I only wish you could have been at our twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, listened to Justice Richard Goldstone in all his humility and genuine caring for the well-being of all humanity, heard him unequivocally denounce the killings in Itamar, and get a sense of just how badly demeaned he is by the Jewish world. Meanwhile, I paid a small price myself as described below. By the way, the 600 people who assembled last Monday night to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary and honor Justice Richard Goldstone who wrote the UN human rights reports on Bosnia, Rwanda, and most controversially on Gaza, and also to honor Congressman Raul Grijalva, Naomi Newman, Rabbi Marcia Prager, C.K. Williams, and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, overwhelmingly reported having a very deep spiritual as well as joyful experience! Any chance you would be interested in helping us get endorsements for our ESRA and GMP (both of which are presented in detail on the NSP website)? Please let me know. Below is a description of the most recent extremist Zionist attack on my home as well as the Muslim American Society’s denunciation of this attack.
Zionist Extremist Hate Crime Against Rabbi Lerner: Third Attack on His Home and the Limits of “Freedom of the Press”
3/17/2011, Berkeley, California
Only one day after Rabbi Lerner presented the Tikkun Award to South African Justice Richard Goldstone, at a celebration of Tikkun‘s twenty-fifth anniversary attended by over 600 people at the University of California, Berkeley, Lerner’s home was again assaulted by extremist Zionists who once again plastered posters over his home. This is the third assault on Lerner’s home since he announced he would be presenting the award to Justice Goldstone, whose report on Israel’s human rights violations during the Israeli assault on Gaza in Dec. 2008 and Jan.2009 was denounced by the State of Israel and by the AIPAC-dominated House of Representatives last year. You would not have known about the second attack, which was reported to the police but not to the media, because Lerner had been advised that not giving the attackers attention might make future attacks less likely. That strategy failed.
Each time the posters have sought to display Lerner as either a tool of an evil Goldstone trying to hurt Israel. The current posters were done more professionally than the previous ones, and present a picture of Nazi officers carrying away a Jew. Lerner’s name was put on one of the Nazis, “Islamic extremists” is written on the other Nazi, and the innocent Jew is identified as the State of Israel. The perspective of the attackers is clear: “Rabbi Lerner is a Nazi assaulting Israel.” That is why the police have labeled this a “hate crime.”
What “freedom of the press” is there if an editor is subject to this kind of personal harassment for expressing his views in his editorials and in gatherings sponsored by his magazine? Anyone concerned with civil liberties should be concerned about this pattern of attacks on the private home of a magazine editor. And for those who believe that there is a new tone of civility in the Jewish world, well . . . it obviously has not impacted right wing Zionist extremists. Please note, however, that we do not want to imply in any way that all Zionists are responsible directly or indirectly for this attack. The Zionist community in the United States, while often demeaning to Lerner, has not shown any tendency toward violence or physical assaults on his person or property, and in our view would not likely do so. These have been the acts of a small group of extremists, and while the demeaning of Rabbi Lerner and Tikkun may have contributed to the climate in which these extremists believed they could get away with these assaults, there is no reason to believe, and we do not believe, that American Zionists as a whole either intended or approve of this kind of activity. And the Board of Rabbis of Northern California publicly critiqued the last attack on Rabbi Lerner’s home as did other Jewish leaders.
Assaults on free speech are best met by encouraging more speech. The obvious goal of these attacks is to intimidate and silence Tikkun, and since Tikkun is the largest circulation liberal/progressive Jewish magazine online and in print in the entire world, silencing Tikkun would be a huge victory for these extremists. People can ensure that Tikkun stays alive by subscribing to Tikkun, joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives — Tikkun‘s interfaith education and social action organization, making a tax-deductible contribution to Tikkun (checks can be sent to Tikkun, 2342 Shattuck Ave #1200, Berkeley, Ca. 94704 — our mailbox, not the actual address of the magazine’s office), and/or creating a local study group to read and discuss Tikkun articles every week, every two weeks, or once a month. You can also read Tikkun online by visiting our new web magazine each week to read the latest articles. You can also support us by joining other organizations that seek peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, including J. Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Americans for Peace Now, The New Israel Fund, and B’tselem.
Thank you for your support.
Muslim American Society Denounces the Hate Crime Committed Against Michael Rabbi Lerner
The Muslim American Society (MAS) was one of a number of national organizations notified by the Tikkun progressive Jewish community that Rabbi Michael Lerner of California, a leading advocate for reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis and a principled opponent of the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, was victimized by an attack by unknown assailants who desecrated his home with posters that characterized him as a “Nazi” who attacks the State of Israel in partnership with Muslim “extremists”. This act of vandalism, committed after Tikkun presented an award to South African judge and international human rights activists Richard Goldstone, was similar to a previous attack on Rabbi Lerner’s residence in the Bay area.
Judge Goldstone is the author of a report issued after the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza that criticized Israel for numerous human rights violations and deliberate acts of armed violence committed against civilians in the territory. This report was vehemently denounced by the pro-Israel political lobby in the United States and by the pro-Israel U.S. Congress.
MAS Freedom denounces this attack on Rabbi Lerner’s home, and on the Tikkun organization that has courageously stood for mutual justice for the people of both Israel and Palestine. Ibrahim Ramey of the MAS Freedom human and civil rights program stated that “Rabbi Michael Lerner is a courageous voice not only for the progressive Jewish community in America, but for all people who oppose violence and injustice anywhere. It is important that the Muslim community stands in support of him, and the Tikkun community that he leads. Those who oppose justice will not be intimidated by this sort of attack.”