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

 

Felice Pace is a longtime environmental activist in northern California. You can find his writings online at Bearitude in Black.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail