The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 02-05-11

Posted on February 12th, 2011 at 7:54 am by

The Role of Jews in the Palestine Solidarity Movement

Under the auspices of Deir Yassin Remembered (, this writer gave a presentation at Ibrahim’s Bi-monthly Salon Event in Seattle, Washington entitled “The Role of Jews in the Palestine Solidarity Movement”. Beginning with a personal introduction of Jewish influence in local peace groups, the talk expanded into six main subtopics:

1. A description of how difficult it was to convince Michigan Peaceworks (then called Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace) to adopt a position on Palestine. It was noted that the group formed right after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and that U.S. support for Israel was prominent among the reasons stated for the attack, yet the topic kept slipping off the table. After membership passed a rather tepid resolution, the Jewish-led leadership of Michigan Peaceworks promptly eliminated the membership, a relationship that exists to this day.

2. A visual depiction of the “Twin Pillars”: a description of the Jewish community as a viable and worthy target for protest, and the unique position and responsibility of Jewish peace activists to lead the peace movement in criticism of that community.

3. Reaching the precipice: A point of view that describes the short journey of a Jewish peace activist. First, the entry in the Palestine peace movement, motivated by a humanist concern, then the shock when he/she realizes that for Palestine to live, Israel must die. See article by Richard Hugus here.

4. Becoming the gate keeper: Not being able to then bring him/herself to the decision that peace and a Jewish-supremacist state cannot coexist, the Jewish activist becomes an effective gate-keeper, who prevents other voices – like ours – from being heard. Examples were given of Jews becoming leaders in the movement, then using that leadership to discourage and silence those who identify and challenge Jewish power.

5. An interpretation of the teachings of Malcolm X, who explained the role of whites in the black nationalist movement of the sixties. He was clear that sincere whites could not join his Organization of Afro-American Unity, but should work separately from fellow blacks by confronting the racism that exists in the white community. Likewise the role of Jews is not to exert control over Palestine solidarity groups, but to expose and challenge the racism that exists within the Jewish community.

6. A reading of DYR Director Paul Eisen’s words: “The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organized Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do.”

Note: this event was filmed by Bill Alford’s Moral Politics TV. He advises that Scan-TV will cablecast the presentation on February 18th at 8:30 pm PST and can be viewed only at that time. Scan-TV technology has yet to implement video-on-demand. Bill has sent a physical DVD of the talk, however. If interested in a copy, please contact this writer

Egypt Inextricably Linked to Israel

Largely missing from mainstream media coverage of the resignation of Hosni Mubarak is the crucial explanation of the central role that Israel state plays in the human rights violations of the Egyptian people. Our friend Alison Weir, President of the Council for the National Interest, explains this important connection in “Egypt, the US and the Israel Lobby”, found on Counterpunch:

Advance Notice

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends will hold our second open forum, which will be a panel discussion with Q&A about our weekly vigils, open to the public and moderated by the president of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace. The Ann Arbor District Library’s Mallets Creek Branch will be the location for this March 29th event at 7:00 – 9:00 pm. More information will be available in future reports.

Eight Vigilers on Jan. 22nd
Seven Vigilers on Jan. 29th
Nine Vigilers on Feb. 5th
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
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