The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-02-11

Posted on April 11th, 2011 at 1:14 pm by


Two “Off-Topic” Messages

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends sees clear linkages between the financially-ailing State of Michigan and a US foreign policy that sends our taxes to support Israeli Apartheid. We took this message to the “We Are One” protest on the University of Michigan campus this week. The protest focused on Governor Rick Snyder’s plans to initiate new taxes, cut education spending and attack collective bargaining rights.

A concise flier was welcomed by the few attendees who understood the connection:

Keep Michigan Solvent
Stop US Aid to Israel
Stop supporting genocide
Bring our money back home
$58 Million saved for Michigan, plus millions more for wars we launch for Israel.
Read “A War for Israel” from

Concurrent with our efforts to raise awareness of US funding of a foreign entity committing genocide against an innocent, indigenous people, was our friend Arny and his one-person, anti-war protest. Arny is a Veteran For Peace member and his “off-topic” message was “War is Costly”, while holding the VFP peace flag. Good for Arny. Though this was not an anti-war protest, his message is always relevant and timely. Same as ours.

Arny reports receiving much support for his efforts to link war with an out-of-control military budget and its effects on states as Michigan. But our efforts to link a minority-influenced, and dangerous foreign policy budget prompted a handful of derisive comments, including two attempts at physical intimidation.

Why the difference in reactions? Both messages were “off-topic” in the sense that they didn’t directly address unions, teacher rights, Tea Party influence, state taxes, etc. but both were clearly “on-topic” to address underlying causes of economic distress. Our sign read “Economic Stimulus: Stop US Aid to Israel!”

Could it be that a general anti-war message is less threatening than a message critical of the Jewish state? How does the fact that Ann Arbor’s Jewish population is proportionately six times greater than that of the US average influence the response to our message? Is the non-Jewish population media-sensitized to favor Israel and to cast Jews as victims, forever requiring protection?

Notable at this rally were the presence of the United Auto Workers and Teamsters members and speakers. Both unions have purchased Israel government bonds as part of their pension funding plans, and we have it on good grounds that the hijacking of organized labor was influenced by the actions of the Jewish Zionist Samuel Gompers.

Two “off-topic” messages. One is supported, the other given a hard time. If our reasoning doesn’t provide the answers, please provide some that do at

More on the Costs of US Support of Israel

Vigil supporter M. provides us a reminder of the work of Dr. Thomas R. Stauffer, an engineer and economist, who taught at Harvard and Georgetown universities. In 2003, the journal Middle East Policy published Dr. Stauffer’s article, “The cost of Middle East conflict, 1956-2002: what the U.S. has spent.” At the conclusion of this copiously annotated 58-page article Dr. Stauffer writes, “I have attempted to estimate the cost to the United States of the instability and conflict in the Middle East. The minimum estimate comes close to $3 trillion, an amount almost four times greater than the cost of the Vietnam War (reckoned in 2002 dollars). Even this figure underestimates the costs.…”

Vigils “Un-Islamic”? A Contextual Analysis

Last week’s report expressed our opinion on the offered Qur’an verse which attempted to explain Imam Dawud Walid’s remark that our vigils are “Un-Islamic”. This week we provide yet a third voice into the discussion:

The context of 6:108 [“And (O Believers), do not revile those whom they invoke besides Allah lest they should, in their ignorance, revile Allah.”] is entirely unrelated to the vigils. According to Ibn Kathir, one of the foremost commentators on the Qur’an, the verse refers to an incident in which Mecca’s polytheists engaged in discussion with Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Abu Talib. There was a specific threat by Mecca’s polytheists to insult God if the prophet were to insult their idols. Hence, the verse is to be distinguished from the vigils in the following regards: 1) The synagogue has not made any threats to insult God if the vigils were to continue; 2) The synagogue is attended by Jews, who are monotheists. It is antithetical to their Judaism to verbally insult God, unlike the polytheists referred to in the verse; 3) The verse discourages offending others’ gods/idols. The vigils are about confronting an injustice, not offending anyone’s god. Therefore, the verse is entirely inapplicable to JWPF.

Eleven Vigilers
Jewish state or a Just Peace – our choice
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

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