The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-01-13

Posted on June 9th, 2013 at 9:16 am by

Another Jewish Gatekeeper Leaves email List

Joshua Bernstein (not real name) has called it quits on receiving these reports. Apparently a close associate of Rebecca Vilkomerson, he took last week’s report personally when we wrote: “Gilad [Atzmon] identifies for us these leaders – Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace to name just two – who place Jewish tribalism and a faux focus on ‘anti-Semitism’ at primary levels in the peace movement, while the effort to actually liberate Palestine remains secondary.

Mr. Bernstein wrote:

Some time ago, you sent out a post of rather venomous attacks on some Palestinian activists with whom you disagreed on some issue (I’ve forgotten what). I found it offensive and presumptuous, but hoped it was an aberration and let it go. This morning, however, you sent another post describing Rebecca Vilkomerson as placing Jewish tribalism and/or anti-Semitism in a “primary position” above Palestinian liberation. I know Rebecca quite well, and the assertion is absurd and frankly slanderous.

I asked for clarification from Mr. B regarding Rebecca’s goal in her peace activism: Does Rebecca work against the Israeli “occupation” to dismantle or preserve the Jewish state?

Mr. B: “It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to represent Rebecca’s positions or motivations in this context, but what I have said is based on personal knowledge, not assumptions.”

In other words, Mr. B does not know the goal of the leader of a prominent peace group and one can waste many an hour trying to find this goal within the web pages of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Now we don’t know Rebecca’s goal either, but we ask why this is so? What are Jewish leaders in the peace movement hiding when they refuse to be clear about their goals, and their supporters like Mr. B are too timid (or are fledgling gatekeepers themselves) to ask? The truth appears to be that these leaders are working to preserve Jewish supremacism in Palestine, i.e. are there just as Gilad told us, to run cover for openly Zionist groups like AIPAC.

ICPJ Shuns Cindy Sheehan

Upon learning that Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends was a co-sponsor of the Cindy Sheehan Tour dePeace rally this week, the Board of Directors of Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice decided to take their ball and go home [text of speech below signature]. After failing to coerce the organizer to oust JWPF, they shamefully withdrew their sponsorship of the rally and just might have been partly responsible for the disappointing turnout (40-50 people). Here you have a self-proclaimed peace and justice group saying in essence: We don’t like another group, so we’re first going to pressure you to give them the boot, and, failing that, we’re not going to play in your game anymore.

Talk about maturity. It’s clear that the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and its leader Chuck Warpehoski, are all about the money. It raises funds to pay its staff and pads its bank account with donations and in return runs away from sincere peace activists like Cindy Sheehan. Did we already say “shameful”?

On the Road with Tour dePeace

This writer, accompanied by Vigil Supporter M, motored out to Grass Lake, Michigan, to meet Cindy and her staff on their way to Ann Arbor, about 25 miles further east. This was her last stop prior to the campus rally and although we thought we would be joining a large crowd, truth be told we comprised the entire “crowd” ourselves. Must be lonely out there, Cindy; our hearts are with you!

Cindy - sm


7 VIgilers
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Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Text of Speech at Tour dePeace rally in Ann Arbor, June 5, 2013

It’s an honor to be here today, sharing a stage with a woman whom I’ve admired from afar. When I read about her protests at George Bush’s Crawford Ranch, I said to myself: now that’s a peace activist who gets it.

She understands the disparity between a government who won’t listen and a population who is demanding transparency and justice. She understands the difference between a compliant, massive media and the muted voices of peace like hers and ours.

To use an analogy, she resembles the tiny mosquito who enters the ring to do battle against an elephant, and she knows what to do. She first knows that you don’t play to your opponent’s strengths: a stomping mosquito probably won’t accomplish much. But she recognizes her strengths and goes buzzing and stinging in the elephant’s ear until the elephant can’t stand it any longer.

Cindy Sheehan is not the peace activist who claims that “peace begins with me”, and remains in her home basement chanting Kumbaya and reciting the 23rd Psalm. She understands and perhaps channels the former slave-turned statesman Frederick Douglass who, in 1857 said,

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Many will tell you that US Imperialism is the reason we’re involved in so many outrageous military interventions throughout the world, and in the main they are correct. But the recent US forays into the Middle East are driven by another engine, and that is the power of the Israel Lobby.

Let’s be clear: I’m not here to exonerate US imperialism, but US imperialism did NOT create the state of Israel. Not only is there no documentation to support such a claim, it’s well known that the US State Department was strongly against supporting the partition of Palestine and recognizing the Jewish State. It was so strongly opposed in fact that Secretary of State George Marshall threatened to vote against then President Harry Truman in the 1948 elections. But Truman – for political purposes, and not those representing the interests of his imperialist country – elected to court the Jewish Lobby’s support and rode their power to victory.

In this book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, professors Mearsheimer and Walt detail this power and state unequivocally that absent the influence of the Israel Lobby the US likely would not have invaded Iraq in 2003.

Jeff Blankfort’s pamphlet called “A War for Israel” further documents the domination of the Israel Lobby affecting US foreign policy, and explains why the war in which Casey died was supported and directed by many Israel-firsters.

Our small group here in Ann Arbor – Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends – has taken a page from Cindy’s book and we also go where we’re not wanted to create the educational moments necessary to wake up a slumbering population. We have recognized – and it’s not surprising – that the support the Israel Lobby receives comes from the Jewish community. It’s impossible to imagine another community so dedicated in its support of the Jewish state, and that’s where we have taken our protest for nine and a half years.

So from one mosquito to another, Cindy, welcome to Ann Arbor and when you get to Washington DC, tell that peace prize recipient who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that we know who his handlers are, we know what he’s up to and we demand that he discontinues he war-mongering ways.

Thank you

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