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Contentions

Bay Area Outrage

Abraham Miller gives us a peek at the descent into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic leftism that has gripped the Jewish community of the San Francisco Bay Area. The latest outrage was the Jewish Film Festival, at which the latest work of Simone Bitton, Rachel, was featured. Miller explains the background and the scene at the anti-Israel propaganda fest:

Simone Bitton is a French-Israeli director who numbers among the 479 Israelis who called for a complete boycott of Israel during the Israel Defense Forces incursion into Gaza to stop rockets from exploding in Sderot.

Obviously, Bitton exempted her own endeavors from the call. Bitton has now directed the film Rachel, a documentary on Rachel Corrie. If there is any doubt regarding Bitton’s politics or the film’s slant, note that the documentary tours film festivals along with Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother and a propagandist for the likes of Hamas and the International Solidarity Movement — groups committed to Israel’s destruction. One would expect Bitton’s work to be showcased by the usual gaggle of progressives and ultra-liberal church groups intent on destroying the Jewish state.

But in the San Francisco area? The Jewish Film Festival shows Bitton’s work. Peter Stein, the festival’s director, knew exactly what he was doing in selecting this film. Stein was familiar with both Bitton’s work and her politics. He invited the American Friends Service Committee, now helping with the boycott of Israeli goods, to participate in the showing.

(AFSC, you may recall, hosted a dinner in New York for Ahmadinejad in September 2008.) Those who attended the festival report that it predictably turned into a virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic crowd. The audience jeered a pro-Israel speaker and rooted for those boycotts and sanctions against Israel. A friend relates via e-mail that there were Nazi salutes and “Sieg Heil” screams. (Ron Radosh has more here.)

To be clear, this was an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation. Needless to say, the federation in San Francisco has been inundated with complaints. Yet the federation continues to defend its participation in the event and has refused to pull funding. The federation leadership instead continues to laud the film festival. It is all about the wonderful “diversity” of the Jewish community, the federation tells its critics.

But this is not an isolated event in the San Francisco Bay Area. As Miller and others have documented, with the full encouragement and support of the local federation and the Northern California Hillel, the Berkeley Hillel has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda. Miller again explains:

For several years, Berkeley’s Hillel didn’t celebrate Passover, but it did celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that is not even celebrated throughout Mexico. But for leftist Jews, it’s better to align oneself with the revolt of the oppressed masses in Puebla, Mexico, than with Jews throwing off Pharaoh’s yoke of slavery.

Berkeley Hillel, under the ever-vigilant eye of the Jewish community, brought in the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine, a lead organization in the anti-Israel boycott, to disseminate its propaganda to impressionable and naïve Jewish students. Berkeley Hillel could not have better served the bidding of the anti-Israel left and their Muslim allies than if it had turned over the organization to them.

Other lowlights from the Berkeley Hillel: smearing Orthodox Jews in its Valentine’s Day invitation posted on Facebook, participation in “Israel Apartheid Week,” holding a dance party on Yom Ha’Shoah, and actively discouraging students from marching in support of Israel and displaying the Israeli flag during the Gaza incursion.

This is the “Jewish Left” in all its glory — embracing those who would destroy Israel, reveling in the camaraderie of Palestinian extremists, and determined to ostracize and vilify Israel. Why those in the Bay Area Jewish community who do not share these views have not risen up to put an end to this charade remains a mystery. But clearly, the enemies of Israel have no greater friends than those who are helping to carry out their aims – all in the name of the “Jewish community.”