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by Don't believe the hype
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 4:53 AM
David Corn and Marc Cooper of The Nation have launched a campaign against ANSWER for the so-called "banning" of Rabbi Lerner from the speakers podium. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Coalition Statement in response to Michael Lerner & Commentary
by Mitchel Cohen
Dear friends and fellow antiwarriors,
This past week, the Nation ran a denunciation of International ANSWER Coalition, and the petition was posted on CommonDreams website as though its claims were true. In it, various individuals -- without first checking
the facts -- blasted ANSWER for allegedly "banning" Rabbi Michael Lerner from speaking at the San Francisco anti-war rally on Feb. 16 because of his "pro-Israel" position. The petitioners not only stated their position, but
went on to slam ANSWER as "unfit ... to lead mass mobilizations against war in Iraq."
As the media coordinator for the Greens/Green Party USA, which had endorsed ANSWER and organized for ALL the antiwar demonstrations, I immediately became suspicious that something here was AT BEST being taken out of context. When I read that summary -- "unfit to lead mass mobilizations against war in Iraq," that should have been a dead giveaway to most astute activists that there is another agenda being played out here that is not in the best interest of the anti-war movement. Reviewing the names of some of the signees made more even more suspicious; some of those same individuals have disrupted various progressive movements over the years (the movement to take back Pacifica from the corporatizers being prominent among them). In fact, although there are a couple of well-respectedradical signatories to the petition that had been circulating (Howard Zinn, for instance), the list contains and was organized by a veritable stable of liberal Democratic Party manipulators.
The following should set the record straight. It is issued by the Coalition organizing the demo in the Bay Area, which includes United For Peace and Justice, Not In Our Name, Bay Area United Against War, and International ANSWER. (I note parenthetically that only in NYC has there been little success in forging a coalition. Everywhere else in the country there are coalitions that include all the main groups.)
You will see when you read this that the claims pertaining to Lerner have no basis in fact. I will ask:
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS?
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS NOW?
- WHY DID THEY DO THIS IN THIS PUBLIC WAY?
- WHY DID THEY NOT FIRST CHECK WITH THE ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED? and
- WHOSE INTERESTS ARE THEY ACTUALLY SERVING?
More on this later. First, the report.
the Greens/Green Party USA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
February 11, 2003 Bert Knorr (510) 644-8071, (415) 307-8028 (cell)
BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR
NOT IN OUR NAME PROJECT
INTERNATIONAL ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) COALITION
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
STATEMENT FROM FEB. 16 ANTI-WAR COALITIONS
REGARDING RABBI MICHAEL LERNER
We would like to clarify the misunderstanding regarding Rabbi Michael Lerner's perception that he was "banned" from speaking at the peace rally. His charges are untrue, and we wish to set the record straight.
As the Bush Administration continues its relentless drive toward war, the mass mobilizations in cities around the world on the weekend of Feb. 15-16 have taken on great significance. Millions of people are expected to
demonstrate in cities around the world in what may be the last opportunity to stop a new war on Iraq before it starts.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, four coalitions -- each comprised of many organizations and individuals -- have come together to sponsor a broad and united anti-war march and rally on Sunday, Feb. 16.
The four coalitions -- Bay Area United Against War, Not In Our Name project, United for Peace & Justice, and the International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition - have been working together successfully for the last several weeks to maximize the turnout on Feb. 16.
One of the first agreements that was made between the groups organizing the Feb. 16 anti-war protest was that none of the coalitions would propose rally speakers who had publicly attacked or worked to discredit one of the coalition groups. When members of the Tikkun Community, who have actively participated in the organizing meetings for Feb. 16, suggested to Bay Area United for Peace and Justice that it propose Michael Lerner as a speaker, it was explained by members of UFPJ that since he had publicly attacked ANSWER in both the New York Times and Tikkun community email newsletters, his inclusion in the program would violate the agreement among the Feb. 16 organizing groups.
It was this issue -- Michael Lerner's public attacks against one of the anti-war coalitions -- that resulted in his not being formally proposed as a speaker on Feb. 16; his views on Israel and Palestine had nothing to do with it.
Within the anti-war movement, there is a wide spectrum of diverse and opposing views regarding Israel and Palestine, and those views will be heard on Feb. 16. On that day, two rabbis, David Cooper and Pam
Frydman-Baugh, both of whose views are similar to those of Michael Lerner, will be speaking. To reiterate, the fact that Michael Lerner was not invited to speak on Feb. 16 was not the consequence of a veto by the
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition. None of the coalitions have veto power over the Feb. 16 program
We strongly abhor all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. At the same time, we don¹t believe that criticism of Israeli government policies should be labeled as anti-Semitism any more than criticism of U.S.
government policy should be labeled as anti-American. On the eve of a terrible war, we call upon everyone to join together in making Feb. 15-16 a massive and powerful statement for peace and justice. We're heartened by
the broad range of participation that is developing forFeb. 16, including within the Jewish community, and invite one and all to join with us in our efforts to stop the war on Iraq.
