The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-02-10

Posted on January 14th, 2010 at 2:40 pm by

Our First Offer Received

Beth Israel Congregant Victor Lieberman stepped up to the plate in his own fashion and sent Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends an invitation to consider his offer to approach Rabbi Dobrusin and the Board of Directors of Beth Israel. His full offering can be read here, but at the core was:

In short, there may be some opportunity for accommodation. I understand that you began your vigil because you were denied opportunity to speak to Beth Israel. I therefore propose the following. I shall urge the rabbi and board to allow you to share your views on Israel in a meeting room at the synagogue on a week night or at a weekend time of your choosing. (Addressing the congregation in the sanctuary on Shabbat is not an option, because it is not a political forum.) Your talk will be advertised, and anyone in the congregation (not the general public) wishing to attend will do so. People will not accept a one-sided presentation on so controversial a topic, so I propose that after you talk for 20 minutes or however long you want — I reply for a like period, or perhaps somewhat more briefly. We could then each have 5 or 10 minutes for final remarks, after which the discussion would be open to the floor. In return for addressing the congregation, you and your group must agree to end permanently your picketing of the synagogue.

Our response, and counter-offer, in full:

Dear Mr. Lieberman,

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends appreciates your decision to reach out to us. As you may know, JWPF made offers to Beth Israel in letters to the Ann Arbor News on July 18, 2007, and July 17, 2009 (see enclosures). Our basic position was to “terminate the vigils at Beth Israel when its board of directors publicly states its full support for principles that basic human rights require.” In essence, those principles were the three demands set forth in the 2005 Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. In both cases, we indicated that our position was negotiable; that is still the case today.

However, you should know that JWPF members agree that the one-time, closed meeting you proposed in your earlier letter is simply inadequate inducement for us to abandon an effort that has consumed so much of our time and energy and has occasioned so much unwarranted reproach from the Jewish community. Furthermore, your proposal offers nothing in the way of changing BIC’s unequivocal embrace of Zionism and the Palestinian suffering that entails. Nevertheless, we remain open to beginning negotiations with BIC with the definite goal of ending our vigils at BIC.

During these negotiations, JWPF reserves the right to continue the vigils but to jump start the process, and as an act of good faith, we offer to suspend the vigils for one week on some mutually agreed upon date in return for a pledge by BIC’s board of directors to begin negotiations with us on a date certain. Feel free to share this letter with Rabbi Dobrusin and anyone else in BIC.

After receiving an initial response, which hinted at the allegedly circumscribed nature of our understanding of Apartheid Israel’s historiography, Mr. Lieberman who holds a 1975 Ph. D from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies invited this writer to audit his Fall, 2010 class on “A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” This part of a new offer was immediately accepted, but his rejection of our counter came in a second response: “As regards your counter-offer, I’m afraid it would elicit no interest. Most congregants regard the vigil as no more than a trivial nuisance with which they long ago came to terms.”

Victor is then hard pressed to explain, if JWPF is the trivial nuisance he claims, why the Jewish community would recognize our group in a front-page, 3,500-word article in its most recent edition of the Washtenaw Jewish News.

Ann Arbor Chronicle Reports on Palestine

One of at least two on-line news agencies remaining in Ann Arbor is the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Their co-editor is present at all City Council meetings and reports from last Monday:

Henry Herskovitz: Herskovitz described how he’d been walking with a woman down Ann Street towards Fourth Avenue on Nov. 21, 2009 when theyd been assaulted by a noise so loud that it had caused the woman to grab his arm. It had caused parents to try to reassure their children that things were okay, but the children had been inconsolable. The loud noise, he explained, had come from Michigan National Guard jets that had buzzed Michigan Stadium on the day of the UM-Ohio State football game. He reminded councilmembers that the children of Palestine experience that kind of noise on a daily basis, and that it was causing a psychological crisis in Gaza. That terror, he concluded, continued to be funded by American citizens.

Good Protest in Ohio

At least two members of JWPF journeyed south to Toledo, Ohio to take part in a Palestine solidarity gathering and march sponsored by the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition (NWOPC). In his speech, a new Palestinian father called upon the Jewish community to reject the ideology and subsequent crimes committed in their names. See photo below and at Full report of NWOPC’s protest here.

Six Vigillers, ten degrees
Treat the Illness, not the Symptom
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-02-10”

  1. The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog » Blog Archive » Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-30-2010

    […] a trivial nuisance with which they long ago came to terms.” This quote was contained in our “Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-02-10”. Vic also added in that email exchange: “…the congregation will simply continue to put up […]
Powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
%d bloggers like this: