Eyewitness testimony from JVP member about Stand With US (SWU) attacks
Report from Robin Lindheimer, Jewish Voice for Peace:
I just attended a meeting of the Bay Area Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a human rights organization I have belonged to for many years. What up until now has always been a peaceful gathering of human rights advocates to discuss, strategize and share information, was targeted by a group engaging in disruption and violence.
After the usual greetings, the facilitator began the meeting. A number of people I had never seen before suddenly pulled out video cameras and started sweeping the room, filming all of the participants. It was very strange, disconcerting and intimidating. The facilitator requested that they stop filming, but told them they were welcome to stay if they acted civilly. They continued to film. They were informed that the police would be called if they did not stop. They lowered the cameras, but continued to raise them from time to time.
At first I was not sure why they would want to film a lawful gathering of activists working for peace and human rights as if we were doing something sinister, but it soon became clear that their aim was to disrupt.
About 15 minutes into the meeting, as one of the invited speakers began to talk, one of the women with a video camera stood up and began shouting very loudly and pacing back and forth. She was shouting down the speaker and shouting at us for what we were doing. And she was doing so very forcefully and angrily. She paced back and forth in a frenzy. Attendees of the meeting became flustered. Some meeting attendees began asking her to stop shouting and sit down. Others started to shout down the disruptor, in turn. I could see those in cahoots with the shouting women begin to focus on the mayhem, filming those most flustered, sticking the cameras in our faces. This created even more tension and chaos and then to my horror I heard groans of pain. The shouting woman had sprayed some unknown substance in the face of at least two people. They were hit directly in the face; tears were streaming down from their eyes and their faces were bright red.
Police arrived but they allowed the disruption to continue as they waited for a supervisor. I saw the person who sprayed my friends in the face get escorted away from the premises in handcuffs. Others left on their own, unmolested.
Eventually the meeting got back on track and we were able to complete much of the business we had come for.
As I was leaving the meeting, walking through the group of police that had remained outside for our protection, I felt a twofold injury: On the one hand I felt that we had been bullied. Further, I felt we had been set up. I wondered if the whole operation was perpetrated against us so they could post a youtube video of what would look like a confrontation, edited for maximum misrepresentation in order to try to discredit us.
Hours later and safely at home now, I feel recovered, for the most part, from what I just experienced. I have a more positive take on the whole affair. It occurs to me that we at Jewish Voice for Peace must be doing something right to be targeted in this way. As the often-repeated quote by Mahatma Gandhi says:
“First they ignore you, than they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!” I guess this group that tried to foil our meeting is past the laughing stage.
-- Robin Lindheimer, Jewish Voice for Peace
Click here for full account of the attacks.