Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Washtenaw Jewish News--False Witnesses

1. December 2009 • Patti Smith
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This is one of the more interesting articles that I have read in awhile. I would also like to know what, if any, funding is flowing to these folks and from whom/where as well as an exploration of the other negative effects on our community. Otherwise, I thought it was a very well written article and thank WJN for publishing this! I am posting it here after hearing from the editor of WJN and because I would like to open up the dialogue. Of course, I am going to ask people to keep it civil. If this article makes you sit down and start typing not nice things, please just ask yourself why…why are you reacting this way? Can we discuss this civilly? Can your feelings be turned into positive action instead??

  1. Nicely written article by Art Aisner. From someone who’s witness their antics, I would say that it was spot on.

       —scooter62    Dec. 2 '09 - 12:22AM    #
  2. The mystery for me has been why someone would protest in a place and against people who have no direct effect on policy. This is an issue best taken up with the Israeli government not a local synagogue or food co-op. I am reminded of the movie “Refusing to be Enemies” that focused on dialogue and true listening.

       —jih2    Dec. 2 '09 - 01:23AM    #
  3. good article. … the only thing ‘missing’ was identificatoin of where those protesters go to worship faithfully, openly and freely in our republic.

    … oh, … wait. … nevermind.
       —toasty    Dec. 2 '09 - 02:43AM    #
  4. It’s better to be a hemorrhoid than an asshole! Obama is sending 30,000 Marines into Afghanistan by Christmas; we need more hemorrhoids in more assholes.

    Anti-war demonstration Wednesday, 5pm, Federal Bldg., 5th & Liberty,
    Ann Arbor

    Protest the expected escalation of combat troops in Afghanistan

    We will gather at 5 PM or sooner, and stay through the commuter hour.
    This will coincide with demonstrations throughout the country, which
    have been planned for the day following any announcement by President
    Obama, calling for an increase in troops. His announcement is
    expected at West Point on Tuesday. Please forward this notice. Come
    to the Federal Building Wednesday at 5, and bring signs.

       —ChuckL    Dec. 2 '09 - 03:11AM    #
  5. Patti,
    Tabloid “journalism” that completely ignores the issues is really that “interesting” to you?

    I don’t blame Eisner for ignoring the issues since the facts are not at all on the side of Zionism nor the local Jewish community’s steadfast support of same. He starts with a slanderous and inaccurate title and doesn’t get much better in the text. But what else can a committed Zionist do to deflect from the very damning facts of the matter?

    Today the Zionists have power and weak people who do not have the courage of their convictions will side with them. I am proud to say that the Green Party of the United States and the Green Party of Michigan have taken the principled stand to join the call for boycotts of Israel until such time as equal rights for Palestinians are realized. Cowardly locals who find their bread buttered by blaming tactics of certain protesters rather than the actions of those supporting genocide will do what they do. There are cowards in every time – they cannot deter those who sincerely respect the human rights of all people, including non-Europeans. There is no Green key value in support of such cowardice. On the contrary, the Green 10 key values include personal responsibility and social justice.

    Patti, if you really find the protesters so “interesting,” do take that next step and try to figure out what it is that has them so motivated? What is the injustice here? Why should our tax dollars fund Jewish only settlements and roads? Why should our government earn the disdain of the entire world by giving a blank check and endless political cover for Israel’s ethnic cleansing program? Why should our government lie to undertake a bloody and brutal invasion of Iraq at the behest of the Zionist neocons? What does this Israeli professor Schlomo Sand have to say about the myth of European Jews being from Palestine? And the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe about the factual documentation of the planned and executed ethnic cleansing of Palestine to make way for a racist state called Israel? What do Arab and/or Palestinian scholars, such as Salman Abu Sitta, have to say? What is the UN definition of genocide and how does what Israel has been doing for 6 decades qualify? Why was the Israeli bombing and napalming of the USS Liberty covered up? Why does the media systematically distort the history and current reality of this issue? (Consider viewing the PBS commissioned and then blocked video on Palestine called People and the Land by Tom Hayes. Why was it blocked?)

