Change the Name or Seize the Team

The attempt to get the Washington "Redskins" to change its name because "redskin" is a demeaning, racist term for Indians has gotten a lot of coverage lately. Democracy Now! had a big piece on it on Dec. 8. Here is video from 11/15/13 of "The Struggle" Video News treatment of this issue.

One of the defenders of the present name is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. He said that the name can't be insensitive because the owner of the Washington team is a Jew. This caused a number of Jews to create a strongly worded petition to Snyder and the NFL. It calls for this action:

We Jews call for companies to refuse to make humiliating “redskin” products and if team owner Dan Snyder refuses to change the team name, for the NFL to seize and sell the team.

These are the initial sponsors:

Jan Bauman, San Rafael, CA retired
Medea Benjamin, Washington DC, Code Pink Phyllis Bennis, Director, New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC
Stanley Heller, Connecticut, host of “The Struggle” Video News
Judith Kolokoff, Seattle WA, member of JVP and AJJP
Steve Krevisky, Congress of Conn. Community Colleges-4C's/SEIU
Savvas Michael-Matsas, Athens-Greece
Robert Naiman, Policy Director, Just Foreign Policy, Washington, DC
Joseph Levine, Massachusetts, professor of philosophy
Paula Friedland Panzarella, New Haven, CT poet and peace activist
Lillian Rosengarten, New York, poet ,writer, activist for the creation of a free bi-national country: Palestine/Israel without walls.
Josh Ruebner, author, Washington, DC
Abraham Weizfeld, Administrative Secretary,
Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians, Alliance de Canadienn-e-s juives-fs consterné-e-s

Background on Petiton Page

The "R" Word is the Same as the "N" Word and the "K" word

We Jews are appalled that fellow Jew Dan Snyder is blind to the fact that the name of the Washington football team that he owns is racist and deeply offensive to Indian peoples. As Indian leader Clyde Bellecourt said recently the “R” word is no different than the “N” word. We’d add that it’s also no different than the “K” word that has been used to taunt Jews for centuries.

Words matter. They can hurt and humiliate. They can help turn people into targets of hate.

The name of the team has led to other practices that promote humiliating stereotypes like fans wearing “headdresses” of chicken feathers or the mass tomahawk chop or cries to “scalp” opposing teams.

It is especially wrong to be shaming Indians, who have suffered so enormously from mass killing, land theft, treaty breaking and attempts to eradicate their cultures.

Dan Snyder may live in a luxurious bubble, but he can research the slurs said about Jews over the ages, about our physical appearance, our financial practices and he can read about the absurd lies about supposed uses of Christian blood in Jewish rituals.

We call on all Jewish organizations to speak out on this issue.

We call on companies to stop making any products for the Washington football team

Dan Snyder has said he would "never" change the Washington team name. If this is true we call on the NFL commissioners to seize ownership of the team from Snyder and sell it to the city of Washington or to a group of non-bigoted owners.

Please ask Jews you know to sign on to this petition.


Now the issue of the team name may seem far afield from our work on the Middle East

It isn't. Some Zionists have looked at American treatment of Indians as a model for their treatment of Palestinians. Read the disgusting remarks of Israeli historian Benny Morris: "Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history."