WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
Years ago while living in Orlando I was approached by some leaders from the Palestinian community in Central Florida. I was working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and they asked me to help them organize a pro-Palestinian march through the city. There had never been such a thing done in Orlando before. I said I would be happy to help.
We began by having small meetings at the home of an older Palestinian man. I had previously not worked on the Israel/Palestine issue very much and was grateful for the chance to meet so many wonderful people of Arab origin. The march turned out to be a great success.
Another time I received a phone call from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando asking me to come to their next board meeting. I asked what they wanted to talk about and they declined to answer, instead just saying we'd talk when I arrived. So I went.
As it turns out the board of directors had me approach a podium as they sat on a raised platform like at a city council meeting. The board president launched into a fierce diatribe about the Florida Coalition's antisemitic work and then went on to threaten us with defunding of our organization if we dared to continue such efforts. I was dazed and stunned and could not figure out what they were referring to but then it dawned on me that we regularly shared a complimentary copy of our newsletter (Just Peace) with the federation and the most recent edition had run a story about the Palestinian issue.
I told the Jewish Federation board that we did not receive any funds from their organization, that we gave them our newsletter for free. Then I told them that we would not be intimidated and would continue to share stories about the Palestinian cause when we felt it was appropriate. Needless to say the board president gave me another verbal lashing as I headed for the exit. On the way out a woman rabbi stopped me at the door and sort of apologized. She was younger and likely more sensitive to the fact that the days of Israeli control of American hearts and minds is dramatically changing.