ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

May 29, 2009

2009.05.29: RE: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

From: Terry, Stephen
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 11:02 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

I cannot disagree with you more.

The originators of Zionism based their concept of the Israeli state upon the expulsion of the Palestinians.  Theodore Herzl, among others, was quite clear about this in his early correspondence.  (Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, private correspondence of T. Herzl).  Herzl was also emphatic that this Zionist requirement of Paliestinian expulsion be carefully hidden from public view.

The Israeli state is a racist, apartheid state.  Ethic cleansing was its foundation and continues to guide it’s evolution.

It is a terrible irony that my people, who the Nazis attempted to ethnically cleanse off the face of the earch, would now, 60 years later, base their existence and survival upon that same unforgiveable concept as applied to the Palestinian people.


From: [R.]
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 3:47 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

Like many here, I too had a fondness and admiration for Bob.  We shared a pride about our Jewish heritage but we did argue (sometimes fiercely) especially on the topic of Israel.  Bob was honest.  He would want a webcite dedicated to his memory that is accurate and honest.  So in that spirit I must correct 3 errors.

Two involve the importance of words and their definitions.  The other involves history.  Below are 2 quotations from the site with which I take issue.  It is overly simplistic and inaccurate to say that Einstein opposed Zionism.  In fact he was one of its most prominent supporters.  An avowed anti-Zionist would not have been asked to be Israel’s 2nd president.  Was he conflicted about the form that Israel would take and about nationalism as it was then defined?  Yes.  But he was also a proud Jew who believed that Jews needed and deserved their own homeland.  The Wikipedia entry at the end of this email conveys some of the complexity painted over by the Zuss website.

As for the definition of Zionism given on the site, it is completely wrong and is motivated by the writer’s politics.  It misstates any conventional notion of the word.  Zionism is NOT about a “Jewish-only state”, nor is it about ethnic cleansing, an offensive notion given the genocide of 1/3 of the world’s Jews in our parents lifetimes by the Nazis.  The near annihilation of all Jews was the ultimate motivation for the UN and the West to provide a homeland for Jews.  Zionism is defined in my American Heritage Dictionary as a “a plan or movement of the Jewish people to return from the Diaspora to Palestine” and “a movement originally aimed at the re-establishment of a Jewish national homeland and state in Palestine and now concerned with the development of Israel.”  For those non-Jews and some peripheral Jews (no offense at all intended), it may not be obvious the place that Israel holds in our hearts and minds.  It is not just a nation.  It is an essential part of our identity, whether or not we are observant Jews or not.  (I don’t know of any perfect analogy to explain it.  You just have to trust that most Jews are offended when there are mass faceless discussions among 1,000 email users — of all stripes and backgrounds — about a place that holds such psychic significance for us.  It is as if you all were talking about my family.)

The second quote at issue uses the term “Israeli apartheid” as if it were some widely recognized convention.  It is not.  Apartheid is an Afrikaner word that was used as the official designation of racial segregation in S. Africa.  Using this word in this context is highly offensive to those who were the subject of this policy in S. Africa and highly offensive to Israelis.  While many would agree that non-Jews in Israel are often treated as second-class citizens, many do serve in prominent positions in government and business.  It is not the official policy in Israel to so discriminate.  In fact, it is the policy of Israel to discriminate against non-Orthodox Jews by, for example, requiring all Jewish weddings to comply with Orthodoxy.  Muslims and Christians may get married however they wish.  This is also partially true for Kosher laws and the Sabbath, laws which do not apply to non-Jews.

Finally, the second quotation below is inaccurate because “apartheid” was never a major point of conflict in the union, as no one, save a few of our members, ever used the term or subscribed to this misusage (Jimmy Carter’s controversial use notwithstanding).  The actual conflict has been between those few who use the ALAA listserv for their own political ends, often to provoke fellow members in an inappropriate manner.  Our membership is a largely pro-civil rights, pro-Israel membership, many of whom are proud Jews who support a safe homeland for Jews that respects the civil rights and self-determination of its Arab brothers.

And like Albert Einstein and other Jews, Zuss opposed Zionism (support for a Jewish-only state in an ethnically-cleansed Palestine) — decades before Jimmy Carter criticized Israeli apartheid.

