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JVP Bay Area Facilitates "IDF" Fundraiser: A Critique of Obedient Protest

by Anarchist Actions for Intifada
At the November 5 protest against the "Friends of the IDF Gala" in San Carlos, hundreds of people mobilized to shut down this fundraiser for a fascist zionist genocidal army, but the key player preventing the actual disruption of this event was the non-profit that "organized" the protest, Jewish Voices for Peace Bay Area.

JVP Bay Area did the dirty work of the police and the "israeli" occupation forces [IOF]. Through their aggressive peace policing, relentless harassment of anyone who wanted to do something more than stand and shout, and protest marshaling that helped the donors of settler-colonialist genocide drive safely into the gala. They not only allowed but actually facilitated this fundraiser.

We showed up to shut the gala down. If JVP Bay Area was unwilling to do the same (with whatever tactics they choose), the very least they could have done was not prevent other people from doing so.
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ALLOWING GALA ATTENDEES TO ENTER

Not only did they aggressively prevent the crowd from doing anything other than standing and shouting, JVP Bay Area's yellow-vested protest marshals moved the crowd down the road allowing the gala attendees to reach the event and prevented the crowd from knowing where a blockade could be most effective for actually stopping the fundraiser. Whether directly or indirectly, JVP Bay Area collaborated with the kkkops and zionists to help raise money for the "israeli" occupation forces by ensuring the protest did not shut down the fundraiser.

As the attached map shows, protest marshals were stationed behind police lines next to where gala attendees were driving in with giant "israeli" flags on their cars. Skyway Road is a dead-end: a blockade several hundred feet up the street in the direction of the Holly Street viaduct would have actually prevented gala attendees from being able to enter, shutting the entire event down. Alternatively or additionally, a blockade earlier in the day before the gala was being set up would have caused significant material disruption to the event. There were multiple strategies and tactics available for disrupting this gala.

When asked why the crowd wasn't being invited or encouraged to block the entrance IOF donors were using, one of the white protest marshals stationed at the Fairfield Inn driveway literally said, "I'm just following orders." Whose orders were they following? Why was following orders more important to them than spreading the word to stop the zionist cars that they could see driving right past them? It seems the "organizers" of this protest were instructing their security team to prevent protesters from stopping the gala.

JVP Bay Area corralled the crowd into the area directly in front of the Hiller Aviation Museum (the gala venue), stationed security at the alternate attendee entrance at the Fairfield Inn, and actively worked with the police to ensure that genocide funders were able to attend the gala safely. They cannot say they were unaware of what was happening when their protest marshals watched gala attendees drive into the event.

It is clear that JVP Bay Area had no interest in actually stopping the gala from happening. Why not? JVP on the East Coast has done civil disobedience and direct action. This event was a fundraiser for the IOF by an organization that raised almost 90 million dollars last year. If this was not a time and place where disruption was needed, when and where is?

PEACE POLICING

Early in the demonstration, as shown in the attached map, the protest marshals allowed the police to cut through the crowd and form a police line on Skyway Road between the protest and the Fairfield Inn entrance later used as an alternate route by gala attendees. The protest marshals then formed a line with the police and told the crowd to turn their backs on the police, as well as on a small group of zionist counter-protestors that had recently arrived. Despite the protest marshals' efforts, counter-protestors had an "israeli" flag stolen from them, got hit with a stick, and were pepper-sprayed.

The actions of the protest marshals, although disobeyed by some, were unfortunately generally effective in decreasing conflictuality within the crowd and setting a tone of obedient and compliant protest. The most liberal elements of the crowd took this as a signal to deputize themselves as peace police and harass those trying to actually shut down the fundraiser.

When participants of the demonstration attempted to take down barricades separating the crowd from the gala's venue, the peace police filmed and took photos, physically interjected, put the police barricades back together, and yelled at those attempting to push forward for "stirring shit up." Why show up to a fundraiser for an army committing genocide if not to stir things up? The organizers leading chants of "there is only one solution: intifada, revolution" showed themselves to be no more than counter-revolutionaries with zero desire to actually confront the kkkops and zionists right in front of them. The co-optation of this revolutionary language is disrespectful to every Palestinian martyr who has fought for their life, land, and freedom.

