Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jewish Voice for Whaaaa? Again?

Over at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers, the irrepressible Grant Patel writes up a recent encounter between the poorly named Jewish Voice for Peace and a local pro-Israel activist who was physically attacked and continues to be attacked in words by JVP.

Here are her words. The Balabusta will add that she has met this lady many times, and that she has also seen JVP's choice of 'nonviolent' friends at a number of demonstrations. Given JVP's inability to notice threatening and violent behavior carried out by those they choose to like, I'm not surprised they also fantasize violence by those they attack.

That's all, folks.

"Jewish Voice for Peace" has issued a press release that I attacked several people attending one of their events with pepper spray. They also go on to make absurd allegations regarding my politics and intentions at the meeting.

This is completely bizarre. I am a DISABLED WOMAN (see the legal notice on my car). I carry pepper spray as my only means to defend myself. It IS true that on the evening of November 14, at a JVP meeting, I needed to defend myself. I was physically attacked.

The JVP meeting at Berkeley Senior Center was advertised to the public. I attended this meeting as an individual and not as a member of any organization, in order to deepen my understanding of their perspective on the Middle East conflict.

Ironically, a stated goal of the meeting was to HONOR activists that had recently PHYSICALLY DISRUPTED a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Perhaps I should have understood that as a warning.

THE ATTACK: Around 20 minutes into the meeting, I tried to photograph a woman speaking in support of Israel. Almost immediately, several JVP members surrounded me and tried to take my camera from me. Then they attacked me. They took hold of my arms and would not let me go. They also pushed their chests into me many times and knocked me against a wall. I yelled at them 20 to 30 times to let go of me. They refused to let go of my wrists and forearms and continued to bang their chests into me. They banged me into the wall over a dozen times. Their faces were red from hatred and exertion. As a result of their violence, my wrists and arms are bruised and I am currently suffering serious pain in my lower back. I am unable to work this afternoon and I must take medication for pain relief.

I am a large woman but I am physically frail. As I said, I am disabled.
- I see a pain management physician regularly for chronic back pain. I am unable to move without severe back pain. I have had major surgery on my back. I am unable to stand for more than a couple of minutes without unrelenting back pain and sciatica pain.
- I also have had nine surgeries on my knees which are another main source of pain.
- I have asthma, and I use inhaled steroids daily; the anti-Israel activists’ attack on me exacerbated my asthma and I had to take medicine while at the senior center.
- I also have a serious blood disorder that weakens me. I am currently under treatment by a hematologist/oncologist, and I am on daily chemotherapy.

I am 58 years old. I have a Disabled Person’s license plate for my car. I am physically incapable of overpowering or attacking anybody! The people who attacked me were physically fit and at least 20 years younger than I;

While pleading with the attackers to let me go, I tried to get away but they followed me and kept grabbing my arms. At one point they knocked my camera out of my hand. I bent down to pick it up and tried to walk away. They followed me and continued to grab my arms and shove me into the wall. They isolated me from the rest of the crowd. Because they were beating me up and because I am disabled and could not defend myself otherwise, I sprayed pepper spray into one woman’s face. As soon as I did that, they all backed off from me and let me go.

I resorted to the pepper spray because I feared for my safety and my life!!! I believe that had I not used pepper spray, I would be in the hospital today suffering far more serious injuries. Pepper spray causes extreme discomfort but is unlikely to cause permanent injury. The purpose of pepper spray is to temporarily disable an attacker, to allow time for escape. It worked.

The JVP press release is an outright lie. I cannot and did not attack anyone. I was attacked!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, I was also there, and my observations of what happened were quite different from JVP's press barrage.


It has often been said that, “the best disinfectant is exposure to the bright light of day”,essentially a variant on “the people have a right to know.” It is for this reason, for example, that all meetings involving any type of governmental agency are required by California to be open to the public. When meetings are conducted behind closed doors without the possibility of public scrutiny, negative items may be moved forward with no oversight. Of course the “Jewish Voice for Peace” is not a governmental agency, and so is not required by law to have their meetings open to the general public, but the principals of openness and the reasoning remains the same.

It is for this exact reason that it is so very interesting that the members of “Jewish Voice for Peace”reacted so strongly to the prospect of having their public meeting video-taped on November 14, 2010 at the South Berkeley Senior Center.

The evening meeting began with everyone sitting in a circle but as soon as the JVP organizers noticed that there was a person video-taping the meeting, they went into a panic. They stopped the meeting and began angrily ordering the person video- taping to stop. The JVP organizers tried various verbal tricks such as attempting to con the video taper into believing that the law required their permission to be photographed. When the video-taper didn’t fall for that misrepresentation, the JVP organizers decided to intimidate the video-taper by threatening to have the police, armed with the deadly force of the state, to remove the video-taper.

Later, in that same meeting, another person began to take photographs. This photo-taker was an older, middle aged, over weight, mobility impaired disabled woman. In response, the JVP’ers, uc younger, more able people, at first blocked her photos, and then, took it upon themselves to assault this photo-taker, snatching and grabbing a the photo-taker’s hands and camera until the camera fell to the floor. The photo-taker, in fear for her safety, defended herself with the clearly non-lethal means of pepper spray. However, it was the reaction of the JVP’ers that was most fascinating. It seems that a JVP organizer must have decided that this as a chance to get some free publicity. So many Berkeley police cars soon arrived, that none can only imagine how the JVP’ers must have described the incident, perhaps as a near riot or some such fabrication. When the police arrived the JVP organizers were quite adamant that the officers couldn’t speak to a person whom they identified as being somehow associated with the photo-taker, as it had not been that person that had called the police. The officer politely disagreed when told who he could speak to and who he could not.

Of interest, was the arrogant attitude of entitlement displayed by the JVP’ers, as if the police called were their own private police, there solely to do the JVP’s bidding, and as if they were entitled to exclude the public from a public room.

Naturally, all of this raises the obvious question,”what exactly is it that the JV P was trying to keep hidden from the rest of us?” If, in fact, the JVP’s purpose is, in fact, beneficial, why are they so intent on keeping it secret? If the “Jewish Voice for Peace”, is actually a “peace” organization, how do they justify the morality of threatening a person with the police power of the state. It seems clear as demonstrated by the JVP’s extreme, fearful and hostile reaction to the threat of openness that the JVP simply does not share the same democratic values and civil rights views with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I saw what happened there. I do not belong to any organization, pro or anti Zionist. Not only was Robin attacked by the JVP-ers, but she was also a victim of an attempted robbery. They tried to rob her of her camera.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is that in a room filled 50 or more with so-called "peace activists"- not one came to this woman's aid.