During the 1991 Gulf War and following 9/11, U.S. wars and Israeli apartheid became major points of conflict within the union — often between pro- and anti-Zionist Jewish members.

Zionism

Einstein was a socialist Zionist who supported the creation of a Jewish national homeland in the British mandate of Palestine.[66] In 1931, The Macmillan Company published About Zionism: Speeches and Lectures by Professor Albert Einstein.[67] Querido, an Amsterdam publishing house, collected eleven of Einstein’s essays into a 1933 book entitled Mein Weltbild, translated to English as The World as I See It; Einstein’s foreword dedicates the collection “to the Jews of Germany”.[68] In the face of Germany’s rising militarism, Einstein wrote and spoke for peace.

Einstein publicly stated reservations about the proposal to partition the British-supervised British Mandate of Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish countries. In a 1938 speech, “Our Debt to Zionism”, he said: “My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain—especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. … If external necessity should after all compel us to assume this burden, let us bear it with tact and patience.”[71] In a 1947 letter to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Einstein stated that the Balfour Declaration‘s proposal to establish a national home for Jews in Palestine “redresses the balance” of justice and history.[72]

The United Nations did divide the mandate, demarcating the borders of several new countries including the State of Israel, and war broke out immediately. Einstein was one of the authors of an open letter to the New York Times in 1948 criticizing Menachem Begin‘s Herut (Freedom) Party for the Deir Yassin massacre (Einstein et al. 1948).

Einstein served on the Board of Governors of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In his Will of 1950, Einstein bequeathed literary rights to his writings to The Hebrew University, where many of his original documents are held in the Albert Einstein Archives.[73]

When President Chaim Weizmann died in 1952, Einstein was asked to be Israel’s second president, but he declined, stating that he had “neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings.” [74] He wrote: “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. “[75]


From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:22 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

This site is about Robert Zuss (1943-2006), who for the final twenty years of his life was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

2009.05.29: Sat. 6/6 @77 Pct. Brooklyn: Stop Police Violence Against Our Community

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:16 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 10:16 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Sat. 6/6 @77 Pct. Brooklyn: Stop Police Violence Against Our Community

Stop Police Violence Against Our Community

The Madness Has To Stop

Host:  S.O.S. Collective and G.L.O.B.E.

Type:  Causes <http://www.facebook.com/s.php?k=400000010&c1=2>  – Protest <http://www.facebook.com/s.php?k=400000010&c1=2&c2=25>

Network:  Global

Date:  Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time:  3:00pm – 5:00pm

Location:  77th Precinct

Street:  St. Marks and Utica

City/Town:  Brooklyn, NY

On May 16, 2009 two black lesbians were brutally beaten in front of a club in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY. The Safe OUTside the System Collective of the Audre Lorde Project and Gays and Lesbians of Bushwick Empowered of Make the Road by Walking are organizing a protest with the women who were attacked against the 77th Precinct on Saturday June 6th @ 3PM @ the 77th Precinct. It will be @ St. Marks Avenue and Utica Avenue. Please come out and join us.

May 28, 2009

2009.05.28: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

Filed under: ALAA History,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 8:22 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:22 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Remembering Bob Zuss on his Birthday (Today)

This site is about Robert Zuss (1943-2006), who for the final twenty years of his life was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

http://bobzuss.wordpress.com/

Zuss

May 26, 2009

2009.05.26: 6 PM Tonight: Queer Civil Rights March Ag. Proposition 8 Hate Law

Filed under: Civil Rights — nyclaw01 @ 3:38 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 3:38 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: 6 PM Tonight: Queer Cvil Rights March Ag. Proposition 8 Hate Law
Queer Civil Rights March Ag. Proposition 8 Hate Law Tuesday May 26 at 6:00 PM Sheridan Square (directions at bottom) “no matter what the courts decide Tuesday”

Background: http://www.civilrightsfront.com/ <http://is.gd/Cx6P-/ > <http://is.gd/CxdV-/ >

