Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

PFC boycott vote begins on Saturday

30. August 2007 • Murph
Email this article

For the past few months, the People’s Food Co-op has been building up to a membership referendum on whether the Co-op should boycott products made in Israel. Today’s Ann Arbor News discusses some of the viewpoints that have been expressed:

[Boycott Israeli Goods] member Anne Remley said the campaign highlights the need to show resistance to Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land. “We are inviting the members of the co-op to stand up for Palestinian human rights and to send that message to the government of Israel from the well-informed, ethical, caring people who tend to be co-op members,’‘ said Remley, a co-op member for 36 years.

Robert Oppenheimer of Ann Arbor, a co-op member since 1986, is against the boycott. He said he has a photograph of Nazi storm troopers in 1933 boycotting his grandfather’s shoe store in Cologne, Germany, and doesn’t like the idea of boycotts in general. “As a Jewish peace activist, I think this is not a good approach,’‘ he said. “Engaging with Jewish and Palestinian peace activists is a better approach.’‘

Co-op Board member Linda Feldt, on her personal blog, reprints the article that ran in the PFC newsletter, which is more explicit in its discussion of the controversy:

In the process of debate and information sharing, swastikas have come to front doors of the co-op as well. The flyers and placards that include this inflammatory symbol have been decried by Members of the Boycott Israel Goods group, which coordinated the petition drive, as well as many other in the co-op community. Reverend Neimoller is famous for his words .. “but I didn’t speak up..” and the consequences of silence. For this short narrative it would be wrong to try and ignore this most negative consequence of a free debate.

So we must speak up to say that there is an ugly facet that has been introduced to this debate and democratic process. Yet it is the same motivation, to speak up, that has driven a group of co-op members to take the action to boycott Isreali goods.

Feldt also discusses the tone of discourse presented to the Board.



  1. The “Ann Arbor News” mentions boycotters’ concern, about Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. The “News” ran a photo, showing a Palestinian woman among the ruins of her flattened house. Any readers who deplored ethnic cleansing by Milosevic are probably equally unhappy with the ethnic cleansing which has befallen Palestine.


       —OWBanker    Aug. 30 '07 - 06:29PM    #
  2. Seriously?

    They should boycott American made goods as well, then. Get even with those American farmers for their megalomaniacal leaders’ misdeeds over the past 200-odd years. Of course, then they can buy virtually nothing from anywhere but Canada. Except they continue to oppress the Quebecoise. Oops.

    Maybe we need to start our own island nation where liberals can grow their own food free from the influence of international markets.


       —Patrick    Aug. 30 '07 - 08:24PM    #
  3. Unconfirmed rumor alert: I had heard somewhere that there was a group organizing a counter-boycott – if the PFC voted to boycott Israeli products, this group proposed boycotting the PFC. If anybody has a reputable source for this, could you provide a link for me?


       —Murph.    Aug. 30 '07 - 10:31PM    #
  4. I haven’t heard of the counter-boycott group, but their idea is the first thing that crossed my mind as I read this story. Whatever their numbers are they can count on two more (there’s more than one PFC’er in this household).


       —FAA    Aug. 30 '07 - 11:23PM    #
  5. Ripping apart the Food Co-op over a lousy jar of cous cous.

    Brilliant.


       —todd    Aug. 31 '07 - 01:18AM    #
  6. Could be worse, Todd. We could stop patronizing places that removed wings from their menu…


       —FAA    Aug. 31 '07 - 01:24AM    #
  7. Ouch. Kick me when I’m down. I loved those things. Free-range and tasty. Two problems, though. It was damn near impossible to get them consistently, especially in the fall, and 1 out 6 (yep, we counted) had zero meat, so we’d get complaints.

    Lotsa new stuff to replace it (no cous cous or Axis & Allies, though).


       —todd    Aug. 31 '07 - 02:15AM    #
  8. First the local Green Party and now the food Co-op. I wonder how many things have to be ripped apart for a particular person to be happy?


       —OWSider    Aug. 31 '07 - 09:58AM    #
  9. Was this started by the same group that protests Jewish services on Saturdays and that was protesting Hillers a few years ago? (It is because of them that I STARTED shopping at Hillers :) )

    And what the heck? Leopolds stopped carrying the wings?!?!?!?!?! Boycott!! JUST KIDDING (I love the place)!! :) :)


       —TeacherPatti    Aug. 31 '07 - 06:22PM    #
  10. Another Palestinian baby has died. Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” reports the following…
    ...

    At one of the 450 roadblocks and checkpoints, which Israel controls across Palestine, an ailing one-year old Palestinian boy died, while waiting several hours at the Erez crossing.
    The child, Ibrahim Abu Nahel, was being taken by his father for treatment for a heart condition. They were forced to wait despite holding a medical permit.

    If this happened to an Ann Arbor schoolchild, visiting Palestine, would you be more open to the idea of a human rights boycott against Israel?


       —OWBanker    Aug. 31 '07 - 07:04PM    #
  11. TeacherPatti: Yup, same group, same goal: endless war in the Middle East.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Aug. 31 '07 - 07:43PM    #
  12. I think it is quite refreshing that County officials take an interest in international human rights matters. For Washtenaw County Clerk Kestenbaum’s information, human rights boycotts are a very normal thing at Co-ops. For example, just this summer, another Food Co-op has joined an international boycott of Coca-Cola products. This was due to Coke’s suspected human rights violations and contamination of ecosystems, according to The Food Co-op’s press release. That cost the Co-op $80,000, but the Co-op gladly made the decision. Here is more information on that very recent boycott, for the County Clerk to reference, should he feel moved to further comment on the merits of human rights boycotts:
    www.ptleader.com


       —OWBanker    Aug. 31 '07 - 08:07PM    #
  13. Larry, that’s the most apparently thoughtless comment I’ve ever seen from you. What’s behind it?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 2 '07 - 01:24AM    #
  14. It was a brief comment, but hardly thoughtless. Steve, you do me a disservice if you imagine that I haven’t thought a lot about this problem.

    Neither Israel or Palestine is going away, so it really comes down to two choices.

    Do you want (a) a negotiated two-state solution (with a viable Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders), or (b) more decades of war and bloodshed?

    The boycott advocates aren’t interested in the two-state solution.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 2 '07 - 04:26AM    #
  15. I have no doubt you’ve thought about the problem, Larry. It was the comment that raised the question. Saying that someone’s goal is endless war is quite different from saying that they’re not interested in a particular approach to achieving peace. The former seems thoughtless (i.e., based on feelings/emotions), the latter seems more thoughtful/reasonable.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 2 '07 - 03:37PM    #
  16. How about a two-state solution with the post-1967 borders? How about a Palestinian nation and leadership more concerned with developing their economy and infrastructure than destroying their neighbor? Why doesn’t Palestine have jobs for their people and hospitals of their own to treat the sick? Why is Israel the only nation in the world pressured to provide jobs, medical treatment, and instant access across its borders to a group of foreign nationals who have self-declared their intentions to destroy them?

    ...SHOP AT HILLERS!


       —Karen Luck    Sep. 2 '07 - 07:08PM    #
  17. No, Steve, the two-state solution is not just “a particular approach to achieving peace,” it’s pretty much it. There is no realistic hope for peace in our lifetime any other way.

    Blaine and friends want to see Israel go away; Zionist hardliners want to see Palestine go away. Those goals are, in fact, a recipe for decades of war and probably genocide. They want conquest, not peace.

    Instead of supporting the extremists, let’s support reconciliation and negotiations.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 2 '07 - 08:58PM    #
  18. But no one called anti-Apartheid campaigners extremists. They boycotted a white-ruled state. That state went away. Nobody got hurt. If the Co-op pulls Israeli couscous from its shelves, they’re simply following the old anti-apartheid example. Why not?


       —OWBanker    Sep. 2 '07 - 09:27PM    #
  19. #17 & 20 Larry—very well said! And obviously well thought out.

    I don’t know if anyone else went to the food co-op yesterday, but I did. I took my 62 year old mother, who already doesn’t understand “the Ann Arbor people”. I thought she was going to have a heart attack…I had to take her in the cafe door so she didn’t have to walk through the protestors….


       —TeacherPatti    Sep. 2 '07 - 11:18PM    #
  20. A pretty ordinary human rights boycott should not be the cause of a heart attack. Human rights for Palestinians: who is honestly going to get a heart attack over that?


       —OWBanker    Sep. 2 '07 - 11:51PM    #
  21. There are few parallels between the anti-Vietnam war peace movement, which was successfuly largely because it rejected a strategy of solidarity with Vietnam but rather demanded peace based upon negotiations, and the current boycott Israel movements, which are really misguided Palestinian solidarity movements, not peace movements. There are also few parallels between the South African and Nicaraguan solidarity movements and the kind of self-styled champions of Palestine who protest outside my snynagogue, Beth Israel, organize divestment campaigns or those who make a huge case out of boycotting a few Israeli goods.

    I’ve found that many if not most of those who are suddenly just soooo angry at Israel have little or no background in the previous peace and solidarity movements, but boy are they angry at Israel! It makes me wonder about the psychosocial sources of that anger and its relationship to anti-Semitic impulses. I can think of specific people I know who never lifted a finger during the Vietnam war or South African struggles who I was surprised to see signing one-side ads condemning Israel but not saying a thing about Palestinian terrorism, and it makes me wonder. Also, I’ve found that many of the activists in these new anti-Israel movements are what I call “Israel specialists.” For them it is protest Israel all the time, with not an ounce of energy for other social movements. That also makes me wonder, and I have advised a couple of them to take up other causes if they really want to join the progressive movement.

    I work actively, as a Jew, for Middle Eastern peace, but think that the progressive stand at this point is to demand US support for a negotiated settlement and for international pressure for a resumption of the peace process.

    To organize solidarity at this point, whether with Israel (by reflexively supporting every single call to support Israel) or with Palestine (by pushing boycotts and divestment and such), just gives hope to the extremists on both side who still hope they can avoid a peaceful settlement. The best way to support Israel’s right to exist (which is increasingly denied by some of these so-called “peace” activists) and to support a viable Palestinian state and a just overall settlement to to demand compromise and demand US firm support for a settlement.

    Supporters of these misguided solidarity campaigns point to South Africa – a world historical revolutionary democratic victory in the struggle against racism and imperialism – as a precedent.

    But that is because they fail to see that the Palestinian statehood struggle is not a simple morally righteous movement, like that of the South Africans. The fact is that while the ANC successfully fought a policy of racialism and succeeded in winning in part due to that (see the new book Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa), on the part of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, there has arisen almost no uncompromised, nonracist and nonchauvinist organizational form or movement amongst Israelis or Palestinians. This conflict is more akin to Northern Ireland and the aforementioned Bosnia than South Africa. There has been hatred and evil on both sides and very little truly revolutionary democratic content, in my view.

    During the Kosovo conflict, I organized the Coalition to Stop the Humanity, which demanded a stop both to ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians and an end to the NATO bombing of Belgrade, but we didn’t necessarily oppose (and took no position on) the UN authorized NATO action to prevent further bloodshed. Stop the Inhumanity, a resolution like that, one which demanded peace, is called upon even by Food Coop boards in this day and age. But to take a one-sided solidarity action under presure from misguided activists would be a huge mistake. It would tear apart the Food coop.

    - Michael A. Dover


       —Michael Dover    Sep. 2 '07 - 11:51PM    #
  22. One-sided solidarity with the United Farm Workers was a good idea. One-sided solidarity with Nelson Mandela was a pretty good idea. One-sided solidarity with Palestinians, the ones who are just barely surviving under occupation, well, that is also a pretty good idea.


       —Solidarity    Sep. 3 '07 - 12:01AM    #
  23. Why don’t you just carry both Israeli and Palestinian jars of couscous with a nice sign behind the jars that reads “Dumbest. Issue. Ever.”

    The sad thing is, I’m completely serious.


       —todd    Sep. 3 '07 - 12:29AM    #
  24. That is sad, Todd, because it trivializes immense suffering.

    I think that many of us are sad about the whole issue because we feel powerless to reduce the suffering and to move those involved toward peace. Regardless of what efforts are made locally to ask us (“pressure”, Michael? I don’t think so—who has such power?) as either co-op members, or supporters of Israel, or whatever, to do something, we can individually choose to not provoke (through ridicule, for example), instigate, or otherwise perpetuate anger and hatred.

    Peace starts with forgiveness and an attempt at understanding. Let’s start it here. (Please don’t interpret that as advocating a particular vote on the referendum.)


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 3 '07 - 04:06AM    #
  25. I’m trivializing immense suffering? Steve, with all due respect, it’s a bunch of full grown adults wasting their time on a jar of hummus that trivializes the situation in the Middle East. If you don’t see that, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

    Here’s a metaphor for you. Here’s what these protesters are doing. Pretend they want to stop global warming. Instead of contacting their Congressperson, or a specific factory, or the EPA to share their views…..they show up at a Junior High School Science Fair to shout down a kid who has made a model factory that pollutes.

    Is it legal to yell at the kid, and tell him that his model factory is making the world a worse place to live? Sure. If the papers pick up the story of them picketing the kid’s model, do they show symbolic disdain for those who pollute? Sure.

    But when it comes down to it, isn’t it better to send the picketers to the people who, I don’t know, actually have, you know, direct dealings with polluting factories?

    I hope your answer is yes. And I hope that you see that a bunch of people who protest some poor Junior High School kid are a bunch of bullies who could care less about what effects their picketing will have on the poor kid.

    Get the metaphor?

    Oh, and Steve, I fail to see how having both Israeli and Palestinian products isn’t a fair compromise for Co-Op members who happen to think that both of those peoples can live together in peace.

    If the two countries (someday, hopefully, I’m with Larry) can’t live together on a stupid store shelf, how in the hell do you expect them to do it in real life?

    If the protesters can’t live with having both Palestinians and Israelis represented at the Co-Op, then their motives are laid bare….as Larry pointed out. Seems to me that those who want peace would be behind my idea 100%.


       —todd    Sep. 3 '07 - 04:57AM    #
  26. I think Linda Diane Feldt is a sincere and decent person but her letter and Murph’s comment are a bit misleading. Relating how “swastikas have come to front doors of the co-op,” Linda Diane invokes the famous dictum of Pastor Niemoller but, despite unfounded hyperbole to the contrary, no one in Ann Arbor is coming for the communists, socialists, trade unionists, or Jews.

    Moreover, the man displaying the swastika—an acquaintance of mine—is himself a Jew, who lost family members under the Nazis during WWII but he is not part of B.I.G., the Green Party, or any other local peace organization I aware of. I would not myself display the swastika but his use of it, even if ill-advised, is not indefensible as more than one holocaust survivor (and the IDF) has noted parallels between Israeli and Nazi behavior.

    Murph writes, “Feldt also discusses the tone of discourse presented to the Board.” But it is inaccurate and unfair to imply that the incident described in the blog post Murph links to is representative of the “discourse presented to the Board.” Linda Diane identifies one individual—“a pretty angry member”—as the culprit. I happen to know that this is the same Jewish man who carries the swastika and he is not a part of B.I.G., which has decried both of these behaviors Furthermore, I attended the regular August Board meeting and nothing like this happened then. Linda Wotring, Anne Remley, and most of the others who make up the core of B.I.G. are calm and courteous and have treated the Board with respect.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 3 '07 - 05:43AM    #
  27. It may be mostly symbolic but it is potent symbolism and there is nothing trivial about the PFC boycotting Israeli goods. No one knows that better than the Zionists who have mobilized to oppose it. You can read the letter and “viewpoint” from them in the current issue of the PFC newsletter. If it really was trivial then Zionists and the AA News would simply ignore it.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 3 '07 - 05:56AM    #
  28. The boycott of white-ruled South Africa was in support of a movement committed to non-violence. The same cannot be said in this case.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 3 '07 - 08:28AM    #
  29. First off, I have a huge problem with the boycott, and it shows the total ignorance of those who support such action. – Many palestinian goods are labeled ‘made is isreal’ and then shipped out via israeli ports. – Many jobs in palestine are in Israel
    So, by boycotting Israeli goods, you may likely effect the palestinian economy. But, this is typical of the (what I call) anti-isreal movement here in the ann arbor area. They are detrimental to thier own cause. By constantly agrivating peole, including people who may otherwise have come to support thier cause, they make moderates turned off by the issues at hand. Even this website here has basically gone out of its way to avoid this subject to avoid the comments that get posted.

    As todd and others have pointed out, it is bad stradegy for thier cause.

    Second, thanks Michael D, for a interesting post. I’m really sorry about what you have to deal with on saturday mornings. I wonder if any PFC people who didn’t oppose it will change their mind now that they have to face the same kind of stupidity.


       —just a voice    Sep. 3 '07 - 12:52PM    #
  30. Larry:

    For your information, the ANC was never committed to nonviolence, though there were significant parts of the movement committed to nonviolence. The ANC used violent and nonviolent methods up until the release of Nelson Mandela. I am a Jew and part of the BIG campaign. I support the right of Israel to exist. I do oppose the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, just as I opposed the right of South Africe to exist as a white ruled apartheid state. I deplore violence on either side, but I do not believe that violence committed as resistance to oppression is the same as violence committed to further oppression. If you do then will you please decry the violence committed by some women to fight off their rapist in the same terms as you decry the violence of the rapist? Would you have decried the violence of the slave revolts in our history in the same terms as you would have decried the violence of the slave holders?

    Justice demands that we fight oppression. I do not believe that I would use violence to oppose oppression, but I have never been subject to the same amount of daily systematic violence as the Palestinians. The boycott is one nonviolent way for me to oppose the occupation of Palestine by Israel


       —Sol    Sep. 3 '07 - 02:58PM    #
  31. It is a bit risky to enter into this sort of truncated one dimensional discussion, but apparently I must.

    As we move through September, when this vote takes place, I believe that the most important thing is to provide accurate information and address all of the concerns of our members, and as much as possible correct the inaccurate information that has also been circulated. Full statements and explanations of the voting and viewpoints on the boycott are on the Co-op website http://www.peoplesfood.coop (go to news and events). There are also e-mail links to contact board members – (look under ownership). Board members – all volunteers – have collectively spent months now working on providing information on this issue. I know this one topic has taken about 100 hours of my volunteer time in the last three months.

    A few pieces of information might help to understand what is happening at the Co-op. First, that this issue was initiated by Co-op members. Not the board of directors. It is one of the wonderful and challenging things about being a Co-op. Second, that it came about at a time that the Co-op was undergoing significant change and transformation – 5 of the 7 board members are new to the board, and we have a new General Manager, an event that is rare for the Co-op.

    The referendum is being facilitated by people who were not part of the initiation or negotiation on the front end. It has been awkward. Members have tended to link all of the pro boycott activity together, and one of the purposes of the article I wrote for the newsletter was to help make that distinction. Yet the people involved in the offensive use of swastikas were involved with the initiation of the boycott. They just aren’t any more. But they are still actively promoting a yes vote on the referendum. Of course people make the link.

    There is so much more to say about the swastikas and how they have been used in this campaign, and the effect on our membership and shoppers. I hope that can be something many people will speak out about. It starts by letting people know what is happening.

    Most important is the overall response of our Co-op members to the referendum. The staff has been hearing from people as shoppers encounter people wanting to talk about the boycott as they enter the store. Since May I’ve heard from now well over 100 Co-op members concerning the boycott. Just to give you some context, past presidents have gotten one or two e-mails or calls a year. Even in our volatile times in the early 80s one or two comments from members in a week was seen as a huge response.

    Nearly all of those responses have been opposed to the boycott. And many have been very angry - at the board, at the various personalities and groups involved, at me, and more. Just the few comments on this blog echo some of the conversation that has been part of the feedback the board has received. The opinions from our members about how to achieve Middle East peace have been all over the board. That's important to keep in mind. Our membership includes many who are pursuing a variety of solutions - the proposed boycott is just one.

    Through this all I hope people appreciate that The People's Food Co-op has now been around for over 35 years, supporting local farmers, providing healthy food, supporting local causes, and we now have about 6,000 member owners. They will determine if this boycott will be approved.


       —Linda Diane Feldt    Sep. 3 '07 - 04:27PM    #
  32. Sol,

    you said;
    “I support the right of Israel to exist. I do oppose the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state”

    In that, you show your not even part of the real conversation. Your advocating a position that represents a minority of the people involved, and when I say minority, I’ll bet way less then 1% of the population of Israel or Palestine. While its great that you know what limited existance you are willing to give to Israel (existing without being a jewish state), they do not want that. Your position sets up endless conflict rather then working toward a solution.


       —just a voice    Sep. 3 '07 - 04:46PM    #
  33. Sol,

    That sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn’t it? A single state where everybody would live together and get along in an Arab/Jewish democracy.

    But neither side is fighting for that. Getting them to live side by side in separate states is going to be hard enough. Keeping them together in one state, without one group oppressing and driving out the other, would require a regime more totalitarian than Tito’s Yugoslavia. And who would play the role of Tito?

    I hate suicide bombings, and I also hate the occupation — that’s why I support the two-state solution. Your vision does not offer a realistic way to end either kind of violence.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 3 '07 - 04:46PM    #
  34. It is true that negotiations, between an almost-dead Palestine, and the land-hungry Israeli military colossus, could achieve what Israel would call “peace”.

    That “peace” would resemble the “peace” achieved by the U.S. Army at Wounded Knee, in 1890. It would see malnourished natives packed off to reservations, their family and civilization crushed beyond recognition.

    Let us remember who is being occupied in Palestine. The survivors of so many hundreds of Palestinian villages, with their own embroideries and histories. The same people who are now running out of food and water, bottled up between hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints. Their families have fled as far as Ann Arbor.

    If you are a “realist”, you will remind us that the occupier (Israel) has one of the largest military machines on the planet, and enough nuclear weaponry to end all life on the planet.

    Does that reality mean the only “realistic” thing is for us to turn our backs, until the Israeli military achieves something which it will call “peace”?

    Is any human rights boycott, then, “unrealistic”, when the occupier is really powerful and will win anyway? South Africa used to look really powerful, too. Were we “unrealistic” to boycott it, until Mandela was free?


       —OWBanker    Sep. 3 '07 - 06:10PM    #
  35. OWB likes to lie and/or mislead people with false information, or just makes up the stuff he/she types

    they said
    “(Israel) has one of the largest military machines on the planet”

    Isarel’s army is 29th on the wikipedia list, behind Saudi Arabia (25), Syria (16), Egypt (11)(who aslo gets tons of cash from us), Turkey(9), Iran(8), Pakistan(7). Biggest is China, then USA, India,Russia, N Korea, S Korea.
    (nuimbers based on size of active army in troops)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_size_of_armed_forces


       —just a voice    Sep. 3 '07 - 07:28PM    #
  36. “The Israeli Air Force is considered the strongest air force in the Middle East, and one of the best and most sophisticated in the world.” * Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Air_Force

    “Israel is currently believed to possess 70 to 400 nuclear warheads with the ability to deliver them by air, missile, and submarine.” * Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_nuclear_program

    That would make Israel the third or fourth-largest nuclear weapons power on Earth, if indeed they do possess 400 muclear weapons.

    I do hope you are not trying to hint that enormous Israeli military power is in danger of being wiped out by a human rights boycott at the People’s Food Co-op.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 3 '07 - 07:58PM    #
  37. 18th largest airforce by number of craft (from my original wiki link).

    Also, when you make logical “if then” statements, you should start with the if part, afterwards comes the then part

    So, to restate what you said
    IF israel has nuclear weapons (they may not, could be a bluff to keep the enemy at bay) and IF the most extreme estimates are used as the proper numbers THEN Israel is the third or fourth largest nuclear power in the world.

    Ok, so, not only have you continued to mis-lead, I now ask this question,

    what is your point about them being a nuclear power?? The west bank and gaza are way to close for them to use any kind of nuclear weapon. But you sure make things scary when you say that. You fear monger, rather then learn to understand the other side, at the same time alienating people who my by sympathetic to palestinians.


       —just a voice    Sep. 3 '07 - 08:28PM    #
  38. I thank everyone here for that calm discussion of human rights boycotts.

    .1.
    Are these boycotts appropriate? Of course.

    .2.
    Does the Israeli military make it well-nigh impossible for several million Palestinians to budge, from one village to the next? Of course.

    .3.
    Does the Israeli military keep over one million Palestinians under a kind of medieval siege? Absolutely. (http://uruknet.info/?p=m35203&s1=h1)

    .4.
    Such sieges have caused a good deal of malnutrition, blood disorders, power outages, sewer outages, medical crises, and trauma, especially in Gaza, have they not? Certainly. (BBC: “Isolated Gaza a jail for its people”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6939223.stm )

    .Q.E.D.:
    Given those widely known facts, it should not arouse any great passion, to call for a simple boycott, at a little Co-op, like other boycotts before it, to express a little human sympathy with an occupied population in Palestine.
    .
    Thank you again for your personal courtesy.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 3 '07 - 09:11PM    #
  39. Linda Diane Feldt wrote: “Yet the people involved in the offensive use of swastikas were involved with the initiation of the boycott.”

    Two qualifies as plural, i.e. “people”, but in my experience only the Jewish man has been displaying the swastika and I go to the co-op several times a week. It’s certainly conceivable though that his wife has been involved in displaying the swastika, too.

    LDF wrote: “They just aren’t any more.”

    Yes, that’s right, they aren’t part of B.I.G. any more because they chose to display the swastika against the wishes of the rest of the group and because they have a track record of being unable to work in any group for long.

    LDF wrote: “But they are still actively promoting a yes vote on the referendum. Of course people make the link.”

    It helps “people make the link” that certain people want to misrepresent his/their use of the swastika and then tar all of the boycott supporters with that same brush of misrepresentation. I’m talking about misrepresentations like dishonestly invoking Pastor Niemoller, as if someone was coming “for the Jews.”

    LDF wrote: “There is so much more to say about the swastikas.” True, but here is one thing to say: It is not intrinsically “anti-Semitic” for a Jew or anyone else to display the swastika because he thinks that Zionists and the Zionist state resemble the Nazis in their actions and ideology. Personally, I think it is stupid to use the swastika to make this point but the point is valid and it is not “anti-Semitic.”


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 3 '07 - 10:32PM    #
  40. I hope that 6 million Palestinians do not have to die, to show that their occupation is sufficiently cruel to merit a boycott against their tormentors. 6 million U.S. farmworkers did not die, and yet, their treatment was sufficiently unfair to merit a boycott, by this very Co-op. The Co-op was right to vote for that boycott.


       —Solidarity    Sep. 3 '07 - 10:47PM    #
  41. Murph wrote: “I had heard somewhere that there was a group organizing a counter-boycott – if the PFC voted to boycott Israeli products, this group proposed boycotting the PFC.”

    That wouldn’t surprise me. That’s what happened when Rainbow Grocery, a San Francisco worker cooperative, implemented a partial boycottof Israeli goods. It’s just a lie to pretend that such boycotts are trivial or don’t matter. Zionists fight these things like mad dogs.

    You can watch a 2006 video of Rainbow Grocery boycott supporters at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7B65eCHE74

    Here are some other recent articles about the Rainbow Grocery boycott effort:
    http://www.sfpower.org/newswire/healthconsum14.php
    http://www.sfbayview.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=146
    http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2007/01/1733624.php


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 3 '07 - 10:58PM    #
  42. According to this article, Israel is backed by an “army of cyber-soldiers” who track websites and chatrooms and threads such as this so that they can place Israel-supportive messages whenever they detect what they believe to be anti-Israel bias.

    I’m personally issuing a citation against post 38 for introducing an ad hominem into the discussion, which up to that point was proceeding quite civilly, despite the highly charged nature of the topic, and the polarity of the opposing viewpoints. But no, I don’t think 38’s author was one of the aforementioned “cyber-soldiers” unless it was one that was so clever so as to use the anonymous handle of a frequent participant on this site.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 3 '07 - 11:26PM    #
  43. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you that a fine politician like Larry Kestenbaum would peddle lies and distortions. In responding to TeacherPatti, LK indicates that the PFC boycott is the work of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWPF). It would be fine if this were true but it is not. The PFC boycott was initiated by an ad hoc group that includes both vigil supporters and opponents but JWPF has never taken any formal position on the PFC boycott and the effort is not in any sense an undertaking of JWPF.

    LK also writes “The boycott advocates aren’t interested in the two-state solution.” In fact, the 171 Palestinian NGOs that called for the boycott pointedly refused to take a position on one-state vs. two-state (see www.bds-palestine.net ). Likewise, BIG has taken no position on the matter and it is not mentioned in the referendum language. It is noteworthy that in their statement in the PFC newsletter, BIG members claim, “Israel, like all nations, has security concerns.”

    FWIW, JWPF has also pointedly refused to to take a position on one-state vs. two-state. JWPF, BIG, and the Palestinian NGOs stand for justice and solidarity with the victims of Zionism, not a predetermined solution. In any case, a two-state solution is exactly what the leaders of apartheid South Africa wanted; hence, the creation of black homelands or bantustans. There are many parallels between Zionism—Jewish apartheid rule in Palestine—and the ideology of white apartheid rule in South Africa.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 3 '07 - 11:31PM    #
  44. OWSider wrote: “First the local Green Party and now the food Co-op.”

    The local Greens, known as the Huron Valley Greens, were largely inactive before the recent influx of Palestinian solidarity activists and it remains a group committed to “grassroots democracy” one of our ten key values. Also, three of the four current local officers were active in the Green movement well before the PFC boycott or the JWPF vigils. Only one Green—not an officer—has been active in BIG. As I explained elsewhere, BIG is an ad hoc group that was formed without the input of any other local Palestinian solidarity groups. Zionist conspiracy theorists like to claim that we’re all part of a tiny cabal bent on global domination but the truth is more mundane.

    The Huron Valley Greens did endorse the PFC boycott in March (see http://hvgreens.org/blog/ ) but have not promoted their endorsement until recently due to concerns about BIG and its proposed language. The HV Greens boycott endorsement is completely consistent with the national Green Party’s 2005 resolution endorsing boycotts against Israel. This resolution was affirmed by the Michigan Green Party in 2006.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 12:05AM    #
  45. Two excerpts from an op-ed by Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University. This was published by the British newspaper The Guardian in 2005:

    “I appeal to you today to be part of a historical movement and moment that may bring an end to more than a century of colonisation, occupation and dispossession of Palestinians. I appeal to you as an Israeli Jew, who for years wished, and looked, for other ways to bring an end to the evil perpetrated against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, inside Israel and in the refugee camps. I devoted all my adult life, with others, creating a substantial peace movement inside Israel , in which, so we hoped, academia will play a leading role. But after 37 years of endless brutal and callous oppression of the people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and after 57 years of colonisation and dispossession of the Palestinians as a whole, I think this hope is unrealistic and other means have to be looked at to end a conflict that endangers peace in the world at large.

    “As I learned from my own case, outside pressure is effective in a country where people want to be regarded as part of the civilized world, but their government, with their explicit and implicit help, pursues policies which violate every known human and civil right. Neither the UN, nor the US and European governments, and societies, have sent a message to Israel that these policies are unacceptable and have to be stopped. It is up to the civil societies, through organisations like yours, to send messages to Israeli academics, businessmen, artists, hi-tech industrialists and every other section in that society, that there is a price tag attached to such policies.”

    Source: http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1464206,00.html


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 12:10AM    #
  46. AAG writes that I “peddle lies and distortions”, because I haven’t been sufficiently attentive to the fine distinctions among various pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel advocacy groups, none of which I named.

    Having accused me of lying about this or that group which is or isn’t partially or fully supporting the boycott, he or she goes on to say “It would be fine if it were true.”

    Obviously I was mistaken in saying it was “the same” group of people as those who picket the synagogue. Perhaps it would have been more accurate (based on AAG’s response) to say “an overlapping group” of people.

    The two-state solution is not some scheme dreamed up by Larry Kestenbaum. It’s the answer which has been blindingly obvious to pretty much everybody for years now. The longer it takes to arrive, the more bloodshed and oppression there will be.

    The concept of the boycott is not to induce negotiation and reconciliation. It is to take a stand that Israel is a pariah state that should go away. It is to justify war, not to promote peace.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 4 '07 - 01:08AM    #
  47. The nub of the matter, for me, is not the Middle East — it’s our food co-op.

    I have been a member of the co-op for a number of years; in the past I was active in the East Lansing Food Co-op and the Cass Corridor Food Co-op in Detroit.

    One of the great things about the co-op is the diversity among its members. We have Christians and Jews and Muslims working and shopping side by side. That unity is threatened by this boycott.

    Here’s a thought experiment: let’s say someone proposed that the co-op boycott goods from China.

    Now, there are plenty of reasons to call for such a boycott. The Chinese government is a brutal totalitarian regime which has murdered tens of millions. Their factories run on slave labor. China invaded Tibet and practically wiped out its unique culture.

    Ann Arbor has a large Chinese community, one of the largest in the Midwest. How do you think they would feel about the PFC becoming the only store in town that boycotts Chinese goods?

    Probably a few of them would say, sure, we don’t like the Chinese government either. But I’m guessing that most of them, even if they didn’t support Beijing’s policies, would feel less welcome at PFC, and they’d stay away.

    A similar dynamic applies with the Ann Arbor Jewish community. No, there won’t be any organized counter-boycott. A few Jews are even supporting the boycott of Israeli goods. But the great majority, I think, would feel less welcome.

    In other words, this boycott would drive a wedge between the co-op and the Jewish community. I don’t want to see that happen.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 4 '07 - 02:06AM    #
  48. “The local Greens, known as the Huron Valley Greens, were largely inactive before the recent influx of Palestinian solidarity activists and it remains a group committed to “grassroots democracy” one of our ten key values.”

    I have a question, then. If the Ann Arbor Green party means what it says….that it is “committed to grassroots democracy as one of our ten key values”....does that mean that you’ll call for an end to the protest if the very democratic Food Co-Op holds a democratic vote on whether or not to carry the offending couscous?

    In other words, will you honor their democracy, and respect that they heard your views and voted on them?


       —todd    Sep. 4 '07 - 02:28AM    #
  49. Larry, I didn’t see anything in Sol’s post about favoring a one-state ‘solution’. Did I miss it, or are you perhaps reading something into his comments?

    Todd, I think I misinterpreted your “Dumbest. Issue. Ever.” comment. You were apparently referring to the boycott as the issue, not the larger issue of the occupation.

    I hope your answer is yes. And I hope that you see that a bunch of people who protest some poor Junior High School kid are a bunch of bullies who could care less about what effects their picketing will have on the poor kid.

    Get the metaphor?

    I get it but I don’t see it as applicable in this case. In the referendum proponents I see a group of adults bringing an issue to their peers, not ganging up on a (adolescent) individual. I also fail to see protesters (there’s a difference between protesting and picketing, btw) as bullies. (If anyone is doing any bullying, that makes them a bully, which has nothing to do with which ‘side’ they’re on.) I also believe that boycotts and the call for them serve a number of valuable intermediate purposes short of the stated goal, including raising awareness and fostering discussion.

    Oh, and Steve, I fail to see how having both Israeli and Palestinian products isn’t a fair compromise for Co-Op members who happen to think that both of those peoples can live together in peace.

    I hadn’t commented on that, but since you’re directing it to me… I don’t think the call for the boycott is intended to benefit co-op members.

    If the two countries (someday, hopefully, I’m with Larry) can’t live together on a stupid store shelf, how in the hell do you expect them to do it in real life?

    I’m sorry our conversation is going this way, but I don’t know how to take this as a serious comment. Oversimplification isn’t helpful. Also, you ‘sound’ angry. I don’t think that’s helpful either.

    If the protesters can’t live with having both Palestinians and Israelis represented at the Co-Op, then their motives are laid bare….as Larry pointed out. Seems to me that those who want peace would be behind my idea 100%.

    I suggest that you ask some of the boycott supporters what their thoughts are. I thought Sol made some clear, reasonable comments—maybe he would respond. Unconfirmed assumptions seem to play a big role in this issue. My opinion is that playing gotcha around people’s motivations is a distraction, and your idea would do nothing to reduce the suffering Palestinians experience from the occupation. Would the proposed boycott do any better? I really don’t know, but as I noted, there are other benefits of calling for one. So I wouldn’t expect a boycott supporter to find much value in that alternative.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 4 '07 - 02:39AM    #
  50. I think , LK has made the most coherent,and rational argument for voting against the proposed boycott. AnnArborGreen wants us to believe that the BIG group and Synagogue -harassers group dontwork together, but if you were to compare membership, you will see plenty of overlap, actually, probably more than that.

    Bottom line is this- the people who are agitating for the boycott of Israeli goods are doing it more becasue of the anti-Jewish views they hold, rather than for an ygenuine concern for Palestinians. If thatwere the case, they would probably be involved in some kind of discourse with Palestinians,and convince themthat engaging in terrorism,and extremist-Islam, is not the way to guarantee that peace would ever be a possible. Like Larry said in one of his initial posts, the supporters of the boycott are apologists for the type of Palestinian action that will achieve nothng but endless war and terrorism. Supporters of this boycott,are Jew-haters who are willing supporters of ,and apologists for Palestinian terrorism.
       —el-Hindi    Sep. 4 '07 - 02:52AM    #
  51. Steve, if I sound angry, my mistake. What I am is amazed that you can’t see this “boycott” for what it is. It’s a small group vying for attention. Do you honestly think that, of all people, the NPR-listening members of the Food Co-Op in Ann Arbor, Michigan are somehow unaware of the problems in the Middle East?

    If these people are really, honestly concerned for the welfare of Palestinians, I can give them a list of dozens of entities in Michigan that their voices should be directed toward. Their Federal Reps, Manufacturers of weapons, parts for weapons, military transports, trajectory software, etc. etc.

    Come on, the list could go into the thousands if you think about it. But where is the focus of their ire? A liberal, non-profit grocery store the seeks to get healthy food to its members. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Come on, Steve. The Food Co-Op in Ann Arbor is public enemy #1 to the Palestinians? That doesn’t even pass the laugh test. It’s absurd on its face. To say that there are bigger fish to fry is the world’s biggest understatement.

    Now if these people (or at least one faction) are indeed serious about what they say, and they respect “grass roots democracy”, then the Co-Op should hold a vote as to what to do, and then the issue should be shelved. Pun fully intended.

    If they don’t, then you’ll know that they don’t respect the Food Co-Op, and are interested in agitation for the sake of agitation. That’s lame, and you know it. For crying out loud, this isn’t some faceless corporation.

    And you don’t see how my suggestions of carrying Palestinian products would help the Palestinians? Don’t they need to eat? Don’t they have businesses? Don’t they need trade? Buy their stuff. That helps. Establish a committee, and search out Palestinian wares. Support their peaceful activities.

    Then put it next to the Israeli goods. I’m dead serious. I’d rather the Israeli people make money on couscous than military-related hand outs. And as JAV pointed out, how do we know that Palestinians didn’t have a hand in crafting the couscous?

    My apologies for my tone, Steve, but it really bothers me to think that this has turned an Ann Arbor institution upside down when there are better paths to take.


       —todd    Sep. 4 '07 - 03:30AM    #
  52. Dear Todd and others,

    More than 170 Palestinian organizations made an appeal to the world in July of 2005 to boycott Israel, divest from Israel and to sanction Israel. Clearly, the members of these organizations felt that risking what ever financial losses Palestinians living in Palestinian lands – whether occupied by Zionists in 1948 or 1967 – was worth sending a message to Israel that the whole world is watching and that Israel should not be exempt from honoring basic human rights.

    The ANC made a call for boycotts against South Africa and the same unprincipled and patronizing excuse was made to refuse to honor their boycott as well – the claim was that Blacks would be hurt more by the boycott than the better off whites.

    Greens urge all people of conscience to honor the call of these Palestinian organizations representing Palestinians in the lands occupied in 1967, those living in lands occupied in 1948, as well as those who are not allowed to return to their lands and homeland, the 4 – 6 million Palestinian refugees living in the diaspora.

    The Green Party values grassroots democracy and decentralization, so while it is consistent with Green values for Green locals to take their own positions in their communities, supporting the PFC boycott referendum is consistent with not only Green Party of Michigan and USGP positions, but also with Green parties in other countries, such as the UK.
    http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/3024

    Those who want to see true peace in Palestine must know that true peace can only be founded on justice. The three demands of the 2005 Palestinian call are reasonable enough: – end the military occupation in the lands occupied since 1967 – equal rights for all in the lands occupied in 1948 – right to return for Palestinian refugees.

    The Huron Valley Greens support the PFC boycott referndum out of a sense of responsibility to work for peace and justice for all in the region.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:11AM    #
  53. The food co-op is not the target of the boycott movement. The point of boycotting Israel produce is to promote awareness and discussion regarding the occupation, and to shame those who profit from ill-gotten gains, made through stealing land and water from a displaced people. The boycott is symbolic and is not intended to offset the billions of dollars Israel receives from the United States. The fact that Israel is internally divided regarding the occupation could bode well for the boycott achieving its purpose. Many will be troubled at being made aware that their government’s actions have turned some of their friends in the world against them.

    Impugning sinister ulterior motives to the boycott movement is a smokescreen.

    “The concept of the boycott is not to induce negotiation and reconciliation. It is to take a stand that Israel is a pariah state that should go away. It is to justify war, not to promote peace.”—Post#49

    To boycott is to justify war, Larry? Your language is usually a bit more reserved than that. Not so Fox News-ish. Did the newly available Karl Rove just land a job at the Polygon?


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:37AM    #
  54. Larry Kestenbaum writes: “Having accused me of lying …” No, Larry, I said you were peddling lies. Whether those lies are your own or someone else’s I did not speculate but lies they are and they have been flying around town for weeks—read the co-op newsletter, for example. TeacherPatti asked, “Was this started by the same group that protests Jewish services on Saturdays …?” Without missing a beat, LK responded: “Yup, same group, same goal: endless war in the Middle East.”

    LK writes: “The concept of the boycott is not to induce negotiation and reconciliation. It is to take a stand that Israel is a pariah state that should go away. It is to justify war, not to promote peace.” Not only is our esteemed County Clerk sloppy with his facts, he also apparently thinks he possesses special powers to discern the hidden motives of others. Contrary to what they might say, Larry knows the truth and speaks it.

    I, personally, would support a boycott of Chinese goods by the co-op if it was as widely supported by the Chinese people as the Israeli boycott is supported by the Palestinian people. And if the call was framed as a nonviolent movement for human rights, as the Palestinian call is. If some Chinese people living in Ann Arbor were offended by that then that would sad but no reason to ignore the call of Chinese people in China.

    LK is also a prognosticator: “No, there won’t be any organized counter-boycott.” We’ll see. I predict that if the boycott referendum passes the co-op values of many in the Jewish community will go right out the window and they won’t rest until they’ve overturned the boycott or wrecked the co-op or both


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 08:18AM    #
  55. todd writes: “... does that mean that you’ll call for an end to the protest if the very democratic Food Co-Op holds a democratic vote on whether or not to carry the offending couscous?” What protest? There is no protest against the co-op by anyone that I know of at this time. Likewise, the HV Greens are not currently involved in any ongoing protests or recent ad hoc protest activity, either.

    If you mean to ask will we boycott the co-op if co-op members do not approve the referendum then I can only speak for myself: I have no plans to boycott the co-op if the boycott proposal loses in a fair and honest election and I would not support the HV Greens boycotting the PFC under such circumstances, either.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 08:32AM    #
  56. el-Hindi writes: “AnnArborGreen wants us to believe that the BIG group and Synagogue-harassers group dontwork together, but if you were to compare membership, you will see plenty of overlap, actually, probably more than that.” I know all of the players in the local anti-Zionist movement and I can state unequivocally that BIG and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends are not working together on the PFC boycott. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar or an ignoramus. The insistence on linking the two groups is evidently an effort to distract from the actual merits of the referendum question and to create an air of guilt-by-association, where neither guilt nor association exist. This is a common Zionist tactic.

    Is there overlap? Yes, but I witnessed two active opponents of the boycott who said they were members of Beth Israel and I believe them. However, no rational person would argue on this basis that Beth Israel Congregation is the real party behind the anti-boycott effort even though there is some overlap and undoubtedly most BIC members oppose the boycott.

    Bottom line is this: You can say until you’re blue in the face that this boycott effort is the work of JWPF and Henry Herskovitz but that won’t make it true and, more importantly, it won’t change the fact that, according to the Ann Arbor News, “about 600” co-op members signed the petition to hold the referendum. That is far more people than any of local Palestinian solidarity groups can claim and it wasn’t local Zionists that put this on the ballot. I won’t be surprised if the measure passes.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 08:56AM    #
  57. The boycott seems pointless in and of itself, but it does bring up the issue of how Isreal treats Palestinians. I think Sol has it right, and I believe that is where things will eventually land.A state dominated by one religion, one ethnic group, and ghettoizing another will just not succeed in the long run.


       —Emilia    Sep. 4 '07 - 11:48AM    #
  58. In regard to the proposed
    “boycott Israeli Goods” movement (BIG)at the Peoples Food coop: There are 3
    main constituencies behind that movement. The prime movers are the
    “anti-israel-under- any- circumstances” monomaniacs who, against all right and
    reason , have been harassing Beth Israel Congregation for about 4 years.(
    e.g.Henry Herskovitz,Sol Metz, Shirley Zempel, Mozhgan Savabiesfahani and her
    companion Blaine Coleman —the latter referred to in an earlier News article
    by reporter Tom Gantert as “an out of control buffoon”).

    Then there are the possibly well- meaning but morally and historically
    muddled, who wrongly conflate “misery” ( which in the case of the
    Palestinians is unarguable) with “innocent victimhood”, (which is indeed quite
    arguable in this instance— a point eloquently, accurately and succinctly
    documented in a “News” op-ed by history prof Victor Lieberman early in
    August).Such folks do the Palestinians no favor by absolving them from all
    responsibilty and accountability for their sorry plight. Indeed, one could
    argue, that it is they—not the much maligned “zionists” —who are the real
    racists here. How so? For unconstructively treating palestinians ( and
    other arabs/muslims) like not- too-
    bright children, free of all consequences for an array of terrible choices by
    a substantial part of that population, be it in leaders ( the Nazi-aligned
    Mufti of Jerusalem,the corrupt Arafat, the fanatics of Hamas) or strategies
    for coping with adversity (notably heroization of suicide bombers and other
    terrorists rather than negotiation and building of civil society institutions
    and ideals). These are facts that Israelis, sadly, cannot afford to ignore,
    although reasonable people can and should be able to argue as to the tactical
    efficacy, and, yes, morality, of some israeli responses…But of course
    israelis themselves have always done that far more sensibly than Ann arbor’s
    johnny- come- lately claque of Israel bashers.

    Then there are members of a group called “Friends of Sabeel” which ran a full page ad in the AnnArbor Observer in June. This , while biased against Israel, nonetheless called —admirably— for the “2-state- solution” desired by all of true good will. Yet at a coop meeting on the BIG boycott on August 9 members of this group clearly spoke unequivocally in favor of a one-state Palestine…a major reversal from their more temperate published position ( and in any case a number of the synagogue harassers signed too, in blatant contradiction of their other actions).

    So what’ve we got behind BIG? The fanatic, the confused and the disingenuous/
    duplicitous…separately, let alone collectively, compelling reason to vote
    against it!

    AL HAJJ ABU AQL
       —Al Hajj Abu Aql    Sep. 4 '07 - 01:09PM    #
  59. Todd, I re-recommend that you direct questions to boycott supporters if you are interested in understanding where they’re coming from. I’ll point out, though, that the wording from the PFC newsletter states that the boycott would apply to products “made, grown, or originated in Israel or in Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.” You might want to pick up a copy or visit the website for more information.

    By the way, I’m taking part in a fast for combatting climate change today. In the past I’ve fasted in the interest of bringing the troops home from Iraq. You might understand that these haven’t been the only efforts that I’ve made with regard to those issues, and yet I do them. And here I am discussing—sometimes defending—a boycott effort even though I most likely won’t vote in favor of it. (I’m a PFC member.) It’s probably not surprising then that I can relate with people who may not see the approaches you point to as the best—and certainly not the only—ways of taking action.

    I think that Aimee Smith explained well the background for the boycott. (And I agree with her use of the word “patronizing”, btw.) I hope that helps to clarify it for those whose perception is that its immediate intention is to establish peace in the Middle East (and for your inexplicable belief that it’s about the attention desires of the promoters, Todd.) I also think that a lot of confusion and irrelevant arguments arise from that misperception and from the unwitting misrepresentations made by those who don’t understand that stopping an occupation isn’t the same thing as bringing parties together for peace negotiations.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 4 '07 - 01:16PM    #
  60. I understand why the referendum says we (co-op people) will boycott Israel until the BDS website calls off the boycott – because they are the ones calling for BDS- boycott, divestment, sanctions. But who makes decisions for that website? Do all the groups listed vote? Thanks


       —Justaskin    Sep. 4 '07 - 02:21PM    #
  61. I see the condition for ending the boycott that Justaskin refers to in the referendum as a fatal flaw. Co-op members should either be given the opportunity to democratically decide on the ending of the boycott at some future time or else be presented with a clear list of criteria for its eventual end, prior to voting on the referendum. Have the Huron Valley Greens considered this, Aimee? Ann Arbor Green?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 4 '07 - 03:21PM    #
  62. “I think that Aimee Smith explained well the background for the boycott. (And I agree with her use of the word “patronizing”, btw.) I hope that helps to clarify it for those whose perception is that its immediate intention is to establish peace in the Middle East (and for your inexplicable belief that it’s about the attention desires of the promoters, Todd.)”

    For a guy and a group hell bent on symbolism, you sure are having a tough time understanding how this looks to us regular ol’ Ann Arborites.

    Like it or not, some of the boycotters (picketers, whatever name you choose) were standing next to/near (or were at meeting with) some clod with a swastika. So right there there’s confusion as to who is responsible for/leading this boycott.

    Some say that BIG has nothing to do with swastika-boy, but then some poster calling him/herself “Ann Arbor Green” makes the brilliant observation that, “Personally, I think it is stupid to use the swastika to make this point but the point is valid and it is not “anti-Semitic.””

    Sweet. Swastikas aren’t anti-Semitic. What does a swastika insignia mean to my little Umberto Eco wannabes? “Yield to oncoming traffic”? Or “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”?

    So guess what, Steve? I have now justifiably lumped in the Ann Arbor Greens with Swastika-boy. I can assure you that I’m not the only cat in Ann Arbor to do the same. If there’s a guy with a swastika standing next to/near a bunch of other protesters/whatever outside of the PFC (or at the PFC meeting in question), the last thing I’m going to do is pick up lit. from a group like that. So the lines are blurred as to who is whom. See?

    Pretend you are a new Jewish (or anyone else actually) student to Ann Arbor this fall, and you walk by the Co-op. What are you going to think when you see a swastika, and later hear that they are trying to get rid of all Israeli products? “Wow, they really love Jewish people in Ann Arbor”? Or, “wow, what an intellectually diverse town?”

    Get it? So, Aimee and Steve, please forgive me for not having an activist scorecard, but it’s pretty difficult to separate the earnest people from the nutjobs. I hope you understand how confusing it is when your group is, correctly or incorrectly, associated with you-know-who.

    Aimee, you have my respect for respecting the m.o. of the PFC.

    Steve, the boycott in general is fine by me. I won’t boycott Israeli goods because I know full well that there are many, many Israelis who aren’t real happy about how Palestinians are treated. This, in my mind, is not a black and white issue.

    Which brings me to my next to last comment. I have a problem with putting a non-prof like the PFC in the crosshairs of this boycott. I’m with Larry in that it can tear apart the Co-Op because it will make an entire people feel unwelcome. I think that this stinks, and it’s why I’m so riled up. I wouldn’t want Israelis to feel any less welcome anywhere in Ann Arbor than I would a Palestinian. Call me a bleeding heart if you wish, but there it is.

    I also think that his mention of China’s not-so-swell human rights record is spot on. Boycotts, as I have said before, are a slippery, slippery slope.

    My 2 cents.


       —todd    Sep. 4 '07 - 03:23PM    #
  63. The Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) have organized a vigil outside Wembley Stadium, in England, to protest the Israeli soccer team’s presence.

    Human rights campaigners are quoted as criticizing Israel’s “entrenched system of racial apartheid”, its “illegally occupying Palestinian land”, and its siege on Palestine, which has ‘devastated’ Palestinian daily lives.

    Clearly something bad is happening to Palestine. Can that be said, or is there a danger of offending incoming freshmen?


       —Solidarity    Sep. 4 '07 - 04:11PM    #
  64. The Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) campaign, in England, has put their leaflet on-line:

    http://bigcampaign.org/uploads/File/0705football%20leaflet(2).pdf


       —Solidarity    Sep. 4 '07 - 04:19PM    #
  65. “So guess what, Steve? I have now justifiably lumped in the Ann Arbor Greens with Swastika-boy. I can assure you that I’m not the only cat in Ann Arbor to do the same.”

    Why stop there, Todd? The Ann Arbor Greens are also the ones screaming at little kids as they go into the JCC and donning sunglasses and screaming at the 4th of July Parade attendees and participants. Their new motto should be “HVGP—Come Jump the Shark With Us!”


       —OWSider    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:22PM    #
  66. Todd, I’m not a member of the Huron Valley Greens (I said that I’m a PFC member.)


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:40PM    #
  67. I am told that the JCC held a “Celebrate Israel” event, in Ann Arbor, as Israel dropped approximately one million bombs onto Lebanese civilians, including many children. Are these “Celebrate Israel” events really the wrong place to protest Israel’s behavior? If so, then one has to ask, where is the right place? Thank you in advance for your reply.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:50PM    #
  68. I didn’t mean to imply that you were. I shouldn’t have put your name in that paragraph. My mistake, and my apologies.


       —todd    Sep. 4 '07 - 05:53PM    #
  69. “People’s Food Co-op is not all that divided”

    ANN ARBOR NEWS, September 4, 2007

    http://www.mlive.com/news/annarbornews...

    “Boycotts are a time-honored and effective means of political activism…The state of Israel, like South Africa, enforces a fierce regime of separation and brutalization of the Palestinian Arabs…”


       —Solidarity    Sep. 4 '07 - 06:05PM    #
  70. I thought Blaine had left town…


       —John Q.    Sep. 4 '07 - 07:45PM    #
  71. Does it really matter who wrote that excellent letter, in the Ann Arbor News, about the Co-op really not being divided? The letter reinforces the fact that a human rights crisis is being addressed by the members of this community, through well-established voting channels. Does anyone claim that Palestinians are not deserving of their own homes, on their own land?


       —OWBanker    Sep. 4 '07 - 08:04PM    #
  72. It would be nice if Blaine used his own name for his comments instead of a revolving succession of screen names.


       —John Q.    Sep. 4 '07 - 08:32PM    #
  73. Old Ann Arborites will remember that South Africa and Israel were very close military allies.

    A British daily newspaper provided more details, last year…

    “Brothers in arms – Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1704037,00.html

    The intro says:

    “...Chris McGreal investigates the clandestine alliance between Israel and the apartheid regime, cemented with the ultimate gift of friendship – A-bomb technology.”


       —Solidarity    Sep. 4 '07 - 09:03PM    #
  74. “It would be nice if Blaine used his own name for his comments instead of a revolving succession of screen names.”

    Actually, by the (abysmally low) standards set by previous threads on related subjects, this one is an improvement. I suspect there’s some of that going on, but haven’t taken the time to be sure.

    That said, I will happily delete posts from anyone obviously using revolving screen names or otherwise abusing the comments section. Please address any such requests (or related meta-commentary) to arborupdate@umich.edu; further posts on the subject here will probably be deleted.


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 4 '07 - 09:15PM    #
  75. Al Hajj Abu Aql, your post is mostly ad hominem attacks, which is not surprising given which side you support. And a nom de plume is fine but to impersonate a Muslim religious pilgrim—a Hajj—well that is just not kashrut, SLP.

    Steve Bean, according to BIG members and one PFC Board member, the problematic language you referenced re: ending the boycott was inserted by BIG at the request of the previous Board of Directors (as you know, there was a Board election earlier this year). In any case, the language is not such a problem as co-op members retain the right to “democratically decide on the ending of the boycott” as they like. Since the HV Greens are not involved in the BIG campaign, except for the resolution of support, we had no prior knowledge of or say in the writing or adoption of the termination clause, which I believe was inserted after we passed our resolution.

    Todd, in modern Western political discourse the swastika is a symbol of the violent fascism of the Nazi movement. When Jews and others use that symbol to expose and critique the violent fascism of the Zionist movement they are not being “anti-Semitic.” That said, I know a lot of people in this community and only two of them support the use of the swastika in this manner and those two have been asked to leave events and groups over and over again. They answer to no one but themselves.

    Israeli settlers in parts of Palestine occupied in 1967 have repeatedly adopted the swastika and other Nazi symbols to protest their eviction from Palestinian territory. For example, you can read about it here So, I’ll leave it up to you to answer your question: “What does a swastika insignia mean to my little Umberto Eco wannabes?”


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 4 '07 - 09:35PM    #
  76. I am surprised that in 79 previous comments made, not a single supporter of the pro-Israeli boycott movement, has seen it fit to condemn or even acknowledge the many acts Palestinian terrorism that various Palestinian groups have committed over the years.
    What am I to take from the silence on ths matter?-That y’all are silent supporters of vicious acts of violence carried out by Palestinian terrorists? Acts of terrorism against Israelis or Americans must be OK, right?
    Please do explain, will ya?

    Seriously, if you are all for peace an justice and non-violence, why dont you all condemn violence by Palestinian terrorists too? It doesnt make sense that you are all bent out of shape over Israeli actions, but are mum, when Palestinians commit acts of violence. Doesnt seemto be logically consistent If violence is a bad, it should be condemned regardless of who commits it. i wonder -why the double standard?


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 4 '07 - 09:58PM    #
  77. Think of Nat Turner.


       —Solidarity    Sep. 4 '07 - 10:19PM    #
  78. “Todd, in modern Western political discourse the swastika is a symbol of the violent fascism of the Nazi movement. When Jews and others use that symbol to expose and critique the violent fascism of the Zionist movement they are not being “anti-Semitic.””

    Ah, a discussion on semiotics. Count me in.

    Your above sentence is incorrect. What you mean to write is, “Todd, in modern Western political discourse, one of the many meanings of the swastika is a symbol of the violent fascism of the Nazi movement.”

    The swastika represents many, many things, AAGreen. People fluent in “Modern Political Discourse” would agree that it is an anti-semitic sign. I could list the hundreds of negative connotations and denotations of the swastika, but it is enough to say that one of its larger significations, particularly given the context of an Israeli goods boycott, is, essentially “wipe out the Jewish people”. It is certainly not the only signification of a swastika, but that does not, in any case, negate its anti-semitic signification.

    The example you gave with some Israeli settlers speaks to this. While the wearers are Jewish, the signification of the swastika remains “wipe out the Jewish People”, but it is worn ironically, as the wearers are Jewish. This irony does not negate the message or signification, “wipe out the Jewish People”.


       —todd    Sep. 4 '07 - 10:52PM    #
  79. This handy flowchart to help you decide Should I Use Blackface on My Blog? could probably be adapted into one that answers the question, Should I Use a Swastika in My Protest?


       —ann arbor is overrated    Sep. 5 '07 - 12:26AM    #
  80. Okay, for some reason, Todd’s words (#51) “offending couscous” just really made me crack up. Also, it makes me think of when Chef said that he gave Meatloaf his name. When one of the SP kids asks what his first choice of a name was, Chef replies, “Couscous”.

    Sorry folks—it’s been a really long first day of school!


       —TeacherPatti    Sep. 5 '07 - 12:46AM    #
  81. Todd, my sentence is correct. I never indicated, explicitly or implicitly, that the swastika symbolizes only one thing in modern Western political discourse and my claim that it symbolizes the violent fascism of the Nazi movement does not in any way contradict the notion that it also symbolizes anti-Jewish animus a.k.a. “anti-Semitism.” Indeed, some would argue, and I would not disagree, that the latter meaning is implied in the former.

    My point is that whatever one may say about the actual symbol its use by Israeli settlers protesting their removal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories is not “anti-Semitic.” Do you disagree?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 5 '07 - 12:59AM    #
  82. (I’ve deleted a series of inflammatory posts from the same ip address with a variety of made-up names; when that didn’t work, I took the unusual step of banning the ip. If you’re posting from that address and want the ip unblocked, or if you have any other comments or complains about moderation, contact us at arborupdate@umich.edu.)


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 5 '07 - 01:04AM    #
  83. el-Hindi,

    The reason the Huron Valley Greens’ focus is on Israel is due to the fact that Palestinians do not possess tanks, nuclear weapons, an airforce, a navy and billions of dollars in US military aid a year. Being believers in Democracy and democratic process, we have issues with Theocracies of any type be they Jewish, Muslim or Christian since they inherently exclude non-believers or non-chosen peoples who live in the same area (yes, we believe in separation of church and state.) A particular issue with Israel is that it does not acknowledge the right of Palestinians to return to their land and has maintained barbaric conditions of occupation for years in Gaza and the West Bank. Any objective analysis of the proposed Two-State Solution would have to conclude that Israel is offering the Palestinians a South African style Bantustan solution. Israel will continue to control the water, access to/from Palestinian areas and the entire economy of the region. We as Greens are appalled at the military support the US government has provided Israel and believe that the surest path to peace is to stop funding Israel with US taxpayer money. Given that the US government will most likely continue funding, we believe it is essential to support boycotts like the PFC boycott.
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 5 '07 - 01:19AM    #
  84. HV Green “My point is that whatever one may say about the actual symbol its use by Israeli settlers protesting their removal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories is not “anti-Semitic.” Do you disagree”

    Yup. I disagree. Moving around the context does not negate one, or many of, the significations of the Swastika (e.g.,“wipe out the Jewish People).

    In other words, just because some dude claims that he’s a Jew, or knows a guy, who knows this guy who was married to this guy who was a Jew doesn’t suddenly negate one or more significations of the Swastika (e.g., wipe out the Jewish People).

    AAIO’s link to a flowchart on blackface is spot on to this point. In so many words, the flow chart is asking is there any context where blackface is ok? The Rube Goldbergian (and hilarious) flow chart says, essentially, not only would you be a complete dick for using it, you’re probably just as much of a dick if you’re trying to come up with some lame-o excuse in the way of context to use blackface.

