Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mondoweiss Author Rebecca Armstrong Pierce shows her Bias

You might remember Rebecca Armstrong Pierce from her witch hunt  against beloved  UC Santa Cruz teacher (and tireless fighter against anti-Semitism on campus) Tammi Benjamin . You might remember her role in the failed divestment initiative at UC Santa Cruz.  Rebecca, an anti-Israel activist and graduate from UC Santa Cruz.recently published an article at the extremist Mondoweiss site, distorting the experiences of  young participants on a Bluestar trip to Israel.  She's not exactly objective, and she's no journalist.

According to Bluestar, Rebecca Armstrong Pierce:

"was NOT on our trip, did NOT interview anyone on our trip, took participant blog quotes out of context, made broad, unsupported generalizations, and even made up "facts" about funders, program philosophy and trip activities to support her biased allegations against BlueStar's program."

Israel haters lie? Mondoweiss publishes the lies?   Does this still surprise you?

From Bluestar:

Anti-Israel Sites Threatened by BlueStar College Fellows Program. 
 The BlueStar College Fellows leadership program has caught the attention of the Israel haters. Their aggressive, abusive and assertion-laden coverage shows the kind of diatribes our students are facing on campuses and beyond.  BlueStar created our college program to help train student leaders to counter exactly this kind of bullying and bias from here and here.
The other side is clearly threatened by what we are accomplishing in our program.  Now, it is up to you to help us continue our efforts to educate the next generation of Israel leaders and advocates.  New student leaders are waiting for us to secure the funding to admit them to our leadership program...

Students and board agree: Our student participants, who are puzzled by the inaccurate accounts of their trip, agree with BlueStar's board of directors: official responses to close-minded sites like these are a waste of time.  Time and energy are better spent telling the true story of Israel to the far more numerous people who can become our friends.  So, while we will use these articles as educational lessons to strengthen our students' skills and knowledge on how to respond to bullying and media bias both on campus and beyond, BlueStar does NOT encourage you to respond to these sites.

What you should know about BlueStar College Fellows:
During the trip, participants see evidence of Israel's diversity and values, the Jewish people's right to self-determination and historical attachment to the land and just dealings with its neighbors despite legitimate security concerns.  Our goal is to use the frame of journalism to help students develop the knowledge they need to have a more nuanced understanding of Israel, at a minimum.

Participants examine Israel's affirmative case in its conflict with its neighbors.  We reject black-and-white points of view, especially on difficult issues on land and security about which Israelis continue to debate.  Our program goal is not to dehumanize Palestinians, but rather to let participants examine the evidence against specious Palestinian claims that "Israel is an apartheid, illegal state built on land stolen from indigenous Palestinians and given to European Jews as a payoff for the Holocaust."

 Learn more about the Write on for Israel program at Bluestar, and see why Rebecca and her handlers at Mondoweiss feel so threatened by it.

From their website:

Each year, millions of Jewish high school graduates enter college mostly unprepared to deal with potential anti-Israel challenges from peers and faculty.  Our goal is to change that.

Write On For Israel/San Francisco is a unique, challenging, and exciting 1-year Israel education program, open to ALL high school students. Starting in December 2013, you can attend 7 monthly Sunday-seminars in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area, where you will learn from professional journalists, communication experts, Israel educators, political leaders and people with fascinating stories.
Applications for Bluestar's program are currently being accepted  here

Journalism involving nuance. Rejecting black and white analysis. Journalism that actual examines evidence.  One might only imagine if  Rebecca Armstrong Pierce had attended a program like Bluestar, she'd understand why the drivel at Mondoweiss is not journalism.


Debbie said...

Do you happen to know her mother's name or have a link to the article where her mother cites the fact that Rebecca was raised Lutheran? I had it once and can't find it now.

Debbie said...

I found it! Here you go. Rebecca Pierce was brought up Episcopal. She's not Jewish.

Dusty said...

Thank you, Debbie. That information is worthy of a follow-up post.

Debbie said...

Look forward to reading it!

Atticus said...

Debbie beat you to it:

Here you go: Rebecca Pierce. Rebecca Pierce’s mother, Margalynne Armstrong, “decided to raise her [Rebecca] as an Episcopalian,” according to a 2016 interview Armstrong did for the webzine, Journey with Jesus. Pierce’s mother grew up going to Catholic Mass and “thinking I was Catholic, but wasn’t officially,” due to not performing the required rituals (more irony). According to her mother, Pierce’s father, an agnostic, grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, attended Hebrew school and had a confirmation, which means he grew up Reform, but he was never a bar mitzvah because, “his rabbi found no scriptural support for the ceremony,” which is a bizarre statement in a post-Holocaust Reform movement. However, for the sake of anyone arguing that her father is legitimately Jewish, Pierce was never raised as a Jew. She apparently only decided to “identify as Jewish,” as her mother puts it, when she went to college and joined Students for Justice in Palestine. So even if Pierce has patrilineal Jewish bona fides, why did she specifically decide to “identify as Jewish” with the apparent purpose of demonizing the Jewish state and those Jews who support its existence?