Under the reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right coalition, dissident Israelis have been under attack (not to mention the continuing assault on the human rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.)
Now, attacks on Jews working in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the U.S. are increasingly occurring.
In Israel, there was the organized attack by the group Im Tirzu on the New Israel Fund for the liberal group’s funding of organizations that cooperated with Richard Goldstone’s team investigating war crimes committed during the 2008-09 assault on Gaza. There’s the anti-boycott legislation currently in the Israeli Knesset that would effectively criminalize Israelis supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. And in the most recent manifestation of Israel’s turn towards proto-fascism and the shutting down of internal dissent, the Israeli government has taken to threatening the cutting off of money to artists who are urging the boycott of a cultural center in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel.
It has officially come to the U.S. Jewish community. Stand With Us, the thuggish pro-Israel organization whose members have called Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) activists “kapos,” “Nazis,” and wished for the activists to be sunk in the next flotilla, has reportedly attacked a JVP meeting with pepper spray in the Bay Area.
This follows another disturbing event in California, which occurred when the home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, the progressive Jewish activist and editor of the magazine Tikkun, was attacked by right-wing Zionists last May.
Last night, up to a dozen members of San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs, a right-wing Israeli advocacy group with a documented track record of aggressively taunting and intimidating grassroots peace activists (http://bit.ly/SWUThreats), attended a Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace community meeting at a South Berkeley Senior Center with the intention of disrupting, intimidating and possibly assaulting Jewish Voice for Peace members. Jewish Voice for Peace is the largest U.S. Jewish peace group dedicated to a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on democracy and full equality — the Bay Area chapter is the founding chapter of the organization. Approximately 50 to 60 people were at the meeting, and numerous witnesses are available to corroborate the events.
Eyewitness testimonies are here (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/eyewitness-testimony-jvp-member-about-stand-us-swu-attacks) and here (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/eyewitness-report-stand-us-attacks-jvp-meeting)
Wrapped in an Israeli flag, San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs (SFVI/SWU) member Robin Dubner, an Oakland based attorney, pepper-sprayed two JVP members in the eyes and face after they attempted to nonviolently block her ability to aggressively videotape the faces of JVP meeting attendees against their will. The members, Alexei Folger and Glen Hauer, were careful to make no physical contact with her or her camera prior to the attack.
Folger said, “I did not see it coming and all of a sudden there was gooey stuff all over my head and hand. I have never been pepper-sprayed before, my whole head felt like it was on fire.”