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J Street National Conference, Progressive I-P Blogger Panel

J street national conference logoI want to urge you to attend, if possible, J Street’s national conference, Driving Change, Securing Peace, from October 26-28th in Washington, DC.  Jerry Haber of the Magnes Zionist and I will be hosting a panel of bloggers who write about the Israeli-Arab conflict.  They will include Phil Weiss, Kung Fu Jew, Max Blumenthal, Helena Cobban and Ray Hanania.  We’re also working on a live video feed from Israel that will enable us bloggers there to participate.  If anyone knows of any West Bank or Gaza bloggers whom we can include let me know (they would need a webcam and Skype, or something similar, setup).

Among the questions we’ll be discussing:

  1. How have blogs impacted &/or changed the debate over the Israeli-Arab conflict in Israel, Palestine & the U.S.?
  2. What can we do to have a bigger impact?
  3. Iran: how can bloggers influence the debate over Iranian nukes and what can/should we do if there is a military attack?
  4. Goldstone Report, human rights & BDS

For those who may have the long knives out for J Street in the right-wing pro-Israel media.  Our event is not officially sponsored by J Street and nothing said during our session should be construed as representing J Street’s views.  We are bloggers and independent actors.  We do not speak for J Street and they do not endorse our statements.  They have graciously offered us a physical space during their conference.  But that is where the relationship ends.

I expect that it will cost $1,000 for my travel and lodging expenses during the conference.  I would like to ask you, generous readers, to step up and help me defray my costs of organizing and attending this important panel.  Please make as much of a contribution as you can afford in order to make our progressive voices heard at J Street and beyond.

Many of you know that while I’ve been supportive of J Street, I haven’t shrunk from criticizing it when I thought it was valid.  I’ve even criticized aspects of the organizing of this conference including the disavowal of support from Jewish Voice for Peace and Tikkun Magazine.  Among the important voices not present at this conference will be Naomi Klein and Neve Gordon, champions of BDS.  We can imagine why they won’t be there.  And this indeed may be a reason why our panel will not be part of the official program.  But I would rather accept such status along with a guarantee to speak my mind freely on the issues that are important to progressive Jews.

Curiously, one of the conference’s keynote speakers will be Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who wrote in the Jewish Forward that J Street’s opposition to the Gaza slaughter was “shameful.”  I understand why J Street has invited Yoffie.  But I felt that it was Yoffie’s attack that was shameful, and not J Street’s position.  I should add that I’ve also praised Yoffie in the past for speaking to a Muslim conference and being attacked by the Jewish right for doing so.  I think we’ve got to call ’em as we see ’em.  But I do think Yoffie has some explaining to do.

All that being said, J Street has agreed to our panel and understands the independent role we play in the blogosphere and at their conference.  That is something that is important and praiseworthy.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jonathan S. Mark October 5, 2009, 3:56 PM

    I am interested in your panel but not so much in the other speakers. Will it be possible to attend your panel without also paying to attend the entire J St. Conf?

    • Richard Silverstein October 5, 2009, 7:25 PM

      What? You mean you’re not interested in hearing Jonathan Chait of TNR? I should think that’d be right up yr alley.

      So now I know who BuberZionist is. Most popular Twitterer in America…or is that the world?? And handsome to boot (if you do say so yrself). Well, at least you have a healthy ego though I’m not sure such feelings of self-love are totally warranted.

      Now it all becomes clear to me. You want to attend our panel so you can finally “out” Jerry Haber. Did you filch the name “Buber Zionist” in order to get a dig in at him too? You’ve about as much in common with Martin Buber as Gandhi had with Genghis Khan. You’re a boring, garden variety pro-Israel neocon. And you’re a despicable fraud for soiling Martin Buber’s name, when you don’t believe a thing he said or wrote about Israel or Zionism.

      But do come to the panel & if you have the temerity to say a word or introduce yrself I’ll make a pt. of telling the audience what a schnorrer you are.

      • AD October 6, 2009, 8:37 AM

        You just begged for money and then called a commenter a schnorrer? Please tell me this is a parody blog.

        • Richard Silverstein October 6, 2009, 10:25 PM

          No, I’m afraid you’re a parody of an intelligent human being.

          Seeking donations to further political ideas is honorable. Seeking to avoid paying for a conference where you want to “out” someone you don’t like is schnorring. As for you, there are some great Yiddish words for you, but I’ll just say them to myself instead of sullying this blog.

          Oh & btw, thanks for reminding my supportive readers of how important it is to support my work in light of the ignorance and hate of people like you.

  • candace October 6, 2009, 4:56 AM

    ps: if rabid old farts like you would stop foaming at the mouth & spreading your fould odor over the web – young jews like me might actually be interested in jewish culture — keep it up though — lol, your ilk & phillip unwise are not the future of the jewish people – when the only putrid thread connected to being born jewish that you and your fellow pali-thug-hasbaraniks desperately hang on to is hatred of israel – (& in your case klezmer, lol) the growth prospects for the jewish people are nill to buokis – you and your kind wont last 1 or 2 more generations, if that, as jews….i don’t think never gordon, phil wise, avi sham or madman shapiro’s grandkids if they even have any will be getting bar mitzvahed…..oh well –

    • Richard Silverstein October 7, 2009, 12:19 AM

      I usually send such comments to the troll trash heap where they belong. But every so often an idiot like you really tickles my fancy & I share your jottings with the rest of my readers to show just what boors you people are.

      Imagine this jerk blaming me for not caring about Jewish culture. What indeed, if anything would you know about it?

      And it’s bubkis btw, not “buokis.”

      My son loves Hebrew school. Should I invite you to the bar mitzvah?

      Phil Weiss and Neve Gordon will be charmed by your insults. Your hate makes us stronger.

