Working for peace in the world and in our station
KBOO is a big, wonderful, crazy and sometimes challenging community. With so much diversity (age, gender, ethnicity, spirituality, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc.) in an open, participatory and expressive environment, conflict is bound to happen, and occasionally differences spill out into the public arena as we saw in last week’s Willamette Week article on three of our program hosts.
We don't mind the press, but we'd like the chance to work out the issues internally first. Out of respect for the staff and volunteers involved in the conflict resolution process, I'll wait to post more details, but an update will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, I have included our response to the article as well as the original WW text. Thank you for your patience, kindness and support as we work with everyone involved to bring our community together.
Dear Willamette Week:
Last week, WW ran a story about three KBOO program hosts who are among the hundreds of diverse community leaders we bring to the airwaves. As with any community organization, sometimes conflicts arise, particularly within organizations dealing with some of the most challenging conflicts of our time such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. KBOO continues to be deeply committed to using dialogue in the service of conflict resolution, and we expect, and facilitate, the people involved in conflict to work in good faith towards resolution and understanding.
Because KBOO is an open and democratic organization, we welcome any light that is brought to bear on us; we have nothing to hide and we share WW’s concern that peacemaking opportunities not be squandered. That said, we seek to use our resources to facilitate conflict resolution, not scuttle it.
I, and several of those involved in this issue, shared with your reporter that we were actively engaged in the delicate task of working towards resolution and that a negative story would not contribute to this work of facilitating understanding between the parties, but rather risked inflaming them. It was therefore disappointing that WW chose to run the story anyway. We applaud all efforts in support of peacemaking but were saddened that filling the Rogue of the Week segment was more important than allowing the parties to put their best effort forward, come to an understanding, and repair the damage. Now wouldn’t that be a story?
Arthur W Davis
KBOO Station Manager
Rogue of the Week
May 21, 2009
By James Pitkin
With a cease-fire in the Middle East and President Obama promising renewed diplomatic efforts, there’s tentative new hope for a lasting end to the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
So it hurts more than ever to see that distant conflict played out in peace-loving Portland—and at our own community radio station, no less. For kicking an outspoken Palestinian-American off his show, we’re naming KBOO’s Portland Yiddish Hour co-host Ed Kraus this week’s Rogue.
The weekly Sunday-morning program featuring Jewish music and community news held an on-air fundraising drive May 10. Liz Schwartz, another co-host on the program, invited Portland lawyer Hala Gores on to help raise money.
Gores, who co-hosts a KBOO program called One Land, Many Voices and is often critical of Israel, says she was eager to build bridges between communities. “I said I would be honored to do it,” says Gores (whose cousin Tom Gores just bought The San Diego Union-Tribune).
But the day before the show, Gores says, she got a call from a KBOO staffer in tears who said Kraus wanted Gores off the show after an unidentified trial lawyer protested to Kraus. Local lawyers knew about Gores’ appearance because she had sent mass emails to members of the legal profession in hopes of raising more money.
Kraus, who owns Kraus Music Products in Clackamas, confirms he asked KBOO management to bump Gores, but he declined to say why. “It’s a tempest in a teapot,” Kraus says. “It’s not a big deal.”
But we agree with Gores that it was a peace-making opportunity squandered. “It cuts deep,” she says, “to be rejected when you’re trying to reach out and work at a positive level.”