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Monday, October 26, 2009

Well our friend Hillel Stavis has been busy today. He is in attendance at the much-discussed J Street Conference down in Washington, and specifically, he was just in attendance at blogger Richard Silverstein's blogger panel. The panel consists of radical leftists and anti-Zionists too out in left field to get the official imprimatur of J Street itself...but not so radical that they wouldn't give the group a room...and kick out their enemies when requested.

Here's the short of it. Hillel will be writing something up himself when he has the chance and then we'll get more detail.

Stavis, a paid conference attendee (after all, Jeremy Ben-Ami stated that they welcome those who disagree), was in the back of the room filming (as were many others). Some time in, apparently recognizing a member of his enemies list, Silverstein springs up and can be seen in the video crossing the room to get security. He then approaches Stavis, who is doing nothing and causing no disruption whatsoever, to tell him security is going to kick him out.

He is then approached by a J Street official, Amy Spitalnick, Press and New Media Associate, who can be heard telling him he has to leave. The video ends at that point as, Stavis tells me, she grabbed at the camera. As a side note, long-time readers will be interested to note that Spitalnick was involved with the Tufts University Hillel at the time they were involved in protesting Daniel Pipes' appearance there.

When Stavis complained about his treatment to J Street officials he did receive an apology from some underling or other, but not from Spitalnick herself.

This is interesting for what it says about the "progressive" mind-set. Also note that while J Street doesn't want an official affiliation with this panel, they were not above giving them space and using their own paid staff as enforcers. More to follow.

Update: I feel like an editor in the old days of correspondents rushing to phone booths...

It gets better. Stavis tells me that Mr. Silverstein was sitting in front of him at another (formal) J Street panel. Hillel approached Mr. Silverstein and asked him if he would like to sit down and discuss matters calmly...Whereupon RS motored immediately to a security person and insisted that Mr. Stavis was a fraud, that he wasn't who he said he was (cuckoo, cuckoo...who exactly does he think Stavis is?)...the guard asked for Stavis' conference badge and ID. Everything checked out. So of course our Mr. Stavis insisted he do the same for Silverstein.

I'm also told he approached Spitalnick for an apology (for the panel incident as well as his continued harassment). She demurred in a most unfriendly manner.

I look forward to Hillel regaling us with further details of all these incidents, but I just couldn't resist getting something down about them.

Update2: Thanks to Michael Goldfarb for linking: Elie Wiesel Mocked at J Street Conference

The "independent" blogger panel at J Street's conference can only be described as clownish. The panel consisted mostly of crackpots and self-described anti-Zionists and "one-staters" (J Street director Jeremy Ben-Ami calls the one-state solution a "nightmare," but it seems to be the dream of many of the organization's supporters). Though J Street tried to distance itself from the panel by describing it as an "unofficial" and "independent" event, the bloggers used one of the rooms otherwise reserved for conference events, a podium in the front had a J Street placard on it, and a J Street banner hung on the back wall of the room. Ben-Ami came in to "check up" on the panel, and a J Street flack ejected someone from the room at the behest of one of the panelists. If this wasn't an official event, I don't know what official means...

Update3 10-27-09: (I'm duplicating the text of the post above to keep things in one place for those arriving directly to this post):

Hillel has posted his first-hand account of his ejection and subsequent harassment from the J Street bloggers' panel at J Street Jive: J Street's Big Tent Comes Crashing Down. This is a must read (to believe). Everyone expects Richard Silverstein to behave in a maladjusted manner, but the behavior of official J Street is quite surprising. (Yesterday's post with video is here.)

Oh, and for the record, yes, Hillel is the author of JStreetJive. It's not exactly hard to figure out (a friendly question would have gotten the answer, as if it matters). Somewhere in his archives, Silverstein is insisting I deleted a tweet in order to mask my involvement with it. In fact, all I did was change my Twitter handle from @MartinSolomon to @SolBlog (it's shorter - Follow me!) and the permalink changed. Again, no big mystery or conspiracy.

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Video: Audience Member Booted from Silverstein's J Street Blogger Panel (Update).

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.solomonia.com/cgi-bin/mt4/mt-renamedtb.cgi/16984

Well our friend Hillel Stavis has been busy today. He is in attendance at the much-discussed J Street Conference down in Washington, and specifically, he was just in attendance at blogger Richard Silverstein's blogger panel. The panel consists of radic... Read More

Hillel has posted his first-hand account of his ejection and subsequent harassment from the J Street bloggers' panel at J Street Jive: J Street's Big Tent Comes Crashing Down. This is a must read (to believe). Everyone expects Richard Silverstein... Read More

You can add the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) to the list of Muslim groups coming out in defense of the group of Muslim UC Irvine students who staged a coordinated interruption of Michael Oren's talk there: MPAC Calls on... Read More

» J Street's Worst Nightmare at the blog Solomonia

This is getting good. It started with a blow struck by life-long Democrat and former AIPAC employee Josh Block: So, How Did J Street Do?. This prompted a counter punch from J Street delivered by mouthpiece Amy Spitalnick: J Street... Read More



23 Comments

Unfortunately, that's typical of our enemies. Free speech for themselves and no one else.

