The upcoming Feb 15 protests

The upcoming Feb 15 protests 

Ahem, I’ve gotten several email chains about how ANSWER banned Rabbi Lerner from speaking at the SF demo, and how this proves they are anti-Israel.

All four coalitions involved in the SF demo have issued a statement saying flatly that Lerner is mistaken.

“We would like to clarify the misunderstanding regarding Rabbi Michael Lerner’s perception that he was “banned” from speaking at the peace rally. His charges are untrue, and we wish to set the record straight.

One of the first agreements that was made between the groups organizing the Feb. 16 anti-war protest was that none of the coalitions would propose rally speakers who had publicly attacked or worked to discredit one of the coalition groups.

It was this issue, Michael Lerner’s public attacks against one of the anti-war coalitions, that resulted in his not being formally proposed as a speaker on Feb. 16.”

And folks, before spamming everyone on your email lists about something, at least read the original article first.

First off, the article, from The Nation, is by David Corn – someone who is known to have serious grudges against the Left.

And even his words, slanted as they may be, confirm the statement by the organizing coalitions.

Lerner’s crime: he had dared to criticize ANSWER, an outfit run by members of the Workers World Party, for using antiwar demonstrations to put forward what he considers to be anti-Israel propaganda.

Before Lerner had been suggested as a speaker, the coalitions engineering the San Francisco event had agreed that any individual who had publicly disparaged one of the organizing groups could be vetoed as a speaker by that group.

So… the coalitions agreed that any speaker who publicly attacked one of the groups could be vetoed by that group. Lerner had publicly attacked ANSWER in the NY Times, so they vetoed him.

So tell me, how is this anti-Israel? The only people who deserves reprimands here are Lerner and Corn.

On to happier things;

I was at an ANSWER organizing meeting tonight for Sat. march here in L.A. (1 pm, assemble at Hollywood & Vine). LA Answer has a newly updated and vastly improved website. It got 27,000 hits yesterday. This is way more than they were getting for the Jan 18 demo. The lineup is still in flux, with Michelle Shocked for sure. Expect lots of street theatre and die-ins along the march route too! 

There may be civil disobedience at the march, not by the march participants per se, but by splinter groups doing a breakaway march. This may also happen in NYC, where organizers were refused a march permit. They do have a rally permit. However some are planning feeder marches into the rally site, then breakaway marches.

These splinter events are just that, splinter events. They are not part of the main, non-violent, peaceful protests.  So, go to a peace rally, and be peaceful.

I only bring this up because, well, it’s starting to feel a little like 1969 again. (Note to the young pups: Things got a bit … bumptious … in ’69, yes they did…)

There will be peace rallies in over 300 cities worldwide this weekend. It is quite possible ten million people may be on the streets. This is an event of historic magnitude. Be there.