sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 23, 2012

Free Speech Bay Area

Last night DH was looking over one of the two free local papers we still get delivered to our door.

“Is there anything I need to read?” I asked.

“Meh.  If you want to, you can check out the letter here about a “free speech” event for Jew-bashers.”

Under the heading Breaking Down Barriers I read the following:

For more than a year, visitors to the Saturday Alameda Farmer’s Market encounter bright orange traffic cones with notices proclaiming one small place at the very end of the vendor area a “Free Speech Zone” — all this fuss with signage and color that shouts “caution,” for one citizen’s effort to talk about matters of peace in Palestine and peace in the Middle East.

For those who desire to know more about the situation in Palestine, non-violent efforts to resist the military occupation and the international boycott; divestment and sanctions movement that is gaining steam around the world, I would like to extend an invitation to the Sabeel Conference tomorrow and Saturday, March 23 and 24, at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, 732 West Fremont Ave.

The conference will offer an opportunity to hear many voices of conscience — American, Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.

You won’t be put off by seeing “caution” cones or feel yourself restricted to talk “freely” in a small designated area. Instead you will be greeted with invitations to talk with people who live and work in Israel and in the Palestinian territories You will have the opportunity to learn to challenge the status quo, and act to promote freedom, justice and equality.

You might even find yourself challenged to hold onto this issue and join the ever growing call for peace in the Middle East here in the streets of Alameda! Additional information can be found at

— Paula Rainey

I’m curious about these orange cones: did I missed something entertaining a year ago?  Ms. Rainey is a local proponent of the boycott, divest, sanction effort currently in vogue with Israel’s enemies, and she did have an event planned at the Farmer’s Market at some point.

Not sure what boycott of and divestment from a besieged tiny nation has to do with  “peace in the Middle East” or “breaking down barriers,” if by barriers we mean barriers towards peace or at least  security, and not the defensive wall Israel had erected to protect her citizens from terrorists attacks in 2004.  Most of the said barrier is actually a fence, and it did effectively end the “Second Intifada”, or the wave of terror that swept Israel in the second half of the last decade following Yasser Arafat’s rejection of a generous Israeli land offer.  Those opposed to the Jewish state have been railing against Israel’s non-violent defense (which is what the said wall/fence has been since it was built).  The wall part of the construction is prominently pictured on the conference’s website.

The conference will feature a variety of speakers with consistent anti-Israel bias.  Who else signs on to promote the boycott of the sole democracy in the Middle East?  This event is being billed as some sort of an open mike.  Interesting that they feel censored, scary orange cones and what not, because there is another free speech twist.

In May 2010, the Turkish Islamist government sent a ship called Mavi Marmara, loaded with weapons and unusable medical supplies, to break the legal blockade Israel imposed on Gaza Strip in lieu of Hamas terrorists regularly firing rockets on Israel.  The IDF boarded the ship, were attacked and killed several armed crew members.  International outrage ensured as the media outlets the world over had the public convinced that Mavi Marmara was carrying peace activist with humanitarian aid.  Since it is Friday, here is the terrific Caroline Glick and Latma TV with “We Con the World,” a parody inspired by the incident:

Paula Rainy, who at least at one point was a member of the ultra-left Green Party, has long been obsessed with the Jewish State.  She was signing anti-Israel petitions as far back as 2001.  When, following the Mavi Marmara incident, lefties everywhere called for retaliatory boycotts of Israeli ships, Ms. Rainy participated in the East Bay Area efforts.  She wrote letters to local papers about the “historic achievement” of hers: together with her buddies she picketed a ship of Israeli Zim line, preventing it from docking in the Port of Oakland for 24 hours.

We read her letter in the Alameda Journal, another free local paper delivered unsolicited to virtually every household, and DH was pissed enough to write a response.  He did express some doubt before hitting that “send” button (“Basically, I am giving my name and address to every leftist organization in the country”), but mailed the letter.  Not surprisingly, Alameda Journal didn’t print it.

A week later we stopped receiving the paper at our door.  It is still delivered to all our neighbors as well as the empty, abandoned and foreclosed property in the vicinity.  Evidently, defense of Israel around here is beyond the Pale (pun intended).  Needles to say, the local papers and people writing letters to editors had no problem with Assad slaughtering his own people or the Muslim Brotherhood seizing power in Egypt.

Oh well, it could have been worse, we could be living in a real life people’s republic.



  1. That is a curious story about no longer getting the free paper delivered. Regarding the free speech zone I saw one of those once and what I find so ironic is that not only is it sad to have a “zone” of free speech but it also means by implication that outside of those cones there is no free speech which, for the Bay Area, sounds about right to me unless you hate on the Jews or the white man or whomever is a member of the so-called dominant power structure.

    Comment by Harrison — March 23, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    • it’s a good point. Makes me think of the “free speech” circle on Sprowl Plaza in Berkeley where, as the story goes, you can’t get arrested. I suspect if it’s true, it only applies to UC Berkeley cops. Berkeley city cops, not to mention the National Guard, play by the big kid rules, I’m sure. But try to speak your mind in class there.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 23, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

      • If you have some Leftist nonsense I’m sure you’d be welcomed at UC Berzerkeley. Otherwise, stay quiet.

        Comment by Harrison — March 26, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  2. Fairly typical lefty reaction to being rebuffed. Brings to mind and old saw that has something to do with a fire and getting out of the frying pan…

    Question: was there ever anything worth reading in the rag?

    Comment by calihurder — March 23, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    • Calihurder,
      Welcome to my blog. I’m not shedding any tears for that paper, as you can guess. We are obsessive readers, so we picked it up. But if there was anything informative in that paper at all, it’s the real estate section. Sometimes, though very rarely, they would have a letter to the editor which should be the front page news, like the school superintendent doing something unethical.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 23, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

      • I am reading more now than ever…interesting times and all. It used to be the local papers, but I’m finding less and less of interest and more and more ads. Now I’ve started this “blogging” thing. Lo & behold there is a wealth of material in here. Go figure!
        See you in the blogoshere, eh?

        Comment by calihurder — March 23, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  3. […] Free Speech Bay Area […]

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  4. “. . . bright orange traffic cones with notices proclaiming one small place at the very end of the vendor area a “Free Speech Zone” — all this fuss with signage and color that shouts “caution,” for one citizen’s effort to talk . . . ”

    Leftists are funniest when they are taking themselves oh so seriously (which is a lot of the time).

    Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 25, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    • Yep. The same person who thought that preventing a ship from docking for 24 hours is some sort of “historic achievement”.
      …Grown ups at Oakland City Counsel are actually worried about #Occupy’s “historic achievements” in Port of Oakland because somebody might get the idea that perhaps they don’t want to send ships here, and the city will lose revenue.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 25, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

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