Any organization consisting of rational people would apologize, invite him back in, and refund his conference fee. I'm sure that J Street will do none of that. It's just the way they operate.

Shades of the Obama Administration as concerns pro Americans and Western Conservatives.

Oh common. Like you wouldn't have done the same. J Street is going to help re-set the organization and collaboration of the moderate voices among Jews, Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs who support peace based on two states, an end to the settlements, compromise on the Right of Return, sharing of Jerusalem and am end to violence by both sides. I know not everyone wants that on either the far left palestinian side (who want "one state") and the far right Israeli side who want "one-state" too! We're not going to let the one-stater extremists on the Israeli and Palestinian side have their way. We will have peace despite the angry words and hate from activists who pretend to support peace and do everything in their power to promote hatred and conflict.
Ray Hanania
www.RadioChicagoland.com

I don't believe I would have. It's nothing unusual to see "opponents" at panels. It's routine. As long as they behave themselves...

Now if it were a small private meeting...but this wasn't. Silverstein's behavior is bizarre.

Ray Hanania,

First, if the US or India or Israel suffer a nuke attack, expect the retaliatory nuke destruction of Mecca/Makka, the Kabba - effectively ending "the Hajj" for all time.

What have you done to end the genocidal declaration to "wipe Israel off the map". Those declarations are from the same islamofascist leadership that declared there are no gays in iran as there are in the US.

What have you done to filter out the jihadist terrorist fifth columns in the US. Did you read about the latest foiled plot in Dallas?

Ray, what have you done to end the racist islamofascist dehumanizing depiction of Jews as "the sons of pig and monkeys" as seen in "palestinian" childrens TV shows?

When will the 800,000 Jews kicked out of Arab majority entities be compensated for their loss?

The days of Jews being dhimmis are OVER. Eat your heart out.

Eddie

"We don't want to isolate people because they don't feel quite so comfortable with 'pro-Israel,' so we say 'pro-peace,'" said American University junior Lauren Barr of the "J Street U" slogan, "but behind that is 'pro-Israel.'"

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256557968276&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Sadly, this type of behavior is far too common.

I was thrown out of a presentation at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge on March 11, 2005. It was a presentation by Jeff Halper.

The event hadn't even started and the one of organizers (Don Veach) got someone from security to throw me out. He had me thrown out because I worked for the David Project at the time.

In 2006, at a Sabeel event in Quincy, Mass., I had four police officers approach me and tell me that I had been identified as someone who had been disruptive in the past and had a police officer sit next to me throughout the event. Don Veach was at this event as well.

I've been to a number of events where pro-Israel people have spoken and the anti-Israel crowd has been allowed to stay.

Eddie: Ray has broken the taboo of Arab comedians not performing with Jews. I disagree with a lot of what he has got to say, but I don't think he deserves the calumny you've directed at him.

I have honestly never seen anyone ejected from a public panel without causing a disruption of any kind. Absolutely bizarre.

We will have peace despite the angry words and hate from activists who pretend to support peace and do everything in their power to promote hatred and conflict.
Hmmm. I'm confused. J Street, Brit Tzedek, Code Pink, ISM, the BDS-ers and the rest of the leftist moonbats all wear peace and justice on the sleeves. They even say they're for peace.

But if those activists have their way, the only peace Jews will know in their homeland is the peace of the grave.

The guys who shot rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon for eight years were precisely the Oslo kids, the youth who were being prepared to live in peace in their own state, as part of the two-state solution. Remember the handshake on the White House lawn?

The Oslo Accords Israel signed with the PLO created the PA, a proto-state. Before Arafat and his aging gang of thugs were brought in from Tunis, life had been improving for the Palestinian Arabs, at least as measured by things like life-expectancy and per-capita income. Under Arafat's kleptocracy, that went right down the toilet.

Nappy believes peace will be possible only after the Palestinian Arabs admit defeat, and even then it will take a generation. Israel has long been ready for peace and has repeatedly demonstrated with deeds the difficult sacrifices and steep price it is willing to pay for peace. Arafat couldn't accept the incredible deal that was offered to him, and Abu Mazen can't even bring himself to accept the fact of Israel as a Jewish state.

