Culture produces assassins
Silencinq protestors can open the door to even worse extrennism.
ROBERTA STALEY STAFF REPORTER
Political assassins, such as Jewish extremist Yigal Amir who gunned down former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin last year, believe their actions are justified, according to John Darley of Princeton University
The professor was at the International Society of Political Psychology conference, held July 1-3 in Vancouver. He was chairing a discussion titled "Vicious Discourse: How Violent Speech Incites Violent Action."
The seeds of politically motivated violence are sown in a culture that advocates "thou shalt not murder" versus "thou shalt not kill," Mr. Darley said. For example, "Killing another is legitimate, even required" in cases of self-defence or to protect innocents. Mr. Rabin's killer perceived that the Israeli leader's policies were "threatening the lives of the citizens of Israel, so action against him was justified."
Assassins' actions are supported by the belief that others share their opinions, said Mr. Darley. Some of the extremist rhetoric heard in Israeli prior to Mr. Amir's attack on the former prime minister included: "Rabin is a murderer (and) Rabin is a traitor."
Ervin Staub of the University of Massachusetts said during the talk that hatred, or a "very intense devaluation" of a person, is a prerequisite for violence. This devaluation is created by the perception that a person or group is endangering an individual, their values or their core identity. This phenomenon occurred between Germans and Jews during the Second World War. "Jews were seen as a threat to Germans," said Mr. Staub.
Jeffrey Kaplan, a cultural history professor at the Arctic Sivunmun Ilisagvik College, said rhetoric or propaganda is a necessary prerequisite to violence.
He used the example of Michael Griffin, who is serving a life sentence for shooting to death Dr. David Gunn, March 10,1993 outside a Pensacola, Fla. abortion clinic.
His epiphany — when protest became action—happened after Mr. Griffin viewed a particular-ily bloody and graphic anti-abor-
Ervin Staub of the University of IVIassachusetts.
tion movie, said Mr. Kaplan. This move from peaceful to violent protest is expressed by an anti-abortion slogan: "If you think abortion is murder, act like it."
The connection between violent speech and violent action puts government and policy makers in a dilemma, Mr. Kaplan said. "Increasing draconian penalties" against peaceful protestors through fines or prison terms demoralizes them, causing them to leave the movement. This opens the door to extremists and the greater likelihood of violence, said Mr. Kaplan. "Any radical movement has drawn not only committed adherents and people who vmderstand the ideology, but also marginal person-
alities who are attracted for a number of reasons: the excitement or the idea of the possible community."
Vancouver's Dr. Garson Ro-malis, a Jewish gynecologist who also performed abortions, nearly died after an assassination attempt Nov. 8,1994 in his home. The sniper has never been caught.
Mr. Kaplan said after the talk that he doubts an anti-abortionist was behind the attempted slaying. "It was very atypical of the rescue movement. It may actually be someone with a grudge — has he ever lost a patient, for example. There are any number of explanations." □
United anti-AIDS front
IVfembers of the Middie East mission to the XI International Conference on AIDS took time to see the sights of Vancouver before gearing up for conference activities. The health educators from Israel, Gaza and Jordan want to convince others the fight against AIDS should transcend all boundaries. Pictured at Queen Elizabeth Parle, from left, are: Ido Sholt, AIDS educator, Haifa; Diane Abraham, dean of Bethlehem University's faculty of nursing; Hanna Rosenberg, health services, ORT schools, Rechovot; Inon Schenker, Jerusalem AIDS Project, head of mission; Wasileh Petro-Nustas, community health department. University of Jordan; and Mohamad El-Aflfl, Ministry of Health, Palestinian Authority, Gaza.
Jewisii Federation of Greater Vancouver #200-950 West 41 st Avenue, Vancouver, V5Z 2N7 Tel: (604) 257-5100 • Fax:(604)257-5110 http;//web.ucs.ubc.ca/jfgv
The Allocations Planning Committee of Federation along witli representatives from seventeen local Jewish agencies havejust wrapped up a series of meetings on this year's allocations process;
Said Bob Willmot, chair of the APC, "Our community's allocations process is not about divergent groups with no common interests scrambling to divide up a money pie. This process is about Jewish communal agencies reaffirming their partnership with one another and the Jewish community at large."
APC members are: Gabor Elias, Hymie Fox, Zoe Cropper, Faye Khazam, Alisa Lipson, Sondi Ritter, Larry Vinegar, Bob Willmot (Chair), and Mitch Gilbert (Staff).
The results of the allocations process will be released shortly.
Members of the Allocations Planning Committee reviewing funding applications from community agencies.
Kaleidoscope '96 is coming and it "promises to be bigger and better than ever" according to co-chairs Hilary Benson and Nanci Segal. Planned for Sunday, December 1st, Kaleidoscope will feature an exciting keynote spealcer, Arna Poupko.
Ms Poupko is a scholar, teacher and advisor at the Jewish Federation in Montreal and she has spoken on national radio and television on the subject of Women and Judaism.
Further details on Kaleidoscope '96 will be given in the upcoming edition of Hakol, Federation's new magazine at the end of August.
Save The Date
The Council of Jewish Federations will hold its 1996 General Assembly in Seattle, Washington, from November 1.3-17. This conference brings together thousands of Jewish community leaders from all over North America and we expect to take a strong contingent from our own community. For more information, call Judy Weinstein at Federation.
Endorsed Community Campaigns (July & August)
The following fundraising events have been approved by the Council of Presidents and JFGV Calendar Officer.
July 17 Jewish Family Service Agency's Stay-at-home Dinner July 28 Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University's Garden
Party by the Sea August 13 Hadassah-WIZO Medical Services Campaign August 15 Na'amat Canada Men's Campaign