Jeremy Bird, the Team Obama community organizing campaign wizard, has come far from his early midwestern roots. He is currently ensconced in a tiny office in Tel Aviv, working to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming March elections through the V15 campaign vehicle of the Peaceworks Network Foundation.
Bird was born in a small town in Missouri, and attended Wabash College in Indiana.
But small town boys can become big time operatives, particularly after spending time in that hothouse of hubris, Harvard University. Bird attended Harvard’s Divinity School from 2000 until 2002, where he encountered Big Ideas and learned he could do Big Things.
While in Cambridge, Bird came under the wing of Edmund Hanauer, a bilious defamer of Israel. In 1972, Hanauer founded Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel. Hanauer firmly believed that Israel was able to “disregard international law, human rights and democratic values” because of the amount of U.S. aid it received.
On Feb. 25, 2002, while Bird was working with him, Hanauer penned an op-ed which ran in the Milwaukee Sentinel, “The Double Standard Must End.”
The loathing for Israel is woven through his words, even as he used a tagline with an invaluable hecksher: “Edmund Hanauer, American Jewish political scientist.”
In that op-ed, which ran just days before Bird appeared with Hanauer at a Bash Israel event at Harvard – more on that in a moment – Bird expresses outrage that President Bush condemned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s actions as “terrorism,” while failing to similarly demand that “Sharon stop Israeli state terrorism.” That is what Hanauer considered the evil American double standard. He called it “selectively” defining terrorism.
Bird’s mentor also excoriated Bush in that op-ed for “making it harder for Arafat to stop Palestinian extremists” and “curb violence.” And this is what Bird’s boss claimed was the basis of the “cycle of violence.”
The suggestions Hanauer offers in that Feb. 2002 op-ed range from using diplomatic and economic pressure on Israel to grant Palestinian rights (he was calling for U.S. government boycotts – way ahead of and more extreme than the current failing BDS revolution), allowing all Palestinian Arab “refugees” their “full rights” and an end to the “occupation” of Gaza, Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.
Oh, and Hanauer also cited as if fact, the vile Chris Hedges’ quote in Harper’s magazine that Hedges “visited many war zones, but only in Gaza has he found soldiers killing children for sport.”
The entire op-ed is rife with examples of how wrong, evil and anti-democratic Israel is, with a few crumbs of “balance” by admitting there are some Palestinian extremists. But Hanauer dilutes that balance by blaming the U.S.-funded Sharon for preventing Arafat from stopping those extremists due to Israel’s brutality and its history of “dispossession, systematic discrimination and a consistent assault on the basic rights” of Arafat’s people.
We know that Bird was thoroughly marinated in Hanauer’s mindset, because the same themes and message in that op-ed were what both Bird and Hanauer pressed at an event they put on for a Harvard audience the same week the op-ed was published, as revealed in a Harvard Crimson article about that event.
It is interesting that this twisted blame-only-Israel, pro-Arafat background was not revealed when Jeremy Bird played an instrumental role in U.S. President Barack Obama’s two campaigns for presidency, or his continuing role thereafter in Obama’s Organizing for America, for which Bird was deputy director.
But at least Bird’s blame-only-Israel background should be known now that he is playing a huge role in the V15 effort to overthrow Netanyahu. Or is it overthrow Israel?Lori Lowenthal Marcus