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Exclusive Interviews: Anti-Israel ‘Peacenik’ and Assaulted Israeli

The anti-Israel movement in a snapshot: A young woman who was writing a message of peace for Israel was physically and verbally assaulted, and thrown out of a public park, by people who claim to be, and are referred to by the mass media, as "peaceful," "non-violent," "free speech" activists.

Am Yisrael Chai written under Freedom to Speak, led to 3/13/13 assault on an Israeli woman in Oakland

Am Yisrael Chai written under Freedom to Speak, led to 3/13/13 assault on an Israeli woman in Oakland
Photo Credit: YouTube

Channa decided, after looking around and finding no one interested in talking about why they hate Israel, to take a piece of chalk from one of the communal bags that had been placed around the Plaza for people to use to ‘express themselves.’  She began to draw, underneath a message in large block letters – FREEDOM TO SPEAK – and drew in large letters, “Am Yisrael Chai.” Why? “I’m from Israel, I love my country, and they are attacking my people, my culture.”

Channa said she was simply writing a message of peace, but before she could finish her short message, a harpy descended on her, yelling, “you can’t write that here,” grabbing at her chalk, screaming, cursing and shoving her.  It was Gabrielle Silverman, a resident of Oakland, formerly of Brooklyn, and full-time, long-term “peace” activist.  Name a major protest – one in Washington, D.C. against the International Monetary Fund in 2000, when she was only 17, Occupy Oakland, Black Bloc attacks in San Francisco, and Silverman has been involved in some way.  She’s been arrested for violent, destructive behavior, as recently as this past October.

The attack, shown in the video below, went on for several minutes, with more and more people coming to assist Silverman in menacing and ejecting Channa.  The crowd assisted Silverman in shoving Channa and her friend David out of the public square.

Freedom of speech? Nah.  Freedom to assemble? Nope.

The Jewish Press reached Silverman late Saturday night, and asked her “why you felt it was justified to attack someone who was expressing a view – even one you find abhorrent – in a public place.”

Silverman’s response:

We had created a space at the Plaza to chalk the names of our dead friends and people who have suffered because of state or corporate violence. (“freedom to speak and assemble” was written either semi randomly or as a statement on the wittling away of constitutional rights that we are experiencing in the present time.) It was over this memorial space that they intruded. They came to pick a fight with us on the anniversary of Tristan’s shooting. I want to say that I don’t like or respect the right wing, but I would never disturb one of your memorial spaces, and I find their targeting of an event for Tristan Anderson to be cowardly and unethical. They are a shonda for the goyim.

She added, “I also want to add that my only regret is calling her a whore. Solidarity with whores everywhere!”

Channa told The Jewish Press that she was somewhat aware of Tristan’s history, but she also knew the organization he was showing solidarity with is not interested in justice or peace.  The International Solidarity Movement, she says, “claims to be peaceful,” but in reality uses “direct action” in an effort to provoke Israelis so they can capture on film and publicize the response as examples of Israeli aggression

“They are not about freedom, they are not about ‘justice for Tristan,’ if they were, they would not be supporting regimes that have nothing to do with freedom, they wouldn’t be supporting terrorist groups,” Channa asserted, “it’s just about hating Israel.”

“Hating and delegitimizing Israel? That’s the new, politically correct form of anti-Semitism,” Channa told The Jewish Press several times during the interview.  “And they get away with it, for the same reason that people used to get away with anti-Semitism, because people allow it.”  And, she might have added, the newer new form of anti-Semitism?  Ridiculing those who label the double standards used to criticize Israel, as anti-Semitism.

“These groups are only and all about demonizing Israeli soldiers, their goal is to upset us with their outrageous conduct, and then show that we [Israelis] are violent,” Channa told The Jewish Press, explaining how she was able to maintain complete control and perfect composure, when first Silverman, then a group of people were screaming, shoving and removing her from a public space.

“As a former soldier, I was trained to maintain my composure in the face of that kind of provocation,” she said.

David (who asked that his last name be withheld, as he lives in Oakland where anti-Israel people can be “quite vindictive”), appears in the video trying to fend off the people menacing, shoving and hitting Channa.  He said he is very familiar with those antics in the Oakland area.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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20 Responses to “Exclusive Interviews: Anti-Israel ‘Peacenik’ and Assaulted Israeli”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    The Alameda County DA, Nancy O'Malley, should prosecute Silverman to the fullest extent of the law. She has prosecuted protesters in the past when they became violent; hopefully this will be no different.

  2. H Fragman Abramson says:

    The ISM is violent and criminal. This org was responsible for aiding, abetting and sheltering known terrorists during the second Arab war of terror. They are also the same people who encouraged Rachel Corrie to throw herself in front of a moving bulldozer. They consistently provoke others with the intent of inciting violence. Silverman and her cadre of criminals should be prosecuted for violating the civil rights of Channa, et al.

