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Lenni Brenner - Air date: 06-19-08

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Published on Jun 14, 2008

Lenni Brenner now lives in New York City. See an article about his political activities in UC Berkeley in the 1960s Lenni Brenner was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He became an atheist at 12, and a Marxist at 15, in 1952. His involvement with the Black civil rights movement began on his first day in the organized left, when he met James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, later the organizer of the "freedom rides" of the early 60s. He was active in the mid 50s with Bayard Rustin, later the organizer of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I had a dream" March on Washington. He was arrested 4 times during civil rights sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay Area, and again during the Berkeley Free Speech Movement at the University of California in 1964. While in jail for his activities on the campus, he spent 4 days in intense discussion with Huey Newton, later the founder of the Black Panther Party. Subsequently he worked with Kathy Cleaver. More recently, in the 90s, he and Panther leader Bobby Seale defended their activities during the 60s on Morton Downey's TV show. He was an anti-war activist from the 1st days of the Vietnam war, speaking frequently at rallies in the Bay Area. In 1963 he organized the Committee for Narcotic Reform in Berkeley. In 1968 he co-founded the National Association for Irish Justice, the American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. In the 90s he and Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael), the legendary "Black Power" leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, co-founded the Committee against Zionism and Racism. They also published The Anti-War Activist. He is presently organizing the Coalition for Narcotic Law Reform. Mr. Brenner is the author of 4 books, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, Jews in America Today, and The Lesser Evil: The Democratic Party. His books have been favorably reviewed in 10 languages by prominent publications, including the London Times, The London Review of Books, Moscow's Izvestia and the Jerusalem Post. He has written over 100 articles for many publications, including the Amsterdam News, the Anderson Valley Advertizer, the Atlanta Constitution, CounterPunch, the Jewish Guardian, the Nation, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Middle East International, the Journal of Palestine Studies, the New Statesman of London, Al-Fajr in Jerusalem and the United Irishman in Dublin. Brenner has an amusing response to the Zionist smear which is used against all Jewish critics of Zionism. At the "Jews against Zionism" forum in London on 18 June 2003, he said: "Those who call me a self-hating Jew should talk to my girlfriends. They all tell me that I am in love with myself."

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