[sixties-l] Netanyahu protest -- letters to the editor

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 12/18/00

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    Letters to the Editor
    Nov. 29 protesters were intolerant
    On Wednesday evening, Nov. 29, I held a ticket to hear Mr. Netanyahu speak 
    at the Berkeley Community Theater. To my chagrin, my constitutional right 
    to listen to whomever I please was taken away from me by that rabble who 
    held placards and shouted their cliches: that Israel was racist, fascist, 
    nazi, etc.
    Where were the police to protect us? Where were the police to take us 
    safely into the auditorium? They could have cautioned the protesters to 
    make way for us to go into the yard and into the building.
    I really resent that the police made no effort to help us. I want a formal 
    inquiry into this situation. This should not happen again. As a matter of 
    fact, the city of Berkeley should apologize to the event organizer and Mr. 
    The intolerance of the protesters obliterated our first amendment and our 
    Thalia Broudy
    Wouldn't let Hitler speak
    Regarding Shirley Dean's and a large number of others' insistence that we 
    trampled their and our purported free speech rights by resisting 
    Netanyahu's appearance: We, hopefully, wouldn't let Hitler speak here, either.
    I hope we'd have done the same if Kissinger had appeared, given his 
    insistence that nations of people need to be murdered, and the excuse that 
    he can say it because he's a Jew.
    Norma J F Harrison
    What if the shoe were on the other foot?
    I suggest someone invite the historian David Irving of London to the 
    Berkeley Community Theater to talk. He seems to invoke the same strength of 
    feeling as Netanyahu but he's on the other side of the fence. Let's then 
    see how the free speech community, the ADL, and the various local groups 
    Wray Buntine
    We are all responsible for our words
    In my view, the Netanyahu in Berkeley incident had very little to do with 
    free speech and much more to do with karma, the most powerful force on 
    earth; more powerful than the all the guns used to protect "free speech." 
    We are all ultimately responsible for the words we speak and the 
    consequences that may result.
    Michael Bauce
    Protesters were seniors, parents, not 'goons'
    Aubrey Lee Broudy (letters, 12-11) should check again with his wife about 
    what happened when she went to hear Benjamin Netanyahu at the Berkeley 
    Community Theater at Berkeley High School a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Broudy 
    said his wife was unable to enter because "Berkeley goons had blocked the 
    doors and the Berkeley police somehow were not able or willing to move them 
    As someone who wants to evoke the memory of Mario Savio and draw upon 
    Berkeley's "freedom of speech" motto, Mr. Broudy should reconsider his 
    characterization of people as goons. Amongst the so-called "goons" that 
    night were senior citizens, people in wheelchairs, and young couples with 
    their babies. If Mr.  Broudy's wife had really been interested in hearing 
    what people had to say, she would have found that there were any number of 
    conversations going-on between those who had come to hear Mr. Netanyahu and 
    those who had come to object to his presence, and there was an exchange of 
    ideas between people who normally would not even be talking to one another.
    No one blocked any doors to the Berkeley Community Theater. Police did 
    seal-off the Berkeley High School campus earlier in the day; 
    explosives-sniffing dogs were brought in; and other dramatic preparations 
    were made for Mr. Netanyahu's arrival.  When people began entering the high 
    school campus en route to the Theater, those there to protest Mr. 
    Netanyahu's presence integrated themselves with the crowd after the police 
    grabbed two people who had peacefully approached the ticket-holders to ask 
    them to reconsider their decision to attend. At this point the police 
    locked the gates to the high school campus.
    As one Police Lieutenant explained, the police were then unable to 
    determine who was a ticket-holder and who was a demonstrator, so they were 
    not able to "move them (the demonstrators) away," as Mr. Broudy mentioned 
    in his letter. The event was then cancelled by Mr. Netanyahu himself.
    Mr. Netanyahu is deeply involved in the suppression of free speech, 
    assembly, and even the right to exist, of Palestinians in Israel and the 
    occupied territories. I am proud of the demonstrators who deprived him of a 
    forum for his message of intolerance and hate in Berkeley.
    Steve Wagner,
    Did lecture series offer opposing view?
    Though I can see both sides of the recent "free speech" controversy over 
    the appearance of Benjamin Netanyahu in Berkeley, I realized by reading 
    your December 9 article "Lecture Series Provides Intellectual 
    Entertainment" that the the prospective listeners were by no means passive 
    agents in this imbroglio.
    Fame feeds upon itself. The celebrity of speakers such as Wesley Clark, 
    Kissinger, and Netanyahu not only allows them abundant access to the mass 
