Berkeley mayors attendance at pro-Israel event sparks protest

A far-left Web site is demanding that Berkeley’s mayor apologize for attending an AIPAC dinner in Oakland, as well as pledge not to attend next year.

Mayor Tom Bates attended the Dec. 8 event, sponsored by the pro-Israel lobby.

Jim Harris, a member of the International Solidarity Movement Support Group and a Berkeley resident, posted the plea on his Web site,, named after Tom Joad, a character in John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.” His request to write Bates was then forwarded via e-mail to various listservs.

“AIPAC supports the policies of the Israeli government without qualification,” he said. “Bates wouldn’t do that for Bill Clinton; why would he do that for [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon?

The ISM, which has been accused by the Israeli government of abetting terrorism, describes itself as a nonviolent group of international activists who work to oppose the Israeli occupation.

Bates had no comment.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."