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Four Coalitions Respond to Michael Lerner
International News & Opinion

Date:     2/12/2003 9:17:57 AM Central Standard Time
From:     ilcinfo@earthlink.net (The Organizer)

FOUR COALITIONS RESPOND TO MICHAEL LERNER

In the last day, as anti-war forces around the country
have been working together to build for this weekend's
important mobilizations, we at A.N.S.W.E.R. have been
taken by surprise by a campaign initiated by Michael
Lerner and furthered by David Corn (a reporter for the
Nation and Fox News) and others that has sought to deceive
the anti-war movement and to misdirect its energies to
instead focus on fraudulent claims of victimhood by
Michael Lerner because he was not asked to speak at the
San Francisco demonstration this Sunday. This attack has
now been picked up by ultra-right, pro-war forces in an
effort to defame the movement.

We have heard from many who have been anguished by the
false claims put forth by Lerner. The following is a
statement by the four major anti-war coalitions that are
co-sponsoring the San Francisco rally on Sunday, February
16 that sets the record straight. The four coalitions are
Not in Our Name Project, United for Peace and Justice, the
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, and the Bay Area United Against
War.

Please post where necessary to clarify Michael Lerner's
deceptions.

-----------------------------

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR
NOT IN OUR NAME PROJECT
INTERNATIONAL A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION
UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 11, 2003

CONTACT PERSON:
Bert Knorr (510) 644-8071, (415) 307-8028 (cell)

STATEMENT FROM FEBRUARY 16 ANTI-WAR COALITIONS REGARDING
RABBI MICHAEL LERNER

We would like to clarify the misunderstanding regarding
Rabbi Michael Lerner's perception that he was "banned"
from speaking at the peace rally. His charges are untrue,
and we wish to set the record straight.

As the Bush Administration continues its relentless drive
toward war, the mass mobilizations in cities around the
world on the weekend of Feb. 15-16 have taken on great
significance. Millions of people are expected to
demonstrate in cities around the world in what may be the
last opportunity to stop a new war on Iraq before it
starts.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, four coalitions -- each
comprised of many organizations and individuals -- have
come together to sponsor a broad and united anti-war march
and rally on Sunday, Feb. 16. The four coalitions -- Bay
Area United Against War, Not In Our Name project, United
for Peace & Justice, and the International A.N.S.W.E.R.
(Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition -- have been
working together successfully for the last several weeks
to maximize the turnout on Feb. 16.

One of the first agreements that was made between the
groups organizing the Feb. 16 anti-war protest was that
none of the coalitions would propose rally speakers who
had publicly attacked or worked to discredit one of the
coalition groups. When members of the Tikkun Community,
who have actively participated in the organizing meetings
for Feb. 16, suggested to Bay Area United for Peace and
Justice that it propose Michael Lerner as a speaker, it
was explained by members of UPJ that since he had publicly
attacked A.N.S.W.E.R. in both the New York Times and
Tikkun community email newsletters, his inclusion in the
program would violate the agreement among the Feb. 16
organizing groups. At that time, Tikkun representatives
expressed that it would not be a problem if Michael Lerner
was not proposed as a speaker.

It was this issue, Michael Lerner's public attacks against
one of the anti-war coalitions, that resulted in his not
being formally proposed as a speaker on Feb. 16. His views
on Israel and Palestine had nothing to do with it. Within
the anti-war movement, there is a wide spectrum of diverse
and opposing views regarding Israel and Palestine, which
will be expressed on Feb. 16. To reiterate, the fact that
Michael Lerner was not invited to speak on Feb. 16 was not
the consequence of a "veto" by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.
None of the coalitions have veto power over the Feb. 16
program.

We strongly abhor all forms of racism and bigotry,
including anti-Semitism. At the same time, we don't
believe that criticism of Israeli government policies
should be labeled as anti-Semitism any more than criticism
of U.S. government policy should be labeled as
anti-American.

On the eve of a terrible war, we call upon everyone to
join together in making Feb. 15-16 a massive and powerful
statement for peace and justice. We're heartened by the
broad range of participation that is developing for Feb.
16, including within the Jewish community, and invite one
and all to join with us in our efforts to stop the war on
Iraq.

Issued by: Bay Area United Against War, International
A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition,
Not In Our Name Project, United for Peace and Justice