An Open Letter

Several Berkeleyans who were aware of the nature of the harassment of BDP advertisers became alarmed by the increasingly belligerent tactics and consequences of the campaign and thought a statement was necessary to clarify the issues from their perspective, express what they feel is a community consensus, and reassure besieged advertisers. They have no web site or formal affiliation, so they asked the Planet to post their statement with signatures they are in the process of collecting. We have done so here.

The organizers asked that those who want to be listed send their names and identifying information, if they wish, to an email address they have set up to collect signatures:

We, the undersigned East Bay residents, civic leaders and public officials, decry the attempt by a few individuals to intimidate the Berkeley Daily Planet's advertisers and betray our city's proud heritage of free speech. Local businesses have been confronted -- sometimes in coercive personal store invasions, sometimes through deceptive communications with the stores' national corporate offices -- with indiscriminate threats arising from the Daily Planet's commitment to free expression, specifically its commitment to publishing all shades of opinion on the fractious politics of the Middle East. Those individuals accuse the paper of anti-Semitism. They claim to speak for the Jews of Berkeley; they do not.

Some signers of this open letter are Jewish, and some are not. Those who are Jewish resent anyone peddling shameless misrepresentations in their name. The misrepresentations are based on the dangerous notion that anyone who disagrees with the current Israeli government's policies in the Middle East is therefore an anti-Semite. In fact, many Israelis share the opinions that these belligerent individuals characterize as anti-Semitic.

The signatories also vary in their opinions of the Daily Planet's local news coverage and editorials. Some support its editorial positions and editing decisions; others do not. What unites us is our admiration for the newspaper's dedication to free speech in the face of a campaign of bullying, hateful deception that jeopardizes its economic survival.

Many of us have participated in commercial boycotts in the past, and we respect the right of consumers to demonstrate their disapproval of a business's practices through such boycotts. But there is a significant difference between boycotts and bellicose personal confrontations that frighten small business owners and their clientele. And there is a difference too between boycotts based on credible injustices and those based on shameless misrepresentation.

The tactics employed by these few individuals have no place in Berkeley. We are grateful to the Daily Planet for championing the spirit of free speech for which this city is renowned. We have great admiration for the businesses that have courageously advertised in the Daily Planet despite the belligerent pressures to which they have been subjected. We urge our fellow citizens to join us in demonstrating support for free speech in Berkeley journalism by supporting and celebrating the businesses that resist this hateful intimidation.

Current Open Letter Signers

Claudine Drame, Director of the International Film Festival against Exclusion and for Tolerance

Jeffrey Kaplan

Dr. Fred Foldvary, Director, Civil Society Institute at Santa Clara University

Margot Harrison

Peter Rasmussen

Bruce Africa

Estelle Jelinek

Ralph E. Stone, retired Bay Area attorney

Daniel A. Alpert, education consultant

Daniel A. Snyder

Marjorie P. Lasky, Emerita Professor of History

Barbara Michel

David Eifler

William E. Woodcock

Dorothy Snodgrass

John Feld

Richard Fabry, publisher

Dolores Helman, teacher, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, civil libertarian and Berkeley Daily Planet advertiser

Tony C.Hill

Betty Lou Bradshaw

Terry Rillera

Lisa Sangita Moskow

Glen Kohler, manager, Bishop Berkeley Apartments

Carol David

Marilyn McMahon

Matthew Taylor, wordsmith/mediator

Teed Rockwell, Philosophy Dept, Sonoma State University

Sydney Carson, PhD

June Brumer

Victor Herbert, mediator of Berkeley community disputes, devotee of First Amendment

Norma Lee Myers, LMFT

Dorothy Bryant

Martha Nicoloff, co-author Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance

Alex Nicoloff, sculptor, artist

Rick Ayers, UC Berkeley

Anne Bernstein

Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children's Alliance

Richard Phelps, Attorney/Mediator

Henry Norr

Leon Wofsy, professor emeritus, UC Berkeley

Bonnie Hughes

Peter Y. Sussman, journalist/author

Chandra Ahuva Hauptman

Judith Berlowitz, PhD

Karen Platt, community college instructor

Carol Sanders

Douglas J. Hill

Wendy Kaufmyn

Mary Erwin

Janet Kobren

Nancy Polin

Kathleen Lilley

Joy Hilden, teacher & author

Wendy Hallinan

Daniel Hallinan

Eleanore Lee

Esther Mohler Ho, retired educator, Hayward

Jeanie Shaterian

Gene B. Herman

Pat Cody, cofounder, Cody's Books

Susan J. Parker

Mal Singer, educator

Heather Merriam

Mal Burnstein, Vice Chair CDP progressive caucus and retired attorney

Gar Smith, Free Speech Movement veteran

John Curl

George Salzman, professor emeritus, Univ. of Massachusetts at Boston

Matt Cantor, BDP advertiser, contributor and Bar Mitzvah boy

Bruce Haldane

Alan S. Kay

Judy Ann Alberti

Erma Wheatley

Tobey M. Wiebe and Richard P. Wiebe

Jack Sawyer, Ph.D., President, Parker Street Foundation

Carolyn S. Scarr, Ecumenical Peace Institute

Michael Katz

Roger & Jean Moss

Bob Burnett, writer

Ellen Hahn, Community Leader

Dena R. Thaler

Kazuye Suyematsu, ceramist

Bruce Harris

Ms. Sally Sommer

Diane Tokugawa

Charlene Mayne Woodcock

Brenda Revsen, Retired Berkeley Teacher

Jean Tepperman

Alison Porter Thomas

Wendy P. Markel, PreSchool Teacher

Terri Compost

Mary Berg, Producer of "A Musical Offering"

Sarah Cahill, pianist and radio producer

James Branson, Managing Editor (Retired), KTVU News

Blane N. Beckwith

Marilyn Pon

Austene Hall, 30-year resident of Berkeley

Carol Denney, musician

Roger Hahn

Annette Herskovits

Ronnie Gilbert, living in Mendocino with $$ and car still tuned to Berkeley

Beverly Voloshin, Professor and chair, Department of English Language and Literature, San Francisco State University

Rita Maran, Ph.D.

Jane and Christopher Adams

Sally Nelson

Sara R. Diamond, Attorney, Berkeley

Zipporah Weiss Collins

Theodore Roszak, Professor Emeritus, California State University East Bay

Ann Hallatt

Glen Hauer

Anne Richardson

Cindy Shamban

Marcia Poole

Mary C. Ford

Marty Schiffenbauer, Ph.D.

Phil McArdle, writer

Karen T. McArdle, writer

Paul Slobodny

Naomi Puro. Trees of Hope

Jack Kurzweil, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

Pamela A. Drake

Susan Harman, Ed.D., Oakland reader of Planet, member of JVP, AJJP, and CodePink

Jacqueline Riskin

Harry Wiener

Richard Graham

Tom Lent

Linda Halpern, Educator

Dave Blake, Rent Stabilization Board, Arts Commission, Design Review Committee, former Zoning Adjustment Board chair (affiliations are for identification purposes only)

Chris Gilbert

Louise C. Brown, retired fundraiser

Peter Seidman

Bonnie Benard

Martin B. Friedman

Sophia Ritchie, Middle East Children's Alliance

Claire Kahane, Professor of English Emerita, SUNY-Buffalo, Visiting Scholar, Dept. of English, UC Berkeley

Joel Isaacson

Helen Isaacson

Barbara Roose, WWII Holocaust survivor

Jeanne Pimentel

Victoria Nelson, Senior Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley Rhetoric Dept.

Stephen DeGange, Writer

Ruby Bernstein

Judith Newton

Suzanne Rogalin

Elliot Halpern, Berkeley Citizen, ACLU Board Member

Elizabeth Horowitz

Chana Bloch

Richard Reynolds

Fran Haselsteiner

Jaime Robles

Tom Miller, General Counsel, Global Exchange

Antonio Rossmann, Attorney at Law, Lecturer in Water Resources Law, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Patricia Carson Sussman, healthcare consultant

Bob Heaney

Susan Shawl, Oakland

Thomas Lynch, 40 year resident of the Elmwood District

Patti Dacey, Berkeley Planning Commissioner

Norma Armon, PhD

Bob Baldock

Stan Sprague

Maxine Hong Kingston

Daniel S. Beagle

Rebecca J. Kurland, Attorney at Law

Gray Brechin, Visiting Scholar, U.C. Berkeley

Art Goldberg

Sharon Maldonado, retired public school teacher

Carol Thornton

Adrianne Borgia, Oakland

Elena Servi Burgess

Adam Sussman

Carmen Rezendes, retired community college instructor

Wendy Bloom, RN

Ann Higgins

Sandra Yolles, Richmond

Marlene Griffith

Ignacio H. Chapela, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Ruth Maguire

Robert Vavasour

Ben H Bagdikian, former Dean, UC Graduate School of Journalism

Judy Belcher

Myrna Schnur, Grey Panthers

Wendy Oser

Dan Robbin

Matthew Hallinan, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

Penny Rosenwasser, Ph.D.

Tom Taussig, psychologist

Carole Howard

Lew Levinson

Bruce Jacobs

Susan Tait

E. Kay Trimberger, visiting scholar, UC, Berkeley

L. Carol Christopher

Joan Levinson

Jan Elise Sells, M.F.T.

Conn Hallinan, Daily Planet columnist, Foreign Policy In Focus analyst, former provost at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Lisa Thompson, writer, designer

Lewis Burgess, UC Berkeley

Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D.