    Good that you are interested. Now you can look into the historical and political facts that motivate people to tell the truth despite the harassment of tabloid journalists and others who try to deny the humanity of Palestinians – human beings every bit as human as you and I. It’s a big world out there. Stay curious, as they say.

    Aimee Smith

       —Aimee Smith    Dec. 2 '09 - 05:16PM    #
  6. Green Party? Wow, I didn’t even know they were still around. You’re kidding, they are still an active party? Lol. Is Ralph Nader still getting funding from the Republican Party?

       —Alan Goldsmith    Dec. 2 '09 - 07:27PM    #
  7. Art Aisner is in possession of a copy of my birth certificate which lists me as “HENRY S HERSKOVITZ”, so I hope he shows some decency by retracting his claim that “the Pittsburg (sic) native was known by his given name, Henry Henry”. And then he can start retracting other lies and innuendo in his article, to say nothing of publishing a picture of a young child in her mother’s arms.

    But I had to chuckle when the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor resorts to the Hasbara Handbook’s section on “Name Calling” (page 22), when he refers to us as “hemorrhoids”.

    Because, if that’s true, three guesses what that makes Beth Israel Congregants … talk about LOL!

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 2 '09 - 11:52PM    #
  8. Ah, the anticipated eruption of bile. Nice work. Call me a coward again and you might convert me to your cause, Aimee.

       —angry coop member    Dec. 3 '09 - 01:22AM    #
  9. “Why should our tax dollars fund Jewish only settlements and roads?”

    been to egypt lately? foreign aid goes everywhere and does everythnig, inlcldung keep some peace overall.

    “… until such time as equal rights for Palestinians are realized.”

    iirc, inside israel (?egypt?) the rights are the same. [ed: same as u.s – v – mexico?]

       —toasty    Dec. 3 '09 - 03:19AM    #
  10. Patti, your request to “keep it civil” naively missed the point, as Henry Herskovitz and his cohort Aimee Smith promptly demonstrated. The harassment of the synagogue is intended as provocation, as incitement to hatred and as warmongering, by a tiny sect that cannot figure out any other way to get attention and that is uninterested in, and incapable of, civil discourse. The Kansas sect of Rev. Phelps is also picketing synagogues, as a change from disrupting military funerals. Aimee Smith’s antisemitic manifesto made Ahmadinejad sound moderate by comparison; she forgot to add to her references an older one of the same ilk, “The Protocol of the Elders of Zion”.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 3 '09 - 08:54AM    #
  11. Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends actually enjoys a good working relationship with the AAPD, but that doesn’t stop them from enforcing the laws when it comes to their observations of our activities. Since harassment is an illegal activity, and since we just might be the most cop-scrutinized peace group in Ann Arbor, reasonable people like Patti can conclude (a) we do not harass people, and (b) have complied absolutely with her request that we “keep it civil”.

    Mr. Brysk, if you have any evidence that we harass members of Beth Israel, why on earth would you withhold such information from the police?

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 3 '09 - 09:49AM    #
  12. Herskovitz’s implication that the cops are in sympathy with him is as absurd as his claim to be a “peace group”. The issue of what level of harassment must be tolerated because of the First Amendment has been dealt with by the courts for demonstrations at abortion clinics. It is my view that Herskovitz and friends have violated those guidelines, but the synagogue has been unwilling to file charges. A family that sued Phelps for disrupting the funeral of a fallen soldier was awarded damages.

    Patti opened this thread for more serious concerns than the legality of the Herskovitz antics. In any case, legality is not the same as legitimacy. The intensity of the Jew-baiting from this sect has been unequaled in Ann Arbor since the demise of the German-American Bund. Their dream, often couched in Orwellian language but at times stated openly, is the abolition of the State of Israel and the elimination of its Jewish population. This parallels the Nazi’s original goal of expulsion of the Jews from Greater Germany. The natural evolution of such a program needs no elaboration. Patti’s questions ultimately comes back to an inquiry into the roots of antisemitism, including the occasional self-hating Jews who join it (The Gestapo admitted “honorary Aryans” to its ranks. The father of William Pierce, the founder of the American neo-Nazi National Alliance, was born Jewish.). This pathology is ancient, and there are no tidy answers.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 3 '09 - 09:07PM    #
  13. Henry Brysk,

    What was so antisemitis about Aimee Smith’s rant? The neocons aren’t pro-Israel and they didn’t have a role in the occupation of Iraq? Do you seriously claim that pro-Israel organizations have no power whatsoever? There’s nothing stated by her or Henry that even closely resembles the Protocols or fascism; either you’re a lowlife, shameless liar, or you really do believe this, in which case the problem is more psychiatric than political.

