The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-25-13

Posted on May 29th, 2013 at 8:36 am by

Atzmon Tours Toledo and Ypsilanti

We have learned a secret about jazz musician and philosopher Gilad Atzmon in the last few days: the man only has two speeds, 100 mph (that’s 161 kph for the Brits reading this) and zero. His energy wore out a crowd of 25 folks in Ypsilanti, Michigan Friday evening and about 50 listeners in Toledo, Ohio Thursday, yet at last sighting he was going strong.

Though leaving his audiences without a clear path of “what to do”, he certainly provides a lot of thought-provoking ideas for the uninitiated to chew upon. So much so, that a Jewish doctor and friend stormed out of his Friday delivery midstream, shocked, shocked at the idea that an examination of Jewish collective behavior could possibly be helpful in understanding the actions of others. Gilad waxes nostalgic over the loveable bigot Archie Bunker, whom he describes as the last free self-expressing person and urged those in his audience to give up the shackles of political correctness and speak our minds. Patriotism, he instructed, is the ability to admire our surrounding rivers, valleys, mountains while using and preserving our First Amendment rights.

He expounded on the nature of Jewish Power for us — it is the invisible hand that forbids us from speaking about Jewish Power. He claimed that AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) is *not* an example of Jewish Power, but the power resides in Jewish leaders of the peace movement who – like the anti-aircraft batteries protecting a military target – provide cover for targets like AIPAC. As such, Gilad identifies for us these leaders – Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace to name just two – who place Jewish tribalism and a faux focus on “anti-Semitism” at primary levels in the peace movement, while the effort to actually liberate Palestine remains secondary. This observation is now being questioned by Atzmon supporters like Paul Larudee in his recent piece, “The Palestine Liberation Movement is not about Anti-Semitism”.

Gilad at JWPF Vigil

Mr. Atzmon slowed down just long enough to join ten members of Jewish Witness for Peace and Friends at our May 25 vigil in front of the Zionist Beth Israel Congregation. Following that, after a quick breakfast with JWPF vigilers, he was hustled off to Detroit Metro airport to head east for his NYC and Washington DC appearances. Thank you, Gilad for recognizing the importance of our weekly vigils.

Gilad at Vigil - sm

Cindy Sheehan Coming to Ann Arbor

Local organizer Diane Gee has requested that we place flyers around town for the June 5 Tour de Peace bicycle ride by Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan as it passes through Ann Arbor. We note that the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice has withdrawn its name from the sponsors list.

JWPF in the News

Mr. Dave Askins of the Ann Arbor Chronicle reported on our presentation
to City Council on May 6, and we also note the softening tone of his report. Although my words were: “Israeli forces violently attacked Palestinian Christians near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Easter”, Mr. Askins reports it as “And near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Christians had been prevented by Israeli security forces from worshiping on orthodox Easter” (full text below signature). In fact, Israeli police brutalized several people and, as the Times of Israel reports, beat an Egyptian Coptic bishop into unconsciousness. A press release from the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem described “horrific scenes of the brutal treatment of our clergy, people, and pilgrims” and declared “it is not acceptable that under pretext of security and order, our clergy and people are indiscriminately and brutally beaten, and prevented from entering their churches, monasteries and convents.” If Gilad Atzmon reads this report will he wonder if Mr. Askins’ soft-pedaling is an example of Jewish Power at work, however unconscious it may be?

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May 18: 6 vigilers
May 25: 11 vigilers
Israel Attacks US Boat in International Waters – Remember the USS Liberty
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
#

From the Ann Arbor Chronicle –

Comm/Comm: Palestine/Israel
Henry Herskovitz described recent events in and around Israel. Israeli forces had attacked Syria and the U.S. supported the move, he said. He also cited news reports about statements made by Carla Del Ponte, a member of a United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria, who’d said that they’d not seen evidence of government forces using chemical weapons, but there were suspicions that rebel forces had used sarin gas. And near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Christians had been prevented by Israeli security forces from worshiping on orthodox Easter, he said.

Herskovitz told the council that on April 17, 23 people had staged an anti-Israel protest outside the Michigan Theater, on the occasion of a performance by an Israeli singer. The protest had attempted to educate local residents to the idea that atrocities couldn’t be concealed by the beauty of a performer

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-04-13

Posted on May 12th, 2013 at 9:54 am by

 Flyer Available for Gilad Atzmon Concert/Discussion

A wonderful flyer has been created by an associate of Vigiler L for Gilad’s concert and discussion Friday, May 24th. Readers interested in attending may contact this writer for the undisclosed location, and flyers can be downloaded for reproduction here.

