The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-05-12

Posted on May 13th, 2012 at 8:40 am by

Maintaining Democracy in Ann Arbor

Will the electorate accept a candidate for City Council who has a reputation for coddling the powerful and violating the mission statement of the organization he directs? Time will tell, but we report that Chuck Warpehoski, Director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, has tossed his ill-fitting hat into the political arena and declared himself a candidate for Ann Arbor’s fifth ward.

Readers will remember that Chuck, when faced with salary and job concerns in 2006, led the charge against ICPJ’s Middle East Task Force, and eventually fired the shots which led to the removal of this most prolific and popular task force. Why? Because as you read the statement delivered to City Council this past Monday (below signature), the tension which developed between the Middle East Task Force and powerful Israel-firsters on ICPJ’s Board of Directors, led fundraising expert Ian MacGregor to state that the friction which developed between the board and task force was “affecting fundraising abilities”.

See “The Local Peace Biz” by Peacemonger here for additional information.

Here Comes the Judge

Sign thief Ira Levy will be called to small claims court on May 22nd at 2:30 pm in Magistrate Margaret Currie’s chambers to defend himself against charges that he stole a sign from Vigiler G’s car on February 4th of this year, and refused to return it when confronted. Perhaps satisfied that the City Attorney’s office failed to bring criminal charges, he will now face Ms. Currie and a courtroom packed with observers to plea his case. Court address is 301 E. Huron St. Ann Arbor (48107).

And just when Ira thought things couldn’t get any worse, here comes Judge Greg Mathis with his invitation that Ira and this author square off on national television on the Judge Mathis show. Senior Producer Michael Hart contacted this writer via FedEx Express Letter, and was offered 20:1 odds on a dollar wager that Ira wouldn’t accept the invitation. Mr. Hart demurred and later confirmed that another producer received an irate phone call from Ira, who was spitting mad that the judge saw fit to expose his theft on national television. Not surprising, since Zionist Jews like Ira Levy have a lot to hide and national exposure is not the way to hide things.

Protesting “Celebrate Israel” Day

We have secured three of the five volunteers needed to hoist our 30-foot Palestine flag for the May 20 protest of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor’s “Celebrate Israel” day. Our MO will be slightly different than the peaceful, silent vigils we conduct on Saturday mornings: though we will remain respectful and peaceful towards our opponents, we will raise our voices loud in protest of the longest colonial enterprise in modern history. Palestinian liberation comes only at the end of the oppressive Jewish state being forced upon an unwilling, highly resilient and resistive indigenous population. We need everyone planning to attend to bring a friend, relative, neighbor. This protest concerns all Americans tired of seeing our gutless elected officials jumping through hoops, and our taxes being stolen to maintain an armed-to-the-teeth Jewish state. See you May 20!

Download our flyer and spread the word.


Nine Vigilers
Remembering Rachel Corrie
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Speech to City Council

May 7, 2012 [396 words]

Good Evening,

Ann Arbor dot Com reported on April 23rd that the director of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice entered the fifth ward race for a seat on City Council. This came as a shock to many members of ICPJ’s Middle East Task Force, or I should say the *former* Middle East Task Force, since under the leadership of this director the task force was summarily removed by ICPJ’s Board of Directors, in violation of their own Core Value, “Not using power to dominate.”

But that’s exactly what they did after the METF voted unanimously in 2006 to support the Palestinian call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid state of Israel. It seemed that a few powerful Israel supporters populated the Board of Directors, and this set up a confrontation which we members of the Task Force sought to resolve using outside professional mediation. Our requests were denied multiple times, and the will of the minority – with the able assistance of their director – overran democratic procedures.

This prompted a local blogger to speculate that this decision might also have been driven by financial concerns. You see, the ICPJ is in the *Business* of Peace and Justice, and had just then increased the salary of this director by 36% even as gross receipts had dropped about $5,000. Funding ICPJ became an issue and the Board hired Ian Macgregor as a fundraising expert, who reported that the conflict with the Middle East Task Force was “affecting fundraising abilities”.

So something had to be done, and their core values took a back seat as the Board summarily fired myself and 17 other dedicated peace activists.

Here’s another example: our vigil group at Beth Israel opposes the use of torture, and we wanted to avail ourselves of a banner offered to the public for purchase by ICPJ. The Director denied us this opportunity and we had to purchase the banner directly from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, of which we remain a member.

This issue here is larger than an individual or a group of individuals being treated unfairly. This is certainly not a personal issue, as we have not raised it during the past six years. However, voters in the fifth ward deserve to have representation on Council by someone who embraces democratic ideals, not someone who will abandon due process in exchange for political expediency.

Thank you

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