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Feb-04-2012 21:24printcomments

Dershowitz Attacks Penn BDS Conference; Next In Line, The United Methodist Church

No help from PEPs (Progressive Except on Palestine) as Dershowitz continues attacks.

Painting by Bob Haozous
Painting by Bob Haozous

(CHICAGO) - Israeli blogger Noam Sheizal writes in the US based, Foreign Policy’s The Middle East Channel, that the majority of voters in Israel currently have no interest in ending the country’s 44 year-long military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Sheizal, a columnist for +972, a progressive Israeli website, concludes in his FP essay, that the “peace camp” has disappeared from Israeli politics.

For Israelis, according to Sheizal, the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank

remains a non-issue and will continue to be so, as long as the military is able to hold back any local Palestinian resistance, the prime minister is successful in resisting continued diplomatic pressure and regional isolation, and the internal and external boycott movement remains marginal.

What Sheizal describes as “the internal and external boycott movement” is better known in US peace circles as BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The indifference to BDS that Sheizal found among Israelis is unfortunately also found in the US voting public.

This indifference is not shared by those who gathered on the University of Pennsylvania campus this weekend for the first national meeting of BDS. According to the conference’s website, BDS’ goal is to “boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) the State of Israel until it complies with its obligations under international and human rights law.”

The Israel Lobby and its US supporters took the BDS weekend event quite seriously, so much so that a heavy-hitter like noted criminal attorney Alan Dershowitz. was on the scene to employ his courtroom skills to make Israel’s case.

The presence of Dershowitz in the University of Pennsylvania college newspaper prior to this weekend, was an early indication that the Israel Lobby is in such a belligerent paranoid mindset that any public display of criticism of Israeli policies must be resisted with heavy vitriolic rhetoric.

To the Lobby, there is never any room for indifference where Israel is concerned.

Who better than Dershowitz to set the agenda for the battle ahead.

“Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A conversation with Alan Dershowitz,” was the title of Dershowitz’ lecture, an event co-hosted by Penn’s Political Science department, which had earlier refused to co-sponsor the BDS conference.

Advance attacks on BDS speakers were reported by Max Blumenthal, who was also a Conference participant.

Ali Abunimah, a renowned Palestinian writer and solidarity activist who will deliver the conference’s keynote address, was recently accused by Emily Schrader, an activist with the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, of “incitement to violence against Israelis.” Wayne Firestone, the president of the pro-Israel student group Hillel, accused the Penn BDS conference of advocating “warfare” and fomenting “hatred.”

The allegations leveled by Schrader and Firestone could not be further from the truth. Not one participant in the Penn BDS conference has “incited” violence against Israelis or anyone else.

Instead, BDS advocates have raised their voices in support of an expressly non-violent movement that takes its inspiration from the American civil rights struggle against Jim Crow bigotry and the international campaign against South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Thursday night one day before the conference opened, Dershowitz spoke to a full house at the Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. His audience included  people from the university and from the larger community.

Dershowitz’ invitation to speak came from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and Penn Hillel.

David Cohen, Chairman of the Penn Board of Trustees, introduced Dershowitz with a message from University President Amy Gutmann, which included this pro-Israel sentiment:  “We are unwavering in our support of Israel. We do not support the message or the goals of BDS.”

Cohen is the chairman of the board of Comcast, which recently purchased the NBC television network, which includes MSNBC.

As faithful viewers are aware, MSNBC has a progressive stance. However, as Philip Weiss points out on his Mondoweiss website, the progressive MSNBC anchors do not reflect a progressive outlook in matters related to the Israel/Palestine issue. The lineup of Chis Matthews, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, are four of television’s leading PEPs (Progressive Except on Palestine).

In his talk Thursday, Dershowitz praised the University for “championing free speech”. He added, however, according to the news report, that If Penn had banned BDS. he would have been forced to defend them in the name of free speech, something he wouldn’t want to do.

After that nod to free speech, Dershowitz told his appreciative audience, “We are going to win this encounter.” Dershowitz was critical of Penn professors who support BDS, describing them are “complacent with evil.”

Penn for Palestine co-president, sophomore Sarah Shihadah, explained that their BDS group opted to watch the live stream of the event instead of attending the event because of Dershovitz’s “hostile rhetoric” against BDS supporters.

“[We] hope the balance of the two events,” — Dershowitz’s talk and the BDS conference — “will stimulate honest academic discourse,” Shihadah said.

She added, however that she felt Dershowitz “misrepresented and omitted some of the human-rights issues faced by Palestinians, such as the millions of Palestinians living under occupation and millions more in diaspora whose rights Israel fails to uphold as recognized by the United Nations.”

During his talk, Dershowitz’ comment that the UN is a “house of hypocrisy” was greeted by loud cheers and applause. Also in his speech, Dershowitz charged: “BDS hypocrites [are] interested in de-legitimizing Israel.”

Ali Abunimah earlier wrote in a guest column for the Philadelphia Inquirer:

We are coming together to push forward an inclusive movement that supports nonviolent action to promote the human rights of the Palestinian people, because only full respect for these rights can lead to peace. Today, millions of Palestinians live without basic rights under Israeli rule. This intolerable situation is at the root of problems that affect the whole world.

This is a theme that will move forward as both secular and religious groups gather,step by determined step, to make the case for BDS.