Atzmon2013-small

There are plans for a short road trip to Toledo on Thursday evening to hear Gilad perform there. Vigiler A – JWPF’s rep in Ohio – has eagerly offered valuable assistance in generating a venue in the Glass City. Stay tuned for further developments.

And we repeat that all are invited to stand vigil with Gilad on Saturday, May 25 from 9:30 – 10:45AM at Beth Israel Congregation. Grapevine reports have it that a dedicated activist from upstate New York will join as well. Please circle this date on your calendars.

JWPF Co-Sponsors Cindy Sheehan’s Tour de Peace

Internationally acclaimed peace activist Cindy Sheehan will be bicycling from California to Washington, DC to protest the US war machine, and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends have joined thirteen other groups as co-sponsors of this event June 5 at the University of Michigan’s central campus diag. This writer has accepted an invitation to speak prior to Cindy from event organizer Diane Gee and await her response. We are excited to have this activist in our midst and to work with other local peace groups, such as the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Meta Peace Team and Veterans For Peace.

Cindy has been critical of the influence of the Israel Lobby in dominating US foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, and we read with interest her critical comments on Israel in her blog. We hope to share these common interests with her and underscore the pernicious effects on US interests held by this powerful lobby. From her blog:

ying_yang_israel_america_mousepad-p144765323582010563trak_400

 

JWPF at City Council

This writer spoke on the topic “Israel attacks Christians on Easter” and questioned why our news media – from international to local – suppresses vital information necessary to Americans to help them make informed choices. See text below signature.

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Nine vigilers
On what right does Israel base its claim to a Jewish state?
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
#

Text of Commentary to AA City Council May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013 [390 words]

Good Evening,

I received an email from a Palestinian named Mazin Qumsiyeh this morning and want to share part of it with you. From his Curriculum Vitae, Mazin served as the Director of Cytogenetic Services at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. As an intellectual, this man is no lightweight. He now lives in Palestine and writes:

“It has been a very busy time here and so we did not have a chance to send the weekly update last week. Israeli forces attacked Syria and the US administration said they support this violation of International law.

“Israeli forces violently attacked Palestinian Christians near the Church
of the Holy Sepulcher on Easter (Eastern Christian Calendar) and prevented most of us from entering Jerusalem and the US administration stayed silent.

“Villagers are still prevented from accessing their water spring. All these attacks remind us that Zionism as a colonial settler movement is incompatible with peace and must always create conflict to keep its population together.”

Did any of us know this? That Israelis attacked Christians on Easter? Did we know that United Nations human rights investigator Carla del Ponte has claimed it was Syrian militants – and not the Assad regime – who have made use of the deadly nerve agent sarin? She says:

“We still have to deepen our investigation, verify and confirm (the findings) through new witness testimony, but according to what we have established so far, it is at the moment opponents of the regime who are using sarin gas.”

And does anyone here – with the exception of Mr. Kunselman* – know that 23 people staged an anti-Israel protest in front of the Michigan Theater on April 17th? The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor brought in an Israeli singer in violation of the Palestinian Call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with International Law. And we attempted to educate local residents that the atrocities committed by the Jewish state cannot be concealed by the beauty of a talented performer.

What is going on when the news is so biased in Israel’s favor that Americans are denied even local events like our protests?

A large majority of the world understands the machinations behind the scenes and stands with us. And the unlucky, intelligent Americans who are denied access to vital information are forced to wear the veil of ignorance.

Thank you

* Council Member Kunselman was seen entering the Michigan Theater to attend the Celebrate “Israel” performances on April 17

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-27-13

Posted on May 6th, 2013 at 7:50 am by

Protesting the NAACP

Three members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends responded to a request from our friend Ed Pinkney to help him protest the NAACP dinner and fund raiser held at Detroit’s Cobo Hall on Sunday, April 28. As Ed explains, the NAACP “has failed for decades to represent the interests of African-Americans and is out of touch with the community … The only word that can define the gross negligence of the NAACP is betrayal. The organization has abandoned our community’s morality, and our economic and educational needs – for corporate money.”

