The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-01-11

Posted on January 8th, 2011 at 8:18 am by

JWPF Welcomes New Year

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends welcomed in the new year by placing nine dedicated peace activists at our non-violent, silent vigils in front of Beth Israel Congregation, one of the local centers of nationalist support of the state of Israel. We note two other active street protest groups and hope that Ann Arbor’s two mainstream groups – Michigan PeaceWorks and the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice – will start some of their own in 2011.

Jawaher Abu Rahme Memorialized at Ann Arbor City Council

Members of Ann Arbor City Council were informed of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahme, who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces in her home village of Bi’lin. All in attendance were invited to remember Jawaher this Saturday, and every Saturday at Beth Israel Congregation. A video transcript of the presentation to Council is found here. Please advance to 00:30:35 to view. The written transcript is listed after signature.

Coexist – A Message of Distortion

One popular sticker adorning American cars is a stylized rendition of “Coexist”. The sticker features a crescent moon and star representing Islam, a hexagram/”Star of David” representing Judaism, and a cross representing Christianity. While on the surface it appears to be a peaceful message, it can further misunderstanding, whether intentionally or not.

In the case of Israel’s ongoing conquest of Palestine, “Coexist” can strengthen the notion that the problem is simply an inability of the parties involved to get along with each other. Like observing two children squabbling during kindergarten recess, we are unable and unwilling to understand the cause of their struggle. We see the disagreement from afar, and just want it to end. So we say “Can’t you children just get along?” and hope they heed our advice.

The fact that a Jew and a Palestinian can get along is well documented. Elias Chacour’s Mar Elias schools in Ibillin, the Neve Shalom / Wahat al Salam village in Palestine, as well as so-called “dialogue groups” here in the U.S. are examples; others abound. Getting along is not the issue.

The cause of discontent – to use the mildest of descriptors – in Palestine is far from a simple failure to get along. The cause is rooted in the ideology of Zionism, which argues Jewish supremacy in Palestine and has supported violent land theft and appropriation for over 62 years. Palestinian resistance to this oppression, supported by a vast media campaign and funding from the world’s single superpower, is solely a reaction to this physical onslaught.

Stopping Zionism and stopping Jewish aggression will thereby free Palestinians from the Apartheid conditions they face. These are the core issues that need to be discussed, not camouflaged by misleading words like “Coexist”, which serve only to undermine true understanding and appreciation of the issue. Bumper stickers deliver short messages, to be sure. “Boycott Israel”, or “Stop U.S. Aid to Israel” are also short but deliver a more direct and truthful message.

“Coexist” is faulty, perhaps by design, and portrays a false picture of reality in Palestine. It does not address ways towards a just solution, nor does it hold the guilty parties accountable. It is a diversion, and should be rebutted by Palestinian solidarity activists, not slapped on the bumpers of their cars.

Reminder: Freedom of Religion Day

Jessica Sitek of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice reminds everyone to attend a “Religious Freedom Day” event on Thursday January 13th at the Ann Arbor District Library, Main Branch, 7:00 PM. This panel discussion is titled, “Flashpoints and Controversies On Religious Freedom”. See you there.

End Jewish Supremacism in Palestine
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friend
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Public Commentary to Ann Arbor City Council
January 3, 2011

Good Evening,

In June of 2009, I spoke to you about a Palestinian peace activist who was killed by a member of the Israeli Defense Force. Basem Abu Rahme [RACH muh] was killed when a high velocity tear gas canister was fired into his chest. He died almost immediately. Here is the photo of Basem and myself, taken almost five years ago in the village he was defending, the village of Bi’lin.

Today I sadly stand before you to tell the news that last Friday his sister – Jawaher [zsh-WAH-her] – was heavily tear gassed, collapsed onto the ground, and was rushed to the hospital in Ramallah, suffering from extreme asphyxiation. She died as a result on New Year’s Day.

According to well-known peace activist and Genetics Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, the gas used was a highly toxic one, “a much stronger version with unknown chemicals than used in the West”

Like her brother we will never know the identity of the person who killed her. But that’s the modus operandi of this Jewish state in Palestine: they do what they want, and tell the world to mind its own business. Simply put, they act as gangsters.

And if we in America coldheartedly think – well, those victims weren’t US citizens, so it’s not our concern – what about when it IS our concern… like when an IDF bulldozer operator crushed to death Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington? No US investigation, no compensation demanded, not even a mention of a foreign government killing an American citizen.

Imagine what would happen if North Korea killed an American citizen?

No, Rachel’s parents are currently in civil court in Haifa, suing the state of Israel for a symbolic one dollar. And they are getting the same gangster rush, the murderer protected from even showing his face to the parents of the daughter he killed.

Jawaher becomes the first martyr in Palestine for this year. Yet searching for her name in the New York Times produces no results. Our media is tightly controlled when it comes to identifying Israeli war crimes.

So we will use our own media and our own first amendment rights. We will remember Jawaher on Saturday morning at Beth Israel Congregation and invite all here to join with us. Let’s end Zionism in our time.

Thank you

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-01-11”

  1. Jimmy1920

    Not all COEXIST bumper stickers are created equally.  I was driving through a parking lot recently and noticed a care with several very conservative “Christian” bumper stickers, and one that said “COEXIST”.  That seemed curious to me and so I swung by again and noticed that the X was a skull and cross bones and the O was a rifle sight.
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