The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-23-10

Posted on October 30th, 2010 at 7:28 pm by

Malcolm X’s Lesson for Sincere Jews

Malcolm X writes, after his return from Mecca (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, pp. 383-384):

I tell sincere white people, ‘Work in conjunction with us – each of us working among our own kind’. Let sincere white individuals find other white people … and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people!…

I have these very deep feelings that white people who want to join black organizations are just taking the escapist way to salve their consciences. By visibly hovering near us, they are ‘proving’ that they are ‘with us.’ But the hard truth is this isn’t helping to solve America’s racist problems. The Negroes aren’t the racists. Where the really sincere white people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the black victims, but out on the battle lines of where America’s racism really is – and that’s in their own home communities;…

Now take a moment to replace the word “whites” with “Jews”, “blacks” and “Negroes” with “Palestinians”, and America with “Israel” or “Zionism”, and a clear picture emerges. If Malcolm were alive today, he would see through Jewish-led peace groups and individuals who are more interested in maintaining a Jewish state, the myth of superior Jewish morality, and unique Jewish suffering, than challenging the Jewish community to relinquish their racist hold in Palestine.

Think about two examples: Jewish Voice for Peace comes to town (Detroit chapter, 2006), ostensibly to work with the Palestinian activist community, but pretty soon, they’re calling the shots. Assuming a leadership position, JVP proceeded to strip ‘boycott’ from the BDS call and focused on divestment from TIAA-CREF, a large investment house. Why is JVP repeatedly absent when other groups call for grassroots boycotts? Where were they last Thursday, when thirty activists took to Rackham Auditorium to protest the Jerusalem Quartet? Are their goals to protect the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine? Let’s read their own words: “Much of what they [ADL] say about us is dead wrong – we seek a suspension of military aid, not an end. We actually have well over 20 chapters and growing. We are not an anti-Zionist organization nor are we anti-Israel …”

And consider efforts of well established, Jewish peace activists like Mark Braverman, who, instead of holding his own Jewish community accountable for the crimes of the Jewish state, he writes books and lectures folks on *Christian* Zionism. Is that getting the cart before the horse, or what? And for what purpose? Well, Malcolm said it first: Mark’s form of activism gives him the benefit of salving his conscience by appearing to work for Palestinian liberation. Malcolm would not have been fooled, and neither are we. He wrote:

‘Conservatism’ in America’s politics means ‘Let’s keep the niggers in their place’. And ‘Liberalism’ means ‘ Let’s keep the knee-grows in their place – but tell them we’ll treat them a little better; let’s fool them more, with more promises.’ With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to be eaten by, the ‘liberal’ fox or the ‘conservative’ wolf – because both of them would eat him.

So the aware Palestinian might also be faced with the same choice: being eaten by the ‘wolf’ – JCRC’s Don Cohen*, or the ‘fox’ JVP’s Barbara Harvey – because both of them would eat him.

Video of the Combined Protest of the Jerusalem Quartet

Please view the 13-minute video of our efforts with the Jerusalem Committee of Dearborn, as we protested Israel’s “Cultural Ambassadors” on Oct. 21st.

Visit JWPF at the Michigan Peace Team “Signature Event”

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends will sponsor a table at next Friday’s event, November 5th at the Greenfield Manor in nearby Dearborn. We will help commemorate the lives of peace activists Rachel Corrie and Edward Said. Please feel free to drop by our table and engage us in conversation.

JWPF Presents at Ann Arbor City Council

The Ann Arbor Chronicle once again covered our talk at City Council’s October 18th meeting. See article posted after signature, and verbatim speech here

JWPF Loses a Great Supporter

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends mourns the passing of our dear friend Carolyn Diem, who left us this week. We note that she stood vigil with us twice, despite her age and physical condition at the time. She was a strong willed woman, always cheerful and willing to look out for her neighbor. Her presence will be sorely missed.

Eight Vigilers
Got a Comment? Go to: and let it fly …
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
* Jewish Community Relations Council of Detroit spokesperson

Henry Herskovitz described the regular demonstration he and several others have conducted – for more than seven years – on Saturdays at the Beth Israel synagogue on Washtenaw Avenue, saying they were peaceful vigils. He allowed that some of the 1,000 motorists who drove past expressed annoyance at their activity – which includes holding signs calling for the end of U.S. aid to Israel. But he contended that more motorists would be supportive of them if more people got their news from sources other than the New York Times, which many residents of Ann Arbor now rely on, since the demise of The Ann Arbor News.

The Times, Hersovitz said, had failed to cover the report endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the investigation into events surrounding a Gaza-bound aid flottilla on May 31, 2010, which resulted in nine deaths. Six of the killings, said Herskovitz, were described in the report as consistent with summary execution. Herskovitz described a visit to Ann Arbor by the Jerusalem Quartet, performing on Thursday evening, Oct. 21 at the Rackham Auditorium, as an attempt to put a “human face on inhuman behavior,” and he indicated that he would be there to protest against the performance.

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