Friday, December 22, 2006

Beth Israel Attackers Identified; One Charged

In August, I wrote a post entitled "Assault at Beth Israel Congregation" concerning an incident at a special, non-Sabbath protest outside Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) to protest the group's open support for Israel during its murderous assault on Lebanon last summer. I was present at this protest and witnessed some of the events described below. Just weeks later there was another assault leading to police involvement. The fruits of a Freedom of Information Act request I drafted last October have now been harvested and shared.

The first perpetrator is Eli Avny (pictured at right; this photo was taken moments after the assault), a member of BIC. On the day of the assault, Avny was driving a silver Mercury Milan with Michigan license plate ABE7727. After a thorough and professional investigation, the Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD) recommended that Avny be charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon but Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Susan Junck of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office refused to authorize the charge. So much for the Criminal Division's "emphasis on ... the aggressive prosecution of violent crimes."

As the AAPD's "Incident Report Narrative" notes, "The suspect [Avny] used his vehicle to swerve at a group of protesters." The group included two young children and, although physically unhurt, the victims were very shaken by Avny's actions. In his first contact with police, Avny complained about being harassed and said, "he made a sharp turn onto Austin because he was late for church services." In a subsequent interview, Avny "stated that he had 'cut the corner' " and " 'I think I may be getting a ticket here,' referring to how he explained he cut the corner." Avny denied he had committed assault but through his attorney Avny later refused a police request to take a polygraph "unless there was a guarantee that there would be no charges if he passed." No such guarantee was given and Avny never took the polygraph and he has, apparently, walked away scot-free without even getting a ticket.

Less than a month after the Avny incident, another assault was committed against a member of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWPF). At right is the scanned image (click to enlarge) of the criminal complaint against Abraham Seligman of South Euclid , OH, for assault and battery. Seligman was in town to attend a bat mitzvah. Seligman had just returned from Israel--where they know how to take care of protesters--and, according to the "Incident Report Narrative," Seligman told police, "he could not believe people were allowed to stand around and behave as 'these folks are.' "

When the officers failed to behave like Israeli storm troopers Seligman, apparently, decided to take matters into his own hands and walked across the street to assault, in full view of police, a JWPF member who was videotaping him (I've seen the videotape of this incident and I hope to get it uploaded to the internet soon). Contrary to the claims of Helen Aminoff in her letter to the Ann Arbor News (11/16/2006), Seligman was not "entering a house of worship" when he committed his assault and battery against a nonviolent protester.

The video camera was present to deter BIC members and guests from cursing, assaulting, and spitting on JWPF protesters. Two witnesses told police that, before striking him, Seligman told his victim that he "was lucky the police are here because if they were not ..." According to the police report, officers heard Seligman tell his victim that "his mother is a mother of Hitler." Another witness said that before the incident Seligman told her "she needed to get her coffin ready ..."

When he was arrested, Seligman was miffed, "Officer, I don't understand what you need my name for" and then told officers they hadn't just seen what they had just seen: "I didn't hit the guy ... I didn't do anything." This, friends, is the arrogance of power and privilege speaking. The Jewish state and its supporters have gotten away with murder--literally--for so long that they sometimes think they can act with impunity in this country, too. Unfortunately, the Avny case suggests they may have some reason for believing this.

The assaults described above and the police crackdown at the Tanter event and subsequent events seem like part of a creeping escalation of violence against the more assertive wing of the Palestine solidarity movement in Ann Arbor. I've tried but failed to get the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice or Michigan Peaceworks to take a stand against this and I'm afraid that eventually someone will be seriously hurt. I've never protested in front of a synagogue on the Sabbath but I'm a friend of several people who have and I've protested at Beth Israel and elsewhere at times other than the Sabbath. Over and over again, I've seen or heard about the insults, threats, spitting, and minor assaults. One protester has been battered several times in various places but I've never known any of my colleagues to initiate violence or respond violently. In any case, it looks like the cowardly, Zionized 'peace' community will continue stand idly and silently by.

See also:

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Very Brief Review of Jimmy Carter's New Book

Reviewed: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter.

I'm glad he uses the a-word but he puts forth an apartheid solution for an apartheid problem--the Left Zionist solution.

See also: One State or Two? Rashid Khalidi & Ali Abunimah on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!"

Right: Tove Johansson after being attacked in Hebron, Palestine (ISM Hebron photo).

The events described below occurred less than a month ago. Below is an excerpt from "Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron" followed by some background from Jewish sources on Jewish attitudes toward Jesus and Christianity.
A 19-year old Swedish human rights worker had her cheekbone broken by a Jewish extremist in Hebron today. Earlier the same day at least five Palestinians, including a 3-year-old child, were injured by the settler-supporting extremists, who rampaged through Tel Rumeida hurling stones and bottles at local residents. Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home were also attacked. The Israeli army, which was intensively deployed in the area, did not intervene to stop the attacks.

Tove Johansson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers (HRWs) to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes. They were confronted by about 100 Jewish extremists in small groups. They started chanting in Hebrew "We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!" — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day.

After about thirty seconds of waiting, a small group of very aggressive male Jewish extremists surrounded the international volunteers and began spitting at them, so much so that the internationals described it as "like rain." Then men from the back of the crowd began jumping up and spitting, while others from the back and side of the crowd kicked the volunteers.

The soldiers, who were standing at the checkpoint just a few feet behind the HRWs, looked on as they were being attacked.
As evidenced by the response of one of the members of a Christian e-mail group I belong to, many non-Jews are hypersensitive to reporting the anti-Christian utterings of Jews. My correspondent expressed concern that the title of this blog post is "inflammatory and could be taken as anti-Semitic."

Of course, "it's inflammatory." The Jews who said it knew exactly what they were doing--the reference to "killing Jesus" is no accident. As for being "taken as anti-Semitic," well this verges on mind-boggling. I mean, a nonviolent activist gets viciously assaulted while her Jewish attackers chant "We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!" and people are worried about seeming anti-Jewish?! Reporting this attack accurately is simply not anti-Jewish. Period. Stop. Some people have been so brainwashed that they are blind to the common, imperfect humanity that Jews share with the rest of us.

In any case, virtually any position taken against Israel or organized Jewry can, and often is, "taken as anti-Semitic." So what? Get over it. However, if you actually do hate Jews qua Jews then you should quit the movement until you've worked through your issues.

I'm with Norman Finkelstein on this. Here's what he says in Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History:
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.
Okay, I promised some background on Jewish attitudes toward Jesus and Christianity. This is to provide some religious and historical context for the "100 Jewish extremists ... chanting in Hebrew 'We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!' — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day." Here it comes.

