The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-30-12

Posted on July 8th, 2012 at 8:10 am by

JWPF Loses Founding Member

It is with feelings of great sadness and personal loss that we report the death of Sol Metz, a champion of justice and worker for the oppressed long before this writer got into the struggle for justice. Sol was a founder of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, and will be remembered as one who kept his good nature, even under very hot and trying circumstances. He could infuriate his opponents by shrugging off relevant facts, but never let his temper control his words. He faithfully kept true to the vigils, because he “could not think of a more appropriate way to spend my Saturday mornings”. He missed very few vigils and at the time of his untimely death was planning yet another visit to the voiceless Palestinians he so loved.

Well after this writer gave up on reaching Beth Israel congregants, Sol persisted in standing by the driveway, wishing individuals a good shabbos, and not responding to the often nasty comments he received. For many Saturdays in the future, JWPF members will crane their necks, looking in vain for the dark blue Prius, toot-tooting its horn as Sol announced his presence. He was the heart of our group, giving assurance to all JWPF members that our presence was indeed the necessary action needed to bring a message of freedom to the streets of Ann Arbor. When Sol arrived, we just knew that standing there was the right thing to do. Sol stood at Beth Israel for eight years because he knew what the Jewish state was doing to the people he loved.

Sol entered the University of Michigan hospital on June 15, where they discovered a large malignant tumor in the stomach. The type of cancer he had also contributed to the formation of blood clots, which eventually traveled to his heart and brought about his death on June 25. He was 69 years old. Sol is missed by those of us who knew him, worked with him and loved him.

Jewish Tradition of Justice ???

At Sol’s memorial service on June 29, at least three speakers (Quaker remembrances allow for individual expressions of sadness) raised the very doubtful claim that it was Sol’s Jewish upbringing and the “Jewish tradition of Justice” that led him to be the champion of justice he was. Many of us in JWPF question this assertion, and look to the almost total support Israel enjoys from the organized Jewish community world wide as the evidence which undermines the claim. Where, for instance, is this tradition of justice, when for the last 64 years the Jewish state has been committing horrendous acts of violence upon a defenseless people? What justice is there in flaunting even the International Court of Justice’s order to remover the apartheid wall, in flaunting over sixty UN resolutions designed to bring the Jewish state into a moral position? Why isn’t the world being pummeled by Jewish voices rising up to declare the immorality of a Jewish supremacist state imposed upon an unwilling and resilient population?

And does a “Jewish” tradition of justice trump a Muslim tradition of justice or a Christian tradition? Does a Hindu or atheist have no such tradition? Can we not see the arrogance and specious claim of superiority and chosen-ness held in this oft-repeated phrase? Is there a moral high ground that evades non-Jews? Are non-Jews just incapable of developing their own sense of justice? We don’t think so. And while we do not know what drove Sol into becoming the stalwart fighter for Palestinians and others, we refuse to have ill-thought-out platitudes jammed down our throats as an explanation.


June 16: Seven vigilers
June 23: Eight vigilers
June 30: Fourteen vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

4 Responses to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-30-12”

  1. Anonymous

    Glad to see the life of Sol Metz acknowledged on the Web. 
    This Fall, the campaign to boycott “Israel” will continue. When you look at how easy it was to boycott grapes (to protect farmworkers), to boycott the Chilean junta, to boycott apartheid South Africa, you have to ask:

    What is the big problem with boycotting the apartheid state of Israel just as vigorously?

  2. Clif Brown

    I’m a terrible one for remembering names but I believe I met Sol when I joined the vigil in early June. I recall him not feeling well at the time but being present anyway to help the effort.

    Per your comment on one people being special – I agree. The natural feeling everyone has of being superior by being part of the family or group is something that has to be fought with the reasoning we all have that allows us to see equality in our humanity.

    There are definitely special people, but they are such by their own individual effort, not because of their nationality, religion or ethnicity. Jimmy Carter springs to mind – a president who went on to do good things for which, I believe, he will be remembered and honored over anything he did when he had all the power of the Commander in Chief. The irony is that someone who did as Carter has done post-presidency, would never have a prayer of being elected to the office. Mitt Romney’s “business experience” is more impressive!

  3. Jon Heffelfinger

    Ah yes… Sol was quite the man and a just man.  How does one not remember him at these vigils and other organized deployments in pursuit of justice.  A person I will long remember, just as described in this remembrance… a chosen one, not because he was Jewish, but because he chose to follow truth, justice and seek the peace we all seek in truth and justice.  Those who choose to seek truth and justice, are The Chosen by their actions.  Free Palestine.

  4. Anonymous

    What is the big problem with boycotting the apartheid state of Israel just as vigorously?

    In a word: Jews. Jews dominate the US media, government, and culture to an extent that supporters of Pinochet and the South African apartheid regime could only have dreamed about. That’s why people such as Sol Metz–who regularly, steadfastly, and publicly challenged the mainstream Jewish community–are so important. To free Palestine America must first be freed of the Jewish stranglehold.
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