JVP does not approve.

First off, after nearly a month’s blissful hiatus, Muzzlewatch posts this disturbing video and transcript about angry voices allegedly raging against them by supporters of Israel protesting an event held by JVP and its friends denouncing the Jewish state for piracy and murder.

Naturally, we are required to take JVP at their word that this alleged hostility was the Alpha and Omega of the response to their protest, and that the hostility they encountered was only one-way. Those of us who have attended pro-Israel events where vile epitaphs are routinely shouted at us through megaphones (not to mention events where such protests degenerate into “direct action” to disrupt Israeli speakers and entertainers) may be a bit skeptical of Muzzlewatch’s self-serving account of the SF event.

And then we move onto Helen Thomas. After making the requisite criticism of “The Grand Dame of White House journalists” as “offensive and wrong” for calling for the Jews of Palestine to go back to Poland, they then dedicate the following 14 paragraphs to condemning all of their critics as contemptible racists. (Funny how a site which claims that its critics routinely try to shut down discussion of the Middle East through cynical accusations of anti-Semitism seem to have a hair trigger when it comes to stifling use of the “R-word.”)

What is missing from all of their discussion of the hurtful impact of words is commentary on this language:

“Shut up! Go back to Aushwitz!”

or the only slightly more tasteful:

"We're helping the Arabs go against the US, don't forget 9/11 guys!"

No, these are not recently discovered lyrics from John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” They are, in fact, the words spoken by “peace activists” aboard the one (and only one) ship in the recent “Peace Flotilla” that decided to attack Israelis with deadly force, leading to deadly force directed against them, leading to a crisis, leading to a JVP march against “Israeli barbarism,” leading to people protesting against JVP and its friends.

And what has Muzzlewatch distilled this entire episode down to? Selective excerpts of people saying mean things to them on the streets of San Francisco.

Unlike the boiling, hate-filled rage that spews daily from the Middle East media and educational curricula, Jew-hating incitement that has led directly to the death of thousands and doom for any hope of peace, any hostility JVP and its critics hurled at each other is not likely to ever go beyond angry rhetoric.

So the question is, does Muzzlewatch point its radar only at its critics, rather than its allies, because it feels it can impact the former, but not the latter? Or does it actually approve of the bile associated with those JVP supports, and hopes it can shame those who have the audacity to point out their hypocrisy into silence?


  1. Given their (JVP's) presence at protests where the other pro-Palestinians chanted "ba ruh ba dam nafdeek ya Falastin" ('with our souls and our blood we will redeem you oh Palestine' - reflecting the desire to stake their lives, and implicitly swearing to use violence), "itbach al Yahud" ('slaughter the Jews'), "kahybar khabar ya yahud, jaish-e Muhammad saya'ud" ('Khaybar Khabar, oh Jews, the gang of Muhammad will return!'), "Falastin bladna wa'l Yahud kalabna" ('Palestine is OUR land and the Jews are our dogs'), "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" (say, ain't there a country called Israel in between?), "down down Israel" (um, I guess that's pretty clear, huh?), and where speaker after speaker advocated the destruction of Israel, the expulsion of Jews from the land (and, once even, from Oakland), spoke about sending the Israelis back to Russia, and so on and so forth, those 'Jews' in JVP have absolutely NO plausible deniability.

  2. Sigh. What do do with the assholes on our side is a reoccurring theme in our discussions.

    The story beyond the videos is:

    1. We removed the two primary offending parties from our email lists months ago, when we identified them and realized they were incapable of moderating their tone. But our events are widely publicized and they continue to show up.
    2. We attempted to direct the group with appropriate chants and singing using our bullhorn. This of course, was edited out.
    3. We include this statement on all our action alerts:
    As always, feel free to make your own signs but please no signs or graphics offensive to any racial or ethnic group including but not limited to Arabs, Islam, or Palestinians. Signs in violation of our policies will not be allowed.
    4. We enforce it as best we can (I got into an argument with a man last week who showed up with a "Get Rid of Islam" sign. )
    5. We take full responsibility for the action of people on our side (as opposed to JVP)and sent this out after the event:
    "As we noted last week in a message last week, whatever you say or do can be video'd and YouTubed and will be used against us. So, the other side is now using a few over-the-top comments made by a few individuals to smear not only our organization, but to demonize the entire pro-Israel effort.

    http://www.muzzlewa 06/07/stand- with-us-members- shout-pigs- for-palestine- threaten- activists- in-san-francisco /

    Now we realize that people on our side can get justifiably quite angry at those on the other side. After all, they're openly supporting those who want to eliminate Israel, and in some cases they're openly supporting those who want to see us all eliminated.

    We know that we're standing for something much better than what they are supporting. So we need to take what we know and act that way.
    We know that we are not going to sway groups like JVP and Bay Area Women in Black over to our side. But they are not our audience. Our audience is passersby (though not at a venue like Israel in the Gardens), our audience is the media, and our audience is the Internet. Those are the people that we are trying to reach. And if individuals cross the line and give the other side even a little bit of a "YouTube" moment, they will use it.

    StandWithUs/ San Francisco Voice for Israel does not endorse any messages, whether on signs or delivered verbally, of threats, of declaring our opponents as Nazis, or even of milder insults such as "pigs". Regardless of our anger at those who deliberately defame Israel and who provide support for Hamas and Hezbollah, we need to act in accordance with the higher values that we stand for. We ask that if people on our side hear inappropriate messages being delivered that they remind everyone involved of that fact, and if necessary get one of our leadership involved on the scene.

    We also do not partner with any organizations that promote messages of hate. I challenge Bay Area Women in Black and Jewish Voice for Peace,which for years have participated in hate rallies organized by International ANSWER at which the most vile images of anti-Semitism are on display (see, for example,http://www.zombieti the_us_israeli_ war_8_12_ 2006/ ), to say the same. "

  3. In March Jewish Voice for Peace promoted and participated ina protest at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC , where they stood proudly with people chanting "F**king Christ killers" and "Nazi Pigs" at participants attending an IDF fundraiser. (which incidently raised $20 Million for the IDF).

    I've said it before. I'll say it again. The only thing I have in common with JVP is that I'm also ashamed that they are Jewish

    So this is really a pot calling the kettle black moment for JVP, isn't it?

  4. Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace recently presided over a meeting in NYC, where it was stated that "fierce crazed opposition" helps JVP and makes their activity "newsworthy". So look for more incidents like this, where groups like JVP and Women in Black act as provacateurs for the sheer purpose of demonizing supporters of Israel.

  5. ... Muzzlewatch posts this disturbing video and transcript about angry voices allegedly raging against them by supporters of Israel protesting an event held by JVP and its friends denouncing the Jewish state for piracy and murder.


    Actual, JVP showed up to protest a community cultural celebration "Israel in the Gardens", featuring Chabad, synagogues, non-profits, artists, musicans and day schools.
    Parents wanting to see their kids perform on stage had to walk past their picket line and were understandably upset.
    But Carol Sanders of JVP is determined to milk this for all its worth- the video went out as part of JVP's latest fundraising appeal. This one had the "pity me, I'm the victim" approach.
    What I don't understand is why JVP still counts the mailing list as "supporters". I subscribe because every so often, I just need a good chuckle. They never disappoint


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