In 1986, Gore Vidal presciently described the pro-Israel lobby as a
Fifth Column within the United States and today we saw the faces of the
Fifth Columnists on PBS tonight although not a single one was identified
as being Jewish, nor was any connection with the Zionist think tanks,
JINSA, CSP, PNAC, even hinted at. Also, not a word was mentioned
regarding Israel's interest in fomenting a war against Iraq, and for
that matter, the word "oil," was not even mentioned once. Clearly, this
was a Zionist propaganda piece and indicates the control of even public
broadcasting by the pro-Israel lobby. It was one of the most dishonest
and disgusting pieces of reporting that I have ever seen.
When one combines what we saw tonight with (1) what Edward Said said in
Berkeley last night, and presumably, in Los Angeles, today, regarding
the role of the Jewish neo-cons in designing US Middle East policy with
(2) the arrest by the Ashcroft Injustice Dept. of Palestinian Prof. Sami
Al-Arian and others as anti-Israel "terrorists;" (3) the decision of
the organizers of the protests in New York and San Francisco, to exclude
the Israel-Palestine issue, and particularly the role of the Jewish
neo-cons from their role in planning for the war and when we see (4)
that the liberal's darling, Berkeley congresswoman, Barbara Lee, was one
of the 411 members of Congress who voted for the resolution praising
Israel's re-election of Ariel Sharon as an example of Israel's
commitment to "democratic ideals," a fact that has yet to be reported
by Pacifica's Amy Goodman or its Free Speech News (including even the
fact of the resolution, itself), I defy anyone to say that the Zionist
control of Washington and its influence down into the ranks of the
anti-war movement, is not a proven fact.
That was not the introduction that I had planned to write to the
commentary that I made on my radio programs yesterday, but it is
appropriate. Here is what I said:
I have a few comments about last weekend's anti-war protests.
Last Saturday, in over 600 cities and towns throughout the world,
and here in San Francisco on Sunday, we saw an unprecedented
demonstration of the human species' desire for peace and the
fears for our collective survival.
As on January 18th, Sunday's march and rally in San Francisco was
impressive both by its size and by the breadth of its participants
as those of you who were there can well attest.
At rallies and marches over the years, I have rarely carried a
In the Sixties I was a photographer and besides being an activist,
I documented the protests with my camera. Now I usually carry a
camera and a tape recorder.
But last Sunday when I arrived at the Embarcadero, something I saw
made me change my plans and the camera and the tape recorder
stayed in my bag.
What I saw was a stand where some young Palestinians were selling
posters. On the posters were grisly photos of Palestinian
children being abused by Israeli soldiers, a daily occurrence in
that occupied country.
There was one poster that had two images which would be easily
visible from quite a distance away.
The top photo depicted a Palestinian boy, no more than eight or
nine, being roughly carried by his shoulders by four Israeli
soldiers who had no doubt arrested him for the crime of "throwing
stones" at their occupying presence.
The expression on his face revealed the terror and the fear that
these jackbooted guardians of what their arrogant American backers
refer to as "the only democracy in the Middle East," had instilled
The lower photo showed no overt violence, but revealed the
pervasive sadism that is the hallmark of Israel's presence in
It showed a Palestinian family. A father and mother and between
them, their small son, maybe four or five years old. On the right
was an Israeli soldier pointing and aiming the barrel of his M-16
right at the child, as his parents watched in horror.
The words on these posters, "End the Occupation," should have been
as much a part of Sunday's rally as was the slogan, "No War on
Iraq!," because what is going on in Palestine IS a war, and it has
been funded to the bloody hilt by American taxpayers while the
peace movement has been largely silent.
I bought two of those posters and held them back to back. As I
marched along Market Street, I saw the shock on the faces of
bystanders and other marchers as they looked at those photos, and
to see that shock is the reason I carried them.
Unfortunately, and unlike the demonstrations that took place in
other cities around the world, and particularly in Europe, the
organizers in San Francisco and New York, decided that the Israel-
Palestine issue was not one that the call for the march and rally
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, was a supporter of United for Peace and
Justice, one of the four groups that organized the San Francisco
march, and the major organization behind the New York rally. Here
is how he summed it up for the New York Jewish weekly, the
Forward. QUOTE "United for Peace and Justice has done a great
deal to make clear it is not involved in anti-Israel rhetoric."
"From the beginning," he said, "there was nothing in United for
Peace's statements that dealt at all with the Israel-Palestinian
And that folks, is what's wrong with the organizers of the anti-
war protests. But it's not the only thing.
The other thing, and it is not a small thing, is they are out of
touch with what is happening here in San Francisco .
Otherwise, how can one explain there giving the microphone to Amos
Brown, the discredited former supervisor whose only goal while in
office was to take the shopping carts away from the homeless, and
who was otherwise, nothing more than a shamelessly sycophantic
apparachik to Mayor Willie Brown?
They might say, he was, after all representing the San Francisco
chapter of the NAACP, but that organization has been almost
invisible in this city since 1964 when Dr. Nat Burbridge led the
civil rights sit-ins at the Sheraton Palace and the Cadillac
agency on Van Ness.
As it was, the reverend gave a rousing anti-war speech--such talk
is cheap after all in this town -- and received loud applause from
the crowd. It was clearly, a major step in resurrecting his
deservedly poor reputation. And for this those who selected
Sunday's speakers should be ashamed.
Jeffrey Blankfort, San Francisco