Flora Schultz

Sasha Futran, chair KPFA Local Station Board

Peni Hall

Powell DeGange, Organizer, UNITE HERE Local 30

Cyril Drame, Researcher

Alan Gould, Curriculum Developer

Robert Kanter, Emeryville

Loralee Windsor

Arthur & Martha Luehrmann

Sandy Sher

Rob Browning, Talavera Ceramics

Hope Coffin, architect, Berkeley resident since 1959

Kate Frankel

Steve Martinot

Carol Pitts

Steve Lustig

Robert Blau

Cynthia Papermaster, National Accountability Action Network, CODEPINK

Carol Sklenicka, writer

Carl Friberg

Daniel Knapp, Ph.D. CEO, Urban Ore, Inc.

Bernard Marszalek,

David Mundstock

Asa Dodsworth, Berkeley Born and Raised

Annette R Floystrup, Oakland Community Activist

Irving & Linnea Gershenberg

Eric C. S. Dynamic, Social Justice Advocate

Hassan Fouda, Ph.D.

David Isaac Tam, Zero Waste/Anti-Sprawl Advocate

Deirdre English

Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, City of Berkeley, District 4

Bruce Joffe. Piedmont

Debra Golata

Alice Diane Kisch

Charles Siegel

Alison Weir

Helene Knox, UC Berkeley PhD, Free Speech Movement veteran, Fulbright lecturer, poet, editor, MDiv from Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley

Rachel O'Malley, Associate Professor, San Jose State University (for identification only)

Dave Weinstein, El Cerrito

Jane Powell, author, once and future BDP columnist

John H. McManus, founder of

Cynthia Stokes Brown, author

Elliot Cohen, former Peace and justice Commissioner

Andrew A. Stern, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley

John Burnsides, Albany resident

Professor Keith Miller (Emeritus, Math, U.C. Berkeley)

Jacqueline Beth

John T. Selawsky, Director and Clerk, Berkeley Board of Education

Theodora Crawford

Mal Singer

Harry Brill, labor activist and retired faculty member, University Of Massachusetts

Ethel Ruymaker

Jane and Tom Kelly

Roger Van Ouytsel, Berkeley and Cochiti Lake, N.M., neighborhood activist and artist

Mary Lou Van Deventer, Operations Manager, Urban Ore, enthusiastic Daily Planet advertiser

Raymond A. Chamberlin, retired electronics engineer

Michael Parenti, Ph.D., author and public speaker

Arlene Giordano owner of Le Bateau Ivre

Karen Wells

Peter Byrne, investigative journalist

Nancy McKay, former Berkeley business owner, San Francisco business owner, Oakland resident

Lincoln Bergman, educator/poet

Nancy Van Zwalenburg

Louis Tondu, mechanic

Larry Bensky

Peter and Carole Selz

John A. McMullen II, Telemarketing For the Arts

Ruth Rosen, historian and journalist

Dick Bagwell

Judy Nakadegawa

Jerry Landis

Mal Warwick, Founder & Chairman, Mal Warwick Associates

L. Boutelle

Ingrid M. Kollmann, property owner

John Geluardi, journalist

Osman Vincent, retired

Paul Rabinow

MaryAnn Hayden, Oakland

Shirley Barker

Marvin Chachere

Jane Stillwater

Joanne Kowalski

A. M. Kandarian, MPH

Jesse Townley, Rent Stabilization Board, Disaster & Fire Safety Commission, KALX Radio (for identification purposes only)

Merrilie Mitchell

Gale Garcia

Richard Walker

Victor Garlin

Virginia H King, CFP

James Delaney

Eliza O'Malley, musician

Fred Dodsworth, writer and activist

John Feld

Mark Liolios

Karen Folger Jacobs

Don Macleay

Meaveen O'Connor

Avis Worthington

Herbert L. Strauss

R.G.Davis Ph.D. founder and first director of the SF Mime Troupe

Juliet Lamont, Ph.D., Environmental Consultant

Rizwan A. Rahmani, Oakland

Madeline Duckles

Gail Brown

Fredrica Drotos

Hank Chapot, UC Berkeley Gardener

Stephen Wollmer, Cartographer

Sherry H. Smith, lawyer

Sheila Goldmacher, peace and justice activist

Virginia Rich

Richard Bermack

Sharon Hudson, Daily Planet reader

Anne Griffiths, RPT

Gar Smith, Editor Emeritus, Earth Island Journal, Free Speech Movement veteran

Roy Nakadegawa P.E., former publicly elected Transit Director to BART & AC Transit - served 32 years

Eleanor Walden

Mark Gorrell

Esther Green & Michael Jones

Samuel R. Peterson, Ph. D., Middle Eastern Studies

Romina Di Gasbarro

Lewis Dolinsky, journalist.

Sharon Rudnick, Rudnick Consulting, Berkeley

Nancy Carleton, neighborhood leader; former Chair, Zoning Adjustments Board

Judith Epstein, Ph.D.

Larry Rothe

Mary Prophet

Daniel Stone