Sunday, August 23, 2009
Anna Baltzer, the DVD of Steadfast Hope and the International Solidarity Movement
Anna Baltzer participates in the DVD that comes with the publication Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace. The DVD is now on the web site of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in You-Tube video segments. This is a DVD made up of different film clips.
“Life in Occupied Palestine,” chapter three, is the segment that features Baltzer.
I am interested in Baltzer for several reasons. The first reason is that when I did research on the computer to prove that Dr. Mary Mikhael's blood libel story, told in her workshop, at the Presbyterian Women’s Gathering, was fraudulent, Baltzer’s blog came up with the original story and then with a different story that was just as fraudulent as the first.
And rather than print a retraction, as the original story teller did, she simply changed the names, place and actions. She eventually did admit the first story was untrue but in a rather non-caring manner stating that there was a miscommunication but still claiming the second story. The posting about encountering the libel story is here, The reason I left Dr. Mikhael's workshop on Joshua...it's because of the Jewish people.
The next reason I am interested in Baltzer is because she has had training and connections with the International Solidarity Movement. Baltzer is a member of the International Women’s Peace Service and for some of the IWPS events the ISM provides training. And in fact, the women’s group in their application pact state, “IWPS supports and is part of the loose network that calls itself ISM and will provide on the spot help and support to ISM activists.”
The ISM is a far left group working for the Palestinian cause. I first became aware of ISM when writing about the terrible anti-Semitic protests in the United States during the last Israel/Gaza conflict.
My interest here is with the kind of influence the ISM has on its trainees and the organizations connected to it. They do have a statement at their Seattle location, Racism Against Jews Is Not Acceptable and it is put that way because they refuse to use the term anti-Semitism. They write:
“Anti-Semitic” is the common adjective for prejudice against Jews, but the terms "anti-Semitism" and "anti-Semitic" can be misleading. While historically understood to refer to prejudice against Jews, the terms actually promote an outmoded use of racial categories. Under that terminology, Arabs are also Semitic people. Since for the moment we are focusing on prejudice against Jews, we prefer in this context the more precise term “anti-Jewish".
This of course means they have divorced Zionism and the State of Israel from the Jewish people. As they put it we “reject the false identification of Zionism with the Jewish people of the world” and “We reject the false identification of the State of Israel with the Jewish people of the world.”
The ISM movement then goes on to address control of the media and the US Government.
They first make a point, thankfully, of discounting some of the more egregious myths of the last few centuries including the Protocols’ of the Elders of Zion, and other conspiracy theories. And yet they write:
“The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a powerful pro-Israel lobby, but it is not a Jewish lobby: it does not lobby for the Jewish people of the world, but for the State of Israel. Furthermore, there are several other powerful factions that pressure the US government to support the Israeli government, such as right-wing Christian groups (many of which give funding to AIPAC) and the Aerospace Industry Association (AIA).”
The authors of this publication also insist that the holocaust did happen and the Jewish people were persecuted through the ages, however, they write:
“This history of persecution in no way justifies the State of Israel's persecution of non-Jews, but the history itself is not made up, and persons promoting justice do themselves no service by trying to ignore or minimize it.
The State of Israel, on the other hand, has systematically invented a history for itself, just as many nation-states have done, in which it is simultaneously victim and victor against overwhelming odds. The well-documented truth of the six million Jews murdered in the Nazi Holocaust is exploited by some Israelis to justify the policy of oppression against Palestinians. We have every reason to reject this practice and the falsehoods of Israeli history, but we must not let that lead us into underestimating or denigrating the appalling worldwide history of persecution of Jewish people.”
What is actually going on in the paper, besides a redefinition of terms, is a rending of the Jewish people from their identity and from their sense of well being. There is a lack of knowledge or understanding of how much the Jewish people around the world identify with Israel.
And as usual there is failure to acknowledge the total history and problems connected with the Middle East. But the worst part of the paper is the way concepts and words are manipulated in order to give the members of this organization the right to indulge in anti-Semitism.
A small paper put out by StandWithUs, on Anna Baltzer is helpful.
Also see-“Anna Baltzer Out of the Middle East.”