Tuesday, January 15, 2008

[This is the first of what I hope to be a continuing series of occasional guest posts by our friend Hillel Stavis. Stavis is a long time Cambridge, MA resident and Harvard Square fixture who marched for Civil Rights in the 60's, but somewhere along the way found his Left left him. He writes here about his prior experience with the Cambridge Peace Commission (see: From the City that Evicted the Boy Scouts -- Cambridge Sends Delegation to Israel to Play with Tear Gas). Once you've read the piece, be sure to watch the video that's posted at the end. As an aside, my own email to Cathy Hoffman, Commission director, inquiring about City expenditures for their recent trip went unanswered. -S]

The current Merriam Webster dictionary defines "stalking horse" as "a horse or a figure like a horse behind which a hunter stalks game." No more accurate definition could describe the City of Cambridge's official "Peace" Commission and its relentless political war against the Jewish State. You say, "Why would a city agency with so lofty a purpose be so obsessed with one little country, the only Jewish one in the world, under siege since the day of its inception by virtually every Arab and Muslim state, object of economic boycotts, daily terror and near-universal anti-semitic rants?" Wasn't the Cambridge Peace Commission constituted in 1982 to confront the dangers of nuclear war to the citizens of its fair city? (poor, neighboring Somerville - it doesn't boast a Peace Commission, which fact no doubt dooms its residents to nuclear hell in case the big one drops nearby).

The game in question is, of course, Israel; the hunters are all the self-righteous purveyors of "peace" whose chief preoccupation is anti-Israel activity. Walking behind "peace" groups like "Boston to Palestine", "Jewish Voice for Peace" and whatever flavor of the day, kumbaya -preaching "social justice" cover they choose, the hunters have one simple goal: To bag Israel by any means possible. But to make the stalking horse credible, you have to devise a credible disguise.

Here's how they design the disguise:

  • Start off by declaring lofty principles of universal peace and social justice (shorthand for Marxism-Leninism, of course)
  • Identify with the "other" (except short-list these groups to include only certain, leftist-approved groups)
  • Organize craft fairs to sell sweaters, pan flutes and native handicrafts from third world countries
  • Provide the concomitant musical festivals
  • Publish the requisite anti-American newsletters
  • Find local Unitarian Churches and Quaker meeting houses in which to hold events (invite scores of Palestinian Arab polemicists; Zionists need not apply)
  • Champion international revolutions (so long as they can be associated with America-bashing)
  • Include gay and lesbian components
  • Hold a few events that have nothing to do with Israel (but stay away from Darfur or Algeria or the Congo; after all, only close to 4 million people have been slaughtered there; besides, we wouldn't want to identify Jihadist Muslims as perpetrators)
  • Initiate "sister cities" programs to burnish your image around the world (pre-approved cities, naturally). Tel Aviv, anyone? Not.
  • Do all of the above, but, above all, keep Israel and Jews in the crosshairs at all times. Everything else is window-dressing, hating Israel being the central focus of "peace" activities.
  • Ensure that the directorship and board of the organization includes lots of hard-left persons with Jewish names who constantly invoke their "Jewishness" (only when Israel bashing is on the agenda, which it is - constantly.) Hence the inoculation against the well-founded charge of anti-Semitism: "How can 'Progressives' with Jewish names, who belong to The Workman's Circle possibly be anti-Semitic?" How, indeed.
  • Be sure to appoint a Holocaust survivor to the board, The Ultimate Inoculation!

My first run-in with the self-appointed archons of "social justice" in Cambridge occurred around 1998 during the horrendous spate of suicide bombings in Israel that claimed thousands of innocent Jewish (and Arab) lives. Cathy Hoffman, director of the Commission (from its inception) had years earlier failed in her attempt to make The West Bank city of Ramallah sister-city to Cambridge (one wonders how bizarre the inauguration ceremony would have looked with the Peace Commission's plentiful Jewish (in name only, of course) board members embracing members of the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, the effective overlords of the West Bank (and Gaza at that point before the blood bath of 2007).

After lecturing me on the tolerance and beauty of Palestinian society, she then launched into a tearful expression of loss at the Soviet Union's demise. When I offered to pay her way to the annual Gaza Gay Pride Parade, she politely refused.

In the late 1990's official, state-controlled Palestinian television produced a children's show called The Children's Club featuring Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. This now famous show reveals a classroom lesson for 5 year olds promoting the glory of suicide bombing in Israel. At the urging of their teacher, the children are encouraged to kill as many Jews as possible on the road to martyrdom, even to the point of chanting macabre, sing-songy poetry. I wondered exactly what a 5 year old boy could actually do with 72 virgins. No matter.

