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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Anti-Semitic Event - Did it Happen??

Here's an account of an alleged anti-Semitic event and some rebuttals and denials. There must've been witnesses. What really happened? Before everyone gets excited about this, perhaps someone should establish what precisely was said, and what the link might be between the alleged anti-Semitic remarks and Barack Obama. If a white person makes anti-Semitic remarks, it is not automatically blamed on Hillary Clinton or John McCain, is it?

Text of Ziman's email

I have to tell you of an experience I had last night that was so anti semitic and frightening:

Last night I was honored by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, for my work with Children Uniting nations with African American children who are living out of home care.

I have dedicated my life to saving these children from abuse, neglect and a life of crime. We created 'adoption day' and "Day of the child" determined to recruit caring adults to be mentors and life savers for our at risk children in the inner cities. The mayor was present and City council member Bernard Parks, assemblyman Mike Davis Senator Mark Ridely Thomas etc.

I was introduced as a children advocate and a leader in the Jewish community. I began my speech by talking about how I woke up in the morning and listened to Hillary Clinton's speech, in the spirit of Dr. King from Memphis, that moved me so deeply. I expressed to the crowd how grateful I was to listen to Sen. McCain apologize to the community for mistakes he has made in the past. I acknowledged Sen. Obama's speech from the campaign trail about Dr. King's mentorship.

After I spoke and thanked the fraternity and their members, Rev. Eric Lee, pres. and CEO of Southern Christian Leadership Conference of greater Los Angeles, was introduced as the key note speaker.

He began his speech by thanking Jesus for Obama, who is going to be the leader of the world. He continued by referring to other leaders Like Dr. King,being that this was the moment of celebrating Dr. King's spirit on the anniversary of his assasination, and Malcolm X.

It was right after the mention of Malcolm X that he looked right at me and started talking about the African American children who are suffering because of the JEWS that have featured them as rapists and murderers.

He spoke of a Jewish Rabbi, and then corrected himself to say "What other kind of Rabbis are there, but JEWS". He told how this Rabbi came to him to say that he would like to bring the AA community and the Jewish community together. " NO, NO, NO,!!!!" he shouted into the crowd, we are not going to come together. "The Jews have made money on us in the music business and we are the entertainers, and they are economically enslaving us"

He continued as to how now the salvation has come and the gates have open for African Americans to come together behind Barack Obama, because now is the time to show them.(meaning thejews). He continued to speak about ' White supremecy' vs the talents and visionaries in the core of African Americans. He demeaned being given freedom, by saying "To what?" to a country that kills women and children.

I could no longer be polite and sit in front of the crowd, so I walked out.

Members of the fraternity ran after me as did my staff, I was not able to contain my tears and I cried.

I cried for me and my family, who have tried so hard to help the African American community, because we adopted children from the same realities and wanted to give back to other children and people. We have been completely color blind, for us it was only helping those children in need.

I cried for our beloved country and the division that Barack Obama has caused with his Rev. Wright opening the gates to 'hate' against the Jews and whites. I grew up so looking at America as the land of Freedom.

I was honored to receive my citizenship accompanied by members of the Kennedy family. Now, I'm afraid for Israel because Barack sat there for 20 years listening and not standing up for what's right, why would he standup for Israel?

I cried for the Jewish community who are so blind that they can't see that there's a movement here that will destroy us.I cried because for the first time in my life I was afraid of the future.

I cried for our world that is moving backwards and not forward. Everyday, I see children so lost, and so deserving of hope and love. I look into their eyes, knowing that it is their lives that are in our hands. I'm crying now, so I'm going to stop writing because it is so painful.

I just had to share this experience with you,

thank you, Daphna

2. Denial (same source):
" In an interview, Lee emphatically denied Ziman's account.

"None of those words are what I said. Not a single word. My goodness," Lee said. "I look at the Jewish community as allies in our quest for advancement. For me, it doesn't do any good to indict anybody. I just need help in changing the characterization of African Americans through the entertainment industry, and whoever can help me is fine. And without question there are a lot of influential members of the Jewish community that may be able to help us with that.""

3. Second try at denial, published here
SCLC of Greater Los Angeles Statement

April 9, 2008

On the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I gave a speech at a public meeting of a predominately African American fraternity on the theme of "Leaving an Inheritance to Our Kids and Our Communities".

Let me first state that at no time did I intend to offend, insult, indict or condemn any person or group of persons during any portion of my presentation. Furthermore, I did not make any statement that was offensive regarding the Jewish community and I completely deny and refute any accusation that I have done so. The accusations do not truly characterize the statements made during the presentation, nor do they accurately characterize my life or my position as President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles.

Additionally, I have an existing and ongoing collaborative relationships with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti Defamation League (ADL) in which we are committed to the cause of justice for our respective communities.

In a very small part of my presentation, I referenced a meeting I had with Rabbi's [SIC] and other community leaders. A Rabbi stated in that meeting that the close relationship between the African American and Jewish communities had been disconnected after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. I further referenced in my speech that my response to the Rabbi was that the Black Power Movement emerged after the assassination of Dr. King and it was a direct response to the negative characterizations of African Americans through the silver screen, TV and the music industry, industries that are perceived to be influenced by many in the Jewish community. I then stated to the Rabbis that the Black Power Movement was our effort to define for ourselves our own identity rather than be defined by anyone else. I then indicated in my presentation that I told the Rabbis' [SIC] that before a genuine coalition could be rebuilt between our communities, there would have to be dialogue and efforts made to deal with the negative characterizations of African Americans.

The focus of my presentation was that African Americans should embrace our historical legacy as an "Inheritance of Measurable Value", and that we use our legacy to define ourselves. This message is no different than what Daphne Ziman wrote in the March issue of the Jewish Journal when she stated, "Please tell us who you are, Sen. Obama; don't let your enemies, or your friends, define you."

The Mission of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is to redeem the soul of America. SCLC of Greater Los Angeles continues the legacy of our founder, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, by promoting the philosophy of non-violent progressive social change. Our roots extend deeply into the African American religious experience with its biblical vision of liberation of all humankind. Our goal is to realize the dream of freedom, justice, peace and equality for all by recognizing the inalienable dignity and worth of every human being.

The SCLC of Greater Los Angeles has as its mandate to organize and mobilize the strength of America's moral consciousness against the weakness of its social order. We accomplish this through the continued advocacy of justice for all people, regardless of social status, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. We affirm nonviolence as the only reasonable basis for social change and interpersonal living. These two principles are reflected in our work.

Was it one "Rabbi" or many "Rabbi's"?? The above stilted and semi-literate masterpiece sounds like a parody from an old non-PC joke about African Americans pretending to be lawyers, but apparently it is genuine. The circumlocutions used in the SCLC denial are not very satisfying:
I further referenced in my speech that my response to the Rabbi was that the Black Power Movement emerged after the assassination of Dr. King and it was a direct response to the negative characterizations of African Americans through the silver screen, TV and the music industry, industries that are perceived to be influenced by many in the Jewish community. I then stated to the Rabbis that the Black Power Movement was our effort to define for ourselves our own identity rather than be defined by anyone else.
Tell us what what you said. not what you referenced in your speech. This sounds like a man saying, "I further referenced the divine attitude to the canine ancestors of the complainant and the legitimacy of his Hebraic ancestry," when what he really said was "You're a god damned son of a bitch Jew Bastard."
In a very small part of my presentation, I referenced a meeting...
"I only made reference to his canine ancestry one time. In the rest of our communication I was very friendly."
Still, there is no point starting a crusade about this issue unless the facts can be proven, and it doesn't seem to have much to do with Barack Obama.
Ami Isseroff

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