    There is no parallel between the Third Reich’s program and the worldview of those who think Palestinians are worthy of human rights; unless you think German Jews were invaders seeking to oppress and disposses native Germans, like the settlers who came to Palestine? Which, happens to be what the nazis believed.

    If so, then we see who the real nazis are.

       —Your Mother    Dec. 3 '09 - 10:43PM    #
  14. I would thought the artical would talk more about Blair Coleman. He seems pretty extreme against Isreal. Isn’t he part of that group? Is he really Jewish? I thought I heard somewhere (I don’t remember) that his grandparents died in the holocost. Is it true? It’s confusing.

       —Reader    Dec. 4 '09 - 12:45AM    #
  15. Blaine Coleman is his real name, and yes he’s really Jewish. And, I believe his grandparents died in the Holocaust.

       —Suck it    Dec. 4 '09 - 02:19AM    #
  16. Mr. Brysk, I couldn’t be more in agreement with you when you write: “legality is not the same as legitimacy”.

    While Zionists claim UN Resolution 181 – the “Partition Plan” – affirms their legal “right” to a Jewish state, they certainly cannot claim legitimacy. You’ve nailed the issue on the head! That’s exactly why Rabbi Dobrusin tolerates no discussion about Israel’s “legitimacy”. He’s quoted in this article as saying “Dialogue with any … group …is predicated on … acceptance of the legitimacy of the State of Israel”.

    What’s he afraid of? That people like yourself will understand the difference between a presumed legality and a false legitimacy in the ensuing dialogue?

    Alan Hart [former ITN and BBC Panorama correspondent] certainly knows that “Israel” is illegitimate. In “Israel’s right to exist?” he refers to the claim of Israel’s legitimacy as “propaganda nonsense”, and writes “In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine”.

    And that’s only the beginning: “The truth of the time was that the Zionist state, which came into being mainly as a consequence of pre-planned ethnic cleansing, had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist UNLESS … Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved.”

    Thanks, Mr. Brysk, for bringing to our attention this illuminating distinction. It’s exactly the conversation we are seeking to hold with the congregants of Beth Israel.

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 4 '09 - 04:04AM    #
  17. Henry B., yes, you are right, I did open up the thread for serious concerns. I asked people to keep it civil because I have high expectations both in my class and in life. (And I should give a shout out to my kiddos who are all middle school or younger, have a serious physical disability [not affecting mental or cognitive abilities] & faces the challenges of living in an inner city yet STILL are able to keep discussions civil…but I digress). Also, I wanted to educate folks who might otherwise not have read the article.
    One day, I would love to have a wonderfully civil discussion on this and other topics that Henry B. brought up….

       —TeacherPatti    Dec. 4 '09 - 04:19AM    #
  18. It could be that the subjects of that article had a right to not have their divorce and child custody records published for thousands of people who might have hostile intentions toward them.

    Couldn’t the article have simply let the pro-and-anti-Palestinians discuss their points, without trying to cause major trauma to people’s private lives?

       —Privacy    Dec. 4 '09 - 06:08AM    #
  19. The author of the article, Art Aisner, used to cover the court system as a reporter for the Ann Arbor News. That is likely why he felt comfortable doing research in the archives of the circuit court, where family law cases reside. It should be noted that such court files are ordinarily public record and the press as well as any member of the public has a right to inspect these records.

    I would question his intent in disclosing identification of the apartment complex and township where one of the vigil activists resides, especialy given the fact his article is targeting a seemingly hostile audience.

    I find it interesting that the legality of the vigils is referenced. Has the synagogue or any of its members sued for an injunction if the activists noise and conduct disrupt times of worship? It would seem to me to be an interesting legal point to test in the courts since civil liability has attached in at least one court to the Phelps group in their military ceremony protests. I am sure the ACLU might be interested in litigating the matter as a First Amendment issue.