In the fall of 2003, while controversy about Mel Gibson's The Passion raged, the author of Understanding Jewish History and National Director of the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) Contemporary Jewish Life Department weighed-in with a piece entitled "Jesus in the Talmud." Steve Bayme's article soon became a source of controversy itself and was quickly pulled from the AJC's web site.

Reporting on the matter in The Jewish Week, Eric J. Greenberg writes:
He [Bayme] contends that Jewish interfaith representatives are not being honest in dialogue if they ignore the explicit Talmudic references to Jesus.

His article was posted on the AJCommittee's Web site last week, then removed after a Jewish Week reporter's inquiry.

Ken Bandler, a spokesman for the AJCommittee, said the article was taken down to "avoid confusion" over whether it represented the organization's official position. AJCommittee officials now refer to the article as "an internal document."
But Bayme was unswayed. Citing the continuing controversy over Gibson's "The Passion," which has reignited concern over Christianity's ancient charge against Jews as "Christ killers," he wrote that it is also important "that Jews confront their own tradition and ask how Jewish sources treated the Jesus narrative."
So, just what did Bayme write that was so controversial? Here are a couple of excerpts:
... the account of the Gospels, and its associations with anti-Semitism, needs to be honestly confronted, including the question of the relationship of church teachings to acts of violence against Jews. Yet it is also important that Jews confront their own tradition and ask how Jewish sources treated the Jesus narrative. Pointedly, Jews did not argue that crucifixion was a Roman punishment and therefore no Jewish court could have advocated it. Consider, by contrast, the following text from the Talmud:
On the eve of Passover Jesus was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favor, he was hanged on the eve of Passover. Ulla retorted: Do you suppose he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a mesith (enticer), concerning whom Scripture says, "Neither shall thou spare nor shall thou conceal him?" With Jesus, however, it was different, for he was connected with the government. (Sanhedrin 43a)
This text, long censored in editions of the Talmud, is concerned primarily with due process in capital crimes. Standard process requires that punishment be delayed for forty days in order to allow extenuating evidence to be presented. However, in extreme cases, such as seducing Israel into apostasy, this requirement is waived. The case of Jesus, according to the Talmud, constituted an exception to this rule. Although one who enticed Israel into apostasy is considered an extreme case, the Jews at the time waited forty days because of the close ties of Jesus to the Roman authorities. However, once the forty days elapsed without the presentation of favorable or extenuating comment about him, they proceeded to kill him on the eve of Passover.

Three themes emanate from this passage. First, the charges against Jesus relate to seduction of Israel into apostasy and the practice of sorcery. According to the Gospels, the charges against Jesus concerned his self-proclamation as a messiah. The Talmud seems to prefer the more specific charges of practicing sorcery and leading Israel into false beliefs. One twentieth-century historian, Morton Smith of Columbia University, argued on the basis of recently discovered "hidden Gospels" that the historical Jesus indeed was a first-century sorcerer (Jesus the Magician, HarperCollins, 1978). In the eyes of the Talmudic rabbis, the practice of sorcery and false prophecy constituted capital crimes specifically proscribed in Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 and 13: 2-6.

Second, the Talmud is here offering a subtle commentary upon Jesus' political connections. The Gospels portray the Roman governor Pontius Pilate as going to great lengths to spare Jesus (Mark 15: 6-15). Although this passage may well have been written to appease the Roman authorities and blame the Jews, the Talmudic passage points in the same direction: The Jews waited forty days, in a departure from the usual practice, only because Jesus was close to the ruling authorities.

Lastly, the passage suggests rabbinic willingness to take responsibility for the execution of Jesus. No effort is made to pin his death upon the Romans. In all likelihood, the passage in question emanates from fourth-century Babylon, then the center of Talmudic scholarship, and beyond the reach of both Rome and Christianity. Although several hundred years had elapsed since the lifetime of Jesus, and therefore this is not at all a contemporary source, the Talmudic passage indicates rabbinic willingness to acknowledge, at least in principle, that in a Jewish court and in a Jewish land, a real-life Jesus would indeed have been executed.
What, then, are the implications of this reading of Jesus through the eyes of rabbinic sources? First, we do require honesty on both sides in confronting history. Jewish apologetics that "we could not have done it" because of Roman sovereignty ring hollow when one examines the Talmudic account. However, the significance of Vatican II, conversely, should by no means be minimized. The Church went on record as abandoning the teaching of contempt in favor of historicizing the accounts of the Gospels and removing their applicability to Jews of later generations. A mature Jewish-Christian relationship presupposes the ability of both sides to face up to history, acknowledge errors that have been committed, and build a social contract in which each side can both critique as well as assign value to its religious counterpart.
In 2004, David Klinghoffer, a columnist for Jewish Forward and author of The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism wrote a piece similar to Bayme's for the Los Angeles Times entitled "Gibson's view of 'Passion' supported by Jewish texts." Here are two excerpts:
Mel Gibson's movie about the death of Jesus, "The Passion of the Christ," has created an angry standoff between the filmmaker and Jewish critics who charge him with anti-Semitism. The controversy will continue to affect relations between Christians and Jews unless some way to cool it can be found. One possible cooling agent is an honest look at how ancient Jewish sources portrayed the Crucifixion.

According to people who have seen a rough cut, Gibson's film depicts the death of Christ as occurring at the hands of the Romans but at the instigation of Jewish leaders, the priests of the Jerusalem Temple. The Anti-Defamation League charges that this recklessly stirs anti-Jewish hatred and demands that the film be edited to eliminate any suggestion of Jewish deicide.

But Jewish tradition acknowledges that our leaders in first-century Palestine played a role in Jesus' execution. If Gibson is an anti-Semite, so is the Talmud and so is the greatest Jewish sage of the past 1,000 years, Maimonides.
A relevant example comes from the Talmudic division known as Sanhedrin, which deals with procedures of the Jewish high court: "On the eve of Passover they hung Jesus of Nazareth. And the herald went out before him for 40 days (saying, `Jesus) goes forth to be stoned, because he has practiced magic, enticed and led astray Israel. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and declare concerning him.' And they found nothing in his favor."

The passage indicates that Jesus' fate was entirely in the hands of the Jewish court. The last two of the three items on Jesus' rap sheet, that he "enticed and led astray" fellow Jews, are terms from Jewish biblical law for an individual who influenced others to serve false gods, a crime punishable by being stoned, then hung on a wooden gallows. In the Mishnah, the rabbinic work on which the Talmud is based, compiled about the year 200, Rabbi Eliezer explains that anyone who was stoned to death would then be hung by his hands from two pieces of wood shaped like a capital letter T -- in other words, a cross (Sanhedrin 6:4).

