The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-12-11

Posted on November 21st, 2011 at 9:50 am by

Our Response to Mr. Shtulman

The editorial staff at the Washtenaw Voice is planning to publish our letter countering some of the false charges leveled against Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends in their last edition. The Voice article was discussed in our last report. Our letter to the editor appears below signature.

Local Media Coverage of JWPF

The Ann Arbor Chronicle once again recorded a three-minute presentation on “Challenging Israel’s Legitimacy” at Ann Arbor City Council, reported in full last week. See reporter David Askins’ article segment, also below signature. Readers may also access the video here. Please advance to 00:30:28 to begin broadcast.

Zionist Lies

Five members of JWPF attended a lecture by Victor Lieberman, aka “the spitter who reneges on his promise“, at Washtenaw Community College this week. Victor is a Jew, a Zionist, and a sometime attendee at the Beth Israel Congregation. At the U-M, he teaches “History 244, History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1880-Present”. His title, however, is “Marvin B. Becker Collegiate Professor of Southeast Asian History.” Go figure.

A rapid-fire delivery, on display at the lecture, seems essential to delivering a distorted picture of terror and massacre as Jews began their program of ethnic cleansing of Palestine beginning at the end of the 19th century. He adds an ice cube of truth into a cocktail of lies, as he spins his web of deceit. Example: he claims that it was world opinion which created a Jewish state via UN Resolution 181, without telling the truth about coercion, the political decisions that overrode US interests, and that fact that – if polled – most of the world’s inhabitants would have rejected a Jewish state.

He also typically starts with dubious claims of “European and Russian anti-Semitism.” We note, for example, that the notorious Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion, a Polish-born Jew, claimed in a memoir to have “personally never suffered anti-Semitic persecution” and that, in his youth, Polish boys feared fighting gangs of Jewish boys rather than vice-versa. We note, too, that the American Jewish scholar Benjamin Ginsberg, in The Fatal Embrace, attributes historical anti-Jewish sentiment not to a mysterious, ineffable “anti-Semitism” but to the tendency of Jewish communities to align themselves with repressive regimes.

To return to Professor Lieberman’s talk, having set up a foundation of straw-man arguments, he builds on false claims to Palestine, i.e. Jews were fleeing Europe and in their haste caused Palestinians to also flee. He is quick to mention that Menachim Begin’s “whole family was wiped out by the Nazis”, yet fails to tell his audience what a terrorist Begin actually was. No, he reserves the word “terrorism” to define PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. He mentions “suicide bombers” six times, but fails to inform folks that it was Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the butcher of twenty-nine Palestinian Muslims who were in the midst of prayer, whose actions gave rise to the first martyr bombing in 1994.

When you’re peddling Israeli Hasbara (propaganda), be sure to talk fast, pepper your lies with a grain of truth now and then, and hope nobody is listening with a critical ear.

Double-digit vigil (10)
“Treason to Jewish-ness is Loyalty to Humanity”
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends


Matt Durr
Editor, Washtenaw Voice
[Note: please review any edits with the author before printing]

Dear Mr. Durr,

Readers of “Jewish Federation offended by protests; security office unruffled” (Washtenaw Voice, Nov. 7, 2011, p.3) could be forgiven for not catching the falsehoods of David Shtulman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, in the article. I would like to take this opportunity to correct them. First, he claims that our group, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWPF), has “no connection to the Jewish community.” Three of our members, including this writer, are Jewish, meaning we identify as Jewish and have cultural, religious and familial connections to the larger Jewish community. When our Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) vigils started almost half of the participants were Jewish, but our Jewish ranks have been depleted due to the passage of time and by the relentless Zionist onslaught of the mainstream Jewish community. We note that we are not the only Jews of conscience to have been driven to the margins by the inhumanity of Jewish support for apartheid in Palestine.

Mr. Shtulman also claims: “They want our prayer for peace in Israel to be removed.” The prayer is found in the Siddur Sim Shalom, and is entitled “Prayer for the State of Israel.” It is hardly a prayer for peace. “Strengthen the hands of those who defend our Holy Land. Deliver them; crown their efforts with triumph.” It sounds more like cheerleading for the Israeli military, which repeatedly commits war crimes against Palestinian and other Arab civilians.

Despite the evident militarism of that prayer, we have never demanded its removal. Nor have we “demanded that references to Israel be removed from the doctrines and effigies used in the synagogue’s ceremonies.” We have, however, offered to terminate our vigils if BIC’s Board of Directors would only support basic human rights for Palestinians: (1) The full civil and political equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel within Israel, (2) The prompt implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees of 1947-8 and 1967 to return to their homes and properties in Israel and Palestine as stipulated in UN resolution 194, and (3) The prompt end of Israeli occupation and colonization of all lands seized by Israel in 1967. Contra Shtulman, whatever our individual members may think, JWPF has never issued any statement in regards to Israel’s “right to exist.”

Further, Mr. Shtulman’s charge that our members ate “bacon-cheese-burgers” at our October 8 protest is false. We didn’t eat anything in front of the synagogue on that day or any other. Readers interested in the full story are welcome to read the 9/26/2011 post at

Finally, Mr. Shtulman complains that “in the end, they’re really irrelevant.” But readers must wonder why, if we’re so irrelevant, did he spend so much time with the student reporter, and why would the Voice dedicate an entire article, not to his Federation’s fund raiser, but to our protests instead?

Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

From the Ann Arbor Chronicle:

Comm/Comm: Israel

Henry Herskovitz reminded the council he’d spoken during public commentary the previous month and had showed them a world map. He then pointed the council to work done by Alison Weir, who’d founded an organizations called If Americans Knew, which he called an informative and unbiased source of information on Israel’s founding. He then went through some of Weir’s arguments that some of the votes for Israel at the United Nations came as the result of political pressure applied by the U.S.

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