    media denied most of us but "entitles" them to lecture fees in the tens of 
    thousands of dollars for a few hours of "work." Going to hear them is an 
    ethical choice; I would no more want to contribute to the net worth of any 
    of these men than I would to that of a famous Holocaust denier or serial 
    killer doing the lecture circuit because I "just wanted to hear what they 
    had to say."
    Moreover, series subscribers vote on whom they want to hear. Did the 
    subscribers have the choice of hearing Yasser Arafat, Edward Said, Ramsey 
    Clark, or Mordechai Vanunu, and if so, how did they vote?
    Gray Brechin
    Netanyahu, not protests often on TV
    Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean sadly demeans herself, churning nonsense about 
    protesters violating the "free speech" rights of ^A'poor, besieged' Benjamin 
    Netanyahu  as well as falsely claiming that the protesters object to 
    "controversial figures." (We object to mass human rights violators.)
    As we said in the ^A'90's, "Puh-lease!" Netanyahu has more "free speech" 
    than all the protesters combined.
    In case it has escaped the Mayor's notice, Netanyahu  an omnipresent figure 
    on American TV, with plenty of U.S. financial and media support  gets to 
    speak all the time. You could hardly avoid hearing him.
    For those who felt so traumatized about missing Netanyahu's PR speech, you 
    can catch him almost any week, on any American TV set near you.
    And yet, in the U.S.major media, the dissent of even large nonviolent 
    protests is only featured when protesters engage in bold civic actions that 
    "make news." Netanyahu's cancellation made the protest "news."
    Netanyahu would have never allowed any dissidents in the auditorium the 
    free speech to morally challenge his involvement in Israel's 
    internationally condemned mass human rights violations.
    In fact, Netanyahu led a state whose very policies deny the free speech of 
    those it oppresses.
    But Dean is not alone in defending the freedom of a mass human rights 
    violator to carry on without inconvenient interruptions.
    I guess, over the years, the FSM signers of the Dec. 7 letter to the Daily 
    have become staid and forgotten a few things about the lopsidedness of 
    power and
    dissent. I
    n such lopsidedness, the protest against Netanyahu actually constituted a 
    strike for free speech. Only the peaceful disruption (in the tradition of 
    sit-ins) brought some national attention to the moral issue of Israel's 
    oppression of Palestinians.
    This increased free speech to voices typically censored by the American media.
    Mario Savio, an incisive and charismatic leader of the FSM, championed the 
    free speech rights of those without institutional or state power to speak 
    truth to power.  Savio didn't champion the free speech rights of power: 
    power by its very nature already has this right.
    Savio also proclaimed that we must throw our bodies on the gears of state 
    power when it becomes heinously oppressive  and in a way, that's what the 
    protesters did.
    We know what Netanyahu stands for: he stands for oppression. No 
    There is no true "free speech" without the opportunity to critically 
    challenge power; and meaningfully none, when the major media is politically 
    controlled and dissent is barred access.
    Then, there is only power's propaganda. By unthinkingly criticizing the 
    protesters as attacking "free speech," Mayor Dean and the FSM letter 
    writers subvert the very foundation of "free speech": speaking truth to power.
    Joseph Anderson,
    Don't lose message of demonstration
    Using the theme "Attack on free speech" has been an inaccurate, but 
    convenient, way of drawing attention away from the message of the 
    demonstration of Tuesday, Dec. 5 outside the Berkeley Community Theater.
    "U.S. and Israel out of Palestine," was one of the chants. U.S. money and 
    arms enable Israeli military to murder hundreds of Palestinians (largely 
    children) and to wound thousands more.
    U.N. Resolutions have repeatedly demanded that Israel withdraw to pre-1967 
    borders, that Jewish settlements in occupied territories are illegal under 
    international law, and that East Jerusalem is part of Palestinian territory.
    Remember, it was the United Nations that ended the British mandate over 
    1947 Palestine and created the state of Israel alongside Palestine.
    Margaret Katz
    First Amendment is for all
    My God, I have never read a more fascist interpretation of free speech 
    (letter by Osha Neumann 12/12) in my life, e.g. the first amendment 
    "restricts government, not people. When (the government) makes a law 
    restricting speech, that law affects us all and is enforced with all the 
    power of the courts and the cops."
    Unless, of course, zealots like this individual decides who will and will 
    not enjoy this first amendment right.
    While he's at it, why not dictate just who we, the ignorant majority, may 
    hear or
    may not hear, see or read. I can't believe this man is practicing law in 
    our community.
    Michael Yovino-Young

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