NAACP protest 04-28-13-sm

Strange Bedfellows

A local group representing the National Pro-Life Congress, led by Director Levon R. Yuille was also present at this protest and far outnumbered those of us there to protest the corporate sellout of the NAACP. Apparently the NAACP has been working with Planned Parenthood, and the protesters were claiming higher abortion rates within the black community, carrying signs saying the NAACP was supporting “black genocide”. See newspaper article about Sunday’s protest here.

Tolerance Lacking from Pro-Life Supporters

This writer – decked out in his “End ‘Israel’” hat – was questioned by more than one pro-life protester outside Cobo Hall. Where, one protester wanted to know, did I find my hat’s message “in Scripture”? He was informed that I did not recognize Scripture as a valid historical reference, and what kind of God would support and condone the killing of Palestinian babies, anyway? Another protester informed me that God gave Israel “to the Jews”, but didn’t produce a cogent response to my statement that Ashkenazi Jews – recipients of this apparent land offer – never came from Palestine.

But just when the argument was getting good, both Reverends Yuille and Pinkney asked that the conversation end, and this writer – recognizing the bond between myself and Ed Pinkney – ceased discussion. The other fellow, though, saw this silence as an opportunity to lecture me on “the Arabs”, and prattled mindlessly on. The price we protesters pay …

Plans Warming for Gilad Atzmon

Protester L has taken it upon herself to plan for the arrival of musician/philosopher Gilad Atzmon in southeast Michigan May 23-25. Sharp readers of last week’s report identified the typological error when we reported that Gilad would stand vigil with JWPF on “April 25″. Sorry about that, we should have reported “May 25″ as the date you should circle and join Gilad with us at Beth Israel Congregation (2000 Washtenaw Ave.) at 9:30 am. We will report details of his concerts and discussions as they become available.

Quote of the Week

“If a Zionist is a Jew, it is anti-Semitic to mention his Jewishness; if an anti-Zionist is a Jew, it is mandatory to point that out.”

- Gill Kaffish, UK

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Eight vigilers
Americans Need to Know What Israel is Doing
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-20-13

Posted on April 25th, 2013 at 9:20 pm by

Protesters Confront Jewish Federation in Ann Arbor

The local media, who promoted the appearance of Israel’s Hasbara Queen Noa – aka the queen of celebration of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – remained eerily silent on the coverage of twenty-three protesters at the Michigan Theater last Wednesday (April 17). If we listen to Voltaire, however, we might appreciate more how un-eerily this lack of coverage really was:

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

Members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends have been witnessing this hidden hand for almost a decade. A corollary to Voltaire’s warning might be:

If your commentary of Jews is positive – as in “Jews are smart”, “Jews are socially aware”, “Jews are generous”, well, then let the games begin. However, if you, like Gilad Atzmon, espouse a negative or realistic view of Jewish behavior (Jewish identity politics, in his case), then you have committed a big no-no.

Or – we humbly add – if you have identified the local Jewish community as guilty of enthusiastically supporting the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and stage a very visible protest against it, then the local capos of the media will remain silent. It’s really not difficult to understand.

Our Protest

We began our protest under the scrutiny of at least three private security guards (Crime Prevention Security, Inc.) hired by the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor and two police cars with four AAPD officers, including the acting Night Shift Commander. This officer took charge of our First Amendment rights by telling us where to stand, where to walk, and to take the banner across the street where it would reduce pedestrian congestion on the sidewalk in front of the theater. We complied with his every request, and agreed that the banner held across the narrow street (not pictured) added to our visibility.

protest celebrate israel -sm

(apologies for lack of focus)

Speaking of Gilad Atzmon

Guess who’s coming to town May 23-25 and plans to stand vigil with members of JWPF on Saturday, April 25? Yes, Charlotte, it’s Gilad Atzmon, author of The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. We are extremely pleased to report that Vigiler L has taken the reins to bring this concert and discussion together. As L searches for the proper venue (suggestions accepted), we anticipate with great eagerness Gilad’s arrival. Stay tuned

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Note: There was no Report for April 13

April 13: Eight Vigilers
April 20: Five Vigilers
“Israel”: No Right to Exist
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-06-13

