The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 08-24-13

Posted on August 27th, 2013 at 1:56 pm by

Front Page, Above the Fold

Reporter Ryan Stanton visited our vigil on August 24, and his 2,000-word article received front page prominence in the Sunday print edition of Mr. Stanton visited my home earlier in the week and conducted a 45-minute interview there. He also interviewed Beth Israel’s rabbi and congregants, as well as a few other vigilers. His diligence produced a story that is very revealing: the comments from our side includes information focusing on the suffering of the Palestinian people under the boot of Israeli might, while the comments of our opponents are uniformly self-pitying. If they were truthful, they would admit that it’s not our presence that causes them anguish, it’s our message that exposes truths they would prefer remain locked in their closets.

Front Page

Local Opinion of JWPF Rising

Apparently not satisfied with last year’s plea to have Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends terminate our peaceful, weekly vigils, the Rev. James Rhodenhiser of the St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church made an appeal to Ann Arbor’s City Council to “publicly denounce” the vigils on “the 10th anniversary of the protests”.

He submitted a letter signed by him and supported by 31 other religious leaders of various faiths in Ann Arbor, Saline and Ypsilanti, but his attempt to bring opprobrium upon our witness might have backfired. Among the 250+ comments the article generated, many were complimentary towards our efforts, including this one from Lolly:

I live three doors from the spot where the protests are held. They are quiet, polite, and express a view that is reasoned and thought-provoking. They have every right to be there expressing their opinion, and everyone else should just stay out of it.

… and another from robertalanhaber:

In my opinion, the Beth Israel Synagogue, as well as the whole Jewish Community, and its other institutions would all do well to welcome this discussion, and declare themselves supporting equal rights for Palestinians. They should have done so 10 years ago.

In the past, the ad hominem commenters had their way unchallenged, but as you review the comments from this article, you might note a political shift in how people are perceiving our dedication to exposing Israeli crimes and the local Jewish power that supports them.

Associated Press Picks Up JWPF Story; Other News Outlets Join In

An article ran this week in the Detroit News, which featured an Associated Press byline. Coverage of the City Council meeting at which Rhodenhiser made his request was originally presented by the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Reporter Samer Hijazi submitted an excellent article in the Arab American News.

King of the Jewish Gate Keepers

Max Blumenthal wants to “completely clean the movement out of these kind of people”. Here he is referring to Gilad Atzmon and others who openly question collective Jewish behavior, Jewish Power, Jewish identity politics, etc. Here he is interviewed by Paul Jay of The Real News, who serves up a softball question and lets Blumenthal thrash away at an absent Gilad with nothing but baseless ad hominem comments. Check your household cats for the tongue of Mr. Jay, who has yet to schedule a rebuttal from Gilad, nor return a phone call from this writer and others. Try it yourself: 917-463-3599

Readers of this report will remember a shocking personal exchange with Blumenthal at the University of Michigan last spring. It went like this:

Me: I was wondering why you signed that document against Gilad Atzmon
Max: Are you a supporter of Gilad Atzmon?
Me: Yes, I’m his friend
Max: Then I have nothing to say to you

Start Honing Your Cheeseburger Appetites

The 4th annual Bill Henry International Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day is right around the corner. Celebrate with us outside Beth Israel Congregation on September 14, then join us for a tasty burger at a local Ann Arbor restaurant.

Note: There was no vigil report for 08-17-13


August 17: 10 vigilers
August 24: 13 vigilers
Challenging Jewish Power for 10 years
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 08-24-13”

  1. Ben

    “…the comments from our side includes information focusing on the suffering of the Palestinian people under the boot of Israeli might, while the comments of our opponents are uniformly self-pitying.”
    I decided to read the article for myself and it was quite eye-opening relative to your self-satisfied quote. I have no choice but to assume these remarks are “focusing on the suffering of the Palestinian people”:
    *””Everybody seems to think the Jews are just so holy that you can’t say anything about them or to them, but they’re not…” HMMMM.
    *””Clearly they don’t pull the levers of the Israeli government, but who does? That’s in large part the Israel lobby in this country, of which Beth Israel is a huge part.” That doesn’t work either.
    *”We’re not protesting Jews per se or Judaism per se,” he said. “We are protesting the strength and power of the Jewish community and how they lend their power to supporting the state of Israel.” Oh, now you’re just lying.
    *”You can’t say ‘free Palestine’ without saying ‘end Israel’ because it’s a zero-sum game,” he said. “It’s kind of like rooting for Ohio State and Michigan — one only wins if the other loses.” Hi overkill!
    So that’s one grossly anti-Semitic and lying comment about how no one can tell the truth about Jews, another that Americans control Israel and ME policy, one that’s about hatred of Judaism more than love of Palestinians, and an ultimate call for a one-state solution–which, I hate to tell you, is either A) never going to happen or B) result in an area that has no or few Palestinians in it, and unfortunately serve as the inverse of your vision.
    And also, the tone of the many, many, many individuals who can’t stand you was less self-pitying than irritated. They don’t like you but don’t view you as a major force either, which is why your protests have been a nuisance but had zero impact on any substantial decisions. The bottom line is that you have the right to be out there, and people have the right to generally ignore you and comment on the story because it’s part of life. Seems fair.
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