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STATEMENT FROM FEBRUARY 16 ANTI-WAR COALITIONS REGARDING RABBI MICHAEL LERNER

by various Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 5:03 PM

ANSWER's public response to Lerner, Corn, et al

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR
NOT IN OUR NAME PROJECT
INTERNATIONAL A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 11, 2003

CONTACT PERSON:
Bert Knorr (510) 644-8071, (415) 307-8028 (cell)

STATEMENT FROM FEBRUARY 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 A.N.S.W.E.R. (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 UPJ that since he had publicly attacked
A.N.S.W.E.R. 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. At that time, Tikkun
representatives expressed that it would not be a
problem if Michael Lerner was not proposed as a
speaker.

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, which will be
expressed on Feb. 16. 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 don't
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 for Feb. 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

-----------------------------

Email circulated by:
International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
http://www.internationalanswer.org


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no winners Matt Olson Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 5:29 PM
Unity, people worker Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 7:34 PM
reference? Matt Olson Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003 at 9:32 PM
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