Political Weblogging


There’s been considerable discussion throughout the weblogging community about a Pro-Israeli peace rally held at SFSU earlier this month.

According to a letter by Professor Laurie Zoloth, Jewish Studies Program Director, a group of pro-Palestinian counter-protestors caused a riot or near-riot at the Rally, physically threatening the Rally members, as well as saying things such as “Hitler didn’t finish the job” and that the “Jews should go back to Europe”.

This is hateful behavior, and saddens me greatly to hear that such things are happening in San Francisco, a city I see as one of the most tolerant in the country.

I’ve also read that we webloggers have a …disdain for the search for the truth. Bluntly, this is an assessment I disagree with. I believe that webloggers have an almost obsessive interest in the “truth” — whatever, we believe it to be.

Whatever we believe it to be.

What is the truth about anti-Semitism in San Francisco and northern California? What is the truth behind the “Shame of SFSU”? Was there a riot? Were Peace Rally members physically threatened? Did the counter-protestors say ugly things such as “Hitler didn’t finish the job?” Did they threaten to kill the Hillel rally members?

I dislike reading such things as the San Francisco Bay area is the new France, because San Francisco is seen as progressively becoming more and more anti-Semitic. I dislike it, but is there truth in this statement?

I remember a pro-Israeli rally held at Justin Hermann Plaza a few blocks from myself only a month or so ago. I remember the smiles of the rally attendees as they left, and how they felt that the rally had gone well. I know this because I walked home just behind a group of them who live in my condo building. As far as I could see, there had been no counter-demonstrations, no slurs, no hatred expressed.

Yet only a few miles away, and a short time later, this incident occurs at SFSU.

What’s happening? What is the truth?

We webloggers have been told that we’ll never supplant professional journalists because we don’t research, we don’t pursue, we don’t investigate. True — we tend to link a lot, instead. And sometimes this isn’t enough.

I have no interest in challenging professional journalists, but I want to find out what’s happening in this city. I want to find out what happened that day in SFSU. I want to hear the stories, and print them in this weblog, and together explore what is “the truth”.

To do this, though, I need help. I need contacts with people in the area — pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-Peace, or neutral observer. I need contacts with people who were at the SFSU demonstration. If you know of people I should talk to — and I’ve already started the process of contacting people in the last two days — please email me with contact information, or have the people contact me directly.

You say we should seek the truth; I say, you’re right. And I also ask for your help.

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