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Tariq Ramadan on Cordoba House [Sep. 13th, 2010|10:57 am]
Tariq Ramadan argues for moving the Islamic center in Manhattan both in a Washington Post Op , and in a  Democracy Now debate.  Show sensitivity to the U.S. reaction to 911, Ramada says, make a strategic retreat.  I agree with Moustafa Bayoumi that this would be a huge mistake.

Originally the Cordoba House had wide support across the political spectrum outside the Muslim community including liberals and including right wing commentators on Fox.  It was only when Fox started promoting right wing extremist Muslim bashing against the Islamic community center that opposition to it was stirred up. So it is not, as Ramadan implies, that the Muslim community accidentally crossed a line they insensitively missed, and triggered all this hate. Rather, after they had crossed a point with no opposition, a line was drawn behind them with much shouting that they had crossed it.

Giving in to this bullying will gain the Muslim community nothing. The process of drawing a line behind you, then crying about how insensitive you are for having crossed that line can always be repeated. Right wing extremists can always weep crocodile tears at imaginary offenses as an excuse to take away real rights. Better to fight it now, without giving racists a precedent to cite the next time.
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My Speech at the BDS forum [Aug. 14th, 2010|07:13 pm]
As noted in previous entries, both my 88 year mother and myself gave speeches at a recent forum on our local co-op's decision to boycott certain Israeli products to help pressure Israel to stop violating Palestinian human rights.   My previous entries included a post containing links to explanations of BDS and of Olympia's role in that movement (bigger than you'd expect for a little town). I also posted a version of my Mother's speech at a forum discussing that decision, which include sections of the speech that were cut out for lack of time. What follows is the speech I intended to give at the same forum, but of which only about 10% was actually delivered.


My name is Gar Lipow. I'm a co-op member. I want to deal with some of the charges we see of Antisemitism, and those who want to silence any support for Palestinian rights on grounds that it cause discomfort.

If a woman landlord was throwing all the tenants out of a trailer park to make way for luxury condos, the priority would be the preserving the ability of the tenants not to be homeless and not to be displaced. If some macho lefty made a misogynist remark that would be terrible, and everyone should (and I hope would) condemn it. But that would not mean that we should stop concentrating on defending the people in the trailers from losing their home.

The issue right now is that Palestinians in both the occupied territories and in the pre-1967 borders are denied basic human rights. I won't accept that Palestinians must continue to suffer this until no one anywhere on earth, or even until no one anywhere in Olympia, is Antisemitic. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can oppose Antisemitism without giving up one iota of my commitment to human rights for Palestinians. Anyone whose opposition to Antisemitism requires them to tolerate racism against Palestinians is doing it wrong.
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Ruth Lipow's speech on Boycott Divest Sanctions movement to support human rights for Palestinians [Aug. 14th, 2010|06:59 pm]
[Current Location |United States, Washington, Olympia]

:The following speech was given by my Mother at a meeting the our local Olympia food co-op which has decided to stop carrying certain Israeli product as part of the BSD movement. To learn more about both the BDS movement and the role Olympia is playing in that movement follow the links in my previous post.


Hello. I'm Ruth Lipow, an 88 year old Jewish co-op member here to speak in favor of the Co-op's Boycott to help support Palestinian rights as part of a long co-op tradition of honoring such boycotts.

I know some opponents of B.D.S. have special names they call Jews who support B.D.S., but names are not new to me.  I was called names when I opposed selling scrap metal to Japan before WWII, the same scrap metal that later rained on Pearl Harbor. I was called names for circulating petitions in support of the nuclear test ban treaty that helps keep strontium 5 out of our milk today. I won't tell you the names I was called for supporting integration and civil right back when New York Times editorials called that an "extremist" position.  I was called names for opposing the Vietnam War. I was called names for supporting B.D.S. against South African Apartheid, for opposing the Iraq war, and for advocating a pullout from Afghanistan.

B.D.S. is a way to non-violently oppose the torment Palestinians are subjected to. The siege of Gaza (which has not ended in spite of the change in rhetoric) produces a rate of infant death comparable to that of the poorest nations of Africa. Pregnant West Bank Palestinian women end up delivering their babies at checkpoints because Israeli soldiers won't let them through to hospitals. And, though the main victims of this are Palestinians, the rot from being an occupying power has spread throughout Israel.

Roving Israeli gangs harass and intimidate couples that consist of Arab men dating Jewish women, as though they lived in the old Jim Crow South.  Israel's long standing tolerance of ultra-orthodox vigilantes violently enforcing modesty codes now extends out of ultra-orthodox neighborhoods. Wires are strung and used to trip women showing more cleavage or leg than these ultra-orthodox approve of even on secular streets.  I hope everyone here cares about Palestinian rights. But even if that is not a priority to you, consider this:  If you had a friend who had become an alcoholic, would you gift them with bottles of whiskey? Or would you join with their other friends who staged an intervention and told them they had a problem.  Much of Israel has an addiction to racism. Much of Israel has an addiction to oppression. Much of Israel has an addiction to violence.  And if you care about Israel's survival you will join in this non-violent B.D.S. campaign both to
support Palestinian human rights and also to save Israel from itself.



Harassment of couples:

Official municipal program against Arab men dating Jewish women:

Trip wires for women in secular parts of Israel not meeting orthodox modesty standards: Hollaback Israel which will go live August 19th. 

Can put anyone who has a good reason why that is not soon in touch enough with founder of Hollaback Israel which goes lives August 19th 2010. 

Hollaback is a feminist movement encouraging women to fight back against street harassers in various ways, especially through digital and social media.

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Boycott Divest Sanction Forum [Aug. 14th, 2010|06:15 pm]
Thursday (Aug-12-2010) both me and my 88 year old Mother attended a forum discussing the Olympia food co-ops decision to join the B.D.S (Boycott Divest Sanctions) movement to pressure Israel to stop violating Palestinian human rights.  The Olympia B.D.S. site can be found at http://www.olympiabds.org/ .  An article on this forum can be found  on The Olympian site.

The article is pretty typical quality for a small town paper. The main thing the Olympian get's wrong is portraying this as BDS supporters vs. Olympia's Jews. Plenty of Olympia Jews support BDS. Jewish supporters of BDS include Pete Bohmer the son of a Holocaust survivor, Amy Levinson, Noah Sochet (a coop employee and a major BDS organizer), Anne Fischel, me, my Mom. Not going to list more, but a substantial part of the Olympia  Jewish community.  I'm going to post my Mom's speech and my speech at forum, but as separate posts. Since the forum cut speaker time at the last moment, I'm going to post the full 2 minute speeches we intended to give rather than the abbreviated versions we had time to give.

Ruth Lipow''s speech

My speech. (I'm Gar Lipow)
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