The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-08-10

Posted on May 15th, 2010 at 3:20 pm by

A Quota for Jews on the Supreme Court? Where’s Abe Foxman?

An implied 40% quota on Jews able to serve on the highest court in the land is contained in the nomination of Elena Kagan by Barack Obama. (The fourth Jew would make it 4/9=44%). We feel that there should be no such quota, and America’s interests would be best served by a Supreme Court of nine – or even ten – Jews. So what that Elena’s academic publication record is, in the opinion of the distinguished political scientist James Petras, “lackluster” and “is only surpassed by her total lack of any practical experience as a judge”? Who needs experience when she can muster the political support of a stable of Jewish neocons, the size of which could form an easy minyan* at Beth Israel. Petras lists “Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Levey, Greenspan, Axelrod, Emmanuel, Indyk, Ross, Summers, Rubin, et al:” as Kagan’s all-too-willingly-helpful co-religionists. According to Petras, it was Elena’s ability to attract such popular, powerful support that won her the job, ” and not her intellectual prowess” (his emphasis). See James’ article here.

Seriously, it’s in everyone’s interest that the elements of a true democracy be preserved, i.e. that our governmental offices be staffed in accordance with population demographics. When a minority group is over-represented in powerful positions, and when this minority pursues chauvinistic goals, and when these goals work to undermine the interests of the majority (underrepresented) population as the Jewish community does … well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this majority (read: U.S. Protestant population plus other non-Jews) might harbor some resentment towards this over-represented, and rather pushy, minority. Perhaps it’s time to heed the words of George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

CORRECTION on Last Week’s Report

A few local members of the Friends Meeting informed this writer that the letter which appeared in the May, 2010 edition of the Washtenaw Jewish News was indeed approved by their Peace and Social Concerns committee, then formally adopted by their Meeting for Worship for Business in early spring. So the letter from Cassie Cammann was not – as reported last week – an “unauthorized letter”. As we offer our apologies for the error, we note that there was indeed a prior unauthorized personal letter from Ms. Cammann sent to the WJN, and copied to Rob Dobrusin, Rabbi at Beth Israel.

Ms. Cammann’s personal letter was less flattering to our group than the published letter. She writes: “We are troubled that the author [Steven Pastner – hh] chose to cite a misleading statement from Henry Herskovitz linking Quakers to the Jewish Witnesses for Peace, as Ann Arbor Friends Meeting does not support the weekly protest at the Beth Israel Synagogue”. We wonder what statement she was referring to and why she felt it misleading, but note that her letter led to an apparent dialogue with members of the Jewish community, e.g. Dobrusin’s response: “I am certainly aware of the fact that the Friends Meeting has not endorsed the protests outside of Beth Israel. I had several conversations with members of the Friends Meeting concerning the protests a few years ago and that stand was made clear to me at that time and I know that it is still the position of the Friends Meeting.”

JWPF wishes that our Friends would spend as much time and energy holding dialogue with us as they have done with the Jewish community. Our offer to discuss the group’s goals and tactics with members of the Friends Meeting remains open.

Thanks to IDAP

Our thanks go out to the Interdenominational Advocates for Peace group (IDAP) for hosting this writer at their meeting this week, and for honoring Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends by inviting me to introduce Alan Hart this coming Tuesday (May 18th) in the Wesley Lounge at First United Methodist Church, corner State and Huron, from 7-9 pm. See you there!

Motivational Words from Wendel Barry
(with thanks for Dissident Veteran for Peace)

Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out for longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal. If protest depended on success, there would be little protest of any durability or significance. History simply affords too little evidence that anyone’s individual protest is of any use. Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.

Eight Vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Women die at checkpoints because Jews want the land
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

* – Minyan: the number of persons required by Jewish law to be present to conduct a communal religious service, traditionally a minimum of 10 Jewish males over 13 years of age. Source:

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