These texts convey religious beliefs, not necessarily historical facts. The Talmud elsewhere agrees with the Gospel of John that Jews at the time of the Crucifixion did not have the power to carry out the death penalty. Also, other Talmudic passages place Jesus 100 years before or after his actual lifetime. Some Jewish apologists argue that these must therefore deal with a different Jesus of Nazareth. But this is not how the most authoritative rabbinic interpreters, medieval sages saw the matter.

Maimonides, writing in 12th-century Egypt, made clear that the Talmud's Jesus is the one who founded Christianity. In his great summation of Jewish law and belief, the Mishneh Torah, he wrote of "Jesus of Nazareth, who imagined that he was the Messiah, but was put to death by the court." In his "Epistle to Yemen," he states that "Jesus of Nazareth ... interpreted the Torah and its precepts in such a fashion as to lead to their total annulment. The sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out fitting punishment to him."
Finally, there is "What happened to Jesus' haftarah?" Hananel Mack, lecturer in the Naftal-Yaffe Department of Talmud at Bar-Ilan University. In the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, Mack writes about how Jewish hostility toward Jesus and Christianity has effected haftarah, the "custom of reading a chapter from the Prophets section of the Bible in public in the synagogue." The haftarah, according to Mack, is "an integral part of the Jewish liturgy on Sabbaths and holidays."
Generally speaking, Jews excluded from the haftarot those verses on which Christians based the principles of their religious faith. Thus, all of the customs related to the haftarah readings omit the passage in Isaiah whose focus is the well-known verse, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son" (7:14), because it is the foundation of the Christian belief in the concept of the Virgin Mary and the virgin birth of Jesus.
The same principle is applied in the case of the "Christological" passages outside the Book of Isaiah. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the haftarah that is read is one of the most wonderful chapters in the Prophets Jeremiah 31. It stops at the famous words that have become part of the Jewish liturgy today: "Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:20). It is no mere coincidence that the haftarah ends here and does not continue with the next few verses, to the promise that Jeremiah utters regarding the new covenant that God will draw up in the future with his people[--] one of the most commonly quoted passages in the New Testament.
In the table below are the texts of the key verses of the excluded passages identified by Mack and their corresponding "Christological" verses.

Passage Excluded from the Haftarah ReadingsCorresponding New Testament Text
Isaiah 7:14. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman* is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

*As Mack points out, "The term 'virgin' is translated as such in the Septuagint and that is how Christians explicate the verse to this very day." The NRSV, quoted here, uses the Masoretic text.
Matthew 1:22,23. All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
Isaiah 42:1-4. Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.Matthew 12:18-21. "Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope."
Isaiah 52:13. See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.Same as above.
Isaiah 61:1. The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;Luke 4:16-19. When [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Jeremiah 31:30-33. But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt--a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.*Luke 22:20. And [Jesus] did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Hebrews 8:6-10. But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one. God finds fault with them when he says: "The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

*Mack does not provide any corresponding New Testament verses. See text above table.
Hosea 11:1. When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.Matthew 2:14,15. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."
Micah 5:2. But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.Matthew 2:3-6. When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

John 7:41, 42
. Others said, "This is the Messiah." But some asked, "Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"
Zechariah 9:9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.Matthew 21:3-6. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately. " This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey." The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;

John 12:14,15.
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: "Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!"
*Zechariah 11:12,13. I then said to them, "If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them." So they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver. Then the LORD said to me, "Throw it into the treasury"-- this lordly price at which I was valued by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the LORD.

*Mack's article cites Zech. 12:13 but this isclearly a typographical error.
Matthew 26:14,15. Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I betray him to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver.

Mark 14:10,11.
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
Malachi 3:1. See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight--indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.Matthew 11:10. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

Mark 2:2. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.

Luke 7:27. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

John 3:28.
You yourselves are my witnesses that I [John] said, 'I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.'
All text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible via The Unbound Bible

See also:
Revised: 12/15/2006; 1/11/2008

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Message from a "Fan"

Yesterday, I received the disgusting message below from "Tom Philips" It is the corollary of the hateful outbursts received from Brigitte Gabriel fans although unlike those missives I doubt the sentiments expressed by "Tom" are sincere. Rather, I suspect that the writer is simply parroting back every ignorant and vile impression he has of advocates for justice and peace in Palestine.

Frankly, until now I've never met or corresponded with anyone who expresses the repugnant views expressed below. In any case, my comments appear in bold.
To Henry, Blaine and everyone else "fighting the good fight" in Michigan,
Henry and Blaine do not receive e-mail at this address. In any case, I am sure that, first, as decent human beings and, second, as Jews they would both be as repulsed as I am by the sentiments you have expressed below.
I have been reading about the massive police repression in Ann Arbor and I simply wanted to thank you for your steadfast honesty and courage.
It would be a gross exaggeration to claim there has been any "massive police repression in Ann Arbor" of anti-Zionist protesters and, to my knowledge, no one does.
I fully share your contempt for the hook-nosed zionist vermin who have stolen not only Palestine but this country and most of the rest of the world from it's rightful inhabitants, and the need to utterly ANNIHILATE their unjust power and control.
This blog has never trafficked in the rhetoric or imagery of "hook-nosed zionist vermin" and never will.
Whenever I read the attacks of your critics, I can only think "if only the holo-hoax REALLY HAD occured" in just the way these subhuman sewer kikes constantly shriek about, and "if only "Wiesel, Foxman etc." had been among it's major victims"! Frankly, I agree with you that if ever a race of so-called "people" DESERVED to be "gassed to death in ovens", it's the Jews!!!!!! As you rightly point out, this verminous tribe of filthy parasites continues to inflict it's oppression on not only Palestinians, Iraqis and Lebanese but on all genuine humans of conscience worldwide and are (pace Mel Gibson's groveling apologies), indeed responsibile for all the world's wars.
Jesus said, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." You are living proof of this principle--you have defiled yourself.
It is most emphatically NOT Muslims, but JEWS who should be beaten, criminalized, politically disenfranchised, exiled and ethnically cleansed. Hopefully, the work that people like you are doing will help more and more people to first see these facts and then-most importantly!-to ACT upon that knowledge. Ultimately our goal must be:

God save us all from people who think as you do.
Thanks again for helping to convey this truly vital message.

Yours in solidarity,
Tom Philips
You're not in solidarity with me or Palestine, Tom.