If you want to see progress toward peace, don't look to Israel. The ball is in Arabs' court, not Israel's. Let's see some changes from Ramallah, Gaza, Cairo, Amman, Damascus and Riyadh.

J Street is neither pro-Israel nor pro-peace. They're selling snake oil.

Dexter, Regarding Ray Hanania, lets just say we agree to disagree.

Ray Hanania tried to piggy back on Jackie Masons successful career by wanting to perform with Mason.

BRAVO to Jackie Mason for refusing.

Let Hanania build his own career.

What "palestinian comedian" Hanania wrote here is not in any way comedic or "pro-peace" but just a parroting of the islamofascist-phillic line.

Who would have believed that once Silverstein finally got his fifteen minutes of fame, he would prove to be a bigger fool than even the trash he calls writing indicates he is. The same person who wrote about "civility" on the Internet would be the most uncivil of them all. The person who alledgedly despises "Internet Bullyism" sets new standards in being a bully. No wonder my dictionary has a picture of him as the definitive example of HYPOCRISY. He finally has found something in life to be successful at considering his resume consists of one FAILURE after another. He will never win a Pulitzer for his writings but he does win the title of PUTZ for his actions.

Big Dick has a long history of intolerance.

Hes a pretty slimy guy so nothing should surprise anyone.

oh, and dick, if youre reading this, drop dead.


http://prosemiteundercover.phpbbnow.com/viewtopic.php?t=21742

I think that Hillel should insist that J-Street give him a room with a podium for a mandatory lecture for all attendees, and then give the J-Streeters the sensitivity training they are sorely in need of.

Dexter, I was also thrown out of the Episcopal Divinity School at Harvard Sq. back in 2006 by Noah Cohen and his goons when I came to see an exhibit by some "political prisoner" turned artist -- a murderer who killed a cop in cold blood, and the cop didn't even have his gun drawn, so the killer is doing life.

I then approached the school's administration and told them that I would sue them, unless they provided me with a room with a podium at their school. They had no choice but to comply. I gave a presentation and showed a few excerpts from "Relentless" and other documentaries, showing what the religion of peace was up to.

Maybe Hillel (who was in attendance during my presentation, and even made a video of it) could do the same with J-Street.

Oh, and Dick, if youre reading this, drop dead.

Speaking of Dick -- just take a look at his blog and the comments. This guy just can't stand dissent -- he bans people left and right (Left and Right) at the slightest sign of disagreement with his idiotic views. The man is a pathetic failure -- just read his plea for money to attend this infamous J-Street event:

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2009/10/19/j-street-blogger-session/

"I wanted to make a pitch for more support to cover my expenses in attending the conference. It’s going to cost about $1,000 to go. ... So please respond as generously as you can if you believe in this critical form of blogger activism. You can make a gift via Paypal (see button above) or you can send your gift directly to me (send me an e mail and I’ll provide my mail address)."

I wonder, does he declare such contributions in the tax forms? Hmmm ...

I'm willing to contribute as long I am guaranteed that richard silverstein makes a one-way, permanent Hajj to HELL.

I was at the blogger session and witnessed the event myself. I was uncomfortable with it and inquired with Amy afterwards. She said that Stavis wasn't wearing his ID badge and that's why he was escorted from the room. Once he produced his credentials, he was allowed to stay.

Though I'm loathe to beat up on the guy, I do believe Richard completely overreacted, which he often does on his blog, and for which I've had words with him in the past. Being that Amy isn't a JBlogger, and therefore, she isn't really familiar with his antics, I can see why she may have responded hastily to Richard's alarmist tone believing something was truly wrong.

At the point she recognized that she was dealing with two zealots, it seems she decided on a non-interventionist stance. It's not really her responsibility to apologize for Richard's belligerence, as he was not a representative of J Street nor an invited speaker, and, considering that Stavin's motives for attending J Street's conference weren't themselves quite above board, I can hardly fault her for failing to do so.

Daniel: Richard Silverstein's behavior was outrageous. All indications were that Stavis was quiet and well behaved. I think incidents like this underscore one of the biggest challenges that J Street will have to face - just how far they are willing to go with their inclusiveness? Is their room in J Street's big umbrella approach for the likes of Richard Silverstein and his abrasive, combative approach? So far it seems so but the continued embrace of Silverstein and people like him will alienate the core constituency J Street needs in order to maintain their momentum.

You earn props for publicly criticizing Silverstein for his hysterical over reaction, but you and the rest of the panel ought to be chastised for not saying anything at the time when Richard Silverstein went ballistic and ejected an audience member for no apparent reason. I know Slovick has been rambunctious in the past but that's no reason for him to be ejected.