  • Jonathan S. Mark October 6, 2009, 6:39 AM

    (1) You didn’t answer my question. Can I just show up for the panel, or do I have to pay to get into the J St. Conf. in order to go to the panel? If the latter would you consider comping me? I have cash flow problems right now due to me being, as you say, a “schnorrer.”

    If I did attend, would you mind me “live-tweeting” your event?

    (2) I would introduce myself to you if I had the chance, and you could say whatever you wanted about me if you so chose. I wouldn’t care either way. I am 56 and over the years I slowly stopped caring about such things.

    (3) The Twitter profile photo of “me” which I claim shows how handsome I am is a photo of a horse at the Cavalia show. The horse is indeed handsome.

    (4) I don’t care about Jerry Haber, and while I might be vaguely interested in meeting him I have no interest in revealing his real name, even if I found it out. I didn’t like it when he wrote a letter to Washington Jewish Week as Jerry Haber, Jerusalem, because his blog indicated he lives in the DC area, and because his name isn’t Haber.

    That’s not to say I would reveal his name without his permission if I knew it. What if he got fired because I did that? Do I want to possibly ruin someone’s life in this instance? No. He was actually always nice to me when I posted there. I tweet now instead of posting on other people’s blogs.

    (5) Writing this post on someone else’s blog is unusual for me. You may block it. You may not. That’s the problem with posting on other people’s blogs. They control the medium, and will only allow you as much access as they feel like. On Twitter I control my own Twitter stream.

    (6) Buber was a strong supporter of the existence of a Jewish state from 1948 until his death in 1965. In fact, Magnes Zionist (Haber) published comments by Uri Davis (now a Muslim and Fatah Council member) claiming that Buber had sold out after 1948 and falsely claiming Buber had stolen Edward Said’s house.

    (7) My readership may be somewhat reduced since JTA ranked Jewish Twitterers last spring and wisely named me #3 overall, and #1 among North Americans. I got frustrated with some critics of Israel and blocked them, which was not nice and which I now regret. The interplay with the critics probably made my Twitter stream more interesting, so blocking them cut off my own nose to spite my face.

    • Richard Silverstein October 6, 2009, 10:44 PM

      I don’t run the conference. If you want to attend the conference, & our event takes place unofficially under the auspices of the conference, you’ll have to take that up w. them. They might consider you media since you Tweet & let you in for free. Try doing it the right way why don’t you instead of trying to get my permission to crash the conference (or our event anyway).

      We’re hosting a lunch discussion. And just to be completely clear to those like you who may have the long knives out for J Street: our event is neither an official J Street event nor do the views we express represent those of J Street. We represent no one but ourselves & our blogs.

      There is a photo of you on yr Twitter acct. & I thought it was what you were referring to when you described yrself as “handsome.” So I give you credit for an attempt at wit, though the joke about you as a the horse being handsome felt a bit strained.

      Jerry Haber lives in both Israel AND the DC area. He has homes in both places as many other Jews do. He speaks Hebrew and his son has served in the IDF & lives in Israel. So if you’re implying he isn’t a patriotic Jew or Israel, pls. don’t.

      He won’t get fired esp. not for anything you might do to harm him. He has tenure. Don’t worry about ruining Jerry’s life. YOu couldn’t if you wanted to.

      And Jerry IS a nice guy as you say. A real mensch.

      As for Buber, he was a founder of Brit Shalom and certainly was not the type of Zionist you are. He was a cultural Zionist & certainly never wanted Israel to turn into the nation it has become. Were he alive today he would thunder like Jeremiah at Israel as a travesty of his values.

      Good luck on Twittering.

  • candace October 6, 2009, 3:56 PM

    come to think of it – would love to see you on Jon. Mark locked up in a room – 2 YIDiots ripping each other’s throats out – like two old loser bald men fighting for a comb, lol

    • Richard Silverstein October 6, 2009, 10:21 PM

      Sorry, sweetie, I’m not bald and I don’t fight people–at least not w. my fists. Sorry to disappoint. Thanks for the heartfelt thoughts though.

      Given yr sentiments though, I’d say you & BuberZ. were a match made in heaven. You really shouldn’t give up on him so easily. Surely his politics are just yr cup of tea.

  • z street October 7, 2009, 12:18 PM

    [comment deleted for violation of comment rules]

  • Rabb Tony Jutner October 8, 2009, 5:27 PM

    [troll alert]

  • Ray Hanania October 10, 2009, 5:36 AM

    It’s always amazing to me how Jews say they support Israel and then spend so much time bashing Jews like Richard Silverstein who is fighting to make Israel relevant in today’s world and safe through the only means possible, peace based on two-states.

    Criticism = accountability and accountability = principle, morality, justice, ethics, all the things we need to re-embrace for Israelis and Palestinians to finally live side by side.

    If time hasn’t said to you anything, it is that it has only been 61 years and that things change and events continue to happen and neither side can win through conflict, but we can continue to make ourselves miserable.

    That’s why I support peace based on two-states, denounce violence by terrorists and criminals on both sides, am not afraid to criticize Palestinian policies and actions as I am not afraid to criticize Israeli government policies and actions, and I am not afraid to be denounced by right-wing fanatics; the more the extremists attack me, the more I am emboldened to write more and wake the majority of Jews, Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Middle East Christians up from their numbed slumber.

    Keep up the great work Richard. Tikkun Olam is an important concept not only in the Jewish religion but in human life and your writings inspire us to reflect on our own actions — we are all human after-all — and to rededicate ourselves to make a positive difference by embracing peace.

    J-Street should be proud you are organizing this. I am proud to be a part of it (and working hard to cover my expenses, too : ) ).

    Ray Hanania

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