Jewish Federation Protest Update

Below is an edited report from last Wednesday's protest outside the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County's annual "Main Event". I may provide some photos if they become available.
Everything went pretty well - only one small incident. T. brought two cameras and J1. also was there with his camera. No counter protesters showed up. Cops were visible driving around the grounds - had one interaction which was amiable. I counted 20 people. The small incident involved a big shiny red pick up truck which pulled up in front of us with his radio blaring country music and just stayed there with his motor running. L1. stepped forward and asked him if he was blocking the view. He didn't look at her, stared straight ahead and nodded his head up and down. So we spread out around him so traffic could still see us. After about five minutes he drove off. That was it.

J1. snapped pictures and interviewed J2. for this year's video. Weather was good - we stayed until 7:15.

Inside: L2. and I stayed to see who would come out of the meeting. We killed time by having some food - also they had [karaoke] and L2. did a number (Every Breath I Take). M. joined us - came late after her [redacted] class. She makes 21 if you want to count her. When the people poured out, M. & L2. only recognized Liz Brater. S. told us no one from City Council attended this year and they also had record attendance this time. She also told us the rabbis and guest left using service elevator with police. She said she would see us next year.

Thanks to all of you for helping me out with the signs and all. [redacted]


Monday, December 11, 2006

Campus Watch Targets Kathryn Babayan

In an obvious intimidation attempt, Winfield Myers, Director of Campus Watch, is criticizing University of Michigan professor Kathryn Babayan in the Washington Examiner even though "Babayan didn't disrupt [Professor Raymond Tanter's] talk: 'She didn’t prevent me from speaking,' he said." Babayan's offense: She allegedly "sat with the demonstrators as a sign of solidarity and insulted Tanter personally from the floor."

In the article, "Is a professor's job to teach or obstruct?" Myers writes, "A Power Point slide show was rendered useless by constant interruptions and shouts, which included 'Tanter is a pig.' " I was in the room before the protesters showed up and, in fact, the Power Point presentation "was rendered useless" because Tanter and/or the organizers were unable to get the computer working until well after he had begun his question and answer session. When he was finally brought a working computer, Tanter made no attempt to use it (unless after the police riot), except to point to one slide of the "Shi'a crescent." I did not hear anyone call him a "pig" or a "war hawk," as suggested in the Ann Arbor News.

Myers' article claims, "Students in attendance were disappointed that Tanter was unable to speak, and that [Babayan] would ally herself with protesters whose goal was to shout down a lecturer." It is patently false that Tanter "was unable to speak" and the protesters, while heckling Tanter at times, never made any attempt to "shout [him] down."

Of course, Myers is, apparently, ignorant of or undisturbed by the fact that Tanter called for removing the Mujahedeen-e Khalq from the US State Department's terrorist list so that they can wage covert military action against Iran with the full expectation, as Tanter told the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, that this will lead to "civil war" in Iran and, hopefully, (for Tanter) a military coup.

Here is a telling excerpt from the Ha'aretz article, "Ultimately, the U.S. will attack":
... the members of Mujahideen-e-Khalq established headquarters in Paris, and since then they have been activating thousands of activists and underground fighters from there. They have guerrilla and terrorist activities to their credit, such as the elimination of senior officers, including the chief of staff of the Iranian army, and an attack on the presidential palace in Tehran (in 2000, during the term of President Khatami.) In addition, it was members of the organization who discovered the two secret plants for enriching uranium that Iran had not declared, and which were therefore not under international supervision. When the U.S. Army invaded Iraq, it disarmed the organization and prohibited it from operating.

The reason why Mujahideen-e-Khalq is defined as a terror organization is based on several incidents. The group's activists are suspected of the murder of U.S. citizens on Iranian soil during the period of the Shah. Prof. Tanter and his associates claim that those who carried out the acts were Maoist activists who did not obey the leadership of the organization. Another reason is its support for the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by Iranian students and holding its 52 employees as hostages.

Tanter believes that Israel can help legitimize Mujahideen-e-Khalq: "I'm not asking the Mossad to join them and cooperate with them. They should not be involved, and Israel should stay out of the picture. Mujahideen-e-Khalq do not wish such a tie with Israel. But Israel has influence in the United States. It has supporters and a lobby and it can ask them to have MEK removed from the State Department's list of terror organizations.
In the Examiner article, Myers and Tanter try to downplay the Israel angle at Tanter's lecture:
But his sponsorship by Jewish students was sufficient to send self-professed "anti-Zionist" agitators into action. ...

Tanter mentioned Israel only tangentially by noting that it may preempt American policy by striking Iranian nuclear facilities on its own.
The sponsoring organization is not an expressly Jewish organization but is called the "American Movement for Israel." Furthermore, it is clear that Israel is aggressively agitating for punitive actions against Iran. Israel is simply not tangential to a talk about Iran, sponsored by a pro-Israel group and, especially, one given by Ray Tanter, who, among other things, came to his Reagan administration National Security Council post via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

So far, there is little, if any, evidence that Professor Babayan's colleagues are going to publicly rally to her side. Let's hope this changes soon.

Campus Watch is a project of the Middle East Forum.

For more information, including eyewitness reports and Prof. Babayan's statement see also:

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Report on Brigitte Gabriel Talk

Last Friday's blog post on Brigitte Gabriel set off a wide-ranging, Right wing cyber-frenzy that I'll discuss in a day or two. For now, I want to report on Gabriel's talk at the University of Michigan on Monday.

I arrived at the appointed place at about 7:50 PM to find that the event had been moved across the hall to Auditorium B, which is a nicer space. At that time there were five campus police officers present and the auditorium was about half full. When Gabriel started talking around 8:10 PM, the auditorium was about 90% full and judging from audience response, I'd say that about 20% of the crowd--the ones who did not clap or give her a standing ovation--consisted of "Muslims, Arabs, and their friends and allies" who turned out to " ... give Gabriel a proper welcome."

Gabriel was probably disappointed at the quiet comportment of the crowd which stood in stark contrast to the rumors of violence and disruption she and her followers spread. She also took the precaution of requiring note cards for the submission of questions so that no one could say or ask her anything too revealing or embarrassing.

Based on what I've seen and read by her in the past, Gabriel gave her stock talk; she spoke for about an hour. The topic was "Islamofascism" and hatred. The first part of her speech was heavily autobiographical--at least it is purported to be autobiographical. She talked about spending seven years in desperate and dangerous conditions hiding in a bomb shelter in southern Lebanon because, as her parents told her, Muslims wanted to kill her family "because we are Christians."