Ray,
Your agenda is not a Jewish agenda it is an assimilated lost-Jew agenda. You understand inside that many of the liberal Jews of your generation are assimilating and being replaced by the Orthodox right-wing. That is why you panic.

The Anti-Self Defamation League

Daniel and PF,

I've known Hillel Stavis for quite a few years and am fortunate and proud to call him a personal friend. It would be hard to find a more warm, kind, generous, compassionate, intelligent and erudite person than him, and know hundreds of people. For these reasons he is one of my most favorite human beings on this planet.

I don't know who Slovick is - unless this is a type and you were referring to Hillel.

As for Hillel's "motives for attending J Street's conference weren't themselves quite above board" - didn't Jeremy Ben Ami say this in his opening remarks to the "Driving Change" Conference:

"We know that there are people here who disagree with what we believe, but we welcome them to our conference."

So what's your problem then?

As for Hillel having "been rambunctious in the past" - if this were indeed true, "that's no reason for him to be ejected." However, what do you mean by "rambunctious"? Hillel is a very mild and sweet guy, and it takes some doing to piss him off.

Look, Dickie is a real asshole, a coward and a thug. But he is a little thug, the kind that provokes and then squeals and runs for cover. He is not a fighter - he's just a pathetic loudmouth with a delusion of grandeur, suffering from graphomania and hysteria. A real loser, in a word. Nothing but noise - which can give one a headache, true enough. He is a professional revolutionary with no steady income, no real profession, and no real job. He had to beg to have other dopes and losers pay his way to attend this hideous conference. Duh ... Just look at his comments on his blog, and look how he treats people - god forbid someone like him got any real power ... A militant mediocrity indeed. History has known such grayish people with no real virtues - and look at what they have brought upon the world - nothing but misery, death and destruction. Hitler, Stalin, et al.

Little Dickie ... ugh ...

I love the exhortations for civility in these comments followed by "drop dead" sentences. Hypocrisy is pretty versed on both right and left, folks.

I was also at the panel and the conference at large, and I totally support throwing out certified troublemakers. The cost of kicking people out (or banning commentors for blogs) is worth the improvement in nuanced dialogue that generally does not follow when people can't discuss civilly.

Kung Fu Jew 18: Except Hillel Stavis was not being a troublemaker. There is no indication that he was disruptive prior to being ejected by Silverstein and J Street and no indication that he was disruptive at all during any of the J Street conference. Silverstein's reaction to Stavis' presence was totally unjustified and lends credence to the notion that Silverstein is a mean spirited, small minded man. J Street would be well to rid itself of the likes of him if it has any hope of capturing the center. This is good advice. J Street should take it into consideration as I'm sure they already are. It doesn't matter anyhow - Silverstein has already given J Street a less than ringing endorsement on his blog. Apparently he's allowed to be critical but others who disagree with him ought have no say. His response to the AJC's 2009 Survey of American Jews was that the Jewish community is "schizoid," or just plain ignorant. They must be if they disagree with him!

And finally there are also the ridiculous physical threats by "scary" blogger Attackerman against former AIPAC staffer Lenny Ben-David. Who does that? That was certainly distasteful. These are not people J Street ought to be associated with.

You agree with that kind of behavior Kung Fu Jew 18? At least Dan Sieradski saw a Kamtza/Bar Kamtza (Google it) situation unfolding and made a belated apology. Lose Silverstein. Lose Attackerman. You won't capture the hearts and minds of the mass of American Jews otherwise.

FYI, I've received an email from YouTube stating that "someone" has registered a privacy complaint on this video. I've emailed back that this was a publicly accessible panel and that any number of people were filming (still and video) so there shouldn't be any issue of privacy here. Nevertheless, their rules seem to be pretty loose in this regard so the video may be disappearing shortly. I may try to re-upload it to another service or just let it go for the time being.

Solomon,

This action of requesting to remove this YouTube is typical of Richard Silverstein doing. His is indeed a disgrace and so is Ray Hannaia, the Pro Hamasnicks in action.

JStreeters purport to believe that peace is possible between peoples who have a history of killing each other. They advocate dialogue, respectful listening, being open to the other, etc., etc.

Yet they can't seem to open their ears, minds, and hearts to unarmed, middle-aged Jews who hold opinions different from theirs.

If they truly believe in their stated values, why don't they try out their powers of concilation within our own "family". If they feel compelled to evict by force a man whose mere presence makes them uneasy, what kind of role models are they for peace between people who have been truly violent?
If they truly believe that human change is possible, why exert physical force against someone they believe to have been "rambunctious" in the past? Why not let him film their session and feel pride in their message and hope that he will learn something from it?

It's time for the "dialogistas" to take an honest look within and ask themselves what they really believe is humanly possible.

"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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