The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-23-10

Posted on January 30th, 2010 at 1:04 pm by

Abuna Chacour and JWPF

Abuna Elias Chacour spoke this week at the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor and delivered his message of steadfastness and love. Abuna is noted for founding the Mar Elias Educational Institutions and was hosted by Pilgrims of Ibillin. This writer reminded him of his visit to Ann Arbor four years ago, and that he refused an audience member’s request that he denounce our peaceful vigils. This time around he was given a copy of Religious Leaders Support Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, and asked to consider signing onto the document. Quoting from this document:

We pray that Christians and Jews will abandon their adherence to the false teachings of Zionism. We pray for an end to the idolatry of political power and military might and uphold Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends as an example for people in other communities. We pray and work for the peace and safety of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, the people of the Middle East, and all humanity – God’s children everywhere. Finally, we join in the call of the prophet Amos: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Out of Sheer Honesty …

Dialogue can have its place when the individuals involved operate from a power balance that is equal (see When Dialogue is Not Our Hope for clarification). In a conversation this week, good friend Mr. R postulated that I shouldn’t be so critical of activists like JVP-representative Barbara Harvey who are committed to ending the Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem (her promo) without identifying Zionism as the illness, and the occupation as a mere symptom. Maybe she’s just working on part of the problem, Mr. R suggested.

His suggestion reminded this writer of “Rabbit Seasoning,” a Warner Bothers cartoon where Daffy Duck – outraged that Bugs Bunny has disguised himself to outwit the bumbling Elmer Fudd screams, “Out of sheer honesty, I demand that you tell him who you really are. Well? Haven’t you anything to say? Anything? Out of sheer honesty??”

Why can’t Ms. Harvey (and readers can substitute any JVP or Brit Tzedek member of their liking) merely identify her position by one of the following two statements:

I fully support a Jewish supremacist state in 78% of Palestine. In order to safeguard that state, I focus only on the 22% where there is an obvious illegal presence and a Palestinian majority.


I cannot support Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state in Palestine, and will work to peacefully dismantle the Apartheid structure. And towards that goal I will focus, as a first step, on removing Israel’s military occupation of the illegally occupied territories.

Then, we would know where our leaders stand, and what goals they are trying to pursue. Out of sheer honesty.

Free Speech and our Street Signs – Update

It’s been over a month since we last reported any progress on asserting our First Amendment rights on Washtenaw Avenue. We now report that the City Attorney’s office is in receipt of a letter from JWPF’s Legal Department stating in part:

If the City makes allowance for the placement of unattended commercial signs in the public right-of-way for up to six hours per week then [we] cannot see any basis to assert that prohibiting the placement of attended political signs in the public right-of-way for less than an hour-and-a-half per week falls under the rubric of “reasonable ‘time, place, and manner restrictions’ upon speech that are content neutral, that serve a significant governmental interest.”

The City Attorney’s office said they would respond this week. We remind them and our readers that: “The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury” Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 373 (1976).

Seven Vigillers
Support Resistance to Genocide
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

3 Responses to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-23-10”

  1. elizabeth

    “Out of Sheer Honesty” section is wonderful.  The truth in honest words.

  2. Anonymous

    Re: Barbara Harvey, JVP, and Brit Tzedek members, maybe you should stop looking at them as “our leaders” as they are, in reality, mis-leaders.

  3. Henry

    Misleading seems certain to be the case … gatekeepers at best, which is a form of leading, I guess. Was just trying to focus on those critics and give them a way out …. ask anyone in the movement where they stand  … out of sheer honesty.
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