    The article has a number of inaccuracies, including the characterization that Dr. Catherine Wilkerson was “fired” from her clinic. In fact, as the circumstances unfolded, Dr. Wilkerson declined to sign a new medical services contract with the Packard Clinic containing language limiting her involvement in outside activities. The ACLU received requests for a legal opinion from both Dr. Wilkerson and the clinic; the ACLU opined that the questioned legal provision in the proposed contract was unduly vague about which activities it proscribed and recommended that the Packard Clinic offer a new contract with sufficient clarity, which it never did, and the clinic rebuffed attempts for mediation by a third party.

    Dr. Wilkerson’s case received worldwide coverage and support. Hundreds of Ann Arbor residents and thousands across the nation signed petition forms supporting her cause. One of her petition signers was Abdeen Jabara, former executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and other support came from the National Lawyers Guild and other civil rights organizations.

    Dr. Wilkerson ceased attendance at the vigils well prior to her leaving the Packard Clinic.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 4 '09 - 07:02AM    #
  20. After Henry Ford published “The Protocols”, he was indignant at being called antisemitic; he insisted that he was just disseminating the truth. We have similar protestations from Aimee Smith and her anonymous backup. There have been updates in terminology, from “the elders” to “cosmopolites” (by the Nazis) to “neo-cons”, but the message remains of the vast nefarious influence of the Jews.
    The Jews settled in Palestine millennia ago (read your Bible or Koran). They came to Germany much later. The “settlement” rhetoric has been used very deceptively. A Hollywood coterie called for a boycott of a Toronto film festival honoring the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv, on the grounds that Tel Aviv is an illegal settlement built on stolen Arab land. We have seen in Yugoslavia what ensues from the assertion that a whole nationality does not belong where it now lives; it is called ethnic cleansing and it is inevitably accompanied by bloodshed. That is what Henry Herskovitz and Aimee Smith and Blaine Coleman advocate, and it is warmongering, not peace activism.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 4 '09 - 09:25AM    #
  21. The Nazi world view was widely adopted by Arab politicians. The Arab Socialist Party (Baath) was founded in admiration and imitation of the National Socialist Party of Germany. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem spent World War II in Berlin, urging the Nazis to make contingency plans for gas chambers in Palestine when Rommel got there. Anwar Sadat was jailed by the British for helping a German spy. After the war, the Syrian dictator harbored Gestapo Col. Berger (a wanted war criminal) to organize his secret police. I survived the Holocaust and many of my relatives did not. I know better than to dismiss as mere rhetoric the calls for mass murder of Jews by the current crop of Arab politicians.
    In post #16, Henry Herskovitz advocates the Final Solution to Israel: elimination of the State and presumably of its inhabitants. I am sorry, Patti, but I find this to lie beyond the pale of civilized discussion. I sympathize with your desire to carry on civil discourse, but that is only possible among those who share democratic and humanitarian ideals.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 4 '09 - 10:28AM    #
  22. Henry Brysk,

    What is your position on letting Palestinians return to Palestine or the same land claimed by Israel? Israel has recently passed a law declaring Israel as a Jewish state; what are the implications of this law for the significant non-Jewish population who live in Israel? Jews never had the population concentration in Palestine that they have in Israel today. The fact remains that a significant non-Jewish Arab population was removed by force against its will upon the creation of the modern state of Israel. Your refusal to address this issue is telling. You are essentially proffering the argument that ancient claims by Jews justify the forcible removal of Arabs in ’47-‘48. How are you not the Zionist you have denied being in previous posts on this blog? Palestinians have already been driven into the sea by Jews “returning” to Israel; what are you saying should happen to Palestinians? Why should I as someone born and raised in this country support through my tax dollars this ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel?
       —ChuckL    Dec. 4 '09 - 06:36PM    #
  23. The argument is that the 1940’s Holocaust, in Europe, gives Israel the right to inflict fresh Holocausts today, a thousand miles away, in Palestine, Lebanon, wherever it sees fit. And if you don’t want to pay for it, that makes you… well… you know what that makes you.

       —Holocausts    Dec. 4 '09 - 08:37PM    #
  24. Henry Brysk,

    “The Nazi world view was widely adopted by Arab politicians.”

