For me; writes Joel Beinin (Stanford University professor and Mideast peace activist) , it was ironic. Ten days before, my own voice was silenced by fellow Jews.
Apparently, his talk to a group of students in a private school in San Jose was cancelled in the last minute because of the opposition of "a certain community of parents," influenced by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley.
In his article in the SanFransico Chronicle , Beinin (who is raised as a Zionist) writes:
I have long advocated equal rights for the Palestinians, as I do for all people. I criticize Israeli policies. I seem to have crossed the council's line of acceptable discourse. Because I am a Jew, it is not so easy to smear me as guilty of this "new anti-Semitism." Instead, hosts like the Harker School, and others, are intimidated, and open dialogue on Israel is censored.
Beinin draws attention to his Jewish upbringing and the belief that "being Jewish meant being actively committed to social justice". A belief that motivated him to go to move to Israel in the pursuit of that dream. Yet much of what I saw there called this into question., he writes.
His stark criticism however is directed at the method of smear campaign adopted by some Jewish American communities:
Organizations claiming to represent American Jews engage in a systematic campaign of defamation, censorship and hate-mongering to silence criticism of Israeli policies. They hollow the ethical core out of the Jewish tradition, acting instead as if the highest purpose of being Jewish is to defend Israel, right or wrong.
Even former U.S. presidents are not immune. Jimmy Carter has been the target of a smear campaign since the release of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Carter's most vociferous critics have not challenged him on the issues. Rather, they discredit him with personal attacks, even insinuating that the man who has achieved more than any other American president in Arab/Israeli peacemaking is anti-Semitic.
Why discredit, defame and silence those with opposing viewpoints? Beininn believes that "it is because the Zionist lobby knows it cannot win based on facts. He suggests that everlasting peace in the middle east can only be achieved an open debate and the freedom to discuss uncomfortable facts and explore the full range of policy options.
(thank you Dr. V for the link)