Issued by: Bay Area United Against War, International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now
to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, Not In Our Name Project, United for
Peace and Justice
ORIGINAL POSTING ON COMMON DREAMS
Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
Let Anti-War Rabbi Michael Lerner Speak
The Banning of Rabbi Lerner
by David Corn / The Nation 2/11/02
Rabbi Michael Lerner has been banned from speaking at the antiwar rally in San Francisco this Sunday, February 16. One of the rally organizers, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), has stated that it will not allow a "pro-Israel" speaker to take the stage -- despite the fact that Rabbi Lerner has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policy in the occupied territories, has endorsed ANSWER's antiwar rallies in the past,
has signed the Not in Our Name petition against the war, and is widely known to be among the most progressive of American rabbis. Other coalitions organizing the rally, including Not in Our Name and United for Peace and
Justice, have acceded to ANSWER's opposition to Lerner, on the grounds that they had previously accepted as a condition for participation in the demonstration the agreement that if one of the groups vetoed a speaker that
all would have to agree.
We, the undersigned, protest ANSWER's refusal to let Rabbi Lerner speak at this Sunday's rally. At a time when the antiwar movement needs as broad a platform and as broad an appeal as possible, ANSWER has chosen instead to put the interests of sectarianism ahead of the interests of all those who oppose this foolish and unnecessary war. We believe this is a serious mistake, and that it exemplifies ANSWER's unfitness to lead mass
mobilizations against war in Iraq.
Partial List of Signers:
Greg Goldin, writer
Robert W. McChesney, writer
Jack Newfield, writer
Doug Ireland, writer
Ariel Dorfman, writer
Marc Cooper, writer
Michael Berube, Penn State
Janine Jaquet, Nation Institute
John Powers, writer
Katha Pollitt, writer
Suzi Weissman, professor and author
Eric Alterman, writer
Kateri Butler, writer
Todd Gitlin, writer
Tom Christie, writer
Eyal Press, writer
Jon Wiener, historian UCI
Lee Smith, writer
Michael Balter, writer
Carl Bromley, Editorial Director, Nation Books
Harold Meyerson, writer
Celeste Fremon, writer
Matthew Rothschild, Editor, The Progressive
Irene Theodore Heinstein
Clifford L. Staples
Adam Shatz, writer
Emily Jane Goodman
Sonia Jaffe Robbins
Roy Ulrich, attorney
Naomi Glauberman, writer
Judith Long, The Nation
Maurice Zeitlin, author and professor
Bruce Shapiro, writer
Tad Daley, UCLA
Andrew Gumbel, journalist
Dr. Aryeh Cohen, University of Judaism, Los Angeles
Nalini Lasiewicz, Lasiewicz Foundation
Barbara Osborn, Liberty Hill Foundation
Fr. Chris Ponnet, Co-Chair Pax Christi USA, Los Angeles Chapter
Anita Frankel, former Public Affairs Dir. Pacifica Radio
Roane Carey, The Nation
Reverend Ed Bacon, Rector, All Saints Church, Pasadena CA
Prof. Steve Ross, USC
Dr. Lawrence Littwin, CSUN
Ella Taylor, writer
Daniel Sokatch, Executive Director, Progressive Jewish Alliance
Francisco Letelier, writer
Jules Tygiel, SFSU
Ellen Carol DuBois, UCLA
Mike Davis, UCI
Marla Stone, Occidental College
Peter Dreier, Occidental College
Bobbi Murray, Journalist
Kevin B. Anderson, Purdue University
Robert H. Silk, Attorney
Susan T. Silk. PhD, Biochemist
Frank Smyth, journalist
David Nasaw, CUNY Grad Center
Maggie Helwig, writer
Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, University of Florida
Richard H. Schwartz, College of Staten Island
Howard A. Rodman
Rabbi Rachel Cowan, Nathan Cummings Foundation
Daniel Pope, University of Oregon
Jordan Elgrably, Open Tent Middle East Coalition
Don Bustany, host "Middle East in Focus" KPFK
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|Lerner and Becker in their own words
||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 6:13 AM
|Lerner says people can't support Palestine
||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 7:08 AM
||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 2:23 PM
||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 7:00 PM
|Stalinists do not like opposing voices
||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 7:22 PM
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