    So true it hurts. Well played, AAIO.


       —todd    Sep. 5 '07 - 02:43AM    #
  85. ChuckL- the two state solution is the only possible solution. The US Govt, (and the democracies ofWestern Europe), regardless of whether it is a Democratic or a Republican Administration will never do anything that will lead to the destruction of the State of Israel. By saying that the two-state solution is only a means of placing the Palestinians in a bantustan type of situation, you seem to implythat nothing but the complete destruction of Israel will satisfy you and your fellow pro-Palestinian activist friends.

    No one has answered my question yet- that is, why is act of violence, directed at innocents, not condemned, when suchacts are committed by Palestinians? Or it is ok, because the Palestinians are, in your eyes, “victims” o fthe “evil zionists”,and hence absolved of all responsibility for any and all acts of terrorism?

    And if the two-state soluition is , not acceptable, what alternative solution would you propose? Driving all the Jews into the sea? That seems to be what the islamic extremists and terrorists state as their ultimate goal. And I wonder if the pro-boycott supporters are of a like mind?

    F


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:28AM    #
  86. tood, the blackface flowchart is mostly irrelevant. You’re beating a straw man. No one here is arguing that the swastika should be used in protests or on a blog. You didn’t answer the question I asked, you answered the question you wanted. I don’t dispute that one of the “significations of the Swastika” is “wipe out the Jewish People” but surely a smart guy like you can see the distinction between a symbol-in-itself and its use or employment. So, I’ll give you one more chance to be honest and answer the question posed to you: Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers? Here’s a reminder: I am not asking you if the swastika symbolizes anti-Semitism, I’ve never disputed that reading.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:32AM    #
  87. “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?”

    Are they here in Ann Arbor? If not, why is it relevent?


       —John Q.    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:55AM    #
  88. “but surely a smart guy like you can see the distinction between a symbol-in-itself and its use or employment.”

    Hmmmm. I don’t think that you fully grasped the significance of the flowchart, but I’ll let it go.

    “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?”

    Yep. It sure is. The context doesn’t change that as one of the significations of wearing the Swastikas. Is that direct enough? Just because they are Jewish doesn’t mean that they can’t engage in anti-Semitic act, as you seem to be implying.

    And to borrow my line from the blackface chart, those who do wear the damn swastikas are complete dicks for doing so.

    How’d I do?


       —todd    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:57AM    #
  89. el-hindi, I think you’re being very disingenuous on at least two separate topics:

    #89: By saying that the two-state solution is only a means of placing the Palestinians in a bantustan type of situation, you seem to implythat nothing but the complete destruction of Israel will satisfy you and your fellow pro-Palestinian activist friends.

    Well, there’s also the imaginable outcome where Palestinians were allowed to become full citizens in Israel. Personally, I believe that’s highly unlikely, and expect a two-state outcome is probably the best realistic case, but you’re being unreasonable in stating that anybody who hopes for something other than a two-state solution is advocating driving the Jews into the sea.

    #80: That y’all are silent supporters of vicious acts of violence carried out by Palestinian terrorists? Acts of terrorism against Israelis or Americans must be OK, right?

    I think that reasonable people can be reasonably opposed both to Israeli brutality against Palestinians and to Palestinian suicide bombings of Israelis. (I’m one of those people.) However, I do not think that every comment should have to start with the phrase “I oppose Palestinian suicide bombing, but…” Whether or not some Palestinians engage in acts of violence against Israelis does not justify violence and brutality by Israel to Palestinians: nothing justifies it. And, while I personally believe that violence by Palestinians towards Israelis is desperate and retaliatory, and fairly understandable, I still condemn it.

    But I don’t think Palestinian violence has a major role in this discussion. If you get the PFC to hold a referendum on a boycott of Palestinian-made goods, maybe we can have a thread on that. For this particular boycott, though, demanding that Palestinian violence is considered as a deciding factor seems to me to say that a certain level of Israeli violence and brutality can be justified. I don’t think that’s true.


       —Murph.    Sep. 5 '07 - 04:07AM    #
  90. Where is George Lambrides in this discussion? George is executive director of the Interfaith Round Table, and has claimed that the presence of Henry Herskovitz at an event – he was referring to the flyering at St. Andrews Episcopal Church a few years back – makes the event a “Vigil Event”. “You ARE the Vigil Group” he once said.

    But now Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (the Vigil Group) has been associated with the Boycott Israeli Goods group (BIG) by opponents of the boycott, in spite of the following:

    —> I have never attended one BIG meeting.
    —> I have never attended one PFC Co-op meeting.
    —> I have never handed out one leaflet at the People’s Food Co-op.
    —> I have never asked for one signature on any of the petitions.

    Further,

    —> BIG activities are never discussed at JWPF meetings.
    —> The same two individuals who were thrown out of BIG are carelessly and falsely associated with JWPF (one quit; the other was asked to leave).
    —> A member of the BIG group worked to damage JWPF by convincing an out of town peace activist to change her mind about standing vigil with us.
    —> Nowhere in the 26 weekly vigil reports issued since January, are the BIG group and its activities even mentioned.

    The prescient letter writer in the (Fall, 2007) PFC “Connection” forecast: “I expect that the opponents of this referendum will probably play the guilt by association card. They will probably tell you to vote no lest you become associated with certain people whom they consider to be beyond the pale.”

    The false charges of equating JWPF and BIG contained in this exchange testify to the accuracy of her predictions.

    JWPF holds peaceful, silent vigils on Saturday mornings; BIG asks members of the People’s Food Co-op to boycott Israeli goods.


       —Henry Herskovitz    Sep. 5 '07 - 05:02AM    #
  91. todd wrote:

    “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?”

    Yep. It sure is. The context doesn’t change that as one of the significations of wearing the Swastikas. Is that direct enough? Just because they are Jewish doesn’t mean that they can’t engage in anti-Semitic act, as you seem to be implying.

    Your syntax in the third sentence of the second paragraph above seems odd but, yes, your meaning is finally clear and I thank you for that. To clarify, I never suggested that the settlers being Jewish was the relevant issue—it just happened to be that they were Jewish. I have already indicated that I think that the context does matter and is the relevant issue—you disagree. Would you assert, then, that the use of the swastika numerous times here is also an anti-Semitic act?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 5 '07 - 05:17AM    #
  92. Now, I’ve read the articles and, well, vaguely skimmed the discussion. And the first question, which doesn’t seem answered anywhere (do your job, Jo Mathis) is how many Israeli products the PFC carries now. Things might have changed, but when I worked there, there wasn’t a damned stick of Israeli chapstick or a bottle of Israeli olive oil. No gefilte, no knishes, if we had bagels they were from Avalon.

    Assuming that there are no real world consequences, lemme wade into this morass of fallacies, bad faith and third-rate demagoguery.

    First off, clarifying my biases: I think the ideal is a one-state solution. I think that one state should be secular and be willing to recognize both the Israeli and Palestinian cultural stakes, etc. etc. I just can’t get behind a religious state, and that’s my beef with Israel.

    Given all that, though, the best “in our times” solution is a two-state one, and that raises the question of whether vociferously pressing for a boycott from some PFC in the Midwest is the best application of resources for that goal.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all think the occupation’s got some fundamental problems, and at least on this website, I don’t think you’ll find a lot of pro-settler partisans.

    Does that mean that a boycott is the best use of opposenik resources? No. I think a lot of the traction that this has gotten is because it IS something that Henry et al. CAN influence. They’re at least inspiring debate amongst the liberal Ann Arbor intelligencia and ward healers.

    But sometimes it’s more important to be one of many small hands rolling a big ball than the only hand rolling a small one. I think that peace in the Middle East is going to take more people working to wean Israel off subsidies and to establish a functional Palestinian infrastructure than it will folks with placards and slogans that rhyme.

    For those who would argue that this IS a part of a bigger picture, what picture is that? Is it raising nebulous “awareness,” often vaunted like some RPG attribute (useful vaguely, but abstract in practice)? What good would further Ann Arbor awareness do that wouldn’t be more concretely achieved by other means, even by other people? It’s the “drawing to an inside straight” of politics.

    Given all that, the proponents of the boycott have no choice but to resort to emotional appeals. Rather than arguing to persuade, to enjoin and to consense, the arguments that I have seen here have been to dissuade support of Israel, to alternately disassemble and dissemble, and to act with a zealotry rightly dismissed as “fringe.”
    The use of Apartheid rhetoric is apt. They are the zealots who forgot South Africa as soon as Botha left. These are not the people who Palestinians or Israelis would have plot their future.

    Any person who truly desires peace, any person who understands that peace requires process, any person opposed to local silliness and the triumph of ideology over practicality should be able to ask themselves if they’re making progress (the root of progressive, y’all) toward the true goals they support rather than working to divide and exclude by voting for this proposal.


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 05:48AM    #
  93. js, thanks for one of the most fallacious, bad faith comment I’ve seen during this entire thread. Zionist propaganda this sanctimonious and obfuscatory is, well, just breathtaking. You spout all this hollow “progressive” claptrap only to bring us to a left Zionist position: 1) The two-state solution is the only realistic option; and, 2) Don’t do what Palestinians (and some Jews) have asked people of conscience to do—support broad boycotts of Israeli goods—because it’s divisive.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:44AM    #
  94. How many of you self-styled progressive co-op members out there would support a PFC boycott of Odwalla or Horizon or would that undercut your arguments against boycotting Israeli goods?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:50AM    #
  95. Does anyone know how the BDS web site works?


       —Justaskin    Sep. 5 '07 - 12:34PM    #
  96. As far as the swastika symbol, context means everything. Consider the cross. Outside of a building, on a steeple, a cross means something entirely different than if it is lit on fire and being carried by someone wearing a white hood. Years ago, being carried by a crusader or a roman, a cross would symbolize something else.

    It would seem that assuming that someone brandishing a swastika wanted to “wipe out the Jewish People” would be just as presumptuous as assuming that everyone inside a church with a cross on top “wanted to crucify Jesus”.

    But I could be wrong on this. (Pre-emptive disqualifier as I don my flame-retardant clothing).


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 5 '07 - 02:08PM    #
  97. As of the Jewish New Year on the evening of September 13th it will be a Shmita Year-
    (every 7th year the fields have to lie fallow)

    Jewish farmers (in Israel)are forbidden to harvest anything for a year.
    Guess what?

    Even the Israeli Army won’t be buying any produce from Jewish farmers, they’ll only buy from Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank and Jordan etc.

    So you want to hurt Arab farmers by boycotting Israel. That’s smart.

    If you don’t belive me, look it up.

    The Badatz Edah Haredit, which provides an ultra-Orthodox kashrut certification, recently signed an agreement with Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip to provide 60 tons of fruit and vegetables over the coming year.

    If Palestinian farmers in Gaza are not boycotting Israel, why should the coop over a few bags of couscous?


       —JM    Sep. 5 '07 - 02:30PM    #
  98. I have to thank so many posters for their insights.
    Boycotting always seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? The posters are right, that boyctting is “divisive”. Of course, sit-ins, protets, all these things are “divisive.” I do hope the posters will consider the converse as well.

    Does the act of strenuously protecting Israel, from any boycott, from any protest, seem equally “divisive” to the Palestinians who live in Ann Arbor? Not to be overly sentimental, but many have been compelled to flee their homes in Palestine.

    Just a word about the Montgomery Bus boycott. Was it really too “divisive”? Did it make whites feel too “unwelcome”? Thank you in advance for your response.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:07PM    #
  99. What the Dalai Lama said about boycotting China

    Should we boycott Chinese products?

    “That is a tricky question. It is sticky, it has glues. I’m not seeking
    independence of Tibet, although Tibet is historically an independent
    nation. Today the situation in Tibet is very serious. Whether intentionally
    or unintentionally some kind of cultural genocide is taking place. Tibet’s
    complete form of Buddhism is now dying. My task: save, protect Tibetan
    culture and Tibetan Buddhism. Best is to talk with Chinese government
    to solve problem. Therefore the boycott, from my side, I am not much in favor
    about that.


       —JM    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:12PM    #
  100. “js, thanks for one of the most fallacious, bad faith comment I’ve seen during this entire thread. Zionist propaganda this sanctimonious and obfuscatory is, well, just breathtaking. You spout all this hollow “progressive” claptrap only to bring us to a left Zionist position: 1) The two-state solution is the only realistic option; and, 2) Don’t do what Palestinians (and some Jews) have asked people of conscience to do—support broad boycotts of Israeli goods—because it’s divisive.”

    Really? What logical fallacies did I engage in? Argumentum ad pragmatum?
    The two-state solution is the only currently viable political option for Palestine and Israel, and is likely to be for the next 50 or so years. You want one state (which I’ve never heard any protester offer any sort of plan or vision for—they’re just against Israel)? Get two functional states first. You want to affect real change? Either work on the macro level to reduce US subsidies to Israel (which a PFC boycott won’t do), thus forcing a more leveraged negotiation, or work on the micro level, doing something like sponsoring the children’s camps that have both Arabic and Jewish kids.

    As for the frequent invocations of civil rights and Nazis, both situations were wildly different, and only someone with delusions of grandeur would pretend that their co-op vote puts them in the same moral sphere as Rosa Parks.

    Which is pretty much what I said in my last comment: this is for little people with small visions to feel like they’re affecting the greater world.

    It is telling that all of the “rebuttals” focused on histrionic emotional appeals, and none of them said why, exactly, this helps the situation in the Middle East.

    (Oh, and the Palestinians I knew, if they shopped at the PFC at all, were perfectly able to avoid Israeli cous-cous if they chose. Same as any of the rest of you.)


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:31PM    #
  101. Thanks for policing the comments, Bruce.


       —David Cahill    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:39PM    #
  102. You would think that someone who felt compelled to throw ad hominems at so many participants in this discussion would also feel likewise compelled to include their full name.

    (Oh, and the Palestinians I knew, if they shopped at the PFC at all, were perfectly able to avoid Israeli cous-cous if they chose. Same as any of the rest of you.)

    The intro of the above sentence struck me as sounding remarkably similar to,

    “But some of my best friends are black…”


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 5 '07 - 03:56PM    #
  103. Mike, my name’s Josh Steichmann. And for your future edification, ad hominems aren’t attacks—they’re a fallacy of discrediting based on personal traits (“Of course you’d say that—you’re a Jew!”), or (the earlier usage) emotional appeals, which is what “to the man” initially referred to.

    So, frankly, the “full name” is more of an ad hominem fallacy than anything I’ve put forward.

    Feel free to browse the archives and see where I had this discussion with a guy named TJ about, I dunno, three years ago.

    I’ll also note, again, that you didn’t bother to provide any rationale for action, that you didn’t bother to put forth any vision for a one-state solution, that you didn’t bother to address anything of substance, Mike.


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 05:05PM    #
  104. It is very true that boycott proponents frequently have no vision of where their boycott will lead. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott participants had a vision that better treatment on city buses would result. They could hardly envision that segregation on those buses would end, nor segregation in the entire nation.

    Those who now ask for the boycott of Israeli goods may, similarly, lack any vision of where that boycott will lead. Perhaps the Ypsilanti Co-op will have a boycott of Israel, next. Or perhaps a complete demilitarization of the Middle East will result: no armies, no air forces. Or perhaps, an agreement to give Palestine the same size army, air force, nuclear weaponry, etc. as Israel. Maybe nothing at all will result.

    So much time could be taken up with visions, that perhaps no boycott would ever be undertaken. Of course, the situation of Palestine today, sealed-off borders, electricity shut-downs, food and water shortages, etc., merits something beyond quiet sympathy. To express that sympathy openly, to ask for a boycott, cannot be an unwelcome sight to those in Palestine who learn of it. Your friends from Palestine may want to share their thoughts here.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 5 '07 - 05:44PM    #
  105. “It is very true that boycott proponents frequently have no vision of where their boycott will lead. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott participants had a vision that better treatment on city buses would result. They could hardly envision that segregation on those buses would end, nor segregation in the entire nation.”

    Oh, that’s bullshit. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a stage-managed affair from beginning to end, relying on a fair amount of media savvy and with definite national goals.

    “Those who now ask for the boycott of Israeli goods may, similarly, lack any vision of where that boycott will lead. Perhaps the Ypsilanti Co-op will have a boycott of Israel, next. Or perhaps a complete demilitarization of the Middle East will result: no armies, no air forces. Or perhaps, an agreement to give Palestine the same size army, air force, nuclear weaponry, etc. as Israel. Maybe nothing at all will result.”

    And maybe it will engender an army of magical unicorns that will allow us to suckle peace from their rainbow teats. Is that likely? No. Is it a coherent vision likely to result? No. Further, the argument that things like this boycott, which IS divisive, should be pursued with no apparent benefit to anyone anywhere aside from some specious handwaving about world peace is irresponsible at best.

    “So much time could be taken up with visions, that perhaps no boycott would ever be undertaken. Of course, the situation of Palestine today, sealed-off borders, electricity shut-downs, food and water shortages, etc., merits something beyond quiet sympathy. To express that sympathy openly, to ask for a boycott, cannot be an unwelcome sight to those in Palestine who learn of it. Your friends from Palestine may want to share their thoughts here.”

    So… either this boycott or nothing? This is what I mean when I say that your arguments are fallacious: this is a false dilemma, and it’s again laced with emotional appeals. Like I mentioned above, there are better ways to accomplish the goal of ending Israeli occupation and creating a functional Palestinian state. I mentioned them upthread. This autistic activism cannot be justified outside of a temporary feeling of righteousness for the participants.

    And I have a feeling that my pals would find it deeply weird if I asked them to participate here. But you’re free to march up to the Broadway Shell and ask ‘em yourself—Sam and Ahmed (and Pete, if he’s still there).


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:00PM    #
  106. “It is very true that boycott proponents frequently have no vision of where their boycott will lead. For example, the Montgomery Bus Boycott participants had a vision that better treatment on city buses would result.”

    Hm. I’m no expert on the Montgomery Bus Boycott—maybe somebody who is could speak up—but I had the impression there were people involved who had in fact thought very hard both about both the long and short term goals and were quite capable of explaining both.

    By comparison, the plan here seems to be: 1. boycott something; 2. (magic step eliminated); 3. complete demilitarization, maybe. Or maybe there’s somebody else who could explain the plan in more detail?

    “So much time could be taken up with visions, that perhaps no boycott would ever be undertaken.”

    So, we’re too busy boycotting to bother figuring out what (if anything) it’s actually likely to accomplish? That’s a little depressing.


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:11PM    #
  107. I thank all posters for their courtesy, but I do ask that named Palestinians not be made into targets against their will. Is it possible to simply substitute initials for their names, and to substitute a blank line for their workplace?

    Thank you in advance.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:13PM    #
  108. The Moderator, quite rightly, finds something missing in a boycott without a complete game plan. A boycott simply to express sympathy for the occupied is indeed lacking that complete game plan.

    However, until late January 1956, deep into the Montgomery Bus boycott, there was no complete game plan. No group was demanding the abolition of segregation, even on Montgomery’s buses. For many long months, the Boycott demanded nothing more than a more satisfactory seating arrangement on Montgomery’s buses, and to break the all-white monopoly on bus-driver positions.

    Palestinians, like every other group seeking freedom from occupation, have articulated multiple visions of freedom. Should the boycott be halted, because Palestinians have articulated an incomplete game plan, or expressed more than one vision?

    It is true that a perfect boycott would come with a complete game plan, an advisory panel of Nobel laureates, and so on. An imperfect boycott is one carried out by real people with no crystal ball. As in Montgomery.

    Let us ask, is a boycott simply to express sympathy with the United Farm Workers allowable? (The Co-op voted yes to that.) Or a boycott simply to express sympathy with those who are finding it difficult to survive under occupation, in Palestine? (The Co-op is voting on that now.)


       —OWBanker    Sep. 5 '07 - 06:51PM    #
  109. Bruce, both you and JS are expressing what I expressed way back in post #54. Well done.

    It’s clear to me, at least, that they haven’t thought this through, and aren’t too interested in collateral damage to the PFC. This is really, really sad.

    A quick question for either the Greens or the boycotters. If, as Chuck writes in post #87, you “believe that the surest path to peace is to stop funding Israel with US taxpayer money”. Then why on earth aren’t you boycotting American goods at the PFC? I don’t get why the US goods get a pass if, in your view, they are the primary problem, while the Israelis are the secondary problem.


       —todd    Sep. 5 '07 - 07:06PM    #
  110. js, this is in response to your post 107.

    In your post 104, you suggested that the boycott participants and supporters have “delusions of grandeur” when they “pretend that their co-op vote puts them in the same moral sphere as Rosa Parks”, and in the next sentence you suggest that the boycott “is for little people with small visions to feel like they’re affecting the greater world”.

    These are arguments against the people participating in and supporting the boycott, not against the merits of the boycott, itself. Hence, my suggestion that you were “throw(ing) ad hominems” would seem accurate.

    Now it would be different if you presented a shred of evidence to support your allegation that the boycott was conceived to feed the egos of these “little people”.

    But you didn’t.

    Now personally, I don’t eat “cous cous” and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not entirely sure what it is (or how to spell it), so when I need to feel “delusions of grandeur” like I’m changing the world, I don’t order Israeli dates on my pizza. :-)

    Just to clarify, I have nothing against the people of Israel. I think their government is going to use their military might to kill and oppress regardless of what the people want. (Just like another country I know of.)

    But nice to meet you, Josh. Please pardon me for incorrectly assuming that the Palestinians you claimed to know were on a historical par with Reagan’s “welfare queen”. But now that you’ve named them, perhaps as another has suggested, they would prefer that someone “un-name” them.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 5 '07 - 07:09PM    #
  111. Michael “Now personally, I don’t eat “cous cous” and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not entirely sure what it is (or how to spell it), so when I need to feel “delusions of grandeur” like I’m changing the world, I don’t order Israeli dates on my pizza. :-)”

    Three cheers for humor! Thank God, because I can’t be serious about couscous any longer. Thanks Michael.

    P.S. I’m not going to tell you what couscous is, Michael. I’m going to let your imagination run wild. (hint: couscous may or may not have tentacles. Enjoy!)


       —todd    Sep. 5 '07 - 07:23PM    #
  112. hehehe, well your hint really narrows it down, doesn’t it? I looked it up but that didn’t help, because now I have to look up what “semolina” means! (note to self: improve cullinary vocabulary)


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 5 '07 - 07:59PM    #
  113. “By comparison, the plan here seems to be: 1. boycott something; 2. (magic step eliminated); 3. complete demilitarization, maybe. Or maybe there’s somebody else who could explain the plan in more detail?”

    It’s the Underpants Gnomes of Activism.

    “These are arguments against the people participating in and supporting the boycott, not against the merits of the boycott, itself. Hence, my suggestion that you were “throw(ing) ad hominems” would seem accurate.”

    What merits? To argue against the merits of the boycott, I’d have to be presented with some sort of actual cogent statement on said merits, instead of the solemn nodding of a handful of fringe demagogues.

    As for the banker’s claims, the bus boycott was organized as a test case for segregation on city busses prior to even Rosa Parks’ involvement, by E.D. Nixon. That’s why several other young women who refused to give up their seats were not lionized to the extent that Parks was.

    I really dislike the magical thinking of activists, as if people just spontaneously understood the civil rights movement and changed their ways without a huge amount of forethought, planning and politicking going into the boycott beforehand.

    As for the Banker’s request— what makes you think that these people would be targets? Targets of whom, and for what? Or is this more political hypocondria and over-estimation?


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 08:02PM    #
  114. For those who would argue that this IS a part of a bigger picture, what picture is that? Is it raising nebulous “awareness,” often vaunted like some RPG attribute (useful vaguely, but abstract in practice)? What good would further Ann Arbor awareness do that wouldn’t be more concretely achieved by other means, even by other people? It’s the “drawing to an inside straight” of politics.

    js, if you don’t mind me responding to your question after you’ve already answered it definitively yourself… ;-)

    I’ll try to just speak for myself. I’ve been interested in this larger issue for many years. Even as recently as several years ago I learned new perspectives from the thread you referenced. Even today I learn more. And not just about perspectives but also about perceptions. In any case, that’s why I referenced increased awareness as a benefit. Of course, aside from that (and wanting to learn about myself in the process), I’d really like to learn from someone else along the way what I might do to have some positive impact. Thanks for the suggestions you made, Josh.

    Sadly, I don’t think my participation has helped much, and I don’t have the energy to follow the bouncing ball as it moves through the many aspects of the discussion beyond those that I had attempted to address. Thanks to Murph, though, for the objective and open-minded post in #93 and to others for their unassuming comments.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 5 '07 - 08:25PM    #
  115. So you want to hurt Arab farmers by boycotting Israel. That’s smart.

    If you don’t belive me, look it up.

    The Badatz Edah Haredit, which provides an ultra-Orthodox kashrut certification, recently signed an agreement with Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip to provide 60 tons of fruit and vegetables over the coming year.

    If Palestinian farmers in Gaza are not boycotting Israel, why should the coop over a few bags of couscous?

    This one’s been nagging at me.

    For starters, if Palestinian farmers were to boycott Israel they wouldn’t buy from there. Not selling there would fall under the category of “spite”, I believe.

    I “look[ed] it up” at Wikipedia and found the following under the entry for “Edah Haredit” at Wikipedia:

    “It is well known for being strongly opposed to Zionism, which it condemns as heretical and opposed to Judaism.”

    So I’m not sure what your point was, JM. In any case, the premise that the boycott would hurt Arab farmers doesn’t seem to be supported.

    And to avoid any possible confusion, I’ll remind you all that the boycott would not apply to Gaza, just “Israel [and] Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.”


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 5 '07 - 09:17PM    #
  116. Mchael Schils- you should go out and try a plate of couscous right away!!!! Cream of wheat is a kind of semolina product. Couscous, if cooked in the way most Arab cultures do, is used as a rice substiture,and they put meats or cooked veggies over itand eat it with theirhands like most people in the mid-easta through Asia do. It i s a very tasty food,and you are missing out not trying it!! Give us a report on how you liked it.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 5 '07 - 09:27PM    #
  117. Thanks, el-Hindi. I like Cream of Wheat and find eating utensils to be unnecessary for the most part, so I bet I’ll like it. Maybe sometime when I’m not with my Palestinian friends, I’ll even sneak into the Co-op and grab some! (That was a joke.)

    js, the following is in response to the part of your post 117 you were addressing to me. (your part first)

    What merits? To argue against the merits of the boycott, I’d have to be presented with some sort of actual cogent statement on said merits, instead of the solemn nodding of a handful of fringe demagogues.

    fringe demagogues?...sigh…well there you go with the name-calling, again. In my post 56, I mentioned some of the boycott’s possible merits:

    1) Promote awareness and discussion regarding the occupation and human rights abuses.
    2) To shame those Israeli institutions who profit from stealing the land and water from the displaced people.
    3) To raise the awareness of the Israeli people who have a conscience, by showing them that their government’s actions have turned some of their former friends in the world against them.

    js, there’s my “cogent statement on said merits” which you must have missed when you only “vaguely skimmed the discussion”—post 96


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 5 '07 - 11:02PM    #
  118. Except, Michael, the benefits of those “merits” are at best tenuous and projective. Awareness does nothing by itself, shame does nothing by itself. And why would this prompt more awareness than a simple public relations campaign, of which there are several?

    Instead of working to make people, like, feel things about stuff, man, how about you work toward some real progress and action?

    So, no, I didn’t miss a cogent statement on said merits, I missed more airy-fairy handwaving of the Palestinian Underpants Gnomes. Step three: World Peace.


       —js    Sep. 5 '07 - 11:21PM    #
  119. Boycotts are counter-productive and wasteful. One has only to look at the US multi-decade boycott of Cuba for a fine example of the efficacy of boycotts.

    Engage, discuss, debate, compromise, resolve. And finally, LIVE. Life is much too short to be turning our backs on each other in a huff.

    Why is it that progressives love to run in 50 directions at once with the result that we get no where at all?


       —TA    Sep. 6 '07 - 03:16AM    #
  120. Maybe someone with more knowledge than me could address TA’s generalization about boycott effectiveness vis a vis the (exceptional?) case of US government sanctions against and embargo of Cuba/Cuban products. South African boycotts and numerous boycotts in the US around workers rights, etc. have been effective. Seems like an assertion with little foundation to me.

    Palestinians are trying to live, and they need some help, TA. Israelis are trying to live free of fear from terrorism. Ending the occupation would be a step toward that for both groups. I’ll add vote, act, and cooperate to your list .

    “Why is it that…” you chose to characterize others with unsubstantiated hyperbole? See how I did that? I described what you wrote with words that accurately reflected the content of your question. ;-)

    Got my wind back, folks. :-) (I know, I wasn’t even really ‘gone’ at all. Breaking the fast seems to have gotten my energy level back up.)

    Coincidentally, I happened across a presentation in the downtown library basement tonight by the B.I.G. group on the PFC boycott referendum. (I thought I was going down to check in on the A2D2 workshop.) They showed a video produced by a Jewish activist who has visited Palestinian families. It covered Israeli activism around the occupation, the wall/“security fence”, forms of non-violent protest, and several other topics that I missed at the beginning. It was very informative and refreshingly objective.

    A panel of three B.I.G. members (at least two of which are Quakers and one of which is Jewish) made brief statements afterwards and answered questions and heard comments from the audience. About 30 people attended.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 6 '07 - 04:07AM    #
  121. Below is the text of the Palestinian call cited by BIG in its statement in the current edition of the co-op newsletter. You can find it online at: www.bds-palestine.net Also online you can find a comprehensive survey of the dozens of organization that have adopted or considered some form of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measure—go here. I guess there’s just a lot of dunderheaded magical thinkers out there. In Europe the BDS movement is growing rapidly.

    Palestinian Civil Society
    Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
    against Israel
    Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights
    9 July 2005

    One year after the historic Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found Israel’s Wall built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal, Israel continues its construction of the colonial Wall with total disregard to the Court’s decision. Thirty eight years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall. Israel is also preparing – in the shadow of its planned redeployment from the Gaza Strip – to build and expand colonies in the West Bank. Fifty seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens remains intact.

    In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and

    Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and

    Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and

    In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions;

    Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression,

    We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

    These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

    1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
    2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
    3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

    Endorsed by :

    The Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations below represent the three integral parts of the people of Palestine: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

    [Go to www.bds-palestine.net for complete list of endorsers]


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 6 '07 - 06:30AM    #
  122. AAGreen says
    “In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law”

    yet, the actual two-state idea was international law (1948). Yet the whole arab world attacked them the moment they formed a nation.

    Jerusalem was supposed to be a international city under UN resolution, yet the Jordan kept the city as a spoil of war for years after 48

    Finally, the wall.
    If the palestinians are not going to stop the suicide bombers by policing thier own people, then what do you expect israel to do? Change the policy to just welcoming in the suicide bombers. It (the wall) has been extrememly effective at stopping suicide bombing.

    The call for the right-of-return is also an issue that anyone who actualy knows about the detail knows is never going to happen. Isreal could simply not absorb 6million people. There is no housing for them, jobs, etc. Actually getting even more to the point, most of those palestinians wouldn’t want to live under the Israeli governemnt. They would want to overthrow it and put in an arab governemnt, and quite possibly a muslim one. Are you supprised that any government would want to keep out people dedicated to their destruction?

    Yet, AAGreen, and other lefties in the area conitnue to make this one of thier main focuses of activity. An issue that they really can not effect and are not part of the diolog. While people in ann arbor, detroit and ypsi deal with crime, lack of food and access to education. The time spent on this issue could be much better used locally, where actual change would be more likely. But as I’ve said before, they don’t do this because they want to improve the world, they do it for thier own ego and personal needs.


       —just a voice    Sep. 6 '07 - 12:03PM    #
  123. Then why on earth aren’t you boycotting American goods at the PFC? I don’t get why the US goods get a pass if, in your view, they are the primary problem, while the Israelis are the secondary problem.

    That’s an absurd question, Todd, and a new low for you. Please don’t be a part of dragging this down.

    I understand your concern about the PFC. Yet, as a member of 20+ years I’m confident that the membership is thoughtful enough to become informed and make their individual decisions on this without negatively impacting the co-op. Isolated incidents are isolated incidents—the co-op is a happy, peaceful, friendly environment and will continue to be so because we will choose to keep it that way, regardless of the outcome of this referendum.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 6 '07 - 04:09PM    #
  124. It is probably a good guess, that very few negative results, and many positive results, came to the Co-op from boycotting grapes to raise awareness for the United Farm Workers. No serious Co-op member could imagine that the Co-op was unwelcoming to whites who own farms.

    Human rights efforts, certainly including the current boycott vote, in this case to express sympathy for Palestinians under occupation, are part of what makes Ann Arbor so attractive, decade after decade, for the kind of people who love Co-ops.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 6 '07 - 04:20PM    #
  125. “That’s an absurd question, Todd, and a new low for you. Please don’t be a part of dragging this down.”

    Hmmm. I fail to see why this is an absurd question. A “new low”? Implying I’ve been low on this thread. I don’t think that you’re paying attention to what I’m writing at all. Particularly when you’re on one hand castigating my comments, while praising JS’s when we are saying the exact same thing. Take a minute and search Arbor Update for my discussion of this with Blaine himself years ago. I haven’t changed my views on this in the least. These groups could work in a much, much more positive manner, and yet they aren’t.

    I really don’t think that you’ve thought about the logic behind this, Steve. It seems absurd, I suppose, because, yes, we live in the US. But as the AA Greens have cited on many, many occasions, including several times in this very thread, this call for a boycott is International in nature.

    Given the belief of the Greens that, in their words, the cessation of US military aid is the key to peace (I actually agree with this position), it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever that you’d boycott Israeli couscous (not exactly military hardware), but not boycott the goods of the country that’s the key to the whole shooting match.

    Maybe it would help you to understand my question if we were talking about the UK Greens, who as Blaine has explained, just had a protest outside of Wembley Stadium. Would you think it strange if the UK Greens sought to boycott US goods if, just as the AA Greens believe, the US is the key to this whole mess? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t at all. Boycotting US goods makes perfect sense, given the Green’s views, and their assessment of the situation in and around Israel.

    Maybe you ought to rethink what I’m writing and asking, and give me an apology. I’ve given you several now.


       —todd    Sep. 6 '07 - 04:55PM    #
  126. I thank posters for their insights, especially about the role of U.S. military aid to Israel. The newspaper has apparently just printed this letter as well:

    “With boycott, stand up to Israel’s abuses”

    Ann Arbor News, Sept. 6th

    [ed note--replaced long url by link. Please use the "link name":url syntax for links.]

    “I visited Palestine recently and I saw that what the Israeli troops were doing is close to what the storm troopers were doing…”

    What the writer has witnessed is surely confirmed by the latest headlines, about cut-offs of electricity, water, etc., to Gaza. There is no need to re-state the very high body counts in occupied Palestinian land; ArborUpdate readers are aware they are in the thousands.

    Surely a symbolic statement of non-cooperation with occupation, i.e., boycott, by the Co-op, would give heart to the occupied population. Surely that is the unmistakable meaning of officially boycotting Israeli products: sympathy with those oppressed by overwhelming military force.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 6 '07 - 05:24PM    #
  127. Oh, and Steve, I readily admit that I’m agitated about this situation. I again apologize for that, and to you directly for that, but it can’t be helped.

    You hit the nail on the head….I am protective of Ann Arbor landmarks. The PFC is one of them. While I obviously respect the right of the boycotters to do what they are doing, and, actually, I agree with some, but not all, of their positions, I don’t have to be happy about the boycott. So again, I’m sorry to you and to the rest of Arbor Update if my tone isn’t pleasant at times.

    If we were talking about Kroger, you wouldn’t have heard word one from me. That should clarify where I’m coming from….


       —todd    Sep. 6 '07 - 06:39PM    #
  128. “No serious Co-op member could imagine that the Co-op was unwelcoming to whites who own farms.”

    Re: whether members of the Jewish community should/will feel unwelcome as shoppers at the People’s Food Co-op if the resolution to boycott Israeli goods passes.

    In light of the fact that some members of the Jewish community have said they would feel unwelcome at the PFC if the resolution passes, I figure it’s not really for me (as a non-Jew and as a non-member of the PFC, and as only a very rare shopper there) to assess whether they should feel that way. The fact that some do feel that way should be logged as a data point to be factored into future conversation.

    It seems to me, however, that there’s a complex range of possible responses that members of the Jewish community might have if the boycott should pass (or really, given that the question is even being put to the co-op membership), that would include at one end

    “I feel unwelcome at this store and therefore I will cease being a co-op member and stop shopping here.”

    and at the other

    “Gee whiz, all these folks who I generally consider to be more or less like-minded souls diverge dramatically from my view on this, so I guess I should change my mind; and I’m certainly going to continue my membership and continue to shop there.”

    I’m curious to hear from members of the Jewish community what sorts of reactions they might have that might fall somewhere between these two. Also, for those who have the first reaction (i.e., I won’t shop there), one might conclude that there’s a litmus test applied here. Would the same kind of litmus test apply to other domains? For example, if you knew that a local political candidate refused to purchase any Israeli-made goods out of principle, would you feel comfortable voting for that person? Or what if you found out that someone you considered to be a close personal friend applied a personal boycott to Israeli-made goods? Would you feel comfortable keeping that person as a friend?

    There’s a risk that those questions will be mis-analyzed as rhetorical, with the expected answer, No. So it’s worth saying explicitly that they’re not intended that way.


       —HD    Sep. 6 '07 - 06:57PM    #
  129. It is an interesting equation, yes. Several million occupied people, in Palestine. Their expressed need for boycotts, much like the movement to end apartheid in South Africa.

    Then, on the other hand, a relative handfull of U.S. supporters of Israel. Can they convince the Co-op that any boycott, against Israel, cannot really be opposed to Israel’s harsh occupation of Palestine, even if it says so?

    Could the Co-op, roughly 6000 members, truly believe that supporters of Israel, no matter how small a minority of Co-op members, should be granted a veto, against any effort to express sympathy with occupied populations in Palestine?

    If that veto somehow were enacted, what would it say about the worth of your Palestinian friends, neighbors, fellow congregants, and fellow human beings? I appreciate your response.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 6 '07 - 07:32PM    #
  130. Todd, I do apologize. (I think that makes two for me now—at least in spirit—if we’re counting.) By “new low” I didn’t mean to imply that you’ve been “low” on this all along (or even at all.) Bad choice of words on my part. Thanks for pointing it out.

    From my perspective, you have tended toward more emotional comments in this thread than usual, however. I still wonder why you don’t get more information about the effort (from the source) if you have such seemingly strong feelings about it.

    Getting back to your question: it’s an absurd question for the co-op. For the Greens (as an international movement), maybe less so, but it’s really stretching it to suggest that that would be more direct than boycotting Israel. Okay, I’ve thought about it. I still think it’s absurd. Certainly if you mean for them to do that instead of boycotting Israel. For the UK Greens, I agree with you, though. I think that would be reasonable and worthwhile for them to do so in addition to boycotting Israel.

    But you asked of the boycotters or the Greens, “why aren’t you boycotting US goods at the PFC?” Absurd. I also believe you were the one to state that “the Israelis are the secondary problem.” Chuck would probably know the term for that kind of argumentation (though I don’t think it was intentional on your part.)

    Boycotting one’s own country is an example of not thinking this through, as you suggested. We both know that within one’s own democracy there are more direct routes.

    And the initiators of this boycott referendum do that kind of thing as well. Some of them have devoted their retirement years to this work, and it’s insulting to their peaceful intentions and actions and the people on whose behalf and with whom they work in cooperation to criticize and second guess their efforts without knowing more than you apparently do about such things. (I’d be genuinely surprised if you disagreed with that.)

    Finally, for logical thoroughness (and just to rib you a bit) I’ll turn it around and ask you to consider why you don’t express concern over the co-op being disrupted or otherwise hurt by your suggested action. Why don’t we have to be concerned about the new Ann Arborite (of any background) seeing the co-op empty of local produce, etc.?

    See, I do think about what you write. ;-) You’re a thoughtful person, and I respect you and definitely believe discussing this with you is worthwhile. I appreciate your efforts at suggesting alternatives, I just don’t agree with them in this case.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 6 '07 - 07:38PM    #
  131. Thanks for 132, Todd. I didn’t see it before sending 135. That clarifies it and I understand.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 6 '07 - 07:42PM    #
  132. Re: 101, JM, great point, among some others. This proves again that the boycotters have only one goal, the isolation and annihilation of Israel, even if it hurts their purported “allies,” the downtrodden Palestinians that they say they’re trying to save and protect from Israel’s so-called “cruelty” and “oppression.”

    Another thing, the monomaniacal thrust of all this is that Israel and only Israel is responsible for the terrible, bloody mess in the Levant (and the rest of the world for that matter), and only Israel, of all countries in the world, ironically (?! yeah, right) the world’s only Jewish state. The offenses of other nations, e.g., the wonderful, “free, “democratic,” “tolerant,” “open,” Arab and Moslem regimes like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, etc. and quasi-governments like Hamas and Hezbollah, of “non-repressive” China (much poisoned food to go along with a highly oppressive regime that is occupying a once sovereign state called Tibet), Zimbabwe, Sudan, Egypt, Burma, you name it, are not even mentioned for all their offenses, let alone ever considered as legitimate targets of an organized goods and services boycott, only Israel, the lone Jewish state in the world is the omnipresent target of these campaigns. Please don’t tell me there isn’t more than a shred of Judeophobia and antisemitism in this and other anti-Israel campaigns. Those who deny it have no credibility, whatever.

    “In a statement on the Mideast conflict issued in Berlin today [9/6/07], the Executive Board of the Confederation [of German Trade Unions (DGB)] said it ‘categorically rejects calls for boycotts that are targeted one-sidedly at Israeli citizens, institutions, and products. Anyone resorting to a one-sided boycott of Israel will in fact weaken the position of the majority on both sides who are ready for peace and will play into the hands of radical and fundamentalist forces.’

    “In an interview in this week’s edition of the German newspaper Judische Allgemeine, the head of the DGB, Michael Sommer, said, ‘Some of the formulations in the call for boycott measures are reminiscent of the Nazi slogan “Don’t Shop at Jewish Stores!”’”

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

    Finally, no matter what you think of Israel, do Co-op members really want to cede their authority to the shadowy BDS, a group out of the Middle East , to decide when and if (you can bet that this group will say “never!”) it decides to lift the boycott? That’s just great: a grocery in Ann Arbor will take its marching orders from a coalition of Islamic and Arab groups in the Middle East. Why not let BDS start thinking for us, too? It appears as if this group is already thinking for the BIG people and others in A2. Maybe they should tell the Co-op what color to paint its walls, presumably: black, red, green, and white.


       —Mike    Sep. 6 '07 - 09:22PM    #
  133. BIG could possibly win thispro-boycott vote, the PFC might ot might not lose members, , but, in the bigger scheme of things, will anything really happen in israel? NO!!! Until and unless Palestinians get over their willingness to commit acts of terrorism, and stop being ina state of war with Israel, nothing will ever change. Even if ever food co-op in ever town populated by pro-Palestinian leftists ends up boycotting Israeli cous-cous.
    Do you folks, who support the boycott, that any israelis( except for the crazy ones) will ever tolerate daily terrorist attacks?
    No ne ofthe mant Palestinian groups and faction are willing tomakethat promise. And unless a total cessation of hostile attacks stop, more walls will be built, reconciliation will remain a pipe dream.
    And the pro-boycott side seems never willing the Palestinian side to give up their tactics of violent terrorism. Why are the given a blank check?


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 6 '07 - 11:22PM    #
  134. In South Africa, the African National Congress was called all the names you just used, and worse. Nat Turner, and every rebel against slavery, was called those names, and worse.

    You like parliaments? Like the Apartheid Parliaments of White South Africa, and Israel, and pre-1964 Mississippi?

    Take away the whole occupation, now. Let 6 million Palestinians breathe, eat a square meal, think and meet and travel freely. Then you’ll see that democracy you pretend to want.

    A real Palestinian democracy, with a freely elected Parliament. Of the people. By the people. For ALL the occupied, exiled, bleeding millions who make up Palestine.

    Your worst fear… Palestinians exercising authority, over which Israel has no veto power. You can take your tanks off of Palestine’s neck now, or you can wait until every store, school, and government boycotts Israel.

    Either way, Palestine will have its freedom. Remember all those boycotts against South Africa? Thank the Co-op for following that fine example now, for the sake of occupied Palestine.

    [Deleted the following post, which just reposted the link from #131. Please read the previous comments before posting. Thanks.--ed.]
       —Boycott Racism    Sep. 6 '07 - 11:23PM    #
  135. “With boycott, stand up to Israel’s abuses”

    In the ANN ARBOR NEWS, today, at:

    http://www.mlive.com/news/annarbornews/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1189089649276030.xml&coll=2

    “...I am a Jew and my family has been deeply affected by the German Nazi regime, having lost many relatives to that government. I visited Palestine recently and I saw that what the Israeli troops were doing is close to what the storm troopers were doing…”


       —Boycott Racism    Sep. 6 '07 - 11:28PM    #
  136. Becasue unless that attacks from the Palestinian side cease, the Israeli Govt has no incentive to start discussions or stop their current policies. And Israeli peace actovists are not able to change the dominant mind-set of Israeli society.
    One of the ways that Mahatma Gandhi was able to pressure the British colonial powers was by takin g the moral hihg ground- he expressedly forbade Indians involved in the freedom movement from retaliating when the British Govt used violent means. And as a result, the yhad to leave in 1947. If Mahatma Gandhi,instead had organised or encouraged a violent insurgency, India probably would stil be a British colony today.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 6 '07 - 11:36PM    #
  137. These numbers are from

    http://www.ifamericansknew.com

    ——————————

    118 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 934 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.

    1,021 Israelis and at least 4,098 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000.

    7,633 Israelis and 31,403 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000.

    The U.S. gives more than $7,023,288 per day to the Israeli government and military and gives no money to the Palestinians.

    Israel has been targeted by at least 65 UN resolutions and the Palestinians have been targeted by none.

    1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.

    0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since September 29, 2000.

    The Israeli unemployment rate is 9%, while the Palestinian unemployment is estimated at 40%.

    Israel currently has 223 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestinians do not have any settlements on Israeli land.

    ——————————

    As far as I can tell, this is a reputable source. I followed some of the links down to the lists of the victims names. I’d be interested to know if anyone has any information to the contrary. Of course, I expect the usual ad hominems, guilt by association, accusations of anti-Semitism, you’re an underpants gnome, or whatever.

    But I’m talking about a real substantive criticism of this source. Anyone attacking the accuracy of these numbers should be prepared to present a more accurate source that can be relied upon.

    If conclusive proof is presented that these numbers or this source are/is unreliable, then I promise I will apologize for posting rubbish, and I won’t post in this thread anymore.

    But damn, if these numbers are even close, how can anyone argue that both country’s leaders are equally to blame for what’s going on over there?


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 7 '07 - 12:59AM    #
  138. A while back, when cindy Sheehan claimed to be walking away from the entire anti-war movement, the fokls at Deocratic Underground and Daily Kos termed her an “attention whore”. I think the same description is apt for the small number of Israle-haters and apologists for Palestinian terrorism who are behind the PFC boycott- they are simply professionalprotestors and “attention whores”, dont you think.
    BTW, the local Green Part is fromall availble evidence, but totally irerelevant – the canteven get a single person elected on their ticket to City Hall,and what percentage of the vote the Green candidates for State or Federal offices get? Probably less than the crazy U-M studentwho ran of the Socialist ticket,and who wanted to turn the US into some version of Hugo Chavez’s Socialist paradise.

    This i s a bunch of attention seekers just tryin to inject themselvesinto someone else’s business and then claiming a halo round their heads.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 7 '07 - 01:50AM    #
  139. Michael,

    either your source is very misleading, or you are trying to be. Just two examples;

    you quote
    “The U.S. gives more than $7,023,288 per day to the Israeli government and military and gives no money to the Palestinians.”

    now, this is flat out false. the statement you wish to make is that the US has given no money to palestinian government. Even that is actually incorrect, as we have given money to the PA at this point.

    And you quote
    “Israel currently has 223 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestinians do not have any settlements on Israeli land.”

    now, this is misleading. While there are no “Palestinian settlements on Israeli land”, there are tons of Palestinian villages.

    Now here is the Rub, why is it expected that Israel take in the Palestinians into thier nation, but Israeli’s aren’t allowed to move into land that will eventualy be palestinian.

    Now, really forget all that, because I want to talk about a misconception that Todd shares with the people he has been arguing with. That is, “IF you take away us $$, there will be peace”

    now, 99% of US aid to Israel has come post 73 war, meaning we gave them money and weapons to keep the arabs (often as russian proxies) from attacking Israel. It worked. We even started giving Egypt tons of cash to keep the peace too. It worked. But now, instead of Israel being attacked by nations, they get attacked by groups like hamas and hezbollah instead, non-state groups who are not policed by the states they are hosted by. how is Israel supposed to deal with that. Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to actualy confuse the facts with this conversation


       —just a voice    Sep. 7 '07 - 02:25AM    #
  140. I’m guessing there’s yet more negativity where that came from, el-Hindi. Do yourself a favor and call a friend, go over to Leopold’s for a drink (or not), listen to some music, and have some fun.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 7 '07 - 02:25AM    #
  141. I should chip in my two cents on boycotts at the co-op in general. In particular, I’ll take issue with statements by Larry and todd (sorry, guys).

    Larry, as in #50, The nub of the matter, for me, is not the Middle East — it’s our food co-op. . .this boycott would drive a wedge between the co-op and the Jewish community. I don’t want to see that happen.

    and todd, as in #132, I am protective of Ann Arbor landmarks. . .If we were talking about Kroger, you wouldn’t have heard word one from me.

    Food co-operatives (and co-ops in general) are a product of consumer activism, and are in turn a tool of consumer activism. Always have been, and, hopefully, always will be. Co-ops are started for a variety of reasons – e.g. to provide access to healthful food, to provide access to food at a fair price, to provide access to food for people who are otherwise shut out of the marketplace – but are always activist in nature. If a food co-op shies away from a debate about a boycott (or votes against a boycott) merely because it is afraid of offending somebody? At that point, I think I might have to stop shopping at that co-op. I’m sorry, todd, but the very idea of avoiding a hard decision because it might hurt market share makes the co-op every bit as bad as Kroger. (Worse, actually – I don’t feel betrayed by Kroger.)

    Read the Rochdale Principles , folks. Co-operatives are “democratic organizations,” whose members “actively participate in setting policies.” Co-operatives “provide education” to their members and employees, as well as to the general public. Co-operatives “work together through local, national, regional and international structures.” Co-operatives demonstrate “concern for community”. The ICA’s statement of co-operative values includes “solidarity”, as well as “social responsibility, and caring for others.”

    For all of these reasons, boycotts are exactly the kinds of question that co-ops should consider. A co-op is more than just a happy, fluffy place for yuppies to buy organic wheat germ and hormone-free milk: a co-op is the kind of place that makes the decision to carry organic wheat germ and hormone-free milk because it’s the right thing to do.

    Boycotts are a vital form of consumer protest, one of the few methods available for those of us who lack individual economic power to make our collective voices heard. Co-operatives are, historically, exactly the same thing – they are in and of themselves a form of collective consumer protest. If the co-op’s members are individually concerned enough with an issue to ask the co-op to take a stand, it is the co-op’s responsibility to fairly consider the question and democratically decide whether or not to act – to avoid action for fear of offending people mocks the very democratic ideals of co-operation.

    Sorry, this has been bothering me throughout this thread, but it took me this long to figure out that it was bothering me. I’ve spent my entire adult life as an active member of various co-ops, though, including serving on the boards of two, one of which I helped found. They’re important institutions to me, not just because I enjoy shopping at them, but because of the political and economic consciousness inherent to them.

    I’m not making a statement here as to whether you should vote yea or nay – I’m just saying that you shouldn’t avoid (or criticize) the question.


       —Murph.    Sep. 7 '07 - 03:08AM    #
  142. Food co-operatives (and co-ops in general) are a product of consumer activism, and are in turn a tool of consumer activism.

    Lets be very real here for a minute. Not to rain on your parade, but co-ops are about working together to achieve a goal. Now, the reality is that most of the time members don’t get involved at all, and the few people who get involved do what they want, as (like our country whole) most people just don’t give a shit. The PFC in ann arbor has been nothing but a store since members didn’t have to volunteer. I’ve known many people who worked there, and the internal polotics of the working staff there is way fucked up (at least it was about 5 years ago).


       —just a voice    Sep. 7 '07 - 04:16AM    #
  143. Why not absorb Palestinians and not make it a Jewish state, just a state that is Jewish a lot? Make it truly democratic. A jewish state for the sake of a jewish state is not reason enough to mistreat others. A jewish state for the defense of jews in not reason enough to mistreat others. A jewish state for the past wrongs of the world is not enough reason to mistreat others. The problem with Israel as being a solution is that it plays by the same rules that were so hurtful before.
    You know, you belong over there, we belong over here. The premise of NOKD – not our kind, dear – is so demeaning and demoralizing, it is important to speak out about it, and the boycott is expression the of that A boycott may or may not work, but it is an outlet, a way, to raise awareness that one group should not mistreat another group.


       —Emilia    Sep. 7 '07 - 10:33AM    #
  144. Emilia,

    you ask “why not absorb Palestinians and not make it a Jewish sate, just a state that is a lot jewish.

    Oh, I see you have never bothered to look into the history of this, nor the current thinking on things. So, to answer your question;

    - if they did, the arab population would be bigger then the jewish population. And being one of the very few actual democracies in that part of the world, the arab population can then vote in sharia law (muslim religous law) – “make it truly democratic” – it is, with arab palestinians who are members of parlament and have full voting right. Find me an arab nation that gives its citizens real voting rights (besides Lebabnon)

    -you also write
    “A jewish state for the sake of a jewish state is not reason enough to mistreat others. A jewish state for the defense of jews in not reason enough to mistreat others. A jewish state for the past wrongs of the world is not enough reason to mistreat others”

    - oh, then why aren’t you complaining about all the muslim states in the world. As many nations are either mostly christian or abab, and have hundreds of years of history oppressing the jews, then yes, it is a needed place. Then you say that past wrongs are not a justification for mistreating people. While I do agree in geneneral, the situation is much much trickier then that. How do you recommend Israel deal with suicide bombers? Kasham mortars that are shot over from gaza all the time? And your NOKD bullshit goes for the arabs more then the jews. When Israel was formed, anyone living there was allowed to stay; christian, muslim, druze, or other. Those that fled were not stopped from returning by the young state of Israel, but rather the Arab nations that controlled thier intern camps, telling them they could return once they pushed the jews into the sea. While the Arab nations had over 500,000 jews leave for fear of thier lives. Your one sided attitude and lack of actual knowledge of things, is the biggest problem most people have with these protests (besides the fact that they don’t do any good too)


       —just a voice    Sep. 7 '07 - 12:01PM    #
  145. Here, here Murph

    I too have been involved with one or another co-op for many years and love that they always are questioning their relationship to the world. It is through my affiliations with these co-ops that I have been exposed to the concepts of ‘organic foods’, and ‘buying local produce’ as well as the many approaches to vegetarianism; long before Whole Foods (et al.) spread around our country.

    Politics have also played a role as products from oppressed places are sometimes featured, and products from oppressive places are typically missing. Whether you agree with the politics of the co-op, or not, is yours to deal with but I applaud the discussion and encourage it.

    Some here expressed concern that the co-op will suffer and could be torn apart by this issue but I think there is too much resiliency for this to be a serious concern. Larry K. also offered that, “The concept of the boycott is not to induce negotiation and reconciliation. It is to take a stand that Israel is a pariah state that should go away. It is to justify war, not to promote peace.” Which is probably true, however discussing the pros and cons of having a boycott is healthy and seems to be exploring that specific concept.


       —abc    Sep. 7 '07 - 01:52PM    #
  146. As I wrote earlier, I support a negotiated two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine problem (with a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders). Not only is this the way to peace, it is what I believe the actors expect as the inevitable long-term outcome.

    Because that solution would require Israel to give up a lot of territory and dismantle all of the settlements in the occupied territories, the hardline or right-wing Israelis, and their supporters here, want to postpone the start of negotiations as long as possible.

    Their approach is to insist on “preconditions” to the start of negotiations, i.e., that Palestinians have to promise and achieve some sort of benchmark (sometimes a moving target!) in order to be worthy to be negotiated with.

    Insisting on preconditions is anti-negotiations and anti-peace. No preconditions applied to the successful peace talks between Israel and Egypt, or Israel and Syria, for examples.

    The U.S. has a tremendous amount of leverage in this situation due to all that military aid. And so the real fight over “preconditions” takes place in the U.S. Congress. The hardliners want to write those preconditions into U.S. policy and, further, prohibit anyone from talking to Hamas.

    I myself went to Washington, last June, to lobby against preconditions and to fight any misguided embargo against Palestinians.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 7 '07 - 02:10PM    #
  147. Murph, I don’t think anyone’s arguing that a co-op shouldn’t take a vote on an issue that its members have asked for. But at that point, the owners — that is, the members — have publicly endorsed the initiative as reasonable enough that it deserves a vote. (For instance, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion if some co-op were voting on whether to stop hiring gay employees or something like that.) I don’t necessarily want to shop somewhere where the owners think that a single-country boycott of Israel is a reasonable idea. If they decide not to go through with the boycott for fear of alienating me (although they already have to some extent) and losing my business, that’s also democracy. After all, the boycott proponents are hoping that Israel will change its actions (like existing, as far as some of them appear to be concerned) in order to stop alienating them.


       —ann arbor is overrated    Sep. 7 '07 - 03:05PM    #
  148. Murph,

    I never said that co-ops should never engage in boycotts. I have supported and participated in boycotts in the past, as have co-ops I have belonged to.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to support every single cause that comes along.

    I haven’t heard much in recent years from the activists who fight fluoridation of drinking water, but they were very active at one time, with state and local organizations. And, on the surface, it’s an issue with some appeal to food co-op members.

    I mean, it involves the government, acting at the behest of a secretive private organization (of dentists), adding a tiny dose of (arguably) poison to drinking water supplies. Sounds pretty bad!

    The cost/benefit analysis on fluoridation comes out hugely positive, but of course not everybody accepts that as a valid reason for deliberately compromising the purity of water.

    Should the co-op support the anti-fluoride movement by, oh, say, boycotting products endorsed by the American Dental Association? I’d be strongly opposed, and I hope you would be, too.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 7 '07 - 03:33PM    #
  149. A reader has made reference to Gandhi. It is gratifying to see that Gandhi spoke against the overwhelming force used against Palestinians:

    “I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.”

    He apparently also said:

    “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.”

    It is hard to imagine Gandhi objecting to a nonviolent protest, like boycotting Israeli goods, to take a moral stand for human rights, and against the military conquest of so many Palestinians’ farms and homes. I am sure Co-op members are considering these questions.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 7 '07 - 03:41PM    #
  150. Larry, in post 150 (and elsewhere), you present one of this thread’s more thought-out viewpoints, and of which I can’t say I disagree.

    But this seems like something different.

    “The concept of the boycott is not to induce negotiation and reconciliation. It is to take a stand that Israel is a pariah state that should go away. It is to justify war, not to promote peace.”—post 49 (also quoted in posts 56, 57, and 149)

    Larry, it would seem that you are charging the boycott movement with anti-Semitism, here. Now granted, you raise it with more grace than how it has been raised by the “hardliners” in this thread, but it looks like a charge of anti-Semitism much the same.

    This seems inconsistent with the rest of your stated views, which are much more moderate and thought out. This anti-Semitism stuff is used more by the right-wingers who like to end their sentences with, “and they want to drive Israel into the sea”.

    And you say the boycott movement is being used to justify war? A war between whom? Is that a war that is going on over there, with one country using its military superiority to blow the shit out of its neighbors? Calling it a war would only seem 1/2 correct. But how exactly does the boycott seek to justify it? You lost me on that one.

    Now when I made a firm conviction to myself to make sure I don’t go into the co-op and buy any of that…whatever it is (Israeli cream of wheat you can eat with your hands?), I didn’t make that conviction because of any of the things you refer to above. I decided to honor the boycott because I didn’t think what the government of Israel is doing to the Palestinians is right.

    So your characterization of the motives of the boycott movement as being disinterested in negotiation and reconciliation and just wanting Israel to go away, would not apply to me. I have no view on Israel existing as a state; I just want them to stop being assholes to their neighbors. I’m sure there are other boycott supporters like me who don’t deserve the anti-Semitism tag.

    So with all due respect, Larry, your “model” of the boycott movement could use some more thought to make it more in line with the rest of your stated views.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 7 '07 - 04:34PM    #
  151. Murph, AAIO pretty much summed it up from me just now.

    Which leads me to this comment from abc: “Which is probably true, however discussing the pros and cons of having a boycott is healthy and seems to be exploring that specific concept.”

    I agree with this sentiment in general, but the given the actual context of the PFC, I’d say that the notion that the members of the Food Co-Op in Ann Arbor, Michigan are somehow unaware of the Palestinian/Israeli situation is silly on its face. We aren’t talking about a Walmart in the Middle of the Bible belt where I’d be impressed if 5% of the shoppers could point out Israel on a map. The PFC’ers are just about the last group in the US that “need” to discuss this issue.

    And Murph, you’ll note that in post #58 you’ll see an AA Green answer my question that if they get their vote, they’ll be happy and call off the boycott regardless of the outcome. I responded shortly thereafter that I respect AA Green and their request for a vote.

    In short, I respect what they are asking for, that doesn’t mean that I like they are asking….if that makes sense.


       —todd    Sep. 7 '07 - 04:39PM    #
  152. Thank you, Larry and AAiO – I certainly don’t mean to say that “a co-op should participate in all boycotts.” Rather, I’m bristling at past suggestions that the co-op is the wrong place to consider the question.

    And, certainly, there are activist actions possible that fall between “alienating us or alienating them”. In your example of fluoridation, Larry, it seems pretty reasonable to me that the co-op members could reach consensus on, say, clearly labeling the products of concern and providing information on the debate. (Which has some direct relevance to this discussion – how happy would I be if every product in the co-op had clearly posted state/county-of-origin labeling? The produce is a good start…)

    And, FWIW, I agree completely with your #150, Larry.


