Tikkun has recently published a number of open letters regarding the nature of the Occupy movement, at least as it is here in Oakland. In one letter, by a person who describes himself as "a student member of your Tikkun community," we read this:
To my horror, however, I observed and heard things that left me in a state of great concern. The 99% need healing, they need repair, they need transformation. The camp was ripe with hostility towards police. My conversations with the occupiers revealed little or any willingness to forgive and seek atonement from the police. Even more horribly, the occupiers seemed content to forget or even ignore the basic lessons our great non-violent leaders left for us. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the most dangerous thing about violence is its futility. This great leader recognized that fighting violence with violent resistance leads to a continuing cycle of inter-generational trauma and hatred.
Yet many of the occupiers seemed ready for a violent fight-some welcomed it- and many more were unready to forgive.
Ahh, nothing like cracking some skulls in order to feel truly revolutionary.
The highlight of the day was a speech and a reading from the Egyptian movement that was followed by a “Solidarity March.” The reading was disturbing to hear because its focus was on the justification for violent resistance. Although the need for violent aggression may be debatable in Egypt, it is not here in America. The activists of our past changed this county by being willing to die, not by being willing to kill. What shocked me more was that no one (including myself) booed or hissed. We sat there and many applauded. Worse followed.
A leader of a Palestinian youth group read his own speech. ”Down with Israel,” he said near the end of a speech that focused on past wrongs. There was resounding applause. Then one of the leader’s crew standing next to me said “fucking Jews,” and in the face of this I could stand it no longer.
Wow, a twofer!
We get both violence and anti-Semitism!
The Occupiers rock!
Surely all this justification for violence is just among the rabble, not among the community leaders, right?
Ahh, not so much, really.
Lerner responded to the students concerns in a letter of his own wherein he mainly praises the Occupy movement, but also tells us how some of the leadership, religious leadership no less, refused to stand up for non-violence.
But non-violence has not been the stance of the inner core at Occupy Oakland. I was deeply disturbed, and have withdrawn from active involvement with, a group of clergy who were meeting to discuss how they could assist in Occupy Oakland. At the third meeting I attended I proposed that we urge Occupy Oakland to officially endorse non-violence, train monitors to non-violently restrain violence-oriented demonstrators, and appeal to the majority of demonstrators to support these monitors to restrain the violence-oriented ones. To my shock, the clergy voted that down.
Pro-Occupy clergy voted down a resolution calling for non-violence.
Can you imagine?
Over at Commentary, Seth Mandel puts it like this:
That is, the “adult supervision” refused to advise the occupiers that they eschew violence, and when one of the protesters suggested nonviolence, he was roundly booed and mocked. The idea that the occupiers should be nonviolent was insulting to the movement’s core. Nonviolence and Jews are resented with shocking force by the occupiers, and their predilection for destruction was too much even for some of their advocates and allies, like Michael Lerner.
These people in the streets are thugs and little else.