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Friday, July 29, 2016

Join me and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends in Ann Arbor tomorrow,

from 9:30AM to 10:45AM, for their weekly Saturday vigil. It is at Beth Israel Congregation, 2000 Washtenaw Ave.

If you're in Detroit, Lansing, Flint, Toledo or Windsor, come join us tomorrow!!!




Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends have organized weekly vigils each Saturday morning at Beth Israel Congregation since September, 2003. There is no other such protest against the criminal state of Israel in the US.

In 2013, the Ann Arbor News published a front page article about the vigils.

In December, 2004, 34 Jewish and Christian leaders in Ann Arbor condemned the group, so here's its response:

Members of Jewish Witnesses and Friends for Peace take this opportunity to respond to the letter of December 15th, 2004, signed by 34 leaders of the local Jewish and Christian clergy, condemning our weekly non-violent vigils at Beth Israel Synagogue. We also respond to the Ann Arbor City Council resolution and the Ann Arbor News Editorial.

We hold vigils outside this synagogue because Beth Israel is a political institution as well as house of worship, using its faith to promote a nationalist political agenda: support of the State of Israel, and by extension, its actions: specifically, Israel's brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestinian lands and the suffering of the Palestinian people.

We want to make it very clear that our condemning Israels use of state power is in no way attacking the Jewish people. The Israeli government is a government like any other and must be held accountable to international human rights standards.

Beth Israel Congregation Rabbi Robert Dobrusin, in his 2003 Yom Kippur sermon stated, insuring the survival of the Jewish State is among (our) greatest responsibilities. Referring to the Jewish foundational myths, he said that the two most vital places of myth (are) the State of Israel and the synagogue.

Ismar Schorsch writes in The Sacred Cluster: Core Values of Conservative Judaism, that the centrality of modern Israel is at the head of its core values. Conservative Jews...visit Israel and support financially every one of its worthy institutions. Israeli accomplishments on the battlefield and in the laboratory, in literature and politics, fill them with pride.

We believe Beth Israel cannot endorse this political agenda and also enjoy the rights of a religious group by claiming to be just practicing their faith. We call upon people to be faithful to the highest values of their religious traditions. This kind of nationalism is a betrayal of these values.

In 2004, The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly voted to investigate selected divestment in multinational Corporations operating in Israel. We commend this action.

Over the years, many of us have joined together with friends of the Jewish faith to publicly denounce the US governments support of repressive governments in South Africa and Latin America, and against the US wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Jewish Witnesses and Friends for Peace confronts both our Jewish and Christian friends to ask a difficult question of people, many of whose values we share:

Why aren’t you demanding an immediate end to Israel’s terrorist policies towards the Palestinian people, a people who are accorded no right to the land they have lived on and cultivated for centuries?

We know that Israel does not speak or act in the name of all Jews. But we also know that Israel will not change unless pressure is brought to bear by American Jews to end US aid to Israel amounting to 14 million dollars a day. In addition, Jewish charities send $1 billion to Israel annually. The ability of Americans to make what amounts to tax-deducible contributions to a foreign government does not exist with any other country.

The Israeli military is the 4th largest in the world with tanks, jet fighters, helicopter gun ships, missiles, and nuclear weapons in its arsenal. The Palestinian Authority has no army, only a paramilitary police force equipped with small arms. Palestinian irregulars have rocks, small arms and improvised explosives.

Israel's laws and restrictions control every aspect of Palestinian life. US economic aid funds Israel's goal of permanent control of the Occupied Territories: the roadblocks and checkpoints, the thousands of homes and farmlands destroyed, over 200 settlements built on Palestinian land, and the "Separation Barrier." All of this is done with the knowledge and full financial support of the United States and minimal disapproval from the European and Arab countries.

We vigil to remind those who silently oppose the Occupation that their silence only perpetuates the violence. The noted Jewish scholar Marc Ellis, calls this silence the ecumenical deal in which the main energy of ecumenical gatherings of Jews and Christians is spent on diverting the question that hovers over all discussions of Jews and Christians: the oppression of the Palestinian people by Jewish Israelis. In his 1991 article, Beyond the Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Solidarity With the Palestinian People, he explains that because of their complicity in the Holocaust, Christians are reluctant to criticize Jews, and any Jews or Christians who do confront Israeli policy are shut out of the debate or called anti-Semitic.

Marc Ellis offers five statements that could form a more progressive Jewish position:

1. What Jews have done to the Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 is wrong.

2. In the process of conquering and displacing the Palestinian people, Jews have done what has been done to us over two millennia.

3. In this process, Jews have become almost everything we loathe about our oppressors.

4. It is only in confronting state power in Israel that Jews can move beyond victim or oppressor.

5. The movement beyond victimization and oppression can only come through solidarity with those whom we Jews have displaced: the Palestinian people.


We believe it is illegal and immoral to displace millions of people, depriving them of their homes, their self-determination, their culture and dignity all for the benefit of a single ethnic group.

Therefore, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends vigil in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Jewish Voices and Friends for Peace submits this article for publication in Other Voices.

Thank you, Phyllis Ponvert, member
Jewish Witnesses and Friends for Peace


[Read also my "Homeland Terror" and "Devouring Jackals," and the Saker's "False Flags Fluttering in the Empire's Hot Air."]



Linh Dinh said...

United flight more than an hour late to DC, so I missed my flight to Detroit. United employees are unsmiling and robotic. Blaming delay on flight control, they won't even give a food voucher, much less hotel. Dulles floor will be my bed tonight. Fuck United!!!

Though I'll miss virgil, at least I'll get a chance to hang out with Rudy List for a few days.

Linh Dinh said...

Jewish Witnesses for Peace is sponsoring my trip to Ann Arbor, by the way. They particularly want me to witness their vigil. said...

Thanks Linh. The Churches or Synagogues in this area have signs at the road side that make it clear what we should think or what the Government should do. It's not the exact opposite of what Bageant wrote about in "Deer Hunting", it's just up the pay scale a bit: guns or identity issues. So the temples or churches will have signs like 'Security and Peace for Israel' or the other way round, peace first and then security, and then simply "the guns." Driving away, and knowing who to vote for, or what to feel good, or something. Billboard church.

Like Ann Arbor, a guy who's broke in my east coast area of concentrated wealth and poverty may find the only job he can get to afford groceries and oil changes is connected in various ways to the "real big" gun makers that go unmentioned, or irresponsibly "protested" by the professional progressives. Too bad the Old German isn't what it used to be in Ann Arbor, relatives used to rave about the food back then. United too, used to hand out these mayo infused triple layer club sandwiches to people who got held up - even on the short flights.

Anonymous said...

'Brig. Gen. Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of Israel’s National Security Council, will arrive in Washington next week to conduct a final round of negotiations over US aid package to Israel – the largest one that the US has ever given to any country – with instructions to sign the deal “as soon as possible”.'

These people, like True Torah Jews and Naturei Karta International, are strictly censored by all of the media, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Neturei*, not "Naturei"; sorry.
They hold protests too, and are against Zionist supremacism not only in the Israeli-Palestinian context, but generally.


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.