       —Murph.    Sep. 7 '07 - 04:45PM    #
  153. One thing that matters none to any of you excellent people of Ann Arbor, is the conditions of life under Israel for people of Palestine and Lebanon and Syria…

    To watch your wife die while soldiers beat up your son, to be forced in and out of your home by juvenile military forces of Israel at their whim, to be tortured mentally and emotionally day in and day out. To be made homeless, to be bombed out of you home, to see your playful children blown away stepping on Israel’s cluster bombs, to not be able to work your farm because of the deadly cluster bombs….
    ——————————————————————————————————————

    To watch overfed liberals like you quarrel over the “right” or “wrong” of a simple humanitarian boycott of a racist monstrous state, just makes my stomach turn.

    Keep up your futile arguments. Continue your despicable squabbles.

    The rest of the world is fighting for justice.

    And Justice they shall have.

    Vote to boycott Israel.


       —overfed liberals    Sep. 7 '07 - 06:25PM    #
  154. Larry, how do you see the proposed boycott, if it were passed, interfering with what you describe as the best path to a peaceful resolution in Israel/Palestine?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 7 '07 - 06:37PM    #
  155. Holy cow, I go away for a few days and there’s about 100 more postings! But no one answered my question. What is the deal with the Palestinian website that decides when to end a boycott? Do the groups listed there vote? Does the Palestinian government decide? If no one on this thread knows the answer, does anyone know who wrote that clause into the referendum? Thanks.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 7 '07 - 06:38PM    #
  156. Yes, it seems most unusual to allow Palestinians themselves to tell you when their life under occupation becomes intolerable. So intolerable as to recommend boycotting Israel.

    Typically, a liberal Israeli parliamentarian must be found to tell us how Palestine is doing. In a pinch, a neighboring King or General can be found to tell us. So yes, it is an extremely novel idea, for actual Palestinians to be allowed to tell us what they need, and how they are feeling.

    But I trust that Co-op members will not find that too shocking.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 7 '07 - 07:11PM    #
  157. For those who asked, #157 (the post signed “overfed liberals”) is a pretty good example of what I mean when I say it would be “pro-war” for the co-op to join an organized boycott of Israel.

    (Note to Michael: none of this applies to individual choices about who to buy or not buy from. I’m speaking only of the organized worldwide boycott.)

    The atrocities he describes, with only slight variation, could be used to describe what the U.S. has been doing in Iraq, or what Russia has been doing in Chechnya, or even the impact of terrorist bombings in Belfast or Tel Aviv.

    Warfare is brutal and ugly, and we as human beings should work to end it everywhere.

    If anything, though I do not defend them, the Israeli human rights violations, compared to what else has come down around the world in the past generation or so, are relatively limited and restrained.

    For outrageous example, why isn’t anyone concerned about the Chechens, who have suffered merciless, relentless death and destruction at the hands of a superpower, orders of magnitude worse than anything in Palestine? To answer my own question: No, I don’t blame anti-Semitism. Rather, it’s because few U.S. media were around to witness the brutal, continuous attacks on Grozny and other Chechen cities and villages.

    #157 calls Israel a “racist monstrous state”, and says “the rest of the world is fighting for justice.” Can there be any interpretation for “justice” than “ending Israel”?

    He is impatient with “bickering” over the boycott, because “the world” is waiting for us to take sides. The word “humanitarian” is inserted as a fig leaf. What he wants is war.

    The boycott he advocates is not against the settlers in the occupied territories — I personally would have no problem with such a boycott, though admittedly it would be complicated to administer. The proposed boycott, rather, is against Israel as a whole, against the concept of Israel.

    He is demanding that we enlist the food co-op in the struggle, and in some small way, strengthen the hand of those who, like him, reject Israel’s existence.

    Why else would he care?


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 7 '07 - 07:27PM    #
  158. Does anyone else find OWBanker’s reply to my question a little belligerent? I’m not questioning “actual Palestinians”. I just asked how it works. If they are making a decision that the co-op will abide by isn’t it fair to ask who and how they will do that? That’s all.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 7 '07 - 07:46PM    #
  159. Robert Oppenheimer of Ann Arbor, a co-op member since 1986, is against the boycott, he says, as a jewish peace activist he points out, engaging with Jewish and Palestinian Peace activists is a better approach. I do respect his opinion, because he recalls his father’s shoe shop being boycotted by the SA in Cologne. But, is his comparison correct? Can’t he see the difference of Nazi-boycotts against Jews and worldwide boycott against Israel, not because they are Jews, but against Israeli Apartheid politics? When the free world boycotted South Africa, it wasn’t against South Africa but only against it’s unhuman racist Apartheid-Politics. And this boycott was successful. As soon as this Apartheid had been abolished, no one in the whole world would have continued this boycott. I would like to ask Robert Oppenheimer to join the more and more numerous jewish and palestinian peace-people, academics and other who call the free world for boycott…in order to change Israel’s politics against Palestinians, not to destroy the country, neither it’s jewish population, but only to make Israel changing it’s politics. Boycott Israel NOW, is make it a better, a safer Israel tomorrow. There is no reason to equal criminal Nazi-boycotts of jewish shopkeepers and the boycott on behalf of justice in Israel-Palestine. Mr. Oppenheimer, I ask you: please join the boycott movement. For the love of jewishness and of a peacefull settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Guenter Schenk
    Beinheim/Strasbourg, France
    membre du “collectif judéo-arabe et citoyen pour la paix” Strasbourg, the European Capital, where old enemies became friends.


       —Guenter Schenk    Sep. 7 '07 - 08:22PM    #
  160. Merci, M. Schenk,

    That was a most humane message about the value of human life. It helps to answer the question, why is Israel being boycotted throughout the world, and at the Co-op as well?

    Israel has extra-judicially terminated only a few tens of thousands of lives. Chiefly during the Israeli occupations of Palestine and Lebanon. Although most Palestineians were driven out of Israel, those who survived are allowed to participate in Israeli “democracy”, at least in voting, at least for parties which swear allegiance to the Israeli state.

    So why is Israel condemned, and boycotted?

    The United States has only lynched a few thousand African-Americans. So why was American “democracy” condemned?

    Germany, in 1933, had killed only a tiny number of people. So why did that “democracy” face worldwide condemnation, and even a boycott?

    I personally do not know why. Perhaps such violent racism, from governments who derive their legitimacy from a pose of democracy, seems too grossly unfair. I hope that is the reason. Waiting for a death toll of 6 million, before boycotting, seems like waiting a little too long.

    Whatever the reason, if the Co-op had existed in 1933, it would have gladly supported any boycott to protest the lynching of African Americans. There is no question about that. Any boycott to wipe out that unspeakable page of American history.

    The Co-op would have gladly supported any boycott of Nazi Germany, and not waited for the mass killings to start. No question about that, either.

    Today, Israel has surpassed the body count of all those 1933 examples. Surely, the Co-op is not interested in watching to see just how many Palestinians can be killed, or can be driven into ever-smaller Bantustans. Better to do the boycott now, while Palestinians still physically exist. Surely that is the humane thing. Thank you again for your kind message.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 7 '07 - 08:56PM    #
  161. Can there be any interpretation for “justice” than “ending Israel”?

    Yes: ending the occupation, stopping the bulldozings, removing the wall and the checkpoints on Palestinian land, stop shooting children, and perhaps a few other steps to end abuses short of “ending Israel.” Israel could still exist. It would just cease to be an oppressive state—but still a state. No conflict with the “negotiation and reconciliation” you see as the only viable path. You don’t believe that Israel (or Russia, or the US, etc.) must commit human rights abuses in order to exist, do you, Larry?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 7 '07 - 08:59PM    #
  162. Oh you need to toughen up a little, justaskin (whinin)

    Wow, Larry, it would seem that you are reading a bit much into post 157, especially since it appears to be “overfed liberals”‘s first post.

    I thought the language was a bit strong, but that may be just because I’m a little overfed, myself. I was actually more put off by the partisan sound of the screen name than the content of the post.

    But we all look at things differently, I suppose.

    Regarding effecting policy change in our own country, as someone pointed out, Americans have other ways of doing this, rather than boycotting. We can get a bunch of money together and lobby (bribe) our senators, for example.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 7 '07 - 09:06PM    #
  163. I am gratified to see so much concern for the welfare of Palestinians, among Co-op members in this forum. You will be especially pleased to join in the effort to boycott Israeli goods, as you read of the conditions which Palestine is living under. For example:

    “The Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Karen AbuZayd, today warned that if the present situation continues, impoverishment among Palestine refugees in Gaza will soon reach what she called ‘unconscionable levels’.”

    Sept. 5, 2007:
    http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EDIS-76RMGT?OpenDocument

    Thank you again for your concern over the future of Palestinian children and their families.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 7 '07 - 09:50PM    #
  164. “it would seem that you are reading a bit much into post 157, especially since it appears to be “overfed liberals”‘s first post.”

    No, definitely not—not even the first in this thread. That poster is one of our regulars, s/he just refuses to pick a handle and stick to it. We’ve been down this road before, and eventually it results in ever-escalating insults one on side and increasingly bitter sarcasm on the other. Clearly, that’s what some people like.

    But please does us all a favor, ignore that sort of thing, and respond instead to the folks (more than usual, thanks!) who are actually participating in the conversation.


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 7 '07 - 09:58PM    #
  165. Steve,

    Those things are what I want, too, but I don’t believe they would satisfy the author of #157, and many others all over the world who think that way.

    Further, those Israeli actions, much as I detest them, aren’t happening in a vacuum. At least the ones which are deliberate policy are conceived as ways of controlling suicide bombers.

    There’s a vicious cycle here which is entirely predictable. Suicide bombers lead to greater repression which lead to more suicide bombers. But in the short run, checkpoints and walls and tearing down the homes of bombers, and other such repressive tactics do make it harder to detonate bombs in Israeli buses and cafes.

    Having gone down that road, it’s awfully hard to come back unilaterally. If Israel were to suddenly throw open all those checkpoints and so on, bombs would explode all over the country, no doubt killing hundreds or even thousands, and Israeli leaders would be punished politically.

    It’s a war with two sides, and the two sides need to stand down together.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 7 '07 - 10:05PM    #
  166. justaskin: so the text of the referendum says “... until the Palestinian people themselves call off the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign against Israel, as represented on the Campaign’s Web site, http://www.bds-palestine.net”.

    There isn’t any explanation of who controls the website, just a few email addresses. The website lists the conditions for end of the boycott as

    “1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
    2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
    3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 7 '07 - 10:32PM    #
  167. Can you define the geographic extent of what “all Arab lands” refers to. Also, does resolution 194 pertain specifically to Palestinian refugees or to refugees in general? Are there general social responsibilities to be expected that would go along with the rights that are to be promoted?


       —jcp2    Sep. 7 '07 - 11:43PM    #
  168. OWBanker quotes the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (or, more formally, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) on the grave situation in Gaza.

    Unlike the BIG, JWPF, OWBanker, et al., the UNRWA concerns itself with the welfare of Palestinians beyond Israel’s borders. Here is what the UNRWA has to say about the situation in Lebanon:

    Today, all 12 official refugee camps in the Lebanon Field suffer from serious problems – no proper infrastructure, overcrowding, poverty and unemployment. The Lebanon Field has the highest percentage of Palestine refugees who are living in abject poverty and who are registered with the Agency’s “special hardship” programme.

    The number of Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon is currently 409,714, or an estimated 10 per cent of the population of Lebanon, a small country which is now quite densely populated.

    Palestine refugees in Lebanon face specific problems. They do not have social and civil rights, and have very limited access to the government’s public health or educational facilities and no access to public social services. The majority rely entirely on UNRWA as the sole provider of education, health and relief and social services. Considered as foreigners, Palestine refugees are prohibited by law from working in more than 70 trades and professions. This has led to a very high rate of unemployment amongst the refugee population.

    Popular committees in the camps representing the refugees regularly discuss these problems with the Lebanese Government or with UNRWA officials, and they call for better living conditions for the refugees.

    link

    Get the picture? 10% of the population of Lebanon — over 400,000 people — enslaved in squalid concentration camps, denied education, health care, civil rights, jobs; generations of Palestinians consigned to “abject poverty” by an uncaring government. For 50 years!

    And what do we hear from Ann Arbor’s great humanitarians? Not a peep. But Lord, do they care about cous-cous!

    The blind eye cast by Ann Arbor’s Palestinian rights activists to the desperate situation of Palestinians in countries neighboring Israel suggests that their campaign has nothing to do with the plight of Palestinians, who are mere pawns in a cynical crusade to drive the Jews into the sea.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 8 '07 - 12:57AM    #
  169. What Palestinian organisation runs the website that promotes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign? Anybody know? Is it oneof the PR efforts of extremist groups like Hamas, maybe? Icant find any info about this group, and looks likethe pro-boycott folks here dont want us to know. Is there any reason why this info is being hidden?

    Now, the reason not to support this whole campaign is this – the third point that bruce quoted, implies that Palestinians and their useful idiot supporters in the USA and Western Europe are willing toallow the destruction ofthe State of Israel. Otherwise, why do they support Palestinians and their desire to take over what they “claim” is their property.

    As far as Palestinians “suffering” in the Arab countries of the Middle East. I am not at all surprised. Historically,Palestinian communities in variousArab countries have tried taking over , or tried assasinating the kings etc, which made the Arab world look upon Plaestinians as the pariahs of the Arab world. A lot of the state that Palestinians find them selves in, is solely due to their fascination with terrorism,and their unwillingness to give up violence as an option.
    Until the Palestinians give up their addiction to violence, noone with a sane mind will negotiate with them.
    Peter Honeyman is right when he says that pro-Palestinian activists are more concerned about ensuring the destruction of Israel, and concern for Palestinians arejust the excuse and cover used to hide their true intentions.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 8 '07 - 02:45AM    #
  170. Peter, Larry,

    thanks for showing that there is a side to this that the anti-israel people turn a blind eye to. And that is why I say they are clearly racist/anti-semites. If they were really concerned about the situation, they would learn the whole story. They don’t want truth or justice, they want an enemy.

    So, with that great post by Peter, I ask this;

    Is it true that Palestinians are the only people whos children also maintain refugee status. From my understanding they are the only group who get this treatment.


       —just a voice    Sep. 8 '07 - 03:00AM    #
  171. Further, those Israeli actions, much as I detest them, aren’t happening in a vacuum. At least the ones which are deliberate policy are conceived as ways of controlling suicide bombers.

    There’s a vicious cycle here which is entirely predictable. Suicide bombers lead to greater repression which lead to more suicide bombers. But in the short run, checkpoints and walls and tearing down the homes of bombers, and other such repressive tactics do make it harder to detonate bombs in Israeli buses and cafes.

    Having gone down that road, it’s awfully hard to come back unilaterally. If Israel were to suddenly throw open all those checkpoints and so on, bombs would explode all over the country, no doubt killing hundreds or even thousands, and Israeli leaders would be punished politically.—post#169

    Larry, you say these Israeli actions you “detest” are necessary for Israel’s security, else the suicide bombers will start exploding around Israel like firecrackers?

    And while you say repression by Israel leads to more suicide bombers, you also say this same repression helps keep Israel’s buses and cafes secure from these same suicide bombers? That’s not a contradiction?

    And you list the suicide bombers as the first cause in your cycle of escalation, as if clear out of the blue some guys decided to strap bombs to their chest and blow themselves up with others, for no clear reason?

    Your view here that Israel’s acts are justified to insure its own security are difficult to square with your view that Israel should give back the land it’s occupying. Why or how should Israel remove its foot off the throat of the occupied, when as you suggest, its own security depends on such repression?

    And look at all the riff-raff you’ve encouraged, with your posting of apologist propaganda.

    That’s the most right-wing stuff I’ve ever heard a democrat say. You’re no “moderate”, Larry, you just talk like one, sometimes. But at least I know where you’re coming from now. So when do you think we should attack Iran because they want to “wipe Israel off the map”?

    I’m done with this. I feel the need to go rinse off.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 8 '07 - 12:06PM    #
  172. Michael, it’s like the old parable about the standoff of two guys in the alley, one with a gun, one with a knife.

    We could ask, “what the hell are you doing there, threatening a stranger with deadly force?”

    But neither has any trust in the other to cast aside their weapon first. It’s a bad situation, but solving it is not easy, whatever you or I might say about it.

    I thought I explained the “contradiction”: repression creates more suicide bombers in the long run, but it controls them in the short run.

    And I already wrote that I’m opposed to “preconditions”, which basically require that Palestinians stop responding to oppression before any peace talks can begin. By the same token, I don’t require that Israel throw open all those checkpoints and tear down the wall before peace talks can begin.

    Okay, describing the vicious cycle, probably I should have mentioned repression first. But it doesn’t matter: the cycle has been escalating for years.

    Long term security requires peace and a solution that works for both sides. That means Palestine getting full statehood and self-determination.

    I don’t see any cyber-soldiers here. I did notice one interesting comment from overseas, with a pro-boycott perspective.

    Anyone who expresses a point of view on this issue beyond “a pox on both your houses” is forced to be an apologist for violence.

    And I have always been strongly opposed to war with Iran.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 8 '07 - 01:12PM    #
  173. OK, to summarize: “just a voice” posts something calling somebody else “full of shit”, etc., etc., that provokes a response from Schils with even less content, I delete that, Schils complains that if I was going to delete the response I should have deleted j.a.v’s too. OK, whatever, I’d rather annoy everyone—gone.

    jav, if you want to repost the original with just the original content and leave out the stuff that’s already been said 10 time before, and leave out the swearing at people, you’d have a fine 5-6 line post.

    Everybody else, try to keep it informative, original, and not any more inflammatory than required, OK?


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 8 '07 - 05:21PM    #
  174. I thought I explained the “contradiction”: repression creates more suicide bombers in the long run, but it controls them in the short run.—176

    Like another shot will help the heroin addict stop the withdrawal symptoms in the short run, but in the long run, the shot only makes the addiction worse. OK, I get it now. I guess it technically, is not a contradiction.

    Okay, describing the vicious cycle, probably I should have mentioned repression first. But it doesn’t matter: the cycle has been escalating for years.

    Well yes it does matter, Larry, because understanding the first cause of this mess is key to understanding what will be the first cause of resolving it.

    I don’t see any cyber-soldiers here. I did notice one interesting comment from overseas, with a pro-boycott perspective.

    hmmm…

    Anyone who expresses a point of view on this issue beyond “a pox on both your houses” is forced to be an apologist for violence.

    I don’t see why a boycott supporter would ever have to be an apologist for violence, but then again, we are looking at this from different perspectives, aren’t we?

    And I have always been strongly opposed to war with Iran.

    But what if it is sold to you that such a war was essential to Israel’s safety, Larry? Would you really be able to determine if this was in fact, true or not?

    just a voice, if you discard your anonymity, I will respond to your post.

    But you also have to be nice and quit swearing at me. I’m sensitive like that.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 8 '07 - 05:23PM    #
  175. I’m sorry, Bruce, but I didn’t see your post before my last, or I wouldn’t have even brought it up.

    You’re right, of course, responding “in kind” is never hardly productive. Oh the irony that such also applies to the bigger topic, here.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 8 '07 - 05:34PM    #
  176. It is satisfying that we have come around to the issue again. The issue being occupation, and the disappearance of a whole nation of Palestinians. It is so rare that the commercial media inquires into the feelings of Palestinians, about the loss of their lands and lives since 1948.

    Sheikh Raed Salah can be heard now, one hopes, by Co-op members, speaking from the occupied Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahm ( أمّ الفحم ), which has existed since 1265. The Sheikh spoke yesterday to thousands of Palestinian survivors of the 1948 invasion and occupation of Palestine, as recorded here:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3447135,00.html

    ____________________________________

    “I appeal to those of you who define themselves as the world’s conscience. How can you starve one-and-a-half million Palestinians in Gaza? Do you think your conscience is clear in light of the closure, siege, and starvation Israel is inflicting on Palestinians in the Strip through its terror, with the help of American terror?”

    - from yesterday’s speech by Sheikh Raed Salah.
    ____________________________________

    Co-op members are listening. Co-op members are voting, as well, to express disapproval of an inhumane occupation, by boycotting the occupiers.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 8 '07 - 08:40PM    #
  177. I think it is appropriate to add some information that explains the true motivations behind OWBanker and the others supporting the boycott. I was in front of PFC today holding a sign against the boycott and talking to anyone who wanted to approach me to talk. First, OWBanker had his camera and took my picture (hope he got my good side!). Then another of the synagogue protesters, Farouq Shafie, approached and accused me of supporting ethnic cleansing. I told him I was in favor of a peaceful negotiation to a two-state solution. He yelled “No negotiation! No negotiation!” He was followed by Amy Smith, the putative head of the putative Green Party, who wears a head scarf as a Halloween costume since she is not a Muslim. She continued with the “no negotiation” theme and said that the Indians negotiated with the white people and look what they got. So, those who advocate a boycott do not want peace, do not want negotiation towards peace and do not actually support anything except the end of Israel. They are not “pro” anything but only “anti” most of what the rest of us believe in.


       —Joan Lowenstein    Sep. 8 '07 - 11:32PM    #
  178. Please speak for yourself, council member Lowenstein, and allow others to speak for themselves. Please keep in mind that you are under the public trust to represent your constituents in our city, not to misrepresent those with whom you disagree with blanket statements about them and their “true motivations”. Earlier comments in this thread about “divisiveness” could easily be applied to your comments. (And how [you think] you know who OWBanker is gives me pause.)


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 9 '07 - 12:06AM    #
  179. Those things are what I want, too, but I don’t believe they would satisfy the author of #157, and many others all over the world who think that way.

    It almost sounds like your values are outweighed by your concern for the opinion of people you’ve described as “extremists”, Larry, as if you grant them more power than they actually have. I hope that’s not the case.

    Michael, it’s like the old parable about the standoff of two guys in the alley, one with a gun, one with a knife.

    I disagree. Michael posted what has yet to be disproven as an accurate representation of what it’s truly like. Yes, just a voice disputed some of it, but without even a single reference to any source to back it up, in spite of Michael’s request.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 9 '07 - 12:26AM    #
  180. Ms. Lowenstein,

    Why so perturbed?

    Israel has been screaming peace for the past 60 years all the while demolishing homes, raiding schools, and torturing Palestinians and Lebanese.

    Negotiation?

    How can you negotiation while tanks are driving into your living room? How can you negotiation when Israeli soldier’s booths are on the throat of each and every Palestinian and Lebanese?

    Israel wants demolition of all that is Arab and has no shame in pushing for the destruction of all Arab land.

    If not held back, Israel has ambitions of attacking Iran. In fact the Israeli government boasts about it with no shame.

    Destruction of the entire Middle East and its people is what Israel is campaigning for. No matter how many peace / minute they dribble.

    Also, Ms. Lowenstein, should you be commenting on what people choose to wear or their religious affiliation?

    Is that kosher?

    Overfed liberals boycott Israel at the PFC


       —Overfed liberals boycott Israel at the PFC    Sep. 9 '07 - 12:27AM    #
  181. Thanks to the previous commenter, as he calls for a measure of humanity from our City Council, who are under a solemn duty to respect all their constituents, whether Palestinian or not.

    Ann Arbor City Councilmember Lowenstein seems to fear that a simple boycott, to support occupied Palestine, will hasten the end of the State of Israel. Certainly white supremacists feared that boycotts would end the Apartheid State of South Africa.

    The County Clerk, Mr. Kestenbaum, has taken an equally strong interest in opposing the boycott, with equally uncomplimentary personal statements against boycott supporters. The County Clerk is entrusted with the vital personal records of every person in this county.

    If any harm befalls boycott supporters, let us hope that no City or County officials will be involved. It would be deeply appreciated if both of these high City and County officials could refrain from singling out boycott supporters by name, as Councilmember Lowenstein has already done.

    These high officials, in future, will hopefully refrain from facilitating attacks upon boycott supporters by citing personal details about boycott supporters’ religion, as Councilmember Lowenstein has done, or referring to the hijab as a “Halloween costume”, an especially hurtful reference as Ramadan approaches.

    Let us pause. Let us reflect on the “closure, siege, and starvation Israel is inflicting on Palestinians”, so poignantly stated just yesterday, by Sheikh Raed Salah.

    Co-op members are invited to reflect on the great moral power contained in a boycott, to support the human rights of several million occupied souls in Palestine.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 9 '07 - 12:30AM    #
  182. The pro-boycott folks, despite denials by Henry H,and his disciples are not interested in the plight of the Palestinians. Doing what it takes to hasten the destruction of Israel is what they are all about. They dont want a two-stae solution.- they want one “Palestine”. They “concern” for the alleged plight of the Palestinians is their cover for their ultimate agenda- the destructonofthe State of Israel,and a second holocaust.
    Remember- they are apologists for Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. It is obvious.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 9 '07 - 12:33AM    #
  183. This is ridiculous. Ann Arbor City Council members, as much as I love them, are not “high officials”. Aimee Smith is not Muslim. She’s just not. She wears the hijab in solidarity. Bully for her. It’s on the Green’s site. She wears it in solidarity and not for religious reasons. Good for her. I think most people agree that hate crimes against Muslims in the United States are abhorrent.

    Honestly. Councilwoman Lowenstein’s specific reference to one person wearing the hijab is NOT an insult to Muslim women legitmately wearing the hijab. No amount of your twisted “logic” will make it so, either.

    The Boycott Supporters are well known. Aimee Smith dons sunglasses and a bullhorn and screams at people at local parades. People know that. It’s no secret. She ran against Dingell for heaven’s sake. She’s a public figure. If she rails at someone at the PFC in public, it’s out there in the public. It’s her bed. She made it. She can lie in it and be proud of it. Let her do that much at least.

    County Clerk Kestenbaum and City Councilmember Lowenstein are lovely people (and I’m sure Aimee Smith is, too), but to suggest that they might improperly use their positions to harm local citizens is outrageous.

    I eagerly await your “oh but Israel and the Jews are outrageous” comments.

    Fondly,
    OWSider


       —OWSider    Sep. 9 '07 - 03:56AM    #
  184. OWBanker,

    I strive in my public and private life to treat every person with courtesy and respect. Admittedly I sometimes fall short of that goal.

    I have repeatedly criticized the views of boycott supporters, but I don’t see where I have made any “uncomplimentary personal statements” about any of them. If I have done so, I apologize.

    When I have replied to postings in this comment thread, I have frequently addressed my replies to, or mentioned, the name or nom-de-plume under which they posted. I don’t understand why that wouldn’t be appropriate.

    I don’t agree with Ms. Lowenstein’s description of the head scarf as a “Halloween costume,” and I would not presume to say who is or is not Muslim. But (from her account) the way she was treated in front of the PFC today reflects no credit on boycott supporters.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 9 '07 - 04:33AM    #
  185. todd, I guess you missed comment #95. If I don’t hear from you this time then I will assume that you’ve realized the absurdity of your position but are too embarassed to come clean. Here it is again:

    todd wrote:

    “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?”

    Yep. It sure is. The context doesn’t change that as one of the significations of wearing the Swastikas. Is that direct enough? Just because they are Jewish doesn’t mean that they can’t engage in anti-Semitic act, as you seem to be implying.

    Your syntax in the third sentence of the second paragraph above seems odd but, yes, your meaning is finally clear and I thank you for that. To clarify, I never suggested that the settlers being Jewish was the relevant issue—it just happened to be that they were Jewish. I have already indicated that I think that the context does matter and is the relevant issue—you disagree. Would you assert, then, that the use of the swastika numerous times here is also an anti-Semitic act?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 9 '07 - 06:16AM    #
  186. As is typical of Zionists, Joan Lowenstein paints with a very broad brush : “So, those who advocate a boycott do not want peace, do not want negotiation towards peace and do not actually support anything except the end of Israel.” Her generalization is, apparently, based on her encounter yesterday with three people, none of whom have actually been involved (except in the most tangential way) in the PFC effort, although I would not be surprised if she now proffers more ‘evidence’ for her smear of boycott supporters. I, for one, support the Israel boycott and I want negotiations and peace and I know other boycott supporters who feel the same way. I am sure el-Hindi, Kestenbaum, and Lowenstein think they know better what boycott supporters want, though.

    I wrote above that none of the people she encountered yesterday have actually been involved in the PFC effort. True, Smith (who, ominously, has been known to wear sunglasses and wear them outside of all places) voted for a Huron Valley Greens resolution that she had no hand in writing and which was embargoed until after the measure had already qualified for the ballot. Shafie has done nothing. And unless Lowenstein had her picture taken by more than person outside the co-op yesterday, then I think she is mistaken about the identity of OWBanker. I don’t know who OWBanker is but I know a man who took Lowenstein’s picture yesterday at the co-op and he, too, has done nothing to support the PFC boycott effort. Smith, Shafie, and the photographer were outside the co-op yesterday not to support the boycott but in support of AACAW’s Weekly Anti-War Protest that has been ongoing since 2005.

    I will agree with OWSider, Lowenstein and Kestenbaum are not high officials. Arguably, they are low officials in more ways than one.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:07AM    #
  187. el-Hindi writes:

    What Palestinian organisation runs the website that promotes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign? Anybody know? Is it oneof the PR efforts of extremist groups like Hamas, maybe? Icant find any info about this group, and looks likethe pro-boycott folks here dont want us to know. Is there any reason why this info is being hidden?

    Nothing is being “hidden.” Even Inspector Clouseau could solve this. According to its home page, the website/campaign is managed by an “Acting Steering Committee” composed of the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), which can be contacted via the East Jerusalem YMCA (aateyah@ej-ymca.org) and BADIL—Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (info@badil.org). You can see photos of the evil monsters of OPGAI here. The other members of the acting steering committee are listed as PACBI (info@boycottisrael.ps) and ITTIJAH (ittijah@ittijah.org). You can look them up yourself. The web site itself is registered to the acting steering committee, which located in the same city—Bethlehem—as BADIL and has the same phone and fax numbers as BADIL.

    Justaskin writes:

    What is the deal with the Palestinian website that decides when to end a boycott? ... does anyone know who wrote that clause into the referendum?

    As I explained in comment #79: “according to BIG members and one PFC Board member, the problematic language you referenced re: ending the boycott was inserted by BIG at the request of the previous Board of Directors (as you know, there was a Board election earlier this year). In any case, the language is not such a problem as co-op members retain the right to ‘democratically decide on the ending of the boycott’ as they like.”


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 9 '07 - 08:19AM    #
  188. Hm, the ongoing weekly antiwar protest at that site is news to me.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 9 '07 - 01:05PM    #
  189. Keep the good fight! Else what does it mean to be an American? Or a Frenchman?


       —marc haglund    Sep. 9 '07 - 02:55PM    #
  190. Why support a boycott of Israeli goods?

    When I was a college student at one of the first “long term” campaigns I got involved with was around the issue of South African apartheid. Part of this involved pressuring the university to divest and all businesses where we thought we might have some voice to boycott any products of the apartheid regime.

    Even as I put what felt like “a lot” of time into this, I wondered in my heart how much of a difference it would make. Would the people we tried to stand in solidarity with even know what we were doing – in the hardships that defined so much of their lives would they care?

    Years later I had the privilege of hearing Bishop Desmond Tutu speak. I was so surprised and heartened to hear him express his thanks to those who worked to put pressure on the South African government to end apartheid. He mentioned (among other things) pressure for boycotts and divestment and said that in doing these things we gave the people hope.

    Recently a dear friend had the opportunity to travel in South Africa. While there she toured Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela spent much of his 27 years in prison, along w/ other anti-apartheid leaders). The man who gave the tour was a former political prisoner himself and he too thanked those in the audience who had worked against apartheid, and he gave special thanks to those Americans in the group (not something we usually get to hear!) letting them know the work we did gave the prisoners hope.

    It seems to me, supporting a boycott is a little thing – with so little effort on our end – for such an important result – for giving hope. It may not seem like much – giving hope. But we know that hope is power. And those that feel hopeless are more likely to turn to violence, to engage in actions that seem “not understandable”, and to lose their creative visions for the future.

    So if support for a boycott is doable, and if it has a chance to make a difference, to my mind the question that remains is, is the comparison to South Africa an honest one? Is Israel an apartheid?

    My own eyewitness and that of my colleagues who have traveled there tell me it is. Palestinian towns are cut off from each other by settlements, Israeli only roadways, and the separation wall. Road Blocks and check-points further restrict movement and work to humiliate Palestinians. One can also add to the list of similarities home demolitions, collective punishment, identity papers, and the racism that allows this.

    But, it is not my words alone that I ask you to consider: those with far more knowledge of apartheid have seen the similarities… and have pointed them out for some time now. On December 4, 1997 Nelson Mandela speaking in Pretoria, South Africa noted: “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid and over the years and international consensus was built, which helped bring and end to this iniquitous system in South Africa. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

    Fellow anti-apartheid leader and Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu also commented “I’ve been deeply distressed in my visit to the holy land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.” (BBC News April 29, 2002).

    Former South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, often called “Architect of Apartheid” for his role in shaping the apartheid regime’s racial ideology and policies before his assassination in 1966, acknowledged “Israel, like South Africa is an apartheid State.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

    And finally, many of you are aware of former President Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid in which he makes note of the conditions Palestinians live under. On CNN Nov. 28, 2006 Carter pointed out “In the West Bank, in the occupied territories, a horrible example of apartheid is being perpetrated against the Palestinians who live there. Israel has penetrated and occupied, confiscated and colonized major portions of the territory belonging to the Palestinians.”

    And, as I noted – it is not just the words of these others (many of whom I admire greatly) but my own observations and concern for justice for all people in the region that leads me to the acknowledgment that it is an apartheid system.

    So, why boycott Israeli products? Because Israel is (I honestly believe) an apartheid state. Because apartheid is unjust and immoral. Because the system of apartheid and the racism inherent in it, hurts Palestinians, Israelis, and all who support it. Because a boycott just might let those working against this unjust system know they are not alone. Because, it might give someone hope. – Sheri Wander


       —Sheri Wander    Sep. 9 '07 - 02:59PM    #
  191. Wonderfully said.


       —Emilia    Sep. 9 '07 - 04:59PM    #
  192. Sheri, you speak from the heart. What does your heart tell you about Lebanon’s system of apartheid for Palestinians?


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 9 '07 - 05:51PM    #
  193. Peter,

    Only an arrogant psychopath or an arrogant moron would make the argument you are making (I’ll let Peter decide which.) Let’s see, Israel uses violence to evict Palestinians out of Palestine in 1948, refuses to let Palestinians return to their homeland, has attacked Lebanon numerous times since 1948 with the latest attack coming in the summer of 2006 (BTW, remember Sabra and Shatila 25 years ago on September 16th, 1982?) But Israel and its supremacist policies are not the problem? Why don’t boycott supporters point out the harsh conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon? Simple, Palestinians should be allowed to return to their land in Palestine!
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 9 '07 - 06:57PM    #
  194. “todd, I guess you missed comment #95. If I don’t hear from you this time then I will assume that you’ve realized the absurdity of your position but are too embarassed to come clean.”

    Nope, not embarrassed…trying to heed Steve’s advice and let it go as this isn’t exactly a productive conversation.

    You asked “Would you assert, then, that the use of the swastika numerous times here is also an anti-Semitic act?” This poorly worded question is, essentially, asking me what the intent of the signifier is (the person(s) who put together that website is the signifier).

    First of all, this is a reduction to absurdity, as you very well know.

    Secondly, let’s set this fact aside, and address the concept that makes modern semiotics, explication, exegesis, comparitive lit. etc. etc., possible:

    The exact intentio lectoris (intent of the author) is unknowable, even if you can ask the author in person what his or her intent is when drafting a sign. You are asking me what the intent of the author of that page is, and my answer is, I haven’t a clue. You are also assuming that the intentio lectoris is the final arbiter for the interpretation of a sign. It ain’t.

    But I can tell you what the intentio operis is, though, in my own case: it’s 2007, and I am quite aware of the swastikas many hateful uses, and when I see a swastika, one of its inescapable significations is “wipe out the Jews”. Context is irrelevant to me, and you can jump up and down and claim that it is until the cows come home, but thankfully, you have no control over the intentio operis. Sorry.

    So to answer your question, the intentio operis can (but does not have to) render the context of a sign irrelevant. Which is the point of the blackface flow chart….and this went right over your head, and is why it is distasteful to waste your time, particularly because your sig. line is a local political party, trying to find a context where it’s ok to use a swastika (or, if you want to split hairs, a context where it doesn’t mean wipe out the Jews).

    So, why don’t we just let this drop and let other posters push this discussion in more positive directions?

    Deal?


       —todd    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:14PM    #
  195. Chuck, your characterization of Peter (not his comments, but he himself) is counter to Green values and is not helpful here. Please take more care in choosing your words.

    Let’s all give ourselves the time we need to present our thoughts as best we can. Peace begins with us.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:21PM    #
  196. I have found myself hesitant to step in to this debate. Hesitant becuase in this community it seems you can’t be critical of Israel or be in Solidarity with Palestinians without everyone assuming you are a member of the group picketing the synagogue, or those who violently disrupted city council meetings. Those are not the tactics or spirit with which I associate myself or wish to be associated with.

    I just returned from being out of the country, so I don’t know; maybe it is the same spirit, some of the same individuals, or even the same group calling for the co-op boycott.

    It almost doesn’t matter. Don’t let the message get lost in the voice of the messager.

    The occupation of Palesitine is wrong.The violence used to sustain it is wrong. Yes, suicide bombings/homicide bombings are just as wrong. And yet when we follow the spiral of violence we see that the occupation is at the root of it. There is no peace and no security without Justice.

    Of course the boycott is symbolic. As are many actions of the progressive community. Post #194 above says it well… we do it anyway becuase Solidarity gives hope. I would also add, we do it to save our own spirits.
    Jules

    ps- please don’t assume that those supporting this boycott aren’t also taking the other paths some have mentioned above… educating the public about the issue, lobbying thier congressional reps etc. It needs to be both and not one or the other and we all work in the ways we are called to


       —jules    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:25PM    #
  197. OWSider, you misquoted OWBanker in your comment. The actual wording in reference to Joan and Larry was, “both of these high City and County officials”. That seems to be an accurate description to me. (Copying and pasting can help avoid such mistakes.)


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:35PM    #
  198. Chuck L, I don’t think those words (ignorant, psychopath, and moron) mean what you think they mean.

    Yes, I remember when Lebanese militia forces massacred Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila camps.

    And I remember wondering why Lebanon forced Palestinians to live in virtual concentration camps, and why no one spoke out about it.

    It’s 25 years later, and I am still wondering why no one seems to speak out about Lebanon’s cruel and inhumane treatment of generations of Palestinian.

    I guess they just don’t care about Lebanon’s Palestinians.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:52PM    #
  199. I know this can so easily be misinterpreted but I have to ask (and I do not mean this sarcastically or rhetorically) why is criticism of Israel so often considered anti-semetic? Is it criticism of the state itself that is anit-semetic? The perceived motive behind the criticism? Defensiveness by those who (justifiably) have felt attacked so often throughout history. I don’t know how I will vote. (I know I will.) I know I have much to learn about the issue, but it is hard to cut through all the rhetoric, fear and anger. It is hard to have an honest discussion when all of the language around the issue is so loaded.
    just questioning


       —Al    Sep. 9 '07 - 07:59PM    #
  200. jules,

    When you see injustice occur between parties and side with one party to “save your spirit” even though that party is “just as wrong,” it raises questions.

    Where is your “Solidarity” with the innocent victims of unspeakable violence inflicted by suicide bombers?

    Perhaps you feel that “Justice” for them is less important, that they deserve to die because they live in Israel. I don’t know.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 9 '07 - 08:09PM    #
  201. Oh, goodness, Steve. I was quoting OWBanker’s statement just a few lines down from where you see “high City and County officials”. OWBanker actually uses, wait for it, “high officials”. That’s what stuck out for me. Perhaps in a less tired state I would’ve said something like “suggesting that high city or county officials would hurt boycott supporters seems absurd to me”. She/He uses the word “high” to, I think, make the city council member and the county clerk seem more powerful than, in fact, they probably are. But my point still stands. City council members and the county clerk won’t be calling out the cops to stick it to boycott supporters or to do them bodily harm. And to suggest that is surprising to me.

    I disagree with city council on a host of issues and have sent emails to my councilmembers and the mayor, but I’m not expecting them to send the cops to my door simply because we disagree. And I would never dream of suggesting that they would.

    But thanks for that helpful cut and paste advice.

    Fondly,
    OWSider


       —OWSider    Sep. 9 '07 - 08:12PM    #
  202. Thanks to thoughtful readers for messages with mercy and humanity in them, very appropriate for this season. It gives one hope, that Co-op member do understand military occupation is bad, and are glad to oppose it with a humanitarian boycott against the occupation.

    It is heartwarming to see the depth of concern for Palestinian refugees, the largest continuous refugee population on Earth. Yes, neither Palestine nor Lebanon have seen any mercy since the invasion and conquest of Palestine. In 1948, Lebanon, and other recently-freed colonies of Europe, extraordinarily poor, were simply swamped with Palestinian refugees.

    No one believed that another European army would be allowed to simply conquer a whole Arab country. But that is what Israel did.

    How could Palestine’s neighbors cope? The whole shattering experience was repeated in 1967, with another ocean of Palestinian refugees flooding into the Arab world, as Israel conquered more Arab lands. Think of the burden on these impoverished countries.

    Of course, you are aware that, since 1968, Israel has showered Lebanon with bombs, over one million bombs in the summer of 2006, for example. It is true that 40 years of heavy aerial bombardment, by Israel, has made life worse, not better, for the Palestinian refugees trapped there. It is accurate to say that Palestinians want to return to their family homes in Palestine.

    As Ramadan approaches, let us consider the words of Minister Malcolm X, a man who fully heard, and fully valued, the dispossessed millions who live under a forced exile from Palestine. He also saw, first-hand, how a string of European (Israeli) conquests could suffocate normal economic and political development throughout the region:
    ______________________________

    “Zionist Israel’s occupation of Arab Palestine has forced the Arab world to waste billions of precious dollars on armaments, making it impossible for these newly independent Arab nations to concentrate on strengthening the economies of their countries and elevate the living standard of their people.”

    - Minister Malcolm X, 1964
    ______________________________

    The Co-op members are giving millions of Palestinians, and their exiled families in Ann Arbor, rare hope. The Co-op’s humanitarian boycott of Israel represents pure hope: that Ann Arbor will not forget the dispossessed, whether farmworkers or whether exiles from their own farms in Palestine.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 9 '07 - 08:23PM    #
  203. Thank you Jules and Sheri for writing!

    Years of silence in Ann Arbor may have come to an end. People seem to have gathered the courage to speak up.

    Maybe hope is not dead; maybe the truth is shining through all the media jargon and landing on the ears of the compassionate.

    Maybe we have made a difference in our little town of Ann Arbor.

    Those of you fighting for human rights of the Palestinians please do not stop there; remember the daily pain and anguish caused by Israel across the Middle East.

    Remember the Iraqis who are being interrogated by Israeli officers in Abu-Ghraib (“Israel interrogates in Iraq”, BBC July 3, 2004), remember the Lebanese children who have been permanently injured, and continue to die in the fields riddled with a million Israeli cluster bombs.

    Remember Syrian and Iranian children who have to live with the daily fear of Israeli nuclear attack.

    Everyone in the Middle East knows that Israel possesses at least 300 nuclear bombs.
    Israel constantly reminds everyone in the Middle East that they are the next target of Israeli bombing.

    Let these stories help you understand what people of the Middle East see, when they look at Israel.

    Boycott is a most compassionate means to give hope to hundreds of millions of people, who live with the fear of Israel’s atom bombs.


       —Overfed liberals    Sep. 9 '07 - 08:31PM    #
  204. Re: post # 204

    Peter,
    I did not mean to imply that Israelis deserve any less justice than the Palestinians. All people in the region deserve to live in Peace and Security -only then will there be Justice, and only with justice will there be true peace. The 2 can simply not be unlinked.

    My solidarity with all the victims is to try to stand against the violence. This is true if they are the victims of Palesinian terrorist bombs or victims of the state sponsored terrorism of Israel.

    I only meant to point out that while there is certainly violence on both sides, and that while there is certainly unjustified violence on both sides the root cause of this violence is the occupation and that must end. If a boycott can give support to that ending then I simply must support it.

    It is not siding with one party that saves our spirit – it is raising our voices for justice…. for all parties involved. I believe that is what a boycott does.

    -J


       —jules    Sep. 9 '07 - 09:05PM    #
  205. jules,

    How does siding with one unjust party against another “raise a voice for justice … for all parties involved”?

    When Israel withdrew from Gaza, by your formulation, this eliminated the “root cause” of violence. Yet attacks against Israel — and partisan attacks between opposition Palestinians — increased. Your one-sided approach seems — to me — to be based in an illogical, untenable formula.

    We share the goal of peace and justice in the Middle East. I urge you to stand in equal opposition to the policies of all sides of the conflict that interfere with that goal. I urge you to reject a boycott that unilaterally punishes Israel while ignoring the injustices of those sworn to destroy her.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 9 '07 - 09:23PM    #
  206. Peter,

    You tipped your hand when you made the blatant and patently false assertion that those of us who support the boycott want to drive Israel into the sea (we are asking people to stop enabling Israeli aggression by cutting the financial cords that fund the violence.) Words like moron, psychopath and ignorant are perfect for purveyors of the type of gangster logic you are promulgating (Israel steals Palestinian land and then argues that it is Lebanon—the country Palestinians fled to—which is responsible for their plight.) You don’t give a damn about the plight of Palestinians in Lebanon since if you did you would support a right of return for Palestinians (notice I am not even disputing a right of Jews to return to Israel, I’m only asking the same right be given to the people who lived there before 1948.) It truly is Kafkaish for you to try to turn Sabra and Shatila into an argument for your position. If you may recall the facts, the massacre occurred shortly after the PLO had agreed to not fight the IDF in Beirut and had evacuated Lebanon, leaving the refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila relatively undefended. While it was Phalangist militia who did the actual killing, the camps were surrounded by the IDF, preventing escape by the people who were subsequently massacred. I find it interesting that in 1982, the Detroit Free Press ran one article arguing that Israel’s invasion of Beirut was justified by the PLO being responsible for about 1300 Israeli deaths between 1967 and 1982 while another article pointed out that around 40,000 civilians in Beirut were killed in the initial invasion. A common justification repeated ad nauseam in the US press at the time argued that the 40,000 civilian deaths were justified by the people of Lebanon shielding the PLO. The apologists for Israel are always quick to point out the fact that they face suicide bombers in Israel but fail to mention that Palestinians consistently die at rates much higher than Israelis as a result of Israeli aggression. They continually argue that Palestinians are out to drive Israel into the sea when Palestinians clearly do not posses the means to accomplish such a task.
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 9 '07 - 09:51PM    #
  207. Those of you who are not immersed in amnesia know that Israel has “left”, and “withdrawn” from many Palestinian villages, only to re-invade and devastate them over and over again.

    Gaza is no exception.

    To continually speak of “peace”, all the while assassinating, invading, demolishing, torturing and threatening to further bomb, does not make the case for Israel’s professed goal of “peace”.

    Israel’s goal seems to be one thing, and one thing only: to impose a constant state of terror and anguish on all inhabitants of the Middle East.

    A perpetually anguished and alarmed people cannot rest, and cannot maintain a normal life.

    Fear of Atomic Israel penetrates deep in the hearts of people across the Middle East.

    “Peace” may be on Israel’s lips, but Israel rains death, far and wide, across the Middle East.


       —Overfed liberals    Sep. 9 '07 - 10:02PM    #
  208. It is true that the Israeli occupation forces have “withdrawn” from (then re-occupied) many places, hundreds of times. Google lists 1,800,000 entries related to Israeli “withdrawal” from this or that place.

    One example was the Israeli occupation and “withdrawal” from the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, as has been pointed out above. The Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk described what Israel did there, by using all its might to hand over the defenseless inhabitants to a death squad:
    _________________________________

    “Between 3,000-3,500 men, women and children were massacred within 48 hours between September 16 and 18, 1982. The total population of both camps on the eve of the massacre reached 20,000.”

    - from Kapeliouk’s book, available here:

    http://www.geocities.com/indictsharon/Kapeliouk.doc
    _________________________________

    May I ask you, the reader, whether you would feel safe if the Israeli army “withdrew” from your home, then re-invaded it, then burgled and demolished it too many times to count, then killed thousands of your loved ones and neighbors… then “withdrew” again, from your home?

    Sadly, that is the history of the Israeli armed forces, especially in Palestine, and in Lebanon. And Israeli pilots are currently training to nuke Iran.

    It is similar to the history of the White Apartheid armed forces in South Africa’s Black townships. Which explains why the world boycotted South Africa until the apartheid state was gone forever. Thank goodness!

    Therefore, the Co-op’s boycott of Israel will be a very natural expression of sympathy with the occupied population of Palestine. It is hard to see how anyone in Ann Arbor could be anything but happy, to have that chance, to give some welcome hope to Palestine, in its dark night of occupation.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 9 '07 - 10:09PM    #
  209. Peter,
    re: your last post (#209)
    Yes, I do agree that we honestly share the goal of peace and justice in the Middle East. I appreciate your pushing me to re-examine and refine my thinking.
    If nothing else – regardless of the outcome – a positive of the boycott referendum is that some real conversation is occurring. Unfortunately, some on both “sides” are not taking that opportunity, but using it for more of the same (and this is in no way to imply you) back and forth squabbling, and attacks.
    So, thank you for not only your commitment to justice, but your assumption that I am working from a place of integrity and the same commitment – even if we see the way and the how differently.
    I hear what you are saying about siding with one party against another. My goal is not to side against one party, but to side with justice and human rights. I can side “with” black South African’s against apartheid without siding “against” white South Africans. I can side “with” the victims of US aggression in Iraq without siding “against” the soldiers that carry out the policies of aggression. (I’m having a harder time not siding against those that make the policies… but I’m trying, and I guess that’s a post for elsewhere.)
    When I was in Israel and in Palestine I often spoke out against the violence of suicide/homicide bombings. I continued to do that when I returned home to New York, and I attempt to do that here as well. I know I am not always successful.
    Yet this is not to imply I am neutral. There is a huge imbalance of power when you talk about Israel and Palestine. Sol (post #33) explained this well. Can I speak out against the violence of some of the slave revolts without speaking out even more strongly against the violence of the system of slavery?
    That power imbalance is still there in Gaza. Israel may have “pulled the troops out” but I can’t honestly call it a withdraw. Gaza is surrounded. There may not be soldiers in the streets any more, and the settlements may have been emptied (while they increased in the west bank) but there is not one spot that Israeli guns and missiles can’t hit. Israel controls the airspace, entry and exit to Gaza (both of people and products), the food water supply etc. Gaza is a prison.
    And it is a prison where the Israeli forces destroyed the infrastructure and land for food production, safe water, a healthy economy etc etc. on thier way out. Is it really any wonder the people there are tearing each other apart in their fear, pain and desperation?
    I do not wish to destroy Israel – I wish to destroy the Occupation and the violence that is destroying both Israel and Palestine.
    Having now taken more than my share of space on this blog, I will continue to read it, but will doubtfully post again. Everyone reading it by now is aware of my views. Time to give someone else a turn.
    -J


       —jules    Sep. 9 '07 - 10:39PM    #
  210. Chuck L,

    If in your eyes, working for Middle East peace and justice makes me a moron, a psychopath, a gangster, arrogant — let’s see, what other arguments did you use — oh yes, Kafkaish [sic], and an apologist for Israel, well, I can’t argue with you.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 9 '07 - 11:12PM    #
  211. We remember that slavery was also imagined to be permanent, as late as 1859. Yet a mere 6 years later, it was gone, never to return, for eternity.

    The landowners were always willing to listen to the sweet talk of peace, to “negotiate”. But they never gave up their right to slavery, or to their plantations. Even when faced with the sweetest talk of peace and harmony. As you, the reader, will see:
    ________________________________

    The voice of the slaveholders, James Hammond:

    “But if your course was wholly different— if you distilled nectar from your lips and discoursed sweetest music… do you imagine you could prevail on us to give up a thousand millions of dollars in the value of our slaves, and a thousand millions of dollars more in the depreciation of our lands…?”

    —James Hammond, speaking for the continuation of slavery, in 1845. (In Zinn’s “People’s History”)

    ________________________________

    Mr. Hammond, slaveowner, is quoted to remind us of something. Those who defend Israel’s right, to forever keep the homes of so many expelled Palestinians… do not be surprised if you are unable to prevail on them to give up all that free land.

    Do not be surprised if Israel “negotiates” as it has since the 1970’s, buying time to drive more and more Palestinian families off their land. This is not merely an opinion. Sadly, it is fact: Israel holds all the military power, as the reader knows. Israel has “negotiated” for at least 30 years, for something it calls “peace”.

    Yet Israel claims, and controls, more Palestinian land, more tightly, than ever before in history. A boycott, against such an occupying power, seems quite normal, and quite just. Readers’ thoughts on this are welcome.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 9 '07 - 11:37PM    #
  212. I am glad to see people with no moral or factual case to justify Israel and its actions, quit.

    I hope more Israel supporters read and reconsider their hard line “side with Israel at all times despite all violations of human rights and international laws” approach.

    The twists are now obvious in the Zionist logic.

    Boycott may well win at PFC.


       —Boycott may win at PFC    Sep. 9 '07 - 11:58PM    #
  213. “Chuck L,

    If in your eyes, working for Middle East peace and justice makes me a moron, a psychopath, a gangster, arrogant — let’s see, what other arguments did you use — oh yes, Kafkaish [sic], and an apologist for Israel, well, I can’t argue with you.

    —peter honeyman Sep 9, 07:12 PM”

    Yes, and according to you, I wish to drive Israelis into the sea and am therefor in favor of the wholesale murder of Israeli citizens. Why should I be upset!

    Your arguments were exposed for their disingenuousness. You say you are for peace but you do nothing to dismantle the war machine. Support the boycott and then I will believe you are for peace.


       —Chuck L.    Sep. 10 '07 - 12:09AM    #
  214. Al (#203), I think you paint with too broad a brush. Criticism of Israel is not bigotry.

    I don’t know if you are Jewish, but if you are, or if you were, then you would hear much criticism of Israel within the Jewish community (observant and otherwise). It is genuine, reflective, nuanced, and heartfelt.

    It is also balanced.

    Laying the problems of the Middle East entirely at the feet of Israel ignores palpable facts. It is blindly one-sided and illogical. Jews, as much as any other people, know that bigotry exists: fearsome, irrational, blind bigotry. Where logic fails to explain an irrational point of view, such as Holocaust denial, “Zionist conspiracy,” blood libel, or demonizing Israel, this Jew — I can’t speak for others — hears a certain voice, a warning, that the explanation may be simple bigotry.

    When I read about Arab leaders calling for the destruction of Israel, when I see people picketing a Jewish house of worship, when I hear one-sided solutions to Middle East strife that call for destroying Israel economically or militarily, I hear that voice.

    I don’t accuse boycott supporters of bigotry (although some strain to discover such an accusation). But bigotry — whether anti-Jew, anti-Muslim, or any other form of bigotry — proves to have great power and appeal. It is incumbent on all of us who work for peace and justice in the Middle East to follow a balanced approach, one that accepts the differences and backgrounds of all people, and works with — and against, where necessary and appropriate —both sides to achieve our objectives.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 10 '07 - 01:35AM    #
  215. Laying the problems of the Middle East entirely at the feet of Israel ignores palpable facts.

    That’s a straw man, Peter. Can you point to any comment here that clearly reflects your premise? Certainly you can’t be referring to Jules, who, in addition to making other statements contradicting your premise, clearly denied it in #213.

    when I hear one-sided solutions to Middle East strife that call for destroying Israel economically or militarily

    Maybe it’s your hearing that’s unbalanced, Peter, not the positions of the people you disagree with. I’ve yet to see a comment here that calls for the destruction of Israel’s economy or military. And boycotts don’t have that intention or that power (do they?) This proposed one doesn’t state such an intention. It also hasn’t been put forward as a “solution”, but simply as a step in the right direction.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 10 '07 - 02:21AM    #
  216. Of course, I am not referring to Jules. Jules, who speaks with passion and sincerity about the suffering of Palestinians, knows that even if you don’t. He knows that I share his desire to bring peace and justice to the Palestinians.

    Nonetheless, I hold that the proposed boycott, which attempts to punish Israel and only Israel, is one-sided. That’s no straw man. In fact, it is perfectly obvious.

    Now if you, Steve, don’t think an economic boycott of Israel-origin goods is intended to punish Israel economically … well, I am at a loss to respond.

    I apologize for muddying the waters of discourse by addressing the question of military aid. It is, in fact, a topic that has been brought up in this discussion, and one that causes grave concerns when considering the intentions of Israel’s political and military adversaries, but I agree with you that it is peripheral to the PFC proposal for an economic boycott of goods originating in Israel.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 10 '07 - 03:32AM    #
  217. todd, your convoluted and vacuous argument confirms what I suspected—you can’t bring yourself to admit it when you’re wrong. I’m not sure what the etiology of this is but the manner in which you try to slip first this way and then slide that way makes it quite striking.

    When I asked you “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?” your reply was direct and to the point: “Yep. It sure is.”

    However, when I ask you if you think the ADL’s display of the swastika is an anti-Semitic act you first attack the question and then wax ineloquent about semiotics. What explains the sudden inability on your part to provide a simple answer to a simple question? It is something you were quite able to do concerning the settlers and their use of the swastika.

    By the way, you wrote “The exact intentio lectoris (intent of the author) is unknowable …” Actually, intentio lectoris refers to the intention of the reader while intentio auctoris refers to the intention of the author. Don’t worry though, it is a common enough type of mistake for people out of their intellectual depth.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 10 '07 - 04:30AM    #
  218. Al asks, “why is criticism of Israel so often considered anti-semetic?” Here’s one Jew’s answer to your question:

    As already noted, Jewish elites in the United States have enjoyed enormous prosperity. From this combination of economic and political power has sprung, unsurprisingly, a mindset of Jewish superiority. Wrapping themselves in the mantle of The Holocaust [“an ideological representation of the [actual] Nazi holocaust”], these Jewish elites pretend—and, in their own solipsistic universe, perhaps imagine themselves—to be victims, dismissing any and all criticism as manifestations of “anti-Semitism.” And, from this lethal brew of formidable power, chauvinistic arrogance, feigned (or imagined) victimhood, and Holocaust-immunity to criticism has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today.

    The above is from a review of Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History by Norman G. Finkelstein. Another Jew, Jeff Blankfort says:

    I have been attacked as a self-hating Jew, as an anti-Semite, but it does not matter to me because I consider the accusation of anti-Semitism to be the first refuge of scoundrels. Patriotism is the last refuge, anti-Semitism is the first. In [the United States] it has been used to silence so many people.

    In short, criticism of Israel is decried as “anti-Semitic” because it is rightly perceived as an attack on unjust Jewish power and because it is an effective tool in silencing people. For similar reasons, critics of the Iraq war are sometimes called “anti-American” or “unpatriotic” although neither of those terms has the same negative resonance as “anti-Semite”.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 10 '07 - 05:04AM    #
  219. When will the votes be tabulated and the outcome announced?


       —Karen Luck    Sep. 10 '07 - 01:59PM    #
  220. Peter, apparently you’re not aware of what you wrote even after I reflected it back to you. My point of contention is over your use of the word “destroying” (and the word “entirely” in the sentence I referred to as a straw man.) You’ve been exaggerating to the extreme, charging others with the exaggerated position, not identifying who you were referring to, and then asking us to agree with you. Not likely.

    And now you’re not even asking me to agree with you, you’re accusing me of disagreeing with you without even asking me. Since I’m here and paying attention to what you’re writing, why don’t you engage me in discussion rather than arguing with yourself? If you don’t change your style I’m likely to start ignoring you.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 10 '07 - 02:13PM    #
  221. “Hijab is a ‘Halloween costume’, says City Councilwoman Lowenstein, of Ann Arbor

    “Personal attacks against the Boycott-Israel vote, at People’s Food Co-op, brings out racist comments…”

    http://windowintopalestine.blogspot.com/

    (Window into Palestine)

    ________________________________________

    Surely, a simple human rights boycott cannot justify such personal intrusion into a woman’s religion and her clothing, by the City Council of Ann Arbor. In my judgment, it would be preferable to have more respect for the serious privations which the people of Palestine are going through.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 03:54PM    #
  222. Hi all, just wanted to express my support for this boycott initiative. Here on this side of the Pond we are campaigning for a debate on academic boycott of Israel within my union, the UCU. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions are a nonviolent means of putting pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Keep up the struggle!

    Sue B


       —Sue Blackwell    Sep. 10 '07 - 04:25PM    #
  223. OWBanker—The title you chose for the blog post appears to be a deliberate misuse of the Councilwoman’s statement in order to be as inflammatory as possible. But I’m certain Steve Bean will be on here shortly to correct you.


       —OWSider    Sep. 10 '07 - 04:44PM    #
  224. Many thanks to the outstanding University and College Union, of the United Kingdom, for doing so much to advance the discussion of humanitarian boycotts against the State of Israel. Millions of Palestinians now know that they are not alone; someone has heard them. The vote to boycott Israel, at the Co-op, is immeasurably strengthened by the boycott campaigns in the U.K.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 04:48PM    #
  225. It is no surprise to me that my remarks are mischaracterized. The arguments against Israel are so bankrupt in substance that exaggeration and falsification become essential. For example: “Remember the Iraqis who are being interrogated by Israeli officers in Abu-Ghraib (“Israel interrogates in Iraq”, BBC July 3, 2004)”, above. This was a bit of urban myth perpetuated by the BBC and found to be based on the fact that one of the American interpreters at Abu Ghraib was named John Israel.

    If I were a Muslim woman who wore the hijab out of respect for the religion and a sense of spritituality, I would be offended by a non-Muslim who used it as a daily costume for purely political reasons. I believe my remarks were clear.


       —Joan Lowenstein    Sep. 10 '07 - 05:26PM    #
  226. OWSider, no need. You already covered it. :-) And I agree with you about the title.

