Sheree Roth wrote on April 27 relating the activities of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center with the Nazis taking control of Germany in 1933. For the record,
several members of the PPJC board of directors are Jewish. The PPJC has never condoned anti-Semitism and has never knowingly had an anti-Semitic speaker at any of its events.. PPJC events are open to the public and there is often a question and answer period. Occasionally people with anti-Semitic views take advantage of our free speech policy to present their abhorrent views. We have tried, within the limits of nonviolent behavior, to isolate those individuals, have asked them to leave, and have refrained from giving them the microphone.
I have never heard anyone from the PPJC support the terrorist murders of Jews in Buenos Aires that Ms. Roth referred to, or any other murders. As for the specific comments that Roth refers to it is important to note that the speakers at PPJC events give their own opinions and are not controlled by the PPJC. Quoting people out of context, as Ms. Roth did, is never a good policy. Here is some background about one of the speakers’ remarks.
Stanford history professor Joel Benin is Jewish and grew up in Israel where some of his family still lives. His remark about the US and Israel being responsible for the election of Hamas is probably controversial, but certainly sensible. Clearly the attack on the World Trade Center had a profound effect on US politics. Much has been said about how without the scare associated with terrorism George Bush would not have been re-elected. One of leading presidential candidates entire campaign is based on his being the Mayor of NYC when the attack occurred. So if US politics can be so influenced by a terrorist attack, it is not unreasonable to argue that the Palestinian elections would be influenced by the perception of the US and Israel as enemy terrorists.
Roth is concerned that some PPJC speakers thought that
Nasrallah, the leader of Hamas, is a not a “lunatic”, or “not an Osama bin Laden” . Does she construe these words to mean praise for Nasrallah? Obviously one can have a very low opinion of an individual and still not question their sanity or think there are others who are even worse. Perhaps the issue is more about the wisdom of negotiating with people who you disagree with. The PPJC has consistently called for negotiations rather than violence to settle disputes. In the Middle
East, the eye for an eye policy has not led to security for anyone.
In summary, some people may not like the views expressed at Peace and Justice Center events. They do not express the majority viewpoint. You can turn on the TV or radio or read your newspaper for those. However, comparisons with Nazism stretch the bounds of rationality.