The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-16-16

Posted on January 21st, 2016 at 11:19 am by



A hard core of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends showed up this week to once again take to the streets for the only regular protest in Ann Arbor, certainly the only one which holds the Jewish community accountable for their support of Apartheid Israel. Loyal readers have heard this before.

What perhaps you haven’t heard is – and channeling the words of baseball player/manager Charlie Brown on a rainy day: “Where IS everybody?” With apologies to Michael Rabb and Rich Siegel, who have executed their own public protests at Zionist synagogues, we wonder where are have all the activists gone?

There are at least two possible explanations for the failure of others to follow our example. The first one is that our small group is completely wrong-headed about the issue. The second is that Jewish Power has so dominated the movement in support of a Jewish state – both inside and outside the peace movement – that activists who entertain the possibility that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state – are cowed into silence by that very power.

A Jewish jeweler, well known in the Ann Arbor art scene, stops by the vigils and tells me that “This is completely wrong”. Why is it wrong? “It prevents meaningful dialogue and turns the hearts of those who might actually agree with you.” In an exchange that well could have happened twelve years ago, we reply that the time for meaningful dialogue has passed, and refer to the 1955 “dialogue” that was similarly beyond its time between Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus driver.

We might win the battle of a successful counter-argument, but she wields the Jewish Power cudgel and walks away satisfied that our group hasn’t grown in well over a decade of protest, and provides small challenge to her well-established Jewish state.

Where IS everybody?

Should JWPF fold our tent and join ranks with openly Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace? Stop calling out Jewish Power, the illegitimacy of a Jewish state founded as it was on brute violence, Jewish supremacism both in the US as well as in Palestine? Focus our efforts on “the Occupation?”

Where IS everybody?

Should we recant our principled stance and join the ranks of Palestinians in this country whose concern rarely extends beyond family and entertainment? Oh yes, expect these folks to come out in scores whenever the Jewish state has an outburst and kills and maims thousands of Gazans, but hey, they haven’t migrated to the cozy US, and junior needs to be driven to soccer practice, so we really just don’t have the time for continued, sustained protest.

Where IS everybody?

We’re told that “Peace is the Church’s Business”, and though appreciative of the national Presbyterians and UCC in their efforts to support the BDS movement, we note that both statements from these groups came with the blessings, if not direction, of Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP clearly supports Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state and also wields the cudgel of Jewish Power to ensure that Christians in the Palestine solidarity (not liberation) movement toe the line at the 1967 military occupation of the 28% of Palestine not stolen in 1948.

Where IS everybody?

Saving the worst for last we have the Jewish “progressive” who sometimes likens Zionists to fascists, but is the first to circle the wagons to protect the Tribe when groups like JWPF single out the Judaic element of Zionism. Fortunately, there are a few – like Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon – who recognize these Jewish “anti-Zionist” Zionists for what they are.

Four dedicated vigilers last Saturday. At 69 years of age I’m the youngest of the group. Standing (some sitting) in a breezy, snow-flaked Saturday morning, up against a very powerful bunch of well-heeled Zionist Jews. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of these guys … but

where IS everybody?


Israel: No Right to Exist
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

2 Responses to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-16-16”

  1. Ibrahim


    People stop me on the street, in coffee shops, grocery stores, and send me e-mails to tell me how much they like what I say on Moral Politics and when I make public comments at events. When I ask them if they would be willing to say the same things themselves as I do, the expression on their faces change and do not want to talk any more!!

    The answer to your repeated question “Where is everybody?” in my humble view, is very simple. The American Culture that shapes everybody BUT the few like your gang……………..The American Culture could be described in very few words HYPOCRISY….COWARDICE…..IGNORANCE…….and…….. ARROGANCE

    Imagine a people with these attributes shaping their collective CHARACTER…..and those are the EVERYBODY that you are asking about…….Even My fellow Muslims in America are very quick to catch up with America…………and be CULTURALLY DISEASED………..

    PLEASE continue doing what you are doing and don’t let the disappointment sap your energy………………….Ibrahim

  2. Clif Brown

    Were I not so far away from you, I would participate.

    The fact is, horrors can persist when people are not locally affected by it. An American has to make an effort to be informed, even though the internet makes it very easy. Yours is a necessary voice with facts and a desire to see justice done behind it. I once did some demonstrating all by myself with some signboards. It’s a tough thing to do. Being right doesn’t mean many, or any, will join in, but even if there are only two people, mutual support makes a difference.
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