    What does that have to w/the vigilers? Are they Arab politicians? Baathists? Your statement makes no sense, especially in light of the thousands of Lebanese killed in 2006 and thousands of Palestinians killed in 2008. But like I said before, your problem may be psychiatric.

    Besides, Arabs aren’t the only ones who harbored Nazi war criminals – the U.S., among others, utilized the talents of Nazis, like Werner Von Braun and Klaus Barbie. And it doesn’t change the fact of mass expulsion in 1948, the expansionism that led to 1967 and the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. I noticed your concern for Arab politicians adopting the Nazi worldview didn’t include Pierre Gemayel and his Phalange party, created in the image of the Brownshirts in 1936 and armed/trained by Israel to kill Palestinians at Sabra/Shatilla. (But don’t lose any sleep – it was good for the Jews, right?)

    Then there’s the Ha’avara agreement of 1933 that destroyed the international boycott and helped the Third Reich survive.

    I’m sory you had to go through the Holocaust, but that doesn’t give you the right to perpetrate it on others.

       —Mark Ass Buster    Dec. 4 '09 - 09:38PM    #
  25. ChuckL:
    Make up your mind, do you favor or oppose a Law of Return into Israel? You start out advocating one for incoming Arabs, end up bashing one for incoming Jews. Or is that your agenda? My own view is that unrestricted immigration (regardless of ethnicity) is unsustainable public policy. When Arab armies attacked Israel as soon as it was proclaimed in 1968, some 3/4 million Arabs fled out of the Jewish-held area while a comparable number of Jews from Arab countries fled into Israel. (A year earlier, a much larger similar population exchange occurred when Pakistan separated from India). Many of the fleeing Palestinian Arabs were rounded up by Arab governments into concentration camps (“refugee camps”), whereas the Arab Jews were assimilated into Israeli society. Peace can be achieved if we recognize the right of people to live free where they are. The alternative was demonstrated when the Serbs tried to retrieve their ancestral homeland of Kosovo and expel its current occupants. We called that “ethnic cleansing”. The territories under Palestinian Authority or Hamas rule have been ethnically cleansed (not a Jew remains). On the other hand, millions of Arabs are Israeli citizens. Coming back to the first point, you seem to endorse the PLO scenario: Move every Arab abroad that claims to have some Palestinian ancestry (mostly unverifiable) into Israel, until they outnumber the Jews, then throw out the Jews. The proclamation of Israel as a Jewish state is notice that the Jews will not acquiesce to that scenario (I did not hear you welcome them here).

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 5 '09 - 02:00AM    #
  26. Neither Brysk nor myself can claim origins in the Semitic world. Shlomo Sand’s new book, The Invention of the Jewish People, supports what Arab intellectuals have been claiming for decades: there was no forced expulsion of Jews from Palestine, no exile and hence makes the Law of Return not worth the paper it was written on.

    … and in response to a caller on his Al-Jazeera interview, Sand says: “The holocaust can justify NOTHING (his emphasis). Watch
       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 5 '09 - 07:02AM    #
  27. Herskovitz triumphantly quotes an “authority” to the effect that Jews did not come from Palestine. Arabs have also recently asserted that the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem. This new “scholarship” contradicts the story line in the Bible and in the Koran. If Herskovitz has the courage of his convictions, he is honor-bound to picket not just synagogues but also churches and mosques.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 5 '09 - 08:42AM    #
  28. Thanks again for the set up, Mr. Brysk. I have protested at Zionist churches in Michigan and Ohio, and if you read my weekly vigil reports posted on our web site, you would have known this.

    And I promise you, that the first mosque which supports Israel as a Jewish supremacist state in Palestine will see me at their front gate.

    ps … you’re right again: The “new” scholarship as well as the “old” knowledge of the Arab world does contradict the storyline of the bible.

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 5 '09 - 09:33AM    #
  29. The “storyline of the bible,” if you take the time to actually read and understand it makes it clear that Jews are not a people of the Bible. There was a biblical people known as the Judaeans but their name is mistranslated in English Bibles as “Jews” and they never practiced Judaism, which came into being after Christianity.

