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June 25, 2014 0

PCUSA Affiliated Group Demonizes Israel With Anti-Jewish Themes

Lurk­ing not too far in the back­ground of last week’s dis­ap­point­ing vote by the Gen­eral Assem­bly of the Pres­by­ter­ian Church USA (PCUSA) to divest from US com­pa­nies doing busi­ness with Israel in the West Bank, is the ongo­ing cam­paign by ele­ments within PCUSA to dele­git­imize Israel by using bla­tantly anti-Jewish ideas and themes. A dri­ving force of this cam­paign is the PCUSA-affiliated activist group Israel-Palestine Mis­sion Net­work (IPMN), an anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion work­ing with orga­ni­za­tions com­mit­ted to dele­git­imiz­ing Israel, includ­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment and Jew­ish Voice for Peace.

IPMN is most infa­mously respon­si­ble for pub­lish­ing the so-called study guide “Zion­ism Unset­tled,” which prop­a­gates egre­gious anti-Israel themes long-peddled by Israel’s ene­mies, and is, at its core, an anti-Semitic doc­u­ment. Despite the obvi­ous offen­sive nature of this pub­li­ca­tion, as well as the Gen­eral Assembly’s approval of an over­ture stat­ing that Zion­ism Unset­tled does not “rep­re­sent the views of PCUSA,” it remains avail­able for pur­chase on the PUCSA web­site where it is absurdly mar­keted as a help­ful guide on how to “pro­mote more truth­ful rela­tion­ships among fol­low­ers of the three Abra­hamic religions.”

Presbyterian_Church_(U.S.A.)Equally trou­bling is the anti-Semitism which per­me­ates IPMN’s Face­book pages, as high­lighted in a new report by the Israel-based watch­dog orga­ni­za­tion NGO-Monitor. Accord­ing to the report, the IPMN Face­book page (which was shut down in Jan­u­ary 2012 after crit­i­cism over the post­ing of extrem­ist mate­ri­als and then reopened in July 2012 as a “closed but not secret” page) con­tains numer­ous post­ings and com­ments express­ing age-old anti-Semitic themes, as well as links to anti-Semitic arti­cles and web­sites. Exam­ples include:

  • Youtube video titled: “Zion­ist con­trolled America’s des­per­ate lust for Iran War”
  • Arti­cle in “Ugly Truth”, a blog run by the anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist Mark Glenn
  • Poster mock­ing “The genetic ances­try of Jews” and their his­toric con­nec­tion to the land of Israel
  • Car­toon depict­ing a stereo­typ­i­cal “ultra-Orthodox” Jew ruth­lessly killing an inno­cent Palestinian

While IPMN’s Face­book page only has about 300 mem­bers, the con­tent is con­sis­tent with and ampli­fies some of the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic themes con­tained in Zion­ism Unset­tled.

It is greatly trou­bling that despite IPMN’s evi­dent hos­til­ity towards Jews and anti-Israel ani­mus, PCUSA has not only failed to repu­di­ate their egre­gious views but still remains affil­i­ated with IPMN. There is no doubt that false­hoods pro­moted by IPMN in Zion­ism Unset­tled have neg­a­tively influ­enced the atti­tudes of some PCUSA mem­bers towards Israel, and per­haps even Jews, and pro­vided an offen­sive back­drop to the Gen­eral Assembly’s pas­sage of the Israel divest­ment resolution.

It is time for PCUSA to denounce IPMN for their abhor­rent views and fully dis­as­so­ci­ate itself from the organization.

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June 25, 2014 0

King Samir Shabazz Said To Be Arrested On “Gun Related Charges”

New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) National Field Mar­shall King Samir Shabazz was arrested “on alleged pro­ba­tion vio­la­tions and gun related charges” accord­ing to for­mer NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz.samir-shabazz-arrested-new-black-panther-malik

While the details of his reported arrest are still unclear, Samir Shabazz was pre­vi­ously arrested in June 2013 in New York for car­ry­ing a loaded, unli­censed firearm and ille­gally wear­ing body armor.

In an online radio inter­view on June 17, Shabazz, whose for­mer name is Maruse Heath, announced that on July 5 he would be speak­ing in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, and that he intends to start a Char­lotte chap­ter of the NBPP.

In the same inter­view, Shabazz ranted about the “damn lying bas­tard, the white man,” stat­ing, “I don’t plan on com­mit­ting no damn sui­cide. Damn it, I’m prepar­ing for some homi­cide, on my enemy.”

Such vio­lent rhetoric is noth­ing new for Shabazz, who pub­licly stated that NBPP mem­bers should press their uni­forms so the crease could “cut that cracker’s throat in half and watch his head roll down the street.”