As she has written elsewhere:
I ended up living in a bomb shelter underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to live, and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.
At one point, she claims that her family was warned that Muslims would be coming in the night to kill the entire family. Fatalistically, we are told, she put on her best Sunday dress and her mother brushed her hair and tied a pretty ribbon in it and then the family waited to die. Gabriel wanted to look pretty because, she says, she knew no one would be alive to bury her body. Where she got that dress and what she used it for during those harrowing years in a bomb shelter, one wonders.

Obviously, she was not killed nor, apparently, even injured that night and although she claims to be an orphan she disclosed none of the details of her parents' deaths but they did not occur on the night in question. She was saved from almost certain death, we are told, by Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon, known as Operation Litani, although, according to Gabriel, "Israel has never occupied my country"--they were guests of the Christians.

She gives some details of the events described above here:
I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted ?Allah Akbar! My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town. At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word "infidel."

I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live. At the age of 13 I dressed in my burial clothes going to bed at night, waiting to be slaughtered. By the age of 20, I had buried most of my friends--killed by Muslims. We were not Americans living in New York, or Britons in London. We were Arab Christians living in Lebanon.
In her speech to the Heritage Foundation she places the destruction of her home described above in 1975, which places Gabriel's birth about 1965.

Sometime later, we are told, her mother was injured by a "Muslim shell" and required hospitalization in Israel. Gabriel accompanied her mother and was given $60 for the trip. Given the family's alleged destitution one wonders where the money came from. Having learned as a child that Jews were the "lesser of two devils" (Muslims being the greater) she claims she was amazed at the kindness of Israeli medical staff who treated "Muslims, who would slit their throats at the first opportunity."

Eventually, at age 20, she says, Gabriel moved to Israel to work for Middle East Television (METV). The promotional leaflet from the event sponsor, Israel IDEA, says: "Ms. Gabriel began her career as news anchor for ... Middle East Television" (emphasis added). Not bad, for someone who had spent seven of the previous ten years living in a bomb shelter, eating grass, and drinking her own blood to survive.

It's not clear if Gabriel started working for METV in Lebanon or Israel. Televangelist Pat Robertson started a radio and television station--"Voice of Hope"--located in southern Lebanon in territory controlled by the Maronite-dominated and Israel-allied Southern Lebanese Army in 1979. According to Robertson's chronology:
1982, April 12: Hope TV station in free Lebanon is donated to CBN and becomes Middle East Television.

1983, July: The Middle East TV Control room is destroyed by terrorist bombing, but Israeli TV friends have it back on the air within 24 hours.
I tried to ask Gabriel, "What is your relationship to Pat Robertson?" but that question was not approved by the screeners. The mailing address for Gabriel's American Congress for Truth is a post office box in the same Zip Code--23456--as Robertson's Virginia Beach media headquarters.

She also opined that "Terrorists are always Muslims" and the "victims are always Americans." She claims that "Hamas is an American problem" operating "cells in more than forty states" and al-Qaeda is working with Mexican gangs to smuggle terrorists into the US. She did not explain why the FBI has not shut down the Hamas cells but in answer to one of my questions that did make it past the screeners she claimed that the Hamas cells were charitable front operations and twice mentioned "hot dog stands" as Hamas cells. Let's hope those hot dogs are halal.

Gabriel called upon the audience to work together to "defeat Islamic bigotry, hatred, and intolerance." Gabriel called the BBC's Israel coverage "Lies, lies, lies" and asserted the mainstream media is so whipped by political correctness, they need to throw political correctness in the garbage." She claimed that the killers of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg were exemplars of what it means to be a "good Muslim" but that Baruch Goldstein was not a good Jew.

She said that the lack of suicide bombers demonstrates the superiority of the Jewish religion. Gabriel essentially exonerated Israel of responsibility for the Sabra and Shatilla massacres but, curiously, had nothing to say about the responsibility of her own Maronite people.

She decried violent Islamic eschatology concerning the Mahdi but was silent about violent Christian eschatology. Pat Robertson, for example, quotes Zechariah 14:2-4:
For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.

In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
Robertson is dead set against the US' Middle East "Road Map" and interprets Zechariah literally, claiming: "Now, that prophecy in Zechariah has not yet totally been fulfilled, but this is a precursor of it because the United Nations represents all of the nations of the earth and they have now come against Jerusalem."

Gabriel claims that the alleged major threat by Iran to Israel and the US is part of the conscious fulfillment of Islamic eschatology. But she assures us, when the time comes, Israel will use her "Samson Project" and "take her enemies with her" and use biological or nuclear weapons against Iran to "drag the US into war."

It is no wonder that Zionists love Gabriel and she commands the highest fees ("$$$") in the Jewish National Fund Speakers Bureau. The stories she tells can't help but make Zionists feel good and righteous about Israel and themselves. Her anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia is clearly a selling point as in this blurb promoting her talk at a Dayton synagogue:
During a July 27 speech at Duke University, she said, "The difference between the Arabic world and Israel is the difference in values and character. It's barbarism versus civilization. It’s democracy versus dictatorship. It’s goodness versus evil."
Last revised: 12/07/2006

Labels: , , ,

Another Article on Police Repression at UM; Prof. Babayan Replies

On December 4th the Michigan Daily published an article on the protest and subsequent police repression and brutality that occurred last Thursday at the University of Michigan. Of course, author Kelly Fraser did not characterize the events that way and her article is only slightly better than the misleading and inaccurate article published earlier in the Ann Arbor News. Fraser contacted me by telephone while writing the article and I spoke at length with her about some of the issues discussed below.

According to the Daily article, "The protesters were chanting things like 'Hands off Iran' and 'Tanter is a pig,' Tanter said." This is untrue, at no point were protesters chanting "Tanter is a pig" or anything like that. Furthermore, all of the chanting occurred before Tanter began his presentation, which was long-delayed because the organizers could not get the computer for his Power Point presentation working. I specifically mentioned this to Fraser.

Fraser also reports, "Tanter said he was not advocating that the United States use military force against Iran ..." This is misleading, at best, Tanter is advocating that the US facilitate covert military operations against Iran, conducted by the Mujahedeen-e Khalq with the expectation, as he told Ha'aretz, that this will lead to "civil war" in Iran. I specifically mentioned the Mujahedeen-e Khalq and the Ha'aretz article to Fraser.

Fraser writes, "Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said Michigan League staff made the first call to DPS because protesters were blocking the building's entrances well before the event was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m." When I arrived at the League the protesters were present outside but at no time in my presence did they block the entrance and stayed I there for several minutes talking to some of them.

