Friday, October 06, 2006

ICPJ Members Support Mediation with METF

You read it here first (probably ... because it's not in Chuck's 10/5 e-mail "Update" or on the ICPJ blog yet). Despite months of open hostility by some leaders of Ann Arbor's Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) it turns out that a solid majority (17-9) of ICPJ members responding to a recent survey favor mediation between the ICPJ Board of Directors (formerly known as the "Steering Committee") and the ICPJ's Middle East Task Force (METF).

The METF was ordered suspended by the Board in May of this year and the Board later empowered a Muslim-free group that came up with a proposal--the "Olive Branch Alliance"--that would eliminate the METF. A smaller plurality (12-9; with 5 neither agreeing nor disagreeing) supported "moving forward" with the Olive Branch Alliance proposal. The issues were discussed at a special ICPJ membership meeting on September 28. At that time, members were asked to complete a short survey on the future of the ICPJ's Middle East work--the quantitative results appear in the table below.

ICPJ's Middle East Program 9/28/06 Membership Meeting Survey Results

Strongly DisagreeDisagreeNeither Agree nor DisagreeAgreeStrongly Agree
I support ICPJ moving forward with [the Imagine Program/"Olive Branch Alliance"] (check one)72557
I think [the Imagine Program/"Olive Branch Alliance"] is likely to succeed (check one)727
I support ICPJ moving forward with [mediation] (check one)720
I think [mediation] is likely to succeed (check one)90593

In written comments to the survey, local Zionists were solidly opposed to mediation--no surprise there. One of them, Rebecca Kanner, openly played the guilt-by-association and collective punishment cards:
As for the discussion on the middle east, I believe more strongly than ever (and I had believed pretty strongly before!) that ICPJ needs to make a break with [the] current group of people who constitute the METF in exile. Now. Not later, not another chance for mediation to drain even more time and energy from the board members and others. I can no longer separate the METF members from the picketers or the blog "Zionists out of the peace movement" [glad you're reading it but this is not an METF-controlled blog] ... And I'm sure if these groups/individuals merge in my mind/feelings then they also do for others. I may be especially sensitive as a member of Beth Israel, but I believe as an active member of ICPJ, a former steering committee member and president, and as someone who believes that the "I" in Interfaith is key to the organization, my views should be considered with other views. If the organization can't make a parting with the METFers, [then] I will have to re-evaluate my relationship with ICPJ. ...
What our friend is really concerned about is the "Z-is-for-Zionists" in "Interfaith" but these racists don't belong in an interfaith group that also includes justice and peace in its name and mission. Then again, I don't think Christian Identity folks belong, either.

Addendum: The issue of "the 'I' in Interfaith" is a red herring. When ICPJ leaders suspended the METF in 2006 they occasioned the resignation of the only Muslim on their steering committee or in any position of leadership in ICPJ. Furthermore, in April 2006, the METF informed the steering committee, in writing, that at its "April 4th meeting, nine of fifteen members indicated that they are 'affiliated with a local faith community, i.e. a church, mosque, or synagogue' or other place of worship. In answer to a follow-up question, three of the unaffiliated Jews indicated that support for Israel is a key impediment to their joining a synagogue or temple." In any case, formal affiliation has, apparently, never been a requirement to join or participate in ICPJ.

See also: "ICPJ Staff Suppress Embarassing Results"

Revised 10/10/06 (thanks to A.R. for pointing out an interpretative error in the text)
Revised 3/20/ 10 to name previously unidentified comment author, expand quote, add addendum concerning people of faith on METF, add link to follow-up post

Labels: , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?