In an August 2012 NBPP online radio broad­cast, he went on a vicious tirade describ­ing white nurs­eries and churches as legit­i­mate tar­gets for bomb­ing stat­ing “You’re going to have to go into the God damn nurs­ery and just throw a damn bomb in the damn nurs­ery and just kill every­thing white in sight that ain’t right,” and “Well we gonna throw a bomb in that God damn church, burn up the cracker, burn up the cracker Jesus, and burn up some cracker white supremacy.”

In 2009, Shabazz was impli­cated in a U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice suit after a voter intim­i­da­tion inci­dent while he was head of the NBPP’s Philadel­phia chap­ter. Addi­tion­ally, he was arrested and released in 2008 for dis­or­derly con­duct after he and oth­ers inter­rupted a rally in Atlantic City.

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June 25, 2014 0

Reactions to the Met’s Cancelation of ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Simulcast

Fol­low­ing the announce­ment by Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera Direc­tor Peter Gelb that the Met was can­cel­ing it simul­cast of the con­tro­ver­sial “Death of Kling­hof­fer” per­for­mance, due to con­cerns that the screen­ing could inflame the already ris­ing tide of global anti-Semitism or legit­imize ter­ror­ism, there have been strong reac­tions from all sides of the spectrum.

Many in the artis­tic com­mu­nity have long argued that the opera is purely a work of art and not a polit­i­cal state­ment, and num­ber of media out­lets and indi­vid­u­als have described the Met’s deci­sion as a capit­u­la­tion to pres­sure from out­side groups and indi­vid­u­als. They argue that the opera is not intended to glo­rify or even jus­tify the mur­der of Leon Kling­hof­fer, but rather offers an artis­tic per­spec­tive on the his­tory of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict and the tragic events of the Achille Lauro.

Metropolitan_Opera_HouseFrom the NY Times edi­to­r­ial page:

“Art can be provoca­tive and con­tro­ver­sial. Many crit­ics of this opera have not actu­ally seen it, though they are cer­tainly free to express their con­cern or even out­rage. Their polit­i­cal and per­sonal views, how­ever, should not cause the Met to reverse its artis­tic judgment.”

Oppos­ing voices have argued that sim­ply can­cel­ing the simul­cast is insuf­fi­cient, and the Met should drop alto­gether the entire Fall per­for­mance of the “Death of Kling­hof­fer.” A num­ber of these indi­vid­u­als and groups claim that cer­tain scenes por­tray­ing the ter­ror­ists’ point of view are, at best, highly insen­si­tive to the Kling­hof­fer fam­ily, or, at worse, anti-Semitic. They argue that just as the Met would never per­form an opera show­cas­ing the “human­ity” of the 9/11 ter­ror­ists, they should not host one which attempts to human­ize terrorists.

From the NY Post:

“[Peter Gelb, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera’s gen­eral man­ager] said, ‘John Adams has said that in com­pos­ing ‘The Death of Kling­hof­fer’ he tried to under­stand the hijack­ers and their moti­va­tions, and to look for human­ity in the ter­ror­ists . . .’ What human­ity can — or should — be found in the mur­der­ers of inno­cents? When do we get an opera paint­ing the 9/11 bombers as “men of ideals?”

In response to the wide­spread crit­i­cism of the Met’s deci­sion, Lisa and Ilsa Kling­hof­fer, daugh­ters of Leon Kling­hof­fer, wrote a let­ter to the New York Times defend­ing the Met. They argue that, while they strongly believe the opera triv­i­al­izes their father’s death and ratio­nal­izes ter­ror­ism, the Met did not capit­u­late to their request by can­cel­ing the simul­cast, nor do they sup­port the notion of cen­sor­ing an artis­tic event.

From their let­ter:

“The Met should be praised, not faulted, for tak­ing a step that will pre­vent this biased and flawed opera from appear­ing in 66 coun­tries, includ­ing in some regions where anti-Semitism is dis­turbingly on the rise. The Met did not “bow” to our wishes in can­cel­ing the global simul­cast sched­uled for this fall, but rather lis­tened to our con­cerns and acted appro­pri­ately. We are strongly opposed to cen­sor­ship and resent the impli­ca­tion that we would want to cen­sor an artis­tic event.”

Their let­ter con­cludes with a strong mes­sage about the dan­gers posed by ter­ror­ists to inno­cent civil­ians, and an impor­tant reminder to opera goers and oth­ers that “any effort to politi­cize that mes­sage is a dis­tor­tion of our father’s hor­rific death.”

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