    I hope you’ll forgive me for the error about your quoting of OWBanker. In the absence of a moderator we all have the responsibility of preventing the discussion from degrading to the point of having no value, which can happen very quickly. (Moreso when people make a single post and then leave. Which reminds me: TA, if you’re still out there, I hope I didn’t scare you off with my abrupt critique. Not a very nice welcome to AU, was it? I hope you’ll forgive me, too, and rejoin the discussion.)

    Thanks for doing your part and for sticking around, OWSider.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 10 '07 - 05:29PM    #
  227. Perhaps it is a difficult choice. Who to believe, about Israeli interrogators in Abu Ghraib prison, as Iraqis are tortured?

    City Councilmember Lowenstein asks you to believe her, that Israel was not involved.

    She asks you, the reader, not to believe the BBC itself, as the BBC interviews the U.S. General in charge of the prison:

    ____________________________________

    “The US officer at the heart of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal says she has evidence that Israelis helped to interrogate Iraqis at another facility.

    “Brig Gen Janis Karpinski told the BBC she met an Israeli working as an interrogator at a secret intelligence centre in Baghdad.”

    BBC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3863235.stm

    ____________________________________

    Certainly Co-op members would not want to support Israeli interrogators or torturers in Abu Ghraib prison. A boycott of Israel is a very small way to show your sympathy for the victims of the Israeli military.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 06:13PM    #
  228. Steve, I agree that extreme language interferes with a reasoned discussion and regret some inapposite word choices.

    Exactly how to advance the goal of a just and peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict is something we all struggle to discover. I have heard many arguments for and against a boycott of Israel — not just here, but among academic researchers, as well.

    After considering those arguments and reflecting on their merits, I have come to my own conclusion: a one-sided position that punishes Israel and Israelis does not promote a just and peaceful solution to the conflict.

    I believe that people who strive for peace must take a balanced position, one that both respects the legitimate needs and aspirations of all sides in conflict, and condemns all sides for the cruelty and injustice that they inflict.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 10 '07 - 06:36PM    #
  229. Do the many millions of ordinary people in Palestine have a “legitimate need” for the United Nations to keep the Israeli army, and Israeli air force, out of their homes, their villages, their farms?

    If not, then, at least, the small boycott effort here at the Co-op will give some voice to that legitimate need of the Palestinian people.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 06:45PM    #
  230. Regarding message 223, the counting and announcement of the vote results –
    The PFC Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the voting process. That process was determined at the June and July meetings and was based on how ballots have been counted for at least the last ten years or so.
    The short agenda item on Thursday’s meeting is to set the dates for when the counting will happen, and to determine which board members will be present at each session, not to change or add any new procedures. To do that in the middle of a vote would be wrong. The process and procedures were set up BEFORE voting began.
    The board will validate the results at the October meeting, October 11, the results will not be official until that has happened.
    Voting has been heavy, and we are already approaching the number neded for a quorum – 10% of the membership. We have just less than 6,000 members who may vote.

    Linda Diane Feldt, PFC Board President


       —Linda Diane Feldt    Sep. 10 '07 - 08:07PM    #
  231. It is good to know that Co-op members are making their voices heard. It is hoped that the counting of votes will be transparent, and will be held in the view of observers who can verify them.

    Conditions in the occupied lands of Palestine surely merit the outpouring of moral support from Co-op members. For example, in the daily newspaper Haaretz, dated today:

    _________________________________

    www.haaretx.com...

    `Torture in Israel has again become routine’

    By Moshe Reinfeld

    “A report released yesterday by the Public Committee Against Torture claims that the use of torture in the interrogation of Palestinian suspects has increased significantly over the past two years… illegal measures taken against suspects include sleep deprivation, threats and humiliation, exposure to extreme cold or heat and isolation in inhumane confinement…”

    _________________________________


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 08:35PM    #
  232. I’m not sure why Michael Schils thinks I’m “whining” by asking questions about an outside web site, or why I need to “toughen up” and accept that that web site knows what’s best (comment 166). I just think its really odd. I read the labels of what I’m eating, don’t you? We care about democracy, process and local control so why put anything from an outside web site on any local issue?

    Huron Valley Green – I understand you to be saying that you drafted a boycott statement and the board asked you to put into it something about when the boycott would end so you added the part about that web site. It would not be that easy to reverse it if the vote passes. Didn’t it take a long time and alot of effort to gather all the signatures to get this vote? So it would be better if the referendum was right the first time.

    You all know alot about Palestine and Israel but I do know that the Palestinians are fighting each other right now. Is this web site on one side or the other?
    Thanks. Also, we all read what Joan Lowenstein wrote about the woman wearing a hijab and then we all saw how owbanker really took it out of context. It certainly seemed like owbanker was trying to make it look like she was insulting all Muslims. We saw what happened over just some cartoons so that seemed like a really hateful and dangerous lie to tell. Thanks


       —Justaskin    Sep. 10 '07 - 08:38PM    #
  233. When even the Israeli news media must admit that `Torture in Israel has again become routine’, surely occupied Palestinians would welcome a boycott. They need that small bit of hope.

    When a City Council member exerts such energy to stifle this plain human rights resolution, one must ask: Why? Is it so frightening that the occupied people of Palestine might, for a moment have a say? Surely Co-op members are moved, when even the occupation’s media must print such a heart-rending title:

    “Torture in Israel has again become routine”.

    __________________________________


       —OWBanker    Sep. 10 '07 - 08:47PM    #
  234. “todd, your convoluted and vacuous argument confirms what I suspected—you can’t bring yourself to admit it when you’re wrong. I’m not sure what the etiology of this is but the manner in which you try to slip first this way and then slide that way makes it quite striking.

    When I asked you “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?” your reply was direct and to the point: “Yep. It sure is.”

    However, when I ask you if you think the ADL’s display of the swastika is an anti-Semitic act you first attack the question and then wax ineloquent about semiotics. What explains the sudden inability on your part to provide a simple answer to a simple question? It is something you were quite able to do concerning the settlers and their use of the swastika.

    By the way, you wrote “The exact intentio lectoris (intent of the author) is unknowable …” Actually, intentio lectoris refers to the intention of the reader while intentio auctoris refers to the intention of the author. Don’t worry though, it is a common enough type of mistake for people out of their intellectual depth.”

    Of course I’m out of my intellectual depth. I’m a distiller and a brewer. It’s been 15 years since I last worked with signs. Mea Culpa. I suppose you meant that as an insult, but I’m fairly confident that I’m getting by on my wits just fine.

    And I can’t admit when I’m wrong? You must be joking. I’ve admitted as much several times in this very thread. And in this above paragraph. And hey, I’m about to do it again: My answer to you in the 1st paragraph citing the Jewish settlers was incorrect (I should have couched my answer with the phrase “that’s certainly one of many interpretations”. I got lazy, and you called me on it. Kudos). That’s three times in less than a minute. It’s what makes me a swell guy. (I’m probably wrong about being a swell guy. That’s four times now).

    Further, I was wrong about who started the boycott. Wrong to associate Blaine with BIG. Wrong to think that you and Aimee Green don’t respect the democracy of the PFC. And wrong in my approach to several of Steve’s innocent questions. I apologized for my errors. And if if it helps, I apologize to you for inverting terms I haven’t used since I barely of legal drinking age.

    You are absolutely welcome to search for context where it’s ok to use a Swastika (or specifically, where you don’t think that it’s an anti-semitic sign). Pack a lunch. Make a day of it.


       —todd    Sep. 10 '07 - 11:34PM    #
  235. Well you were right about couscous not having any tentacles, I think.

    justaskin, I was reacting to your manner of appealing to the majority. It seemed kind of petty since you were just asking someone to agree with you that something owbanker said to you was “a little belligerent”.

    I don’t recall why I felt the need to say something to you, as it wasn’t really any of my business. I must have been cranky over some apologist propaganda mindf#ck I had just read.

    But on another note, there are far less noble reasons to have a boycott.

    Craig supporters call for boycott of Minneapolis airport

    The politician’s supporters think the airport ambushed their man, so they want to boycott it.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 11 '07 - 03:55AM    #
  236. Okay, todd, I was wrong, you can bring yourself to admit it when you’re wrong. However, I can’t help but notice that you’re still twisting and turning it seems. Your former clarity and self-assuredness is mysteriously gone.

    Semiotics is not the problem. If Umberto Eco can write an essay describing “Ur-Fascism” then surely little old you can tell us whether you think—give us your opinion—a particular act is “anti-Semitic.” You did once before, what are you afraid of now? Did the semiotic mossad come knocking on your door?

    You wrote, “You are absolutely welcome to search for context where … you don’t think that [a swastika is] an anti-semitic sign.” This has never been an issue, todd, I have never once contested that reading of the swastika. I specifically asked you repeatedly about the act of displaying the sign—not the sign itself. When I asked you before “Is the act of Jewish Israeli settlers displaying a swastika in protests against the Israeli government an anti-Semitic act on the part of said settlers?” your reply was direct and to the point: “Yep. It sure is.” Now, you say “I should have couched my answer with the phrase ‘that’s certainly one of many interpretations’.” No, todd, you shouldn’t “couch” your comments with such inanities, ever; unless, of course, someone’s personal safety depends upon your being so evasive.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 05:36AM    #
  237. Joan Lowenstein writes:

    The arguments against Israel are so bankrupt in substance that exaggeration and falsification become essential. For example: “Remember the Iraqis who are being interrogated by Israeli officers in Abu-Ghraib (“Israel interrogates in Iraq”, BBC July 3, 2004)”, above. This was a bit of urban myth perpetuated by the BBC and found to be based on the fact that one of the American interpreters at Abu Ghraib was named John Israel.

    Joan, who “found” this? Can you provide any reliable sources to substantiate your claim that the presence of Israeli interrogators in Iraq is an “urban myth” and/or linked to John Israel? The BBC usually issues a retraction when it is shown to be wrong and Zionist propaganda mills like CAMERA trumpet them, see e.g. here. Your choice of words is curiously similar to the official denial issued by those honest Abes in the Pentagon: ‘Urban legend’.

    Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski “told the BBC she met an Israeli working as an interrogator at a secret intelligence centre in Baghdad.” Karpinski “insists no Israelis worked at Abu Ghraib” and says the man she met denied being Arab but identified himself as an Israeli. Seymour Hersh also says no Israelis worked at Abu Ghraib but several worked in Baghdad. Jane’s reports “that top Shin Bet [Israeli security service] interrogation experts were sent to Iraq to help with the most difficult interrogations”. John Israel is reportedly a Christian Arab who worked at Abu Ghraib. It is not likely that there is any confusion here except that sown by hasbara operatives. To hear the Karpinski and Hersh remarks go here.

    If I were a Muslim woman who wore the hijab out of respect for the religion and a sense of spritituality, I would be offended by a non-Muslim who used it as a daily costume for purely political reasons.

    No, Joan, I don’t think you would. I know several Muslim women who wear hijab and they appreciate Aimee’s act of solidarity. I’ve also been with Aimee when she met other Muslim women who were strangers to her and they have never taken offensive to her wearing of hijab after she explained why she wears it. I guess you’ve never heard of the International Hijab Solidarity Day.

    Are you offended that in 1993 “in a show of solidarity and support, tens of thousands of Billings residents displayed paper menorahs in their windows”? Were these just Halloween decorations?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 07:36AM    #
  238. Justaskin writes:

    Huron Valley Green – I understand you to be saying that you drafted a boycott statement and the board asked you to put into it something about when the boycott would end so you added the part about that web site. It would not be that easy to reverse it if the vote passes. Didn’t it take a long time and alot of effort to gather all the signatures to get this vote? So it would be better if the referendum was right the first time.

    As I indicated before, neither I nor the Huron Valley Greens had any hand in drafting the petition/referendum language. I think there are real problems with the final language but I also think the previous PFC Board bears at least equal responsibility for the language you have pointed out. In any case, while I agree the ending clause is problematic it certainly doesn’t turn any control over to outside forces as some have falsely claimed. The membership can end the boycott at any time it chooses via the mechanisms provided in the bylaws. I also expect there will be a Board-sponsored referendum soon—in the next six months or so—to make it easier to end the boycott.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 07:54AM    #
  239. I wrote: “As I indicated before, neither I nor the Huron Valley Greens had any hand in drafting the petition/referendum language.” In retrospect, my messages do not clearly indicate that I had no hand in the drafting. On the other hand, they do not indicate otherwise, either. Any way, for the record, I had no hand in drafting the petition/referendum language. I did previously indicate that HV Greens had no role.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 08:14AM    #
  240. Linda Diane Feldt writes:

    The PFC Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the voting process. That process was determined at the June and July meetings and was based on how ballots have been counted for at least the last ten years or so.
    The short agenda item on Thursday’s meeting is to set the dates for when the counting will happen, and to determine which board members will be present at each session, not to change or add any new procedures. To do that in the middle of a vote would be wrong. The process and procedures were set up BEFORE voting began.
    The board will validate the results at the October meeting, October 11, the results will not be official until that has happened.

    As PFC member I hope those “process and procedures” will include allowing members-observers to be present during the counting process. This is standard democratic practice and essential for full transparency and accountabilty. In the past I have been very troubled by a lack of transparency by PFC Board members. Two or three years ago I attended an annual meeting where all of the incumbents were re-elected and all of the challengers defeated. The presiding officer refused to let observers be present and refused to even announce the vote totals. I know I wasn’t the only person who left with a very bad taste in the mouth that night and I have skipped the last few annual meetings because of that experience. I hope the Board won’t repeat that kind of Daley-machine corruption again.

    The ICA principles, under “Democratic Member Control,” states: “Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.” The PFC purports to adhere to the ICA principles. It’s obvious from Linda Diane’s remarks that the Board will be running this show and the only way for the members to hold them accountable for what goes on is for members to be present during the process. Furthermore, under section 5.15 of the Bylaws it states:

    Meetings of the Board of Directors, except Executive Sessions, shall be open to all members, who may observe and who may participate according to Board of Director’s policy. The Board may call an Executive Session by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Directors who are present when personnel matters, real estate negotiations, litigation, and other financial transactions are to be considered.

    This activity will clearly be a Board meeting for the purpose of counting the ballots and it clearly does not fall under the provisions for going into Executive Session. So, I would ask Linda Diane, what provisions has the Board made for members to be present at the ballot validating/counting?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 09:11AM    #
  241. P.S. Linda Diane, how will duplicate ballots be handled? Suppose you get two or more ballots with the same member number on them. What happens if they have matching/non-matching names and/or addresses? What happens if the votes match/don’t match?

    P.P.S. From that bastion of democracy and transparency, Texas:

    Activities a poll watcher may observe:

    Activities a poll watcher may observe:

    1. Early voting polling place activities. 2. Election day polling place activities. 3. Early voting ballot board meeting activities. 4. Central counting station activities. 5. Signature verification committee activities. 6. Voter being assisted by an election official. 7. Inspecting and securing the voting equipment. [Sec. 33.059]. (Must present certificate of appointment; certificate must be returned to the watcher.) 8. Delivery of election results. 9. Return of a defective mail ballot application: a watcher may accompany the clerk to deliver a voter a second application in person if the defective original application is timely and received before deadline. Sec. 86.008(d).
       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 09:44AM    #
  242. A reminder: if you don’t want to use your real name, please pick a single name and stick to it.


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 11 '07 - 01:21PM    #
  243. The United States was in charge of Abu Ghraib. I’m guessing most of the world holds Americans responsible for what happened there. We, in the U.S., knowingly elected and re-elected the administration which invaded Iraq and “legalized” the use of torture. Even today, candidates for president, seeking our support, openly campaign to extrajudicially imprison yet more people, and expand the use of torture here and abroad.

    But boycott proponents are saying we need to hold Israeli farmers responsible for what the U.S. military did in our name.

    Wow, that couscous must be amazing stuff.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 11 '07 - 02:05PM    #
  244. I think this is really messed up: In 238 I said that OWBanker right before our very eyes twisted something one person said and deliberately tried to get a lot of Muslim people very mad at her. OWBanker’s answer in the very next post seemed to say she somehow deserves it! Deserves to have her words twisted?! She used her own name and stood up for her own words. That’s more than you, OWBanker! That was really dirty and does not reflect well on your position.
    Also, if Israeli newspapers are printing bad things Israel does, isn’t that a good thing?


       —Justaskin    Sep. 11 '07 - 02:05PM    #
  245. Yes, it is a fine thing that the Israeli newspaper has just published an article entitled:

    `Torture in Israel has again become routine’.

    And it is a curious thing that our high County and City officials keep jumping to defend Israel… even as Israel tortures Palestinians in plain view.

    As for City Councilmember Lowenstein’s words, in her public speeches for Israel, they do speak for themselves. Would you, the reader, say that the good Councilmember seems, perhaps, too interested in condemning this humanitarian Co-op boycott as she has, over and over?

    Do you feel that, perhaps, she seems too interested in claiming that even University of Michigan divestment conferees are somehow anti-Semites?

    Of course, you, the reader, may read her remarks for yourself, and decide:

    About a U-M academic conference on divestment, as reported in the “Michigan Daily”

    ______________________________________

    “Referring to this weekend’s Second National Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement, Joan Lowenstein, president of the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County, said, ‘When a group of propagandists hijacks the University of Michigan and uses its good name to promote anti-Semitism, we are under attack.

    “ ‘We should not have to be here today. It should be a given that the state of Israel is secure…’ “

    – “Michigan Daily”, at http://media.michigandaily.com...

    __________________________________

    Which raises the question: Is there any public place, on the University campus, or in the City, where the good Councilmember would allow Israel to face any boycott or divestment demands, in return for the hundreds of billions of dollars Israel has received from us?

    Or is she perhaps too eager to say “anti-Semitism”, to shield Israel, no matter how high and deep the proof of Israeli torture grows?

    Please read City Councilmember Lowenstein’s words and then make your own judgment. One must ask oneself:

    Is it seemly, from one’s perch on City Council, to fiercely defend a State which is so identified with racial torture against Palestinian people?

    Your answers are welcomed.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 11 '07 - 03:37PM    #
  246. Larry,

    We pro-boycott people believe that people in Israel will find true security when they stop killing Palestinians. When do Palestinians get to live in peace in a country free of foreign dominiation/control? The violence Israel uses in the region often seems to compliment an aggressive military/foreign policy by the US government. I am pro-boycott because I wish to dismantle the war machine that both Israel and the US are a part of. Israel can take an aggressive stance towards the Palestinians because there is not much cost to doing so. We need to raise the cost of continuing the war machine!
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 11 '07 - 03:55PM    #
  247. It is helpful to remember how 1,000 people went to the unusual length of signing a petition, directly asking the People’s Food Co-op to boycott all goods from Israel.

    Israel must have tortured a great many Palestinians, to move 1,000 Ann Arbor residents to ask for a complete boycott.

    For any readers who may doubt the depth of concern, in this city, for Palestinian human rights, here is the most recent news article –

    “Uncooperative:

    “Petitioners want food co-op to boycott Israeli products.”

    - “The Detroit Jewish News”, 9/10/2007:

    http://jnonline.us/...

    ______________________________


       —OWBanker    Sep. 11 '07 - 04:11PM    #
  248. Co-op Board impartiality, in the issue of boycott, is of concern

    This article in yesterday’s Detroit Jewish News (9/10/2007; 8:30 Am) expresses Co-op sentiments on the Boycott of Israel campaign.

    On the web at:

    http://jnonline.us/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=3667&SectionID=23&SubSectionID=&S=1

    The language, the tone of voice, and the attitude of the Co-op’s director of marketing and member services leaves one wondering if the Co-op is indeed an unbiased body when it comes to the boycott of Israel issue.

    Co-op Board president Linda Dian Feldt has also made comments that are of concern when describing the humanitarian boycott efforts “disruptive and harmful”.

    On the web at:

    http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2007/08/proposed_boycott_of_israeli_go.html

    At any event, it does not seem right to have Co-op be watching the validation and voting process without observers, if they are not impartial.

    It seems to me that to be able to trust the accuracy of the voting process and its results, observers are necessary and crucial; otherwise the results may not be trustworthy.

    Comments invited…


       —have_a_voice    Sep. 11 '07 - 04:21PM    #
  249. To the person who continually posts under a revolving set of screen names: again, please just choose one of the ones you’ve used before and stick to it, and I’ll stop deleting them. That’ll save both of us some trouble; thanks.

    Also, again, please use the format "link name”:http://www.example.com/whatever for links—don’t just cut-and-paste long links directly into comments. (If anyone with a lot of CSS-fu has a quick fix that’ll just clip that stuff instead of screwing up the formatting of the whole page, let me know.)


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 11 '07 - 04:33PM    #
  250. Bruce Fields,

    I did choose one name I’ve used before and you keep deleting me.

    I am beginning to think it is not my name you don’t like, but what I say in my posts…

    Could it be?

    Have_a_voice


       —Have_a_voice    Sep. 11 '07 - 04:49PM    #
  251. "I did choose one name I’ve used before and you keep deleting me."

    Sorry, I missed that then; which name was that?

    Want to just stick with “Have_a_voice”?


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 11 '07 - 05:09PM    #
  252. Thanks Bruce…“Want to just stick with Have_a_voice?”

    Yes…can you put up my posts?

    Have_a_voice


       —Have_ a _voice    Sep. 11 '07 - 05:23PM    #
  253. OWBanker, you just spewed a long stream that still dodged responsibility for your own evil action, witnessed by everyone reading this thread, of deliberately, maliciously misquoting a person. You did harm to the person you lied about and you harmed any Muslims who might believe your lie, making them needlessly feel attacked. Do you have no shame?!! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen such pure hatefulness acted out right before my eyes. How can telling a blatant lie help Palestine or anyone else! It smears the co-op to have our internal issue even mentioned in such a dishonest way.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 11 '07 - 05:43PM    #
  254. I find 3 previous posts made under the name have_a_voice; two just repeat complaints about the deletion. The other one (number 252 above) I’ve restored.

    I’ll also remove all the IP bans put in place during this thread. What I’m asking in return is that you please listen when someone has a simple request. We’re not trying to ban any points of view—we just want to provide a good forum for conversation. OK?

    Also, future meta-discussion such as this should go to arborupdate@umich.edu to avoid distracting from the topic at hand. That address goes to a dozen or so contributors (including Murph, Juliew, etc.), who will listen to any reasonable requests.


       —Bruce Fields    Sep. 11 '07 - 05:44PM    #
  255. Surely anyone who publicly defends a torture state does not belong in any City Council. Let us assume that Ann Arbor City Councilmember Joan Lowenstein has not yet seen the very recent Haaretz article, entitled:

    “Torture in Israel has again become routine”.

    (See above, in posting number 235.)

    After she reads it, if she still defends the State of Israel from even our Co-op’s humanitarian boycott, then everyone in Ann Arbor must ask:

    “Who does such a Councilmember represent?” The Israeli armed forces? Even Haaretz recoils from such racial torture of Palestinians.

    But first, let us give the Councilmember a chance to read the article.

    Thank you, in advance, for your response.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 11 '07 - 06:02PM    #
  256. OWBanker — may i observe that although the state of Israel has some objectionable policies and practices, so do the official organs of the state of Palestine. Many of us find the Palestinian cause objectionable precisely because of its policies and practices.


       —Fred Zimmerman    Sep. 11 '07 - 06:41PM    #
  257. Routine torture is horrible and I condemn Israel for it, of course. But just out of curiosity I just spent a few minutes googling around and learned that Hamas and Fatah (two main Palestinian groups) torture each other quite a bit, and Hamas even tortured a cat on a TV show for children! So according to your rules, OWBanker, guess that gives me the right to make up a lie about you and post it on the internet.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 11 '07 - 06:59PM    #
  258. It is gratifying that everyone condemns the State of Israel for torturing Palestinians. It would be inconceivable that a simple humanitarian boycott against Israel could be anything but victorious now, in view of the revelations about routine Israeli torture on those whom it occupies.

    Thank you all for your humanity.
    I would like to give others a chance to comment, now.

    Goodbye.


       —OWBanker    Sep. 11 '07 - 07:09PM    #
  259. “A reminder: if you don’t want to use your real name, please pick a single name and stick to it.”

    Bruce, was this intended for someone in particular?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 08:12PM    #
  260. Larry Kestenbaum writes:

    But boycott proponents are saying we need to hold Israeli farmers responsible for what the U.S. military did in our name.

    Nice try, Larry, but no one here is saying that.

    Overfed liberals wrote:

    Those of you fighting for human rights of the Palestinians please do not stop there; remember the daily pain and anguish caused by Israel across the Middle East.

    Remember the Iraqis who are being interrogated by Israeli officers in Abu-Ghraib [sic] (“Israel interrogates in Iraq”, BBC July 3, 2004), remember the Lebanese children who have been permanently injured, and continue to die in the fields riddled with a million Israeli cluster bombs.

    Remember Syrian and Iranian children who have to live with the daily fear of Israeli nuclear attack.

    Everyone in the Middle East knows that Israel possesses at least 300 nuclear bombs.
    Israel constantly reminds everyone in the Middle East that they are the next target of Israeli bombing.

    Let these stories help you understand what people of the Middle East see, when they look at Israel.

    I challenge you to show us where anyone here has said that “we need to hold Israeli farmers responsible for what the U.S. military did in our name.”


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 11 '07 - 08:34PM    #
  261. AAGreen, my point is that bringing up Abu Ghraib is a red herring, since the U.S. is fully responsible for what happened there regardless of the nationality of the actors.

    It hypocritical to call for the boycott of another nation’s produce to protest the bad actions of one’s own government.

    The fact that one point in that list is so completely absurd doesn’t reflect well on the other contentions.

    For example:

    Remember Syrian and Iranian children who have to live with the daily fear of Israeli nuclear attack.

    I don’t doubt that Israel has nuclear capabilities, notwithstanding its denials. But it’s hard to imagine that those weapons will be used.

    Russia, meanwhile, has retargeted its nuclear missilies toward the United States, so in theory American children live in equal fear of Russian nuclear attack. Or, they would, if we constantly reminded them of it.

    And then there’s Chechnya. Grozny (once a city of 400,000) was deliberately made an inferno by Russian fuel-air explosives, and is now ranked by the United Nations as “the most destroyed city on earth.”

    The Muslim people of Chechnya are suffering enormously worse than the Palestinians, yet the world averts its eyes. I have heard no calls for any boycotts of Russian products.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 11 '07 - 09:17PM    #
  262. …may i observe that although the state of Israel has some objectionable policies and practices, so do the official organs of the state of Palestine. Many of us find the Palestinian cause objectionable precisely because of its policies and practices.

    Downgrading the illegal and immoral (some have made a strong case for genocidal) activities of the Israeli government and military to “objectionable” in order to compare them with actions by the Palestinian government seems disingenuous (for lack of a better term), Fred.

    Which “Palestinian cause” are you referring to? Describing a cause for ending occupation, torture, and other human rights abuses as “objectionable”, would be pretty twisted, whether on account of government policies or for any other reason.

    Care to restate your thoughts (preferably without speaking for others)?

    Larry, I’m sorry to say that I know very little of what you refer to in Chechnya. Are there ongoing abuses by the Russian military there that would make it a comparable situation to what’s been done in Palestine?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 11 '07 - 09:39PM    #
  263. A situation which concerns us especially. The U.S. Congress has contributed $300 billion to Israel, which has then imprisoned thousands of Palestinian children:

    “Palestinian Child Political Prisoners: SemiAnnual Report 2007”

    Issued September 6, 2007
    by Defence for Children International

    “52.9% of children received sentences of imprisonment of up to 12 months. There were no children acquitted of formal charges…

    “At the centre of pre trial detention, prosecution and imprisonment is [Israeli] State approved and directed ill treatment and abuse, in many cases amounting to torture.”


       —News    Sep. 11 '07 - 09:48PM    #
  264. “...during my tenure I have proudly helped to move more than $300 billion worth of American aid to Israel.”

    —Article by Congressman John Dingell
    “Arab American News”
    August 5, 2006

    This imposes a responsibility on us. We are fortunate to be able to give Palestinians some hope that we, at least, do not support what Israel is doing to them. So of course we boycott Israel. It is the very least we can do.


       —News    Sep. 11 '07 - 10:06PM    #
  265. Larry Kestenbaum writes:

    AAGreen, my point is that bringing up Abu Ghraib is a red herring, since the U.S. is fully responsible for what happened there regardless of the nationality of the actors.

    I see, so if Jane’s and others are correct in reporting that Israeli operatives (Shin Bet, etc) have been doing dirty deeds in Iraq then is the Israeli gov’t. completely blameless?

    It hypocritical to call for the boycott of another nation’s produce to protest the bad actions of one’s own government.

    You’re right, Larry, and I’m so glad to report to you that no one on this thread has done that. BTW, the boycott call is against all Israeli products not just “produce”.

    The fact that one point in that list is so completely absurd doesn’t reflect well on the other contentions.

    Other than the understandable error re: location (Abu Ghraib instead of other locations in Iraq) there is nothing unreasonable or absurd about “that one point”. Here it is again:

    Those of you fighting for human rights of the Palestinians please do not stop there; remember the daily pain and anguish caused by Israel across the Middle East.

    Remember the Iraqis who are being interrogated by Israeli officers in Abu-Ghraib [sic] (“Israel interrogates in Iraq”, BBC July 3, 2004) ...

    Let these stories help you understand what people of the Middle East see, when they look at Israel.

    LK writes:

    The Muslim people of Chechnya are suffering enormously worse than the Palestinians, yet the world averts its eyes. I have heard no calls for any boycotts of Russian products.

    Even if this were true, it is a completely fallacious argument against boycotting Israel, which unlike Russia enjoys the full diplomatic, economic, and military support of the US.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 12 '07 - 12:34AM    #
  266. Peter, I really appreciate your reply wayyy back in #232. Mostly because it was just your own thoughtful opinion. But don’t come to a conclusion yet! :-) The boycott vote doesn’t end for weeks, and--pass or fail--this single effort isn’t going to resolve anything by itself. At least stay open to “What next?”

    If you don’t mind my asking, I’ve been wondering what’s behind those “word choices” you referred to that you and others have made that seem to me unusually emotional for such thoughtful people. Hmm, maybe the more direct question is what emotions are behind them? Willing to share your thoughts on that? If not, I wouldn’t hold it against you.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 12 '07 - 03:49AM    #
  267. let;s see …. after being censored three times in succession, #175, #178 and #180, i can only wonder if this intro comment will stay around for a while – samne name. more later, i think.


       —toasty    Sep. 12 '07 - 02:24PM    #
  268. A time comes for a business to understand that supporting a country that has a record of destroying countries is not acceptable. Selling goods that are helping to fund terrorism and making a big deal in not taking the product off the shelve shows that the company has a interest.
    We the people for the people are speaking to the people and we will not rest until: A. the product is off the shelve. B. The company understands the we the consumers are the consumee and we don’t want to see our many going to terrorism.


       —bluesky    Sep. 12 '07 - 02:47PM    #
  269. I started out on this discussion sympathetic to the boycott and just wanting info about the Palestinian web site that will be given power to decide something that I think should be a local concern. (Yes i know that the co-op can overturn the website, but that it would take as much effort as it took to get this vote to happen in the first place. And yes I understand that the Board MADE the boycotters write something in about ending – but I don’t believe they dictated that it had to come from an outside web site). Now I am most concerned over that hateful trick played by OWBanker in telling a blatant lie about what someone else in this discussion said. Why hasn’t any boycott proponent apologized? Because it helps your side its OK? I can’t believe that. This is really dishonest and turns me off alot but I am willing to hear some pro-boycott people explain themselves. Thank you.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 12 '07 - 03:48PM    #
  270. City Councilmember Lowenstein still defends Israel against the human rights boycott at People’s Food Co-op.

    Inspite of this recent news flash:

    `Torture in Israel has again become routine’

    Why?
    Which government does she represent?


       —News    Sep. 12 '07 - 04:37PM    #
  271. From Jerusalem to Baghdad Israel and U.S. are building walls to separate people from each other and from the land they belong to. This is meant to destroy the fabric of Arab society.

    … We are watching…the world is watching…

    Baghdad residents protest at wall

    Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK

    On the Web at:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6991448.stm

    Hundreds of Iraqis have staged a protest against the building of a dividing wall between a Shia district of Baghdad and a Sunni area.

    World court tells Israel to tear down illegal wall

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1258147,00.html

    Boycott Israel


       —Have_a_voice    Sep. 12 '07 - 04:58PM    #
  272. “Film festival reverses Israel ban”

    JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY

    Ban on Israeli films

    “A California film festival repudiated an announcement that it would ban Israeli movies.”


       —Boycott    Sep. 13 '07 - 12:08AM    #
  273. When is the PFC Board meeting tomight, and where?


       —PFC Meeting    Sep. 13 '07 - 11:20AM    #
  274. Boycott Ann Arbor. It’s built on the displacement of Native Americans.


       —David Sucher    Sep. 14 '07 - 01:28AM    #
  275. David – glad to see Seattle’s getting involved. :)


       —Murph.    Sep. 14 '07 - 02:21AM    #
  276. The proposed PFC boycott of Israeli goods isn’t the only Zionist vs. anti-Zionist story with a local angle. Joel Kovel, was in Ann Arbor earlier this year and gave two talks promoting his book, Overcoming Zionism. That book is published by Pluto Press, whose only American distributor is the University of Michigan Press. After Zionists complained about Kovel’s book, UM Press briefly stopped distributing it and is now considering ending their relationship of four years with Pluto. Thus, more than 550 book titles are in danger of losing their only American distributor due to the efforts of Zionists to stifle intellectual and academic freedom. Kovel’s crime was to criticize Israel and to promote—horrors!—the idea of one democratic state in all of Palestine with equality for everyone. Pluto’s crime was to publish that book. The Snooze and the Daily have both finally covered this story. You can read more here


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 05:37AM    #
  277. Justaskin writes:

    I started out on this discussion sympathetic to the boycott and just wanting info about the Palestinian web site that will be given power to decide something that I think should be a local concern. (Yes i know that the co-op can overturn the website, but that it would take as much effort as it took to get this vote to happen in the first place.

    It’s hard to take you seriously when so misrepresent things as you do in this comment. You assertion is just flat out wrong. As I wrote, “The membership can end the boycott at any time it chooses via the mechanisms provided in the bylaws. I also expect there will be a Board-sponsored referendum soon—in the next six months or so—to make it easier to end the boycott.” It is almost a certainty that the Board will propose a measure to specify a different way to end the boycott if it is adopted. If they do this then no petition drive will be required, it will go right on the ballot and I expect it will be easily adopted. It is conceivable, too, that the Board would put this issue to a vote at the annual meeting which would make it even easier (although if they try to overturn the boycott by these means then they’re likely to face a recall).

    And yes I understand that the Board MADE the boycotters write something in about ending – but I don’t believe they dictated that it had to come from an outside web site).

    No one ever said the Board “MADE” BIG do what they did. I wrote: “I also think the previous PFC Board bears at least equal responsibility for the language you have pointed out.” This language was negotiated by and agreed upon by BIG and the previous PFC Board.

    Now I am most concerned over that hateful trick played by OWBanker in telling a blatant lie about what someone else in this discussion said. Why hasn’t any boycott proponent apologized? Because it helps your side its OK? I can’t believe that. This is really dishonest and turns me off alot but I am willing to hear some pro-boycott people explain themselves. Thank you.

    What you are saying is absurd and hypocritical. Did it ‘turn you off a lot’ when just a voice wrote: “they [‘the anti-israel people’] are clearly racist/anti-semites”? How about when Larry Kestenbaum asserted that the goal of boycott supporters is “endless war in the Middle East”? I could whine like you: “Why hasn’t any boycott opponent apologized?” but that is just ridiculous. No one here is responsible for the remarks of anyone but themselves. Grow up. No one’s going to fall for your collective punishment and guilt-by-association nonsense.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 06:49AM    #
  278. Linda Diane Feldt declines to post to this blog (see her comment of 9/12 at 8:42 AM) anymore and it seems that very few people are reading her blog. So, Bruce, I hope it is okay if I answer her here.

    She writes:

    As far as I can tell the board has no policy on observers, but does specify that only board members can access the totals and ballots while the counting goes on.

    Would you please have that policy put on the PFC web site, ASAP?

    The counting is also not done during a board meeting, but a seperate event with board volunteers, usually 2-4 at a time.

    If Board member meet to do PFC business, such as counting ballots, then that is a Board meeting.

    So i imagine that a few members could sit and watch the process – but without actually being able to look over anyone’s shoulder.

    Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of observing the counting if the members can’t “look over anyone’s shoulder”? As I pointed out before, in that bastion of democracy and transparency, Texas a poll watcher may observe a broad range of polling activities including “Central counting station activities.” That’s a pretty wide scope. Now why can’t the PFC let members look over the shoulder of the vote counters? It seems to me that by refusing to be transparent about this the Board is setting itself up for a heap of trouble from either side, including a possible lawsuit, if this vote is close.

    The thinly veiled accusation that I and other board members would try and change the outcome by tampering with the counting is bizarre, inconsistent with our actions to date, and would have to involve a fairly large conspiracy to be successful.

    Read again, Linda Diane, there is no acccusation—thinly veiled or otherwise. In any case, PFC ballot fraud would not require a “fairly large conspiracy” but voter fraud and voter fraud conspiracies are not all that uncommon and I have no doubt that some local Zionists (and maybe staff who are concerned about losing their jobs due ot Zionist threats) would resort to fraud if they had the opportunity.

    It is a really bad idea to change processes and procedures after the voting has commenced. In the middle of a vote is not the time to change a process that I believe has been in place for about 10 years.

    Lack of transparency “is a really bad idea”—it goes against democracy and accountability—and no one will complain if you change policy toward greater openness. Heck, invite some Zionist members into observe. There is a Turkish saying: No matter how far you’ve gone done the wrong path, turn back. Your ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mantra wears thin and you begin to sound like George Bush “staying the course”.

    What I’ve been told about vote totals for board members in the past is that the information is released if someone asks, but otherwise it is not in order to spare feelings of those who were not voted in.

    I was there and in the open meeting two defeated Board candidates and others asked for the vote count and were refused. So someone did ask and the Board refused.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 07:42AM    #
  279. I don’t know about the law in Texas, but in Michigan, the number of people who have authority to observe ballot handling activities is limited.

    Typically, during a recount (perhaps the closest analogy to the PFC vote count), only one observer per side is allowed at each table where counting is going on. These observers are, of course, allowed to look over the shoulders of the people doing the counting.

    I’m guessing that the PFC board is concerned that many people will try to observe, all noisily crowding around the vote counting table. That’s probably why they’re wary of calling this a “board meeting”.

    I urge the board to admit one pro-boycott and one anti-boycott observer, per counting table, for full viewing, but no touching, of all ballot handling activities.

    All other persons not involved in the counting or observing should be kept at a distance. Noise in the room should be controlled, so as to allow counters and observers full concentration to the task.

    Judging by the layout of the ballots, with the outer flap containing identifying information, and the inner flap containing the vote, I suggest that the validation of all the ballots take place first, and the name panel torn off each one, before any are opened the rest of the way.

    It would be best if enough time were allotted so as to do both tasks in one session; that would make it easiest to ensure both ballot security and the privacy of each person’s vote.

    The goal should be to have an orderly and fair process, so that no question remains about the outcome.

    Completed vote totals should be made available to all interested persons, or perhaps even published.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 14 '07 - 08:44AM    #
  280. Larry, yes, Texas law limits the numbers, too. I’ve been informed that the validating is already ongoing by two staff members and the Board refuses to allow observers for that or the counting. If asked, would you be willing to consult with the Board on their policies for observers?


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 09:10AM    #
  281. Ann Arbor Green – You’re not bothered that OWBanker deliberately twisted the councilwoman’s comment then posted it OUTSIDE THIS THREAD?!!! You don’t see a difference between posting within this discussion an honest opinion – even if it is not to YOUR liking – and deliberately lieing about what someone else said? Naming her by name and deliberately trying to stir up anger against her by unknown Muslims? Tricking Muslims into believing she put down their religion!!! Man, there is something really whack about this whole business and I am getting very very creeped out.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 14 '07 - 03:18PM    #
  282. Justaskin, your accusations against OWBanker deserve their own thread (if they deserve anything at all). One reason that you aren’t getting much attention, is because you never bother to source any of your wild allegations. For instance, back in post 261, you state that while you were “googling around” for a few minutes, you “learned” that the Palestinian groups “torture each other quite a bit, and Hamas even tortured a cat on a TV show for children!”

    Now Justaskin, I’m just asking you, why didn’t you bother to include any of the links from your little “googling” adventure in your post, so we all can be sure you didn’t just stumble across some episodes of the “Itchy and Scratchy” show, and you imagined the rest?

    Personally, I’m fascinated with “How come they can torture but we can’t?” arguments. So why don’t you explain more fully how this “torturing kitty for kids” -thing you think you saw justifies torture? (And leave your thing about trying to incite the masses against OWBanker for another thread.)


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 14 '07 - 04:55PM    #
  283. Larry says “I urge the board to admit one pro-boycott and one anti-boycott observer, per counting table, for full viewing, but no touching, of all ballot handling activities.”

    I say, let all five members of the HV Greens in!


       —imjustsayin    Sep. 14 '07 - 04:59PM    #
  284. Here are just 2 links.
    Sickening Palestinian cat torture video
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/15/hamas_vid_rumpus/

    Torture in Palestinian Prison wide scale
    http://www.phrmg.org/monitor2000/mar2000-torture.htm

    They are simple to find. I didn’t say one torture justifies the other. I’m just saying if its torture you’re against than we should be boycotting Israel and Palestine both. You whine (yes YOU whine, not me) that Israel tortures so we should punish them. Of course thats horrible. But its not less horrible that Palestine tortures and you pretend to not even believe me (you could have googled it yourself in 2 seconds) Do you want to hide that or do you think we should cut them some slack? Or do you just want to call me names and try to put me down until I drop it? YOU are the hypocrit.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 14 '07 - 05:54PM    #
  285. Hi, all, I’ve been away awhile. Just so you can remember who I am:

    - Once on this blog I called Councilperson Leigh Greden “a closet Republican with draconian fiscal ideas”; Mr. Greden protested to me that he did not have “draconian fiscal ideas” (which he does), and left the “closet Republican” tag alone. Just so you know.

    - I am a 10-year member of the Greens, probably longer continuously than anyone else currently active in the party; I am a past Treasurer of the Huron Valley Greens

    - I am Treasurer of the Board of Directors of People’s Food Co-op

    Let’s see how much fun we can all have with that.

    Back in post #182 Councilperson Joan Lowenstein said:

    Amy (sic) Smith, the putative head of the putative Green Party, who wears a head scarf as a Halloween costume since she is not a Muslim.

    I can categorically state that she is not “putative” nor is the Green Party. The definition of “putative” from Merriam-Webster Online: 1 : commonly accepted or supposed
    2 : assumed to exist or to have existed

    I am left to assume that, in the same voice as the rest of the post, Councilperson Lowenstein intended to imply that the Green Party is only ‘supposed’ to exist, and therefore intnded a slur of sorts. I can provide documentation showing that Aimee Smith is indeed Co-Chair of the Green Party of Michigan, and is accepted as Chair of the Huron Valley Greens. I can also further provide documentation – as can County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum – that the Green Party of Michigan does, in fact, exist, and has a ballot line.

    In post 142 el-Hindi said:

    BTW, the local Green Part is fromall availble evidence, but totally irerelevant – the canteven get a single person elected on their ticket to City Hall,and what percentage of the vote the Green candidates for State or Federal offices get?... This i s a bunch of attention seekers just tryin to inject themselvesinto someone else’s business and then claiming a halo round their heads.

    I apologize if English is not your first (or academic) language, el-Hindi, but your point is almost lost here in difficult syntax, formatting and spelling. I think you meant to say that the Green Party is irrelevant. Yet for 7 years I have been enduring countless mindless attacks (somewhat similar to this thread) counting the Greens as ‘spoilers’ in the 2000 election. Locally, in 2006 two Greens ‘spoiled’ Democrat’s bids for State Senate, keeping that chamber in the majority for Republicans, and setting off a new round of vilification. ‘Spoiling’, by the way, if you don’t know, is when a third party or independent candidate has more of a vote total than the difference between the two ‘major’ parties, so can be pointed out as the putative cause of someone not winning. Of course, it is always assumed that if there had been no Green in the race (true irrelevance – an empty ballot line) that those voters would turn to the Democrat, which is not at all true. We swore off the Democratic (sic) Party, and most of us would just stay home instead.

    You also mention that we can’t get someone elected to City Hall. I ran as vigorous a campaign as I could for City Council last year, getting around 16%. I didn’t do better because of the ‘straight-ticket’ voting option, ostensibly put in place to help illiterate or other disfranchised folks to vote their chosen party. Since Jen was running against De Vos last year, a huge swath of straight-ticket voters came out and swamped my chances. True, had there been no straight-ticket vote, I still would have lost, but by a lot smaller margin.

    Why can’t Greens get elected? Because we don’t have access to media, money or operatives the way the ‘big two’ do. Can we be innovative and win? You bet – it happens all over the country. Can it happen in Ann Arbor? Not when the voting is essentially over with in August with the primaries. This is a one-party town – although I could probably name you 3 or 4 Republicans or worse on the Council who hide in Dem’s clothing. Running in the primary is all that Council candidates want to do. I was even vilified for mounting a vigorous campaign and forcing Steve Kunselman (the winner) to spend more money in the general election. Steve doesn’t say that, though – he told me he didn’t bother campaigning after the primary (just to rub it in, I suspect).

    Now that we’ve shaken the rust off some of the Green slurs (and I’m happy to take it to another thread if the moderators think it wise), anyone want to have at me about the boycott referendum? Keep in mind that I am not the spokesperson for the board, so will have to be limited in what I say – won’t be my opinion, but the board’s. I will be heavily involved in the vote counting.

    And you can call me Pete, to avoid confusion with Mr. Honeyman.

    - – Pete


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Sep. 14 '07 - 07:15PM    #
  286. Only one question for you, Pete, in case this hateful proposal passes. What’s the process for cancelling a Co-op membership and getting my $60 back? Can any cashier do it or will there be a separate line?


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Sep. 14 '07 - 07:36PM    #
  287. I also would like to know the answer to PSD’s question.


       —OWSider    Sep. 14 '07 - 10:06PM    #
  288. Justaskin, what part of “No one here is responsible for the remarks of anyone but themselves” don’t you understand? Whether or not I’m “bothered” by what OWBanker has/hasn’t done is irrelevant and, besides, you’ve expressed enough outrage over the matter to satisfy us all.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 10:17PM    #
  289. Yeah, PSD and OWSider, it’s just like I wrote in comment #57:

    LK is also a prognosticator: “No, there won’t be any organized counter-boycott.” We’ll see. I predict that if the boycott referendum passes the co-op values of many in the Jewish community will go right out the window and they won’t rest until they’ve overturned the boycott or wrecked the co-op or both.

    The co-op values out-the-window bit, of course, applies equally to the non-Jewish supporters of apartheid Israel.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 14 '07 - 10:28PM    #
  290. “Ann Arbor Green – You’re not bothered that OWBanker deliberately twisted the councilwoman’s comment then posted it OUTSIDE THIS THREAD?!!! You don’t see a difference between posting within this discussion an honest opinion – even if it is not to YOUR liking – and deliberately lieing about what someone else said? Naming her by name and deliberately trying to stir up anger against her by unknown Muslims? Tricking Muslims into believing she put down their religion!!! Man, there is something really whack about this whole business and I am getting very very creeped out.

    —Justaskin Sep 14, 11:18 AM #”

    Justaskin, What do you mean by “tricking Muslims”? Joan Lowenstein’s comments were racist and bigoted to the core. Do you really want to defend her? Why is OWBanker not entitled to state his interpretation of Ms. Lowenstein’s comments (he quotes the entire post in his blog)? Aimee Smith wears the hijab in solidarity with many of her Arabic friends who are very supportive of her. Arab Muslims are targets of racist hysteria in this country, especially since 9/11 (in case you did not know.) You whine about Ms. Lownestein’s racist, bigoted words being “twisted” but you have nothing to say about a six year drumbeat of racist hysteria being whipped up against Arab Muslims. I just love the way you pawn yourself off as being “objective” since with objectivity like yours, the US government ought to have no trouble justifying the nuking of Iran.


       —Chuck L.    Sep. 15 '07 - 04:30AM    #
  291. I’m on the board, and membership refunds are a store operations matter, so I don’t know the answer specifically. Or was it meant as a rhetorical question?

    I should point out that, just because I have identified as a Green and support the Green Party does not mean that I support the rhetoric or views of all Greens posting on this blog. Ann Arbor Green, for instance, is outraged that I spoke against observers for the voting process (although I was more open to observers for the validation process, which proposal failed).


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Sep. 15 '07 - 12:14PM    #
  292. Councilwoman Lowenstein’s words were not racist or bigoted unless one takes them completely out of context to fit one’s narrow and hateful agenda. Please let’s not get so wrapped up about an imaginary issue. The painful and obvious truth is that OWBanker took Ms. Lowensteins comments completely out of context to whip up hate. Is that really what this situation needs? Is it? And yet the Greens continue to support it and defend it. Classy.


       —OWSider    Sep. 15 '07 - 04:52PM    #
  293. OWSider,

    What hateful agenda are you referring to? O Ya, I remember, anyone who supports the PFC boycott really wants to “drive Israel into the sea (very false—CL)” Actually, it is Israel which has come much closer to driving Palestinians into the sea, but let’s not beat up on Israel. No! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: we want to compel Israel to respect the human rights of Palestinians and to seek a peace with justice in the Middle East. A two state approach could still allow Israel to ethnic cleanse Palestine of Palestinians (Aimee’s point about the deal Native Americans got from the US Government is correct, genocide can still occur when native people are assigned land to live on.)

    It’s interesting that you identify pro boycott people as being hateful but Lowenstein’s hateful, racist and bigoted words get a pass from you. Really classy.


       —Chuck L.    Sep. 15 '07 - 05:55PM    #
  294. Wrong again, Chuck. That “hateful agenda” I was referring to was the agenda of smearing anyone who doesn’t support the boycott. It fits pro-boycott folks to, frankly, demonize anyone who supports the right of the PFC to carry two Israeli products. I should have been clearer.

    I’m not going to talk about the councilwoman’s comments any more except to say your continued bleating about what she said without any context confirms my suspicions about some of the boycott supporters.

    Peace be with you.


       —OWSider    Sep. 15 '07 - 06:51PM    #
  295. Yesterday at the Food Coop one of the more strident BIG supporters ( who
    also regularly harasses the local synagogue),Marcia Federbush, was
    observed urging one of those who seemed to support her position to vote ‘yes’
    for BIG, MULTIPLE TIMES!!!! The COOP board has accordingly been notified of
    this attempt to subvert the election process.

    Although i’ve been assured by them that safeguards are in place to invalidate multiple votes from the same person this still speaks to a pattern of longstanding behavior that does the BIG crowd no credit,( as does so much of what they do and say).

    To whoever castigated as an “ad hominem attack” the insightful posting by
    ‘abu aql’( a real name ??... in arabic i know it means “father of rational
    thought”!) on the nature of just what kind of folks support BIG, can i suggest that you “ad hominem this!”...

    steve p.


       —Steve pastner    Sep. 16 '07 - 11:49AM    #
  296. First a confession: I haven’t had much time to look at this since I posted way back on Sept. 9th, and have to confess to “skimming” rather than reading carefully all the entries. Limited internet time can be a challenge. I tried to read more carefully/thoroughly those posts that responded to my comments and/or those that I seemed (at least on the surface) to disagree with in an attempt to better understand where folks are coming from. Anyhow, I didn’t read everything carefully so maybe I should just keep my mouth shut. But that never has been one of my gifts so…..

    Then an observation: Some of the “conversation” here seems to be just that – good conversation between people genuinely concerned about Peace and Justice in the Middle East, with different opinions on how to get there. Jules said it well when s/he pointed out (post #213) that this conversation a good thing regardless of the outcome of the vote. I was surprised when traveling in Palestine and Israel how much more willing many of the Israeli’s I spoke with were to engage in honest conversation critical of Israel than I have found here in my home town.
    Sadly, some of the posts here (from all sides) seem to have become yet another opportunity to “yell louder” and not listen to our “opponents” (to borrow a term from Gandhi), to attack them or to at least assume they are not coming from a place of integrity (post #14 “…same goal: endless war in the middle east; or post # 79 after noting much of a previous post was mostly ad hominem attacks added “ which is not surprising given which side you support.” )

    All that said, I’d like to add some further musings: Peter, in post #196 you ask “what does your heart tell you about Lebanon’s system of Apartheid for Palestinians. Your question has made me think, and I realize I know very little about Lebanon in general and the reality all those there live in. I know I had a friend studying there during the Israeli bombing and my heart ached for what she and others lived with. (As it did for those friends in Israel afraid for the safety of their families at that time.) But, beyond that I know little. Your question pushes me to seek to learn more. One thing I do know I need to keep in mind is that the root of the situation for Palestinians living in Lebanon is that the large number of Palestinians in Lebanon and the displaced persons camps exist because Palestinians were forcefully driven from their homes with the creation of Israel. That without the right to return to their home this will never be “solved”.

    Also, regarding post #278. I do not know what comment of OWBanker you are referring to and even if I did I would hardly assume I could speak to his/her motives – as has already been said, we are each responsible only for our own comments. Yet, I know (if not here, then certainly in other conversations about his issue) I have not always acted out of my best self. And to that I can speak – and for those times I do apologize. When I returned from my travels in Palestine and Israel, and as I spoke with others who had been there doing peace, justice, third party intervention, and/or other humanitarian work I started to ask myself the question “what does ethnic cleansing look like?” “What does genocide look like?” And the more I thought about it, and thought about what I witnessed I came to honestly believe that what is happening in Palestine is ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing that is either not known about or ignored by so much of the US – so much of the world. And so I feel this sense of urgency to DO SOMETHING. I want others to know what is happening, I want them to do something to. And in this sense of urgency I am afraid I’m not being heard – so I “yell” (sometimes literally sometimes by forgetting to speak kindly, sometimes by forgetting those that disagree are often coming from a space of integrity too.) , and when I still feel unheard I irrationally yell louder. I “yell” because I am afraid – afraid that we will fail to stop genocide. Fear rarely leads to good decisions and wise actions. So I try to remember to speak and act out of my hope and not out of my fear. But, sometimes in my sense of urgency I forget.

    Thanks for allowing the space to be heard. I have taken too much space and time – I will follow Jules example now and keep reading but give others the turn to comment.
    Sheri


       —Sheri Wander    Sep. 16 '07 - 04:28PM    #
  297. Sheri,

    We in the U.S. are so accustomed to living in a diverse society that sometimes we are surprised to discover how little of the world desires it.

    When British India was partitioned into the two states of India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Muslim), there was tremendous population displacement, as millions of Hindus abandoned their homes and hurried to leave Pakistan, and millions of Muslims abandoned their homes and hurried to leave India. Even though they had been living side by side for many generations, neither group was willing to live in a state governed by a majority of the other group.

    There was a lot of bloodshed going on as well, and probably a lot of people were driven out by intolerant Hindus in India or intolerant Muslims in Pakistan. But this was not the policy of either of the new governments.

    I mention that situation because similar things happened in the Middle East around the same time.

    Both Arabs and Jews had been living in what is now Israel for centuries. In those days there were no Israelis or Palestinians or Jordanians, just Arabs and Jews living under Ottoman Turk or, later, British rule.

    In 1948, the area was partitioned into Jewish and Arab zones, and simultaneously, war broke out as Arab countries tried to invade. A lot of people fled the fighting; others left because they didn’t want to be in the Jewish or Arab zone; still others were forced out by Jewish terrorists.

    In those days there were Jewish minorities all over the Arab world, and they, too, had been there for centuries. In the midst of this turmoil, almost all Jews either voluntarily left, or were forced out of, every Arab nation. They had been Egyptians or Libyans or Moroccans or Syrians, but either by choice or by compulsion, they ended up in Israel and became Israeli.

    Meanwhile, many of the Arabs who left or were displaced ended up in Lebanon or Egypt, but they were never allowed to become full citizens. Peter Honeyman described the no-civil-rights situation in Lebanon; Gaza-as-prison was originally created by the Egyptian government.

    The nationality of “Palestinian,” which many Israelis were unjustly slow to accept (Golda Meir used to say there was “no such thing” as a Palestinian people), was created in the crucible of those camps, and by the rejection of their Arab neighbors as well as mutual hostility with Israelis.

    I mourn the ethnically mixed communities all over the world which were systematically destroyed by 20th century nationalism. But I recognize that there’s no way to peacefully summon them back into existence, in the Middle East or elsewhere.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 16 '07 - 06:25PM    #
  298. Larry,
    I don’t wish to summon anything back into existance. (okay… I do, but I am occassionally realistic.) But, in this case it’s not summoning back into existance – it’s stopping the loss of something still there.Although I would like to give someone else a turn to post here (everyone’s heard my 2 cents and then some) I’m happy to continue this discussion individually, playfullspirit4peace@yahoo.com (although, as of tomorrow I’m out of the country for 3 weeks)

    Sher


       —Sheri    Sep. 17 '07 - 10:43AM    #
  299. The Michigan Daily newspaper has printed an objective view of the boycott today, here –

    IsraeliBoycott

    Good comments too.


       —Peace    Sep. 17 '07 - 04:37PM    #
  300. Chuck L. asked me “What do you mean by “tricking Muslims”?
    Well, Chuck, Ms. Lowenstein wrote about:

    Amy Smith, the putative head of the putative Green Party, who wears a head scarf as a Halloween costume since she is not a Muslim.

    Clearly she was putting down Amy Smith not putting down hijabs. And if there was any doubt (though you have to be a ‘moron” and a psychopath” in your own words Chuck — to not understand) she later described real Muslims as wearing the hijab as a sign of respect for their religion and from modesty. So there is absolutely no doubt that she never mocked real Muslims wearing real hijabs – just Aimy Smith wearing whatever she wears. But OWBanker promptly posted on a Muslim web site :

    “Hijab is a ‘Halloween costume’, says City Councilwoman Lowenstein, of Ann Arbor.”

    OWbanker deliberately gave a false impression (also called “lying” or “tricking”) to Muslim visitors to that site in a deceitful attempt to make them think that a) someone was mocking Muslim clothing in general. B) Then he identifies her as a councilwoman to give the impression that she smeared hijabs as part of her job in government. It would be only normal for Muslims to get concerned if the government was really putting down their beliefs. That’s what OWBanker tricked them into believing with his lie.

    Is it now clear to you, Chuck, what I meant by “tricking Muslims”?

    Also, I don’t know if Amy Smith is black but what would make putting down the way she dresses “racist?” Even if she is black her political clothes aren’t her race.

    You claim he quotes the entire post in his blog). Where?

    As for me having “nothing to say about a six year drumbeat of racist hysteria being whipped up against Arab Muslims.” –How come YOU have nothing top say about BGH in milk! You haven’t come out against factory farms so you must be in favor of crushing local farmers – like pinning on me that I am “justifying the nuking of Iran” !!! Man, that is just crazy crazy.

    One last note to Ann Arbor Green who says I expressed enough outrage (297) about this lie and no one else should. It is true I have not seen this kind of blatant lie right before my eyes trying to get people to hate each other. Yes it freaks me out. And it freaks me out that you are so OK with it.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 17 '07 - 07:47PM    #
  301. Sheri, I appreciate your comments (post #306) taking responsiblity for “not acting from your best self”. I have noticed that those who have traveled or in some way worked in the region do seem to speak out with a great deal more urgency. Urgency that sometimes seem to lead to violent language. Your comment above goes a long way in saying why. I have realatives that live in Israel and I had heard a great deal from their perspective, but the more I learn about the reality of everyday life for Palestinins the more I support the boycott.

    I know I still have much to learn. Can anyone recommend a good, easily accessable (nonacademic) source of information?

    Alyssa (maybe previously posted under “Al” – honestly can’t recall.


       —Alyssa    Sep. 17 '07 - 08:16PM    #
  302. In front of the food co-op at lunchtime today, I saw a pro-boycott person and an anti-boycott person standing side by side, each holding their sign, calmly conversing about the issue.

    I didn’t have time to stay around, but it certainly looked like courtesy and mutual respect. If so, kudos to both!


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 17 '07 - 08:24PM    #
  303. Justaskin,

    The entire blog post you find offensive is at: http://windowintopalestine.blogspot.com/2007/09/hijab-is-halloween-costume-says-city.html

    and yes, Lowenstein’s entire quote is in it.

    I find it interesting that you quote me out of context, “(though you have to be a ‘moron” and a psychopath” in your own words Chuck — to not understand) “ in a post whining about distorting the context of someone’s words! Finally, why do you have such trouble seeing Lowenstein’s comments for the hurtful,racist ones they are? You focus on the response to the comment, not the comment. Whether Aimee is black or not misses the point; Aimee wears the hijab in solidarity with Arab Muslims, most of whom are women of color (and it is women of color who are being killed by the IDF war machine.) For a known Zionist like Lowenstein to demean, trivialize and treat as a personal attack an act of solidarity in a climate of racist hysteria against Arab Muslims being whipped up nationally to justify the war in Iraq IS A RACIST ACT. Racism has a history of being essential to any war mobilization effort since it is harder to convince soldiers to kill people they would normally identify as human. Lowenstein’s blatant trivialization of Aimee’s act of solidarity made it clear to me why it is so easy for the IDF to kill so many Palestinians; Lowenstein was putting on public display the supremacist and therefor racist attitude that absolves Israel of any wrongdoing in its treatment of Palestinians.
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 17 '07 - 09:22PM    #
  304. Wow! The lady cut Amy Smith for dresing up as something she’s not. You sure read a lot into it!
    I am sympathetic with native Americans. Imagine if I walked around town in full feather headdress – in solidarity. If someone called me ridiculous would they be a racist who absolves the US calvary of all wrong doing? Get a grip, man.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 18 '07 - 01:03PM    #
  305. Why boycott Israel? Why not just use the word “peace” a lot, and hope for the best? Here is why boycotts are needed. Because, while saying the word “peace” incessantly,

    “Israel managed to illegally expropriate most of the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, install hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers, kill more Palestinian families, arrest more young men, destroy more crops, homes and businesses, build a monstrous wall deemed illegal by the international court of justice, and set forth, unchecked, a policy of aggressive expansionism in Palestine that continues until this moment.”