To her credit, Fraser does note that "Heckling is accepted under the [University's Standard Practice Guide for Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression], but the interruptions cannot block the speaker's communication with the crowd." As I told Fraser, the protesters did not violate the guidelines at any time.

The article also states:
Catherine Wikinson [sic], an Ann Arbor resident who said she came to support friends who were protesting, said Coleman was unconscious.

Brown said this could have been part of Coleman's strategy.

"Portraying unconsciousness is part of a protest strategy and up to a medical physician to decide," she said.
It just so happens that Catherine Wilkerson is a medical doctor, something Fraser knew but failed to report. I gave Fraser's phone number to Dr. Wilkerson and that is how she came to interview her. It is interesting that UM spinmeister Brown, presumably not a physician, feels qualified to assert that "Portraying unconsciousness is part of a protest strategy ..."

Finally, the Daily reports:
Tanter has e-mailed members of the University's Board of Regents about Prof. Kathryn Babayan's alleged involvement in the protest.

Babayan is an assistant professor of Iranian history and culture in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Tanter said that while Babayan has a right to participate in the discussions, she also has an obligation as a faculty member to not assist groups that interfere with free speech.

Tanter suggested the regents and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, which addresses faculty issues at the University, consider the issue of a faculty member's role in disruptive demonstrations during academic events.

Babayan did not return calls asking for comment yesterday.
This has all the hallmarks of academic intimidation on Tanter's part. First, there was no formal protest group for Professor Babayan to assist but I'll let her speak in her own words, below is her letter to the Daily and the News.
The following constitutes my response to the recent accounts given by the UM student organization The American Movement for Israel (AMI), Guest Speaker Professor Raymond Tanter, and Senior Information Officer Diane Brown, of the Office of the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations, as they were reported in the Ann Arbor News (Dec. 2nd, 2006) and the Michigan Daily (Dec. 4th, 2006).

The rights of the speaker Professor Tanter to lecture on Thursday, November 30th, were not abused as has been claimed by him, AMI, and others. Certainly the AMI's own video recording of the event has documented the facts: he gave his ten-minute threadbare speech on the "Islamic fascist ideology of Iran," and then took questions, and comments from audience members, though mockingly and condescendingly.

It was in fact the rights and personal security of dissenting audience members that were egregiously abused that evening. According to the university's policies on the freedom of speech and artistic expression, event organizers, guest speakers, and campus police cannot determine at will or arbitrarily what constitutes "undue interference" at university public events attended by diverse and, at times, contrary political opinions. According to the University of Michigan's standard guidelines (which I encourage all readers to learn at:, "protesters have rights, just as do speakers and artists. The standard of "undue interference" must not be invoked lightly, merely to avoid brief interruptions, or to remove distractions or embarrassment." But that was exactly what happened: the standard of "undue interference" was abused and wantonly invoked to lead to our removal from the event. AMI organizers "sicked" the campus police on the protesters in the audience and, by force of arrest, silenced our voices, which are institutionally protected within the university community "spectrum of opinion."

As if this weren't enough violation of university policies, what ensued was excessive and abusive use of force by campus police officers against the protesters. Targeting the most vocal, "foreign-looking," and obviously Middle Eastern protester, AMI Chair Josh Berman gave the word and signal to the campus officers to remove her. At that, one Officer [name redacted at author's request] lunged at her, grabbed her out of her seat next to mine, and tried to shove her out of the room. But because of the force behind the pull, she tripped, and fell onto the narrow aisle at my feet. Officer West threw his body onto her and thrust his knee into her shoulder, shouting "Get up! Get up!" though it was clear that, due to his weight and sheer force, she had been rendered unable to move or rise. When I and other audience members objected vocally to the officers' undue and excessive use of force, he and other campus police officers warned us that, if we did not desist from our objections, we too would be arrested. These threats and intimidations represent another flagrant example of campus authorities' suppression of the legitimate exercise of freedom of speech.

Campus police's violence against ordinary citizens was not isolated to this one incident. When a group of us pursued down the hallway the officers who had hauled away the female protester, we saw lying on the floor there, with a bloodied forehead, another protester. He had been removed from the event venue by officers, handcuffed, and kept on his back. Despite the protests by demonstrator and physician Dr. Willkinson [sic] for medically humane treatment of the unconscious man, Officer West ignored her and defiantly repeated, "They are not coming off."

The institutional parties who have acted badly in this affair are numerous. One is Diane Brown, whose statements in the two afore-mentioned newspapers support and protect the police's and AMI's decisions and behavior. In unquestioningly supporting the misactions and misdeeds of both the student organization and the campus police, and in concluding that "what happened" that evening justified their responses, and that, hence, these responses do not constitute abuse of power and negligence of obligations toward all participants, including protesters, Ms. Brown has failed her institutional responsibility and duties.

The one beacon of light in the midst of this dark intolerance was one young man who did the right thing: out of the crowd he appeared and held the hand of the female victim while she was being pinned down by Officer West and a female officer. This young man remained by the protester's side throughout her detainment by the police. He recognized that it behooved everyone to protect the rights of all participatants' [sic] to free expression, particularly when that expression is considered onerous. This young man rose as the sole conscientious citizen in that crowd and I salute him.

Kathryn Babayan
Associate Professor of Iranian History & Culture
Department of Near Eastern Studies
Thanks to M. for the letter from Professor Babayan.

Last revised: 12/09/2006

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 04, 2006

UM Police Brutality Update

The Stop Crucifying Palestine blog has photos and reports on the police state tactics of last Thursday at the University of Michigan.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Police Brutalize Nonviolent Protesters at University of Michigan

I will probably write more about this later but for now it will suffice to say that I was present at the events reported and described below. The video below is very dark but the audio conveys some of what happened. Two police officers were pinning a protester face down to the floor. Shortly after the man said, "I can't breathe," he lost consciousness and when the police turned him over I saw a bloody wound on his forehead. He was later transported to a hospital emergency room and remained there for about seven hours.

The heavy-handed attack of the police was in violation of the University of Michigan's Standard Practice Guide 601.1, which reads, in part:
5. Within the confines of a hall or physical facility, or in the vicinity of the place in which a member of the University community, invited speaker, or invited artist is addressing an assembled audience, protesters must not interfere unduly with communication between a speaker or artist and members of the audience. This prohibition against undue interference does not include suppression of the usual
range of human reactions commonly displayed by an audience during heated discussions of controversial topics. Nor does this prohibition include various expressions of protest, including heckling and the display of signs (without sticks or poles), so long as such activities are consistent with the continuation of a speech or performance and the communication of its content to the audience.