Ms. Hoffman, who had recently directed her board to participate in a neighboring college's course in "Peaceable Classrooms," in which, presumably, the mere contemplation of a violent thought would banish the incorrect thinker to pariah-land was given a copy of the Palestinian video.

After viewing the jaw-dropping tape [which I provided], a veritable drum-banging for suicide and murder for kindergarteners, Ms. Hoffman became strangely reticent. I asked her if she either personally, or speaking for the Cambridge Peace Commission, would condemn such pedagogical practices in light of her organization's enthusiasm for "Peaceable Classrooms." After a lengthy, uncomfortable silence, she replied in the negative.

Gasping for breath, I exclaimed, "Do you mean to tell me that you blanch at the hint of politically incorrect expressions of even suggestions of violence in the classroom, but you won't condemn teachers who urge kindergarteners to murder other children, lessons which have been actualized time and again?"

Ms. Hoffman replied with the predictable, "You have to understand the roots of the conflict."

After rinsing my head under cold water, I realized that her answer was a tacit justification of murder - and this from the director of The Cambridge "Peace" Commission.

In July of 2003, under the auspices of the Commission, Boston to Palestine along with The International Solidarity Movement (you know, yet another "peace group" that justifies the killing of Jews), sponsored a trip to Israel/Palestine. The only contact with Israel is their stealthy rush through Ben Gurion airport on their way to Bethlehem or Ramallah to take part in olive picking.

Remarkably, none of the sponsored political pilgrims ever caught sight of a Hamas or Islamic Jihad member or witnessed any Jew hatred. Just olives, folk singing and dancing the Dabke. During the follow-up meeting at Cambridge City Hall a number of us dissenters confronted them and asked if we could participate in the meeting (video attached). Under the Massachusetts Open Meetings law (Chapter 39: Section 23B), meetings held in government buildings must be open to all citizens. Nancy Murray, a member of the Peace Commission whose day job was as Director of the Bill of Rights Education Project at the ACLU of Massachusetts, along with the anti-Israel troupe, scattered when the lights were turned on and they were discovered violating the law by holding a partisan political meeting on city property.

Imagine, an employee of the ACLU and member of The Peace Commission denying participation in a public meeting to fellow citizens! How uncivil.

2008 opens yet another chapter in the duplicity and hypocrisy of The Cambridge "Peace" Commission. Their latest Haj - this time to Bethlehem - complete with the requisite Holocaust survivors cum Israel-haters returned from Israel/Palestine (20 minutes in Israel, two weeks in Palestine) and reports on their pilgrimage at the Cambridge Senior Center this week [Wednesday!].

Cathy Hoffman is retiring this year after 23 years of "social justicing." Sadly, her anti-Israel passion (along with an annual city budget of close to $60,000) will live on in the "Peace Commission's" Central Committee.

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Meeting the Cambridge Peace Commission (Video).

TrackBack URL for this entry:

[Joel Kovel, whose extremist and often inaccurate writing in favor of dismantling the Jewish State succeeded in discrediting even the Pluto Press, made a public appearance in support of his new book at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Brookline, MA... Read More

For some reason I really like Charles Jacobs' Jewish Advocate piece (in full below) this week. Jacobs touches on flour in Gaza, Joel Kovel's recent trip through Boston (for previous video of Kovel: Racist Bard College Professor Joel Kovel Spouts... Read More

Uh oh, the brain trust at the Cambridge Peace Commission is threatening to bring the director of a Palestinian performance group through the area later this month. You know what that means: Watch your children. The Cambridge to Bethlehem group... Read More


Peace is the farthest thing from the hearts and minds of the vast majority of people involved in this anti-Israel campaign. Like 'justice', it is a concept they invoke in the service of hate-filled agendas ... but neither are things they desire to ever actually see or help bring about.

Great video. Like a Mike Wallace 60 Minutes ambush video.

The culprits run like roaches when the lights are turned on.

ISM - Islamofascist Solidarity Movement.

Hi Solomon,

I see my blog series on the Charles Bronfman's big idea contest for Jewish communal innovation is linked by Joe above.

As you can see, I've invited anyone who submitted a proposal to the contest or who would like to contribute to share their proposals with the community via my blog, The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy).

Also, you have probably seen through the trackback that I quoted your article on Ms. Magazine's rejection of the Israel ad on Global Voices Online. You can see the whole article here:

I am also a long-time former Cambridge resident.

Looks like we have a lot to talk about. Stop on by.

Maya Norton

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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