    So says the “Guardian” article published today, here:

    Hell in Palestine

    .


       —Peace    Sep. 18 '07 - 01:39PM    #
  306. I am responding to post 310’s request for a good, nonacademic source of info on the issue. The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan is an amazing book about the history of the region, told through the story of 2 families, a Jewish family who leave Bulgaria either during or shortly after WWII (I’m sorry, I don’t remember), but before the founding of Israel, and a Palestinian family who are driven from the village and the home that this Bulgarian Jewish family move into. It is dense, and has a lot of history, but focused through these 2 personal stories.
    I’d also recommend either Blood Brothers or We Belong to the Land both by Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Christian priest. He tells the story of his life growing up and being driven from his village, through to his life today. Among many other things he does, he runs a school for Chrisitian, Jewish and Muslim children. These are very accessible books, and though he has personally suffered much, he has great compassion for all in the region. My one warning is that as a person of deep faith in a difficult situation, he talks a lot to and about Jesus.


       —Abby Schlaff    Sep. 18 '07 - 02:22PM    #
  307. With reference to “Peace’s” entry, #314, the Guardian statement quoted here was written by former PLO activist Karma Nabulsi, who in a Guardian article of 6-18-07 wrote, “The Palestinians have a long history of struggle in which each generation has had to break out of the coercive prison imposed by British colonial, Arab, Israeli, and now American rule, and we will do it again.” And you call yourself “Peace”?


       —Fred Horowitz    Sep. 18 '07 - 03:24PM    #
  308. Re: #315, Thanks Abby, this sounds like exactly the type of thing I’m looking for.

    Re: #316, Fred, why do you assume that “breaking out of the coercive prison” has to be done violently? (Or maybe I am assuming your assumption, in which case I am sorry.) Didn’t India break out of British colonial control nonvioelntly? I never knew until my recent readings about the great nonviolent ways that the Palestinians have fought.
    Al


       —Alyssa    Sep. 18 '07 - 05:22PM    #
  309. on the matter of Ms. Aimee’s “wannabe” faux- muslim garb: No doubt this
    “progressive” icon is unaware that the various kinds of purdah or “screening”
    in strict islamic women’s clothing reflect the need to protect society from
    the inherent “nafs” —or the base and animalistic parts of the human
    condition—that islam deems greater in females than males. Real “progressive”
    ,eh?...

    also aimee doesn’t even consistently get it right, often mixing genders in her garb ( woman, neck down/ guy head.. or the other way around). In the muslim world on any given day she’d be viewed as a “hijra” or transvestite. Such folks are often relegated to the role of prostitutes in the vicinity of shrines unless, as under such types as the taliban, hamas etc, they were

    beaten into invisibility or death….again, all very “progressive”, right?

    In less strict settings, hijras are often associated with musical

    entertainment and dancing. Maybe aimee could join fellow BIG-er and synagogue
    harasser Laurel Federbush’s harp/flute duo and perform at weddings ( and
    bar
    mitzvahs!) to raise money for their anti zionist/jew (...whatever!) jihad!

    i think smith, like so many of her cronies, is less about supporting
    arabs/muslims and more about acting out their assorted syndromes

    Syndromes..and if that’s “ad hominem”, as one of my earlier critics remarked,
    so be it..but it’s on the money nonetheless !

    al hajj abu aql


       —Al Haj Abu Aql    Sep. 18 '07 - 06:42PM    #
  310. Hello, Alyssa (#317): Nabulsi’s account of the truly sad history of the Palestinians fails to allow that to an extent, the Palestinians plight is one of their own making. Thus it helps us to understand why the violence continues on and on. Only when both sides acknowledge that mistakes have been made on both sides, and that good will truly exists on both sides, can the situation evolve toward a genuine peace. Nabulsi’s account may vent anger, but in its one-sidedness, merely foments anger, an anger that leads all too easily in the skitterish Middle East to violence. Similar one-sided accounts have been proferred by the pro-boycott people, who in their sometimes admirable idealism, fail to recognize or acknowledge the possibility of this consequence of their efforts. I would suggest that peace and reconcilation can’t happen until both sides are held to account, not just one. Thanks for your inquiry, and I hope this answers your question.


       —Fred Horowitz    Sep. 18 '07 - 07:15PM    #
  311. I’m pretty uneasy with this emerging notion of holding people responsible for the deep meaning of the clothes they happen to be wearing.

    Practically any article of clothing can be woven into a political discourse about symbolism, drawing threads from religious tradition, ideological critiques, textile economics, or what have you.

    But sometimes a scarf is only a scarf.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 18 '07 - 07:46PM    #
  312. Today, I and a friend spentsome time outside the PFC holding signs thaturged PFC members to vote “NO” on the boycott ballot.
    While we were there, we were approached by a guy who we have seen hanging outin the PFC. maybe mid-40’s , bearded, scrawny, wearing an ISlamic style skullcap and round John Lennon glasses. He started yelling at us,and then, I was, frankly shocked when he started making some very anti-Semitic comments. When we didntrespond to his provocatoins, he got angrier and angrier, and started yelling stuff that I would have expected from members of the American Nazi Party, or from similar hate groups,and not froma regular patron of the PFC or even members of the bIG.
    It was an interesting experience, to say the least.


       —el-Hindi    Sep. 18 '07 - 07:53PM    #
  313. The “one-sided” characterization of the boycott effort is an interesting framing of the issue. I suspect that it’s also widely accepted—it simplifies the issue to a point that people can believe they can grasp it. “One-sided” is easily translated to “unfair”, and people understand (and disapprove of) what’s “unfair”.

    And after that translation has been made, comments like Fred’s “mistakes have been made on both sides” sound like reasonable and applicable summations, and the angry and exaggerated comments of opponents seem more excusable. But simplifying such a complex issue doesn’t help. Whether or not this framing is intentional or fully understood by those using it, we need to see it—and its potential influences—in order to consider it as objectively as possible.

    Contrary to the impression this framing gives, the question of fairness doesn’t apply to an effort to end injustice, primarily because arguing that it’s unfair perpetuates the status quo: injustice. The question of potential for effectiveness, on the other hand, is an appropriate one to apply to such an issue. Opponents of this proposal would be more “fair” in their arguments if they judged its potential against other options without confusing those two questions.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 19 '07 - 04:31AM    #
  314. Peter Schermerhorn writes: “Ann Arbor Green, for instance, is outraged that I spoke against observers for the voting process (although I was more open to observers for the validation process, which proposal failed).”

    No, Peter, I don’t think I ever expressed outrage, just disappointment that you wouldn’t take a stand for transparency and accountability.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 19 '07 - 05:07AM    #
  315. Abu Aql (hereafter AA) reveals himself to be a poseur and an ignoramus. Hijra is a Hindi word that refers to gender-variant or transgender people in the Indian subcontinent only. In the Muslim world on EVERY given day the Hijra refers to the journey of Muhammad and his followers to Medina.

    Although Pakistani and Indian Muslims would know about hijras the social roles AA describes are associated with Hinduism not Islam. The Islamic term for transgender people is Mukhannathun, an Arabic word. Only a fool like the fraudulent AA would even suggest that Muslims would refer to Aimee as a “transvestite” [sic] simply because she allegedly doesn’t wear the hijab as AA deems proper.

    In enlightened America many transgender people people suffer tremendously from legal and extralegal discrimination and violence ( see e.g. www.rememberingourdead.org/day/index.html ) In Judaism, the Torah calls transgender people an abomination—a term rabbis in Israel trotted out when Dana International represented Israel in the Eurovision song contest.

    Of Israel, says Yair Kedar, editor of the LGBT Jerusalem monthly, Hazman Havarod, “the most obvious feature in the attitude of straight men toward transsexuality is resistance and outrage. Of all the sexual minorities, the situation for transsexuals is the worst. They suffer the most repression, abuse and often violence. ... transsexuals are the avant guard of Israel’s gay community. Israeli society is, for the most part, hostile toward them.” Last year when LGBT leaders tried to stage the inaptly named World Pride 2006—World Shame would have been more suitable—in Jerusalem, the country’s only gay bar was torched by arsonists and a New York rabbi blamed the event for Israel’s conflicts on Hamas and Hezbollah. Most of the planned events including the pride [sic] parade were cancelled because there weren’t enough security forces to keep the LGBT people safe from violent religious bigots.


       —Al-Fatiha    Sep. 19 '07 - 08:12AM    #
  316. Al-Fatiha: I’d li ke toinform you that having grown up in India, I can tell you that the term “hijra” is used by Muslims in India too, not just by the Hindus. Never heard any of my Muslim friends ever use the Arabic term you refer too.

    You ought to get your facts straight before you go around engaging in ad hominem, personal attacks.


       —el-hindi    Sep. 19 '07 - 10:57AM    #
  317. Al-Fatiha’s posting (#324) speaks adroitly, if inadvertantly, to Steve Bean’s (#322) dismissal of my criticism of “one-sidedness” in the discourse. Readers of Al-Fatiha’s clearly one-sided account might consider this, from The New Republic, August 19 and 26, 2002: “Tayseer, as we’ll call him, a 21-year-old Gazan whose constant smile tries to conceal watchfulness, learned early on that to be gay in Palestine is to be a criminal. Three years ago his older brother caught him in bed with a boyfriend. He was beaten by his family, then warned by his father that he’d strangle Tayseer if it ever happened again. It happened a few months later. Word gets around a refugee camp, and a young man he didn’t know invited Tayseer into an orange grove. The next day he received a police summons. At the station Tayseer was told that his sex partner was in fact a police agent whose job is to ferret out homosexuals. If Tayseer wanted to avoid prison, he too would have to become an undercover sex agent, luring gays into orchards and turning them over to the police. Tayseer refused to implicte others. He was arrested and hung by his arms from the ceiling. A high-ranking officer he didn’t know arranged for his release and then demanded sex as payback. Tayseer fled Gaza to Tulkarem in the West Bank, but there too he was eventually arrested. He was forced to stand in sewage water up to his neck, his head covered by a sack filled with feces, and then he was thrown into a dark cell infested with insects and other creatures he could feel but not see (‘You slap one part of your body, and then you have to slap another,’ he recounts.) During one interrogation, police stripped him and forced him to sit on a Coke bottle. Through the entire ordeal he was taunted by interrogators, jailers, and fellow prisoners for being a homosexual. When he was released a few months later, Tayseer crossed into Israel. He now lives illegally in an Arab Israeli village and works in a restaurant. His dream is to move to Tel Aviv….An American we’ll call William finds himself in the Palestinian gay’s no-mans-land. Last year he and his Palestinian boyfriend, whom we’ll call Ahmad, moved into Ahmad’s West Bank village—a move tht in retrospect seems mad. ‘We told the people in the village that we were friends, and for a while it worked,’ says William. ‘But then one day we found a letter under our door from the Islamic court. It listed the five forms of death prescribed by Islam for homosexuality, including stoning and burning. We fled to Israel that same day.’ ‘


       —Fred Horowitz    Sep. 19 '07 - 11:31AM    #
  318. So Abu Aql ( AA) is a “poseur”, per al fatiha ..or “prayer guy”? .AA’s
    not the one wearing that costume ( in a classic parody of
    patronizing disrespect)...nor , obviously, is he the one who treats
    transvestites with disdain… Don’t
    shoot the messenger, AF.


       —Al Hajj Abu Aql    Sep. 19 '07 - 11:33AM    #
  319. Palestine deserves to be occupied, then? No one should stand up for the occupied Palestinian population, not even with a very peaceful boycott of Israel?


       —Peace    Sep. 19 '07 - 12:16PM    #
  320. It says here that the Palestinian government does not support boycotting Israel!!? Can anyone explain what’s going on?

    http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9804231


       —Justaskin    Sep. 19 '07 - 07:48PM    #
  321. The actual quote from the (surprisingly-biased-in-wording) article:

    Unlike the African National Congress, which acted as both a moral beacon and an organiser for sanctions, the Palestinian leadership does not support BDS—fearing that it will hurt Palestinians as much as Israelis—and is much weaker and more divided.

    I don’t know if “Palestinian leadership” is the same as “Palestinian government”. It’s also not clear from the sentence or the context if the writer means that the Palestinian leadership is “divided” over the BDS efforts or something else.

    She/he concludes:

    But blaming Israel alone for the impasse in the occupied territories will continue to strike many outsiders as unfair.

    :-\


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 20 '07 - 01:44AM    #
  322. el-hindi writes: “Al-Fatiha: I’d li ke toinform you that having grown up in India, I can tell you that the term “hijra” is used by Muslims in India too, not just by the Hindus.” Al-Fatiha never said the term was only used by Hindus. In fact, s/he wrote: “Although Pakistani and Indian Muslims would know about hijras the social roles AA describes are associated with Hinduism not Islam.” So, el-hindi, this seem like a shallow attempt to put your words in someone else’s comment.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 20 '07 - 02:05AM    #
  323. I stand corrected, Ann Arbor Green – you are not ‘outraged’, but I still feel your disappointment.

    I am all for transparency and accountability, as much as can be done workably. The membership of PFC elected the board members to represent them, and we are accountable to the membership. That also implies some level of delegation and/or trust to/in the board members. The board conducts vote tallies without the input of staff or volunteers, and has for many years. There’s no reason to change that now.

    As for transparency, it is a thorny issue. There is a logistical problem in that vote tallies are normally conducted on the premises at the store, and that will most likely be the case this time, given how antsy some folks have been about the security of ballots. If the vote tally is at the store, there are no good spaces for vote talliers and ‘one or two observers per side’ or ‘one observer per side at each table’.

    Also, since there is so much at stake (?!?) in this vote, apparently, and since demanding the use of (partisan) observers seems to impugn the integrity of board members, I’d turn that around and question the motivation/impartiality of observers in this election. Sorry if that sounds testy, but it is.

    The vote is supposed to be by secret ballot. Members should have the right not to have interference with their ballot, nor have their voting status tampered with (i.e., so-and-so voted but such-and-such did not), the latter why the validation process cannot be observed (voter lists too much in evidence in the process). Likewise, the co-op has an interest, as expressed through the board members, in not divulging the vote totals before formally being accepted at the Oct. 11 board meeting. Were there to be observers in the vote tallying process, those numbers would be ‘out’, at least roughly – and there would be rumor and counter-rumor, etc. with the board not able to confirm or deny any of them until the Oct. 11 meeting.

    You cited Texas election law, and Larry helpfully added comment – but I have to remind you that this is not a public election. It is an internal stakeholder election in a private cooperative corporation. The law requires the board in such a corporation to act in the interests of its membership/stakeholders, and gives it broad authority to do so. The Rochedale/ICA Cooperative Principles stress member control and participatory democracy, and that’s a very good thing. However, all 6,000 members of the co-op having equal rights to be at the table observing the vote doesn’t work, and the board has to decide how to be fairest in this matter, i.e., how not to favor some folks over others. We chose not to favor anyone by sticking to the process of vote tallies we have had in place for at least 10 years. I am fully confident that we will have a clear, fair election and will ensure that full disclosure of voting totals will be forthcoming on Oct. 11.

    - – Pete, PFC Board Treasurer


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Sep. 20 '07 - 04:09AM    #
  324. I wasn’t impugning anyone’s integrity, least of all the dedicated volunteer board members of the PFC.

    I certainly recognize that PFC’s referendum is not a public election. It’s also much simpler than the typical public election, which might involve a lengthy ballot with hundreds of candidates and half a dozen or more ballot issues.

    I posted because public election standards were invoked, and as an election official, I felt qualified to comment.

    The point of having observers in any election is not to raise questions about anyone’s integrity, but rather, to reinforce widespread confidence in the voting process.

    Under the law of Michigan and probably most other states, the official election workers in any precinct cannot be all of the same party preference; better yet, they should be balanced, and perform tasks in pairs.

    (To accomplish this, all election workers are required to state a party preference before being hired. Yes, that means any party on the Michigan ballot; hence, Green or Libertarian are acceptable choices, but Whig or Independent are not.)

    Notwithstanding their individual party preferences, election workers are sworn to faithfully discharge their duties, in other words, to uphold the purity of the election.

    Observers or “poll challengers” are assumed to be 100% partisan; their authority is to look, and (within narrow limits) raise questions, but not to touch anything. Challengers who create problems may be ejected from the polling place.

    In other words, the election workers are sworn, but assumed partisan and assigned to work in bipartisan pairs. The observers are assumed loyal to the party that sent them, and don’t swear to anything, but are held to a certain standard of behavior.

    The system doesn’t count on any one individual’s integrity; countervailing bias is built right into every polling place.

    Two perfectly honest and well-intentioned people with different political opinions may not see a ballot or other document with the same eyes. As a matter of human nature, those differences in perception tend to favor one’s own side of any controversy.

    By deliberately involving people from different perspectives into the counting process, this kind of systematic, unintentional bias is reduced.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 20 '07 - 05:28AM    #
  325. Er, in the 3rd to the last paragraph, that should be “impartiality”, not “integrity”.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 20 '07 - 05:58AM    #
  326. Readers of Fred Horowitz’s clearly one-sided account might consider this, from the Guardian Unlimited, October 2, 2006:

    “Embracing gay rights,” he [Lee Walzer, author of Between Sodom and Eden—AAG] continues, “enabled Israelis to pat themselves on the back for being open-minded, even as Israeli society wrestled less successfully with other social inequalities.”

    As part of their strategy, activists sought “to convince the wider public that gay Israelis were good patriotic citizens who just happened to be attracted to the same sex”. As a general principle this may be valid, but in the context of war and occupation it leads into murky territory. Should it really be a matter of pride that openly gay members of the Israeli armed forces are just as capable of wreaking havoc on neighbouring Lebanon as the next person?

    The question here is whether gay rights – in Israel or elsewhere – can really be divorced from politics or treated in isolation from other human rights. Helem, the Lebanese gay and lesbian organisation, thinks not, arguing that gay rights are an inseparable part of human rights – as does Ms [Rauda—AAG] Morcos [a Palestinian-Israeli lesbian activist—AAG].

    For Ms Morcos, there’s a connection between nationality, gender and sexuality. She has a triple identity, as a lesbian, a woman and a Palestinian (despite having an Israeli passport) – “a minority within a minority within a minority”, as she puts it. Her first concern, though, is to end the Israeli occupation, and she sees no prospect of achieving gay rights for Palestinians while it continues.

    Nowadays, the more radical Israeli activists also acknowledge a linkage. In 2001, Walzer recalls, “Tel Aviv’s pride parade, typically a celebratory, hedonistic affair, got a dose of politics when a contingent called ‘Gays in Black’ marched with a banner proclaiming, ‘There’s No Pride In Occupation’.” Later, a group called Kvisa Sh’chora (“Dirty Laundry”) sprang up and began drawing parallels between the oppression of sexual minorities and Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.

    The issue was further highlighted in 2002 when Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli prime minister to formally meet a gay delegation. Activist Hagai El-Ad asked: “Is this an achievement for our community, or an example of a lack of feeling, callousness and loss of direction?”

    He continued: “It would be unbearable to simply sit with the prime minister and, on behalf of our minority, ignore the human rights of others, including what’s been happening here in relation to Palestine for the past year: roadblocks, prevention of access to medical care, assassinations, and implementation of an apartheid policy in the territories and in Israel.

    “The struggle for our rights is worthless if it’s indifferent to what’s happening to people a kilometre from here.

    “All we get by holding the meeting with the prime minister,” he concluded, “is symbolic legitimacy for the community. What he gets for sitting down with us is the mantle of enlightenment and pluralism.”

    This mantle of enlightenment and pluralism does not, however, extend to Israel’s treatment of gay Palestinians. For those who face persecution in the West Bank and Gaza, the most obvious escape route is to Israel, but this often leaves them trapped in an administrative no-man’s-land with little hope of getting a proper job in Israel and constantly at risk of arrest and deportation.

    Meanwhile, as far as the average Palestinian is concerned, fleeing into Israel is a betrayal of the cause, and gay men who remain in the Palestinian territories also come under suspicion – not always without good reason. There have been various reports of gay Palestinians being targeted or pressurised by Israeli intelligence to act as informers. Whether or not they actually succumb to the pressure, all inevitably come under suspicion.

    “Gays in Palestine are seen as collaborators immediately,” said Ms Morcos.


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 20 '07 - 06:24AM    #
  327. Al-Fatiha is Arabic for “The Opening” and the title of the first sura of Qur’an. It does not mean “ prayer guy “. It is also the name of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization Pride 2006 for Muslims.

    Al-Fatiha mentioned “World Pride 2006.” In the run up the Israeli online newspaper Ynet described a “Holy war against pride parade” the article is interesting reading and this was after the earlier events had been cancelled due to security concerns. The subheading of another Ynet article from less than week before the rescheduled parade read:

    Protest against upcoming gay pride parade in capital becomes violent as hundreds of ultra-Orthodox gather on main traffic route in town, block road, torch trash cans and throw stones. Four policemen hurt by stone throwing

    In a later article Ynet reported: “Every evening they burn garbage bins and damage public property. As part of the escalation of the struggle, on Saturday evening they attempted to hit cats sic probably means cars—AAG] traveling on highways.”

    A day later Ynet reported:

    Thousands of ultra-Orthodox men rioted Sunday night in Jerusalem ahead of the High Court of Justice’s ruling on whether to approve the gay pride parade, which is planned to take place in the capital Friday.

    The Jerusalem Police detained 25 rioters so far, and large forces were dispatched to the area. Four police officers and a Haaretz photographer were lightly injured. ...

    Harsh clashes erupted in the Meah Shearim neighborhood. The haredim hurled large stones at the police, and in response the police officers sprayed water at the rioters and mounted police were dispatched to the area.

    The four-plus days of rioting were the “ ‘Jerusalem Taliban’s’ finest hour “ and “Calling [Israeli] cops ‘Nazis’ during the riots has turned to be a routine.”

    Ynet wrote:

    Plan for worst, hope for best: Israel’s gay community braces itself for one of most disputed pride marches in recent years. Worst case scenarios include violent incidents resulting in death, political hijacking by groups from within community

    The need for such plans was underscored by the three stabbings during the 2005 Pride parade: “ ‘I came to murder on behalf of God. We can’t have such abomination in the country,’ [Yishai—AAG] Schlissel told police during his subsequent interrogation.”


       —Ann Arbor Green    Sep. 20 '07 - 07:22AM    #
  328. Ann Arbor Green wins!!! The next Gay Pride march will be in Gaza.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 20 '07 - 12:39PM    #
  329. Alas, Ann Arbor Green evidently failed to recognize what I thought was obvious: That my posting, #326, was intended to demonstrate that #324 was a one-sided account, and therefore an unfair account. My material was intended to show that there’s another side. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of #324’s material quoting Yair Kedar, or of that presented by AAGreen. Nor does the TNR article from which I quoted depict Israel as a paradise for gays. My point is that when criticism of Israel takes the form of a one-sided account, it fails the test of “the whole truth,” and hence fails the reader. Ironically, perhaps, AAGreen’s postings and #324 present material written by Israelis, who do not fear to raise these issues publicly.


       —Fred Horowitz    Sep. 20 '07 - 03:05PM    #
  330. Fred, “one-sided” accounts* are not inherently unfair.

    There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with a limited perspective, folks; we all have them. Sharing them helps others who don’t see things from that perspective or have that particular information, and we likewise learn from others from what they share, limited though it may be (and almost always is.)

    Aside from this clarification I agree with your thoughts and appreciate your intention, Fred. I also presume that you ‘get’ this. :-)

    [* Not to be confused with “one-sided” approaches, condemned earlier by Peter, though this comment applies somewhat to those as well.]


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 20 '07 - 08:44PM    #
  331. I appreciate your explication of the process for public elections, Larry, and admit that there is valid reason for applying them in the PFC election. However, as one of the administrators of such an election, I recognize that supervising observers is not a doable task at this time. We (the board) are all-volunteer, and are supposed to count on around 4 hours a week of work for the board. It has been more like 20 hours a week for a few of us, and as we move on to other (neglected because of the boycott referendum) issues and populate our board committees, we will continue to ‘beat’ the 4-hour mark consistently. Pulling off one or more of the vote counters to supervise observers makes the task of tallying the unprecedentedly large vote truly onerous.

    By the way, we achieved quorum for the vote on September 14 – we usually are phoning and begging for voters for board elections right up until the last day, so this issue clearly has sparked huge interest.

    I should point out, also, that in the example of public elections (in #333) there is talk of ‘bipartisanship’ and a dualistic counterbalancing of vested interests. There is also mention that “Green and Libertarian are acceptable choices” for election observers. That would mean something other than a dualistic, ‘bipartisan’ observer dynamic. Oh, and at least as practiced in the city elections, the requirement (under law, apparently) is for equal numbers of Dems and Reps before anything like a Green or Libertarian is to be considered (I know, I’ve tried to be an election inspector with the city). Really, the problem is that there aren’t enough Republicans willing to work the polls, so ‘third parties’ can’t be considered unless there are enough Republicans to go around. Fair? Check with Howard Scheps, the city’s election inspector coordinator, on that one.

    So, enough off-topic. I still assert that the election at PFC is being conducted fairly and will be fairly tabulated with highest integrity.

    - – Pete


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Sep. 21 '07 - 02:26PM    #
  332. Pete,

    I understand the practical issues you raised.

    As to your other points:

    “Dualistic counterbalancing” surely applies with regard to a ballot with a single yes-or-no vote. Obviously public elections are usually much more complicated than that.

    As to Greens as precinct workers, you’ve been misinformed a little.

    To be a qualified poll worker, you need to have a party preference of some party which appears on the ballot in Michigan. Greens and Libertarians are just as qualified for this purpose as Democrats and Republicans.

    The requirement of law is that there be, for each precinct, at least one Democrat, at least one Republican. There is also a legal minimum of three workers per precinct. Except in very low turnout elections, most polling places require more than three workers, usually four or five, sometimes as many as ten or twelve.

    The city of Ann Arbor surely needs Republican poll workers. I’m sure they have tremendously more applications from non-Republicans (of whatever stripe) than Republicans. Given that they’re legally required to have at least one Republican per precinct, I can imagine they’re sometimes stuck in a situation of needing only Republicans, and declining additional applications from non-Republicans, including from Democrats.

    That being said, the city has tremendous discretion as to who they hire as election workers. I regret to say that, according to the state Bureau of Elections, it would be considered within a city’s allowable discretion to refuse to hire anyone from any particular non-major party.

    To me, that is a defect in the law.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 21 '07 - 09:26PM    #
  333. Ann Arbor Green and others:

    Not sure what the point is of talking about gay rights in Israel being disrupted by ultra-Orthodox Jews. Gay rights marches and parades in the States are routinely disrupted by the Christian right.

    Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has an anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation. Israel is the only country in the Middle East (and one of a very few in the world) that allows gay persons to openly serve in their military. And, Israel is the only country in the Middle East to hold annual gay pride parades as well as provide spousal pension benefits for same-sex domestic partners. The Israeli national airline also provides same-sex domestic partner benefits.

    The occasional rumblings of an ultra-orthodox Jewish fringe (who themselves are not pro-Israel) does not influence Israeli society as a whole not to afford equal rights to its gay citizens.

    Where are the gay rights groups in the Islamic states of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran? They are underground in fear for their lives, that’s where.

    As a gay man, I am proud to support the state of Israel. I am also happy to support the Palestinian right for self-determination. Unfortunately, the state that will eventually be created called Palestine, will probably not afford me the same rights as I wish for the Palestinian people to enjoy.

    As much as I have always fought for human rights and equal rights for everyone, I fear the creation of a Palestinian State run by a Hammas government will be one that is openly discriminatory against women, gay persons and anyone else who does not buy into Islamic doctrine. If the new Palestinian State would be one of tolerance, liberty and justice for all, I would be completely in favor of a Palestinian State to be formed immediately.

    While I am on the this subject, I would like to throw the below question out to anyone who would answer me:

    I have always been intrigued by the Ann Arbor activist community. I have a great deal of respect for those in Ann Arbor who stand up for human rights. My question goes to the Ann Arbor pro-Palestinian camp:

    One of your beefs with Israel (in addition to the occupation of the West Bank) is the ethnocentricity of a Jewish State. You also claim that your focus on Israel to do the “right thing” is not anti-Semitic but rather anti-Zionist. I am one who can separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism. I agree you can be anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic. However, let’s look at Saudi Arabia. Wouldn’t that be an example of a nation based in ethnocentricity? Isn’t Saudi Arabia an example of a country that does not allow its citizens to live freely outside of the strict Islamic Sharia law. Women are not permitted to drive automobiles and homosexuality is forbidden.

    Gay persons are routinely arrested and worse in places like Iran, another Islamic ethno-centric nation.

    If you say you’re not anti-Semitic, why only focus on a Jewish State’s suppression of human rights? Why is the Ann Arbor Food Co-op and JWPF and other pro-Palestinian groups in Ann Arbor not calling for boycotts of Iranian made goods? The fact that you focus only on Israel leaves you open to those who claim your position is more anti-Semitic than pro-Palestinian.

    If you focused on all nations with discriminatory policies, you would have my support and your general support-base would dramatically increase allowing you to move closer to your goal of Palestinian sovereignty.

    The pro-Palestinian camp in Ann Arbor attempts to promote products made in the Palestinian territories. The current leadership in those territories is openly discriminatory against gay persons. How can I as a gay man support a government who would openly discriminate against me and then support a boycott against Israel, a country who would welcome me and my same-sex partner with open arms?

    Supporting a boycott of Israel based on your theories would be conceptually analogous to me supporting a boycott on goods made in Kansas and other regions of the United States where many of the citizens have adopted Christian fundamentalist points-of-view. That would be a useless tactic not to mention a complete waste of time debating back and forth as to the probable efficacy of such a campaign.

    I would be grateful if someone could answer my question so I can start to understand the rationale behind these calls for boycotts and divestment.

    Thanks very much…


       —Jason    Sep. 23 '07 - 09:41PM    #
  334. Jason, since you mentioned Iran I thought you (and others) might be interested in this article about Columbia University’s invitation to Iranian President Ahmadinejad to speak there. The comments following the article are particulary interesting. (One of the early ones addresses treatment of homosexuals in Iran, btw.)

    I’ll respond to your questions later. I encourage others to as well.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 24 '07 - 05:12PM    #
  335. Hi Steve,

    Thanks very much for responding. I am well aware of President Ahmadinejad’s visit to NY. I am actually in full support of him being here and at the university even though I find his views absurd and completely reprehensible. In fact, while on the podium at Columbia, he exposed himself completely for what he is. I am trying to determine whether he’s just a complete demagogue or just an ignoramus. I think it might be a combination of both.

    Today is a proud day for America. Our democracy was put to the test yet again and we came out ahead. I would never have protested this man’s presence here (although of course people have an absolute right to protest his coming to America). I would have protested his views but that can be done with or without his physical presence on American soil which is why I felt no particular need to protest his visit.

    I do appreciate you acknowledging my post and sending me this article. I am wondering if you sent it to me as a partial response to my open question? Admittedly, I don’t know the exact motivation for you sending me this particular article. However, I would like to set the record straight that I am a major proponent of free speech and would always fight for that right. I also believe there is a way to get your points across in a respectful and (more importantly) meaningful way.

    People in Ann Arbor and elsewhere of course have the right to make Palestinians their cause celeb. My question to the pro-Palestinian groups is why not (in addition to) fighting for Palestinian rights and sovereignty also fight for gay rights and women’s rights in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria? I have never seen a sign in Ann Arbor calling for a boycott of Iran in response to open and violent persecution of homosexuals.

    JWPF and others like them argue that they picket the Synagogue because those who attend Saturday morning services support Israel and the Synagogue is used as a platform to rally for support of the Jewish State. They’re right. Most Synagogues support Israel. According to most Synagogues (I believe this as well) Israel is the Jewish homeland and Synagogues are (for the most part) going to in one way or another support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.

    I would assume that some Mosques and many Churches also preach specific kinds of messages from their pulpits that cater to those constituencies with which not everyone would agree. I know for a fact that many churches all over this country openly preach against homosexuality. Would JWPF analyze views of every Mosque and every Church in Ann Arbor and openly protest every Friday and Sunday in front of those specific houses of worship who their research found preached against equal rights for women or homosexuals?

    They pick on the Synagogue only. That’s a bit suspect and that’s what I am finding so perplexing unless anti-Semitism is the real motivation of these actions and then it all makes complete sense. I understand that some of those who protest and call for boycotts are themselves Jewish. Jews are not immune to perpetrating anti-Semitism or becoming anti-Semites.

    My question remains if anti-Semitism is not the motive of the Ann Arbor pro-Palestinian camp, then why is Israel continuously singled out for scrutiny while other countries in the world who are clearly guilty of the same atrocities of which they accuse Israel overlooked?

    It has come to the point in Ann Arbor where people are made to feel uncomfortable for selling products made in Israel. They are intimidated by protests and pickets. This is freedom of speech? Of choice? You can have views but only if they are my (your) views?

    Let people sell food from Israel. If someone chooses not to buy the food, that is their personal choice.

    I would never call for a boycott on corn grown in Kansas even though there is a decent chance the person profiting from that corn will vote for an amendment banning gay marriage. If I don’t want to buy that corn, I simply will buy corn grown oh I don’t know, in the East somewhere. I would not try to intimidate a store owner into not selling corn grown in state whose politics I might find distasteful.

    Thanks again for taking the time to address my questions and concerns. I look forward to a productive dialog and will keep an open mind. I hope others here will do the same. At best, I hope to learn something.


       —Jason    Sep. 25 '07 - 01:44AM    #
  336. Hi all.

    One more post for the day just as an extenstion of my question on which I would love to hear opinions.

    If you look at the gay rights record of a country such as Egypt (an almost equal beneficiary of American aid as that of Israel) you will see nothing that resembles any form of human rights. Where are the protests in Ann Arbor against American military and economic aid to Egypt? The military in Egypt routinely rounds up and beats gay persons. Certainly some of our tax dollars are being used to enable this.

    The following is a link to an article which speaks to the American aid to Egypt.

    Please take a look at the following information on gay rights in Egypt:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Egypt

    Also, to be fair, please take the time to look at the gay rights record in Israel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

    Egypt throws all of its support toward the Palestinian cause. The Egyptian government calls the Palestinians their “brothers.”

    Should I as a gay man, give my support to the Palestinians and to Egypt when if I would arrive in any of these places and held hands with the person who I chose to be my life partner, I would be thrown in jail or worse?

    Please explain to me how I could do that.

    If you would please take the time to read this article from “The Advocate,” a well-known and respected gay and lesbian magazine.

    http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid33587.asp

    Thank you again (in advance) for answering my questions.

    I wish everyone a good night.


       —Jason    Sep. 25 '07 - 03:08AM    #
  337. sorry forgot the link to the article talking about American aid to Egypt. Thanks an goodnight!

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/may2006/egyp-m22.shtml


       —Jason    Sep. 25 '07 - 03:12AM    #
  338. Jason, I posted that comment for exactly the reasons I stated. (Note that it wasn’t solely for your benefit.)

    I thought the contrast of the article with some of the more thoughtful comments that followed was a great example of the need for considering multiple perspectives, how inappropriate it can be to try to pigeonhole or characterize someone, and of how difficult it can be to draw conclusions if one is trying to be open minded. I think that applies to this issue as well.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 25 '07 - 03:23AM    #
  339. Got it. Thanks Steve. Would you also take the time to answer some of my specific questions?

    I appreciate your time with this.

    Have a good night.


       —Jason    Sep. 25 '07 - 04:12AM    #
  340. Jason, rather than try to address all of your post #342, I’ll limit my response to the following:

    If you say you’re not anti-Semitic, why only focus on a Jewish State’s suppression of human rights? Why is the Ann Arbor Food Co-op and JWPF and other pro-Palestinian groups in Ann Arbor not calling for boycotts of Iranian made goods?

    First, I want to note that you’re referring to at least two mostly separate groups of people (as I understand it.) My comments don’t necessarily apply to everyone you may have in mind.

    Why focus? Focused action is a widely accepted practice. As an environmental activist who has worked on a broad array of issues over the years, I can say from experience that it’s very easy to spread oneself too thin, even to the point of ineffectiveness. Anyone who cares enough and is willing to make the commitment to building whatever broad-based coalition they believe would be the ‘right’ approach is welcome to give it their best shot. That’s not meant to be a snide comment, just a realistic one.

    Some of the people to whom you are posing your questions have made large personal investments of time and money to travel, learn, protest, bear witness, etc. I suspect that they know more about the suffering of Palestinians because they’ve been over there and seen it first hand. I suspect they’ve done that because they wanted to be fully convinced of the cause they were considering supporting, because, clearly, they’d be facing plenty of animosity.

    If they had more time and money maybe they’d travel to other regions and read even more and try to educate even more people about even more injustices. But isn’t that a lot to ask of a bunch of retirement-aged folks who could be out golfing or babysitting their grandkids instead of acting out of caring the way they do, limited and less-than-perfect though it might be?

    (I believe that they care because I’ve talked with a number of them and found that to be the case, in general. It helps if you approach with a smile and introduce yourself, ask sincere questions, and really listen to the answers. These days, outside the food co-op is a good place to try this. Outside the synagogue on Saturdays is probably another one.)

    I think that the charge of anti-Semitism just comes with the territory. Many single-issue environmental groups get charged as being anti-business, among other things. It’s a charge that, on the surface, fits well enough to be picked up by those who don’t choose to make the effort to learn more and determine for themselves whether or not the charge has merit. Meanwhile, defending against it can become a huge drain of limited resources (e.g., time.) Same thing here only more loaded.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 25 '07 - 04:47AM    #
  341. Steve Bean – I got a little lost in your answer. Are you saying outside synagogues on Saturday morning is a good place to talk about anti-Semitism?


       —Justaskin    Sep. 25 '07 - 06:12PM    #
  342. No. My last paragraph was in reference to Jason’s sentence (which I failed to quote) that followed the two sentences I cited from #342: “The fact that you focus only on Israel leaves you open to those who claim your position is more anti-Semitic than pro-Palestinian.”


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 25 '07 - 06:38PM    #
  343. Thanks Steve. I appreciate your thoughtful answers to my questions. I will respond more a little later. I don’t buy 100% of what you are saying but appreciate the thoughtfulness behind it. I too have traveled extensively in the Middle East and have not come back with the same conclusions. I guess that’s why we (the collective we not you and me) continue to debate.


       —Jason    Sep. 25 '07 - 11:01PM    #
  344. I forgot to include one other thought. My understanding is that Palestinians have asked for support. (Apparently LGBT people are now asking for help too, btw.) I don’t know if that’s the case with oppressed people in Iran or Saudia Arabia, for example. That doesn’t justify inaction by people who are aware of those other injustices; it does however help to explain their current focus. (I’ve been speaking for others too much here. I’ll say that this is the case for me—I try to help where asked and where information is provided, since I do other things. I still hope someone else will respond to your questions and speak for themselves.)

    Also, I see some differences between what goes on within a country versus what a government does to people outside its borders. Some of the examples you gave aren’t analogous to the Israel/Palestine issue in that sense. I think it’s human nature to see one (the latter) as a greater injustice and/or as a case of a ‘bully’ beating up on a ‘weaker’ population, as opposed to an ‘internal matter’ where citizens have some responsibility for the actions of their government (e.g., Iran.) Again, that’s more of an explanation than a justification.

    You didn’t ask, but I have thoughts on all this from the ‘other side’ as well. For some reason people seem to assume that that’s not a possibility and don’t ask. Maybe I’ll share some of them at some point. I’m sure that readers here can hardly wait. :-) I’m going to take a break though for a few days, I think. (Is that… cheering I hear?)


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 26 '07 - 12:52AM    #
  345. Steve,

    Thanks again for your support and I would love to hear your views from “the other side.” I also understand that what goes on inside a country and what a country does to persons outside their borders can be completely separate. I was just pointing out some of the good things about Israel to give another point-of-view and to make the point that there is a progressive nature within the Israeli psyche for these things to be truths. This kind of progressive psyche does not exist in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia. That is the point I am trying to get across. Those people from Ann Arbor who traveled to Israel to learn about the plight of the Palestinians firsthand would never have been allowed the freedom of exploration in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia or Syria (and countless other regimes). The very reason we even know what goes on in the Palestinian regions is because of freedom of the press in Israel (which very much exists). News people freely travel all over the West Bank with relative ease and speak with Palestinians. I don’t think the good people of Ann Arbor could travel to Iran or Saudi Arabia if they were interested in the plight of women or homosexuals in those places and gain the same level of access.

    That said, I am the last person to ever accuse any one of anti-Semitism unless there is a real basis for it. Unfortunately, I don’t buy your argument about “focused action.” To your point, to avoid spreading one’s self too thin, we make deliberate decisions on our battles.

    The very fact that the ultra-left in Ann Arbor has made the deliberate decision to focus only on Israel and not on Iran and to only picket a Synagogue and not a Church is in of itself anti-Semitism.

    The pro-Palestinian camp claims they stand up for freedom and democracy and then go out and tell people what they can and cannot sell to the public. That’s not the Ann Arbor that I know and love. That’s not the democracy I have been taught to respect. I respect those with differing views and until we all learn to treat each other with dignity, respect and express our differences without hatred, none of our goals will ever be accomplished. I just wish people would see that.

    Picketing the Synagogue, telling a grocery store how they can advertise and forcing the food co-op to not sell food from a specific country will not set the Palestinians free. These measures will further divide us. That’s the sad part of the whole situation.

    Honestly, the bottom line is that it takes two to tango and to blame the Israelis for the entire Middle East conflict does nothing to promote peace.

    I have no doubt that many of the people in Ann Arbor who sympathize with the Palestinians have traveled to the region and have seen suffering.

    What I actually doubt however, is that most of the same people have studied the Middle East conflict extensively and have a full understanding of the complexities of the Middle East and this particular conflict.

    It’s one thing to spend money and travel to an area, see people suffering, blame Israel entirely and come back to Ann Arbor and picket a Synagogue. It’s another thing to travel to an area, live in that area and spend years studying the region.

    I also sensed that an assumption was being made that I never bothered to have a conversation with any of the Palestinian supporters in Ann Arbor. I have had those conversations and based on the answers I receive to past questions posed, have come to the conclusion that they’ve definitely witnessed suffering of innocent Palestinians but have no concept as to all of the moving parts and the hundreds of years (well before the Israelis) that have contributed to that suffering.

    Besides the obvious bias against only the Jewish State, I think personally my issue with the pro-Palestinian camp in Ann Arbor is the real lack of historical understanding. I can respect someone with polar opposite views as long as they back up their arguments with proven facts.

    The fact is, they (the Palestinian supporters) can tell me all about what’s happening today. They cannot tell me anything about the history of the region. When I talk about the British rule over Palestine or the Ottoman Empire or the Balfour Declaration or the reasons behind Socialist Zionism they have nothing to add.

    I will be the first one to tell you the Palestinian people are suffering. I will also be the first one to tell you occupation of another people is not only wrong, it does not work and is bad for everyone.

    I will also be the first one to tell you that the Palestinian leadership is among one of the most corrupt in the world. The other Arab nations have never “stepped up to the plate” and provided their Palestinian brethren shelter or any kind of support other than Israel-bashing lip service. Continued world preoccupation with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict keeps the world focus away from the horrific human rights abuses going on every day within the Arab world to which the ultra-left in Ann Arbor continue to turn a blind eye.

    Thank you for allowing me to express my views.


       —Jason    Sep. 26 '07 - 02:02AM    #
  346. Steve,

    One other thing: I understand your point about the differences in perception of the Israelis “beating up” on a “weaker” population outside its borders as opposed to a government beating up its own people.

    It’s an interesting argument but along with that, we need to look at the history and understand the current occupation did not occur in a vacuum and as wrong and unjust as it is, all of the countries in that region are responsible for that occupation. The Jordanians being the most guilty.

    This whole thing goes back to my issue of the lack of historical understanding of the Middle East by most Westerners (and the people in Ann Arbor fighting this battle). It’s frustrating. I understand perception is everything but one needs to be responsible and study about the causes for which they fight.

    The Israelis are not occupying the Palestinians because they enjoy it. The reason there is tight control in those areas now (this was not always the case, I am just explaining why it exists now) is to keep people from committing terrorist acts inside Israel. No matter what you want to say about the security fence (or what you want to call it for that matter) terrorism within Israel has decreased dramatically since the construction of that wall which has saved human lives. The problem is innocent Palestinians are being hurt in the process. Again, this is not just an Israeli issue but a failure of the region to come up with a viable solution.


       —Jason    Sep. 26 '07 - 02:27AM    #
  347. The same arguments were made by U.S. slave owners. They said the slave revolts were acts of senseless violence. They said good loyal slaves were endangered by those revolts. They said that the U.S. was a democracy, with elected state and national legislatures. Israel makes the same arguments. If you agree with Israel, you are agreeing that not even a peaceful boycott can be tolerated.

    Not even a peaceful boycott, against a very clearly racist state called Israel? Why not, for heaven’s sake?


       —Peace    Sep. 26 '07 - 06:42AM    #
  348. The ineffectiveness of boycotts was my minor point. My major point is that along with Israel, Iran is racist, Saudi Arabia is racist (unless I can now go to Mecca) Syria is racist. The list can go on for miles. How is Israel racist specifically? Because they want a Jewish State? Frankly, that’s not so bad and also really nobody’s business but their own. The Palestinians are entitled to build their own land. They have just consistently chosen not to.

    I think if the Italians can have Italy and the French can have France and Irish Ireland, the Jews can have a tiny little piece of land and call it Israel.

    As I’ve always said, go ahead and boycott and jump and up down and picket houses of worship. Israel will stay Israel and all of your efforts (which I assume are quite time-consuming) will have been wasted because you refuse to have meaningful civilized discussion.

    Lack of historical perspective is dangerous and quite often leads to meaningless boycotts and calls for divestment and other useless tactics.

    It’s good to know that the good, accepting people of Ann Arbor are attempting to take away Israel as a Jewish State because we all know after that’s done, we can all sleep better because all of the world’s problems will be solved.

    The bottom line is (besides me) not many people in the world care about what you’re doing (which makes your actions additionally amusing.

    What happens after you reach your goals with Israel? Maybe a protest in front of Turkish Churches to encourage them to give back land to the Armenians? That sounds like a good one. Let me know where I can sign up for that picket.

    Keep fighting the good fight.


       —Jason    Sep. 26 '07 - 11:17PM    #
  349. Every human rights boycott is “ineffective”, as you say. Until it works. Boycotts ended South Africa as an apartheid state. Many thousands of Palestinians, in their graves, in Palestine, would agree that the Israeli occupation is very racist. It is aimed at one race.

    A small human rights boycott, in memory of those souls, is a great service to humanity. Forgive us for pursuing an “ineffective” boycott of the Israeli occupation. Forgive us, also, for not finding the genocide of Palestine to be “amusing”.


       —Peace    Sep. 27 '07 - 05:08AM    #
  350. I don’t understand why you say “racist”. I thought Arabs and Jews are the same. This seems like a previous comment that criticising Amy Smith is racist.


       —Justaskin    Sep. 27 '07 - 06:34PM    #
  351. “Racist” is such a powerful word that everybody wants to use it.

    Certainly there is such a thing as bigotry against Arabs or Muslims (A. M. Rosenthal comes immediately to mind — I like to think he was fired from the NYT for his unabashed bigotry), and there really isn’t a widely accepted term for it. Hence, “racism” is often used instead.

    Arabs and Jews are both Semites, but the term “antisemitism” was invented by 19th century Jew-haters as a more respectable term for Jew-hating. Only the literal-minded would use “antisemitism” to mean “hatred for Arabs”.

    The trouble with the word “racism” is that it’s based on a world view of people being fundamentally divided up into “races” — a questionable construct to begin with.

    Antisemitism isn’t called “racism” because that would imply that Jews are a race — a deeply antisemitic view. This logic hasn’t extended yet to Arabs: it would be pretty egregious to talk about “the Arab race”, yet it’s perfectly acceptable to call anti-Arab bias “racism”.

    This isn’t an isolated survival of ideas based squarely on bigotry. Even well-intentioned Americans don’t think to question the “one drop of blood” rule for defining blackness.

    Even as we fight racism and discrimination, the terms and categories we use were invented by haters, back when they controlled the language.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 27 '07 - 07:59PM    #
  352. Peace:

    I don’t have an issue with standing up for human rights. I just have an issue with standing up for the rights of some while ignoring the rights of others.

    I also have an issue with historical non-truths. There are human rights violations but there is no genocide. Palestinians are living there. True, not under ideal conditions but they their race is not being wiped out.

    This is the main issue I have with your “fight.” You are not 100% accurate in the stories you tell. I have traveled extensively throughout that region and have Palestinian (as well as Israeli) friends and acquaintances. What you are saying about genocide is simply a lie.

    But, clearly, I am not going to change your views and you certainly will never change mine. I guess the only thing I wish for is that we exchange our differences in a respectful manner. Only then will anyone reach their goals of world peace, understanding and justice.

    I wish everyone a good evening.


       —Jason    Sep. 27 '07 - 11:59PM    #
  353. I encourage everyone to read the actual definition of “genocide” written by the United Nations in the aftermath of Hitler.

    What is occurring, from 1948 until today, in Palestine, is genocide.

    Do you feel the U.N.‘s definition of genocide is wrong?
    Do you feel peaceful boycotts of genocidal governments is also wrong?


       —Peace    Sep. 28 '07 - 01:48PM    #
  354. Peace, I did just read the UN definition and it seems to me you are really strteching the meaning and intent of the UN’s words. Do you also think any criticism of Amy Smith is racism?


       —Justaskin    Sep. 28 '07 - 05:45PM    #
  355. To “Peace”: Odd that the statement of the boycott advocates in PFC Connection, Fall 2007, and, additionally, the language of the ballot proposal, make no reference to “genocide.” Your use of inflammatory language such as “genocide” and “racist state” is merely inflammatory, and, as it undermines your credibility, it does nothing for the Palestinian people you appear to care about. If you want to live up to the name you’ve taken here, open your mind to what Jason has been writing. Perhaps you’ve noticed, as have I, that the heretofore voluble pro-Palestinian voices have not responded to his comments and questions. And you’ve done nothing but nit-pick your way around his central points. Several years ago, I made photocopies of the entire TNR article I quoted from in posting #326, and handed the copies to the people picketing Beth Israel, asking each of them if they believed in human rights. Of course, they all said “yes.” How naive I was to imagine that the very real plight of homosexuals in the Palestinian territories would compel the interest of the synagogue picketers, perhaps induce them to re-consider their public condemnation of the nation that constitutes a refuge for those gays. Needless to say, it did not. A point previously made in these postings has it that one can’t focus on everything. But the reality in this case is that the road to the moral high ground chosen by the synagogue picketers runs over the broken bodies of Palestinian gays. Now, Peace, language like “racist state” and “genocide” may lead to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, which, like some of the pro-boycott people I’ve talked to, you seem to desire. But how will that language, and its objective, help Palestinian gays? Or isn’t that your issue either?


       —Fred Horowitz    Sep. 28 '07 - 07:58PM    #
  356. In related news, the UK University and College Union today announced that it has called off its campaign to boycott Israeli academics.

    UCU lawyers advised that a boycott would be unlawful. In addition, the UCU determined that a boycott would be outside the aims and objects of the UCU.

    The UCU general secretary called for the union to support Palestinian and Israeli educators and to promote a just peace in the Middle East.


       —peter honeyman    Sep. 29 '07 - 01:47AM    #
  357. Fred/Peace/anyone who will listen:

    Thanks very much (Fred) for your supportive words. I’ve been trying to get this point across for years to the Ann Arbor anti-Israel camp.

    I am disappointed that nobody seems to be answering or addressing any of my questions. I think the reason for that is clear. They don’t have an answer. They don’t care that the country they are trying to create (Palestine) will be equally as “racist” as what they are accusing Israel of being.

    I ask my question yet again: What about gay persons in the Palestinian zones? If I go to the Palestinian territories and join the fight for equal and human rights with my partner and we hold hands, can our safety be guaranteed by the Palestinian authority? Or are you saying that gay people are not allowed to join with you?

    Also, how do you explain gay Palestinians that run to Israel for shelter from the open discrimination they experience in the Palestinian territories?

    Would you ever hold a sign that says “Justice for Palestinian gays”? For Saudi women?

    What about gays in Egypt? Is that okay?

    All I am asking is for answers to my questions. I am being polite. I am being open-minded here. I want to learn. I cannot have a conversation if nobody bothers to answer my questions.

    Thanks in advance.

    Have a good evening.


       —Jason    Sep. 29 '07 - 07:17AM    #
  358. Gay Palestinians see their families destroyed by the Israeli occupation. They see their country under a massive starvation siege by the Israeli army. How do you think they feel? Like everyone else in Palestine, they would love to see a boycott of the racist beasts (the Israeli occupation) who are devastating their land.


       —Peace    Sep. 29 '07 - 03:37PM    #
  359. …But, clearly, I am not going to change your views and you certainly will never change mine. …

    …I am being open-minded here. I want to learn. …

    Which is it, Jason?


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 29 '07 - 04:17PM    #
  360. My friend Steve:

    I kept an open mind by acknowledging (rightfully so) that the Palestinians are suffering. I said I wanted to learn and am asking to be taught. Nobody answers me. To just keep saying the Palestinians are suffering teaches me nothing new. I know that. I want answers to my questions.

    I asked for answers to my specific questions about gay rights in the Arab world. I was ignored. If I am to keep an open mind, I need to be met half way and part of that would be for “Peace” and others like him to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinian gay population separately from the occupation.

    Steve, you question my being open-minded? I was ready to be which is why I posed the questions I did. The only answer I get is Israel is bad and the Palestinians are the ultimate victims. Nobody has answered my questions about the Egyptian gays, the plight of the Palestinian gays or women’s rights in Iran.

    My take away from this is that nobody in the Ann Arbor “peace” camp cares about gay rights.

    By the way, Peace: Have you had serious conversations specifically with gay Palestinians about this issue? I actually have. They by no means want the Israelis out of the picture. For gay Palestinians, ironically enough, Israel is their only hope.

    I would ask (in the spirit of open-mindedness) that you read the below article (I included the link to the article below) from the Advert, a well-respected gay/lesbian news magazine. I would love to hear any reaction from anyone. I would hardly call the Advocate a pro-Zionist machine.

    To ignore what’s happening in Palestine to the gay population and simultaneously purport to be advocates of the weak and disadvantaged of the world is complete hypocrisy.

    http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid33587.asp


       —Jason    Sep. 29 '07 - 05:23PM    #
  361. My take away from this is that nobody in the Ann Arbor “peace” camp cares about gay rights.

    That’s not open mindedness, Jason, that’s an extreme (“nobody”), unsupportable conclusion. It fits with the sarcasm and ridicule you dished out in #357. Why would anyone take you at your word at this point and want to bother “discussing” the off-topic topic of your choosing with you under your rules?

    You’ve shared some information and made your point. Pushing it further will just be seen as trolling.


       —Steve Bean    Sep. 29 '07 - 08:23PM    #
  362. I agree with Steve that you can’t generalize to the entire “peace camp”, which is much bigger than this one issue, and maybe should be described as multiple related “camps”, each with different priorities.

    However, it surely is true that, for some of the most visible and argumentative advocates on this issue, the existence of a Jewish state is such a monstrous evil that it overrides all other considerations.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 29 '07 - 11:04PM    #
  363. Steve,

    I appreciate you telling me how I can and cannot feel. The only reason you are saying what you’re saying is because you fundamentally disagree with my views.

    You mean to tell me that me stating nobody in the Ann Arbor peace camp cares about gay rights (which is my perception and how I am personally feeling right now given these exchanges and the lack of answers) is an “extreme” view and stating there is a “genocide” going on in the Palestinian territories and that Israel is a horrible “racist” state is not “extreme”?

    I still have not received answers to any of the questions I posed. You can make all of the excuses you want as to why I have not received an answer but we all know the reason. There is no answer. They cannot really justify what they are doing when you raise other issues (outside of occupation).

    This mentality is the same mentality the peace camp has with regard to the whole Middle Eastern issue. It’s all Israel’s fault. There’s never a discussion and when someone asks for a discussion and dares to raise legitimate issues such as gay rights and women’s rights, or something different from the occupation, suddenly they are closed minded and wrong. Interesting definition of open-mindedness.

    Their goal is to delegitimize Israel and anyone with any other view is cast aside.

    One thing you and I do agree on is that this conversation is going no where.

    I wish everyone a nice evening and rest of your weekend.


       —Jason    Sep. 30 '07 - 01:12AM    #
  364. Larry,

    You said, “However, it surely is true that, for some of the most visible and argumentative advocates on this issue, the existence of a Jewish state is such a monstrous evil that it overrides all other considerations.” If Israel had taken over desert land with no people on it already in 1948, did not poses nuclear weapons, did not get $300 billion in US “aid” over the last 50 years, was not involved in ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, was not a cheerleader for more US military intervention in the Middle East; then, I suppose we (we being us “most visible and argumentative advocates on this issue”) would think of Israel the same way most people think of the Mormons which is to say not much more than an interesting side note. It’s not that Israel is a Jewish State Larry, it’s what Israel the State is doing; and why do US taxpayers need to give money to Israel anyway?
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 30 '07 - 01:54AM    #
  365. Chuck, I think what Jason is complaining about is the one-sided view, where negative aspects of Israel/Israelis is front and center, whereas negative aspects of Palestine/Palestinians is disdained as annoyingly “off-topic”.

    (I note, too, that you repeat the fallacy I objected to before, of blaming other countries for actions of our own government. The solution to that is to go to Congress, as I have, to lobby against bad actions committed in our name.)


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 30 '07 - 03:45AM    #
  366. Chuck:

    Why do US taxpayers give money to Egypt? Egypt (aside from Israel) is the largest beneficiary of American foreign economic aid. Do you agree with all of their policies and have you checked Amnesty International’s views on the human rights abuses there?

    This “Ethnic Cleansing” term is used far too loosely in this case. There is nothing of the sort going on there. There are human rights abuses but not “genocide” or “Ethnic Cleansing.” Palestinians would not be living in these areas and gay Palestinians would not be running for refuge in Israel if there was an “Ethnic Cleansing” being perpetrated on them by the Israelis. Also, just in case you were not aware, Palestinians hold passports. A group that is being “Ethnically Cleansed” does not hold passports. Again, the use of these terms just divide us further and do nothing to help the people you say you desire to help.

    If it truly is NOT the fact Israel is a Jewish State that all of this focus is put on them, then why do you hold Israel to a higher standard than any other country in the world?

    I will reiterate my point yet again: I don’t think many people have an argument with standing up for human rights around the globe. The issue that I have (and many others) is standing up for the rights of some while overlooking the rights of others.

    If the Pro-Palestinian camp in Ann Arbor was truly interested in making the lives of the average Palestinian person better, instead of using their time and energy trying to get some local food co-op to stop selling Israeli Hummus and standing in front of houses of worship picketing every Saturday, they would be raising money for Palestinian causes and trying to get the money raised into the hands of the people there to make their lives better. If people really cared about the Palestinian cause, they would be using this time to set up scholarship funds for Palestinian students who want to study abroad. There are so many productive ways Ann Arbor and the world can be helping the Palestinians and instead, you picket a Synagogue. You take an already divisive issue and make it more divisive. Just making people upset for the sake of making people upset never turned a hovel into a house or created a literate Palestinian child. If people cared about the Palestinians they would be working in-tandem with the Israelis and not against them. They would be working toward a real solution and understanding both sides because every rational human being knows, there is always more than one side. If people cared about the Palestinians, they would be looking for ways to unite all of us, not constantly look for ways to further divide us.

    I want the Palestinians to have a land of their own and I want Israel to live in peace and security. This is what the majority of the world wants. If we all work together and treat each other with dignity and respect, we can achieve these goals.

    Have a good evening.


       —Jason    Sep. 30 '07 - 03:51AM    #
  367. Larry:

    Thank you. Yes, that’s all I am complaining about is being completely dismissed and for a very one-sided view from people telling me I am the one not being open-minded.

    I acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians.

    The only thing I ask (besides answers to my questions) is for people to acknowledge while the Palestinians as a whole are suffering, they turn around and make their gay citizens suffer. Whenever I bring this up, it’s either ignored and brushed off as a Red Herring or placed into the “unimportant” bucket.

    Thank you for letting me express my views.


       —Jason    Sep. 30 '07 - 04:12AM    #
  368. But you’re not expressing your “views”.

    You’re expressing just one view…

    ...over and over and over…

    Wow, is this the longest AU thread ever, or what?

    Oops, not much content in this post. Feel free to delete if necessary.


       —Michael Schils    Sep. 30 '07 - 05:20AM    #
  369. I wouldn’t be expressing “over and over” if my initial questions would have been answered. But clearly I see nobody will answer them so oh well. The non-response is the actual answer then.

    Thank you.


       —Jason    Sep. 30 '07 - 02:57PM    #
  370. Jason, Larry,

    You two seem to have teamed up and are now both responding to questions I directed to only Larry in my last post. Also, neither Larry nor Jason answered my question: “why do US taxpayers need to give money to Israel anyway?” Larry ignored it and Jason said that Egypt gets more (so why pick on Israel?) The fact is I am against any so called “aid” the US Government gives to foreign governments (yes, including Egypt.) All one needs to do to understand my position on the matter is look at the so called “aid” given to Ketrina victims in New Orleans. The aid does not help ordinary people on the ground and seems more directed at controlling people rather than freeing them.
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 30 '07 - 06:53PM    #
  371. I don’t know Jason except from this comment thread.

    I agree that $300 billion for Israel is excessive. However, like it or not, since the U.S. is one of the wealthiest nations on earth, one of the ways we exert influence over the world is by distributing money, and things that cost money, from medicines to weapons.

    I absolutely detest some of the ways that money has been directed (e.g., to fund Central American death squads). However, I think the world would be worse off, sicker, and probably much more violent, if the U.S. provided no foreign aid at all. In many parts of the world, the promise of U.S. aid helped persuade combatants to lay down their arms and sign peace agreements.

