Friday, January 30, 2015

Tactics and Retreat

Via Emunah

Over the years, pro-Israel activists have seen our community events disrupted and community institutions vandalized.  This pattern of behavior has hit home for me in the most personal way.   I have been followed, harassed and threatened. I've been attacked by both the far right and the far left.   My car has had its tires slashed, and my home has been egged. The message was clear and chilled me to my core. "We know who you are. We know what you do. We know where you live"

The impulse, in the words of Saul Alinsky, is to force your opponents to  "play by their own rulebook",  and to fight back using the same tactics. Its an impulse we fight, and we fight over.

We, as activists, know what is at stake here. This is about the survival of our people. How can we  "win"  fighting a battle with one hand tied behind our backs?  How can we "win" when we subject ourselves to ethical constraints that our opponents laugh off?

The question of tactics is one I personally struggle with, because I am in this for the win, and the "moral high ground" feels elusive and unsustainable. When achieved, its proven to be a cold and lonely place.

As I struggle with these issues, I find myself grateful for the goalposts set up by traditional Judaism and by the state of Israel, guided by the ethics of our ancestors and the visions of our prophets. Israel's behavior in a time of war- the continuing flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza,  the field hospital set up to treat the inevitable casualties of war shows a nation guided by a profound notion of justice.

How can we, as activists for Israel,  hold ourselves to any less of a standard?

In that spirit, its time to put this blog on hiatus. It began its life as an aggregator of local blogs, but has not fulfilled that role in years. The real writers are long gone- on to graduate school, to new babies, new professions. This blog has slipped into low-brow activism- "naming and shaming", documenting transgressions against the Jewish people.

We can do better. And if we can't, its time to step aside and let others try.

We reserve our right to change our mind at any time.



Anonymous said...

Dear PIBB: I have became reliant on your blog for insights and information on the fight for Israel on the West Coast. While I don't expect posts every day (wouldn't mind it though), you have provided a perspective and detail unavailable in any other forum. I urge you to take a deep breath, treat yourself to a really good dinner, enjoy a long stroll on one of your gorgeous beaches and suit up for the second half of the game, it ain't over yet.

So no, I am ripping up your resignation letter, get back to work!!

As it says in Ethics of The Fathers "It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it."

Gary Fouse said...

I echo Mike. PIBB is an important voice in the Bay Area. I think all of us at some point feel burned out, but the cause is too great. Take a break if you must, but pls reconsider. You are a great resource and ally.

Ben said...

Dear PIBB: I've been following your blog for a long time. It would be sad to see it go. My friends and I appreciate your work and ask you to please reconsider.

Anonymous said...

I want to echo the previous comments. I'm in New York, and I read this blog to get an idea of what Israel supporters are doing on the West Coast. Your blog has enabled me to track the reality of the BDS campaign against Zimm, anti-Semitism at UCLA, and so forth. In light of consistent misrepresentation and cherry-picking of the news by national media, your blog is really helpful. I want to offer you whatever aid in kind might be helpful and within my means. What would you need to be able to continue?
-- Chaim Yankel

Anonymous said...

PLEASE keep up your important work. Always go to these pro-islamofascist Hate Fests with an ally. Photograph/Video anyone who photographs you. Zoom in. Photography any ID they have showing.

These Pro-Pal-e-SWINIAN types are as dangerous as the German American Bund of the 1930's leading up to WW2.

Anonymous said...

I too am a daily reader. I often share what you write on Tumblr.
I would hate to see you leave, so many good ones have.

Youandme2 said...

You help keep the rest of us undaunted spirits stay that way! Throwing in the towel is never to be!

Thank you for such invaluable blogging all this time! I have appreciated your reporting and commentary for years.