Bintel Blog

Jewish Voice for Peace vs. Susan Sarandon (and Alan Dershowitz)

By Daniel Treiman

The New York Post’s Page Six reports:

Susan Sarandon outraged the Jewish Voice for Peace group when she crossed its picket line to attend a cocktail party last month in the new Madison Avenue jewelry store of Lev Leviev, a diamond-dealing real-estate mogul who owns the former New York Times building and the Apthorp building on the Upper West Side.

Now the California-based grass-roots organization has sent the star a letter asking her to “publicly sever ties” with the jeweler, whom the group is boycotting because he supports Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But Sarandon’s rep denies she’s allied with the high-end gem dealer.

The picketers, who were there for the Leviev store launch in mid-November, stood on the sidewalk with Palestinian flags, shouting, “You’re glitz, you’re glam, you’re building on Palestinian land,” and, “Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag.” A source told Page Six that Sarandon marched in and “tried not to notice the yells outside.”

Page Six got a reply from Sarandon’s rep:

…Sarandon’s representative questioned whether the actress attending one Leviev event amounted to “ties,” and added, “She has no ties to any jewelry company.”

I can understand JVP’s doggedness on the Sarandon front. When you’re a far-left group, and you’ve lost Susan Sarandon, you know you’re in trouble.

But Sarandon isn’t the only celeb who’s tangled up with this issue. Ubiquitous pro-Israel pugilist Alan Dershowitz suddenly appeared on the scene of another protest outside the Leviev store, strode inside and emerged with a shopping bag with which he proceeded to taunt the demonstrators. The scene was captured on video:

The snarky Hollywood gossip blog Defamer has an amusing take on the Sarandon brouhaha. Citing the Page Six piece, Defamer offered up the following analysis:

You read right: the Jews opposing “settlements” weren’t lawyers, they were pro-Palestinian protesters. These “Jews,” whose payos were suspiciously affixed with duct tape, chanted “Sorry ‘bout those charging tanks! Sorry that we run all banks!” and “What do want? Pogroms! When do we want them? Now!” at the Bull Durham star in an effort to bring peace to the Hamas-led region.

In addition to the issue of Israeli settlements (which are the central complaint of the protesters), the anti-Leviev camp has raised a number of other issues about the company’s ethics, which are noted in the Post article.


Michael Lerner Says ‘I’m Sorry’ (in 1,800 Words)

By Daniel Treiman

Rabbi Michael Lerner is sorry.

The Tikkun magazine editor recently issued an apology to three groups that are fiercely critical of Israel — Jewish Voice for Peace, United for Peace and Justice and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. (UFPJ and the U.S. Campaign are organizing a mass mobilization next month in Washington titled, “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation!” Lerner’s Tikkun Community is a member of both coalitions, although it is not backing the June mobilization.)

“I want to personally apologize to JVP, UFPJ, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for clumsy wording in an article I sent out analyzing the ways that the Anti-Israel Left helps to perpetuate the Occupation,” Lerner wrote in a mass e-mail.

Lerner, never known to be stingy with his prose, then spent 1,833 words elaborating on the nuances of his apology. In summary: Lerner opposes the Israeli occupation and supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He believes that those who deny Israel’s right to exist, in favor of a “one-state solution,” are practicing a double standard and hindering the cause of peace. He regrets that in his earlier article he had inadvertently seemed to suggest that Jewish Voice for Peace, UFPJ and the U.S. Campaign back Israel’s dissolution, when in fact they leave the question open. For that, he’s sorry.

Notwithstanding his disagreements with said groups, Lerner added that he would still “invite them to work with us in creating an alternative to AIPAC, an alternative that explicitly supports the two-state-plus solution I discussed above.”

“In the long run, however,” Lerner wrote, “we advocate a ‘no state’ solution — the abandonment of all nation states and the reorganization of the planet into large eco-districts whose primary focus is to provide global coordination to supervise how the earth’s resources are to be used, how to repair the global environment, and how to guarantee human rights, individual freedoms, cultural and religious pluralism, and a new global ethos of environmental sensitivity, celebration of the universe and its mysteries, advancement of science, and universal non-violence, generosity and social justice.”

You can read the full text of Lerner’s apology here. Scroll down to read Lerner’s initial article. By the time you finish, perhaps the world will be ready for a no-state solution.



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