The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-21-17

Posted on October 25th, 2017 at 12:18 pm by

Lieberman Receives Probation, Fines

Jessica Lieberman was sentenced on Oct. 13 to three months probation, $425 in court costs, fines and probation fees, and is required to perform 24 hours of community service, in exchange for her guilty plea to the criminal charge of disturbing the peace. In addition, Judge Karen Valvo ordered her to have no contact with this writer, nor vigilers D and T, for the probationary period. Judge Valvo was very attentive during the reading of the Victim Impact Statement (repeated below signature); we hope her sentencing of Lieberman will provide a warning to future thieves and vandals.

Stephen King Falls Victim to the “Hate” Trap

“Hate” seems to be the slime tool of the day: Witness for Peace and Deir Yassin Remembered get labeled as “hate” groups by local Jews and the Southern Poverty Law Center, local signs like “Hate has no place here” have cropped up since the election of President Trump, and just today the Jewish Chronicle (U/K) labels our friend Gilad Atzmon “…a known peddler of hatred.”

And it seems we can always count on author Stephen King to ride these waves of Politically Correct speech. Having read his 2014 novel, Mr. Mercedes a few years back, we enjoyed recently watching the series on TV produced by AT&T. In the final episode the audience is taken to the hospital room of psychopathic killer Brady Hartsfield, who is lying clinically brain dead after being repeated clubbed in the head with an iron statue. Retired detective Bill Hodges – the hero and a patient in the same hospital – approaches Hartsfield, draws close and menacingly says:

“I know you’re in there. Because Hate hangs on, and Hate is all you had. They’ll bring you back someday. Sure as taxes and Christmas, though, I’ll be waiting. And I’ll finish it.”

But wait a minute. Though it’s been 4 years since I read the book, I did not remember such a final scene in the written word. A trip to the local library to pick up a copy confirmed this observation. In the book, Hartsfield remains unconscious, except for a typical Stephen King Carrie-like back-from-the-dead finish, in this case a nurse reports that after seventeen months in a coma, Hartfield awakens only enough to say “He has a headache. And he’s asking for his mother.”

Why the change? Hartsfield’s psychopathy stemmed from a mentally-unstable childhood, the accidental death of his young brother and the fact that he lived with – and had repeated sex with – his mother. “Hatred” was not a developed theme in either the book or TV series. Like George Bush’s “They hate us for our freedom”, the King-based series ascribes an unsupported reason for a person’s, or group’s, actions. The danger is that it popularizes and condones the usage of “hate” as a Hasbara*-inspired a tool to negatively label one’s opponents. For example, the local Jewish community leverages the popularity of this word and ascribes the groundless reason of “hate” to Witness for Peace’s weekly protest against racist Zionism and the corruption of US interests from the excesses of Jewish Power.

Fair Weather Counter-protester

Although it “never rains on the vigils”, last Saturday was the exception that proves the rule. Three vigilers, plus counter-protester Sue started the day, but after umbrellas were deployed, Sue couldn’t take the figurative “heat” and got out of the kitchen. She reposed to the synagogue’s porch for shelter for some time, then threw in the towel and entered her literal sanctuary. What’s she gonna do in February?

*- Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Oct. 14 – three vigilers
Oct. 21 – four vigilers

October 13, 2017

Sentencing Judge: KAREN VALVO
Date of Sentencing: Oct. 13, 2017
People of the State of Michigan v. JESSICA LIEBERMAN
Docket No: 17-0520-SM

Pre-sentencing statement of Victim:

Honorable Ms. Valvo:

I thank the Court and the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office for allowing me to make this statement on behalf of myself and our political group, Witness for Peace.

I also wish to convey thanks to Assistant Prosecutor Lou Danner and Victim Right’s Advocate Lea Donoghue for taking the time to meet with me. The stated goal of that meeting was to improve relations between Witness for Peace and the Prosecutor’s office; I believe that goal was achieved and hope relations remain at the current level. We would like to underscore Mr. Danner’s observation that we are a peaceful gathering of citizens and that peace was disturbed by the actions of Ms. Lieberman.

The Victim Impact Statement form asks for a list of physical injuries suffered as a result of Ms. Lieberman’s crime, and also for property loss. Perhaps this is unusual for a victim statement, but in either case, neither myself nor members of Witness for Peace suffered injuries nor property loss. There was property damage, but no loss per se. There was no emotional trauma or injury sustained by myself nor members of the group.

But I would ask the Court to consider that we sustained harm in the sense that our First Amendment rights were under attack by the actions of the Defendant. Although Ms. Lieberman is not responsible for the following, I feel it is important that the Court understand our perspective on this issue of freedom of expression.

Our group has been spat upon, had cars run at us, protestors slapped, a camera shoved into the face of a protestor, signs stolen. We have been physically stalked by a specific individual. In all these cases, the Ann Arbor Police Department performed their duties in an excellent manner, preparing and delivering detailed reports. Until this case, there has been no trial or sentencing for any of the perpetrators of the above offenses.

I repeat that we do not hold Ms. Lieberman accountable for any of the above crimes. I have listed them only to show the duty I have to our group to vigilantly protect the short time we have each week to deliver our messages.

We are thankful for our Constitution’s First Amendment rights that protects our freedom to deliver these messages. I would suggest that the First Amendment is a right cherished by both citizens and the government itself. Certainly, it is cherished by myself and Witness for Peace. As we stand on the public sidewalks and lawn extensions every week, I am appreciative of this right.

As for our thoughts on sentencing the defendant:

It is our understanding that Ms. Lieberman is an attorney, and her plea of “no contest” to the crime of disturbing the peace will be reported by both Mr. Danner and Mr. Minock to the State of Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. We also understand that these reports may be expunged after a successful completion of her probationary period. Our hope is that the Court determine an appropriate sentence that reflects our concern that crimes like the ones committed by Ms. Lieberman and others not be repeated. Since we suffered no real financial loss, nor expect or deserve financial gain from her crime, we therefore leave it in the Court’s hands to determine a proper sentence.

Again, thank you for allowing me to make this statement on behalf of myself and Witness for Peace.

Henry Herskovitz
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

2 Responses to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-21-17”

  1. Clif Brown

    Excellent statement, Henry, as many good people continue to work for Palestinians to have any rights at all.

  2. Anonymous

    Judge Valvo was in the news last March in an interesting case. I wonder how the Halley Bass fiasco influenced her perspective on Jessica Lieberman. I can’t help but think that one might view the incessant hate-baiting and whining by BIC folks and their supporters in a different light when you come face-to-face with the fruits of the hate-industrial complex (see also here and here and here).
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