       —Bible Scholar    Dec. 5 '09 - 12:40PM    #
  30. To all those who agree “civil liability has attached in at least one court to the Phelps group in their military ceremony protests”: You’re mistaken. That verdict was overturned on appeal to the 4th Circuit last September and rightly so. Snyder’s suit should have been tossed out by the trial court. I can’t imagine the Supremes granting certiorari even if Snyder is stupid enough to appeal.

       —Bible Scholar    Dec. 5 '09 - 01:15PM    #
  31. I take note (without surprise) of the expression of solidarity between followers of Herskovitz and of Phelps by an eminent biblical and legal scholar, a “vigiler” who never sleeps (note the time stamp). Can we expect them soon to multitask in gay-bashing as well as Jew-baiting, like Phelps?

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 5 '09 - 09:54PM    #
  32. Dear Teacher Patti,
    Please explain to me how anyone who is sincerely concerned about the human rights of Palestinians could see your original creation of this thread as civil. For example, are you not curious if there might be positive effects from “these people” on the community? Only asking about bankrollers (that’s a good one!) and “other” negative effects indicates you do not.

    I can think of few things less civil in dialogue than denial of genocide, which is what the Zionist position and purpose of the article you glowingly reference is.

    While it is very possible that our immersion in biased media and being sheltered from the facts of the history and present may make it unclear at first, I do not believe ignorance is a justification for incivility. Thus we each have an obligation to look passed what is spoon fed to us by those who enjoy power in our society and see what the other sides to the story are. That is if when we say “civil” we mean towards all people, which I do.

    This cause for your rather confusing do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do advice might be from the same kind of blinkered bias from Westerners that must have lead to that famous quote from Gandhi when asked what he thought of Western civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.”

    Imagine if you were a Palestinian refugee living in this community reading Arbor Update and coming upon Patti’s post that is all about hunting for dirt on principled activists while completely ignoring the massive 6 decade plus crimes that bar you from your homeland and in many cases from seeing other members of your family. I don’t think you would use the word “civil” to describe such a thread opener. But again, all of this assumes that the feelings and experiences of non-Europeans actually matter. Do they?

    Aimee Smith

       —Aimee Smith    Dec. 5 '09 - 11:53PM    #
  33. Followers of this thread are urged to see the most recent and complete de-construction of “False Witnesses”. PeaceMonger writes “Bloody-handed Prophets of the Royal Court Disparage JWPF”. Link at:

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 6 '09 - 12:24AM    #
  34. As a fan of science fiction, I have found the alternative universe of some of the contributors to this thread (more screen names than contributors) somewhat entertaining (despite the sinister intent). They fall short of the conventions of the genre, however. In particular, detailed specification of the alternative universe is expected. Okay, so the Jews usurped the identity of the Judaeans. What happened to the Judaeans thereafter? What is the backstory of the Jews? The reference to bogus experts fits, but it should be salted with better known names of the same persuasion, such as the eminent historian David Irving, and traced back to the pedantic Germans, one of whom coined the word “antisemitism” for Jew-baiting (to the displeasure of Herskovitz who tells us Jews are not Semites). Besides, the phantasies of different contributors lack consistency; you guys need a script session. For a lesson on how to do it properly, I can recommend Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union”.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 6 '09 - 01:09AM    #
  35. Israel is an American ally with a U.S. Navy port of call in Haifa. The State of Israel was created only due to the intense efforts of the U.S. and Great Britain; she was formed in the crucible of one of the greatest genocides in world history and represents a promised homeland for the Jewish people under both its religion and the Law of Return. I am immensely proud as an American that we have supported what is the only true democracy in the Middle East and that it has miraculously flourished despite being surrounded by hateful enemy governments and been involved in several wars.

    Locally, this area has great reason to focus its atttention on the Middle East in general and Israel in particular: history and demographics.
    It was a Detroit native, Ralph Bunche, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the 1948 armistice ending the Arab-Israeli conflict that year. Metro Detroit has been the home to large amounts of Arabs and Jews who have ties to the region. Local philanthropist Max Fisher had close ties to the Israeli state and his death made front page news in Israel.

