Public Comment

Commentary: Subverting the Peace and Justice Commission

By Joanna Graham
Tuesday May 22, 2007

Jonathan Wornick may be an unpleasant human being but he’s not a loose cannon. He’s a Zionist ideologue, doing the job to which he has been assigned: to keep the Peace and Justice Commission from functioning. 

Let us remember that after the commission’s Rachel Corrie vote, John Gertz, according to Commissioner Elliot Cohen, met with several commissioners and “demanded” that they rescind their votes. “‘He told us we had to reverse our vote or else,’ Cohen said.” (Planet, July 22, 2005). Failing to get the recision, Gertz solved his problem by packing the commission with Zionist stalwarts, including Wornick. “My sense,” Gertz said of his nominees, “is that, consistent with the principles of the Peace and Justice Commission, they are waging a peace campaign—they want peace to return to Berkeley on this issue.” (Planet, July 29, 2005). Since “this issue” may be presumed to include not only the Israel/Palestine conflict narrowly construed, but everything related thereto—such as the U.S. war on “terrorism”; current U.S. hot wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; potential U.S. hot wars in Iran and possibly Syria; the Middle East in its entirety; oil policy; nuclear weapons policy; immigration policy; relations with Europe; the U.N.; homeland security; military recruitment; and peace concerts (just for starters)— pretty much everything for which the Peace and Justice Commission was established is, under the Gertz plan, off its table. 

Should Wornick be kicked off the commission because he’s not a nice guy or has bad taste in videos? I don’t think so, since I’m a first amendment absolutist and also agree with Gordon Wozniak that a diversity of opinion is useful. But something more serious is at stake here. Wornick’s role is to subvert the commission itself. That is, he intends to keep the will of the people of Berkeley from being expressed, whether we wish to support human rights; to stop, limit, or ameliorate current wars; or to prevent future ones. We know why he is doing this. Both he and his mentor, John Gertz, are serving what they believe to be the interests of a foreign power. Not to put too fine a point upon it, on behalf of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East, they are at work to prevent us Berkeleyans from taking what steps we can to end the sacrifice of American lives. 

But what’s up with Gordon Wozniak, who presumably does not share Gertz/Wornick’s fealty to a foreign master? Either he is marvelously naïve about Zionist politics, or some consideration—such as campaign contributions or the threat of withholding same—is outweighing the embarrassment of his appointee’s severe case of political incorrectness. Of course there is always the possibility that, for his own reasons, Wozniak, too, seeks to stymie the Peace and Justice Commission. Perhaps the councilmember will let us in on his reasoning. 

At least the e-mail Wornick sent O’Malley wished only indirectly for her death. Direct death threats from rabid Zionists are, sadly, all too common. Ask Rabbi Michael Lerner, whose home address was posted on a website along with a suggestion that he should be taken out. Ask Rabbi Stephen Pearce, who made the mistake of inviting an Israeli refusenik to speak to his San Francisco congregation. Ask revisionist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, who has moved to England to protect his family. Some death threats are even official. Ask (until recently Member of the Knesset) Azmi Bishara, who faces a death-penalty-carrying charge of treason should he ever step foot again in his native land. 

I’m sufficiently familiar with Zionist thought to believe that Wornick was sincerely trying to do his fellow commissioners a favor by alerting them to the true nature of Muslim barbarism. Fine. He’s entitled to his point of view. If you disagree, argue, don’t freak. What’s important is that Zionists play hardball. Therefore we must not bog down in liberal angst but play hardball right back. Heck, if you don’t like your e-mails, delete them! And if you think there’s anybody on the Peace and Justice Commission who has no business being there, get on the phone to the relevant persons and say so. The last time I looked it was still a democracy, if spottily, and John Gertz et alia get to run things only if we let them. 


Joanna Graham is a Berkeley resident.