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).
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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
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