6. Protesters have rights, just as do speakers and artists. The standard of "undue interference" must not be invoked lightly, merely to avoid brief interruptions, or to remove distractions or embarrassment. The University has an obligation to provide members of the community, and invited speakers and artists, with personal security and with reasonable platforms for expression; moreover, it has an obligation to insure audience access to public events. The University does not, however, have the obligation to insure audience passivity. The University cannot accept stipulations by invited speakers or artists of terms of appearance that are inconsistent with allowing full freedom of expression to the University community. Protesters and other members of the University community, for their part, have an obligation not to abuse their rights of expression to harass or intimidate speakers in ways that unduly interfere with free expression or communication (see Guideline 5). It is, of course, always within the rights of protesters to express their opposition to a speaker in appropriate ways outside of the hall or physical facility or area where a lecture, meeting, or performance is being held, or to organize alternative forums. ...

11. Officers of the University’s Department of Public Safety will act in accordance with the procedures outlined in this document. When non-University security forces are summoned, it is understood that they are not under the direct control of the University, but they should be made aware of University policies set forth in these guidelines.
Below are a couple of excerpts, with my commentary in bold, from an Ann Arbor News article:
3 protesters jailed after disrupting Iran lecture at U-M
Hecklers call visiting speaker 'warhawk'
Saturday, December 02, 2006

News Staff Reporter

Three Ann Arbor residents accused of disrupting a lecture on the Middle East were arrested at the Michigan League Thursday evening, campus police said.

Raymond Tanter, a professor emeritus at U-M and current faculty member at Georgetown University, was scheduled to give a lecture called, "Stalled international diplomacy and problematic U.S. military options for Iran.'' The event was organized by a student group, the American Movement for Israel. ...

Inside the building, Brown said organizers repeatedly warned a heckler over the course of an hour as Tanter gave his talk. Finally, organizers asked police to remove the most vocal and abusive protester, a 47-year-old woman, Brown said. The woman was arrested after she refused to leave.
I was seated several rows behind the group of protesters and arrived well before they were seated. At no time did their behavior exceed what is permitted under the University's Standard Practice Guide.
Police said several other people interfered with officers arresting the woman, and two of them were arrested. The names of the people arrested were not released, but the other two were a 49-year-old man and a 60-year-old man, Brown said. ...

Police plan to seek several charges against the three protesters, Brown said.

Henry Herskovitz, a frequent protester of Israeli policies in the Middle East, told The News that he was one of the people arrested. He called Tanter a "warhawk'' and said Tanter implied that Iran should be attacked - a claim Tanter denies. ...
If Ray Tanter is not a war hawk then I don't know who is (actually, Tanter is, apparently, a "chicken hawk" who advocates war but preferred Indiana University to the battlefields of Vietnam). It is true that Tanter does not favor overt US or Israeli military attacks on Iran but he certainly bolsters the case for such attacks. According to Vanity Fair (March 2007), in a 2005 speech at the National Press Club:

Tanter went as far as to suggest that the U.S. consider using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. "One military option is the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, which may have the capability to destroy hardened deeply buried targets. That is, bunker-busting bombs could destroy tunnels and other underground facilities."

He talks openly of the need for regime change and the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Moreover, during his presentation, Tanter advocated reversing the US State Department's designation of Mujahedeen-e Khalq as a "foreign terrorist organization" so that they can receive more financing from expatriate Iranians and expand their covert war and terror campaign to destabilize Iran. This echoes Tanter's remarks in a recent interview for Ha'aretz, an Israeli daily:

"But attacking will not provide a fundamental solution to the problem. It will not eliminate Iran's nuclear program, but will only delay it. In order to bring about a halt to the nuclear program, there has to be a regime change there. Such a change is possible and can take place within a short period of time. From the moment that the Mujahideen-e-Khalq is removed from the U.S. State Department's list of terror organizations, they will bring about regime change in less time than it takes the regime of the ayatollahs to obtain nuclear weapons."

How much time are we talking about?

"I tend to accept the assessment of Israeli intelligence rather than that of the CIA, that Iran will have nuclear weapons within one to three years."

In point of fact, the CIA denies there is any "conclusive evidence" of a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program, according to a recent piece by Seymour Hersh (see Hersh on CIA, Iran & Israel).

In any event, Tanter's bona fides as a war hawk are well-established from his former senior positions on the National Security Council and in the US Defense (formerly the "War") Department to his founding of the Iran Policy Committee, which is composed primarily of retired military officers with an ex-CIA operative as Executive Director.

Tanter, who teaches a course at Georgetown on terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, said he had to abandon the power point presentation and "wing it'' because of the protesters. He said he opposes using military force in Iran, but believes the United States needs to keep military options on the table to reinforce diplomatic solutions.

"I had an academic presentation, which I was not allowed to make because of the protesters," he said. ...
It is patently false that "he had to abandon his power point presentation." He never really started it due to computer problems not because of the protesters. After a lengthy delay, he started his lecture without the use of the computer and when it finally started working he made no use of it, except to point at one slide.
Below is another interesting excerpt from the Ha'aretz interview.
But the regime in Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were elected in democratic elections.

"The elections were democratic only de jure. The council for the defense of the Islamic regime rejected hundreds of candidates and allowed only its own candidates to participate in the elections. That's how Ahmadinejad was elected by default when the corrupt candidate, former president Rafsanjani, opposed him. It was a choice between a killer and a crook. Eighty percent of those eligible to vote did not participate in the elections. [In the recent US midterm elections 60% of those eligible to vote did not participate--PeaceMonger] We believe that the moment the organization is able to operate from Iraq it will gain public favor in Iran.

"People will go into the streets to demonstrate. That happened already in 1981, when half a million Mujahideen-e-Khalq supporters did that. The regime will order the demonstrators dispersed by force and suppressed. Those who will try to carry out the order are the Basaji, the armed street militia of the Revolutionary Guards. They will shoot at demonstrators, a civil war will break out, and then in the heat of the events the army will intervene, stop the bloodshed, remove the ayatollahs and take over."

But even then there will be no guarantee that Iran will stop trying to obtain nuclear weapons. We know that this is an Iranian national ambition, regardless of ideology and world view.