Next up, the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church, which meets in Tampa, Florida, from April 24 through May 4, 2012. On the Conference agenda will be a resolution that would make it official church policy to divest United Methodist funds from three US corporations–Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard–which the denomination has determined are using church investment funds to support the Occupation of Palestinian Territories.

Delegates who support the divestment resolution will be able to declare that United Methodists will not allow its funds to participate in the Occupation.


"Then farmers planted the man-altered seeds which produced vegetation never seen before and different from its kind, and causing new illnesses as well as deaths of feotuses. And farmers had to sign contracts forcing them to use poisons on the man-altered seeds, contracts that forbade them and even Ruth, from ever collecting these altered seeds.

The Penn BDS Conference was the opening salvo in 2012 in the campaign for Palestinian, and in the long run, Israeli, justice. In April, United Methodist delegates will be able to choose either to support the Palestinians who have asked for their help in ending Israel’s Occupation, or they may choose to reject that Palestinian request.

The vote will be the moment in time, Kairos time, when United Methodists will answer the question, “Which side are you on?”

The photo at the top of this posting is of a ceremonial space honoring indigenous people, by artist Bob Haozous. It is located in Fort Brooke Park on the Riverwalk in Tampa, Fla. The United Methodist Church will hold an Act of Repentance and Healing for Indigenous Persons, during its 2012 General Conference, which will be held a few blocks away at the Tampa Convention Center April 24-May 4. The United Methodist News Service photo is by Mike DuBose.

Please visit Dr. Wall's Website: Wall Writings


Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at

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M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. February 5, 2012 1:50 am (Pacific time)

In a surprise meeting of the world's top Jewish comedians, a consensus was announced confirming what we know to be among the Knesset's worst fears.

The recently passed Anti Anti-Semitic Comedy Act (AASCA)has caused reverberation among the world's highly praised and respected Jewish comedians for its provisions mandating that any Jewish comedian who knowingly, or suspects in any manner, a bit, or shtick, makes fun off or causes an audience or audience member to laugh at a perceived slight against any member of the Knesset or of any of Israels political parties and/or politicians or rabbis (example: 2 Rabbis, a village idiot and Danny Ayalon were caught in a compromising position behind a bar on the Sabbath...), will be fined no less than $100,000 and sentenced to 5 years in confinement.

The International Comedians Against Humorless Jews (ICAHJ) released a message today via the website stating that they had captured Jackie Mason outside his nursing home earlier today.

Jackie, long a revered national treasure abroad and in his beloved homeland of Catskill, NY was shown in video on the website in severe pain as one of the masked Jewish comedians of ICAHJ twisted the finger that once brought him notoriety as it was pointed toward the late great Ed Sullivan.

In bold letters streaming across the site, was written "If only the Knesset will see the mistake quite big that it has made and upon which we have today acted and will denounce its facacta laws preventing us from looking upon ourselves and upon the persons of others of Jewish ancestry in such a manner as to provoke laughter, giggles and perhaps a little piddle in the pullups, we shall release what remains of the once famous Jackie Mason. Failing to respond in the appropriate manner to our request, the Knesset will leave us no choice but to call all their Mema's and inform them how their grandsons and daughters chose to break Jackie Mason's famous finger and deposit same within the canal Jackie had informed Ed was a good place for him to secure this. And then, we will bend and break the finger of.. well, we think the picture is probably clear to all of you so perhaps you will give us your consideration by the time Eastman's Deli closes on Tuesday (such good lox they have and the pickles, oh my goodness).

After the message there was a an episode of the Three Stooges and 2 cartoons.

We first spoke with ever present Jewish demagogue, Alan Dershowitz who gave us this response: "One cannot deny the implied antisemitism in the shtick of those Goyim and pretend-a-Jews whose rights I am forced to defend. I, myself, have often been accused of bias and biased speech, however, it is well known I have a number of Goyim serving me in my office and, in fact, my home. They are good servants and any true Jew would be proud to command them. As for those sick "comedians", everyone should boycott their acts whether on stage or on the Comedy Channel or HBO".

A spokesperson from the Knesset who asked not to be identified spoke with us on the condition of anonymity. "AASCA, he said through his hair lip, was necessary because world Jewry, ever under attack, has long faced the vulgar jokes and slights of world comedians who refuse to recognize the damage they do in promoting repetition of such jokes and slights by the vulgar goyim of the world. It is bad enough that we were killed by the millions throughout Europe and Russia. Must we now suffer the bad slings and arrows of a cabal of narrow sighted comedians? I mean, last week when the IDF hosted a fishing party off the coast of Gaza, while we drank and fired shots across the bows of several of those pesky little vessels the Palestinians dirty their own water with, two of those so-called sailors began to perform a bit suggesting both Erhud and Bibi had something in common with a blowfish. Such antisemitic slams must simply be put to a fitting end and never again allowed to threaten us. First boycotts and now this, he exclaimed.

When asked if the Knesset would honor the request of the ICAHJ, he laughed and began to tell a story about a little Palestinian girl on her way to school who had tried to negotiate passage with an IDF captain. Wheezing as he bumbled the "punchline", our anonymous source quickly scrambled into his Red Mercedes Sportster and sped off.

There are only two hours left before Eastman's Deli closes. We wish our best for Jackie and will update this report as the time approaches. (**SATIRE)

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