The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-03-15

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 9:08 pm by

Mondoweiss Strikes Out

For the third time in about six years we once again reached out for on-line news coverage by Phil Weiss’ Mondoweiss. This time, our friend Dan McGowan, Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered, asked Phil to report on our 12 years holding the Ann Arbor Jewish community accountable for their support of Israel as a Jewish state. Dan wrote to Phil:

Would you be willing to run a piece on Warren Routledge’s excellent new book, Holocaust High Priest?

Would you be willing to run a piece on our board member, Henry Herskovitz, who still leads the longest running vigil every week in Ann Arbor?

Phil Weiss replied:

sorry Daniel, can’t touch it w a ten-foot pole

We note that Phil could have differentiated between Dan’s two requests and used his unwillingness to question the holocaust, to accept the task of reviewing our vigils, yet he chose – once again – not to accept that challenge. Perhaps Gilad Atzmon is right when he quotes Phil as being more concerned with “Jewish self-interest” than “a theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims.” As Gilad writes in “Jews & Their Self Interest – An Interview with Philip Weiss“:

It seems to me that once again, I have failed to converse with a ‘progressive Jew.’ I guess that in spite of the openness Weiss showed initially, he, like many others, cannot resolve the tension beyond the universal and the tribal.

And by now, I am increasingly certain that this gap cannot be bridged easily, if at all, for the tribal and universal are like water and oil.

I guess that the difficulties involved in resolving the tension between the universal and the tribal explains why so many progressive Jews prefer to operate in intellectual, ideological and political exclusive ‘Jews only’ cells where these questions are never raised, never asked, and never answered.

In any case, we won’t bother Phil with any more requests. After all, outside of our initial requests to present our witness of Palestine to three area synagogues in 2003, JWPF is not in the business of asking for favors from others. We act, and others react.

How did you celebrate Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day?

Hats off to our friend and supporter Michael Rabb, who celebrated this annual event with a protest at TWO synagogues in Boulder, Colorado (Bonai Shalom and Har Hashem) PLUS downing a cheeseburger and a beverage at a local brew pub. He reports:

Hey !

we did it again !

My friend Jim and I stood in front of Congregation Bonai Shalom on Yom Kippur and asked Jews to confess and atone for the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Not much was happening at Bonai Shalom (we were out numbered by the police!) so we moved on to the next synagogue, Congregation Har Hashem on Baseline Rd in Boulder. Congregants at Har Hashem seemed puzzled : what does Palestine have to do with Jews?

MR at protest 2015-09-23-sm

Considering Congregation Har HaShem’s open commitment to Zionism the reported puzzlement is curious, to say the least.

Local Report: Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day

Falling well short of our Colorado friends in the protest business, 16 JWPF members and supporters celebrated this holiday only with a cheeseburger cookout including lively discussion and poetry reading.

EACD 2015-09-23-sm


Seven vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Bernie is a Jewish Zionist
Zionism is Racism
What does that make Bernie?
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-03-15”

  1. Rick Littleton

    Mr. Herskovitz,

    I applaud (1) your clearly understood ethics related to human rights and Palestine, and (2) your persistence in holding the demostrations at various synagogues. Thank you.
    It occurs to me that a “fill-in-the-blanks” exercise might clarify the thinking of your fellow Jews — if an actual conversation is ever possible.

    Write out a few core statements, identifying the parties by A and B.
    E.g. 1: If A controls the neighborhoods of B by military force, is it morally right for A to restrict B — against his/her will — to those certain areas?

    E.g. 2: If A feels that it belongs to particularly favored race or cultural group, does that morally permit A to allow more rights to A and fewer rights to B?


    I suggest a maximum of five questions.

    At the end, ask: “Does this array of questions apply to Nazi Germany or to the Government and supporters of Israel?

    Richard Littleton
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