Local Rabbi seeks "Elimination" of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
In a series of recent e-mails, Rabbi Robert Levy, of the local Reform Temple Beth Emeth, first campaigned to have this writer removed from the list serve of a local group, "Jewish Voices for Peace and Justice". This group is not to be confused with either JWP&F, nor with the national group, Jewish Voice for Peace, http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/
In a second e-mail, delivered on Shabbat, he alters his message to include "elimination" of JWP. In his words: "And it is his group I want to eliminate. I own this fully. The time has come for the Jewish community, progressive and otherwise, and the Ann Arbor community, progressive and otherwise, to rid ourselves of the JWP. to rid ourselves of the JWP. Last year they desecrated Rosh Hashana. This year Yom Kippur is on Shabbat." ...Rabbi Robert Levy
The Rabbi's choice of words is very disappointing to this writer. Some members of Jewish Witnesses have spoken of the physical threat they feel having experienced them. His initial e-mail and short exchange with Larry H follows signature.
Twelve vigillers dodged a very rainy weekend in Southeast Michigan but the record of "no rain on the Vigils" has now held for almost one full year (talk about tempting fate!). In the presence of an Ann Arbor Police patrol car, no photographers or provocateurs made their presence known this Saturday. This may be the last weekend our vigils are held at the building next door to Beth Israel Congregation, as it appears the synagogue renovation will be completed in time for next Shabbat's services.
And a note to readers: The Rabbi's claim that we word our signs with provocative slogans has a genesis: Congregants claim their Sabbath Laws prohibits them accepting leaflets we have tried to hand out. And according to the Ann Arbor Police, we are forbidden to flyer automobiles at our Sunday Boycott Hiller's protest, based on safety regulations. And of course, Jim Hiller has seen to it that we are forbidden from the private property of the entire shopping center in which his store is located. Therefore, our ability to educate the public, including the Jewish Community, is thwarted at every turn, and we have taken to conversation-starting slogans such as "Zionism Enabled Nazism" - ref: "The Transfer Agreement", Edwin Black, 1999, afterword by Abraham H. Foxman. Experience has indicated some success at conversation using this tactic.
Weekly report from our guru, Larry H., on Sunday's Boycott Hiller's protest:
On August's last Sunday 9 of us mounted a protest against Hiller's. A cloudy, rather uneventful day.
I'm not sure that this effort is so much less important than the temple vigil. Blaine sent out the long, long editorial in the Detroit Jewish News. Amazing piece. Describing a timid Arab businessman reluctantly refusing to put an "Israel Day" poster in his window because of "threats" from unknown persons to picket him like Hilllers is being picketed! Then gushing praise for Jim Hiller's "heroism" in standing up to us and staying in business despite the power of our mighty legions.We are getting attention, our ideas are getting attention, and they are sounding like idiots.
NEXT SUNDAY AT 2!!
Work for Peace,
Note: a2jewishpeace is the e-list that services Jewish Voices for Peace, described above.
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 17:35:21 -0400
Subject: RE: [a2jewishpeace] Digest Number 282
Henry H. has made this list one of his soap boxes for too long. And for too long we have done nothing while he and his friends hold members of Beth Israel responsible for Israeli policies. I say this must end. The time has come for the real Jewish left to step away from Henry and friends. The time has come to take a stand, not just say that he upsets you.
I suggest the following:
Remove him and friends from posting access to this list or close the list.
As it stands now, if I moved to Ann Arbor and joined this list I would think that Henry H. is a valued member of the progressive community when in fact he is holding the community hostage. As it stands now, this list gives him yet another forum. I can only speak for myself, but those who traffic with Henry (and being a fellow poster to this list with him is in my opinion trafficking with him) are people with whom I do not wish to associate myself on issues of the Middle East. The time has ended for non-interaction. What Jewish Witness for Peace do at Beth Israel is legally protected but immoral.
Saying, "What can we do, this is an open list?" is not enough. All of the places this egotist and his friends get re-enforced for their shameful behavior must be closed. He may have the right to stand outside Beth Israel telling its members that Zionism helped the Nazis and reminding them to pray for genocide, but we have the right to deny him other forums, particularly one that calls itself A2jewishpeace.
A friend of Henry's is no friend of mine. Those who work with Henry (including sharing this list) I choose not to work with. This is one of those "if not now, when" moments. Last year I advocated strongly for Henry and friends' inclusion in the community dialogue on Israel. I thought his voice would expand our community's dialogue. I was wrong. He does not want dialogue, despite what he says and says again. He wants total capitulation, not only of the Beth Israel community but of the State of Israel. And until he wins he will continue, unless we work to stop him. This year, if we do a similar community program, my position will be different. If he comes, then I will not. Enough is enough.
Rabbi Robert Levy
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 01:55:21 EDT
Subject: Re: [a2jewishpeace] Digest Number 282
To Reb Levy from Berdichev I do declare:
As one of Henry's friends with whom the Grand Rebbe does not want to
"traffic" (presumably as in trafficing with hoodlums or lepers), I find his mindless nativist screed the worst piece of zevel since the charicatures of Julius Streicher. Wanting to remove us from the sacred list, the little rabbi is an eliminationist, a la the wrongheaded Harvard creep Goldhagen. If he wishes us to clean the street in front of his house will he at least provide the toothbrushes?
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 11:45:25 -0400
Subject: RE: [a2jewishpeace] Digest Number 283
"Rabbi" Hochman is right we he says:
the little rabbi is an eliminationist
And it is his group I want to eliminate. I own this fully. The time has come for the Jewish community, progressive and otherwise, and the Ann Arbor community, progressive and otherwise, to rid ourselves of the JWP. Last year they desecrated Rosh Hashana. This year Yom Kippur is on Shabbat.
Rabbi Robert Levy