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Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2005 at 10:16 PM
Pacifists for Genocide
By Eugene Girin
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 15, 2005
The current War on Terror “has its roots in our refusal to be an equal part of the world community” and results from “our having taken a fragment of life and turned it into the only way of life decreed by God, Capital, or Phallus.” Such, at any rate, is the assessment of Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, secretary of the misnamed Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA).
Currently based in San Francisco, the PJSA is the product of the 2001 merger of two previous "peace studies" organizations: the Consortium On Peace Research Education and Development (COPRED) and the Peace Studies Association (PSA). According to the mission statement posted on their homepage, www.peacejusticestudies.org, PJSA aims "to create a just and peaceful world" through "peace studies" programs in kindergarten up to graduate school, through "the forging of alliances among educators, students, activists, and other peace practitioners [sic.]" and through the "creation and nurturing of alternatives" to injustice, violence, and inequality. The impression one gets from PJSA's homepage, which is chock full of such airy vacuities, is that it is a fairly benign leftist group.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Consider Lester Ruiz. Ruiz parrots the rhetoric of the far-Left (all the way down to his reference to the "Phallus"). Thus, according to the summer 2003 issue of the Peace and Justice Studies Association's Peace Chronicle newsletter, the day of the launching of Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from Saddam's occupation was "a day of infamy, the war of aggression, no different from all the wars and attacks against the US that our leaders called infamous.” To Ruiz and his comrades, the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam's imperialist forces is no different from the murderous rampage of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.
No more sympathetic is the PJSA’s view of Israel. This has much to do with the fact that the leader of the PJSA is the vehemently anti-Israel activist Simona Sharoni. A native of Israel and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Romania, Sharoni is a founding member of the "Women In Black,” an odious far-Left group of Israeli women who protested and interfered with Israel's fight against Palestinian terrorism during the first Intifada. The “Women in Black” were nicknamed "the black witches" by Israeli soldiers for their disruption of counter-terrorism activities and for their harassment of Israeli security personnel at roadblocks and checkpoints.
Simona Sharoni has devoted her adult life to anti-Israeli and anti-American activism. After leaving Israel in the 1990s, Sharoni taught at the American University in Washington, D.C., and is now a visiting professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where COPRED-PSA/PJSA was based before moving to San Francisco. (Evergreen is also where Rachel Corrie was recruited to die agitating on behalf of Palestinian terrorists.)
In an interview with Georgetown University's campus newspaper, Sharoni denounced her Israeli Jewish parents and said she was "overwhelmed by the ease of the racist comments in the home I grew up in.” She also compared Palestinian suicide bombers to anorexic girls and "gay teens who have to commit suicide because of rampant homophobia." (The Palestinians must appreciate both comparisons.) Professor Sharoni believes that suicide bombings are not a crime against humanity but merely the manifestations of a psychological disorder brought about by the actions of the Israeli government.
Professor Sharoni has even gone so far as to prevent her four-year-old daughter from learning Hebrew in order to "deprive her of her connection to a culture which has been problematic." In the same interview, Sharoni railed against the "dehumanized" American Jews and their refusal to call the security fence in Judea and Samaria an "apartheid wall." In a fashion typical of anti-Israeli activists, she compared the residents of Palestinian refugee camps (who were put there and have been left there by their fellow Arabs) to inmates of Nazi death camps, quipping, "people who lived in concentration camps should be able to understand what it is like to live in a refugee camp.”
Beyond the roster of anti-American and anti-Israeli activists, the PJSA includes its share of peaceniks who simply dwell in a delusional pacifist world. A perfect example of the latter is Howard Richards, a professor in the Peace and Global Justice Studies department at Earlham College. Page through his 12-point manifesto, "Twelve Things We Can Do Every Day for World Peace and Justice,” published in the summer 2003 issue of the PJSA's Peace Chronicle, and you come upon the following advice:
"Reduce, reuse, and recycle";
"Cultivate an organic garden";
"Use less fossil fuel"; and
"Process inner anger by following a spiritual path or getting some form of therapy."
Plant flowers, see a psychotherapist—this, according to Richards, is the way to defeat al-Qaeda and prevent the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In the same issue, PJSA-member and Georgetown philosophy professor Mark Lance (former co-chair of COPRED's board of directors) contributed an anti-Israeli article called "Transfer By Siege," in which he gave a typically distorted analysis of the Security Fence in Judea and Samaria. In keeping with the anti-Israel movement’s compulsive habit of comparing the Jewish State to totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, or authoritarian regimes like South Africa. Likewise, the Israeli security barrier is compared to the Berlin Wall and described as a destructive contraption that divides Palestinian villages, destroys their inhabitants' livelihood, and makes it nearly impossible for sick Palestinians to get to the hospital. To Mark Lance and the PJSA, the Security Fence is built not to protect innocent Israelis from murderous rampages of suicide bombers and terrorist gangs; rather, it is an attempt at "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinians, an "apartheid wall." At the conclusion of this article, Lance calls for a "massive international campaign to force Israel to end all aspects of the occupation."
Other articles in the PJSA's Peace Chronicle consist of long and disjointed diatribes against the actions of the United States. Even in the wake of the September 11th atrocities, Lance warned that the "military police action" against the terrorist-sheltering Taliban is an "attack on an already devastated populace" that will bring about "massive death from starvation and malnutrition" of many Afghans. In a column in the Fall/Winter 2001 issue of Peace Chronicle, written mere months after the Twin Towers fell and while the search for victims' remains continued around the clock, Lance proclaimed, "Both on the domestic and on the international fronts, the ‘war’ on terror promises to be a major step forward for the forces of totalitarianism and imperialism." Not a single PJSA article ever calls for equivalent measures to be taken against occupiers like Syria and Morocco. Likewise, no article condemns suicide bombings or shooting attacks on Americans or Israeli Jews.
When the PJSA is not inveighing against America and Israel, it uses its members—many of whom are teachers and professors—to make American students useful idiots for the Hate America Left's cause. Matt Meyer, PJSA's co-chair, organized demonstrations outside Chuck Schumer's Brooklyn residence after the senator supported the toppling of Saddam's regime; Meyer works for the NYC Department of Education. The other co-chair, Nancy Hanawi, is a professor at the notoriously left-wing UC-Berkeley, while Lester Ruiz teaches at New York Theological Seminary. Most of the other PJSA board members are also educators who teach at colleges and schools in America and Britain.
It is precisely this last fact that should make people take notice. While the PJSA might be seen as an obscure leftist group with insane or repugnant views, the chilling fact is that most PJSA leaders are educators who influence hundreds of young Americans yearly. American parents should be aware that the teachers of their children could be PJSA-supporting pedagogues. American college students should be aware of the true nature of one organization that purports to support “Peace and Justice Studies” but—when it comes to Israel and America—supports endless war and attempted genocide.
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