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

From: William M Mandel (
Date: 10/09/00

  • Next message: Rita Beigh: "RE: [sixties-l] 3500 Protest in San Francisco"

    As I've posted before, Jeff, you ought to be working on your autobiography. Bill
    Jeffrey Blankfort wrote:
    > 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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