Those damn fringes

August 23, 2006

In News Video

“Jewish Community Relations Council, You Do Not Speak For Us!”

POSTED: 4:05 pm PDT August 22, 2006 | / Bay City News

SAN FRANCISCO — Police arrested 14 men and women Tuesday after
they blocked the doors of the Jewish Community Federation in
downtown San Francisco in protest of U.S. involvement in Middle
East conflicts.

Bound together by ropes and metal tubing, six of the protesters
sat directly in front of the building’s glass doors, which had
been covered by adhesive posters and handbills.

Sparks flew when a firefighter lowered a handheld power saw onto
the piping connecting the arms of each protester. Once they were
separated, officers escorted, carried or dragged each protester
into a police van while onlookers cheered.

According to police Captain Denis O’Leary, the protesters were to
be transported to the Southern Police Station and booked on
misdemeanor counts of disturbing a business and lack of proper

The protest did not turn violent, O’Leary said.

Several of the activists, a few wearing traditional yarmulkes,
screamed that they were, “Jews against Israel’s siege of

“I am a U.S. Jew and a taxpayer,” one protester yelled as police
carried her into the van. “And I am against the Israeli
occupation of Palestine and Lebanon.”

Inside the building, as the posters were ripped down, men in
suits watched as the demonstrators were carted off.

Yitzhak Santis, a spokesman with the Jewish Community Relations
Council, a public affairs organization representing the Jewish
Community Federation, said the protesters were part of a “tiny
fringe of the Jewish community.”

“The Bay Area Jewish community overwhelmingly supports Israel and
stands with Israel against terrorist organizations, such as
Hezbollah and Hamas,” Santis said.

He also said that the Jewish Community Federation, which
represents 80 different Bay Area groups involved with charity and
fundraising, supports sending a multi-national force into
Lebanon to prevent Hezbollah from rearming.

But Samantha Litman, a spokeswoman for the demonstrators, said
they were disputing a claim that all Bay Area Jewish
organizations promote a blanket policy of supporting Israeli
military action.

“We’re appalled by what we’re seeing happening in Lebanon and
Palestine,” Litman said. “Killing civilians, attacking government
institutions and destroying the infrastructure of modern
society is an immoral course of action that will ensure security
for no one.”