Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Presbyterian Church of Oakland: Never again for anyone

The Hatem Bazian/Hajo Meyer dog and pony show ("Never again for anyone") is coming to town. The current cycle of hate, lies and demonization comes to the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland on February 17. Early reports from the tour have been troubling, with Jewish students alleging discriminatory admissions policies, in an event that had been advertised as "free and open to all"

Please contact the church at
(510) 444-3555 or email
Di Pagel, Director of
Christian Education
& Church Administrator
di@firstchurchoakland.org and

Rev. Jack Shriver
Interim Pastor

Explain politely, why this program is so hateful, not just to the Jewish people, but to all that struggle against lies and injustice. Why politely? Because the best way, the only way to decrease the darkness in the world is to increase the light.

My open letter to them follows:

Dear Rev. Shriver,
"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. "
Martin Luther King Jr

I noticed your church is hosting a program with Hatem Bazien and Hajo Meyer, and that you are promoting it on your website. You may be unaware of how offensive and hateful this program is, not only to the Jewish people, but too all who suffered and perished in the Holocaust. If you have done any background into this program, you would have heard disturbing reports from Rutgers University that when supporters of Israel showed up to what was advertised as an event that was "Free and open to all", the organizers changed the policy on the spot, and began to charge admission.

There is no genocide in the Palestinian territories, and to use that word diminishes the suffering and death of millions who perished in the Holocaust

From the American Muslim for Palestine Website: “It’s very clear that the plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous Palestinian population predates the creation of the State of Israel,” Hatem Bazian said during Friday’s event at DePaul University. “That plan reaches to the very highest levels of the government.”

My question to Hatem: If the goal was to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, why did Israel begin its "brutal and genocidal" occupation by vaccinating Palestinian children?

From an essay by Prof. Efraim Karsh:
The larger part, still untold in all its detail, is of the astounding social and economic progress made by the Palestinian Arabs under Israeli "oppression." At the inception of the occupation, conditions in the territories were quite dire. Life expectancy was low; malnutrition, infectious diseases, and child mortality were rife; and the level of education was very poor. Prior to the 1967 war, fewer than 60 percent of all male adults had been employed, with unemployment among refugees running as high as 83 percent. Within a brief period after the war, Israeli occupation had led to dramatic improvements in general well-being, placing the population of the territories ahead of most of their Arab neighbors.

In the economic sphere, most of this progress was the result of access to the far larger and more advanced Israeli economy: the number of Palestinians working in Israel rose from zero in 1967 to 66,000 in 1975 and 109,000 by 1986, accounting for 35 percent of the employed population of the West Bank and 45 percent in Gaza. Close to 2,000 industrial plants, employing almost half of the work force, were established in the territories under Israeli rule.

During the 1970's, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world -- ahead of such "wonders" as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. ..

Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22). And under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.

No less remarkable were advances in the Palestinians' standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967; and so on for refrigerators, televisions, and cars.

Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria.

Even today, according to UNICEF, Palestinian children have the lowest rate of stunting and malnutrition in the Arab Middle East, after Qatar.

Please, Rev. Shriver do not allow your beautiful church to be used by those spreading hate and lies. Thank you.

Several anti-hate groups are planning a vigil at the church, Feb. 17 from 6:00-7:30
2619 Broadway, in Oakland, California
Please join us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Scary hate:
"The most despicable and anti-Semitic aspects of the Feb. 4 event were that speakers claimed that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis and anti-Semites in order to force European Jews to go to the Palestine Mandate. They even asserted that Lord Balfour, who gave official British endorsement to Zionism, was anti-Semitic. In effect, the speakers accused the victims of being the victimizers and used the Holocaust as a weapon against Jews and survivors who support Israel. Equally disturbing, Hajo Meyer repeatedly demonized the vast majority of the world’s Jewish population, claiming that any Jews who support Israel, no matter where they are on the left-right political spectrum, are not ‘authentic’ Jews but, rather, are ‘dehumanized’ and ‘Nazi-Jews.’ This kind of presentation replicates 1930s’ hate propaganda, which isolated and demonized Jews and, tragically, paved the way for the Nazi program of ethnic cleansing and genocide. People can disagree about Israeli and Palestinian policies and debate the issues reasonably, but no respectable institution should allow itself to be tainted by hosting this reprehensible program,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, the international Israel education organization.