"Mujahideen-e-Khalq have already declared that they are not interested in manufacturing nuclear weapons. But no one cares if a democratic Iran has nuclear weapons. Who cares if Israel or India has nuclear weapons?"
So, Tanter clearly envisions that the Mujahideen-e Khalq's attacks will lead to "civil war" in Iran, followed by a military takeover which he apparently foresees as a "democratic Iran." Tanter doesn't mind nuclear proliferation as long as the nukes are held by pro-Israel and pro-US regimes.

Finally, for old times sake here are a couple of quotes from Tanter in an October, 2002, article in the Michigan Daily entitled "Hillel rally urges campus to take stance":
"One of the problems is that the military capabilities that America has - which are second to none in the world - are largely irrelevant to deterring terrorists," Tanter said. "So it is also true that the great military capacity of the Israeli defense forces cannot defer terrorists. So what do you do? You go after the terrorist organizations. And what do you do to the leaders? You destroy them. You kill them."

Regarding the war on Iraq, Tanter said it was "an antidote" and that there would be no backlash. "Arab people won't go crazy, Muslim people won't go crazy. They'll roll over because they hate Saddam Hussein."
In his lecture on Thursday, Tanter acknowledged supporting the 2003 US invasion of Iraq but claims not to support the US occupation, probably, because the Iraqi resistance didn't get the "no backlash" memo. He also stated that the Saudi regime is working directly with the Israeli government against Iran.

My thanks to S. for the video and thanks to B. for the Standard Practice Guide info.

Last revised: 12/04/2006, 11/09/2007

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, December 01, 2006

Islam-Basher Brigitte Gabriel to Visit Ann Arbor on 12/4

A group called Israel IDEA is sponsoring a visit to Ann Arbor by Brigitte Gabriel on Monday, December 4, 2006 at 8 PM in Auditorium C of Angell Hall, University of Michigan. Reports of Israel IDEA's activities have appeared on the web sites of the David Project and and the group is, apparently, led by UM undergrads Jessica Risch and Brad Stulberg.

Brigitte Gabriel is the founder of the American Congress for Truth and the author of Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America. Gabriel is a popular speaker on the pro-Israel lecture circuit and is a member of the Jewish National Fund Speakers Bureau. Muslims, Arabs, and their friends and allies should give Gabriel a proper welcome.

Below are a few excerpts from her welcome message on the American Congress for Truth web site.
... War has been declared on Christians, Jews, non-Muslims and secularists worldwide by Islamic extremists...simply because we are infidels according to their belief.

As Islamic fundamentalism spreads its tentacles worldwide, it is crucial for the people of the Western world to understand the danger, know what to expect, and know what to do about it.

Threats and realities of forced conversions to Islam, beheadings, torture and murder are quickly becoming commonplace. They’re rarely mentioned in the news and when they are, it’s with a disclaimer…the word “insurgent” has replaced the truth of “terrorists.”

Political correctness is killing us.

This Is The New Reality

We are in for the fight of our lives.

That we have not yet had another terrorist attack in the United States is remarkable, but it will happen. Al Queda keeps its promises.

How do I know this? I was born in Lebanon and raised as a Christian. When the Lebanese Civil War broke out, our family, and our Maronite community came under vicious attack by Islamic extremists.

They promised to destroy us, and as you know from the recent war in Lebanon, the country is now nearly Islamic.

... Yet the West does not fully realize the bloodthirsty intentions of the menace of fundamental Islam.

This enemy -- is relentless. It is determined.

Why Does Our Struggle Matter? It Matters Because...

If we don't win the war against Islamofascism other issues won't matter at all.

We won't have an economy to worry about.

We won't have equal rights for all.

We won't have our cherished freedom.

And we will live under Sharia Law.

We Must Win This War

The enemy loves death -- far more than we love life.

The enemy uses children as human bombs, mothers as suicide bombers, men driven by the glory of death and the promise of eternal sexual bliss in heaven...and martyrdom on earth.

This is the enemy reality: murder and death of "infidels" by any means for the glory of Allah.
The Maronites form the base community for the quasi-fascist Kata'ib Party, better known in the West as the Phalange Party (see Hizbullah, Israel, and the Gemayel Assassination) and have been allies of Israel and the West in Lebanon since at least early 1980s. The Israelis killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese in the country from 1982 until 2000 (a point Gabriel seems to neglect) but it was Maronite militias who actually perpetrated the Israeli-sanctioned massacres at Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Despite this, contrary to Gabriel's claims, the Maronites not only survive but wield considerable power in Lebanon, including 34 out of 128 seats in the current Lebanese parliament.

Gabriel and her family come from Marjayoun in southern Lebanon. Marjayoun was the headquarters of Israeli occupation forces and Israel's proxy, the South Lebanon Army (SLA). In 2000, Hizbullah drove the Israelis from the country and the SLA collapsed. The SLA was mostly composed of Shi'a Muslims and Druze but was commanded by Christians. To quote the BBC:
The demoralised SLA force of 2,500 fighters has always been left to do the dirtiest work for Israel in what has always been a dirty conflict.

Most notoriously, they were in nominal charge of al-Khiam "prison" south of Marjayoun, the Israeli military headquarters in Lebanon.

Many hundreds of Lebanese prisoners have been held there over the years without trial and without charge, under inhuman conditions with routine torture.

Former detainees said that although there was no actual Israeli presence in al-Khiam, SLA interrogators received questions for captives by e-mail from their Israeli masters over the border.

Often the detainees were held merely as hostages, because they had relatives in the Shi'a guerrilla force Hezbollah, or because they refused to collaborate with Israel.
Most rank-and-file SLA troops, including thousands who initially fled to Israel, have been reintegrated into Lebanese society. However, true to her collaborationist roots, Gabriel is a staunch advocate for Israel who often conflates the US and Israel in her analysis and advocacy.

In a September 27, 2006, presentation to the Heritage Foundation, Gabriel endorsed an "intelligence community" estimate of "180 to 300 million" radicalized Muslims worldwide--these are the enemies she has declared war with. She also berated Muslim Americans for failing to:
... take to the streets and rally and send a message to the radicals in the Middle East that we are Americans first. You kill one of us, you kill all of us. We, we condemn Hamas, we condemn al-Qaeda, we condemn Jamal Islamiya, we condemn Hizbullah ... Let's talk about the passions of the Hizbullah supporters in Dearbornistan, Michigan, right here in our country. They were free to demonstrate in support of Hizbullah, against the United States of America. Yet, we haven't seen this passion and this numbers of people coming out to the streets to defend America.
In the same presentation she declared that Europe "has died" and been replaced by Muslim-dominated "Eurabia."

See also:
Update: Report on Brigitte Gabriel Talk

Last revised: 12/07/2006

Labels: , , ,

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