Posted on April 14th, 2013 at 8:54 am by

Local Media Pumps ‘Noa’ Appearance

At least three local media sources have announced this Wednesday’s celebration of “Israel” featuring the Israeli performer Noa, aka Achinoam Nini. Thursday’s print edition of A2Journal carried the story “‘Noa’ concert celebrates Israel’s 65th birthday”, and included personal comments by Ron Sussman (Rabbi Dobrusin’s right hand man) and Elliot Eisenberg, who were both born in 1948. Annarbor.com on Friday ran “Performance by Israeli pop singer Noa will help celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday locally” by Roger LeLievre. The statement below was posted on LeLievre’s article as a comment. Readers can click here to see if it’s still up

The performance by Noa, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, violates the 2005 call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions issued by over 270 member groups of Palestinian civil society, and as supporters of the BDS movement against Israel, we will peacefully protest this event. Readers are encouraged to learn more about Israel’s treatment of the +5 million Palestinians under its control by visiting websites like If Americans Knew, and are invited to join us at the Michigan Theater prior to the performance.

And of course the Washtenaw Jewish News ran a front page headline about the event and ended their April issue with a full back page advertisement

Local Rabbi Firms Up His Stance

Rabbi Robert Dobrusin of Beth Israel Congregation wrote a piece for WJN’s April issue, giving us his “Thoughts on the 65th birthday of the State of Israel”

“I believe without question in the legitimacy of Israel’s existence as a Jewish State”

Devoted readers of these reports may well be wondering why the Rabbi’s statement was not made on behalf of Beth Israel Congregation as it did in his Op-ed to the Ann Arbor News of January 14, 2007

“there is one general statement which I can make on behalf of the congregation – Beth Israel Congregation affirms without any hesitation or equivocation the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state,”

Has he lost the support of the Congregation? One can only speculate …

Our Best Behavior – Smile!

On Wednesday we will attempt to explain the purpose of our protest at the Michigan Theater via use of a bullhorn and informational flyers. Our hope is that potential concert goers will hear the information we have for them, and forego their tickets to an event that will celebrate the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

We will be completely street legal: no blockage of sidewalks or entrances to the Michigan Theater. Conversation with interested individuals is encouraged, and those few that will attempt to entangle us in name-calling will be treated with a smile and a peace sign.

We expect a police presence, and have worked with the Ann Arbor Police Department to provide safety for protesters and concert goers alike.

Last Reminder

The flyer for our April17 protest of “Celebrate Israel Day” festivities at the Michigan Theater is complete and can be downloaded here for printing and distribution. Please make plans to join us as we stand against 65 years (at least) of ethnic cleansing. Contact this writer for more details.

WHERE: The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17th, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

WHAT: We will protest the Jewish Federation’s celebration of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people.

WHY: In 2005, scores of Palestinian civil society groups called for a global campaign including “broad boycotts” of Israel (see bdsmovement.net). That call includes the boycott of cultural events such as the Federation’s celebration of “Israel Day”, featuring Israeli performer Achinoam “Noa” Nini.

Comments?

Seven Vigilers
Liberate Palestine, End “Israel”
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-30-13

Posted on April 7th, 2013 at 9:51 am by

Flyer Ready for April 17 Protest

The flyer for our April17 protest of “Celebrate Israel Day” festivities at the Michigan Theater is complete and can be downloaded here for printing and distribution. Please make plans to join us as we stand against 65 years (at least) of ethnic cleansing. Contact this writer for more details.

WHERE: The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17th, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

WHAT: We will protest the Jewish Federation’s celebration of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people.

WHY: In 2005, scores of Palestinian civil society groups called for a global campaign including “broad boycotts” of Israel (see bdsmovement.net). That call includes the boycott of cultural events such as the Federation’s celebration of “Israel Day”, featuring Israeli performer Achinoam “Noa” Nini.

A Comment Survives Local Media

Across our desk comes the announcement of a local Holocaust Memorial Day planned for Monday, April 8 at Ann Arbor’s Jewish Community Center. Spurred by the words of the Italian ambulance drive from our report of March 16,

“the more horrible things Israelis do, the more Holocaust Memorial Days they give us.”

we were moved to pen a reply to the article, which was taken down from the website almost as fast as it was put up. After a few emails and phone conversations with AnnArbor.com staff, we were able to offer a re-write which was accepted for publication. We argued that the comment below fulfilled their own “Conversation Guidelines”, specifically,

“The best comments and posts are those that add more information to the story, express a different viewpoint or help create intelligent debate.”