    Israel has made great strides in achieving peace over the years. Menachem Begin was elected as prime minister as a conservative alternative to Labor Party control in Israel for decades and risked that control and fractured his own party solidarity to make concessions to Egypt. Today he is considered one of Israel’s most respected statemen largely dur to that courage.

    Israel has been known for its humane, fair, and liberal attitude toward its enemies. Its supreme court in 1992 ordered the release of accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk after reversing his conviction and Israel rebuffed U.S. attempts to return him to Israel for trial on separate charges. In 1970, retreating elements of the P.L.O. during the Black September crisis crossed into Israel into the waiting hands of the Israel Defense Forces to avoid capture by the Jordanian army much like most German Nazis preferred surrender to the American and British forces rather than Russians due to perceived humaneness by the Americans and Britons.

    Henry Herskovits goes on to cite the U.S.S. Liberty incident as an example of Isreal’s supposed evil character but he fails to cite one government inquiry to suggest the incident was nothing more than a grave accident. He also fails to cite reparations were paid by bIsrael for the incident.

    Yes, Israel has its faults, but she is a valuable American ally.

       —Junior    Dec. 6 '09 - 02:30AM    #
  36. Zionist international jurist Richard Goldstone received the Stockholm Human Rights Award yesterday. He is the author of a report recently adopted by the U.N. General Assembly requesting action in investigating war crimes that may have been committed by Israel and hamas last January during Operation Cast Lead.

       —Junior    Dec. 6 '09 - 02:49AM    #
  37. Yes, Junior is right; Israel does have a few faults. Israel killed 1400 Palestinians in Gaza this year, but to be fair, the Palestinians killed 3 Israelis during that whole war. When somebody does something like that, is it so unreasonable that a boycott will be declared against them? So yes, Israel is getting boycotted. It’s normal. So did South Africa; good thing it did. Let’s focus more on the situation of the victims, the Palestinians.

       —Israeli Faults    Dec. 6 '09 - 03:18AM    #
  38. Well, Patti, your quest for decency has brought down displeasure from the usual suspects. Your high expectations work with the kids you teach because they still have an open mind and enjoy being encouraged to use it. Many adults retain this capacity to a lesser degree, but not all. The discussion you opened is about a small clique whose delusional obsession excludes fresh thought and who can only respond by spewing hate.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 6 '09 - 06:08AM    #
  39. Does anyone notice how desperate Zionists are? Commenting on time stamps when there’s nothing else to say. Character assassination on the pages of the WJN instead of discussing the “merits” of their side of the story. Shows you how weak and morally bankrupt they are.

       —Joumana    Dec. 6 '09 - 11:00AM    #
  40. Henry Brysk,

    Demanding a right to an exclusive, monolithic society based on one world view (Israel as an exclusive Jewish state) will always end badly as the German people found out in WW2 (10 million Germans were killed.) Did it ever occur to you that in this country, we have seen the wisdom of not allowing any one religion to be recognized by the state as an officially recognized one? Separation of Church and State protects religion from the state and the state from religion. It allows people to freely choose their faith and practice it. This is not the case in Israel where a significant non-Jewish population exists. My point, Henry, is that to maintain an exclusive, monolithic, one world view state anywhere in the world inherently requires a hate spewing, supremacist ideology.
       —ChuckL    Dec. 6 '09 - 09:48PM    #
  41. I would encourage anyone with questions about Israel to read sources other than this blog. The fact is Israel recognizes a multiple of religions. Freedom of worship is enshrined in Israeli law. The fact that this blog has been all but dead until somebody referenced Israel should tell you all you need to know about the real concerns of the people posting here.

       —sam kirkpatrick    Dec. 6 '09 - 11:50PM    #
  42. I read the Art Aisner article and I am baffled as to why the creator of this thread considers the article useful to “educate folks”. The article does nothing more than attack the messengers and Aisner never explains how the protestors’ message is “false”, which is the claim of the article’s title.

    A response to the article has been posted at ZionistsOut, which addresses some of the inaccuracies of the article as well as Aisner’s obvious bias.

