The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-04-11

Posted on June 12th, 2011 at 9:49 am by

Dual Loyalty: An Issue for Voters

Should Rahm Emanuel, who served the Israeli military in a civilian capacity, have been vetted prior to his appointment as Obama administration Chief of Staff and subsequent election to Mayor of Chicago on the issue of his allegiance to a foreign government? Is it proper that candidates running for any public office be similarly vetted? We think so, and identified a local Jewish man who flies an Israeli flag on his home, sports a Jewish-Israeli license as a vanity plate on his car, and is running for a seat on Ann Arbor’s City Council. From Friday’s Ann Arbor Chronicle (text of speech below signature):

Comm/Comm: Ward 5 City Council Race

Henry Herskovitz introduced himself as a Ward 5 resident, saying that it’s a matter of public record that Neal Elyakin is running for city council in that ward. Herskovitz told the council it’s his understanding that if elected, councilmembers must promise to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Elyakin, he said, had chosen to fly a national flag in front of his home that is not the U.S. flag, but rather one from a country that 44 years ago on Wednesday (June 8th) had killed 34 Americans. [Hersovitz {sic} was referring to an attack on the USS Liberty in 1967.] Herskovitz said that he supported Elyakin’s right to fly the Israeli flag, and his right to run for a seat on the city council, but wondered to which country Elyakin owed his allegiance. Elyakin should state his loyalty and allegiances clearly, Herskovitz said.

Peacemonger has provided us with some additional research on Mr. Elyakin and reports that he is a founding member of the Michigan Israel Business Bridge, a Board Member of the Friends of the IDF, Michigan Chapter, and a Board member of the Jewish National Fund (Michigan). Read more here.

Jewish Voice for Peace? Really?

Nahida, the Exiled Palestinian, speaks with a strong voice and agrees with those of us who question the current role of Jews in the Palestine solidarity movement. She writes,

As a Palestinian, I see the role of any “Jewish voice for peace” who sincerely desire to contribute to the Liberation of Palestine and justice for Palestinians, and who desire to be identified through their contributions “as Jews”, then their role ought to be focused on cleaning their own house before sorting other people’s houses; i.e. that is to exclude any major role in influencing, leading or directing the Solidarity and/or Liberation Movement of Palestine. [Nahida’s hyperlink, with our appreciation!]

She identifies Jewish-led groups whose focus appears to be more interested in achieving sympathy and understanding for Jews than true solidarity with Palestinians and says, with a wary eye towards Jewish Voice for Peace,

Palestinians are under no obligation to hold back their march for freedom, to curtail their aims or to smother their rights for the sake of accommodating and not offending their Jewish supporters.

Read full article at

ICPJ Rejects a Second Signature

Vigiller M reports that Paypal refunded her money that she willingly and supportively donated to the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. Just as this writer’s signature was removed, and reported on last week, she received a similar and similarly spurious explanation from ICPJ Director Chuck Warpehoski:

Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice canceled this PayPal payment:

Amount: $10.00 USD

Note: Marcia,

We have decided to decline your request to sign the letter and return your$10 contribution as this ad is part of a strategy to build common ground toend the occupation–a strategy with which you have expressed disagreement.

In peace,


June is Torture Awareness Month

In spite of the courageous activities of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and its local supporters, including (surprise!) the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Beth Israel Congregation still apparently refuses to affix the “Torture is Wrong” banner on its building. But fear not, because this message and banner was displayed by our group of protesters who will continue to do so during the month.

Submit your comments to…vigil-06-04-11/

Seven Vigilers identifying an
Illegitimate Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Speech delivered to Ann Arbor City Council June 6, 2011

My Name is Henry Herskovitz and I live at 404 Mark Hannah Place, just about in the center of Ward 5. That’s public information, available from the phone book here, and verifying the ward boundary maps from the City’s website.

Also public information provided by the City’s website is who’s running for Council in the August 2nd primary election. One of the candidates listed is Mr. Neal Elyakin, residing at 1300 Red Oak Drive.

It is my understanding that if elected, Mr. Elyakin will be sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States as he carries out Council duties. Now, if you drove by 1300 Red Oak Drive a month ago, you would have seen that the candidate chose to fly a national flag in front of his home. The problem – for me as an Ann Arbor and United States citizen – is that the national flag was not that of the United States.

It is the flag of a foreign country, a country that killed 34 American sailors 44 years ago this Wednesday, and has killed other American citizens, one as recently as last year. Mr. Elyakin chose to fly the Israeli flag, not the United States flag, and though I absolutely respect his right to fly any flag he chooses, I cannot help but wonder to which country does he hold primary allegiance? Whose constitution will he swear to uphold, should he win on August Two?

On our public highways, one can witness Mr. Elyakin’s well-kept, bright red convertible. On the front of this vehicle, however, is a Jewish-Israeli license plate. Apartheid Israel issues two sets of plates: one for Jews, another for Palestinians.

Lest anyone think this is a personal attack, let me assure them it is not. I am not judging Mr. Elyakin. He is welcome to express himself any way he chooses and I support his right to his freedom of expression, as I support his right to run for public office.

But I would hope that our candidates for elected office would state their loyalties and allegiances plainly and clearly. Flying the flag of a country that continues to ethnically cleanse an indigenous population, a country that does not separate Church and State, might indicate a candidate whose divided loyalties will inhibit his ability to faithfully serve Ward 5 residents.

Thank you

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