The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-11-17

Posted on November 18th, 2017 at 8:18 am by

Say it ain’t so, Ali!

97 years after the words “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” were allegedly delivered to Shoeless Joe Jackson by a heartbroken young boy, believing that his sports hero took a bribe to throw the 1920 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, we are likewise heartbroken to learn that our own Palestinian hero, restaurant owner Ali Ramlawi, succumbed to Jewish Power right here in Ann Arbor.

It’s difficult in this town to unseat an incumbent City Council member, but the popular Ali was going to give it shot, and he believed he had enough support to get the job done. He even enjoyed the kosherization of his campaign by a 1960’s-era Jewish former-SDS member: “He doesn’t come from the political class of know-it-all consultants, realtors, lawyers, and non-profiteers. Some diversity of eyes, ears and voice would help the Council.”

Enter Jewish Power

Good to go, right? Well, not so fast! cried a local ultra-Zionist Jew: Neal Elyakin (check his Zionist credentials here) weighed in, and really put the screws to Ali. Via email, Elyakin raised the phrase “Guilt by Association” to new heights. After finding my name on Ali’s “Endorsements and Supporters” list, he wrote to his followers:

” Henry is a virulent hater … he hates Jews and he hates the State of Israel. He advocates for the destruction of the State of Israel; standing in front of a house of worship on the holy day of prayer calling for the end to Israel. On his website, Ali includes another hater, Shadia [Shadia is a pseudonym substituted here and below – ed.], who has stood with Henry outside Beth Israel Congregation, holding signs calling for an end to Israel.”

Elyakin continues to hammer Ali: “If you believe as I do, that aligning oneself to a candidate that has as his supporters people like Henry and Shadia, please let your neighbors and friends know that Ali cannot represent people who believe in peace and human decency, and the great fear that someone like this would bring this extreme hate into local Ann Arbor politics.”

Would Ali stand up to this challenge? Would he state that Henry has been his friend since our synagogue vigils began (14 years ago)? Would he tell Elyakin that during that time our political perspective on the ethnic cleansing of Ali’s own Palestine have been completely in sync?

The Demands

Hang on, it gets worse. In a second email, Elyakin reports that Ramlawi actually knocked on his door, to apologize “… for not being more careful about vetting who gets onto his website as a supporter”. Elyakin flies the Israeli flag in front of his home, and we wonder how it would feel to be Palestinian entering a clearly Zionist home? Elyakin writes about that meeting:

“He told me that he did not count Henry or Shadia as supporters. He apologized for not being more careful about vetting who gets onto his website as a supporter. He told me he knows and abhors the message that Henry voices, the hate that Henry and his supporters spout. He told me that he removed Henry’s name as soon as he learned that Henry’s name was on the list. He agreed to put out a statement denouncing the hate that Henry speaks, denouncing the message that Henry advocates. He also agreed with me that Henry’s hate has no place in a civilized world, and certainly does not speak for him.”

The Results

Would Ali actually comply with this demand?

We waited for the day of the election to get our answer. Regrettably, Ali actually complied with BOTH demands: he removed the names of myself and Shadia from his list of supporters (see before and after) AND he issued the following statement (the link in his statement refers to the newspaper article on the baseless charges of “hate” from the SPLC:

Statement from Ali Ramlawi
November 6 2017

During my campaign, there was an unfortunate oversight that led some in our community to believe that I agree with individuals and groups who hold fanatical, hateful and divisive viewpoints.

Nothing could be farther from the truth of the deeply held values that I have always lived by and stood for. I do not align myself and denounce members of our community who represent hateful and divisive ideologies and I do not count them among my supporters. MLive June 7, 2017.

I take full responsibility for this oversight and appreciate everyone’s understanding.

Well, sadly there it is. What appears to be a complete capitulation to Jewish Power wielded by Elyakin. Holding folks in the highest possible regard, I crafted a letter (below) to Ali, asking for his side of the story, and hand-delivered it to him over a week ago. I have heard nothing.

Oh, and did we forget to mention that in spite of paying Elyakin’s “ranson”, Ali lost the election anyway? Maybe the lesson is “Never pay Ransom”; it’s never worth it.

Comments?

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
Three vigilers
#

November 9, 2017
Dear Ali,

I’m writing this to you as a friend. I want to get your side of the story.

When I learned you were running for City Council, I was excited for you and requested a yard sign immediately. The sign stayed in our front yard from that day until the election.

I believe that request got my name placed on your list of supporters. I was, and am, a supporter of you.
But something happened. Sometime between November 3 and November 7, my name, and the name of my dear friend Shadia, was removed from the supporters list.

In addition, a tersely worded disclaimer was issued by you ” …denounc[ing] members of our community who represent hateful and divisive ideologies …”. The link provided takes readers to photos of myself and a June article at Mlive.com.

I’m in receipt of emails from a pro-Israel individual named Neal Elyakin, who circulated on email what can only be described as an ad hominem attack upon me and Shadia in an effort to smear you as someone who associates with me: ” Henry is a virulent hater … he hates Jews and he hates the State of Israel. He advocates for the destruction of the State of Israel; standing in front of a house of worship on the holy day of prayer calling for the end to Israel. On his website, Ali includes another hater, Shadia, who has stood with Henry outside Beth Israel Congregation, holding signs calling for an end to Israel. ”

Elyakin then writes in a different email that you visited him at his home, where he claims you agreed to his positions in regards to me and Shadia, and that you also agreed ” … to put out a statement denouncing the hate that Henry speaks, denouncing the message that Henry advocates”

Ali, you and I have been friends since I started advocating for Palestine’s liberation. During that time, we enjoyed many private conversations sharing our agreements on this issue. I would classify our relationship as warm and mutual. I would bet my last dollar that you would have agreed.

Before I generate some conclusions about the events of this past week, I would sincerely like to sit down with you to get your side of this story, as stated in my opening line.

Please contact me soon. And thanking you in advance I remain

Your friend,

Henry Herskovitz

 

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