FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Do You Equate Anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism?

by FELICE PACE

Mark Potok, Editor
Intelligence Report
SPLC

Richard Cohen
President and chief executive officer
SPLC

Morris Dees
Founder and Chief Trial Counsel
SPLC

Dear SPLC Folks,

This is an open letter to the leaders and founders of the Southern Poverty Law Center. An open response is requested.

I am a supporter of the Center and its work. I also have a good understanding of the evil that can result from hate speech. As a rural environmental activists I have been subjected to hate speech many times; I have also had my tires slashed, received numerous death threats, seen attempts to blackball my wife from a teaching job, had my organization’s office attacked and trashed and I was attacked and beat up once. So you could say I know something about the terrible power of hate speech.

I am disturbed by an article that the Center published in the fall 2007 issue of "Intelligence Report"–the Center’s magazine. The item "Navy Extremist Disciplined–But Not for Extremism" is on page 11. The article focuses on Navy officer John Sharpe Jr.

I do not question your assertion that Sharpe is an "extremist"–he may well also be anti-Semitic. However, the article appears to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. For example, as evidence for Sharpe’s anti-Semitism the article states: "Sharpe also has connections to Arab extremists that were ignored. On his website, for example, is an interview with Ibrahim Ebeid, a Baathist and supporter of Saddam Hussein. Ebeid says in the interview that ‘neo-cons and Zionists’ are responsible for a ‘vicious criminal war’ against Iraq and Palestine."

This is the evidence that you have used to determine that Ebeid is an "extremist"? If so, I too am an extremist and so are many American Progressives!

I would like to know whether or not it is the position of the Center or you its leaders that opposition to Zionism–either the ideology or the contemporary manifestations – constitutes anti-Semitism. I would argue rather that it is entirely possible–and becoming more and more common–for American and other Progressives who oppose anti-Semitism and all similar ideologies to also reject and oppose Zionism and its manifestations both in the US and abroad. Zionism is rejected by a growing number of American Jews and by many Israelis. In this regard I would refer you to the book "The Tragedy of Zionism–How its Revolutionary Past Haunts Israeli Democracy" by Israeli author Bernard Avishai.

It is of the highest importance that the Southern Poverty Law Center and its leaders clarify their positions on Zionism and specifically whether you equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Since you have not-to-subtly suggested this connection in your magazine, I believe this clarification should also be published in the magazine. Perhaps you should also consider opening a dialogue with those of us in the Progressive Community who are anti-Zionist. At minimum the article you published indicates a lack of clarity at the Center about whether opposition to Zionism alone makes one an "extremist" and/or "anti-Semitic". For this reason, I would encourage you to also engage in an internal staff-board dialogue on this issue.

Because you cited an article from Counterpunch in the article, and because this issue is of interest and importance to the Progressive Movement in this country, I am providing this open letter to that on-line newsletter. This is done in the interest of a wider dialogue. You might also want to take a look at the anti-Zionist articles which I have published in Counterpunch. Those articles have been interpreted by some readers as "anti-Semitic" and I have received hate speech as a result.

I look forward to your response and to a continuing dialogue among American Progressives concerning Zionism and what constitutes "extremism" and "anti-Semitism".

Sincerely,

FELICE PACE
Klamath, CA 95548

FELICE PACE lives in Klamath, California. He can be reached at unofelice@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Tony Christini
Death by Texes (A Satire of Trump and Clinton)
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail