Friday, January 25, 2008

[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 last Tuesday night. Our man Hillel Stavis was there outside with an intrepid group of his fellows ready to exercise their own free-speech rights. In the process, we reacquaint ourselves with the Cambridge Peace Commission -- whose interests and Kovel's intersect. For previous on the CPC, see: From the City that Evicted the Boy Scouts -- Cambridge Sends Delegation to Israel to Play with Tear Gas and Meeting the Cambridge Peace Commission (Video). For more on Kovel, start with the link above which leads to a search of the Campus Watch archives. -S]

"I don’t think of myself as a Jew anymore," the grizzled-bearded gentleman declared as he trotted into the Coolidge Corner movie theatre last Tuesday evening. Someone shouted to him, "Oh yeah? Tell it to the Obergruppenfeuhrer who’s in charge of this train – tell him you want off, tell him it’s just a case of mistaken identity."


The rain had just stopped on Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts on a typical Boston afternoon, gray and turning colder. Big plastic letters on the theatre’s art deco, fluorescent marquee announced Juno and The Butterfly and the Diving Bell. But the top-billed event was not a movie but something called "Overcoming Zionism."

"White beard non-Jew" was rushing to hear a lecture by Joel Kovel, self-styled slayer of Zionism, the modern era’s most inherently evil, racist and anti-Progressive movement. White beard was followed close behind by "Spanish beret1" and "Spanish beret2" a couple in their 60’s, the man’s stylish cap adorned with what appeared to be ribbons and pins from various Progressive battles from the 1936 siege of the Alcazar to Che’s triumphal entry into Havana.


Trailing after the berets came a number of members of The City of Cambridge Peace Commission, a city-funded agency established to ostensibly protect the good and progressive citizens of that glory on the Charles from the ravages of nuclear war (when it will inevitably come – no doubt from missiles fired from the Pentagon’s war machine). A number of the commission members had just returned from their "Cambridge to Bethlehem People to People" trip to Israel/Palestine. In their never-ending quest for "peace and understanding," the political pilgrims had spent a few hours rushing through Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on their way to "Palestine" where they bonded and supported every Palestinian they met for nearly two weeks. The Bethlehem Mayor’s party affiliation, by the way, is The Progressive Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). There's also a strong Hamas presence in the city (Hamas and the PFLP are officially designated terrorist groups by the United States). The Cambridge group, nevertheless, came back with unqualified support for the Palestinian cause.

The Joel Kovel Show and its message of Israel’s destruction was therefore the perfect finale for the group’s Haj to their Palestinian brothers and sisters. A few weeks earlier, the Cambridge pilgrims had met scores of Palestinians who were engaged in one of the following occupations:

a) olive picking
b) education
c) social work
d) traditional dance interpretation
e) local crafts (wooden bowls, fabrics and musical instruments)

Oh yes, I forgot. The pilgrims did meet and bond with the Bethlehem Municipal Council whom they praised for their hospitality and warmth. The majority of that council (remember, it’s in the West Bank, not Gaza) consists of Hamas party officials. Khalid Jadu, Nabil al-Hraymi, Hasan al-Masalma and others sit next to Isa Zawahara, another council member who represents Islamic Jihad. Odd that that information was not conveyed to the good people of Cambridge when the group reported back on their "People to People" trip. Not one of the political pilgrims said that they felt insecure or uncomfortable in spite of the fact that their hosts knew that they were "Jewish." One of the group’s "Holocaust survivor" pilgrims, one Eva Steiner Moseley apparently only invokes her "Jewishness" when the opportunity arises to demonize Israel. As she told me, no communal Jewish activities - like working with Jewish elders or children’s groups – takes up any of her time. She especially enjoyed Christmas shopping in the West Bank.

And so, as the missiles launched by their host’s comrades in Gaza were flying into Sderot and other Jewish communities not in "occupied Palestine," the "Jewish" pilgrims were making common cause with the Hamas-controlled Bethlehem Municipal Council. No wonder they felt safe and secure.

Back to Brookline and the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Joel Kovel, professor of social studies at Bard College, has just published Overcoming Zionism in which the self-described "eco-socialist" advocates the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state in favor of a democratic entity like, say, Switzerland or Sweden. Kovel reminds us that Israel is a "racist, imperialist, colonialist-settler state that practices apartheid" and, therefore, must be destroyed. What self-respecting Progressive could disagree with that premise? They just can’t wait until the legislators of The Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad put those shining, democratic principles into effect. Just wait until Stockholm- on- the- Mediterranean becomes a reality and all those ugly, clannish Jews are cleansed from the region! We’ll all have an olive picking smorgasbord and then dance the dabke.

But the great people’s march towards eco-socialism hit a bump in the road. Around 30 Jews and their friends from CJUI showed up at the theatre with signs and flyers exposing Kovel’s misrepresentations and obvious ignorance of Jewish history. It seems the professor is fond of fabricating quotes of Golda Meir, for example, who, accurately quoted, said:

"We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours." Golda Meir, to Anwar Sadat during peace talks in Jerusalem, 1977.

Kovel’s invented version has Golda saying:

"I will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill them" (no source supplied by Kovel)

The invented quotation serves his agenda quite well.

A number of protesters held up signs with a real quote from Martin Luther King, Jr that equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Spanish beret1 exclaimed "Stop abusing Martin Luther King."

And so the evening wound down with Kovel’s true believers inside and the fervent, small band of Jews and their friends outside with their signs and handouts. White- beard- non-Jew exited the theatre more inspired than ever in his holy crusade to rid "Palestine" of Jews, but, perhaps, just perhaps, the seemingly impenetrable wall of Progressive fantasy will develop a few cracks when it is confronted with enough real history.

I packed up my own sign and glanced back at the marquee. Why, I wondered, does this modern form of Jew hatred find so comfortable a home in the heart of a Jewish community? Why do people with Jewish names and faces feel safe and welcome in an Arab city that is ruled by the genocidal fanatics of Hamas?

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Progress’s Pilgrims -- Confronting Joel Kovel.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

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


Correct me if I'm wrong but:

1) Isn't that King quote part of that lengthy fake "letter" attributed to him?

2) Both forms of the Golda Meir quote are garbled from the way I've always heard it, although obviously Stavis has the sense correct while Kovel's is a complete inversion of her point. (Which marks Kovel as an idiot, frankly -- that's hardly an obscure quote!) I also hadn't heard it in connection with Sadat's visit, but that certainly could well be.

Info. about King quote:

The late Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset, who was the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and a professor at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University quoted King in his article “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel” (Encounter Magazine, Dec. 1969) as saying in response to a student critical of zionists: “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!"

This quote is accurate. The letter to an anti-Zionist friend, was proven to be a fake. The quote above was real. MLK was a friend of Jews and Zionists.

In fact,

Glenn Plummer, senior Pastor of Ambassadors For Christ Church in Redford, Michigan, and Chairman and CEO of the Fellowship of Israel and Black America has stated that, “… Martin Luther King Jr. was not only pro-Israel, but Martin Luther King Jr. basically defined Zionism by saying that Zionism is the right of the Jewish people to rebuild their plundered land and for them to come and be the people of God here in this land.”

"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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