       —Michael Schils    Dec. 7 '09 - 12:01AM    #
  43. [off-topic, removed]
       —Israeli Faults    Dec. 7 '09 - 12:38AM    #
  44. Times and dates can be enlightening, “Joumana”, as they affect credibility. Take the claim that Blaine Coleman’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors (and presumably their offspring was not). This delimits the birth date of said parent and implies that he/she was precociously fertile.

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 7 '09 - 01:08AM    #
  45. ChuckL:
    I am all in favor of separation of church and state EVERYWHERE, as you obviously are not. The epitome of “an exclusive, monolithic society” is Saudi Arabia. Iran, Iraq and most Arab nations have proclaimed themselves as Muslim states. The Palestine Authority does not allow Jews to live where it rules (never mind Hamas). I don’t notice you objecting. Israel is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious (Jew, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bahai, Samaritan)democratic nation, with separation of church and state guarded by its courts. The “Jewish State” rhetoric refers to maintaining a majority of Jewish ETHNICITY, not establishing a state religion or kicking anyone out (as I am sure you know, despite your spin). Israeli Jews are predominantly secular, more so than Americans are. Incidentally, your claim that Jews are a larger fraction of the population than ever before is wrong (Are you endorsing your friends’ Judaean fable?).

       —Henry Brysk    Dec. 7 '09 - 02:21AM    #
  46. I recall that the U.S. armed forces were also a secular force in Vietnam, not seeking to kick anyone out. For some reason, the Vietnamese did not enjoy the experience of being occupied, even by such a fine secular force.

       —Dan Gersten    Dec. 7 '09 - 02:41AM    #
  47. I think what upsets Mr. Brysk most and, for that matter, the Ann Arbor Jewish community, is contained in the following quote from a good friend of mine …

    “The crime against the Palestinian people is being committed by a Jewish state with Jewish soldiers using weapons displaying Jewish religious symbols, and with the full support and complicity of the overwhelming mass of organized Jews worldwide. But to name Jews as responsible for this crime seems impossible to do.”

    What Aisner’s article never addresses – and he knows this – is that JWPF might well be the only group that recognizes the above and has reacted to it by holding the Jewish community accountable for their support of Apartheid Israel for over 6 years.

    Art could have written an article about the power this community wields:

    their ability to twist City Council into “condemn[ing]” our exercise of First Amendment rights, which they were sworn to protect; their conning of 33 clergy to likewise challenge our vigils; their leverage with our County court system (vehicular assault charges against Ely Avny were never filed in spite of AAPD encouragement, and when Abraham Seligman from South Euclid, Ohio failed to show up in court (he shoved a camera into a vigiller’s face in the presence of 4 officers and was arrested) the charges against him were dropped; their ability to get a physician fired from her job for publicly protesting “Israel”’s atrocities … I could go on and on …

    But we all know that story would never have passed WJN Editor and Zionist Publisher Susy Ayer’s desk.

    And by the way, Mr. Brysk: now that you know I have protested churches, will you now tell this list that I meet your standard of having “the courage of [my] convictions”, just as I thank you for admitting that Jews usurped the identity of the Judeans?

       —Henry Herskovitz    Dec. 7 '09 - 03:01AM    #
  48. Henry, I’m curious, what exactly is the point of your protest of the temple?

    What do you want the temple to do? Allow you to address the congregation from the pulpit?

    You say the Jewish community conned clergy, politicians and others to condemn your vigils. Perhaps those leaders reacted to your tactics instead. You provide no other evidence.

    The community certainly understands your point of view. Perhaps the condemnation was an indication of your lack of support by people who made up their own minds.

       —sam kirkpatrick    Dec. 7 '09 - 03:56AM    #
  49. When did “Jews” usurp the identity of Judeans?

       —Young Judean    Dec. 7 '09 - 04:47AM    #
  50. I would like to hear from someone who is interested in the situation of the Palestinians. It seems that they are having a hard time staying alive, fed, and able to send their children to school. This is something that would be of interest to any person of any religion.

       —Dan Gersten    Dec. 7 '09 - 04:51AM    #
  51. I am going to ask people to keep it civil. If this article makes you sit down and start typing not nice things, please just ask yourself why…why are you reacting this way? Can we discuss this civilly? Can your feelings be turned into positive action instead??

       —Matt Hampel for AU    Dec. 7 '09 - 04:59AM    #