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Pro-Israel Activists Protest Palestinian Conference at SF School (AFTER-REPORT)
ChronWatch ^ | 10-4-04 | Cinnamon Stillwell

Posted on 10/04/2004 1:49:05 PM PDT by SeenTheLight

After making a splash in the pro-Palestinian stronghold of Berkeley the weekend before, members of San Francisco Voice for Israel (SFV4I) and returned to their usual San Francisco stomping grounds for the latest round of pro-Israel activism. On Saturday, October 2, around 40 of them gathered across the street from the Horace Mann Middle School in the Mission District to protest a conference being held on the premises.

Hosted by the Justice in Palestine Coalition, the conference was titled, "The Struggle for Palestine: 4th Anniversary of the Intifada." Sponsors included International A.N.S.W.E.R., the ADC (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee), the ISM (International Solidarity Movement), Al-Awda, SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Taxpayer Support Against Israel Now), Jews for a Free Palestine, and QUIT (Queers Undermining the Occupation). Along with commemorating the death and destruction that has resulted from the Palestinian Intifada, organizers expressed an interest in making "links with others who are fighting against the U.S. occupation of Iraq." Apparently, killing U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, beheading civilians, and blowing up women and children in suicide bombings are par for the course for these people. After all, they support such activities when perpetuated by Palestinians against Israelis.

No doubt expecting opposition, organizers had arranged for their own demonstration on the sidewalk in front of the school. Around 50 of them faced off the pro-Israel counter-protesters with an ocean of Palestinian flags and the ever-present A.N.S.W.E.R. banner, complete with socialist slogans. At the end of the block each group held a corner, holding signs towards the street for optimal viewing and waving flags.

With an information table, Israeli and American flags by the dozen, and tons of professional-looking signs, the pro-Israel forces were well prepared. Local news reporters conducted interviews, including one with writer and activist Lee Kaplan, whose detailed article on the conference came out the day before at He and several others tried to get into the conference, citing legal precedent, but to no avail. Despite the fact that it was billed as a "public forum," the goons at the entrance managed to justify keeping "outsiders" outside. One has to wonder what exactly they were trying to hide by restricting access? Eventually the SFPD was called in, but they sided with the conference organizers, telling the others to move off the sidewalk in front of the building. Look for the same people the police protected to allege "police brutality" on their websites before the week is out.

Of all the debates and discussions that went on throughout the morning, one of the most interesting was an exchange between two liberal Jewish women (members of Tikkun) and a young Palestinian man and member of the right-leaning Seeing Jews attempt to argue the pro-Palestinian position with a Palestinian effectively arguing the pro-Israel position, was a surreal sight indeed.

At the same time, there was a fair amount of support from neighborhood residents and passersby. Two Hispanic women with bibles in hand stopped to express their support for Israel, saying "God bless you," and as always, pro-Israel folks got lots of honks and thumbs-up from people driving by. One man yelled out his car window, "Long live Israel!"

Despite the successful protest, many in the community are still outraged at the use of taxpayer-funded public school grounds for a political event of this nature. Conference organizers did mislead the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) by describing the event simply as an "Educational Forum on the Middle East" on the application form. But considering all the information available on the extremist groups involved in the conference, this is hardly a valid excuse. San Francisco Board of Education president Dan Kelly was hit with a ton of e-mails objecting to the conference, but he fell back on the "we have to treat everyone equally" cop-out. When one correspondent asked sarcastically if that would extend to hosting a Klu Klux Klan meeting in the future, Kelly agreed!

But after the outcry over this event and the attendant bad publicity, perhaps the SFUSD will think twice next time about hosting a conference of terrorist sympathizers. And if not, pro-Israel and pro-American protesters will be there to remind them.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel; Miscellaneous; US: California
KEYWORDS: alawda; answer; board; conference; counterprotest; education; ism; israel; palestinians; protest; protestwarrior; sanfrancisco

1 posted on 10/04/2004 1:49:06 PM PDT by SeenTheLight
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To: Cool Guy; CounterCounterCulture; Arkat Kingtroll; bayareablues; pbear8; Jerez2; SunStar; ...

San Francisco After Report Ping!

2 posted on 10/04/2004 1:50:42 PM PDT by SeenTheLight
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To: All

Got to run, but will check back later...

3 posted on 10/04/2004 1:53:56 PM PDT by SeenTheLight
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To: SeenTheLight

Cinnamon, great article, sounds like this group is sticking with it. Thanks for getting involved -- and getting the word out!
and BUMP!

4 posted on 10/04/2004 7:47:33 PM PDT by Jerez2
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To: SeenTheLight

Wherever it might be held, is such a meeting likely to ACHIEVE anything?
Let's be brutally honest about this. Al Quaeda apart, who trade on it magnificently, are there any of us who wish to see the continuation of this Middle Eastern war of attrition - buses laden with schoolkids being blown up, innocent people killed or maimed, vast quantities of money poured into buying arms? I doubt it. The Israelis must be permitted to have their homeland just as the Palestinians should be encouraged to establish an economy in Ghaza. But at the same time, if a peace agreement of some kind could be drawn up and accepted by both sides - who would police it? And although I hesitate to say this, although I think the israelis would be likely to adhere to any Agreement unless provoked, I find it much harder to accept that the Arab side could be relied upon to behave in similar fashion. There is just something innately unreliable about them. As T.E. Lawrence told his readers from his own extensive experience, "These people are devious and best left alone."! In so many ways they continue to be their own worst enemies.

5 posted on 10/05/2004 3:40:07 PM PDT by Andika
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To: SeenTheLight

great article cinn!! It was a blast!! The two jewish ladies were pretty funny! We won't talk about all the kisses you got!

6 posted on 10/05/2004 4:34:52 PM PDT by bgcountry187 ("...Freedom has been attacked and Freedom will be defended..." -President Bush)
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To: Andika
Wherever it might be held, is such a meeting likely to ACHIEVE anything?

Well, that depends what you're trying to achieve. Mostly, we're just trying to put forward an alternative point of view in an area that is predominantly leftist and anti-Israel/America. And on that level, we succeed.

The honks, thumbs-up and nice comments we get from passersby make it worth it alone. But I am particularly comforted by the fact that the scum can't organize a poetry-reading without us showing up :-)

7 posted on 10/05/2004 8:19:24 PM PDT by SeenTheLight
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To: bgcountry187

Just on the cheek, folks...I couldn't turn down an old lady :-)

8 posted on 10/05/2004 8:21:20 PM PDT by SeenTheLight
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