First hour: Henry Herskovitz of Ann Arbor, MI is the prime target of an 86-page lawsuit filed last month by Marvin Gerber. Henry, who visited Palestine two decades ago and saw the suffering of Palestinian genocide victims, has been leading anti-Zionist protests outside the Beth Israel Synagogue every Saturday for the past sixteen years.
On January 6, Henry explained to the Ann Arbor City Council why he leads the Beth Israel protests, and got pushback from a City Councilman named Ackerman. Below is Henry’s email.
“Anti-Semitism in modern America looks exactly like Mr. Herskovitz”
Thus spoke Ann Arbor City Councilman Zachary Ackerman on January 6 in response to this writer’s Comments to Council explaining why Beth Israel Congregation is the proper venue for protest against the Jewish state. That three-minute address to council follows signature. Mr. Ackerman’s name-calling tirade can be found here.
Mr. Ackerman must have listened to former Israeli Education Minister Shulamit Aloni when she confessed to Amy Goodman about this name-calling Hasbara tactic: “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country [the US] people are criticizing Israel, then they are antisemitic.”
Mr. Ackerman did not factually challenge any of the points raised in my comments:
Foreign flag in synagogue
Weekly Prayer spoken to that foreign country
Churches more universal than synagogues
Jewish holidays portray Jews as victims in an alleged hostile world
He merely resorted to insult and slander. And this from an elected official sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, including its First Amendment protections. Perhaps Mr. Ackerman seeks a promising political career in an environment wherein truth is subordinate to image.
New Plaintiff Added to Federal Lawsuit
An amended Complaint adds “Holocaust survivor” Dr. Miriam Brysk to the Plaintiff dock, joining Marvin Gerber in his anti-First Amendment lawsuit against Witness for Peace, the longest running street protest in Ann Arbor history. Readers can view the new document here.
Between 4-7 vigilers on January 4, 11
Thumbs: 17, Fingers: 3 on Jan. 11
Witness for Peace
Resisting Jewish Power for 16 years
Delivered to Council Jan. 6, 2020
Topic: Political protests at Beth Israel Synagogue
I would like to explain to Council why our group selected Beth Israel Congregation as the appropriate venue for protests against the Jewish state.
Sixteen years ago we wrote:
“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…”
Then in 2007 Rabbi Dobrusin confirmed that the entire congregation supported Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state. And we oppose that claim to a right to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its non-Jewish inhabitants.
We noted that Beth Israel flies a foreign flag in its sanctuary; that the congregation recites a prayer for the state of Israel every week; that many congregants wave Israeli flags as they drive into the parking lot, and that some even sport Jewish-Israeli license plates.
We then recognized the great insight into racial differences by Malcolm X. He said to white activists, “The Negroes aren’t the racists. Where the really sincere white people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the black victims, but out there on the battle lines of where America’s racism really is – and that’s in their own home communities.”
Let’s rephrase that. “The Palestinians aren’t the racists. Where the really sincere Jewish people have got to do their ‘proving’ of themselves is not among the Palestinian victims, but out there on the battle lines of where Israel’s racism really is – and that’s in their own Jewish communities.”
The synagogue is the core of the Jewish community; Beth Israel is no exception. The Jewish chauvinism formed there is reflected in Jewish holidays, where Jews are portrayed as victims of an alleged hostile world.
An unhealthy, toxic paradigm of “us versus them” is thus formed. It is a paradigm which is the opposite from the universalism expressed in Christianity. The Jewish community self-isolates from the others.
Consider some signs in front of local churches: Bethlehem Church says “God’s doors are open to all” First Congregational says “All are welcome”. First Baptist, “Open to all; closed to none”
But sadly, not so at Beth Israel. Its support of a self-isolated Jewish state makes it the legitimate venue for protest.