[sixties-l] Rabbi Michael Lerner of the FSM, and Palestine

From: William M Mandel (wmmmandel@earthlink.net)
Date: 10/07/00

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    Today's San Francisco Chronicle front-pages the appeal of Rabbi Michael Lerner
    to Jews to pray on Yom Kippur in a manner critical of Israeli violence against
    Palestinains in the past week. Michael was one of the leaders of the Free Speech
    Movement at UC Berkeley, and is the editor of what has become a respected
    magazine, Tikkun. His appeal has caused a storm in San Francisco and vicinity
    Jewish circles. His national reputation will unquestionably cause his stand to
    be a matter of debate among Jews nationwide.
                                                                    Bill Mandel
    Paul Lauter wrote:
    > Someone (DH?) wrote:
    > >The
    > point is that in a framework where the laws are race neutral, the
    > economy will work to eliminate economic disparities based on race.<
    > It would be pretty to think so.  It would be better to check out a book like
    > George Lipsitz' "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness" or Micaela di
    > Leonardo's "Exotics at Home."
    >     The problem is that racist policies of the past have created disparites,
    > particularly in wealth, that "race neutral" laws and policies today do
    > nothing to overcome.  For example, the main source of personal wealth for
    > most middle-class Americans has come from buying and selling homes.  But in
    > the post WWII period agencies like the FHA and the VA implemented policies
    > that were by no means race-neutral.  In fact, they tended to maintain
    > housing segregation, which meant that whites were able to buy property in
    > areas where values appreciated significantly, whereas most blacks and
    > Latinos were confined to areas where values declined or did not
    > significantly appreciate.  Most--not all, of course.  But the result of
    > this--among many, many other such policies--is an enormous discrepancy in
    > wealth (far greater than in income) between most white and most minority
    > families.  And that translates into continued profound inequality in
    > opportunity and life chances.  It would take years, if not centuries, of
    > "affirmative action" to overcome such deeply-engrained disparities.
    >     It also, btw, translates into some of the violent opposition in, for
    > example, white working-class suburbs (see, for example, Thomas Sugrue's and
    > Mike Goldfield's work) against blacks moving in, since many whites did
    > believe (wrongly) they were protecting their investments as well as their
    > jobs.  That's the vote Wallace (George, that is) cultivated.  If you think
    > Flint, it's not hard to see how unrestrained corporate greed (aka, the
    > marketplace) led to a situation in which jobs were being moved out (they
    > didn't just disappear--people fixed on profits moved them out) precisely at
    > the same time that blacks were moving in, trying to get out of the racist
    > and economically crumbling rural South.  It don't take a rocket scientist to
    > understand how the "market" in such instances produces rather than
    > alleviating economic disparities based on race.
    >     Not to recognize the continuing impact of these and many other
    > institutional factors is, well, naive at best.  Someone else can name the
    > worst case.  Paul

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