    In the case of Katrina, people suffered from failures and insufficiencies of federal aid. Perhaps federal dollars (administered by the Bush administration, after all) were not handled well and came with too many strings attached. Still, the worst abuses (e.g., theft of money to repair levees; blocking bridges to keep poor people from seeking refuge in the suburbs) were done by locals.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 30 '07 - 07:16PM    #
  372. Jason,

    What percent of Palestinians have died over the last 10 years do to violence inflicted by Israelis and the Israeli government and what percent of Israelis have died as a result of violence inflicted by Palestinians on Israelis? I bet you know what the answer is and it does not reflect well on Israel or the American aid dollars paid for by the US taxpayer. You stated, “I will reiterate my point yet again: I don’t think many people have an argument with standing up for human rights around the globe. The issue that I have (and many others) is standing up for the rights of some while overlooking the rights of others.” You expect us to believe you give a damn about the “rights of others”? You’re probably a flak whose job is to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) and thereby deflect attention away from Israel. All your solutions conveniently exonerate Israel despite the fact that you probably know the answer to my first question. I’d say people on this list have rightfully ignored your rhetoric. BTW, Golda Meir stated that Palestinians and Palestine do not exist, so I will continue to use the term “Ethnic Cleansing.”
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 30 '07 - 07:56PM    #
  373. Larry,

    The best form of “foreign aid” America could provide impoverished nations would be to not set-up and maintain courtesy of the US military, the World Bank and the IMF a global economic system that so blatantly favors the rich, industrialized nations at the expense of the poorest nations. Most of the “aid” the US gives out is really a carrot designed to more thoroughly integrate the often poor and desperate third world nations into the lopsided/corrupt global economy. When it comes to Katrina victims, if it were up to me and I was the President, I would have flooded the local economy with Federal dollars by paying locals to clean up the mess; the money would not be wasted because putting money in people’s pockets would get the New Orleans economy moving again. There is another point I would like to make in regard to the Israel Lobby in this country and aid to Israel. It’s well known that Cynthia McKinney was driven from office in no small measure do to AIPAC for asking the wrong kind of questions. Given that I appreciated the work Cynthia McKinney did and is doing, I do not appreciate this type of interference and it raises questions in my mind. Is some of the aid given to Israel re-cycled back into groups like AIPAC through the use of various quid pro quos?
       —Chuck L.    Sep. 30 '07 - 08:47PM    #
  374. I’m very critical of AIPAC and many of the positions it has taken, but I don’t doubt their ability to raise plenty of money here in the U.S.

    Cynthia McKinney did many admirable things, and would have easily survived the campaigns against her if she hadn’t done so much to make herself look ridiculous in the eyes of her own constituents.

    See her Wikipedia article for many unhappy details.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 30 '07 - 09:56PM    #
  375. Also, Chuck, I strongly prefer your approach to Katrina aid to what was actually done (or not done) by Bush appointees.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Sep. 30 '07 - 10:03PM    #
  376. Who is watching the vote-counters at People’s Food Co-op? The Palestine human rights referendum has ended, and 100% of the votes are in. The Co-op Board has handed the votes to whom, to be counted under whose oversight? The Board has given itself eleven (11) whole days to cook the votes, lose the votes, etc.

    The Board has shown total, unalloyed hostility to the Palestine Referendum, and to the people of Palestine. What do you imagine they will do, supervised by none but themselves?

    Palestine is slowly dying of malnutrition. One million cildren in Gaza have been subjected to trauma which you cannot imagine, due to an occupying Israeli army. Ann Arbor now knows all of that a little better. The Co-op voters, and the beleaguered people of Palestine, should not have their will thwarted as has happened so many times in the past.

    Who is watching the vote-counters, and who are those vote-counters? Do they care more for the occupied population of Palestine, or for a tiny minority of ruthless racist Zionists?


       —Oversight    Oct. 1 '07 - 07:06AM    #
  377. Dear Oversight (aka Peace and others, I suspect),

    I’ll take the unusual and perhaps unproductive step of answering your questions and statements.

    The vote-counters are board members of PFC, elected by PFC members to do this, among many other things. There has never, ever been any question about the board carrying out its duties and responsibilities vis a vis vote-counting.

    The board has not shown “total, unalloyed hostility to the Palestine Referendum, and to the people of Palestine”. Firstly, this is an anti-Israeli-produced goods referendum, not a Palestine referendum. Secondly, there has not been one iota of disdain, neglect, hostility or partiality for the people of Palestine.

    Who is watching the vote-counters? You are, from a safe remove and you will hold us accountable (assuming that you are a PFC member). I suspect that, should the referendum fail, you will do your best to vilify us and slander us. I certainly don’t expect you singing our praises should the referendum pass.

    As for who we (the board, vote-counters) care for more, it’s PFC members, their rights and their collective will as expressed in a democratic election.

    And for your information, we would not need “(11) whole days” to “cook the votes” – it would be a matter of minutes, since the vote is a simple yes/no. The issue of 11 days is a red herring. As stated before, we as a board must certify/accept the vote tally as legitimate, and that happens at the next ensuing board meeting (Oct. 11).

    In a few hours I will be going to oversee validation of the final votes from Sunday, then later directing the vote counting. 10 days from now you, like everyone else, will find out the totals at our board meeting, if you care to attend. Otherwise we will be posting results to our website, in the store, and I daresay in places like this.

    Thanks for caring about the co-op so!

    PFC Treasurer


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 1 '07 - 09:25AM    #
  378. from mommy: “Toasty,

    I’m sorry for deleting that post, but look:” end mommy

    me: “what crap! see waht happens when israel puts up walls to keep the savages at bay? they come over here and terrorize a local grocery store that actively services the entire community of ann arbor adn environs. what fools tehy are.


    big is very, very little by their own words, tactics and ‘philosophy’. just vote them down, oh, say 90-10 (there is always that 10%) and keep the good food coming, couscous and all.” end me.

    mommy continues: “Does this tell us anything we don’t know already? Is there anything in there that wasn’t already said several times on this thread? It looks like pure flame to me. Have you seen what happens when we just let people flame? Try …. “ end mommy.

    me again: flame? you don;t kmow from flame.


       —toasty    Oct. 1 '07 - 09:53AM    #
  379. Thanks for educating me, everybody. I feel in a just a few more days I will understand the issue well enough to cast my vote.


       —Justaskin    Oct. 1 '07 - 02:48PM    #
  380. ...perhaps unproductive step…

    Thank you Peter, it was productive for me to see your reply. I, for one, trust the co-op’s board to report exactly what the vote was (is) to the members of PFC, of which I am a proud member who also voted. Also thank you for monitoring and contributing to this discussion.


       —abc    Oct. 1 '07 - 03:52PM    #
  381. Chuck L falsely claims

    Golda Meir stated that Palestinians and Palestine do not exist.

    Here are Meir’s words, reported in a June 15, 1969 interview in London’s Sunday Times:

    Frank Giles: Do you think the emergence of the Palestinian fighting forces, the Fedayeen, is an important new factor in the Middle East?

    Golda Meir: Important, no. A new factor, yes. There was no such a thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian State? It was either southern Syria before the First World War and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.

    Chuck L’s claim that Meir advocated “ethnic cleansing” is without foundation.


       —Fact Checker    Oct. 1 '07 - 11:02PM    #
  382. Fact Checker (or Jason?),

    The quote you reference sounds pretty damning to me. You call this a refutation? I’d say it confirms my point. I will continue to use the term “Ethnic Cleansing” in regard to Israeli policies towards Palestinians.
       —Chuck L.    Oct. 2 '07 - 12:14AM    #
  383. Chuck:

    Fact checker and Jason are two different people. Sorry to disappoint you but there can be more than one person in this world who disagree with you.


       —Jason    Oct. 2 '07 - 01:44AM    #
  384. As to the Board’s assurances of a squeaky-clean vote count, based on the Board’s secret-but-squeaky-clean vote gathering and vote-counting:

    Not a single Board member has come out for boycotting Israel. But the Board leadership has screamed long and loud about their extreme skittishness over boycotting Israel. The same Board leadership that had no problems whatsoever with previous boycotts by the Co-op.

    They are singling out the Palestinians for murder. And further, a Board member tried to persuade the Board to openly condemn the Co-op Palestine referendum. Furthermore, one of the editors of the Co-op newsletter, an extremely high-ranking Co-op official, has been ranting against the boycott not only locally, but even in a Portland, Oregon Web site that is read by Co-op members there, to forestall Portland boycotts against Israel.

    Not one voice from the Board, through all of this, to support the genuinely starving people of Palestine. So it sure looks like a Board singling out Palesrtine for destruction. If any Board members feel sympathy for the boycott, they are not one-tenth as bold as their Board leadership, which is smothering it at every turn. See above.

    Palestine will somehow survive, but the Board could at least treat it with a little respect, instead of like vermin who don’t even deserve a referendum.


       —Oversight    Oct. 2 '07 - 06:49AM    #
  385. Oversight: The board is “singling out Palestine for destruction” by not sharing your opinion?!!! That magazine article I came across (The Economist – sorry I don’t know how to link) said Palestinian leaders were against boycotts. Are they also singling out Palestinians for destruction? There is a tone through this and some other postings that seems really weird – a tendency to exaggerate to an absurd degree. This is like that put down of Amy Smith getting turned into an insult to all Islam. What’s up with that? Is there a connection? Are these from the same person or is there more than one person who thinks like that?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 2 '07 - 01:05PM    #
  386. So, Peter (and anyone else) – What is the unofficial vote count, prior to its certification?

    In regular elections, the unofficial count is available immediately, several days/weeks prior to the count’s certification by the Board of Canvassers.

    I assume the People’s Food Co-op will follow the same practice.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 2 '07 - 01:27PM    #
  387. David (and everyone), I remind you that this is not one of the ‘regular elections’; those are held to different standards and are clearly proscribed by law. This is a vote of the membership of a cooperative, to standards of cooperative principles, as interpreted by a board of directors in policies (whether everyone completely agrees with them or not). There is a vested public interest in knowing an ‘unofficial’ tally in public elections, as plans for potential change of regime need to begin immediately (i.e., the scoundrels in office won’t have a headstart on shredding the documents, so to speak).

    Look, we on the board all understand that this vote has taken on a very large significance in the community at large – and I mean the community of SE Michigan, since we’ve been contacted by several regional news agencies in regards to this. And if there has been some ‘leak’ to Portland (proof or citation would be good here, Oversight), obviously the vote has some larger ramification as well.

    All that needs saying is that we had clearly more than enough valid ballots to make quorum, and the tally is completed. The board will send out a press release Thursday evening, late, but if you want to ‘scoop’ the news agencies you can come to Hathaway’s Hideaway (our temporary digs since bad behavior forced us out of our traditional meeting space) at 310 S. Ashley on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6:30. I don’t yet know where in the agenda the acceptance of the tally will be, but I can assure you that we will have a full report of voting procedure, counting, irregularies and tally, including spoiled ballots, available that evening.


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 2 '07 - 08:11PM    #
  388. I’m glad you had enough ballots for a quorum.

    As every schoolchild knows, PFC elections aren’t run by the rules of regular elections.

    However, what does the PFC lose by making public the unofficial results now?


       —David Cahill    Oct. 2 '07 - 08:53PM    #
  389. Since this is a charged issue, we (the board) prefer not to give anyone the chance to claim ‘victory’ or browbeat those with whom they do not agree, until we have made the elections results official. Then y’all can have at each other with abandon. Wish I was kidding.

    More seriously, this is part of written procedures that PFC has followed for years in its vote counting and reporting. We have had to adapt the procedure language a bit, since it was always geared toward director and referenda votes announced at the annual meeting. This referendum is highly unusual in that it is not on the annual meeting cycle. Votes for directors and referenda on the anual meeting cycle are never divulged before being accepted at the annual meeting by the membership. Since there is no membership meeting this time around, the board meeting must stand in for it.

    It’s only 8 days.


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 3 '07 - 07:36AM    #
  390. Peter Schermerhorn,

    Please respond to the posting number 393 by Oversight!

    Oversight is raising issues that bring to question Board’s impartiality which will have significant bearing on Board’s managing of the voting process.

    Please respond to posting 393.

    Also, an unofficial vote count is common practice. Why does PFC refuse to make the unofficial results of this referendum public?

    By doing so you (the Board) are raising a lot of questions in the minds of those who have been following the boycott of Israel issue here in Ann Arbor.

    Make public the unofficial count for the boycott of Israel referendum.


       — Tell_it_like_it_is    Oct. 3 '07 - 04:27PM    #
  391. The “procedures that PFC has followed for years” deserve a lot of respect, yes, above all, the procedure of Board leadership beig public champions for human rights, among oppressed farmworkers in California and in South America.

    It is a very new, and unjustifiable, “procedure”, for the Board to be so terribly frightened of allowing Palestinians to “claim ‘victory’ “, even in a Co-op vote in a Midwestern college town. What is the Board cooking up, before October 11, to further ensure that no “victory” can be claimed by any Palestinian?

    That fear of any “victory” for human rights… that fear sounds quite unlike “procedure”. It sounds like a unanimous fear, by the Co-op Board, of ever letting Palestinians claim even the smallest rhetorical victory, in any setting, under any circumstance.

    This delay is starting to smell like the delays in getting out the election results in the 2000 U.S. Presidential elections. Or like a banana republc.

    Release the true vote count now.


       —News    Oct. 3 '07 - 04:31PM    #
  392. Blaine,
    The election results will be announced next Thursday….this ain’t Ohio or Florida for crying out loud!


       —annarbor1us    Oct. 3 '07 - 05:51PM    #
  393. Why is the Board’s priority to stop any Palestinian from even trying to “claim ‘victory’ “?

    When did that become such an overriding priority?


       —News    Oct. 3 '07 - 06:24PM    #
  394. I should point out that neither the group that brought the referendum in the first place nor the group that formed to oppose them have any difficulty with our practice of holding the election result until Oct. 11.

    Our vote tally was done in a couple of hours, we packed the ballots back into locked boxes and I hold the only keys. No staff member has access to the vote tallies at this point. I suppose if you’re going to accuse anyone of ‘trying something’, it will be me. What is your specific accusation? Do you know me, or what I stand for? Do you know my values, record or priorities?

    And for the heck of it, perhaps stopping spoofing different personalities in order to pretend to various degrees of calm or spastic would be a good idea. Really, you’re mostly talking to yourself with all that. See you Thursday.

    - – Pete, shocked as anyone to be in the middle of this


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 4 '07 - 06:18AM    #
  395. Earlier some people spoke out against ad hominem attacks. where are they now?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 4 '07 - 01:55PM    #
  396. [Note: Laura Meisler is the Outreach Co-ordinator for People’s Food Co-op]

    Article in Portland Indymedia:

    “Boycott-Israel Vote is Announced by People’s Food Co-op”

    Under that article, here is the comment published by Laura M, Ann Arbor, under her title of “Not in Portland”, where she uses her inside knowledge of Co-op finances to argue against the boycott of Israeli products—

    “Not in Portland”,
    by Laura M, Ann Arbor

    “Be careful what you ask for! This resolution, if passed, would result in potentially hundreds of co-op members resigning, and the co-op could lose thousands of dollars in equity.

    “All this over less than a dozen products that make up less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the store’s annual sales.”

    — End of Comment by Laura M, Ann Arbor.

    Is that how Co-op shareholders want their Co-op officers to act, especially when they are under orders to be impartial about the boycott?


       —News    Oct. 4 '07 - 07:04PM    #
  397. “Under orders”? Whose?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 4 '07 - 07:33PM    #
  398. Palestine is dying.

    Says the BBC today:

    “Unemployment has reached 90% in some villages, poverty levels have risen “dramatically” in the words of the World Bank, and the average annual income has fallen by nearly a third since 1999.

    “Parts of society are falling back on subsistence farming and scavenging, or surviving on handouts.

    “I’ve met trained teachers pulling stones from the ground to help their neighbours prepare for planting,” says Charles Clayton, national director of the World Vision organisation which is starting development work in the area.

    “What we are seeing is a catastrophic loss of the economy; it’s in freefall so that people are living in conditions I would compare to parts of Africa and the poorest parts of Asia.”

    .

    That is why the boycott of Israel was so necessary.

    And the Co-op membership sees that fact.


       —News    Oct. 4 '07 - 07:52PM    #
  399. I am not sure you should say what The Co-op membership sees and what it doesn’t. My guess is each member has their own personal opinions concerning boycotting specifically Israeli products as well as the use of boycotting as a tactic in general.

    I think people need to make decisions based on facts. Here are a few:

    The problem about boycotting only Israeli-made products as a response to the Palestinian humanitarian crisis is that if you looked at history, you would also need to boycott Jordanian-made products, Egyption-made products and for sure British-made products. Each of these nations (and others as well) is responsible in one way or another for the horrible state of affairs inside the Palestinian territories.

    Check out information on “Black September” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan

    King Hussein of Jordan entered into a battle back in 1970 with Palestinians who looked to overthrow his government. This battle caused many casualties and forced many Palestinians into refugee camps in Jordan and the West Bank. Jordan refused to admit back into their country the thousands of displaced Palestinians that the Black September battles in Jordan displaced.

    The entire region plays a role in the sad story of the contemporary Palestinian.

    Also, this talk about “Ethnic Cleansing” and “genocide” is a misuse of those words.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an educational outreach organization that was founded in 1945. Their goal is to fight poverty through education and promote international cooperation amongst the world’s nations. UNESCO talks about how despite the hardships of the Palestinian people, the Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups of people in the Middle East.

    Check out: http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=17238&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

    Also, in Gaza there is an international airport. On the homepage of this web site (http://www.gaza-airport.org/), it has a picture of a plane taking off and then language that says “A Sign of Independence.” Is an international airport and the reputation of being one of highest educated people in the Middle East a sign of a people being “Ethnically Cleansed”? Decide for yourself. Is there a humanitarian crisis? Absolutely. Is anyone committing genocide? No.

    Facts are facts. Before making a decision like this, everyone should look at the entire picture through a wide lens and look at the history of the Middle East as well as analyze the present situation.


       —Jason    Oct. 5 '07 - 12:17AM    #
  400. Jason, boycotting is not intended to punish entities for past bad acts, but to convince them to change their current policies/behaviors (which is why boycotts are stopped when their goal is achieved.) Considering that might change your analysis.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 5 '07 - 02:19AM    #
  401. Steve,

    Going with that thought, British products should be boycotted for supporting the war in Iraq and Jordan for continuing to ban Palestinians from Jordan (which they actively do). All examples of “current policies/behaviors.”

    There is a difference between human rights issues/abuses and genocide. I am unconvinced there is a genocide based on what I consider very thorough research.

    So what we’re saying here is you (and others here) believe in collective punishment. A General (back in 1983) acts in a way he should not and that dictates an entire society’s views? The products that might be boycotted might be made by Israeli Arabs or left-wing Israelis who want peace to come to the Palestinians as much as you. Your boycott will not hurt the government in Israel but some local farmer who has nothing to do with the conflict or government policy. Just like Americans (unfortunately) could not control our government’s decision to invade Iraq. I was certainly vehemently opposed to the war from the beginning. I could not control the actions of my government.

    I maintain my view that anti-Semitism plays a major role in the motivation of many (not all) of people who support a boycott against Israel and not places like Iran and Egypt. I would never be a part of something so blatantly racist. I would take the boycott more seriously if it were against a list of countries even if it included Israel. To focus on Israel only when other countries are doing the same and worse is just anti-Semitism. I would never participate in a program that was racist in any way (against any group because of who they were). I view this boycott as racist. To answer supposed racism with a racist act is backward and unproductive.

    Two wrongs never made a right.


       —Jason    Oct. 5 '07 - 02:39AM    #
  402. hey – thursday’s JustFine™. what did pfc-ppls do at a meeting to invoke relocating `since bad behavior forced us out’, or woerds to that effect. ... /ducks udner flame cover. prolly history, but inquiring minds are inquireing.


       —toasty    Oct. 5 '07 - 10:03AM    #
  403. “boycotting is not intended to punish entities for past bad acts, but to convince them to change their current policies/behaviors (which is why boycotts are stopped when their goal is achieved.)”

    Yes, so if you were crafting the language for a boycott, you’d think it would be worth devoting particular care to the most concrete expression of the point of the boycott—the conditions under which it would end.


       —Bruce Fields    Oct. 5 '07 - 01:38PM    #
  404. Absolutely. It must be incomprehensible that any Palestinian should have the final say in anything. For example, when the boycott of Israel should end.

    Until now, such decisions were always left to the good white liberal progressive folk.


       —News    Oct. 5 '07 - 02:58PM    #
  405. Israeli soldiers, and those who look to them for guidance, cannot understand why any Palestinian should have the slightest say… in anything.

    Here is fresh testimony, published yesterday in “Ha’aretz”, about what the Israeli military does to occupied Palestinians:

    -
    Brutality of Occupation

    ““After two months in Rafah a [new] commanding officer arrived … So we do a first patrol with him. It’s 6 A.M., Rafah is under curfew, there isn’t so much as a dog in the streets. Only a little boy of four playing in the sand. He is building a castle in his yard. He [the officer] suddenly starts running and we all run with him. He was from the combat engineers. We all run with him. He grabbed the boy. Nufar, I am a degenerate if I am not telling you the truth. He broke his hand here at the wrist. Broke his hand at the wrist, broke his leg here. And started to stomp on his stomach, three times, and left. We are all there, jaws dropping, looking at him in shock … The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are already starting to do the same thing.”

    -
    A little boycott, on behalf of occupied Palestine, is the very least we can do. We should do much more.


       —News    Oct. 5 '07 - 04:19PM    #
  406. So, this has all devolved into the regular farce of the “anti-zionist” folks, huh?

    Has the vote happened? I don’t want to wade through the morass of idiots and zealots above.


       —js    Oct. 5 '07 - 07:00PM    #
  407. Dear Mrs. JS,

    Your lighthearted dis-regard for the rather dire situation of Palestine is an inspiration to us all. Imagine what a peaceful, happy world it would be if Israel could simply do as it pleased, without facing the slightest whiff of disapproval!

    Of course, Palestine would be gone. But, on the good side, you would still be here, full of light-hearted words of cheer.


       —News    Oct. 5 '07 - 07:15PM    #
  408. News- How do we know which Palestinians should have the “final say” on ending a boycott? Some seem to be for and some against. Alot of Palestinians seem to be against each other. What goes into your decision to back one group over the other?

    Also, News, you said the Board was “under orders” to be neutral. That was new to me and I’m trying to figure out who could even order that?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 5 '07 - 08:12PM    #
  409. “Black-on-Black violence” was also the excuse used by the white South African state, before it fell. The white regime claimed that Black people could not ever decide anything, could not ever govern in a civilised manner, because they were split and fragmented and killing each other.

    The media lovingly dwelt on “necklacing”: where spies for the white regime were burnt to death with tires around their necks, by the Black resistance, in public.

    Of course, the white regime was the source of all those bitter divisions. All of that division disappeared as soon as the apartheid state died. Many free and fair elections have followed.

    As will happen when the Israeli apartheid state meets a similar happy ending.

    The boycotts will help that day arrive sooner.


       —News    Oct. 5 '07 - 08:42PM    #
  410. Yeah, so is there anyone who isn’t just using this conversation to beat an endless drum of asinine anti-Israel bullshit who can tell me what’s happened?

    They had the vote, right? Have the results been announced?


       —js    Oct. 5 '07 - 10:17PM    #
  411. Have a voice:

    You still have not really explained why you single out Israel. You’ve explained only why Israel is bad and America is bad. Can you speak to the atrocities going on in Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as Israel or will you continue to ONLY talk about Israel?

    See, this is what makes your position so weak and why ultimately you’ll lose even if this particular referedum passes. You only stand up for certain people and not others. Your platform makes no sense.


       —Jason    Oct. 5 '07 - 11:02PM    #
  412. “As for your calling advocacy for human rights an “asinine anti-Israel bullshit”, I can only say this:”

    No, sorry, fuck you. Here’s the dance we’re gonna do: I object to your bullshit attempts to conflate your bad tactics, bad faith and ad hominem blatherings with pro-Palestinian/anti-Zionism activism. You’re going to respond with more spasms about how Israel, is, like, totally apartheid, man, and how, like, the Jews are just like the Nazis, man, and a handful of mealy-mouthed sidelong attempts to make anyone who disagrees with you party to the murder of Palestinians. I’m going to again ask if anyone not prone to ranting at bus-stops has any information, you’re going to again whine about how me wanting to get some sort of brief statement without scanning three hundred of your small cadre’s comments is totally oppressing brown people or some shit, and we’ll keep going ‘round and ‘round until someone who isn’t rhetorically retarded ventures in and says “Yeah, there was a vote. The boycott won/lost.” Then I’ll say “Thanks,” they’ll say, “No big deal,” and everyone will be happy, and you can go back to pretending that you care and are making a difference and I can go back to thinking about how glad I am that I don’t have to have an active role in running this site and putting up with your deranged ass-hattery any more.


       —js    Oct. 6 '07 - 01:50AM    #
  413. They had the vote, JS, but aren’t reporting the tally until the next Co-Op meeting/event/whatever-they-call-it this coming Thursday.

    Hope life on the real left coast is swell.


       —todd    Oct. 6 '07 - 02:26AM    #
  414. Thanks, Todd.

    Two (related) questions: Leopold’s gin in LA? Leopold’s (retail?) gin in Chicago?


       —js    Oct. 6 '07 - 02:34AM    #
  415. Nope and nope.

    We were courted by a Chicago firm, but the Head Fred was the biggest weasel I’ve ever met in my life. Bell’s Chicago problems put us on alert. We’ll get there eventually.

    For LA, we’ve spoken with no one.

    Do us both a favor, and pick up the November issue of GQ Magazine (no snickering, please), go to the best LA Spirits store you can find, show them the article (you’ll see what I mean), and ask the owner why the hell doesn’t he carry Leopold’s Gin.

    You’ll have our Gin on the shelves of said store within three months. Dead serious, and I’d greatly appreciate the help.


       —todd    Oct. 6 '07 - 02:58AM    #
  416. To “Have a Voice,” #439— The last time I was in Israel, several years ago, a young Palestinian woman was murdered by Muslim vigilantees in a drive-by shooting because she was strolling along the Mediterranian holding hands with her fiance (her sister witnessed the scene and recognized the people in the car). In posting #426, you asked, “Do you expect human rights activists in this town to roll-over (sic) and keep silent in the light of all the despicable actions of Israel?” Yet “roll over” is precisely what you and your fellow pro-Palestinan/anti Israel posters do when it comes to the despicable actions of Palestinians (and please note that, unlike what you and your fellow posters do in the case of Israel, I don’t label all actions and all Palestinians as despicable). You and yours rolled over when Jason posed questions about the treatment of gays in the Palestinian territories. You and yours never mention the vicious Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip, in which Hamas partisans tossed live victims from rooftops. You and yours quote profusely from the Israeli press, yet never notice that it’s a free press, while reporters are commonly muzzled, kidnapped, and intimidated in the Gaza Strip. Are you ignorant of these things? Or are you merely indifferent to them? If you went to the Gaza Strip today and were kidnapped by an armed gang, or tortured because you were gay, or because of something you said inadvertently, or if your girlfriend was killed because you held hands with her, I could gues that you’d blame Israel. You and your pro-Palestinian allies use “human rights” as a hammer to bash Israel, but it’s a tool you apply quite clumsily. I submit that you and your fellow posters are more interested in bashing Israel than you are in the rights and welfare of the Palestinians. A little humanity on your part would be welcome.


       —Fred Horowitz    Oct. 6 '07 - 02:29PM    #
  417. Have a Voice:

    Ironic how you are trying to persuade me to stand up for Palestinian human rights when if I went to the Palestinian areas in the West Bank or Gaza and tried to stand up for them with my partner, I would be thrown in jail or worse for being gay. Then, I ask, who would stand up for me?

    I am supposed to use up time and energy to help create a country where people like me will not be allowed to live in freedom? I am supposed to participate in boycotts to support people who don’t want people like me to exist?

    What about all of the gay persons “languishing” in Palestinian authority jails and jails all around the Arab world “unlamented” by yourself or anyone else in the Palestinian or Arab media?

    When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia and was asked about human rights for gay people, his response was “Iran does not have gay people like in America.” The Palestinian leaders have the same mentality. This is what you want me and others to defend and to work for?

    You’ve got to be kidding.


       —Jason    Oct. 6 '07 - 03:48PM    #
  418. Here is an article in today’s AA News about the delay in reporting the vote.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 6 '07 - 04:51PM    #
  419. “Do us both a favor, and pick up the November issue of GQ Magazine (no snickering, please), go to the best LA Spirits store you can find, show them the article (you’ll see what I mean), and ask the owner why the hell doesn’t he carry Leopold’s Gin.

    You’ll have our Gin on the shelves of said store within three months. Dead serious, and I’d greatly appreciate the help.”

    Cool. Can do. There’s a high-end spirits shop not too far from here, and there’s BevMo, which prides itself on getting EVERYTHING. I’ll get dapped up and inquire why a Gentleman like myself can’t get the hooch I so rightly deserve.


       —js    Oct. 6 '07 - 07:02PM    #
  420. “News” and “Tell it like it is” cite a report about the brutal actions of some Israeli soldiers in Rafah – from which Israel has withdrawn. It is an account from the 1980s that appears in a new story on an Israeli psychologist ‘s research reported yesterday in an Israeli newspaper, on the brutalizing effects of conflict. Similar inquiry into some violence by some by Palestinians (if ever conducted and if ever reported) would show the same horrible dynamic and be filled with anecdotes of equally inhumane brutality (Kobi Mandell’s murder comes to mind – though, of course, an armed force has much more opportunity to express violence than do civilians). When asked to summarize the message of her work the researcher answered “The message might be too complex for a newspaper article.” How much more so for this forum!

    The last two paragraphs of the newspaper (Ha’Artez) article are particularly worth reading:

    “Freud talks about the destructive aggressive instinct. In a letter to Einstein in 1932, Freud wrote, ‘Musing on the atrocities recorded on history’s page, we feel that the ideal motive has often served as a camouflage for the lust of destruction.’ That has existed in everyone, in all languages and in all religions, across all the hundreds and thousands of years of history, and probably even before. There are some cultures that are more violent, yes, but violence appears in every culture. There are situations that provoke it and cause the violence to well up to the surface.

    “There is nothing surprising about the reaction of the soldiers who were sent there,” Yishai-Karin [the researcher]continues. “In a situation of neglect, without supervision of the senior command, without genuine psychological research, without any examination, they operated on the basis of instincts and emotions. But despite everything that happened there, not a few soldiers acquitted themselves honorably, thanks to values, support from home, professionalism and self-restraint. Political opinions had no influence on behavior at all; political opinions changed in accordance with behavior, not vice versa.”

    What is this about gin? Is it distilled locally? Can I get some?


       —Dan Cutler    Oct. 6 '07 - 08:41PM    #
  421. Have a Voice:

    Besides the fact that what you’re writing on this blog is all half-truth (and that’s even giving it way too much credit) considering I have Palestinian friends who are not getting “half-ton bombs” dropped on their houses and are university educated, you have no idea what the outcome of the vote will be. It has not yet been officially announced.

    Also, your answers clearly prove you know NOTHING about the Middle East, the Palestinians or the Israelis. Try and take a survey of Israeli Arab citizens of Israel and ask them whether they would rather live under Israeli/Jewish rule or under a Palestinian ruled/majority government. You can believe what you want, but the Arabs in Israel are thousands of times better off then their counterparts in other Arab lands.

    The Palestinians officially stated they don’t want your boycotts. People like you hurt their cause and bring them down further which also proves you could not care less about the Palestinians. You want them kept down so you can have an excuse to blame and scapegoat Israel. The Palestinians know that peace with Israel is the only chance they have for a sovereign nation. The vast majority of Israelis want peace with them as well.

    By the way, will you also participate in the boycott of products sold in China and other Arab countries in the Middle East that have horrible human rights records? Not replacing the Israeli boycott just in addition to? It’s a simple yes or no question.

    You’re losing a lot of credibility with your answers so I’m trying to help you win some of it back.


       —Jason    Oct. 7 '07 - 03:36AM    #
  422. Jason,
    You need to stop trying to get the attention off Israel and onto other countries. If people want to boycott Israel, let them boycott. This is America, after all. There’s a tremendous problem going on there, and it does need to be resolved. Changing the subject is not the answer. Complaining how terrible other Arabs are is not the answer. Every person in that area must be treated with respect and dignity and not put into categories, gay, jew arab, etc. Remember, one of the reason the US is such a good place to live is its tolerance. Supporting any set of human beings who do not treat all humans as first and above all, equals is a mistake.


       —Emilia    Oct. 7 '07 - 02:31PM    #
  423. Emilia:

    I am not trying to get all of the attention off of Israel at all. I am trying to bring attention to what’s going on in the entire region and that these issues should not be lost in the focus on Israel. If you would read my posts carefully, you will see that I completely acknowledge there is a problem there. I want people to acknowledge there is a problem everywhere and to support Palestinians are just as racist as people say Israel is, is not the answer.

    Have a voice:

    The difference between myself and “homophobic individuals who always insist they have gay cousins,” is:

    1) I am by no means anti-Palestinian (like those homophobic people you mentioned).

    2) Unlike the gratuitous remarks of “I have gay friends or cousins” I actually do have two close Palestinian gay friends. They are actually friends, not acquaintances My friends look at Israel as a refuge and are persecuted by their fellow Palestinians. My issue is that you refuse to see this or discuss it. One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. To many gay Palestinians, Israel is their ONLY hope to live a normal life. I am not saying you should take the focus completely off the bad things Israel does but also acknowledge that for some Israel is a refuge and that the Palestinians also have committed atrocities and are doing very bad things, not just to the Israelis but to each other.

    I have traveled extensively throughout that area and have had the chance to speak with real people from both sides. I’ve also had the chance to speak with Israeli peace activists. The VAST majority of the people who I spoke with want a two-state solution. They want a country of Palestine living side-by-side in peace with a Jewish State (Israel). The Palestinians that I spoke with did not really want to live with the Israelis. They want their own sovereign nation recognized by the world community.

    I have NEVER said that there is not a huge problem in the Palestinian areas and that human rights abuses are not occurring. My issue is that you place the blame solely on Israel and ignore other factors.

    There is no way Israel can just open its borders and let millions of Palestinians into the country. Where would they go? How would they get jobs? How would they get healthcare? The demographic issue aside, it’s just not realistic to all of a sudden have millions of extra people flood into an already small and overpopulated area.

    The only realistic solution is a two-state one.

    Speaking of solutions, Have a voice, what is your goal with these boycotts and what would be the criteria to end them? What is your general solution for that region? Is it a two-state solution or do you think Israel should not exist at all?

    The reason you are losing credibility is because you cannot (or will not) answer certain questions I pose to you. You also will not acknowledge anything that the Palestinians have done in the past and are doing presently to hurt their situation. You don’t acknowledge that millions of dollars and euros have poured into the Palestinian authority over the years. These funds never went to help the people, they went into the corrupt leader’s hands. They stole money from their own people. You remain silent to all the injustice that goes on in the Arab world and malign Israel.

    I asked a specific question about if you would stand up for me if my partner and I went to these areas and stood up for Palestinian rights and were thrown in jail (or worse). You didn’t answer. I guess that means you would not stand up for me.

    See, that’s why you are losing credibility.
    You are standing up for a racist, homophobic, male-dominated society. The Israelis might be racist as you say toward the Palestinians. But you as a “human rights activist” feel that you stand up for racism by defending and supporting other racists? That’s not how you gain credibility. That’s how you lose credibility and your word means nothing.

    If you REALLY want to stand up for human rights, boycott Palestine, boycott Israel and boycott every Arab country in the world as well as China. Then you will have credibility.

    Let’s look at the Amnesty International Reports of what goes on in the Arab world. Then let the Ann Arbor peace activists decide whether or not they should take action:

    1) Egypt: http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE120312007

    The above article talks about how freedom of the press is squelched in Egypt. Will Ann Arbor vote to boycott Egyptian goods until Egypt allows freedom of the press?

    2) Yemen:
    http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE310112007

    The above article discusses Yemen’s capital punishment for those under 18 years of age.

    3) Iran:
    http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE130852007

    The above article talks about horrible human rights abuses in Iran and how Amnesty International is very concerned. Iran continues to have one of the highest capital punishment rate in the world. Women continue to suffer daily with discrimination. Will Ann Arbor vote to boycott Iran until this stops?

    Palestinian Authority:
    http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE210112007

    Amnesty calls on the PA to end attacks and abductions against their own people and foreign journalists. Should Ann Arbor be standing up for the Palestinian government when they commit these kinds of crimes and are responsible for human rights abuses of their own? Should we turn a blind eye to the suffering of women and homosexuals and Christians living within the Palestinian authority who are regularly and systematically discriminated against? Should we condone this by supporting and financing their cause?

    The list of human rights abuses and horrible discrimination in the Arab world and within the Palestinian authority can go on and on and on.

    Before you give you typical answer to me saying well Israel does this and that, I am NOT (NOT) saying that Israel is innocent. I NEVER have. What I AM saying is that if we are to be TRUE human rights activists and stand up for the weaker, then we MUST stand up for EVERYONE. This includes:

    1) WOMEN openly discriminated against in the Arab world and the Palestinian authority.

    2) GAY men and women openly discriminated against in the Arab world and the Palestinian authority.

    3) Capital punishment for children in the Arab world and in the Palestinian authority.

    Until we acknowledge and stand up for everyone, the human rights activists in Ann Arbor and throughout the world have ZERO credibility and will never effect change.

    Thank you.


       —Jason    Oct. 7 '07 - 03:33PM    #
  424. HAV writes: “Anti-slavery activists, in the 1850’s, did not wait until all other world problems were addressed to Mr. Jason’s liking. No, they tackled and destroyed the institution of slavery.”

    Nope, they did not. Nor did they succeed in rallying more than 1% of opinion in the North toward immediate abolition in slavery. If anything, they repelled and alienated most people. (Read any scholarly history of abolitionism.)

    Lots of people in the 1850s called themselves “anti-slavery”, but they would have been mightily offended if you called them “abolitionists”. Rather, they hoped that slavery would eventually fade away.

    Nor did the North go to war to extinguish slavery. After all, many Unionists (e.g. in Kentucky and Missouri) were slaveowners. The North went to war to preserve the Union. Slavery was destroyed, yes, but as a side effect of what became total war to destroy the Confederacy.

    Your misunderstanding of American history rivals your misunderstanding of the Middle East!


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 7 '07 - 04:50PM    #
  425. That argument is perhaps your weakest yet.

    Educated people know that world problems were not addressed in the same way back in the 1850s because we did not have the same access to information we do now. People acted locally to effect change back then because communication and travel was not advanced.

    Today, we have the advantage of free-flowing information via the Internet, television and sophisticated journalism (both mainstream and independent). We have the advantage of being able to easily travel around the world to see for ourselves what goes on in the world and in places like the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. Today, we have organizations such as Amnesty International who act as our eyes and ears and via modern-day technology and communicate this information to us.

    Because we now have access to this information and know exactly what is happening everywhere (not just Israel and Palestinian areas) we as human rights activists have a responsibility to stand up for ALL people including gays, women and minorities in various nations that might face discrimination.

    You still refuse to answer this one simple question:

    If my partner and I went to the Palestinian areas in the West Bank and stood with them and supported their human rights cause while holding hands, would you stand up for me after I was thrown in jail (or worse) by the Palestinian authority for being gay?

    You’ve made your point about why you’re against the Israeli government and its current policies, I understand that. My question becomes, how can you justify standing up for the Palestinian government when their policy is one of discrimination toward gays/women and the Christian minority living within their territory?


       —Jason    Oct. 7 '07 - 05:08PM    #
  426. Emilia:

    “Supporting any set of human beings who do not treat all humans as first and above all, equals is a mistake.”

    That statement supports my argument to not support the Palestinians because of their policy of not treating all humans as equals. I am not saying “love Israel and hate the Palestinians.” I am saying stop supporting either group, including the Arab states guilty of the same things.

    I agree with you that the US is a good place to live. However, if you compare Israel and the US just on gay rights (I am separating this for one-second from their policy toward the Palestinians) you would see that I as a gay person have more rights in Israel then I do in the United States. Is Israel perfect? Nope. Not by any means.

    You say: “Remember, one of the reason the US is such a good place to live is its tolerance.” Try being gay in the US and see if you experience “tolerance.” Unless you live in the Ann Arbor bubble or within major cities within this country, tolerance is the LAST thing a gay person experiences. There are amendments being passed to individual state constitutions all over this “tolerant” country that will ban gay marriage which means I will not have the same rights as my heterosexual friends who enjoy the benefit of the option of marriage. There are still parts of this country where being gay can get you dismissed from your job. Our own military will not allow openly gay persons to serve.

    This is your definition of “tolerance”? Interesting.


       —Jason    Oct. 7 '07 - 06:03PM    #
  427. Larry, please help me understand your position. Are you saying that the abolitionists 1% actually “repelled and alienated” more people than they attracted to their cause? Who were they “alienating”? The slave-owners? Well that’s interesting that you would side with that perspective! (Trent Lott’s reference to “troublemakers” comes to mind, but I don’t think you meant it that way…uh…did ya?)

    I’m taking your argument to its logical conclusion, and it would seem that you are implying that slavery would have been abolished sooner, were it not for the abolitionists getting in there and pissing everybody off. Now I’m paraphrasing here, so please correct me if I’m wrong about your position.

    You point out the relative apathy of the majority. But that seems to disprove your point by itself. Would the abolition of slavery have ever occurred if it were left up to the (“just hope slavery eventually fades away”) masses? That would not have seemed likely.

    If the proponents of meaningful change were required to wait for a consensus of opinion, and were required to equally object simultaneously to every other injustice under the sun , then there wouldn’t hardly ever be any meaningful change, and things would stay just the way things are. Which is just how some want it.

    Larry, I think your facts actually support HAV’s position. But that’s just my opinion and I’m no scholar.


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 7 '07 - 09:02PM    #
  428. Michael, I was responding to the contention that anti-slavery activists destroyed slavery.

    We honor the abolitionists, whose moral position in that era is the only one we can identify with. They were right, but they were remarkably ineffective in getting others see things their way.

    Andrew Dickson White, professor at the University of Michigan, and later president of Cornell University, was an anti-slavery activist in that era. Yet in his autobiography, he repeatedly disdains the abolitionists as “short haired women and long haired men”. They were seen as the lunatic fringe, with no regard for the “property rights” of slaveowners.

    Anti-slavery men like White were concerned with confronting the political power of the slave owners and the slave trade, rather than directly attacking slavery in the South.

    Because Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, some think of him retroactively as an abolitionist before the war, but he never would have been nominated or elected if he had been.

    In his Second Inaugural Address (March 1865, not long before his death), Lincoln, speaking in theological terms, blamed the unexpected length and brutality of the war on the unaddressed moral wrong of slavery. Many eager writers have tried to discern other paths history could have taken, but Lincoln’s perspective ought to be sobering.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 7 '07 - 10:10PM    #
  429. I forgot to mention that the autobiography of Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918) is online now, through Project Gutenberg: Volume One and Volume Two.

    White was active in politics, academics, and diplomacy in the late 19th century, was close to quite a few major figures, and has many interesting things to say.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 7 '07 - 10:27PM    #
  430. Have a voice:

    Your answer is so full of ignorance and absurdity that I will not even begin to write a response.

    Gay Palestinian homes? There are none. Gays are not allowed to exist in the Palestinian areas.

    You’re pointing out to me that certain Nazis were gay and that should change my position? You’re clueless. So you’re saying because those Nazis were gay, gay people should be discriminated against by the Palestinians? That’s horrible and talk about racist.

    Also, more ignorance on your part comparing what the Nazis did to the Jews to the Israelis and the Palestinians. Any (even slightly) educated person knows there’s a huge difference.

    Jews in Nazi occupied Europe did not carry passports or have their own airport or universities. Are there human rights abuses? Yes. Is it like the SA and SS in Nazi Germany? Not even close.

    Your making these comparisons to make people upset. It’s a weak attempt to mask the fact that you know nothing about the Middle East, Palestinians or history.


       —Jason    Oct. 7 '07 - 10:33PM    #
  431. Also, if gay persons are given civil rights in a country and then commit certain acts, they are not doing it because they are gay. A little too many Red Herrings here.

    Let’s stick to the point: How can you stand up for the Palestinians when Amnesty International has condemned many of their actions, and when they openly discriminate against minorities within their ranks? Gay Palestinians are victims twice. By their own people and by the occupation. You won’t say anything because you’re afraid to take the Palestinians out of their “victims” status.

    The Palestinians have done just as many horrible things as the Israelis.

    You’re a human rights activist who sticks up for one group only and lets everyone else suffer.

    You have zero credibility and people see through it.


       —Jason    Oct. 8 '07 - 12:32AM    #
  432. Larry, you set up a straw man with your argument here and here that the “extreme” abolitionists were relatively far less influential than the comparatively “moderate” anti-slavery movement. If you look again at HAV’s post, you see that HAV used the term “anti-slavery” not “abolitionists” so your argument against the “repelling and alienating” abolitionists 1% was a bit misplaced.

    I wouldn’t be calling you on this except that you used this to support your contention that HAV had a “misunderstanding of American History”. The misunderstanding was not HAV’s, who with the use of the term “anti-slavery activists”, encompassed the whole movement, including the “extreme” abolitionists (who were also anti-slavery, but also believed in equality for the freed slaves). Understood correctly, HAV’s claim that the anti-slavery activists “tackled and destroyed the institution of slavery” can hardly be characterized as a misunderstanding of American History.

    This reminds me of an earlier exchange in this thread when the ironically-named “Fact Checker” presented a Golda Meir quote with the intent of refuting another poster’s claim, when the quote actually confirmed it.

    Larry, when otherwise reasonable and seemingly intelligent men like yourself make such obvious mistakes in comprehending what they read, it would seem that some sort of cognitive dissonance must be at work. Am I on to something, here, or is there an alternative explanation?


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 8 '07 - 02:34AM    #
  433. Um, no, Michael, you’re attributing all kinds of stuff to me that is irrelevant to my point.

    Anti-slavery political activists, however you define the term, did not destroy slavery. Period. The Union Army destroyed slavery.

    I made the distinction between the (moderate) “anti-slavery” faction and (radical) “abolitionists” because only the latter was interested in putting an end to slavery right away.

    HAV says “they tackled and destroyed the institution of slavery,” which would in no way describe what the prewar moderates thought they were up to. That’s why I interpreted his comment to be about abolitionists.

    Tension over slavery set the stage for the Civil War, yes, but concern about the issue was overwhelmingly greater in the pro-slavery South than in the pro-union North.

    Look at the rhetoric of late 1860 and early 1861. Politicians who led the North into war spoke of preserving the Union. Politicians who led the South into war spoke of protecting slavery.

    The war destroyed slavery, but that was not the original goal. Arguably, it was never a goal of the war.

    Now, is that really so hard to comprehend?


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 8 '07 - 04:38AM    #
  434. Michael,

    Golda Meir, when asked about the Palestinian movement, responded by placing the term “Palestinian” in historical context.

    You may agree or disagree with her point of view, but only a liar claims that she said someone other than what she said, and only a liar claims that she advocated “ethnic cleansing” when she did not.

    Chuck L proved himself to be a liar. You prove to be one as well.


       —Fact Checker    Oct. 8 '07 - 01:29PM    #
  435. Golda Meir (a Milwaukee girl who graduated to the genocidal position of Prime Minister of Israel)
    said these ugly words, as reported in a June 15, 1969 interview in London’s “Sunday Times”:

    Golda Meir: “...There was no such a thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian State?

    “It was either southern Syria before the First World War and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

    - End of Quote.
    =======================

    There certainly was nothing called “The Israeli People”, before Zionist gangs committed genocide in 1948, wiping a million Palestinians out of Palestine, with blood and iron, with rape and mass murder.

    Then these same racist gangs, led by the likes of Begin, Meir, Sharon, swept in as many white Europeans as they possibly could, and drafted them all into the same racist gangs.

    You call those gangs the “Israel Defense Forces”, but they are still the same racist gangs.

    Sabra and Shatila is one of many massacres supervised and led by the so-called “Israel Defense Forces”.

    Please do not insult Co-op members’ intelligence by claiming that Palestinians never existed. Please do not try to prettify Israeli genocide. Even lipstick and a slinky party dress will not alter the true appearance of a genocidal beast. The boycott of that racist beast is richly justified. Which is why Co-op members voted for it.


       —News    Oct. 8 '07 - 03:16PM    #
  436. Fact Checker, I was only commenting that a *literal reading of the Meir quote seems to contradict what you purported it to represent. In your post, you placed the quote directly under Chuck L’s statement that Golda Meir stated that the Palestinians and Palestine do not exist. But the very last sentence of the Meir quote reads, “They did not exist”, which seems to contradict your statement that Chuck L’s claim was false. Now you qualify Meir’s words by saying she was speaking in a “historical” sense and I concede that, technically, Chuck L’s paraphrasing of her quote placed her words in a present tense, (“do not exist” vs “did not exist”). So perhaps in a hyper-technical sense (if one considers a slightly inaccurate paraphrase as a “lie”), one could say that Chuck and I are both “liars” on this matter. But that’s splitting hairs a bit, eh?

    Larry, the issue of whether the anti-slavery activists “destroyed slavery” is complex and open to varying interpretation according to how the terms are defined. When Abraham Lincoln spoke in 1858, that “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” he was stating that for the United States to be a unified nation, it would have to become either all slave, or all free. This could be interpreted as the words of an anti-slavery advocate intent on “destroying slavery”, which eventually occurred as the result of the civil war. Of course, the counter-argument is that later Lincoln expressed his position that preserving the union was his main priority, regardless of the slavery issue.

    A lot of gray area here, Larry, so you would concede that your black-and-white declaration that HAV demonstrated a misunderstanding of American history was a bit of an overstatement, eh?


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 8 '07 - 05:13PM    #
  437. Michael, you’re misreading pre-Civil War rhetoric with post-Civil War eyes.

    It is impossible to clearly understand what happened in that era unless you let go of the romantic notion (accepted by no serious historian) that the North went to war to destroy slavery.

    So, yeah, “misunderstanding” (on your part, and HAV’s) would be a mild way to put it.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 8 '07 - 05:31PM    #
  438. So the North did not go to war to destroy slavery.

    The Co-op voters do intend to destroy Israeli apartheid. The Co-op boycott, against Israeli goods, is an extremely peaceful way to go about it.


       —News    Oct. 8 '07 - 05:43PM    #
  439. Do explain, Larry. If slavery was not the central political issue that led to the American Civil War, then what was?

    What issue moved the southern states to secede from the USA if it wasn’t slavery?

    For what reason was the Confederacy formed, if it wasn’t slavery?

    What issue made Confederates willing to take up arms against the Union if it wasn’t to protect the institution of slavery?

    If the institution of slavery was totally removed from the political situation that led to the war, are you saying that the war would have happened, anyway? For what reasons?

    And please, Larry, do be more specific about these unnamed “serious historians” you allude to, that have done away with the “romantic notion” that slavery was the cause of the war.


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 8 '07 - 08:59PM    #
  440. Yeah, scratch those questions, Larry. This thread is already long enough without us carrying on with our side issues. Maybe some other time you can enlighten me on this civil war/slavery thing.


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 8 '07 - 10:38PM    #
  441. You’re right, we should leave this thread to more current issues. But see #462 for the answers to those first three questions, at least.

    Slave owners were accustomed to great deference from the President and Congress. For many years, it was impermissible even to criticize slavery in Congress. And even after the rules were changed, Charles Sumner was beaten nearly to death by a South Carolina congressman for daring to do so.

    Lincoln and the Republicans advocated containing slavery, not wiping it out. But the Southerners themselves decided they couldn’t live under a regime that placed limits on the spread of slavery. When Lincoln was elected, they were apoplectic, and secession resulted.

    As I keep saying: the North went to war to stop secession, not to destroy slavery.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 8 '07 - 11:42PM    #
  442. Remember Lincoln’s quote when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe.(she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin)“So your the little lady who wrote the book that started this Great War.” You’re quibbling, Larry. The South seceded to maintain their wealth – which meant to maintain slavery.
    Sometimes shining a light on a subject publicly can have very strong ramifications toward resolving a problem, even if it takes generations to rectify.


       —emilia    Oct. 9 '07 - 12:41AM    #
  443. The Boycott Israeli Goods-Ann Arbor (BIG-AA) campaign is satisfied with the way the election has been conducted, including the announcement of the results on October 11.
    The Co-op Treasurer Pete S. mentioned this in an earlier post (403), but we think it bears repeating in the recent context of posts (385,393,400,404,406) that are very negative towards the board and the election process.

    We emphasize the violations of Palestinian human rights by Israel and the resulting humanitarian crisis as the reasons for proposing a boycott of Israeli products by the Co-op, and we have worked with the Co-op board in a respectful manner.

    Unfortunately, supporters of the boycott who are not part of BIG-AA have engaged in behaviors our group does not support or condone, such as the recent negative posts and the carrying of signs and distribution of leaflets that are antithetical to the tone we have set for our campaign.


       —Linda Wotring    Oct. 9 '07 - 02:27AM    #
  444. No, I’m not quibbling. What Lincoln meant was that Stowe’s book had increased the South’s paranoia over what was going to happen when they lost control of the national government. NOT that she had gotten the North to rise up and vanquish slavery by force of arms.

    Yes, absolutely, the South seceded in an attempt to maintain its wealth and its brutal status quo (didn’t I say that several times already in different words?). That is NOT the same thing as the North going to war to destroy slavery.

    Is it too complicated to understand that the South started the war? Not the North?

    But I’m tired of repeating myself. If y’all want to cling to your stirring romantic mythology, go ahead. I give up.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 9 '07 - 02:32AM    #
  445. HAV, I reject the benign view of American slavery. The Dunning-Burgess school was questioned in the 1960s and widely repudiated in the 1970s. (It’s fair to ask why it took so long.)

    I apologize for venting my frustration in the harsh and arrogant words I used in #475. But I am tired of arguing about it.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 9 '07 - 02:56AM    #
  446. Thanks for the vote of support, Linda (474). It has been a bit trying.


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 9 '07 - 03:04AM    #
  447. I’m glad to read #474 as well.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 9 '07 - 01:58PM    #
  448. Hope you’re equally glad to see Co-op members standing up for human rights in the occupied land of Palestine.


       —News    Oct. 9 '07 - 05:08PM    #
  449. I think it would be a good idea to wait for the vote count before claiming victory, don’t you, Blaine?


       —David Cahill    Oct. 9 '07 - 05:52PM    #
  450. Ms. Linda Wotring,

    With all due respect, may I ask how come the BIG-AA campaign chose January 2006 to “emphasize the violations of Palestinian human rights”?

    Have you all not been members of the People’s Food Co-op for decades? Has the Co-op not been selling Israeli made products all this time? Why chose to start a BIG campaign now?

    Why did you not get-together and “emphasize the violations of Palestinian human rights” 10 years ago?

    Palestine was burning then as it is now. The IDF was killing with impunity then as it is now.

    How did you find it in your heart to stay silent about Israeli atrocities so long and why start a boycott campaign now?

    Is it not because of the fact that your understanding of the conditions in the Middle East, and specifically Palestine, has “significantly changed” (to use the words of Ms. Linda Diane Feldt, Co-op Board President).

    Has your change of heart not been due to tireless work of those you denounce today?

    In all honesty would there have been a BIG-AA campaign to expose Israel’s crimes without those you denounce?


       —Tell it like it is    Oct. 9 '07 - 06:19PM    #
  451. Not everone on this list is aware that nearly 1,000 people petitioned the Co-op for a total boycott of all Israeli products, due to Israel’s grave mistreatment and occupation of Palestine.

    Of those boycott-Israel petitioners, over 600 were finally certified as official members of the Co-op, according to the Co-op’s very exclusive standards (no family members count, etc.) Read the media accounts and you will see.

    The Co-op Board then insisted, over B.I.G.‘s objections, on giving Zionists all of July, to stuff the ballot box by rushing to join-and-vote. You should have seen the local Zionist leadership running to the Co-op, to quickly “join”, in their desperate final days of July.

    Then you should have seen them line up in droves, the ink hardly dry on their membership forms, to pack the ballot box on the first day of voting. Could they really defeat the boycott-Israel referendum, using their old methods: writing checks, slandering boycotters as “anti-Semitic”?

    No.

    Not even that blatant Zionist fraud, facilitated in broad daylight by the Board, will be enough to overcome the community’s sheer disgust at generations of Israeli torture, rape, murder, and starvation of Palestine.

    Now all the Zionists have left is brute force, and brute theft of elections, as they have been trying (and failing) to do in Gaza.

    The arrogantly racist violence of Israeli occupation is what finally carries boycotts of Israel to victory.

    Be proud of what you accomplised by voting for this great humanitarian boycott, against every last grain of salt from the racist State of Israel.

    Palestinian life is worth every minute of your efforts.


       —News    Oct. 9 '07 - 06:29PM    #
  452. Have_a_voice and NEws, why are you reporting the results of the voting? Have you tampered with the ballots?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 9 '07 - 06:41PM    #
  453. In every honest ballot measure, every debate, to boycott Israel, or to divest from Israel, Israel is in serious trouble. This is why Zionists don’t seek to win debates: they seek to prevent them.

    Israel’s obvious racist violence, against perfectly helpless occupied people, has revolted Co-op members, by the hundreds.

    Zionists cannot win, unles they buy you or kill you. In Palestine, they kill you.


       —News    Oct. 9 '07 - 06:51PM    #
  454. In response to 484:

    Not everone on this list is aware that nearly 1,000 people petitioned the Co-op for a total boycott of all Israeli products, due to Israel’s grave mistreatment and occupation of Palestine. Of those boycott-Israel petitioners, over 600 were finally certified as official members of the Co-op, according to the Co-op’s very exclusive standards (no family members count, etc.) Read the media accounts and you will see.

    Um, no offense, but the media can and do get it wrong (just as you have). The actual number of petition signatures turned in to the co-op for validation was 930; those that were cleared as valid were 478. Many people indicated in letters, in person and in e-mails that they signed the petition for democracy’s sake, to have a vote, and had no intention of claiming support for the boycott.

    The Co-op Board then insisted, over B.I.G.‘s objections, on giving Zionists all of July, to stuff the ballot box by rushing to join-and-vote. You should have seen the local Zionist leadership running to the Co-op, to quickly “join”, in their desperate final days of July.

    The Board did not insist, but compromised, on a date of July 31 to cut off eligibility for voting (this at the June 21 meeting). Members had to stay members (i.e., not join, vote, and ask for their money back) through the voting period.

    That meant that anyone who joined in good faith (i.e., not specifically to vote on this issue) after July 31 were disfranchised – their membership rights considered invalid for this purpose.

    Normally we have about 45 people a month join the co-op. We had 87 in July, a near-doubling. We watched carefully to see if there really was an effort to ‘stack’ the vote by one side or the other of this issue. I can definitely assert that the extra 42 over expected members were from both camps, so somewhat cancelled each other out. Given that quorum was just under 600, the extra voters could have had an effect in a close vote that just met quorum. That effect is considerably less given that 1128 valid ballots were cast and counted (the largest vote PFC has ever had, I reckon).

    Not even that blatant Zionist fraud, facilitated in broad daylight by the Board, will be enough to overcome the community’s sheer disgust at generations of Israeli torture, rape, murder, and starvation of Palestine.

    The Board neither perpetrated nor facilitated any fraud, either of certification to vote or of intent to hold a free and fair election.

    Tune in tomorrow, and then you’ll know the result.

    And if it isn’t obvious to everyone yet, “News”, “Tell it like it is”, “Have_a_voice”, “OWBanker”, “Peace”, “Boycott” and “Oversight” are almost definitely the same person (Bruce Fields complained of this earlier, but declined to ride herd). It’s too bad that some posters here are falling for the bait-and-switch, and it’s also a shame that OWPeaceNewsVoice etc. doesn’t channel all the energy it takes to play so many personae into something more constructive.

    Sorry, but this is getting old, and I’m tired of unsupported attacks on the board and its process (not that you were the only one, but certainly most of it).


       —Peter Schermerhorn, PFC Treasurer    Oct. 10 '07 - 06:14AM    #
  455. Hey, Bruce, where are you when we really need you?


       —David Cahill    Oct. 10 '07 - 12:19PM    #
  456. I am what I am, I believe what I believe, I have done what I have done. Obviously. My Green candidacy and my board position are two separate things, but not incompatible. Greens are committed to social justice and personal and global responsibility. We are also committed to respect for diversity, so never, ever try to squelch other opinions, nor silence opposition.

    I believe my opinions on these matters are still a matter of public record. I won’t go into them here. I am not ashamed of anything. You’re pissing on the wrong guy (as usual).


       —Peter Schermerhorn    Oct. 10 '07 - 03:05PM    #
  457. Peter, I hope you aren’t suggesting that Blaine should piss on some other guy. I think that, as a general rule, it’s best to refrain from pissing on people.


       —Justaskin    Oct. 10 '07 - 03:31PM    #
  458. The Israeli army has killed (not just “pissed on”, but killed) so many thousands of Palestinians.

    Up until now, the entire Democratic Party, from the Palestinian-killing City Council on up, has been able to ensure public silence on Palestine. Silence means a lot more death in Palestine, as Israeli tanks crush whole populations.

    Now even ex-leaders in the Green Party are trying to keep the word “Palestine” out of the debate.

    What if Ann Arbor Democrats had NOT blocked Palestine resolutions in City Council, from January of 1984 until now? Many thousands of Palestinians would have been alive today, and their children, and some grandchildren, too.

    What if Ann Arbor Green candidates had dared to give a loud voice to Palestine, in the media of Ann Arbor? What if the Greens had led marches into City Council, to demand divestment and boycott resolutions against Israel?

    Why didn’t they?
    Why don’t they?

    Do the dead silent Greens of the past, and the Palestine-killing Democrats of the present, have any decency left, any small voice for Palestinian human rights left in their throats?

    Don’t imagine that Muslim and Arab Ann Arbor can be taken for granted. Don’t imagine that real human rights advocates don’t notice your silence on Palestine, as it starves. You know, full well, that Palestinian children suffer serious malnutrition, serious anemia, permanent developmental deficiencies that you and your ally Israel, are fully responsible for.

    Your running away from the issue of Palestine is noted. If you stood up for humanity in Palestine, you would be much better remembered.


       —News    Oct. 10 '07 - 04:15PM    #
  459. Hey, Bruce, where are you when we really need you?

    bruce is very busy with other things this week.

    personally, i am waiting for the day that blaine’s sock puppets turn on one another, in a parry vs. eliza frenzy.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 10 '07 - 09:51PM    #
  460. Zionists can only think in terms of macho violence, directed against Palestinians. Or directed against anyone who says a word implying that Palestinians are human beings, worthy of normal human rights.

    The previous author is voicing his violent fantasy of paranoid schizophrenia (the “Parry” character). Instead of, at long last, confronting the fact that Palestinians are full human beings.

    It should be obvious that Palestinians are worthy of full human rights. It should be obvious that Palestinians deserve NOT ONE SINGLE DAY of being occupied by a colonial army.

    Guess what? That IS obvious to Co-op voters.
    Let no one be surprised to find that out.


       —News    Oct. 10 '07 - 10:21PM    #
  461. Please promise us win or lose on the boycott issue you’ll stfu about it for a while. Give us a week will ya? Take that time to re-tin foil your hat or something useful.


       —Thomas Cook    Oct. 11 '07 - 03:46AM    #
  462. Zionists can only think in terms of macho violence, directed against Palestinians.

    Please go on.

    Or directed against anyone who says a word implying that Palestinians are human beings, worthy of normal human rights.

    Would you like it if they were not human beings worthy of normal human rights?

    The previous author is voicing his violent fantasy of paranoid schizophrenia (the “Parry” character).

    Please go on.

    Instead of, at long last, confronting the fact that Palestinians are full human beings.

    Would you like it if they were not full human beings?

    It should be obvious that Palestinians are worthy of full human rights.

    Would you like it if they were not worthy of full human rights?

    It should be obvious that Palestinians deserve NOT ONE SINGLE DAY of being occupied by a colonial army.

    Please go on.

    Guess what?

    Does that question interest you?

    That IS obvious to Co-op voters.

    Please go on.

    Let no one be surprised to find that out.

    You are being a bit negative.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 11 '07 - 04:43AM    #
  463. Really, does no one in Ann Arbor recognize that you are
    near one of the biggest Arab populations outside the middle east?
    HAV is not a tin foil hatter. That’s a miserable thing to say to someone who is telling the truth from his side.


       —Emilia    Oct. 11 '07 - 11:53AM    #
  464. stfu=Shut the f up. He’s a tinfoil hatter because he won’t grow a pair and sign his real name because he fears some “Zionist” conspiracy, like Mossad is gonna snatch him away in the night, He’s a monomaniac and I’m tired of him. I got not a damn thing against the Palestinian people, except for the ones hucking rpg’s and rockets over the border at Israel, but for God’s sake, he beats the drum so hard that he just kills any sort of intelligent discussion. It’s not my cause célèbre so it’s hard for me to not mock him so I’ll put it in my own terms. I’m a pretty hardcore pro-lifer but if whatever-his-name-is-this-week was on my side of the issue and flaming away about abortion like he does now on his topic I’d disavow him and be embarrassed that he was on my side. I just got fed up, again, at his bs, and flamed him and added to the misery of this post, for which I apologize. I’ll go back to lurking and laughing in the shadows.


       —Thomas Cook    Oct. 11 '07 - 02:34PM    #
  465. Tonight is the eagerly-awaited Co-op board meeting. According to the October 6 AA News:

    The board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Hathaway’s Hideaway, 310 S. Ashley St., near Fleetwood Diner. Immediately following the meeting, the results will be posted in the store and on the co-op’s Web site at www.peoplesfood.coop.

    The world holds its breath –


       —David Cahill    Oct. 11 '07 - 02:36PM    #
  466. It is good to know that the People’s Food Co-op voters are not alone in supporting human rights action for the occupied population of Palestine.

    The academic boycott is just one part of the broader Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, stepping into a vacuum left by those who urge ‘dialogue’ and ‘conversation’ onto a starved and colonized Palestinian population.

    “Dialogue”, between coloniser and colonised!
    Like “dialogue” between slave and master.
    That only prolongs slavery and occupation.

    In other professional spheres, boycott and divestment action is being taken by the likes of architects and doctors, to give just two examples. Shareholders have been, and will be, pressuring companies to divest from Israel, following the example of a number of churches. University divestment efforts have won over some student councils and university governing bodies; this effort is not finished either.

    Aren’t the human rights of an occupied population worth your efforts?


       —News    Oct. 11 '07 - 03:46PM    #
  467. Yeah, as Peter says, we’ve got a bunch of NFS hackers visiting us at citi this week. And Linus also released a new kernel Tuesday. I’m having fun here, but I’m busy!

    Also, our current software limits somewhat out ability to deal with a determined spammer in an efficient and transparent way. If I find the time for some weekend hacking I might try to fix that some day, but it won’t be this week.

    Opinions from regular contributors as to where to draw the lines would be welcomed. Maybe we should have a separate thread on that some day.

    Note that I don’t have any magic wand which allows me to identify sock puppets; there’s a few more clues in the backend database, but I also have to depend on stuff like identifying similar writing styles.

    Oh well. Have fun. Five hundred comments is a local record, and (if you ask me) too many for one webpage, but I think the plan is to let this go a few more days for people to discuss the results.


       —Bruce Fields    Oct. 11 '07 - 04:09PM    #
  468. a separate thread on the subject is a good idea if you ask me. a few possible solutions;

    1 – you must register to post and wait till approval

    2 – on the old Michigan IMC a deleted post would be moved to a different location. So instead of all the long spam posts, it would simply say comment deleted with a link to its ‘deleted location’. I like this, as that way if my comment is deleted and I want to repost, I can re-read what I wrote. It also alows people who want to complain about what was deleted to show the original post

    3 – show a partial IP address, so we know that all posts from the same IP are associated. Though that might make the poor ann arbor public library have to deal with blain more

    Please god, fix this problem. I think it will very likely get us focused back to useful discussion


       —just a voice    Oct. 11 '07 - 05:02PM    #
  469. All this trouble.

    No one is forcing you to click onto any of these 506 comments about Palestine.

    Why is this anonymous “Just a Voice” so concerned to make sure that no comments will be seen, by anyone, to document the intolerable conditions Palestine has been plunged into?

    Who has elected her Town Censor for Israel?

    Can someone instruct her on how to simply not click on topics which she fears will put Israel in a bad light?

    Or would she prefer her own “delete” button, connected directly to Arbor Update, to make sure that no mention of Palestinian human rights ever sees the light of day?


       —News    Oct. 11 '07 - 07:30PM    #
  470. I would like the Arbor Update staff to remove comments where the author uses more than one account.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 11 '07 - 08:12PM    #
  471. I would like veiled attempts at censoring the issue of Palestine to be ignored.


       —News    Oct. 11 '07 - 08:33PM    #
  472. I had a philosophy prof at the U who said after his lectures on world hunger noted a lot less students would show up, as his talk would make them very uncomfortable. Kind of like the strident Palestinian supporter currently making people uncomfortable. Do not censure the man.


       —Emilia    Oct. 11 '07 - 09:03PM    #
  473. I would like AU to delete comments from lawyers with an obvious agenda! Ha!

    Oh I’m just kidding, David.

    I think the whole “How to censor fairly” question is going to be more trouble than its worth. There are just so many variables to consider that it won’t be easy to get a consensus of opinion regarding which criteria should be the standard. And even if the majority agree to which posts should be deleted, it will just be “three wolves and a lamb” deciding what’s for dinner.

    Earlier in the thread, there was a gentleman posting an argument, which I found myself disagreeing with. It was at least my perception that the person was posting the same exact argument, over and over again, and was going to keep asking his rigged question, until somebody agreed with him. But while it was just a bit tedious to continuously read the same stuff, I would have been much more uncomfortable if his posts had started “administratively” disappearing. It didn’t take that much effort for me to tap my down arrow a few times to scroll past the repetitive words.

    On a related note, “a recent article describes a new phenomenon known as pre-emptive censorship where speakers are cancelled when there’s even a possibility that something they say may bring the wrath of the Israel Lobby.

    On still another note, wow, computer geek humor can be so obscure, sometimes.


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 11 '07 - 09:25PM    #
  474. I’m glad David has the privilege of advocating for censorship here, even though it’s an off-topic comment. (Hmm. Maybe it should be deleted for that reason?) At the same time I think his suggestion is far worse than the perceived, victimless ‘problem’ it targets.

    And, Pete, I’m surprised at your less-than-Green attitude on dissent and free speech relative to all this. I encourage you to re-read your comments as objectively as possible and consider them for the future.

    Posting anonymously is a personal choice, as is the decision to post at all, or even to read posts here. Trying to personalize the discussion to the point of needing to know who is posting is at least a distraction if not a form of intimidation.

    I’ve appreciated every bit of information and perspective offered by the various contributors here, anonymous or not. What I find less appealing (though still instructive, oddly enough) are the complaints. Thanks to all of you. I’m looking forward to where we go from here.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 11 '07 - 09:42PM    #
  475. I think postings which are misleadingly signed with somebody else’s name ought not be allowed. For example: if someone other than Steve Bean maliciously signs a post “Steve Bean”. Such forgeries should be deleted on demand.

    But other than that, I’m not so concerned. Discussion of Israel and Palestine is on-topic in this item.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 11 '07 - 09:52PM    #
  476. the boycott referendum was overwhelmingly rejected by co-op members, by more than a 3-1 margin.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 11 '07 - 10:33PM    #
  477. i mean the boycott proposal … whatever …


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 11 '07 - 10:47PM    #
  478. you say “whatever”?

    Do you have the official vote count?


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 11 '07 - 11:28PM    #
  479. According to the PFC’s press release, there were 262 in favor (23%) and 866 opposed (77%).


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 11 '07 - 11:45PM    #
  480. The reported results are that the boycott failed, 262 yes (23%) and 866 opposed (77%.)

    However, given that there were no observers and due to other questionable practices about ballot verification, it is not clear that it reflects the democratic will of the co-op members.

    Interestingly, far more signed to put the question on the ballot than are reported to have voted for it. This raises questions about whether the lack of transparency allowed for manipulation of the balloting process.

    Green party members repeatedly asked for accountability in the balloting process, but those requests were rebuffed.

    Greens advocate transparency in democratic elections. Hopefully the co-op can work to improve its practices on that score so that all can feel confident that a result reflects the will of the co-op members.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 11 '07 - 11:55PM    #
  481. you say “whatever”?

    yes i say “whatever.”

    it is a colloquial expression, reflecting my exasperation over having said “referendum” when i meant to say “proposal.”

    what of it?


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 12 '07 - 12:05AM    #
  482. I attended the first portion of the co-op board meeting at Hathaway’s Hideaway this evening.

    Some boycott supporters expressed incredulity at the result, and suggested the ballots had been tampered with somehow. The board members who counted the ballots each vouched for the result, but some in the audience remained skeptical.

    Sol Metz, a boycott supporter, made the very good suggestion that the co-op take the initiative to buy Palestinian products, such as fair trade olive oil. At least one board member expressed strong interest in that idea.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 12 '07 - 12:05AM    #
  483. golly – i was wrong! {oh, teh shame!!} there is always that 10% ... but there must be something in the air to get that extra 12.2% to be so addled as to cast ballots against a (comparatively) small LOCAL business doing the people’s work of providing high quality food to the LOCAL residents … of all ilks, like and unalike.

    now as for free trade foodstuffs …. that is an idea whose time seems likely.

    put all those pal·es·tin·ian folk to work constructively sted destructively. oh, wait – that was tried … the pal·es·tin·ians destroyed all the green houses when the jews left.

    hope springs eternal … try again!


       —toasty    Oct. 12 '07 - 01:05AM    #
  484. On behalf of the Huron Valley Greens, I would like to thank Larry Kestenbaum for his committment to transparency in democracy in joining the call for observers in the ballot counting of the co-op proposal.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 12 '07 - 01:41AM    #
  485. I am very happy to see that an overwhelming number of PFC members acted so rationally and voted down a bigoted and small-minded proposal to wrest control of a local organization and put it into the hands of a shadowy hate-fueled Middle Eastern website. It’s really encouraging to see our Co-op exercise reason and move in a positive, constructive direction rather than a negative, destructive manner as a small, strident minority would have had it do as they tried once again to unsuccessfully hijack a neighborhood institution. I’m very proud tonight of my fellow Cooperators and to be a member! Bravo!


       —Mike    Oct. 12 '07 - 01:48AM    #
  486. Re 524. Thank you, Aimee, I appreciate that.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 12 '07 - 01:56AM    #
  487. “Sol Metz, a boycott supporter, made the very good suggestion that the co-op take the initiative to buy Palestinian products, such as fair trade olive oil. At least one board member expressed strong interest in that idea.”

    I made that suggestion weeks ago in post #28.


       —todd    Oct. 12 '07 - 02:03AM    #
  488. Todd, it was even earlier than that — comment 26.

    Isn’t it about time you run for city council?


       —Dale    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:05AM    #
  489. 478-262=216 member petition signers who voted “No”:

    a) because they value democracy enough to put just about anything on the ballot even if they disagree with it; or

    b) because they were open minded enough to put it on the ballot in order to then learn about the proposal and various considerations before deciding to vote against it; or

    c) because they initially favored the referendum but changed their mind based on the wording (perhaps the part about how the boycott would be eventually terminated); or

    d) because they were ultimately convinced of some negative impact on the co-op (here I’ll note that the board does not seem to have acted with full impartiality, though there’s no telling how much impact that had on voters); or

    e) because they were ultimately otherwise turned off by the animosity, heated debate, name calling, etc. here, in front of the co-op entrance, in the AA News letters section, and elsewhere; or

    f) because they intended to vote against it all along in hopes that it would fail and be discredited; or

    g) they were somehow confused about either the petition or the ballot.

    That smells of a mostly fair election, an unsuccessfully run pro-boycott campaign (one perhaps overshadowed by some proponents who were perceived as variously anonymous, verbally intimidating, and/or irritating), and a successful array of anti-boycott efforts appealing more often to fear and personal comfort than to hope and social justice. At least that’s how it smells to me. That and a hint of sour grapes, which, relatively speaking, doesn’t smell bad at all.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:30AM    #
  490. Interesting, isn’t it, how the Updater with a 1,000 aliases—the latest being “Have_a_voice” (# 528)—the same writer who wants to foist an undemocratic, misogynist, antisemitic, death-worshiping, hate-centered regime on Israel, can’t abide by the results of a democratic vote on the most grassroots level right here in Ann Arbor. Actually, it’s completely consistent with HAV’s modus operandi. Also, if you follow her/his “logic,” and the ballot was as unprotected as s/he claims, it could just as easily have been stuffed with boycott supporter votes. Now, if as s/he claims, there were “nearly 1,000 petitioners who demanded a total boycott of Israel, including well over 400 certified PFC members,” that means 60% of the signers were not legit and were trying to unfairly influence Co-Op policy. What’s democratic about that, I’d like to know?! HAV’s paranoia and conspiracy hysteria is another sign of how truly unhinged s/he is. Let’s try a little cooperation, reasonable discourse, thoughtfulness, and positive acts for a change. If the PFC carries Palestinian products along with the few Israeli goods it presently has—maybe now that the electorate has spoken, it would make good sense if more Israeli products were made available—we can buy one or the other or both. Now, isn’t that more rational than the screeds issuing forth from HAV and her/his other aliases?


       —Mike    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:32AM    #
  491. Steve, Mike, let’s not draw unwarranted assumptions from these numbers.

    The co-op has some six thousand members. They also have a rule that only the “member of record” (read: head of household) gets to vote or sign petitions on behalf of each account (member number).

    For example, I voted in the co-op election, but my wife (who uses the same member number as me) wasn’t eligible.

    That’s not an unreasonable system, but it does mean it’s not easy to get valid petition signatures. The fact that many of the signatures on the boycott petition didn’t count is not a reflection on the petitioners’ integrity.

    Based on the vote totals, there were 1128 co-op members who voted. That means there were almost five thousand other members who didn’t vote.

    Of the 262 votes in favor of the boycott, I bet some number, probably at least 20%, were not signers of the petition.

    Of those who signed the petition, I’m guessing around a third to half voted “yes”, and most of the rest didn’t vote. Surely some voted “no”, but I expect that number is much smaller than 216.

    Strange? Unusual? Not at all. Sometimes an idea which gets a lot of signatures gets fewer votes. Another case happened just two years ago, here in Washtenaw County.

    In November 2005, petitions were submitted for the recall of two officials in Augusta Township. The petition against one official had 567 signatures; the other had 564.

    On February 28, 2006, a recall election was held. In each case, voters had the choice to vote “yes” to remove the official, or vote “no” to keep them).

    The recalls both lost. It was 161 to 539 for one official, and 165 to 558 for the other.

    In other words, 567 voters had signed petitions to recall the township clerk, but only 161 voted to remove her from office. Similar numbers applied to the other official.

    What happened to the other 400-some petition signers? Probably some changed their minds and voted “no”. But most of them were among the nearly 8,000 voters in the township who didn’t vote that day.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 12 '07 - 05:23AM    #
  492. The reality is, this is a food co-op, not Florida in 2000, not Ohio in 2004. The bar is not set nearly as high in vote security – that I grant. Did nearly-minimum-wage store employees watch the ballot box like a hawk to make sure no one tampered with it? Nope. Did they have careful instructions on how to handle any irregularities with the ballot box? Unh-unh. Were there any irregularities? None reported. Would they have noticed someone walking off with the box and then returning it some time later? Gee, wouldn’t you if you were standing up there for hours? The staff were highly interested in and invested in this election, given how much extra strain it put on them, so were definitely alert to any improprieties.

    There is a long-established voter validation and vote-counting procedure, which was followed. A few extra precautions were taken as we thought of them.

    One of those precautions was that only two senior managers had access to the inside of the ballot box during the voting period, both longtime, trusted employees with a lot to lose, in order to do the validation process, which I observed in part. The vote counters – all board members – are volunteers.

    Was it a perfectly secure, flawless election? Nope. But then neither is any public election, no matter how many safeguards are thought up and implemented.

    It’s a co-op. Get a grip.

    My analysis? Roughly the same as Steve’s. The vast majority of no votes probably came as a result of swastikas, which I warned one of those handing out that literature about, to no avail. Hate never wins. Had that lit never been circulated, the vote may have been closer. Had there been no sign-holding in front of the store (on either side), the referendum may even have won.

    The only other truly deciding factor was the end of the boycott being left to BDS (the outside coalition of pro-Palestine groups) to decide. To be fair, that clause was added when a board member (no longer on the board) asked when the boycott would end, and BIG (the group bringing the referendum) added it so that the board would ‘accept’ the petition language. It’s one of the unfortunate things about this process that I would change if I had a magic wand and could reverse time. BIG very much wanted to have that clause stricken from the referendum, as they knew it might be a deal-killer. But our lawyer (yes, we had to consult a lawyer) gave us a clear legal opinion that the petition language had to be left as is for the referendum, and could be changed by no one.

    Had the referendum passed, we (the board) were going to have a supersedure clause ready for the annual board election, which would delete that clause and return control of the end of the referendum to the members. We agonized (as did BIG) about whether to include that vote along with the current vote, but decided that a) it would be too confusing (vote on whether to approve this referendum and then vote on whether to retract part of it) and b) understanding of our obligations (forced to keep it in, the necessity of a whole new referendum process initiated by the board) came too late for us to do anything about it. Another unfortunate circumstance.

    Board members are generally assumed to spend about 4 hours a week on board business. None of us spent anywhere near that little in the months that we have been involved with this issue, some of us spending as much as 4 hours or more a day for long periods.

    There’s an assumption made in many of the posts here, and in some comments from members, that the board is supposed to be impartial. That has been my assumption as well, since the board is to conduct the election. Nowhere in bylaws or policy is it spelled out that the board must be impartial in an election, and in fact in quite a few past elections the board is clearly advocating for or against votes brought to the membership (I spent hours looking back through nearly 20 years of votes).

    The board was slow to understand its role in this process, and made some goofs, all of which we tried to correct – some we couldn’t. We did the best we could, sometimes under considerable strain. Having been on the board before, and having attended some board meetings when not on the board, I can tell you that having anyone attend a board meeting is rare. We’ve had a dozen or more observers for months now, and even lost our meeting space because of ‘audience participation’ of ear-splitting, expletive nature. So yeah, we’re a little out of our depth. We did our best.

    Now that the vote is done, I can say that I voted for the referendum, flawed as it was. I don’t suspect I was the only one on the board who did so. Calling the board names or implying we handed the vote just doesn’t pan. We worked our asses off to provide as fair an election as possible.

    If anyone has any specific questions about the process, I’d be glad to answer. Otherwise, I think I’m done with this thread.


       —Peter Schermerhorn, PFC Board Treasurer    Oct. 12 '07 - 10:09AM    #
  493. There are many scenarios that are possible.

    Some people do sign petitions to get issues decided collectively, but it is doubtful that is a high percentage.

    Some people sign petitions for electoral actions and then fail to make it to the polls. With the co-op vote, there is a ballot that comes in the mail and there is an opportunity to vote in person for a month in the co-op itself. Most who signed the petition were approached as they were heading to shop, so would likely have had many chances to vote with little inconvenience. It is also possible that many of the yes votes came from people who hadn’t signed the petition.

    The problem is, as Larry Kestenbaum well knows, is that an electoral process needs external oversight to be considered transparent and fair. The co-op process does not allow for this. The system is not reliable. I myself observed one person handling board election ballots as I left the annual meeting earlier this year and brought this concern to the Huron Valley Greens. This is not a new problem. The board elections were not nearly so contentious, but the principle remains the same, and I hope Larry will continue to champion those principles.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 12 '07 - 10:41AM    #
  494. Whole Foods sells the very same couscous but they call it “Middle eastern couscous”
    Why don’t you boycott Whole Foods?


       —getalife you people    Oct. 12 '07 - 12:48PM    #
  495. Aimee, you know how I feel about this. Had I been a co-op board member, I would have insisted on outside observers. I think that would have silenced the complaints we’re now hearing, which as an election official, I am very sensitive to.

    But I’m not on the board, and for reasons that made sense to them, they chose a different path. They wanted to stress continuity with past co-op elections by handling this one the same way.

    I personally trust and respect the board members and the process they went through, and I am sure there was no fraud. But I know that my trust for the board members is not necessarily a valid argument for those who don’t know them.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 12 '07 - 03:10PM    #
  496. Mrs. Structure-Dude! and I are both really pleased with this outcome. I couldn’t do better than to second Mike’s excellent comment in #525.

    Also a thank you to Pete S. who has been more than patient and clearly deserves a rest.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:08PM    #
  497. There is a pattern to every comment, by every boycott opponent, whether jolly or vicious:

    Steely determination to avoid discuusing the torture that Israel is putting millions of Palestinian children through,

    Steely determination to let no action ever be taken against Israel…

    *as Israel incinerates Palestine,

    *as Israel incinerates Lebanon, and

    *as Israel openly trains pilots to nuke Iran.

    Do you imagine that humanitarian boycotts, against that bloodthirsty stae of Israel, are finished?


       —News    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:13PM    #
  498. PSD in 539: Yes, notwithstanding what I wrote about the process, I’m grateful to have Pete Schermerhorn on the co-op board. Many thanks to him for his diligence, patience, and fairness.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:33PM    #
  499. Your granite-like refusal to permit Palestine to be an issue is just sickening.

    Yeah, let’s chit-chat about Pete instead.


       —News    Oct. 12 '07 - 04:38PM    #
  500. I’ll gladly purchase both Israeli Couscous and Palestinian Olive Oil.
    Want to come over for dinner?


       —getalife you people    Oct. 12 '07 - 06:14PM    #
  501. Eight hundred and ninety nine votes against boycott of Israeli products!

    I almost hope there was fraud in this referendum because if this was a fair and square “process” it further speaks for the rampant racism in the American society.

    The rampant racism which allowed the torture of Iraqi people in Abu-Ghraib receive a mere shrug of shoulders by American people and their media.

    The rampant racism that allows the perpetrators of rapes and murder of Iraqi people to be judged by the U.S. military which ordered the crimes in the first place. Not a word from American media ever pointing out the obvious inherent problem in this set up. How can a murderer be trusted to conduct an unbiased trial of his own crimes?

    The rampant racism which allows the occupation of Palestine by Israel and Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. to continue.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Racism in rampant in America and most sadly well tolerated by liberal Americas such as you!

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Watching the ice-cold faces of the Co-op Board members, I listened to the trembling voice of the only Palestinian present in last night’s meeting.

    She pleaded with the Co-op to hear the voices of Palestinians who have been killed while praying in their house of worship, Palestinians who are dying of hunger and malnourishment in Gaza everyday, Palestinians who are languishing in Israeli jails and are routinely subjected to the most horrific mental and physical tortures.

    She begged them to seek justice in Palestine and act to stop these atrocities. Her last words indicated her regret for justice to have lost and for might to have won yet again in America.

    The expression on the faces of the Co-op Bored members was one of indifference to her pain and relief that the whole “nuisance” had ended.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The blood of hundreds and thousands of people, world-wide from Iraq to Palestine to Afghanistan etc, is on YOUR hands.

    America is synonymous with death and destruction across the globe.

    YOU are hated by millions of people for your silence on human rights, destruction of the planet and over-use of all that is dear to sustainable-living and survival of life on earth.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Dog grooming parlors, pet pastry shops, luxury hotels for dogs and cats, and treat-shops for pets, that charge $10 for a mid-day snack for dogs, thrive in your cities while libraries and bookstores closedown and bullets and bombs, you paid for, rain on the ancient cites in this world and destroy lives and the environment.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    You remain silent in the face of disasters inflicted by your government on millions of people. One million dead Iraqis (murdered by Blackwater and the likes of it), 4 million displaced Iraqis, all the people of Palestine or the 80 million Iranians who wake-up everyday with the fear of an Israeli/US nuclear attacks on their homeland mean nothing to you and your racist society.

    Still, you DO want “peace”.

    A “peace” drowned in blood of those you allowed to be raped, those you paid to be killed, and those whom you continue to write the death-sentence for.

    Indifference to the pain of others, disregard for human rights and international laws, your “hear nothing see nothing” life-motto, your arrogance, and racism is appalling.


       —departed from humanity    Oct. 12 '07 - 06:20PM    #
  502. You are masters at avoiding the ongoing death of Palestine.

    But you are still guilty, guilty, guilty as hell. Stop being a shill for Israel.


       —News    Oct. 12 '07 - 06:21PM    #
  503. Many thanks, to “Departed from Humanity.”

    Yes, the one Palestinian woman who stood up to you heartless stiffs has been heard, and will be heard.

    It is not OK to murder Palestine, then to block all mention of the murder.

    It’s not OK to kill so many in Palestine, then to laugh your cold laughs about tossing a few bucks to a Palestinian for some olive oil, to pay for your crimes.

    Never think that talk of boycotting Israel has ceased.


       —News    Oct. 12 '07 - 06:32PM    #
  504. Your “municipal centers”, your schools, and your co-ops are all built on the dead bodies of Iraqis, Lebanese, and Palestinians.

    Not to mention others you have killed around the globe.


       —departed from humanity    Oct. 12 '07 - 08:15PM    #
  505. And so many Black men and boys killed right here:

    Killers Set Free in 90 Minutes

    The “14-year-old boy collapsed after running laps on his first day at the camp for juvenile offenders in 2007.

    “The boy was beaten by guards for 30 minutes and made to inhale ammonia in what they said was an attempt to revive him. He died in hospital a day later.

    “The jury took about 90 minutes to find the guards not guilty.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The great part is that at least the young man’s killers were put on trial, and were not set loose on the streets for a full 90 minutes, while the jury scratched its head.

    In Palestine, so many thousands are killed by various Israeli soldiers, police, guards, settlers— with no trial, ever, for the Israeli killers.

    The Co-op leadership, which worked so hard to conjure up SERIOUS DOUBTS about a simple humanitarian boycott, acted as accomplices to those Israel occupation thugs.

    By hook or by crook, they got bloody Israel off the hook.

    But the Co-op is not supposed to be run by thugs-for-Israel. It’s supposed to be run by people who care for farmworkers… even Palestinian farmworkers. The Co-op Board is supposed to actively protect those farmworkers using the boycott tool. Even if those workers are Palestinian.

    Instead, the Board conjured fear, doubt, extreme nervousness over allowing even a tiny boycott to be approved. A tiny vote of support for occupied Palestinian children, women, and men?

    Hah— not from this Co-op Board.

    Have they no shame?


       —News    Oct. 12 '07 - 09:03PM    #
  506. Doors closing on Iraqi displaced

    ...their pain and agony has ben made possible by your ignorance and racism.

    The world holds you responsible for the displaced, the dead, and the dying in the Middle East.

    Wake-up!

    They don’t envy your freedom(s) they hate your brutality and vulgarity…


       —departed from humanity    Oct. 12 '07 - 09:42PM    #
  507. Iraq security firm ‘must pay’

    It is all written on your list of racist deeds for this year…


       —departed from humanity    Oct. 12 '07 - 09:53PM    #
  508. Blaine,
    Take your pills!


       —annarbor1us    Oct. 12 '07 - 10:24PM    #
  509. Gaza goes hungry as Israeli sanctions bite

    ...According to a World Bank report issued last month: “Gaza’s economic backbone and private sector vitality risks collapse if the current situation … continues.” The report states that 90% of Gaza’s industrial production has ceased and agricultural output has fallen by 50% in 2007.

    Nabil Jaber Saleem, 45, who suffers from diabetes, enters the store. He used to work in Israel. He says his 10 children are still hungry after breaking their fast with a meal of tomatoes, olives, yogurt and tea. “It’s a desperate situation. I don’t even have a shekel to spend on food,”


       —killing Gaza and its people    Oct. 12 '07 - 10:26PM    #
  510. I look forward to commenting on this website as I get more information.


       —Charles    Oct. 13 '07 - 12:58AM    #
  511. As I read some of these so called opinions on the “righteousness” of boycotting Israeli products I am struck by the ignorance of these comments as well as a demonstrable lack of Historical perspective as well as a complete lack of any knowledge of the Middle East.

    A Israel became an independent nation in 1948 after defeating 5 Arab armies who assured a perplexed Palestinian population that they would win.

    B 1947 Palestine partitioned Jews accept partition Arabs reject it. This would have created a truncated Jewish State but the Arabs rejected this.

    C 1967 The 6 Day War. Israel after thwarting attempts to destroy her win an overwhelming victory get control of the West Bank Gaza and the Golan heights as well as the Old City of Jerusalem.

    D Israel through defense Minister Moshe Dayan offers to return everything to their former owners.Israel’s offer is rejected by the 3 famous no’s of the Khartoum Conference no negotiations no peace and no recognition of Israel.

    E Israel therefore had to begin the arduous task of occupation forced upon them by an intransigent
    Arab League. Further blogs will move from 1968 through the Yom kippur War into the age of terrorism to prove that your ridiculous terms of racism, colonialism and apartheid are the words of ignoramuses who haven’t a clue of their meaning and just spew ultra left propaganda. These individuals truly stifle democracy through their ignorance and their spewing of hate.


       —Charles    Oct. 13 '07 - 02:10AM    #
  512. Have a voice:

    Please stop re-posting the same thing over and over. This blog exists for intelligent debate. That does not include copying and pasting already posted comments.

    Do you have anything new to add?


       —Jason    Oct. 13 '07 - 03:37AM    #
  513. Thanks, Blaine Coleman, for your wonderfully insightful yet completely off-topic, hyperbolic, and irrelevant rhetoric.

    You can stop posting now. I get it. I think everyone here gets it.

    I made it through 557 posts without commenting once. I posted on my own blog about this very topic. I predicted the boycott vote would fail. And I was right.

    I don’t know who it was that said that someone was going to bring Palestinian olive oil to sell at the co-op. That’s a damn good idea. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already.

    And what a concept: Israeli couscous and Palestinian olive oil? Sold side-by-side? Imagine the possibilities!


       —Jared Goldberg    Oct. 13 '07 - 04:25AM    #
  514. Dear Pete,
    I agree with you (#534) that displaying a swastika to point out the real similarities in the horrors of the fallen Nazi regime to those of the present day Zionist regime is too easily misrepresented by Zionists as “hate” to be a sound tactic. But please don’t help muddy the waters by implying that those using it were in any way motivated by hate in doing so. Let’s be clear. They may each be rough around the edges in their own ways, but many in this community have seen convincing evidence that they unequivocally consider Nazism to be evil.

    But I have a specific question. I would like to ask you to explain your rather incredible claim that “Hate never wins.” (#534)

    There was a Palestinian woman at your last board meeting. Can you explain to her why she is not allowed to return to her homeland, Palestine, that has been taken over by a racist regime of white Europeans if “Hate never wins?”

    There is another Palestinian man in Ann Arbor, a co-op member, who has had at least two family members killed because of European Zionist conquest. Can you please explain to him that “Hate never wins?”

    Can you please explain how the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) voted to disband their Middle East Task Force (in spite of their prior promise yet failure to pursue mediation), resulting in Muslims no longer being involved in the group if “Hate never wins?”

    Can you explain George Lambrides of the Interfaith Roundtable of Washtenaw County reportedly openly chastising a 70 year old Palestinian woman for daring to ask an Israeli woman whether Israelis celebrating the foundation of Israel know what the Palestinians are going through if “Hate never wins?” Did the other participants intervene on her behalf? No. Apparently, Palestinians, Christian or Muslim, need not apply to that “Interfaith” group.

    Was it not “Hate” that won when the Michigan Peaceworks board overturned a decision by 78% of their members to adopt a statement for human rights in Palestine?

    If the boycott referendum was a fair measure of the co-ops willingness to claim concern about exploited farmers in Colombia, but ignore the suffering that the entire Israeli economy is built on, how is that not a case of “Hate” winning out?

    Or do you share the assumptions of many in Ann Arbor that Palestinians are sub-human terrorists not deserving of basic equal rights in their own land?

    Even if you don’t consider Palestinians human, as your remarks imply, what about Iraqis? If “Hate never wins,” how could the people of Iraq have been subjected to a massive bombing campaign, devastating sanctions, and a subsequent “Shock and Awe” invasion and occupation which all told has killed into the millions and displaced many millions more?

    Apparently, ICPJ is too busy to put any effort into protesting these vast crimes against humanity these days.

    Well, I suppose you could be like many in ICPJ and Ann Arbor that consider all Muslims sub-human misogynist terrorists and thus not entitled to basic safety or freedom from genocidal aggression at the hands of our government.

    What about Black men being killed by police in Ypsilanti, yet the officers face no criminal charges? Is that a case of “Love” winning?

    Or the homeless being cleansed from Detroit to make way for the Superbowl? Did Hate not prevail in that case?

    Or do Black and poor people not quite rise to the level of human in your way of thinking, and thus their losing out does not deserve notice?

    If you only care about the wealthy and white, what about all of those upper middle class white people among the many same-sex couples in our state who are denied access to equal rights of marriage in this state? Surely those human beings were not victimized by “Love” winning when that marriage ban amendment question passed in 2004.

    It may seem like a small point to you, Pete, but such a naive statement as “Hate never wins” implies either sloppiness that should be corrected immediately or a deep insensitivity to the devastating realities experienced by many in this community and around the world.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 13 '07 - 12:14PM    #
  515. aimee’s despicable and outrageous attacks on pete’s character, such as her vile and baseless suggestion that pete considers all muslims “sub-human misogynist terrorists,” demonstrate the depths of her irrational hatred.

    let’s hope that pete is right, that hate never wins.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 13 '07 - 12:52PM    #
  516. Peter Honeyman,
    Are Palestinians humans?

    If yes, then please tell me, has “Hate” ever won against them?

    If your answer is no, do you deny that Palestinians have been subjected to attrocities, suffering and injustice for six decades in (or exiled from) their own homeland as a result of Zionist conquest of their land?

    Was that “Love” winning? Or indifference? Please explain.

    Please simply answer rather than making inaccurate ad hominum attacks.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 13 '07 - 01:51PM    #
  517. aimee: yes, no, yes, no, no.

    your rhetoric and framing do not admit explanation.

    any other questions?

    ps: i see that you can neither spell nor recognize ad hominem.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 13 '07 - 02:56PM    #
  518. To “have a voice”. You are a hateful, despicable human being. You attack Jewish Zionists without any regard for anything. You ignore blatant abuses by Arab countries because they are non-western. You are the true inheritors of Stalinism. You have no regard for democracy and no regard for any historical background of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is a Democracy. Just read Haaretz which is an Israeli newspaper, if you are capable of reading. You will see criticisms of Israeli policies that are unprecedented for newspapers in the middle east. Try to see criticisms of Khomeinism in an Iranian newspaper or in Saudi Arabia etc. Get a little Education before you post such drivel


       —Charles    Oct. 13 '07 - 04:48PM    #
  519. Thank you, Peter Honeyman.

    From your answer, I see that you deny the historically documented record of attrocities, terror, and ethnic cleansing that Palestinians have been subjected to. Even Zionist Israeli historians are honest about these facts – that it was pre-planned and that it was carried out with a design with the intention of emptying a supposedly empty land.

    It is insensitive at best to deny readily verifiable facts about the suffering of a people. Just look at the egg on ADL’s face for trying to deny the Armenian genocide. Ultimately you will be exposed, and until that time, we who favor justice and equality for all human beings will persist.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 13 '07 - 06:27PM    #
  520. Have a Voice:

    I agree with Charles. You have no concept of what the Middle East is about and especially the Palestinian situation.

    How do you as a human rights activist defend Palestinians who they themselves are guilty of horrendous crimes toward the gay community and women?

    Gay men and women in the Middle East say:

    Thank God for Israel, our only refuge in the Middle East.

    The fact that the boycott attempt failed miserably shows that your entire platform is flawed and full of hate. You couldn’t care less about the Palestinians. You only care about attacking Israel. The Palestinians don’t want hate-mongers like you on their side. They need real leadership not corrupt, hateful individuals keeping them down.

    Israel is not going anywhere. The faster you people accept that, the faster justice can happen for the Palestinians.

    The only way justice will come to the Palestinians is if the Palestinian authority stops focusing on hating the gay community and focus more on peace with Israel.

    Clearly, the Ann Arbor pro-Palestinian camp cares nothing for the human rights of others. They care nothing for the suffering of the gay communities throughout the Middle East. Will you call a boycott until Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian authority, Syria and Egypt stop persecuting gay persons? I assume your answer is no because the Ann Arbor pro-Palestinian “human rights” groups care nothing about gays and their suffering.

    And, considering nobody is answering my questions about gay rights in these areas means that in reality nobody cares.

    Don’t be gay in the Ann Arbor peace camp because they don’t care about you.


       —Jason    Oct. 13 '07 - 07:16PM    #
  521. Aimee:

    To quote directly from your post: “we who favor justice and equality for all human beings will persist.”

    How can you say that when your group will not stand up for the suffering of gay Palestinians and gays and women throughout the Arab world? You say “justice and equality for ALL human beings.” Do you mean for ALL human beings but not gay human beings.

    I am gay and the last I checked part of the human species as are you. If I went to the Palestinian areas and stood with my life partner in defense of their human rights, the Palestinian authority would throw me in jail or worse. Would you be there to defend me? Or, are non-reproductive gay persons not worth your time defending? What has your group done to defend gay rights throughout the world and how does that apply in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and the entire Gaza strip?

    Thanks in advance for answering my inquiry.


       —Jason    Oct. 13 '07 - 07:25PM    #
  522. actually, aimee, i answered the question you asked, not the question that you wish or imagine that you had asked.

    it must be a great disappoint to you to be so inept with language.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 13 '07 - 09:17PM    #
  523. gack! disappontment! disappointment!


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 13 '07 - 10:04PM    #
  524. Have-a-Voice:

    Get over it. Move on. The board voted against your racism.

    Gay people say:

    Voice your concern to the Palestinian Authority about how it treats its gay citizens.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 02:54AM    #
  525. Palestine’s Oppression of Gays Should Not Be Ignored


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 03:14AM    #
  526. Jason,

    Your schtick is getting old. Do I need to remind you that you are now ineligible to defend freedom and democracy in Iraq due to your being gay? Remember, the US Military has a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and you have told. So, not only would the Palestinian Authority, “...throw me in jail or worse”, the US Military would throw you out with a dishonorable discharge. We Greens think the US Military’s policy towards gays is awful and violates our 10 Key Values in at least two ways; 1) Social Justice and 2) Feminism (the anti-gay policy is rooted in the deep mysogyny—for example, “Suzzy Crotch-Rot”—of military indoctrination.) But the fact that Greens support gay rights in the military does not mean we support what the US Military is doing. You seem to be saying that as long as a country is supportive of gay rights, that country gets your support no matter how egregious its violations of other human rights are.
       —Chuck L.    Oct. 14 '07 - 03:41AM    #
  527. Chuck:

    My “schtick” is getting old? And the “Schtick” of the pro-boycott groups and people like “Have a Voice” is fresh and new?

    I am fully aware of this country’s policy toward gays in the military. I am also aware that as a gay person in the US, I am not thrown in prison or beaten by the authorities for my sexual orientation where I would be under the Palestinian Authority and most Arab nations.

    You say: “You seem to be saying that as long as a country is supportive of gay rights, that country gets your support no matter how egregious its violations of other human rights are.”

    No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that while defending Palestinian human rights is a noble cause, we should also acknowledge the suffering and injustice under which gay Palestinians live on a daily basis perpetrated by their own government, the same government that is calling on the world to save them from the injustice of Israeli occupation.

    The same can be said of the Ann Arbor Peace Movement’s support of the Palestinian Authority. There is blind support for the Palestinian Authority despite egregious violations of human rights for women, gays and Palestinian Christians.

    You say: 1) Social Justice and 2) Feminism are two of ten Green key values? Those are very noble values. If that is really the case, then I assume while speaking out against Israeli Occupation of the Palestinians, you would also speak out against the Palestinian Authority’s suppression of women’s rights (Feminism) and you would also speak out against the oppression of gay rights within the Palestinian Authority and Arab World (Social Justice). I have traveled extensively in the Middle East and can tell you that there is open, horrible suppression and discrimination against gay Palestinian men. It happens every day and is essentially ignored. I can also tell you that many of these men seek refuge in Israel which given the current climate is clearly a challenge.

    And, yes, as an openly gay man, I would be thrown out of the United States military for being who I am. In Palestine, I would be beaten and imprisoned. I am being asked by the Ann Arbor Peace camp to support the Palestinian Authority who would not allow me to live as a free person.

    All I am asking is that these human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority be acknowledged and discussed. I never have said we should not discuss Israeli human rights abuses toward the Palestinians and their right to autonomy.

    What I am saying is, I want to discuss both.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 04:43AM    #
  528. In response to Aimee:

    Even if you don’t consider Palestinians human, as your remarks imply

    No, those are words you’re putting in my mouth. I said “Hate never wins”. OK, so I’m guilty of a lame-o aphorism. It was in regards to a swastika on a flyer that implied Israel today is somehow equatable with Nazis. I won’t debate that point. The use of the swastika is, as mentioned here before, a red-flag-before-a-bull provocation, as it was intended to be, of those of the Jewish faith – whether they support Israel or not. It was ill-conceived if the intent was to have the boycott referendum win. I suspect that might never have been the intent, and the co-op ended up caught up in the grist of someone else’s agenda.

    The ‘hate’ I was talking about in my simplistic platitude was the hate that symbol conjurs up – in neo-nazis, in Jews – heck, possibly even in Sanskrit scholars angry that the Nazis reversed an ancient symbol and misappropriated it.

    By appealing to fear and hate, the effort was doomed. By provoking fear and hate, the effort was doomed. So, “hate never wins”, simplistic though it is, fit here, as far as I can tell.

    As to the other horrors you enumerate – no, I don’t believe that hate will win in the end in any of those instances. We’re all involved in a long struggle to get the human race to accept each other. As heart-wrenching and injust as they are, the persecutions you mention are not permanent for an entire people, despite the indivual and community tragedies happening daily. If we who want to end them don’t tear each other to bits thousands of miles away from the real conflict, we’ll be doing everyone some good.


       —Pete S.    Oct. 14 '07 - 04:56AM    #
  529. Jason, in a previous post you said that The board voted against your racism. In fact, the board did not. The membership of PFC did.


       —Pete S.    Oct. 14 '07 - 05:01AM    #
  530. Pete:

    Thanks for the clarification and I stand corrected. The membership voted against the racist boycott, you’re right.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 05:23AM    #
  531. Pete,
    Appealing to fear and hate was exactly what the most vocal boycott opponents did.

    Remember all those questions about the shadowy Middle Eastern group that would be “controlling” the co-op? Do you deny that this was an appeal to the bigotry against all things Arab in this society?

    Remember Councilwoman Lowenstein and others referring to facts about the treatment of Palestinians as “baloney?” I would have thought that denying genocide is part of hate, do you disagree?

    I could go on, but please be clear. The comparison of the Nazi regime to the Zionist regime is not hate – it is a valid perspective that has been raised for decades, even by Israeli Jews opposing Israeli policies (typically from the left unlike the case of the Gaza settlers.) The swastika sign lent itself to slander against the boycott effort by disingenuous boycott opponents, which could easily have been predicted and thus was a poor tactic. But that doesn’t make it a hateful one. The actual hate that was pedaled on this issue came from those seeking to rationalize and/or deny the genocide that Palestinians have been experiencing for six decades, a genocide in which we have been complicit through our collective silence and our collective tax funding.

    So hate won out for now, which is not surprising, given how biased the media is1 and how unwelcoming our “peace” community in Ann Arbor is to Arabs and Muslims. But we who hunger and thirst for justice will persist. And the European Jewish supremacist regime of Israel will fall. It is only a matter of time.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens

    [1] http://www.ifamericansknew.org
    specifically: http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 14 '07 - 12:59PM    #
  532. I’ll tell you who needs justice:

    The THOUSANDS of Palestinian Gays and Lesbians suppressed, jailed and beaten EVERYDAY by the Palestinian regime.

    The reason your boycotts and calls for action against the Palestinians fail ALL OF THE TIME is because you refuse to acknowledge other suffering.

    The Ann Arbor Peace Movement is full of hypocrites who don’t care about Gay Rights and will not acknowledge the horrible conditions under which gay persons live in Palestine perpetrated by their own government’s directive.

    The World Gay Community Says:

    PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: STOP THE HATRED OF GAYS IN PALESTINE. STOP ARRESTING OPENLY GAY PEOPLE AND LEAVE THEM LANGUISHING IN PRISON. STOP BEATING INNOCENT GAY PERSONS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE GAY.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 01:24PM    #
  533. Jason,
    Thank you for your concern and questions about the Huron Valley Greens.

    We in the Huron Valley Greens do not believe that waging genocide against a society is a way to promote liberation or justice for any segment of that society.

    In fact, we believe that such practices hinder rather than strengthen movements for equality, justice and expanded freedom within those societies.

    We in the peace movement know it was disingenuous for Laura Bush to appeal to the US public for concern for the women of Afghanistan under the Taliban when the US government invaded and occupied that country to install a UNOCAL man as president and get a natural gas pipeline. I hope I am wrong, but I fear your concern about some members of Palestinian society while ignoring harms faced by those very members as well as others is disingenuous.

    Grassroots democracy and social justice, two of the Green movement’s ten key values, cannot be delivered via imperial conquest and genocidal policies. Thus, if you are truly concerned about Gay rights and women’s rights in Palestine, the best thing you can do is help end the 6 decade long genocide against that society so that indigenous and organic social movements can flourish. In the meanwhile, we have plenty of work to do on these fronts here at home. Violence against women is still the number one killer of women of certain age groups and experienced by one in four women in our society. We women can never be free until this quiet terror campaign against us is ended. There is currently an effort to get civil rights protections for LGBT members of our society through congress. I hope more will join in the effort. The response has been reported to be truly amazing, but it is an uphill battle. Who knows, Love might just take a small step forward on this one. http://www.unitedenda.org/

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 14 '07 - 01:26PM    #
  534. Aimee:

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. I appreciate you taking the time to write about this.

    I have always been an advocate of human rights and agree with you 100% that it was hypercritical of Laura Bush to talk about women’s rights in Afghanistan when the administration was doing so many horrible things in Iraq and elsewhere. I am with you on all of those things.

    I am very involved in organizations here at home that promote social justice for women, minorities and the LGBT community here and around the world.

    My frustration with what I am reading in this forum is that what is happening in the Palestinian gay world is never mentioned or discussed.

    I never argued that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians is a good thing or not counter to human rights. I believe the occupation of Palestinians is bad for everyone. I am saying that if we are to be true advocates of world peace and stand up for those who cannot have a voice at present, we need to acknowledge the suffering of everyone.

    Separately from the occupation, there is a war being perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority against the LGBT community. This war has been reported by the BBC, San Francisco Chronicle and the Advocate magazine, hardly outlets one would classify as pro-Zionist.

    I have spoken with victims of this war and heard their stories firsthand. All I am asking is that while we speak out against Israeli occupation, imperialism and injustice toward the Palestinians,
    we also speak out against the Palestinian Authority and call for an end to suppression and jailing and beating of innocent gay persons.

    Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 01:47PM    #
  535. Jason,
    You referred to the boycott as racist. That indicates to me that the boycott demands for equal rights for Palestinians are not reasonable to you. That indicates to me that your priority is not human rights for Palestinians.

    My earlier post rejects this assumption of yours:
    “Separately from the occupation, there is a war being perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority against the LGBT community.”

    Nothing that happens in Palestine, including who is in the Palestinian authority and their political positions is separate from the conquest of Palestine.

    Your sources, unfortunately, are not free of Orientalist bias and may well be under Zionist ownership, editorship and/or other means of Zionist political pressure.

    And I am sure you do not speak for the entire world gay community as you claim to in your post 580. You may speak for what Joe Massad calls the Gay International with its imperialist agenda, but you do not speak for the world gay community. For example, you do not speak for QUIT. See their statement on PA actions here: http://www.quitpalestine.org/actions/gaymen2.html

    I find QUIT much more likely to be sincerely driven by concern for the well being of gay Palestinians than you are. But thank you for demonstrating how there is nothing that imperialist projects will not try to co-opt – even sincere campaigns for justice and human rights of LGBT people and women. We who are really hoping for love to conquer hate must be ever vigilant of such wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 14 '07 - 02:59PM    #
  536. From “San Francisco Chronicle”, July 26, 2006”

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    “...The Lebanese gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group Helem is calling for a boycott:

    “ ‘Human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent, and the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (people) should not be placed in competition with the long struggle of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian LGBT people.’ “


       —Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT)    Oct. 14 '07 - 04:28PM    #
  537. Aimee:

    Interesting that you should defend someone like Joe Massad. Massad has for years denied the existence of homosexuals and lesbians in Middle Eastern countries. This is the kind of person with whom you and Ann Arbor Green align yourself? And you call yourselves human rights activists? He claims that the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians in the Arab lands are what produces gays and lesbians and that gays and lesbians are not indigenous to the Arab world. This is what you believe?

    I labeled the boycott “racist” because it targets one group/nation without looking at other nations and groups within that same region. The definition of racism is targeting one group or nation for particular scrutiny and being bias in one way or another toward persons of a particular race.

    Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that you and your people do not care about the situation of gay Palestinians.

    I am very familiar with QUIT. Their existence does not take away from the fact that Palestinian gay persons are suffering terribly under the current Palestinian regime. There are many protests against the occupation by QUIT and organizations similar to them which will voice their opposition to the occupation and simultaneously voice their opposition to the Palestinian Authority’s treatment of gay persons.

    Your ultra-paranoia about “Zionist control” is hogwash. I don’t think the BBC is controlled by Zionists. I have also seen with my own eyes the situation for Palestinian gays. You continue to deny the fact that these things are happening.

    You know very well that you can fight the occupation and fight homophobia at the same time. You just refuse to stand up and speak out against what’s happening in Palestine to the gays for fear that it might look like you’re defending Zionists.

    The message I am getting from you is that it does not matter who gets hurt in the process, we will continue along our path of defending a regime (the Palestinian Authority) that has been just as racist and oppressive as you say the Zionists have been.

    Clearly, gay persons are not welcome by the Ann Arbor Green Party.

    It’s interesting that Chuck said one of your goals was social justice and then you claim Joe Massad as one of your heroes, someone who claims gay people do not exist. That view was the same view the Nazis had toward gay persons. So, just like you make analogies to the Nazi regime and Zionism, you align yourself with someone who claims gays don’t exist and are spreading their sickness throughout the Arab world, a very Nazi-like attitude.

    I am glad we had this conversation because you’ve exposed Ann Arbor Green for who they really are, a group of hatemongers.

    The bottom line is you and your agenda will never win until you stop defending hate with the excuse that you are actually attempting to stop hate.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 04:42PM    #
  538. gack! disappontment! disappointment!

    Jason, you seem to be having a similar lack of success in reading Aimee’s words as Peter did. Check out #583 again.

    You’ve got quite a challenge here, Aimee. As always, I respect your efforts.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 14 '07 - 05:40PM    #
  539. As usual you are all getting way off topic. For the one-millionth time, all I am saying is that people should talk about gay rights in Palestine NOT abandon any of their other efforts.

    I am trying to get the point across of how hypocritical it would be for me to give complete support to free a nation who would take away freedom from me and people like me.

    I never argued that Palestinians as people should not have freedom.

    I am arguing that the Palestinian Authority is just as racist and ethno-centrist as you claim the Israeli government to be making unequivocal support of either side wrong.

    What would have been so wrong with attacking the ANC’s homophobia while simultaneously working with them to end apartheid? Seems to be that the only reason you are not voicing any opinion on the issue of gays in Palestine is because you’re afraid to offend them but it’s okay to offend others. You just are not making any sense.

    Regardless of what you say, the gay community under the Palestinian Authority is living in a hell-like situaion and you and people like you refuse to even say it’s wrong. I am just asking that it’s acknowledged and you cannot even do that?

    What other conclusion can I make but that rights for gay persons are just not as important to you as rights of other humans?


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 07:26PM    #
  540. Steve:

    I felt as though I read Aimee’s post thoroughly. Please let me know where my answer may have contradicted this in any way and I will be more than happy to explain.

    Thanks.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 07:33PM    #
  541. Jason,

    Those of us in the Green Party in the USA prefer to focus on what our own government and society is doing; and one of the things our own government and society is doing is sending a lot of money to Israel so they can continue their genocidal campaign against the people of Palestine. We want to cut off the flow of these funds so that the people who live there can settle their own problems in a more peaceful environment due to the lack of military “aid.” And yes Jason, one of those problems would be the discrimination gays face in Palestine. You see, Jason, whether you want to admit it or not, you are serving as a flak for Israel by spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) which objectively takes the focus off Israel. Why are you not concentrating on the abuses here in the USA? Aren’t there enough here? This is where you live, not Israel. And this is where I live as well; I wish the $300 Billion John Dingell has voted for Israel since 1956 had been spent here and not Israel. Another interesting factoid, I and I am sure many other Greens as well would be in favor of cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority as well since we have real concerns the so called “aid” to the Palestinian Authority is not in fact aid. We believe the aid money the Palestinian Authority is getting does not really benefit the vast majority of Palestinians.
       —Chuck L.    Oct. 14 '07 - 09:09PM    #
  542. Chuck:

    Now that makes complete sense. Also, just so you know, I am very focussed on the abuses that go on against gay persons and minorities here at home. It’s just that the subject of this blog was more Middle Eastern focussed then domestically focussed so I felt the need to comment based on the subject.

    I agree that the people in the Middle East need to solve problems without foreign aid. That would end up being better off for us and them.

    Personally, I cannot lie and say that I don’t identify more with Israel then with the Palestinians because of the gay issue but agree that funds should be cut for both.

    You are I actually agree much more so then we disagree. Thanks for your statement and for taking the time to answer me.


       —Jason    Oct. 14 '07 - 09:58PM    #
  543. Jason, Aimee wrote
    And I am sure you do not speak for the entire world gay community as you claim to in your post 580. You may speak for what Joe Massad calls the Gay International with its imperialist agenda, but you do not speak for the world gay community.

    And you wrote
    Interesting that you should defend someone like Joe Massad.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 15 '07 - 12:07AM    #
  544. Steve:

    I sort of see what you’re saying but in my opinion Aimee’s statement was in a way praising people like Joe Massad.

    Thanks.

    Have a voice: Let me just be clear: What I AGREE with is cutting off both Israel AND the Palestinian authority per Chuck’s post. I DON’T agree with glorifying the Palestinian Authority. I agree with cutting funds to both and letting them work out their own issues.

    This does not change the fact the Palestinian Authority suppresses gay persons everyday. Just because you are a victim does not disqualify you from being a racist.

    I think we’ve said all we can say on this subject. Enough. We are all not learning anything new.


       —Jason    Oct. 15 '07 - 01:37AM    #
  545. steve, your half-witted encomium to aimee fairly clunked onto my desktop.

    maybe all this chatter goes by too fast on your screen, and you need to stop and smell the skunk cabbage.

    because you utterly missed the point when aimee asked me

    do you deny that Palestinians have been subjected to attrocities, suffering and injustice for six decades in (or exiled from) their own homeland as a result of Zionist conquest of their land?

    and i answered yes to her transparently framed rhetoric.

    after all, the suffering of palestinians is the result of many cruel circumstances, not least of which is the blind eye turned toward their plight by arab nations (remember my early post about lebanon?) and by palestinian leaders themselves.

    nonetheless, you express your respect for aimee’s effort to take me to task for my supposed denial of the suffering of palestinians and decry my “lack of success in reading aimee’s words.”

    so i encourage you to read aimee’s words. all of them. take your time. observe carefully, steve, that aimee did not ask me

    do you deny that Palestinians have been subjected to attrocities, suffering and injustice for six decades in (or exiled from) their own homeland?

    page up, steve, the words are right there.

    i lacked no success in reading aimee’s words, steve: i read every one of them, not merely the conveniently chosen fragment that you and aimee now eagerly embrace.


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 15 '07 - 02:25AM    #
  546. One thing to consider, regardless of what you might think about the other issues: the PFC is a small, local business whose ability to continue to do all sorts of positive things (like employ people, sell healthy foods within walking distance to downtown residents, contribute to the community, etc.) is being harmed by the clamor and furor surrounding this issue. Customers have already started to avoid shopping there because of the protests.

    Why fight this battle at the PFC? Wouldn’t Kroger or Whole Foods be a more logical target? Why not Arbor Farms or the Produce Station? Surely there are retailers who carry more items from Israel, and who sell far more in dollar amounts of Israeli goods.

    It seems to me that the democratic nature of the Co-op is being used in a most un-democratic way: to enforce the preferences (however noble or despicable we might deem them) of a minority upon a majority. Isn’t that part of the problem in the occupied territories? It’s not the majority of tolerant, reasonable, moderate people on both sides who wreck things; it’s those who refuse to compromise or engage in respectful, thoughful dialogue.


       —Sam Rosewig    Oct. 15 '07 - 02:34AM    #
  547. Because of the stated intention here to continue to lobby the board for a boycott, the location of the Nov. 8 meeting is TBA (to be announced). Excess participation cost us one meeting location, and the last one was only available to us for two meetings. We’re in search of another meeting location.


       —Pete S.    Oct. 15 '07 - 03:05AM    #
  548. Thanks, Parking Structure Dude! I consider this high praise as it’s coming from you (re: #539). I have long been an admirer of your prose on this blog!

    I have almost fallen off my chair from some of your incredibly witty commentary! Thank you for framing things in such a way as to patently reveal, and poke holes in, the total absurdity and absolute humorlessness of some of the fanatical commentators found herein!


       —Mike    Oct. 15 '07 - 03:07AM    #
  549. Have a Voice:

    Protest to support a racist regime (Palestine) that you claim to be protecting from another racist regime (Israel)? That makes tons of sense and is a fabulous use of your time and energy.

    When will you people wake up and realize neither is worthy of your time and effort and work to stop American aid to both parties and to other countries as well (Egypt for example, a huge beneficiary of our tax dollars) who use our tax money for questionable causes?

    I think we all should keep our noses out of the Middle East and let them solve their own problems. We have enough problems here at home to tackle.

    This obession with the Palestinians and the Israelis is just that. Palestinians are racist, Israelis are racist and tons of Americans are racist.

    How about putting some of this energy into protecting the enviornment and fighting racism and homophobia in this country?


       —Jason    Oct. 15 '07 - 03:50AM    #
  550. The United States government has deliberately chosen and implemented policies that many of us on both sides of this debate abhor, such as torture of prisoners and providing vast amounts of military aid without questioning its use.

    All of us who live and vote and pay taxes in America are responsible for those actions. What’s more, as citizens, we have some voice in forming those policies (through lobbying Congress) and choosing the policymakers (through elections).

    Right-wing policies on the Middle East are prevalent in Congress, not just because of the strength of AIPAC and other such lobbying organizations, but because there has been so little countervailing pressure in favor of restraining aggression and bringing about peace.

    If you think U.S. policy needs to change, which it plainly does, why not put the heat on the people who are making those decisions? Why focus enormous energy on getting a little food co-op in Ann Arbor to take a purely symbolic stand against Israel?


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 15 '07 - 04:32AM    #
  551. #578: “So hate won out for now, which is not surprising, given how biased the media is and how unwelcoming our ‘peace’ community in Ann Arbor is to Arabs and Muslims. But we who hunger and thirst for justice will persist. And the European Jewish supremacist regime of Israel will fall. It is only a matter of time.”

    If this comment itself isn’t a manifestation of hate and yes—as much as you dislike hearing it—blatant antisemitism, Ms. Smith, along with your obscene justification of using a swastika to speciously compare Israel with the Nazi regime—which demonstrates precisely how ignorant you are of history—I don’t know what is. You’re so-called demand for “justice” never extends to the legitimate—that’s right, legitimate —national aspirations of the Jewish people, the only people in the world you want to deny its own nation. Well, too bad, Ms. Smith, after 60 years, you and your fellow Jew haters had better learn to accept it that Israel is not going away despite your most fervent, racist desire that it be destroyed. If you can’t even admit that using a swastika—you call it a legitimate practice—to forward your failed boycott attempt is an expression of hate directed against Jews and a Jewish state, you are an incorrigible hypocrite.

    Also, for your edification, the majority population of the legitimate, democratic Middle Eastern state of Israel is Sephardic and Mizrahi (Oriental) Jews (non-Europeans; and you use another fallacious argument to claim the Jews of Israel are Europeans and deny that they are indeed Middle Easterners who have as much right as anyone to live where they do) who have very deep roots in the Near East both in the Land of Israel and in neighboring lands, the vast majority of whom were violently driven from the “tolerant” Islamic, Arab countries in which they had long resided simply because they’re Jews. Jews have had a very long, continuous, historical presence in the area the Romans deliberately misnamed “Palestine” for the invading, foreign Philistines who, like the Romans, were enemies of the Israelites. Until the 1960s, no one really talked about a Palestinian state. No one said Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank) and Gaza were occupied when the Arab, Islamic states of Jordan and Egypt controlled (occupied) them (1948-1967)! Only when Israel defeated (for the third of at least four times) Arab armies of several countries massed against her and a Jewish administration was extended to this area, did the (predictable) screaming and yelling of “occupation” begin. Why? Because Jews were in charge now, not the Arab, Islamic occupiers. When you single out Israel, a Jewish nation, for your invective and absolve most everyone else, especially the Arabs and Moslems, you are being racist even though you will never admit it.

    And, unlike you, who truly manifests hatred for Israel (hardly disguising your odium for Jews), I do not hate Palestinian Arabs or Moslems, only those who are dead set on killing as many Israelis and Jews as they can and promoting a culture of death where children are encouraged to despise all things Jewish and not just Israeli, while dehumanizing all Jews and aspiring to blow themselves up along with as many “infidels” as they can while inflicting as much pain and suffering as they can in the process by putting nails and other “bomber helpers” into their explosive devices. No doubt Israeli soldiers have killed civilians, including some who were innocent, but on the whole their posture is defensive, and unlike the suicide bombers, Hamas and Hezbollah missile launchers, and other terrorists (not all Palestinians) who do deliberately target civilians including infants and the elderly, the Israeli army on the whole, does not. If they did, they would just bomb the Palestinians out of existence. It’s because they do their utmost to limit civilian casualties (nearly impossible to do when the attacks are launched from amidst civilians who are cynically used as pawns by so-called “freedom fighters”), that Israeli soldiers often suffer far greater casualties themselves by operating on the ground and conducting extraordinarily dangerous house-to-house searches for weapons and terrorists.

    If you truly were pro-Palestinian and not merely anti-Israel, you would work for a just peace that allows for both a free and democratic, tolerant Arab Palestinian nation and a Jewish one, both living side-by-side in peace and cooperation and helping each other. It’s because of your repeatedly stated goal of annihilating Israel and your unwillingness to lay any blame whatsoever on the Palestinian Arabs for the desperateness of their situation that you don’t really love those downtrodden people. If you did, you’d take a long and realistic appraisal of the situation and come to the realization that Israel is here for the long run and that only an accommodation between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs holds out any hope that peace, openness, tolerance, economic cooperation and trade, and even prosperity might be established in this very troubled region.

    In #587, Mr. Alias states, “From now on, we talk about the European Holocaust (1941-1945).” Sorry, “Have A Voice” (and sure knows how to misuse it): 1941-1945 is the period that the US fought in World War II. The persecution of the Jews and others (including mentally handicapped and physically disabled people, homosexuals, Roma, and more, but most heavily focused on an obsessive and irrational hatred of Jews) by the Nazi regime began not long after Hitler became Germany’s de facto führer as its Reich Chancellor in 1933 (also the year when Dachau, the first concentration camp, was opened), first with dehumanizing the Jews in a propaganda and public relations campaign; burning of books written by Jews; then stripping away their citizenship and civil rights by banning Jews from many public and private institutions and with the Nuremburg Laws in 1935. Then there was Kristallnacht on November 9. 1938, followed by arrests and deportations of Jews three days later and the expulsion of Jewish children from public schools on November 15. Next Jews were forced into squalid, sealed-off, disease-ridden ghettoes in 1939 (where the inhabitants, the Jews, forced within were not armed with missiles and bombs and the Palestinian PR machine of the 1960s to present); then Einsatzgruppen (mobile mass killing units) began in June 1941, six months before the US entered the War; then death and slave labor camps no later than 1941 until the very end of the War in Europe.

    So, if you can’t get really basic facts like this correct—the actual time period of the Holocaust, that is, which does not coincide with just the US involvement in WWII—and if you can trivialize the Shoah (something you don’t want to talk about—woops, excuse me, there’s only one subject, one subject alone [your longtime obsession] about which you or, by your rules, anyone is allowed to talk and that remains more important than anything else past, present, or future in this world—you only will discus the systematic destruction of Europe’s Jews if you can deceptively equate it with the so-called “persecution” of the “Palestinians” by Israeli Jews)—why should anyone except fanatical Jew haters like you, trust anything that spurts out of your poison keyboard?!

    Interesting to note is that on April 1, 1933 (not 1941), the Nazis proclaimed a general boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses (with daubing and smashing of windows and picketing of Jewish businesses and other institutions with large, incendiary placards—the latter is what the JWPF does in front of a Jewish institution, Beth Israel, right here in Ann Arbor, showing that right here in the 21st century, almost 75 years later, some people have learned nothing from this awful period that Mr. Alias with his “big” voice wants to forget unless he can falsely compare it to what’s going on Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza). Only (largely self-inflicted) Palestinian Arab suffering troubles the man of a thousand names, never the suffering inflicted by anyone else anywhere else at any other time, and certainly not the murdering and maiming of Jews by his beloved, “tolerant, peace-loving, oppressed” Palestinian Arabs.

    Another inanity from the fellow with just too-many voices (see #587): “And about persecution of gay people, as long as it is Palestinians doing the persecuting.” This is about as close as he’s ever come to admitting that Palestinian Arabs persecute anybody while he trivializes a very real form of persecution and (homophobically) mocks Jason. Yes, some “freedom fighter” brave mr. have_a_voice (that just won’t quit even though most people, even those in his own camp, are sick of hearing) is! He’s just fine with any kind of persecution as long as it originates from his flawless Palestinians. What better proof do we need that HAV fervently desires and embraces the institution of a hateful, oppressive, dictatorial, homophobic, misogynistic, extremist, tyrannical regime in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank than his absolute indifference to the suffering and oppression caused by his better-than-anyone-else Palestinians (is that not racism against others and even the Palestinian Arabs themselves; of course it is) even against large portions of their own population?

    And, talk about dictatorial: HAV wants to impose his (limited) will on the Co-Op board and membership because he’s unhappy (boo-hoo) with the outcome of a fair and democratic election that he and his minions forced on us to begin with. Until everything in the world aligns with his narrow, cynical viewpoint, he won’t stop. Well, guess what Alias Man, there won’t be another vote anytime soon on this issue anymore than Israel will be defeated or go away. You lost, so accept it like a man, for once. Your views are reprehensible even to your own fellow anti-Israel folks, and the more you persist in your obdurate, ignorant, blind ways, the more you will defeat your own cause. Actually, all of sane Ann Arbor and those of us who actually desire peace in the Middle East and not the annihilation of one people or the other, should laud you! Yes, that’s right! Thanks to your obsessive and misguided efforts, you turn off many more people and lose even your allies every time you open your unthinking mouth and shove your big boot right up it! You are helping Israel’s cause much more than any of the Zionists you so despise could ever hope to do on their own! So, thank you, thank you, and thank you! Bravo!

    Jason, as much as I agree with much of what you say, I think you’re absolutely wrong to want aid to be cut off to Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Why? One, because if aid to Israel is severed, the racists, misogynists, homophobes, antisemites, and haters will win. And two, desperately needed aid like food and medicines to Palestinian Arabs would thus also be eliminated. Three, arms and oil money will continue to flood into the hands of Palestinian terrorists, while Israel will get nothing more with which to defend itself from the continuous violent attacks against it, and her enemies will grow ever stronger and suppress the equal rights you and I want for women, gays and lesbians, and anyone else that the theocrats who want to overrun Israel see as their enemies. Israel has to be much stronger than its enemies, or it will cease to exist. And, if you think an Arab state that might, G-d forbid, replace it, would be open and tolerant and democratic, you have to be kidding, as you have fairly eloquently noted yourself more than once. Israel has won the many wars launched against it because it had to. If it lost just once, do you really think this single bastion of democracy, free speech, openness, and tolerance in a sea of hatred and bigotry would still exist?

    And, boycotteers, how about taking your big signs and protests to some of the many Arab stores—I’ll bet you wouldn’t dare!—in the Metro Detroit area that carry incredible numbers of Israeli products, more than Hillers, Whole Foods (oh, BTW, they, Whole Foods, sell Israeli couscous, too, they just hide it under the name, “Middle Eastern couscous as getalife you people states in #537 above—how come you don’t picket them, huh?), Busch’s, Kroger, and Maijer combined? These local Arab markets and groceries have hundreds of times more Israeli foods and products than our little Co-Op that you are still trying so hard to destroy by wanting to force your most unwanted, intolerant, narrow-minded, super-minority, and, yes, racist agenda upon. Like George W. Bush, who sends large armies to pick on small, weaker countries, you harass small institutions and make really big messes. You think you’re progressives, but actually you have a very high level of tolerance and love for oppressive, extreme right-wing, totalitarian theocrats who would do anything they can to impose their undemocratic will on others and obliterate infidel minorities should they have the opportunity. Ironic how you are aligned with such reactionaries, isn’t it?, the same people who would oppress you and violently silence your voice unless it echoed official policy, if you were under their rule!

    Hijacking and co-opting seem to be your stock-in-trade. You’re too blind to see that you’re defeating your own cause, but that’s OK, because you’re helping the vast majority by doing what you’re doing. Your fixation with wanting to wipe out Israel, like Hitler’s obsessive hatred and near annihilation of the Jews of Europe, will eventually be your undoing and make you very sick (excuse me, you are already very, very sick indeed, but you, too, might even eventually notice it) as you lose one battle after another.


       —Mike    Oct. 15 '07 - 08:45AM    #
  552. That was a really interesting post, Mike. But I still think the fundamental flaw is the idea of a Jewish state as a legitimate national aspiration. Forget for a moment where this state was established, (in the midst of hostile environment). Methodists don’t have their own state. Black people don’t have their own state. It is a romantized fantasy that you can have a state based only on religion, or who your mother is. Reality intrudes in the form of a population who feels desperately alienated and unempowered, and have become desperate and more irrational and violent. The centuries long persecutions do not entitle Jews to their own state, nor the Biblical allusions. The state exists currently, but that what a miserable and precarious existence-Isreal is armed to the teeth, and now builds walls to keep tens of thousands away from it. It has to change it way to persevere, and has to come to an equitable solution with the population that lived in that area before the creation of the Isreali state.


       —emilia    Oct. 15 '07 - 12:15PM    #
  553. Thank you for your solidarity. Where would Palestine be without friends like you? Especially thank you for keeping the focus on Palestine’s enemies, the ones responsible for keeping Palestine from developing free and democratic: the board of a food co-op in Ann Arbor, Michigan and selfish American pet owners! Again, thank you for keeping the focus where it belongs! You are my heros!


       —Suha from Paris    Oct. 15 '07 - 01:03PM    #
  554. Pet owners?


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Oct. 15 '07 - 02:05PM    #
  555. Emilia “But I still think the fundamental flaw is the idea of a Jewish state as a legitimate national aspiration. Forget for a moment where this state was established, (in the midst of hostile environment). Methodists don’t have their own state. Black people don’t have their own state.”

    Catholics have their own State, the State of the Vatican City.


       —todd    Oct. 15 '07 - 03:17PM    #
  556. Larry, I think that was in reference to the 5th section of post #544, where the rich Americans’ lavish spending on their pets is lamented.

    Larry, I disagree with your contention that lobbying the US Congress is a viable alternative to the boycott. Who is going to outbid AIPAC? It has been said that the US Congress is Israeli occupied territory. The Israel Lobby is well financed, partly due to US aid to Israel. I suppose that could be viewed as the silver lining regarding the large amount of cash Israel receives from the US — At least our congressman get some of it back!


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 15 '07 - 03:32PM    #
  557. because you utterly missed the point when aimee asked me … and i answered yes to her transparently framed rhetoric.

    Yes, I missed the point in your response.

    nonetheless, you express your respect for aimee’s effort to take me to task…

    I was referring to her efforts with Jason, not you. My mistake in referring to your comment when addressing Jason.

    If Aimee traded in her righteous anger for some more compassion or forgiveness, she might be more successful in her efforts. Nevertheless I respect them. I also respect your efforts, Peter (but this one not so much.) If you traded in your cleverness for some more sincerity or humility, you might be more successful in yours. Just my opinion. Take it as you will.


       —Steve Bean    Oct. 15 '07 - 04:20PM    #
  558. Is the Co-op Board so afraid to hold an honest ballot, with observers present, for the Boycott-Israel referendum?

    So afraid that the Co-op Board meeting is at an undiscloed location?

    If the Co-op Board would stop being such a good protector for the Zionist state (as it massacres Palestine), maybe the Board would not be afraid to show its face to its own members.


       —News    Oct. 15 '07 - 04:36PM    #
  559. I’m a little behind on my reading. Wow. Just… wow.

    600+ comments about couscous and putative election fraud at PFC? Swastikas as acceptable protest symbols?! Palestinian/Israeli olive oil/couscous parity?!?

    Oh. My. God.

    AAIO, I hope you’re taking notes.


       —Anna    Oct. 15 '07 - 05:09PM    #
  560. All you forgot was:

    What is happening to the Palestinians?

    And why is the Co-op Board hiding out from its own shareholders, after delivering an unbelievable ballot count for Israel?


       —News    Oct. 15 '07 - 05:16PM    #
  561. And, more importantly, Mohamed, WHY did the British Secret Service kill Diana? Was it because she was pregnant with Dodi’s love-child?


       —Anna    Oct. 15 '07 - 05:57PM    #
  562. No one is hiding. We are seeking a new meeting space (the old one someone, I suspect you, ruined for us). The board will let folks know within a few days where and when the meeting is to be. It will be posted on the PFC website and in the store.

    More unsupported charges.


       —Pete S.    Oct. 15 '07 - 06:00PM    #
  563. It seems that someone finds the ongoing occupation of Palestine to be quite hilarious.

    Perhaps the statistics, showing extreme malnutrition among Palestinian children, a phenomenon created entirely by Israeli army blockades, will leave Miss Anne laughing even harder.

    Starving Palestinian children. Laugh it up, Miss Anne.

    You can share your laugh with the Co-op Board… if you can find their meeting place.


       —News    Oct. 15 '07 - 06:03PM    #
  564. In Ann Arbor, there is but one party and one faith: the rest is a dispute about trifles.


       —Anna    Oct. 15 '07 - 06:09PM    #
  565. Peter S., speaking for the Board, has already said why the Board meeting is to be kept secret:

    600. “Because of the stated intention here to continue to lobby the board for a boycott, the location of the Nov. 8 meeting is TBA (to be announced).”

    It is a little late now, to take that back.

    How far can a Green fall?
    When he takes on the dirty job of caring for Zionists, and making sure they don’t have to hear about Palestine, ever again, in any Co-op Board meeting.

    Or about what happened to all those boycott-Israel ballots when no one was watching the ballot box for 30 dyas and 30 nights.


       —News    Oct. 15 '07 - 06:16PM    #
  566. I assure you, my comments have been completely ingenuous.

    You aren’t doing anything productive by claiming that PFC rigs its votes. If you want to make a difference, run for office, join a think tank, write a book.

    Paranoid lunacy is never a good strategy.


       —Anna    Oct. 15 '07 - 06:27PM    #
  567. Hey News, I also read 600. I took it to mean that the PFC board was looking for an appropriate site that could accommodate all who want to attend, since their meetings have gotten larger. And when they identified that location they would announce it to the membership. I guess that’s why he said it would be announced. Since it is a cooperative they must hold their meetings in a cooperative manner; open to the members, like me. As a matter of fact the PFC by-laws state, “Notices [of meetings] shall also be posted in the storefronts no less than ten (10) days before the meeting.” So you will know exactly where the meeting will held 10 days prior, all you have to do is walk up to the store… it is in Ann Arbor… on Fourth.

    Now why would you go out of your way to pick a fight about something as mundane as that when you have such weighty issues to contend with?


       —abc    Oct. 15 '07 - 08:01PM    #
  568. Methodists do have states: Wales and Wesleyan University. Lutherans have Sweden, Norway, and Minnesota. Catholics, as pointed out above, have the Vatican and control of an enormous number of countries: Mexico, Poland, Ireland, Brazil, Massachusetts, Maryland (one of the original North American Catholic colonies), Québec, Bainbridge Avenue (Bronx), etc. You’re right: Blacks don’t have a state: they have a continent. Moslems have dozens of states. Hindus have a subcontinent! Buddhists have several countries, Sri Lanka, Thailand, e.g. Maoists have a state. Kim Il Sungists have a state. Fidelistas and Guevaristas have a state. Jews are not just a religion, but also a people. Your arguments that Jews don’t merit a state are specious at best. The state is established; the wall keeps out terrorists intent on causing maximum physical pain and murder to as many innocents as possible. Israel is here to stay whether a bunch of fanatical antisemites—you don’t want Jews to have state because they’re Jews, so obviously you’re antisemitic—in Ann Arbor like it or not. Toodles!


       —Mike    Oct. 15 '07 - 10:47PM    #
  569. I do not think it specious. I think it is the whole point. Starting and maintaining a state for a particular people, at such cost to others, is the recipe for disaster. Yes, of course the state exists, but so much unhappiness! Methodists and Catholics live everywhere, with heavier concentrations is some areas than others, they don’t have states or countries, that’s crazy talk. I am sure African-Americans are happy to hear about their own continent!(More crazy talk)
    I do not consider myself an anti-semite, but I do not take much offense if others do, since I do think Israel’s current policies are hurtful and divisive. I think Jews are entitled to a government that represents them fairly, wherever they happen to live, not just a government for themselves alone.


       —emilia    Oct. 16 '07 - 12:35AM    #
  570. Emilia:

    I read your post and it would seem you are of the opinion that Israel has no “right” to exist as a sovereign Jewish State. You claim that Catholics and others don’t have “States” of their own so why should the Jews? My assumption is you are not of the Jewish persuasion. If my assumption is correct, I will say that because of that, you have no conception of what it is to live as a Jewish person in a general world that will never really accept you as a full citizen and always looks at you as a Jew first and whatever country (French, Italian, British, etc.) second. This has always been the case.

    You (or your family) did not have to live in Europe during the second world war and watch your family disappear because the world would not permit you to their country because you were a Jew. Can you really blame these people for desiring a sovereign Jewish nation so they no longer would need to depend on another nation to “represent” and defend them? I agree that the occupation is unjust. But, are you saying to me that if the Palestinians were granted complete sovereignty and Israel withdrew from the West Bank and ceased its occupation of the Palestinians, it should not be allowed to exist as a Jewish State? You feel that as someone who is not Jewish and has not gone through many of these experiences, you are the authority on if a Jewish State should be allowed to exist?

    You say: “I think Jews are entitled to a government that represents “them” fairly, wherever “they” happen to live, not just a government for “themselves” alone.”

    I have news for you: Jews tried that for thousands of years. We were NEVER represented “fairly.” This is the primary reason so many Jews believe in the existence of a Jewish homeland. Being Jewish is not just a religion, it’s a culture and heritage like being Italian or Greek.

    Going along with the topic of ethnocentricity: Do you believe that Saudi Arabia or Iran should exist as Muslim States? They do. I, as a non-Muslim am not permitted in the city of Mecca. Do you agree with that? Are you willing along with condemning Israel for (gasp) being a Jewish State, condemn and boycott places like Iran and Saudi Arabia for being Muslim States and for keeping non-Muslims and women down?

    Just curious as to your opinion on these issues.

    Thanks.


       —Jason    Oct. 16 '07 - 01:41AM    #
  571. Mike:

    Thanks for what you wrote and for your support. I will write more later. In the mean time, thank you for helping me to expose the Palestinian Authority for what they are, a bunch of racist, homophobic thugs.


       —Jason    Oct. 16 '07 - 01:45AM    #
  572. Have a Voice:

    I don’t even believe you belive the nonsense you spew.

    Nobody is robbing the Palestinians but the Palestinian Authority.

    THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY IS RACIST AND HOMOPHOBIC. DEFENDING THEM IS RACIST AND HOMOPHOBIC.


       —Jason    Oct. 16 '07 - 02:09AM    #
  573. Mike:

    Thanks again.

    I think my issue with foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority (to your point) never gets into the hands of the Palestinian people themselves. Millions of dollars have been pumped into the Palestinian Authority and clearly not to the benefit of the average Palestinian.

    I also strongly believe (I’ve believed this ever since it became fashionale for cowards to picket old ladies walking into Sabbath services) that Israel would be better off without the kind of aid the United States gives them. I think this aid ultimately weakens their position and chips away from their soverignty. As long as this aid continues, Israel’s political situation will weaken and they will always be beholden to a greater power.

    I believe Israel can thrive on its own. She can supplement her income via private donations. Golda Meir raised millions in the United States from private donations when Israel was fighting for her life in the 1948 War of Independence.

    I truly believe the foreign aid might actually weaken Israel more then it stregnthens them at this time.

    Other than that, I think we agree on pretty much everything. Many of the people on this blog claim they are fighting for human rights when in reality they are replacing one “hatred” with another. The Palestinian Authority is notoriously homophobic, racist and ethno-centric. This is what the Ann Arbor Peace Movement defends day in and day out. They go on to say that we should not punish and entire Palestinian people for the shortcomings of their government and we should continue to fight for the rights of the Palestinians. But they continue to blame and desire to punish the Israeli people for that government’s alledged shortcomings.

    Support the Palestinian Authority? To what end I ask? Until the time you have another Muslim State in the Middle East dictating what people can wear and how people can love? Is this your goal?

    What I am learning is that the ultra-left and the ultra-right actually meet each other and join hands. You will defend a racist regime in Palestine and condemn a soverign Jewish regime? You say your behavior is not born from anti-Semitism and yet you use the Nazi symbol to express your opinions. The one symbol that evokes the most emotion of any Jewish person. You use words like “genocide” because of the Nazi genocide against the Jews. You use these words and these symbols to express your views and then claim you are merely anti-Zionist not anti-Semitic. You picket a Synagogue not a Mosque. You picket a Synagogue not a Church. You picket a Synagogue not a government building. And you claim you’re not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. That’s a load of bull. There is such a thing as anti-Zionists who are not anti-Semitic but that’s not what I am reading on this blog or seeing from many of those in the Ann Arbor Peace Movement.

    What I am seeing is the use of the word “Nazi” “Genocide”. What I am hearing here is people telling me that I am a “Gay International” with an “imperialist” agenda because I believe gay rights should exist for people not only in the west but in the Arab World as well.

    I never knew of the horrid homophobia that existed within this pro-Palestinian movement. I had no idea. I would think that if I was speaking with rational human beings who really believed in justice for all that you would at least voice concern for the gays of Palestine and of the Arab world while voicing the same concern for the Palestinians who suffer under Israeli occupation. But, alas, you don’t. You don’t care what happens to gay people in Palestine, to women in Saudi Arabia or to non-Muslims in Iran. You only care about hatred of one place, a Jewish State. You only picket one house of worship, a Jewish one, you only use symbols that will conjure up the most emotions in Jews. You are anti-Semites. This is why you don’t have the respect or support of the greater community. When you start standing up for everyone, you’ll gain respect and start obtaining the ability to actually help the Palestinians.

    It takes a real hero to picket a house of worship in a small Midwestern city representing a tiny minority of people and to stick signs in old ladies’ faces as they attempt to walk into their house of worship on their Sabbath.


       —Jason    Oct. 16 '07 - 03:11AM    #
  574. Emilia,in response to your inquiry (#626), and to supplement Jason’s comments (628), I’m copying this excerpt from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, May 15, 1948, which will shed light on the intentions of Israel’s founders:

    THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

    Fred Horowitz


       —Fred Horowitz    Oct. 16 '07 - 03:50AM    #
  575. Emilia:

    To supplement what Fred posted, do you believe that Turkey should invade Greece and take over Greek land? Do you believe France should invade Germany and make that French land? Why then do you believe that the Palestinians have the right to move from their territory to take over Israel and make it Palestinian? Jews are a people like the French, like the Greeks and like the Turks. Why do you feel it is OK for the Palestinians to move in on Israeli territory and not okay for other countries to do the same?

    Why can’t the Jewish people have a tiny little piece of land for their own when there are vast Arab lands for the Muslims? Is it that you feel Jews should not have a presence in the Middle East? Jews are only allowed to live in silence as “guests” of other nations like Turkey or Greece or France? I guess I am just trying to understand your logic as to why Jews as a people are not entitled to run their own affairs in a tiny little piece of land. Once the occupation of the Palestinians is resolved, you still don’t feel Israel has the “right” to exist as a Jewish nation but Saudi Arabia can exist as a Muslim nation.

    Also, so kind of you to say that you are not anti-Semitic but you don’t care if people say you are. You should be so proud of that courageous statement.

    Well, let’s see, you are saying that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish State but Saudi Arabia and Iran can exist as Muslim States. So, Jews cannot have a country but Muslims can. Not sure what that classifies you as, but it certainly is not pro-Jewish.

    Most people are not denying the Palestinians their right to sovereignty. What people have an issue with is that giving Palestinians their sovereignty while simultaneously taking that right away from the Jewish people does not seem quite just.


       —Jason    Oct. 16 '07 - 04:15AM    #
  576. Emilia (#626): It really doesn’t matter what you think. Your arguments are baseless. Here’s some proof. In #626, you state, “I am sure African-Americans are happy to hear about their own continent!(More crazy talk).” Excuse me: who’s crazy? You said in #606, quote: “Black people don’t have their own state.” You didn’t say “African-Americans.” You don’t even remember what you yourself said just a few hours back (or choose to conveniently forget). Who else can rely on your tortured logic then? Blacks don’t need a state because they already have a huge continent full of nations. Are those not “Black” states? BTW, Liberia was founded in the 19th century as a Black state in Africa by Black African-Americans. That state, far from a happy place, BTW, and wow, was it ever started for a particular people—like all states, just about, especially the “Palestine” you eagerly await starting and hope to maintain. I’m sure it will be a very happy place (yeah, right)…

    If you don’t want to be called an antisemite, it’s really simple, stop being one. When you deny the Jewish people their legitimate right to a state simply because they’re Jews and not behaving the way you would have them behave when hundreds of other ethnic groups and religions have states (often behaving far, far worse than the Jews of Israel you so obviously dislike), you are quite simply an antisemite, period. It doesn’t really matter what you think, anyway, as Israel’s not going away. Yes, thank G-d, it’s not up to you and your merry band of boycotteers.

    You want to hear crazy talk? How about this: “Starting and maintaining a state for a particular people, at such cost to others, is the recipe for disaster. Yes, of course the state exists, but so much unhappiness!” So, what about India, a state for Hindus (a particular people, last time I looked)? Or Japan? Or Iceland? Or virtually every nation state that exists. Or, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iran, your fabled “Palestine,” etc., all states for Islamic peoples (I guess they’re just the right kind of people: “tolerant, happy, free, open” states where everybody, including Jews, right? can feel warmly welcomed, right)?” Your wanting to exclude Jews from also having that kind of happiness in their own state is indeed racist and antisemitic. BTW, by your agonized logic, wasn’t the country I assume you live in, “started and maintained for a particular people, at such cost to others” and a “recipe for disaster?” Why don’t you try to unravel that place, too? And, why, pray tell, don’t you get out of America since it was founded on the blood of Native Americans? Caught you in your hypocritical, twisted thinking, hah! Talk about “crazy talk!” So much unhappiness! You want a happy state? How about moving to Euro-Disneyland? Or Willy Wonka Land? Or, how about Oz? Maybe those weren’t begun and maintained for a particular people (Mickey and Minnie; Oompa-Loompas; Munchkins), and in one of those places, you can find true happiness. Shall we start gathering a collection for your one-way ticket?


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 05:20AM    #
  577. The Zionist project was built on lies, so it is not surprising to find so many pedaled on Arbor Update.

    Either Jason has not read Joe Massad’s work or he is willing to condemn anyone who thinks that Gay identity or gender identity are socially constructed as a Nazi. I encourage anyone compelled by his concern to read the work of Massad and decide for yourself.

    As for Mike, I admit I didn’t have time to read the whole thing (#604), but I just want to point out that the usual Zionist shell games are being used. The Israeli regime is absolutely a product of European power and established and to this very day dominated by Europeans. The plight of the Yemeni children who were claimed to their parents to be dead but then transfered to “good” Euroepan Israeli families in Israel meets part e.) of the UN definition of genocide is emblematic. Israel is hardly a Jewish melting pot. Read the following for more:
    http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/mitejmes/issues/200105/shohat.htm
    Further, it has been documented that, at the very least, some of the hostility that Jews met in Arab countries in the area was actually carried out by Zionists. Read the work of Naeim Giladi about the Jews of Iraq, for example. An interview can be found here: http://web.mit.edu/cis/www/mitejmes/issues/200105/shohat.htm

    Another common shell game is for Zionists to claim that the Jewish state is the same thing as the Jewish people. Well, just as Jason does not speak for the entire community of Gay identifying people in the world, neither does Israel speak for, let alone manifest, all Jews in the world. A state is a rather abstract human construction. A group of people is a collection of human beings that are “grouped” for one reason or another. If it is a religion, then on the basis of shared faith. If it is an ethnicity, than it is on the basis of some degree of shared cultural practices such as language, dress, etc. As the article linked above about Mizrahi Jews living in Israel explains, the state of Israel claims to be a haven for all the religious Jews of the world, but then it tries to impose a European culture on all Jews who live there. So, by law it excludes and discriminates against non-Jewish indigenous Palestinians, but by practice, it discriminates against all non-Europeans as well.

    Another sleight of hand often played by Zionists is claiming that Arab armies invaded and created a war and that is why Palestinians ended up suffering. Honeywell is trying to make this claim. Unfortunately for them, even Zionist Israeli scholars debunk such myths and are clear about the fact that there was a pre-meditated campaign to drive out the Palestinian people, and this process was undertaken by the Zionist terror gangs before Zionists declared Israel on May 15, 1948. Benny Morris is one famous example of such a Zionist scholar, but for an online book written by an anti-Zionist Jewish man, you can read http://www.marxists.de/middleast/schoenman/ to get a sense. Also, the work of Abu Sitta carefully documenting the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian villages by Zionist terror forces during that period is very useful to help understand the nature of what took place. http://www.Palestineremembered.com has a lot of documentation as well.

    For those of you who feel clueless about this topic (and I sure did 6 years ago and continue to learn all the time) I urge you to look into different sources and not just trust the mainstream media and popular best selling books. Zionism truly was founded on a lie after lie. There are guides to train Zionists how to “advocate for Israel” in their communities such as the Hasbara handbook and the ADL’s “How to advocate for Israel.” If you look at these carefully, you will begin to spot the talking points and the mo’s quickly and be better able to discern if you are speaking to someone sincerely seeking for truth, as many of us continue to do, or someone who is trying to manipulate others with lies.

    From the campus Hasbara manual we have this summary from sourcewatch.org:
    Propaganda is used by those who want to communicate in ways that engage the emotions and downplay rationality, in an attempt to promote a certain message.
    The manual goes on to describe seven propaganda techniques:

    -Name calling: through the careful use of words, then name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.
    -Glittering generality: Simply put, glittering generality is name calling in reverse. Instead of trying to attach negative meanings to ideas or people, glittering generalities use positive phrases, which the audience are attached to, in order to lend positive image to things. Words such as “freedom”, “civilization”,…
    -Transfer: Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another. For example, a speaker might decide to speak in front of a United Nations flag, in an attempt to gain legitimacy for himself or his idea.
    -Testimonial: Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse and ideal or campaign.
    Plain folks: The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a ‘regular guy’, who is trust-worthy because the are like ‘you or me’.
    -Fear
    -Bandwagon

    With new documentation about the Israeli bombing of the USS Liberty naval ship coming out and the stir created by the Mearsheimer and Walt paper and now book, people are beginning to understand that we have been hoodwinked all along. Sincere concern for persecution of Jews has been manipulated by Zionist leaders to justify carrying out similar crimes. The nuclear bomb armed racist colonial settler state poses as the “David” surrounded by the “Goliath” of the indigenous people of the region whose main crime is existing. The whole project was racist from the beginning. West Asians cannot be compelled to forfeit rights as a way to repair crimes carried out by Europeans. It makes no sense unless you believe that West Asians are somehow less than human – i.e unless you have a mentality akin to Nazis.

    One of the early Zionist leaders was Vladimir Jabotinsky. I strongly encourage everyone to read his 1923 essay (long before Hitler) called “The Iron Wall.” http://www.marxists.de/middleast/ironwall/ironwall.htm Jabotinsky was founder of the movement that originally became today’s Likud party.

    Equal rights in someone else’s homeland is already a generous offer towards European Jews now living in Palestine. The world is beginning to see the Zionists as incredibly unreasonable not to accept it. Thus, it is a matter of time before the racist Israeli regime falls. Then, once again, people of many faiths can coexist peacefully in that land.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Smith
    Co-chair Huron Valley Greens


       —Aimee Smith    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:16AM    #
  578. Re: #627: To the man/woman/whatever of the multiple personalities (Have_a_voice; News; Israelita Goldstein—where is she anyway, Blaine? we miss her terribly—etc.) Guess a “Palestine” built on the bones of so many Israelis, on top of so many destroyed Jewish communities (in their former Arab homes and elsewhere) has more pizzazz for you.

    And, as far as anyone who can see and hear, Israel has numerous overt supporters even though of course, there are plenty of overt detractors, too, like all of your personalities, for one…oops…I mean for ten or twenty, I can’t keep track of all of your personalities, pseudonyms, and aliases…

    Joan Lowenstein is a fabulous representative on the City Council and doesn’t need me to defend her from paranoid, delusional, obsessive compulsives like you. She doesn’t come to City Council meetings or the front of the Co-Op sporting obscene signs like you do because you’re totally incapable of communicating in anything resembling a sane, rational way. You accuse Joan of being “vicious?” With that potty mouth and dictatorial, fascistic, character assassinating, tortured mind of yours, vicious is far too polite a word to describe your attacks, not only on Israel, but anyone, everyone, and anything that doesn’t agree 100% with your insane thinking absolutely 100% of the time on everything. You call Peter, a Green (the anti-Israel Party would be a better name as they seem to have forgotten the original mission of their party) who voted with you and agrees with the boycott, a “Zionist!” That’s really hilarious! But you even alienate all your allies, too. You impugn his character because he wouldn’t let you remove all the anti-boycott votes and stuff the ballot box with pro-boycott slips, and he did all he could to protect the integrity and fairness of the referendum. He deserves praise from both sides of this highly divisive issue. You have a despotic mind, so it’s no wonder you worship the mythical “Palestine,” because it is shaping up to be a repressive, tyrannical entity just like you.

    How is what Joan allegedly said, “spit[ing] into Muslim Ann Arbor’s eyes?” Please tell me, you who sound like an anti-Zionist thug? Is “the putative head of the putative Green Party” a Muslim? If not, then Joan’s remark is right on the money. It would be like you wearing a Hasidic black hat and earlocks, which would be your Purim costume. Also, if Smith is not a Moslem, one could argue by her donning a hijab, she is mocking the religion of the people she purports to love. So, tell me, please, is she a practicioner of Islam or not?

    Every time “Have a Voice” makes a vicious joke out of Jewish attire, every time “Have A Voice” tries (always and ever in vain because only he and his fellow antisemites want this) to divest from the free, democratic, anti-Apartheid State of Israel, he contributes to Arab/Islamic (not all Arabs and Moslems, I reiterate) terrorist wished-for genocide against the Jewish people.

    “Who will run against her in City Council?” Why don’t you? I’m sure you could easily be elected to her seat.

    Who will run against those who support anti-Zionists, the fountainhead of racist violence against Israel, against Brooklyn, and the Jewish world? Good, honest, sane candidates, of course.

    “The City Council, and the Co-Op too, will divest from Israel.” Keep dreaming, Blaine, keep dreaming! Ain’t never gonna happen! Why don’t you run against Joan and see how many votes your paranoid, antisemitic, monomaniacal, racist platform garners you. You’ve got the right platform, obviously. So what are you waiting for? Throw your scarf in the ring right now. Go ahead, I dare you, big mouth! Put your action where your mouth—and signs—are, for a change, why doncha?

    Coleman (oops, I mean, “Hears Voices”) cannot even run on his racist dog of a Hamasistan pseudo-state platform to try to enact his always-doomed-to-failure boycott. Joan Lowenstein, G-d bless her, did a great job of checkmating your pitiful boycott effort, far better than you did in trying to enact it, sour grapes/sour face/sour signs boy. It just eats you up to know that in liberal Ann Arbor so many people know what a totally out-of-control buffoon you are. Even your own monomaniacal, co-religionist anti-Israel club, the so-called JWPF, tossed you out on your ear because you can’t control your vicious dog mouth and maintain even a semblance of sanity. You’re so off-the-wall, that you actually make them seem to appear rational. Please keep it up! You’re on the right track! You supply endless amusement for Ann Arborites. Seriously, shouldn’t you take your meds…uh…like everyday?


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 07:00AM    #
  579. Re #636: Show me any government that has not committed some foul deeds. It is the unwillingness of the anti-Israel crowd to allow Israel any space and excuse every Arab and Islamic atrocity, and that of all the nations of the world, only a Jewish one is worthy of their condemnation, and yes, maybe their allies or anyone who believes Israel has the right to exist, is what makes that monomaniacal hypocrisy so troubling, irrational, and quite frankly, hate-driven. So, like it or not, Ms. Smith, you and your Anti-Israel Party (formally known as Greens) are guilty of either explicit or implicit antisemitism. You attack the right of Jews to their tiny, tiny sovereign state and are not bothered by any other country of whatever ethnic persuasion and whatever atrocities to have its sovereignty. This exposes who is playing the real shell game here!

    Re: the Liberty, horrible as that event was, are you even dimly aware that the ship was sending the positions of Israeli forces to Egypt who was bent on destroying Israel at that time? I doubt it, because you will always use only one side of every story to justify your hatred of Jews and their right to live in peace in a sovereign Jewish state while all other ethnic/national/religious sovereignties, especially Arab and Moslem ones are A-OK with you and the Party Formerly Known as Greens.

    “Equal rights in someone else’s homeland is already a generous offer towards European Jews now living in Palestine. The world is beginning to see the Zionists as incredibly unreasonable not to accept it. Thus, it is a matter of time before the racist Israeli regime falls. Then, once again, people of many faiths can coexist peacefully in that land.”

    Oy, such “generosity.” Unreasonable? For a nation to accept someone coming over and cutting its throat? If that weren’t so sick, I would fall off my chair laughing! Yes, why don’t the Israelis just quietly step aside and let their sworn enemies—from a cult that glorifies death, no less!—destroy them? You and Blaine and Henry and Laurel et al would just love that. Thank G-d, it’s not up to you, and it never will be! Since the Palestinian Authority and Hamas don’t even grant anything resembling “equal rights” in the territories they occupy to women, gays, lesbians, Christians and other non-Moslem minorities, the media, or anyone who doesn’t share their narrow, extremist world view, the only “generous” offer the Palestinian Arab entity extends to Jews is death, exile, or conversion (shades of Spain in 1492 and Germany and its occupied territories from 1933-1945).

    Israel has often tried in vain to offer a true peace to its enemies beginning in 1948 (and really much earlier, too, in pre-State Jewish Palestine), but its Arab enemies have always violently rejected it. The Jews of Israel are as Middle Eastern—perhaps more so—than anyone else in the region; when you refer to them as “Europeans,” it is yet another way of de-legitimizing their sovereignty. This is not only antisemitic, it is derisive, and virulently racist. As a “European,” are you prepared to give up your house, step aside, and give all of the US back to the Native Americans from whom it was so violently wrested? If you’re going to be honest and want Israel to vanish, so should you strongly back the end of the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and all the countries in the Western Hemisphere as European colonies that are occupied land right now! What are you waiting for, anyway?

    As Jason said in #627 above (read his remarks and answer them honestly, and try to see the Jewish point of view, and) maybe, just maybe, you might begin to understand why Israel is so important to Jews the world over, and why it is legitimate and must and will continue to exist despite your desire to have it wiped out and replaced by your pseudo-fairy land of “people of many faiths [who] can coexist peacefully…” This could happen already if the terrorists in the disputed territories stopped once and for all their violent, hate-fueled attacks on Israel. Why can’t you even entertain the notion of two sovereign states, one Jewish and one Moslem, existing side-by-side? Maybe it’s because one of them is the one-and-only sovereign, democratic Jewish State in the world, not because of any of its perceived and actual wrongs. It’s perfectly all right for dozens of despotic Islamic regimes to exist, but one tiny Jewish country neither you nor many of those Arab States can tolerate. If that’s not hatred for Jews, I don’t know what else you can call it. I think it’s time the intolerant Green Party get a new name (and cease to exist just as you wish Israel would, but it won’t, sorry!) and accept the generous offer of sane Ann Arborites to live in a multicultural society and thrive with all faiths including Jews. Otherwise, Anti-Israel Party, as that seems to be your only issue these days, should be your name. What happened to the environment, which is going to hell in a handbasket? You neglect your so-called true mission to dump, dump, dump always on Israel. No other issues of importance for you and your so-called “Peace” Movement. Hate Movement is really what it is.


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 08:51AM    #
  580. Jason (#s 628, 629, 631, 632, 634): very eloquent. Thank you! Although I don’t agree with your reasoning on governmental aid being cut off from Israel because this is what the antisemitic anti-Zionists want, and it doesn’t assure an equal shutting of the tap of oil dollars to Hamas, Fatah, and the PA (who could easily exploit the end of aid to Israel to build up their arms to a much more dangerous level than which it is at right now), I can see some of your point. You’re right that a lot of the aid to Palestinian Arabs ends up in the corrupt hands of their “leaders” and doesn’t stave off their starvation (and just as bad or worse, buys more arms). If there were an honest way to monitor the flow of humanitarian aid and true economic (not weapons) build-ups for the people of the West Bank and Gaza that could possibly be a good thing.

    Anyway, almost everything else you said, I could hardly have said any better. Kol ha-kavod! Right on!


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 09:05AM    #
  581. Re: my own post, #638, Jason, please excuse my terrible slip when I wrote, “As Jason said in #627 above…” It was supposed to be # 628 not 627, which came off the infamous poison keyboard! I am sorry for the error. What I get for being up so early (late?).


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 09:31AM    #
  582. Is anbody from the BIG group that actually brought the referendum demanding a recount? Or is it just Blaine Coleman and his lady?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 16 '07 - 01:02PM    #
  583. Look, people can be mad about what I say. So what? I am not Jewish, I am not Arab, I’m just a person who feels like blogging what I perceive.
    There is a particular blind spot that some people have. They feel there own pain, but fail to understand how their actions impact others. Perhaps it is the pain of the Holocaust. The answer of a two state solution seemed to be the favored answer on this blog, and certainly if all parties involved agreed upon it, that’s fine. Agreement,trust, mutual respect all seem to be lacking on both sides, and any agreement looks miles away. Perhaps that’s really just a snipe hunt. Hating Jews for being Jewish is nonsense. Not liking a specific thought and outcome is another. Israel has a lot of problems, and fundamentally needs to change, because being mad and scared all the time is a miserable way to live. Period.
    How great can it be to have neighbors so upset with you that you have to worry about suicide bombers and build huge walls and make thousands of people suffer for your “safety”? You have to own your part in the problem before you can solve the problem. Note, the same is true for Palestinians.
    I still think, that claiming that territory as only yours was kind of weird,irrational and primarily seems like an emotional reaction to the Holocaust.
    I still think the US has the best government around, I believe strongly in separation of church and state, and I believe with all my heart we are all children of god.


       —Emilia    Oct. 16 '07 - 01:06PM    #
  584. one way to help relieve the suffering of palestinians is to contribute to friends of unrwa


       —peter honeyman    Oct. 16 '07 - 01:24PM    #
  585. It is unbelievable.

    Israel drops one million cluster bombs on Lebanon, and your solution is NOT to pass sanctions against Israel. Your solution is NOT to pass boycotts against Israel.

    Your solution is to fight tooth and nail to PROTECT Israel from boycotts and sanctions.

    Then you suggest that those who care can write a personal check to UNRWA, to rebuild a smashed Lebanon. A Lebanon which has been thrown 20 years backward, and has lost so many lives to Israeli carpet-bombing.

    Hopefully, Israel will refrain from shooting any more UNRWA workers dead.

    Like, for example, the late Iain Hook, a British senior manager of UNRWA, shot dead by Israeli troops in November 2002.

    Yet another reason why hitting the State of Israel with boycotts makes sense!

    Why are you so hell-bent on protecting Israel from even the smallest boycott, at the Co-op?


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 04:33PM    #
  586. “one way to help relieve the suffering of palestinians is to contribute to friends of unrwa”

    I would say that statement indicates a significant change in the language of Zionism in this town…

    Last time I encountered a Zionist with a sign saying “Zionists are murderers” one of them, with the usual self-righteous bullying demeanor, rushed to me and said: “your sign is correct but what are you going to do about it?”

    ***********************************

    So, you actually want us to believe you give a flying fig about the misery and pain that you and your hard working Zionist buddies have been inflicting upon masses of people for 60 years?

    ************************************

    You protect and defend Israel every step of the way. You never ask for Israel to be put on a trial for crimes against humanity, instead you suggest a donation to UNRWA?

    Your disrespect for Arab lives, those that have been killed by Israel in bombings, assassinations, and by torture is obvious.

    Any other nation with Israel’s records of human rights, and Israel’s total disregard for international laws would deservedly be subjected to the harshest economic and political sanctions and boycotts.

    Israel should be put on a trial for its crimes.


       —Israel-on-trial    Oct. 16 '07 - 05:01PM    #
  587. You “encountered a Zionist with a sign saying “Zionists are murderers” “?!


       —Justaskin    Oct. 16 '07 - 05:49PM    #
  588. Want to have some fun since it’s all about Blaine?
    try this!

    http://wordsmith.org/anagram/anagram.cgi?anagram=blaine+coleman&t=1000

    What’s your favorite?

    Mine is:
    Local Enema Bin


       —Palestine spelled backwards is Enitselap    Oct. 16 '07 - 05:53PM    #
  589. Justaskin. if you read the rest of the paragraph, you’ll see that the “with a sign” was in reference to the preceding pronoun (“I”) in the sentence, not the proper noun (“Zionists”).

    Maybe if you did a little more “Justreadin” and “Justthinkin”, you wouldn’t have to do so much “Justaskin”, eh?
    :-)


       —Michael Schils    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:14PM    #
  590. It seems that Palestine’s ongoing starvation is a matter of great fun for Ann Arbor’s Zionists.

    Are they willing to show their true, bloodthirsty feelings, about Palestine, at the next People’s Food Co-op Board meeting?

    A clean re-vote, for the Boycott of Israeli Products, will definitely be on the Meeting Agenda…

    ... Unless the Board is so focused on protecting Israel that they continue their plans to hold the Board meeting in secret.


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:14PM    #
  591. I was wearing the sign Ms. Justaskin!

    Your Zionist buddy approached me and said “your sign is correct but what are you going to do about it?”

    Thanks for letting me know so I can clarify!

    ********************************************************
    So, you are reading these posts.

    The City Council speakers last night were eloquent weren’t they?

    ********************************************************

    It is disturbing to see justice and human rights issues ridiculed (648).

    Your vulgarity and disrespect for justice speaks volumes.

    Israel deserves to be put on trial for crimes against humanity.

    In Ann Arbor, the least we can do is to make sure next time the boycott Israel ballots are counted at PFC; it is done with transparency and in presence of unbiased observers.


       —Israel-on-trial    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:19PM    #
  592. Thanks Michael Schils!

    Israel-still-on-trial


       —Israel-on-trial    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:26PM    #
  593. Michal Schilts, your elitist snarky remark just reveals your own insecurity. Does it make you feel like a big man to make fun of somebody who knows less grammar than you?
    As for Mr. Israel-on-trial, what on earth are you babbling about? Who is “my Zionist buddy”? He came up to you and admitted he was a murderer?! Where and when did that happen?


       —Justaskin    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:33PM    #
  594. Are there any Israeli soldiers on City Council?
    How many were trained in Israeli universities?
    Did their training involve any military work?


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 06:43PM    #
  595. #641: Predictable, so predictable. Not even worth responding to the “big brave man [?]” who hurls invective and obscenities at little old ladies at synagogues, at council members, at fellow travelers in the anti-Israel movement, and parades around in his obscene signs in front of pre-teens at council meetings. If he’s so “brave” and truly loves the “Palestinians,” why isn’t he over in “Palestine” helping them and protecting them? Why? Because he’s too busy fighting everyone and everything, including his own allies here, where he won’t make an iota of difference in the life of one “Palestinian.” We’d gladly pay for your one-way ticket to “Palestine” so you can be with your beloveds.

    He’s so “brave,” he’s desperately searching for someone (else) to run against Joan for her council seat. He knows he’d get his ass kicked royally just like his stupid referendum, boycotts, and cause do every time. Like George W, Bush, he’s a bully and a coward who needs surrogates to fight his battles except when it comes to cussin’ ‘n’ fussin’. He’s such a hypocrite, too. It’s perfectly OK for him to label every which one a “vicious” Zionist (except for the vicious part, I take it as a compliment), but calling him and Emilia out for their obvious hatred of Jews, is just not allowed. The vote was fair and democratic, even your allies (whom you have alienated), the so-called “Greens” on the Board say so, so you can yell and scream an’ cuss and fuss and hold your breath till your face turns black, green, red, and white, but it won’t alter reality into your fantasy world: the vote is over, and you lost, but you’re not brave enough to accept that and move on to your next obscenity.


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 07:15PM    #
  596. Let us see, it is not good to bring up your poor grammar skills.

    But it is ok for you (Justaskin) to wrongly call attention to, incidentally a correct sentence structure, when it serves your interest.

    ***************************************

    The ultimate interest of Zionists, who are currently not in active IDF duty, is to keep Israel out of trouble the best they can, by muddying the water to hide Israel’s crimes.

    ***************************************

    Another thing that Zionists are a champion of is their eagerness to gather information on all those who demand human rights for Palestinians and call for Israel to be brought to justice in an international court.

    Justaskin said: “….He came up to you and admitted he was a murderer?! Where and when did that happen?”

    ***************************************

    Israel should be put on an international trial for killing and murdering people in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq.


       —Israel-on-trial    Oct. 16 '07 - 07:19PM    #
  597. Mike,

    You know why you are so burning with hatred for those who demand justice for Palestinians?

    It is because your “reality”, a world with absolute and unbreakable silence on Israeli crimes, is a thing of the past.

    It is YOUR “fantasy world” that is being shattered. You are so angry, violent, and vulgar because you are being forced to accept a new way that things are going to be done.

    Israel should be exposed. Its crimes should not be ignored. People of conscience everywhere demand justice for Palestinians.

    Even in the U.S., where Israel has been fully protected by mainstream media’s biased coverage for 60 years, people are speaking up against blindly supporting Israel.

    ****************************

    This must be just a nightmare for you and your Zionist buddies.

    ****************************

    Wake up and see that humanity is better than you imagined it (with guns and tanks shooting and killing 5 year olds who walked out to buy candies).

    Wake up and see that humanity stands for protection of all people everywhere.


       —Israel-on-trial    Oct. 16 '07 - 07:48PM    #
  598. “Mike”, as you call yourself:

    You are asked to retract your accusation that all those who stand up for boycotting the State of Israel are “quite simply an antisemite, period”, and are “Jew haters”.

    These slanders are not going to protect your precious Apartheid State of Israel, from the boycotts that are surely coming.

    As you will see Thursday, November 8th, 6:30 PM, at the People’s Food Co-op Board meeting.

    Which is why the Board is trying to make the meeting location a big secret. As the Co-op Board member said, right in Arbor Update:

    “Because of the stated intention here to continue to lobby the board for a boycott, the location of the Nov. 8 meeting is TBA (to be announced).”

    (See his Comment no. 600, above).


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 07:50PM    #
  599. #650: “A clean re-vote, for the Boycott of Israeli Products, will definitely be on the Meeting Agenda…”

    By “News’s” definition, “Clean” vote means one that only comes out the way he (she, it, aw, come on, we know who it is) wants it to. What does it take to get it through your very thick, numb skull that the vote was clean, fair, and democratic, and very definitely over? You just can’t accept defeat. Well, too bad, there will not be a re-vote even if you carry 10,000 signs that demand it. This is not how democracy works, much as you would like it to. Despots and bullies, except for the man you model yourself after, G.W. Bush, don’t always get their way in democracies. So, scream, shout, cuss and fuss all you want, the vote was taken, there won’t be a re-vote just because you want it. It’s over. Period. ¿Comprende? Now, take your war of words somewhere else and bully someone else…how about the Arab stores in Metro Detroit that carry enormous inventory from Israel?


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 08:25PM    #
  600. “Every time Lowenstein makes a vicious joke out of Muslim attire, every time Lowenstein blocks efforts to divest from the Apartheid State of Israel, she contributes to Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people.

    Who will run against her in City Council?”

    I am certain candidates will line up to oppose her, once they realize they can tap the expertise of political genius have_a_voice.


       —SayHey    Oct. 16 '07 - 08:25PM    #
  601. #651: “It is disturbing to see justice and human rights issues ridiculed (648).”

    Read, it’s disturbing to “News” to see himself ridiculed. Even the people in his own camp realize what a buffoon he is: they kicked him out of their own sick vaudeville show, the so-called “Jewish” Witnesses for “Peace” and Friends.

    “Your vulgarity and disrespect for justice speaks volumes.”

    Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr. “News!” But, your hypocrisy will need a bus pass or coins to get you on the bus. You gracelessly and obscenely insult everyone, EVEN your ostensible allies with every obscenity in the book, but that’s OK by you and your hypocritical standards, of course.

    “Israel deserves to be put on trial for crimes against humanity.”

    Blaine deserves to be put on trail for crimes against sanity (and civil discourse and democratic institutions).


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 08:36PM    #
  602. Many Arbor Update comments have demanded observers and a transparent balloting process for the Boycott-Israel vote:

    - Comments 235,244,252,266,287,288,289,323,333 – all those pleas for a clean vote count were made well before September 30th.

    The Co-op Board laughed off all those sincere concerns, right on Arbor Update.

    Board members must now fix the damage they insisted on causing, by their opaque ballot collection practices, their opaque ballot holding practices, and their opaque vote and vote-counting practices. All of that was committed with some arrogance, by a Co-op Board that totally knuckled under to Zionists like the ones you see above: screaming “anti-Semitism”, threatening financial ruin, and even spreading fear about the “food supply” on the Co-op’s Web site and bulletin board.

    A dirty vote can only be fixed by a clean re-vote, held with observers every step of the way.

    The Palestinian people cannot be so arrogantly robbed.
    This boycott of Israeli goods WILL have a fair, transparent vote, with observers.


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 08:48PM    #
  603. #619: “This discussion is focused on human rights of Palestinians and boycott of Israel.

    “Irrelevant comments indicate disingenuous intentions to sabotage and undermine a healthy and productive exchange of ideas.”

    I nearly split my sides with laughter when I read this! Since when does “Have A Voice,” the man of 10,000 aliases, ever discuss and exchange anything in a productive and healthy manner? This is the same kind of “healthy and productive exchange of ideas” the opponents of GW Bush get when they sit down and try to point out the errors of his ways! And, once again, Mr. HAV etc. gets to decide what we should discuss here, typical for the kind of bullying dictator with an unhealthy mind that he/she/it is.


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 09:58PM    #
  604. To Aimee Smith,

    You write (#636) “Thus it is a matter of time before the racist Israeli regime falls. Then, once again, people of many faiths can coexist peacefully in that land.” Given your extensive reading, you could not have failed to notice that the charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) says nothing of the kind, to wit: “Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day…. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void.” Hardly an expression of the peace and love and co-existence you purport to espouse.

    If Hamas succeeds in their aim of ridding their precious land of Jews, which— as you must know, but haven’t cared to inform your readers— their charter also proclaims, how long will it be before they come for you and your friends?

    Fred Horowitz


       —Fred Horowitz    Oct. 16 '07 - 10:10PM    #
  605. Touché, Fred! (re: #665)


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 10:31PM    #
  606. Q: Why did the self-styled so-called “Jewish” Witnesses for “Peace” and Friends aka JWPF, kick Blaine Coleman out of their rabidly anti-Israel group?

    A: The gang wasn’t big enough for two gigantic egos (i.e., Blaine’s and Henry’s)!


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 10:37PM    #
  607. Q: Why did JWPF toss Blaine (News/Israel on Trial/Have A Voice [but sadly no brain]) out on his bum?

    A: He’s actually a Zionist as he helps Israel win more and more support, friends, and money in Washtenaw County than anyone else! Or, wait a second, maybe that’s Henry?

    —Blaine’s a Vicious Zionist (Henry, too)


       —Mike    Oct. 16 '07 - 10:49PM    #
  608. You WISH you were one-tenth the human being that Henry is.
    No one who’s tried to protect Palestine, on ArborUpdate, has escaped your smirking character assassination. All that mud. But it soils YOU.

    Everything Henry does is to save the life of Palestine. And he does just fine, despite racist gutter dogs biting at his ankles, every step of the way.

    Boycott that racist cesspool of a state (Israel).
    Be proud to stand up against ethnic supremacism.
    Be proud you’ve got a guy like Henry in this town.

    You may not recognize it, but to the extent this town is known for Palestine human rights advocacy, it’s due to a guy with a small ego and a big heart. To that extent, this is the town that Henry built.


       —News    Oct. 16 '07 - 11:01PM    #
  609. “You WISH you were one-tenth the human being that Henry is.”

    Talk about _WISHFUL _thinking! I thank G-d every second that I’m not like him, or G-d forbid, you! The two of you together don’t even add up to 1/10 of a human being! How ”human” is it to harass worshippers on the Sabbath (which incidentally keeps hurting your cause like you wouldn’t believe); parade around town with an obscenity pinned to your body in front of children; scream like an animal at Council members and Cooperators who don’t share your narrow-minded, hate-driven, obsessive views; and try to always browbeat everyone into accepting your painfully ignorant, dictatorial, potty mouth launched, and obscenely sick agenda? You even turn off your allies!

    If Henry’s so great, how come he agreed to throw you out of JWPF and has said that you are out-of-control and wishes you would think before you open your ignorant, hateful mouth?!

    “No one who’s tried to protect Palestine…”

    I see what a great job you’re doing of “protecting” “Palestine.” With your mouth!

    “…on ArborUpdate, has escaped your smirking character assassination. All that mud. But it soils YOU.”

    I wear it well, friend, I wear it well. I’ve hardly ever seen anyone sling muck and assassinate characters like you do even at the so-called “Greens” who s/b your natural allies.

    Boycott that racist cesspool of a “human being” (Blaine or is it “News?”).

    ”Be proud to stand up against ethnic supremacism.”

    Unless of course it’s Arab ethnic supremacism, which is just perfectly OK.

    “Be proud you’ve got a guy like Henry in this town.”

    Lucky for you I can’t barf through the Net! I am proud that he helped toss you out of his anti-Israel circus sideshow! Of course, your solo act is almost as amusing.

    “You may not recognize it, but to the extent this town is known for Palestine human rights advocacy, it’s due to a guy with a small ego and a big heart. To that extent, this is the town that Henry built”

    And this is supposed to be a good thing? Oh, come off it, if it weren’t for Henry’s huge, uncontained ego, he wouldn’t be parading around town with his smirky fanaticism about your one and only one cause. One wonders how you and he would live and what you’d do if Israel and “Palestine” one day actually made peace. You’d have nothing to live for…awwwww…. I guess you could try to ban every synagogue in the country because they think you’re not well in the head. I do recognize that thanks to Henry and you, Ann Arbor is looked upon (sadly) as a laughingstock of a place, but is also admired for how, from the Mayor and the City Council on down, it has almost unanimously condemned you and your very sick, hateful modus operandi.

    It’s all OK, however, because everything you say and do only helps Israel and hurts your “Palestinians,” so I encourage you to please keep doing what you’re doing because it sure works for me! Thanks and G-d bless!

    —No News Is Good News


       —Mike    Oct. 17 '07 - 12:49AM    #
  610. To Have A Voice (and never stops using it, fortunately). In #671, you state:

    “‘everything you say and do only helps Israel’

    “If that is true then you should be pleased not as angry as a mad-man attacking people and writing up gibberish.”

    Who’s angry?! I’m out here having fun! You are the one who is madder than a hatter or a bull with no toreadors to break! Gibberish, huh? But, it’s good gibberish as it’s getting your goat and your attention. I take my hat off to you, when it comes to gibberish creation, you, my friend, are the true master!

    “The truth is that there are many people of conscience in Ann Arbor and they are speaking for human rights of Palestinians.”

    If you had a conscience, you would learn how to be calm and maybe convince people with reason (maybe not possible considering the cause you espouse and your volatility) instead of disrupting and hijacking every meeting and forum you come upon. But, like I said, keep it up as it’s really pretty good stuff!

    “You are mad with anger because the silence has broken and people are discussing subjects that were taboo only a couple of years ago.”

    Me mad? That’s pretty funny when even your “allies” know you’re a nutcase!

    “Why should Israel be protected from the consequences of its actions?”

    Why should your “Palestinians” or you for that matter? Excuse me, you suffer the consequences of your actions constantly as you have to live with your very disturbed mind. That’s punishment enough, I guess.

    Have fun, and remember to sleep with your night light on as the bogeyman Zionists might get you when you’re sleeping.


       —Mike    Oct. 17 '07 - 02:21AM    #
  611. With over 600 comments, if you still haven’t figured out how to say what you were trying to say, well—try harder next time.

    We’re not really built for indefinitely long threads, and people seem willing to keep this up indefinitely, so at some point we just have to call it quits.


       —Bruce Fields    Oct. 17 '07 - 02:54AM    #