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.”
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.