  3. The People's Republic of Berkeley claims to be the center of the "free speech movement" but since the 60s they have opposed free speech and demanded that only those that agree with their fascist viewpoint be allowed to speak.

  4. The People's Republic of Berkeley claims to be the center of the "free speech movement" but since the 60s they have opposed free speech and demanded that only those that agree with their fascist viewpoint be allowed to speak.

  5. Nanette CohenRayman says:

    Am Y'Israel Chai! if those violent witches don't like it, let them come and get me. AM Y'ISRAEL CHAI! The Jewish People Live!

  6. I WILL BE KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT CONGREGATION SONS OF ISRAEL IN MANALAPAN, MONDAY NIGHT APRIL 8 AT 7:30 and will not participate in the interfaith program. ALL ARE INVITED. I AM SPEAKING FREE OF CHARGE. The Imam said he would join with me declaring that here in America there is no room for Muslims callings Jews apes and for the destruction of the Jewish people as Morsi of Egypt did. This promise to me was never fulfilled. MY AGREEING FOR THE IMAM TO LEAVE BEFORE HATIKVAH WAS BASED ON HIS FULFILLING THIS PROMISE.

    I have resigned from the Metuchen-Edison Area Interfaith Clergy Association due to this. For you who are new, to the association, I served as President and Vice President in the past and chaired many programs. It hurts me greatly that I had to make this decision. I wish you all the best of success. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  7. I love the snapshot this article provides of the two sides of this war on the Jews and the Jewish state.

    The only thing that troubles me is that the article says that Silverman's boyfriend was injured as he "stood in solidarity" with various Arabs. I don't know what that means, but it sounds a lot more virtuous than anything I can imagine the guy actually did. I wish the article used more objective language or made clear that it was quoting some ridiculous ISM press release.

  8. I love the snapshot this article provides of the two sides of this war on the Jews and the Jewish state.

    The only thing that troubles me is that the article says that Silverman's boyfriend was injured as he "stood in solidarity" with various Arabs. I don't know what that means, but it sounds a lot more virtuous than anything I can imagine the guy actually did. I wish the article used more objective language or made clear that it was quoting some ridiculous ISM press release.

  9. Linda Feldman says:

    Regardless of his past, Oscar Grant was the victim of careless police action and despite his priors, did not deserve to be shot in the back. The despicable and criminal actions of those who assaulted Channa L. stand on their own disgusting and hypocritical merits and did not need the Ms. Marcus's editorial slant on the Oscar Grant affair to further illustrate the point.

    Ms. Silverman should be prosecuted for her assault on Channa L.

    Am Y'israel Chai!

  10. Ethan Perks says:

    These "non violent" types only expect non violence of others, not themselves.

  11. This video was extremely disturbing. It pains me to learn that a Jewish young woman (Silverman) could be so misguided as to attack another person, let alone another Jew. Her foul language and behavior are symptomatic of what has become "free expression" but only for those who espouse their sick point of view.

  12. Bill Bilek says:

    1) Why have charges not been pressed against these criminals for assault and battery, especially in view of the clear evidence on the video?

    2) This underlines the need for the pro-Israel community in America and Europe to (re)activate some form of self-defense movement that would stand up to bullies and criminals, if the police or other legitimate authorities refuse to provide protection.

  13. 80% of american students cannot read at grade level. in oakland, it's likely 100%.

  14. Since Silverman claims to be against violence, bullying and preventing freedom of assembly yet is a violent bully in preventing freedom of assembly and speech to those she disagrees with? This clearly shows that she IS NOT against.

  15. Since Silverman claim's to be against violence, bullying and supression of freedom of thought and assembly her actions, being violent, bullying and against freedom of assembly and speech for those she disagrees with expose her hypocrisy. She is clearly NOT concerned with justice for the Palestinians but is just anti-Israel.

  16. I am the person that has filmed the attack on Hannah and then an interviewed her. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpZYMQVO9aw.
    It is highly symbolic that this girl was attacked just for stating a message of peace wishing long life to the Jewish people.

  17. I am the person that has filmed the attack on Hannah and then an interviewed her. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpZYMQVO9aw.
    It is highly symbolic that this girl was attacked just for stating a message of peace wishing long life to the Jewish people.

  18. Great video!
    Thanks Daniel Wencel.

  19. from san francisco – right on, channa. resist this nonsense and provocation wherever it happens. עם ישראל חי.

  20. from san francisco – right on, channa. resist this nonsense and provocation wherever it happens. עם ישראל חי.

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