Many in the crowd, however, were ready to do more and eager to actually stop the fundraiser from occurring. They raged as donors for the genocide pulled up in their luxury cars. As the people seethed, the "organizers" colluded to channel that anger and readiness for action into nothing but chanting.

The protest was literally corralled to prevent the crowd from disobeying the kkkops or actually stopping the fundraiser from happening. We have to say it again: THEY MOVED THE CROWD TO LET THE IOF DONORS ENTER AND THEY PREVENTED ANYONE FROM PUSHING FORWARD TO DISRUPT THE FUNDRAISER. This kind of liberal symbolic protest is a demoralizing farce...bringing people out to stand in the street while accomplishing absolutely nothing when both the target and objective are so clearly present.

Where were the lessons of the anti-police rebellions of the past fourteen years in the Bay Area, from Oscar Grant to George Floyd? Why were the "organizers" so quick to encourage obedience to the police? Have they forgotten the role of the police within white supremacist capitalism, or are they just eager to capitalize on respectability politics by distancing themselves from the struggle for Black liberation and revolutionary abolition?

If these "organizers" had not engaged in their authoritarian peace policing, this fundraiser would have been shut down. Instead, what was likely hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for the "israeli" occupation forces and the donors were able to enjoy their gala smugly without any consequence. And the JVP Bay Area security team helped the genocide funders safely drive inside.

A JVP national board member named Lisa Rofel told the news, "the nicest thing we could say is that it's in bad taste." When fascist zionists are actively raising money to fund genocide, you want to say "the nicest thing"? You think it's "in bad taste" to give tens of millions of dollars to the IOF death machine? We call it genocide and we call it complicity.

Shouting "shame on you" means nothing to the gala donors. They are proud of their donations. Shutting down the gala was a bare minimum of the consequences they need to experience.

WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED?

JVP Bay Area, what is your strategy for actually disrupting the genocide in Gaza? When you look at historical and current struggles for liberation, do you think people win by being law-abiding, staying obedient, and allowing business as usual? Why are you aggressively preventing protesters from "stirring shit up" while doing literally nothing to prevent rich zionists from giving money to "israeli" occupying forces? What did you accomplish JVP Bay Area? You aggressively policed and corralled protesters while actively helping the donors get safely to this fundraiser, the IOF thanks you for your service.

To those of you who showed up and wanted to actually shut down this fundraiser for genocide, we have heard many of you express feelings of grief that protesting this gala "did nothing." We agree: nothing was done to stop the Palestinian genocide on Sunday. Our hearts are with you in this grief. We ask you to remember the rage you felt as you were forced to stand peacefully while funders of genocide drove by you in Teslas and the yellow-vests blocked you from reaching them. Do not let this demoralize you. We ask you also to remember that no one and no organization has the right to tell you how to respond in the face of unspeakable evil. Just because they slapped their logo on an announcement does not mean they are entitled to control you or any other protester.

This gala could have been shut down, but JVP Bay Area made sure that did not happen. JVP Bay Area, to you and your peace police we say: never again, fuck the police, and long live the intifada!

Let us all remember the words of revolutionary martyr Bassel al-Araj in Dismantle It And Let Them Fall:

"It is no secret that there is a comprador class directly benefiting from the existence of the occupation, and the current situation gives great privileges to that small fraction of society. Let us avoid taking up arms against one another. Let us dismantle it and let them fall . . . Is it any wonder that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas insists he does not want to undermine Israel’s legitimacy? What I find most strange is Abbas’ constant apologies for our people’s struggles. So dismantle it and let them fall."
§Captured zionist flag
by Anarchist Actions for Intifada
foto_no_exif.jpg
From mainstream media: "As emotions continued to rise, one protester took an Israeli flag, ripped it, and stomped on it."
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