Our comment,

There are usually “The Five W’s” contained in every news story: Who, What, Where, Why and When. This story omits the important “Why?”. Why are crimes, which were committed in Europe almost 70 years ago, celebrated with such regularity in the United States? Why are there over thirty Holocaust museums in this country, yet no museums describing the horrors of the US slave trade in Europe, the same ocean away from where they were committed?

One answer to “Why?” can be found in The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Author Norman Finkelstein raises the topic of using the Holocaust to serve political interests. He writes, “The Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a ‘victim’ state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status.”

There exist political reasons that such remembrances are celebrated, and readers are cautioned to explore the political ramifications of such events as the one described in this article. Former Knesset member Shulamit Aloni captures this political intent succinctly. She said to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are anti-Semitic.”

As people remember the fallen in any conflict, one should be aware of other agendas at play.

(1) The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Author Norman Finkelstein, p. 3.
(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDUJQvLTHog

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Eight Vigilers
Remember Deir Yassin April 9
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

#Go BLUE!

Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-23-13

Posted on March 31st, 2013 at 11:32 am by

Max Blumenthal Shows His Stripes

Five members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends attended a panel presentation which showcased Ben White and Max Blumenthal, both signatories to an on-line document which attempts to marginalize and silence Gilad Atzmon. This document is entitled “Not Quite ‘Ordinary Human Beings’—Anti-imperialism and the anti-humanist rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon”, and prompted this writer to contact Gilad to ask him for a few questions of these gentlemen.

The student organization who hosted this event, SAFE (no acronym really necessary, because that’s how they want to play this game), threw the usual curveball: no live questions from the audience, just write your questions on a card and we will screen them. So that meant my question — Why will neither Mr. Blumenthal or Mr. White debate Gilad Atzmon? — was given the deep six and never saw light of day.

Now, running concurrent with this event was the Michigan v. Kansas NCAA basketball game, shown one flight down from the SAFE event. After the final seconds of the game ticked away, Max came down and was interested in its outcome. I invited him to our weekly vigil at Beth Israel, a mere twelve hours away and was told he had an early morning flight. Asking what time the flight departed got no response. Then

Me: I was wondering why you signed that document against Gilad Atzmon
Max: Are you a supporter of Gilad Atzmon?
Me: Yes, I’m his friend
Max: Then I have nothing to say to you

And with that, Max did a perfect imitation of Alice Rothschild, pirouetting on his heels and heading back upstairs for comfort. And all this to help keep the issue of Jewish identity politics from ever being openly discussed. Makes one think that Gilad and his book The Wandering Who: A Study of Jewish Identity Politics certainly has struck a nerve in the Jewish community. The same community it appears that Max and the 200 other gatekeepers on the list want to protect.

And, speaking of gatekeepers, our friends in Boulder call attention to Anna Baltzer’s recent attempts. Acting from her position as National Organizer for the Jewish-led “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation”, she writes

I’ve heard only by chance about a number of Israeli Apartheid Week and Land Day activities by groups not in touch with IAW and the BNC so I wanted to send a little reminder: If you’re doing or have already done something for Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) or Land Day (March 30th) this month, please make sure to notify the coordinators (emphasis hers)

Now please imagine yourself in 1933 as the world-wide boycott against the National Socialist government of Germany was heating up (before Jewish Zionists signed a deal with the Reich and sabotaged it). Now further imagine that Germans captured leadership roles in the movement and wrote:

If you’re doing or have already done something for the Boycott of German goods this month, please make sure to notify the (German) coordinators:

Well, it just boggles this writer’s mind to imagine that world Jewry would allow any other group (let alone “the Germans”) to lead their struggle with the National Socialists. Something is drastically wrong with the Liberate Palestine movement that the reins of control seem to be firmly in the hands of members of the very ethnic/religious group that is oppressing the people we’re supposed to be liberating (as well as manipulating the US government.)

Reminder – Protest the Celebration of “Israel”

When: Wednesday, April 17, 6:00PM to 7:30PM
Where: Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor
What: Singer Achinoam Nini (aka Noa) will perform in celebration of “Israel” and hopes that her beauty and talent will be sufficient to mask the cruelty and violence of the Jewish state she calls home. We will be there to remind attendees to boycott entertainers from Apartheid “Israel”, in accordance with PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) requests. Please  join us.

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Seven Vigilers
Remember Deir Yassin April 9
Henry HerskovitzJewish
Witnesses for Peace and Friends
#

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