Archive for November, 2009

J Street: Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Pro-Bickering

November 23, 2009

A guy, Daniel (no last name was given), of J Street responded to the letter I wrote asking J Street not to quibble with the Anti-Defamation League over minor things:

Thank you for the impassioned comments and offering of support for J Street’s views on [Sarah] Palin’s comments.  Yes, her comments were irresponsible and even bizarre.  To say that many Jews in the next days and months will move to Israel and the settlements ignores all the politics of the situation.  We do take issue with the idea that ADL and Abe Foxman’s  comments are of little concern. Please read our statement again. Foxman’s disregard for J Street is an attempt to squash debate over this topic that has been dominated by a monolithic lobby for too long. J Street aims to open up political space to discuss these issues, Foxman is attempting to close this space.

While Daniel might be right, I still say J Street should choose its battles more wisely.

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To the ADL and J Street: Stop the Meaningless Bickering

November 21, 2009

I sent the following e-mail to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):

Doesn’t the Anti-Defamation League have anything better to do than to criticize J Street’s reaction to Sarah Palin’s idiotic statement on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank? There is real anti-Semitism and racism in this country, including an increasingly publicized case in California of a high school that has allegedly turned a blind eye toward constant and unbearable anti-Semitic abuse against a Jewish student.  I did a search for that indecent on the ADL’s website and found absolutely nothing.  I did a search on “J Street” and found 119 results.  Unless J Street becomes guilty of bigotry on the same level as the other bigoted statements the ADL justly monitors, I suggest that the ADL leave J Street alone.  This bickering about who loves Israel more does not help Israel and it does not make the ADL look good.

I then sent the following to J Street:

As you are aware, there is a degree of suspicion in the pro-Israel community about whether J Street is a threat to the more established pro-Israel organizations such as the ADL.  I would hope that to avoid this suspicion, J Street would make critical statements concerning the ADL only if it was absolutely necessary.  I was sad, therefore, to read [director of J Street] Jeremy Ben-Ami’s open letter to Abe Foxman [director of the ADL] in response to his criticism of J Street’s stance on Sarah Palin’s idiotic views on Israeli settlements.  Foxman is not J Street’s only critic and if J Street responds to everything anyone says about it, I fear that the organization may become irrelevant.  Furthermore, the Israeli settlements are an important issue, but Sarah Palin’s crazy views are not! I cannot understand how two important Jewish organizations are fighting over something so trivial! This endless bickering about who loves Israel more does not help Israel and it does not make the J Street look good.  I wrote an email to the ADL expressing similar views.

Attempts at Anti-Blasphemy Legislation

November 21, 2009

[Sent to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).]

There is a campaign by Algeria and Pakistan to make the United Nations make blasphemy illegal.  This should never come to a vote at the UNGA.  The campaign is directed specifically against the notion of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  Furthermore, it is clear that Islam is the religion the campaign has in mind.  While I am not in favor of mocking religions mean-spiritedly, making the mockery of Islam illegal will have given validity to the mayhem that occurred in response to the Danish cartoons of Muhammad in 2005.

Anti-Semitism at a High School in California

November 20, 2009

[Sent to Alan Van Velzen, principal of Amador High School in Sutter Creek, CA.]

Dear Mr. Van Velzen:

Are you aware of the article in the Courthouse News Service about you and Amador High School?

The Courthouse News Service reports that a Jewish student at your school, the son of Molly Zysman, has been repeatedly verbally and physically abused and that school authorities have turned a blind eye at best and participated in the abuse at worst.  The article focuses on repeated allusions to the Holocaust such as a planned school play called Hitler Youth and a swastika painted on Zysman’s son’s locker.  The article also describes a moment when Zysman’s husband complained to you personally about the abuse directed at his son and to which you allegedly responded that you “can only take care of one of your son’s crises at a time.”

As I am sure you can imagine, articles like this do not look good for Ambrose High School or for yourself.  I did a Google search for “Alan Van Velzen” and found the Courthouse News Service article as the third page Google listed.  This can be remedied.

I noticed that Hitler Youth is not listed on Amador High School’s drama schedule website.  Is it possible that the Courthouse News Service article is inaccurate? Can you explain your alleged behavior during the time when Zysman’s husband complained to you? Is there more to this story than what was reported?

Thanks in advance,

G.H.
Sherman Oaks, CA