The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-26-11

Posted on April 2nd, 2011 at 7:43 pm by

Forum Draws Forty People

Our forum, “Seven Years of Synagogue Vigils: Why We Still Do It,” played to a receptive audience this week. Approximately forty people, including a strong showing from the Unitarian Universalists and Dearborn communities, witnessed five presentations, followed by a Q&A period.

This writer attempted to explain the origin of the vigils, and why Beth Israel Congregation remains a legitimate venue for protest. Vigiler L gave a detailed accounting of how taxes collected from US citizens are used to oppress the Palestinian people, as well as other peoples suffering under Zionist-sponsored dictators in the Middle East. Vigiler M presented a long list of war crimes committed by “Israel”, Vigiler S explained what a “nice Jewish boy” was doing protesting at a synagogue, and Vigiler T expressed shock at the behavior of a Jewish state which was acting in a manner which he described as a betrayal of Jewish morality.

Thanks go out to our sound technician, panel moderator, and four members of the Michigan Peace Team, who took time out of their busy schedule to provide a peaceful presence.

Islamic Verse Versus the Vigils

Our friend Mo (we will protect his real name from a potential Jewish onslaught) claims to understand the source of Imam Dawud Walid’s charge that our non-violent vigils are “un-Islamic”. He writes:

From the Islamic viewpoint on insulting other religions and their religious symbols, Allah (God) commands believers not to engage in any of this. The following verse in the Holy Qur’an makes it very clear:

“And (O Believers), do not revile those whom they invoke besides Allah lest they should, in their ignorance, revile Allah.” 6:108

A different translation: “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge.”

We tend to agree with our Muslim sister S, who claims this passage is a misapplication of the teachings of the Prophet, and suggested to Mo that our actions – protesting in front of a synagogue – do not revile or insult either the god or the religion of Judaism (although there’s a disturbing overlap between Judaism and Zionism). If anything, the death-dealing Zionist ideology and practices of Beth Israel Congregation are the real insult to God. By contrast, our vigils challenge the Congregation’s support for Israel, praying to the State and its soldiers, taking children there to be indoctrinated in Zionist ideology, etc.

We also received this comment from Brighton, UK:

I think the question when challenging any community in the way you do is: How much power do they have, and how much damage could they do if not restrained. At the moment I think Muslims have relatively little power in relation to their numbers. The West is rightly aware that this could change in the future, but we’re not there yet. … Jews, on the other hand, have a grossly disproportionate amount of power in relation to their numbers, and the damage they can inflict is huge. Challenging their power in ways like [JWPF’s] therefore seems fully justified.

Comments continuing this dialogue will be moderated at Please feel free to submit your opinion…


Six Vigilers
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