Re: [sixties-l] Evidence that "the times are a changing"?

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: 10/09/00

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    Just to set the record straight, the Lebanese woman who Bill refers to
    has, I believe some distant Jewish relation, but everyone else in his
    family is nominally a Lebanese Christian.  Both of them are good friends
    who returned to Beirut some years ago where he teaches at the University
    of Beirut. While she probably did more to advance the Palestinian
    struggle in the SF Bay Area than anyone else I know, she had nothing to
    do with the advertisement to which Bill refers, the one that appeared in
    the SF Chronicle and the SF Examiner signed by 300 (it was and not 400)
    Bay Area Jews. It was in fact, drawn up by myself, and three other Jews,
    one the South African who Bill refers to, who met, coincidentally in an
    Israeli-owned delicatessen in San Francisco, and gave ourselves four
    days to get as many signatures as we could. If we had waited a week we
    would have more than doubled that number. I had only three refusals, a
    well-known lawyer cousin who represented the ILWU whose son was living
    in Israel, a musician who had just taken a job at a local TV station and
    was legitimately afraid of being fired if his signature appeared in that
    ad, and Todd Gitlin, who refused twice, stipulating that he would only
    sign it if the ad also condemned the PLO.
    We received national publicity on CBS and in Time or Newsweek, and were,
    predictably attacked as either being fictitious or self-hating Jews
    within the Jewish media. The NY Times ad that Bill referred to was
    circulated by a professor at UC Berkeley who had lost 33 members of her
    family in the Holocaust, and was signed by scores of Jewish academics,
    the exact number of which I don't recall. The response that she received
    in the mail from pro-Israel Jews was so vicious and and Nazi-like, to
    put it the proper perspective, that she could scarcely believe,
    particularly when some of it came on the letterhead of Jewish doctors
    and dentists.
    One interesting thing occurred around our ad. We received a call from an
    ad agency in Los Angeles informing us that an anonymous donor wanted to
    place our ad in leading newspapers around the country. When we requested
    the name of that donor we were told it could not be disclosed. Our small
    group smelled a rat. We thought how strange it would appear if this ad
    appeared in papers across the country with the names of 300 Bay Area
    Jews and we would have no idea who paid for it. Obviously, it would be
    attributed to Arab oil money and we would be dismissed as their tools
    which was how leaders of several Jewish organizations were already
    describing us. So I phoned the ad agency in LA and told the man that we
    didn't want the ad reproduced, and I was told that his client was going
    to do it anyway! 
    Having worked at the LA Examiner, I had a pretty good idea of the papers
    that would be selected for the ad, and we got on the phones right away
    to stop its publication. Fortunately, my hunches turned out to be
    completely on target.  Selected had been the NY Times, the Boston Globe,
    the Atlanta Constitution, the Washington Post, the Christian Monitor,
    the New Orleans Times Picayune, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Chicago
    Tribune, the LA Times and the Des Moines Register. Most of the papers
    had already decided not to accept it but several were, in fact, ready to
    run it, when they were contacted, and pulled it when they heard our
    objections. Who was the client? Obviously, some one, or some
    organization with a lot of money who was out to damage our credibility.
    Some organization that was without question, in our minds, working for Israel.
    Jeff Blankfort
    William Mandel wrote:
    > Tom Nagy doesn't recall a previous Israeli massacre that provoked reaction
    > in the U.S. as extensive as last week's.
    >     When Menachem Begin conducted his aerial bombing campaign against
    > Beirut, on the excuse that it was sheltering Arafat's forces, two women at
    > KPFA, one a Lebanese (then the only Arab associated with the station, who
    > had hitherto confined herself to convincing the world that Arabs are human
    > by playing their music; she is married to a Jew) and a South African Jew,
    > both friends of mine, drew up a petition signed "Menachem Begin Does Not
    > Speak For Us." It was signed by four hundred San Francisco Bay Area Jews, of
    > whom not more than ten per cent were Left in any sense. Published as a large
    > ad in the S.F. Chronicle and then in the New York Times, it was the first
    > ever expression of Jewish opposition to Israeli military policy taken
    > outside Jewish circles as such. That was the beginning of the constantly
    > broadening public opposition to Israeli policy among American Jews, just now
    > given particular publicity by the statement of Rabbi Michael Lerner, who
    > long ago was a leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley.
    >                                                                 William
    > Mandel

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