Sheridan Square at 7th Av. So., W. 4th & Christopher Sts:
= > TRAINS:
#1 to Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq. (at 7th Av. So., W. 4th & Christopher Sts.);
A, B, C, D, E, F, V to W. 4th St. (NW/uptown exit at 6th Av. & Waverly then walk 3 blocks 0.2 mi. west on Waverly Pl. then Christopher St.);
PATH to 9th St. (at 6th Av. & walk 3 blocks/0.3 mi. SW on Chistopher St./9th St.);
#2, 3 to 14 St (at 7th Av. & walk/bike 0.4 mi./7 blocks or switch to
#1 Local); L to 8th Av. (at 14th St., then walk 0.5 mi./9 blocks via Hudson & W. 4th Sts.); R, W or Broadway Local to 8th St.-NYU (at Broadway then walk 0.6 mi./5 blocks OR switch to westbound M8 bus via 9th St./Christopher St.);
#6 to Astor Pl. (at Lafayette & 4th Ave., then walk 0.7 mi./7 blocks OR switch to westbound M8 bus via 9th St./Christopher St.);
#4, 5, N, Q, to 14 St.-Union Sq. then walk/bike 0.8 mi./9 blocks or switch to M14A bus; no weekend B, V or W; weekend #2 and N may run Local; = > BUSES: M8 via 9th St., Christopher & 10th St.; M20 via 7th Av. So & 8th Av.; M21 via Ave C & Houston; M14A via 14th St.; = > NYC suggests BIKING on: Houston, 9th St./Christopher St., 10th St., Hudson River Greenway to Houston St. exit or 10th St. exit; 8th Av., 9th Av., 11th Av.
= > MAP: http://tinyurl.com/bchpjx

2009.05.26: 7 p.m. Tonight: British MP Speaking in Brooklyn to Break the Siege on Gaza

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 8:56 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 8:56 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: 7 p.m. Tonight: British MP Speaking in Brooklyn to Break the Siege on Gaza

George Galloway Speaks to Brooklyn Community, Tuesday May 26, 2009

SUPPORT THE CARAVAN & HELP BREAK THE SIEGE ON GAZA!!!
Caravan will depart from the US 7/4/09 with the goal of raising $10,000,000 and sending 550 Trucks & Delegates.

Join Al-Awda-NY, The Arab Muslim American Federation and the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition for A Fundraising Evening for the Viva Palestina Caravan from the US to Gaza, Called by Ron Kovic and MP George Galloway.

>>> Poetry by REMI KANAZI and TAHANI SALEH

TUESDAY MAY 26, 2009 7 p.m. until late…
Widi Catering Hall, 5602 6th Ave., Brooklyn (@56th St.) R to 59 St.

############
Tickets:
$30
$20 for Students

BUY TICKETS ONLINE: http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.al-awdany.org/gg.htm
or at door!

——————-
http://www.vivapalestina-us.org/?cat=5

A Call to Action

Ours is a time of change. And nowhere is change more desperately needed than for the long suffering people of Palestine.

The brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip at the start of this year killed over 1,400 people. Thousands more lost limbs, were scarred for life by phosphorus bombs, or were maimed by other hideous weapons. All this was inflicted on a besieged people who had nowhere to flee to.

For far too long public policy and media coverage of Palestine in the US has been grotesquely distorted. We hope to change that and win a more just approach from President Obama, whose election marks an emphatic rejection of the disastrous Bush years.

The assault on Gaza has proved a turning point. A majority of Americans polled came out against it. Unprecedented numbers took to the streets in protest.

Protest is important, but it is not enough. That’s why we have organised a convoy of medical aid for the people of Gaza to leave the US on July 4. We hope to take hundreds of vehicles carrying $10 million worth of medical aid from Egypt into Gaza.

The Palestinian people need wheelchairs, medicines, prosthetic limbs and baby units.

They need also to see that there are huge numbers of Americans who care about their plight.

And the US itself needs the world – above all the Arab and Muslim worlds – to see a different face from that projected these last eight years.

If hundreds of US passport holders bearing millions of dollars worth of medical aid enter Gaza this July, they will gain immense international publicity. Hundreds of millions of people who feel enraged at recent US foreign policy will see that ordinary Americans are also opposed to it and are in no sense their enemy.

We appeal to you to support this convoy in whatever ways you can. Its success will not only bring some relief to the people of Palestine, it can be a significant step in building a new relationship between America and the rest of the world

George Galloway MP
Ron Kovic

——————-
Videos from an American, still in Gaza
http://www.vivapalestina.org/video4.htm

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.