The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-16-13

Posted on November 24th, 2013 at 11:31 am by

Dynamic Silence Redux

With a touch of irony, this writer was “Dynamically Silenced” by an Ann Arbor City Council rule even as I was about to speak to that body [bold]about dynamic silence. Prior to about 2004, citizens wishing to address Council on any topic were allotted four minutes provided they signed up in advance. That was the only restriction. Then came along Second Ward Councilperson Joan Lowenstein, representing the ward in which her Beth Israel Congregation resides. Offended by criticism leveled against her Jewish state at Council meetings she took action, and persuaded Council to pass a new rule: a new 3-minute time limit and 10-speaker maximum masked the real purpose, which was to limit public exposure to evidence of Israel’s criminality. Speakers still needed to sign up in advance, but those speaking on “agenda items” received preference and could “bump” people who wished to address Council on any topic. She might have considered it unlikely that Israeli crimes would ever become an agenda item, and might even have expended energy to keep the topic off the table herself.

And so it was this week that this writer reserved himself a speaker’s slot only to be bumped to a “first alternate” location two hours later. All other ten speakers on agenda items showed up and Ann Arbor City Council members plus cable-TV viewers of these meetings were denied the opportunity to hear how powerful Jewish groups and individuals silenced people they did not like. Read speech below signature.

Josh Ruebner Promotes New Book

About five JWPF members plan to attend an upcoming panel discussion at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus to hear Susan Abulhawa, Ben White and Josh Ruebner address the audience on “Justice Too Long Delayed; Israeli Apartheid, Obama’s Policy and the Palestinian Right of Return”.

Our small contingent is interested in observing whether this group of leaders in the Palestinian liberation struggle will address the following topics:

1. The legitimacy of the Jewish state
2. Jewish Identity Politics
3. Influence of Jewish Power in determining US policy
4. Whether or not each speaker recognizes Israel’s “right” to exist as a Jewish state

The new book that Josh is promoting is titled: [ital]Shattered Hopes: The Failure of Obama’s Middle East Peace Process which raises a few questions of its own. For instance, does Ruebner blame Obama for failure to achieve peace as a diversion from explaining clearly that Jews were and are responsible for the creation and maintenance of a Jewish state? We played the five minute video of his book talk and counted the times he mentioned anything pointing to the pivotal Jewish role in this problem, and found him lacking. The closest he comes is to list David Ross, Aaron David Miller, Elliott Abrams and Martin Indyk as “people with transparently pro-Israel baggage”.

Hello, Josh, these people – as well as yourself, many other leaders in the movement, and even the owner of the website broadcasting your talks – are all Jewish, and may be letting their tribal loyalties override other loyalties they purport to hold. Why not mention that?

And Mr. White … we would like to know why you signed the document attempting to silence the voice of Gilad Atzmon? Why are Jewish identity politics off limits to discussions of the behavior of the Jewish state?

Readers of this report are invited to join us and formulate some questions of your own:

Monday, Nov. 25
6:30 PM
CASL Building
UM Dearborn Campus
Dearborn, Michigan


Five vigilers
Do Jews a favor: Challenge their power
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
[note: talk will be postponed to a future date] November 18, 2013

Good Evening,

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind is a powerful Jewish political figure from Brooklyn and he has just used his power in a manner that author Benjamin Ginsberg describes as “Dynamic Silence”. Ginsberg describes how Jewish groups would silence people like Gerald LK Smith in the 1940s and 1950s. He writes that groups like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League would threaten local newspapers and radio stations with a boycott by Jewish advertisers if they permitted Smith and other anti-Semites to utilize the airwaves and print media to speak their minds.

In other words, rather than confronting people holding anti-Jewish attitudes and trying to persuade them and their listeners that the positions they held were logically unsupportable, Jews merely silenced the voices they didn’t like by exerting financial pressure.

And that brings us to 2013 and the recent activities of Assemblyman Hikind. He approached Richard Santoro, MasterCard Worldwide’s VP of Government Affairs, and convinced him to refuse their credit card services to a group called the Institute for Historical Review, which sells historical literature that challenges the dominant narrative of the treatment of Jews in German hands, aka “The Holocaust”. And rather than factually dispute the charges in these books, or challenging the directors of the IHR on the merits of their scholarship, Mr. Hikind took the back door to the issue by pressuring MasterCard to revoke its credit card services to the IHR.

I am bringing this event to the attention of Council because the effects of this form of control are very corrosive to a free society and we should all be concerned. If powerful Jewish groups like the ADL and AJC, and powerful Jewish politicians like Dov Hikind can censor public opinion, all supporters of free speech should be alarmed. I have personally felt this form of censorship when radio station WEMU refused me access to their airwaves after pressure they received from Jewish Federation Executive Director David Shtulman.

When a minority population can manipulate the majority into positions that are detrimental to that majority, it should be a concern for all of us. There was a reason why Sir Arthur Brant wrote “Beggars on horseback are seldom popular, least of all with those whom they have just thrown out of the saddle.”

Thank you

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