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Dr. Michael Harris from SF Voice for Israel speaks at Rechel- what's so Jewish about that?
On Saturday, July 22, the movie Rachel was shown at the Castro. Zionist organizations were up in arms trying to cancel the screening. Failing to do that, they were left with giving a speech at the start of the movie that can be condensed to one sentence: “Rachel Corrie defended terrorists, we decide what is Jewish, anyone who disagrees with us supports suicide bombing”.
t’s Dr. Michael Harris’ time to speak. Not being able to censure the movie completely, Zionists are left with nothing but telling everyone in the crowd how much they hate them. Dr. Michael Harris is representing San Francisco Voice for Israel, an organization whose members have been uniting and collaborating with the most racist elements in the Jewish community, such as Lee Kaplan and Davka, Tikva/Zionist Freedom alliance, and supporting events such as Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week.
Dr. Michael Harris spends a second or so on the relevant issue, the life and death of Rachel Corrie, only to move to his favorite subject: suicide bombing. Locking himself into a weird dichotomy, in which anyone who disagrees with Israel’s apartheid policies supports suicide bombing or is anti-Semitic, it’s easy for him to state the following: the International Solidarity Movement is a terrorist organization, Jewish Voice for Peace is anti-Israel, his organization is the only one to really represent Jews. He also assures everyone that the house Corrie was trying to prevent from being demolished was used to smuggle weapons. This kind of historical revisionism I can expect from any holocaust denier, but it really becomes weird when the person propagating that nonsense claims to represent Jews. “Rachel” features interviews with soldiers saying they demolish and shoot at houses for no reason at all. This isn’t something a vast majority of Jews agree with. His insistence on telling us again and again what we will not hear in the movie makes me feel that Dr. Harris was preparing for a 12-hour documentary focusing not only on the life and death of Rachel Corrie, but the entire history of the Middle East.
To begin with, Dr. Harris represents everything wrong with our education system: a concentration on bodies of studies while negating every possible ability to acquire critical and moral thinking. Business majors never study what the implication of working for a bank or a corporation might be, economics majors never study the real effects of capitalism on the poor and oppressed, and doctors like Michael Harris, who took the Hippocratic oath end up supporting Zionism, Apartheid. In the movie, there’s an interview with a soldier stationed in the area where Rachel was killed. The soldier confesses to shooting randomly at houses, killing civilians. If Dr. Michael Harris was present at the time, would he treat the wounded and help save the lives of those shot by that soldier? Or would he run to destroy evidence and figure a way to insist the killing is heroic and part of a “war on terrorism“? Is it that this interview, and others, is why Zionists like Dr. Harris would like the film censored?
Dr. Harris’s speech was repeatedly interrupted by the crowd booing him down and jeering at his blatant lies. He didn’t give up, however. There’s obviously something very scary to people like him about critical thinking, in allowing people to dodge and watch movies without his constant noise.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Harris relies on a long tradition of colonial thinking. He knows what’s good for the Palestinians, he and Israel can lead and help them progress into the civilized world, if they would only let him. Their leadership uses aid money to buy weapons, unlike the Israeli leadership which uses aid money to buy toys, ice-cream, and lollipops. He finishes his speech by stating that a Jewish film festival shouldn’t allow a movie or speaker that demonizes Israel, and for us not to forget all the Israelis who died for being Jews.
Dr. Harris finished his speech, and I left wondering what has happened to my Jewish tradition that Dr. Harris claims to represent. Where do I, as a Jewish person, fit in with Dr. Harris’ support for house demolition, occupation, and orientalism towards Palestinians and Arabs? What is the relation between my Jewish ancestors living peacefully in their Arab community, producing tradition and books such as the Talmud and the Mishna, and Dr. Harris’ hatred of everything that is not western and him? how does the Jewish tradition of charity, caring for the other, giving ones life to save other in need fits in with Dr. Harris justification of murder and genocide? His message that Jews, by definition, support Israel’s apartheid policies and should become a thought police where any idea critical of the official party line is attacked and censored is alienating and maybe call for a new definition of what’s “Jewish,” what it means to practice “Judaism.”
I’m encouraged to some extent by the hundreds of Jews who came to watch the film despite Dr. Harris and his organization’s threats and bullying, but can we as Jews overcome, negate and separate ourselves from Dr. Harris’ and SF voice for Israel racial supremacy?
I was left with one last thought: could it be that Rachel Corrie in action and essence was more Jewish then Dr. Harris?
Dr. Michael Harris from SF Voice for Israel speaks at Rachel