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Posted on Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Rise & Fall: Sweetwaters and Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice

By Paula Gardner

One is a locally owned chain that's expanding with a new store in Ypsilanti. The other has the right idea in taking a stand - just years too late.

Here are our picks for Sunday's winner and loser from the news.

Rise: Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea

Andrew O’Neal’s vision for his property on the edge of the Eastern Michigan University campus always included a coffee shop. About two years after the redevelopment started - and after two other shops moved into the refurbished space on West Cross - Sweetwaters will fill that void. We’re happy to see the expansion to the east. Based on initial reaction to this news, the Ypsilanti community appears to join us.

Fall: Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice

The group came out this month against the weekly protests at Beth Israel Congregation. In doing so, the ICPJ says they consider the protests “hurtful and unproductive,” explaining that it’s avoided taking a stronger step since a statement in 2005 to keep from feeding the “attention-seeking behavior of the protesters.” We get that. What we don’t get is why the protests lasted nine more years before the strong words from the interdenominational faith coalition that does good work in the community. This time, it’s behind the curve.


Paul Pinard

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

I stand with the protesters when my schedule allows. I have never counted any less than 80% positive response from passers by. Its funny what people really think about this topic when they are allowed to remain anonymous. Wake up America, you are hijacked by a foreign power and it is way past time to do something about it.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

Paula Gardner is to be congratulated for voicing some common sense about the 9-year harassment of the synagogue and how long it took the ICPJ to catch on that it was reprehensible. Most of the commenting on this thread, including from ICPJ members, misses the point. Up until just now, the attitude of ICPJ about Henry Herskovitz has mirrored the stance of some conservatives to Joe McCarthy: "I do not agree with his methods but, after all, his heart is in the right place". Only in its new declaration does ICPJ recognize that to go after an American house of worship because you object to the existence of a state in the Middle East is Antisemitism, it follows the doctrine of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion that all Jews are a worldwide conspiracy and are accountable for all Jews anywhere. The excuse after-the-fact that the inaction was motivated by the hope that "if you ignore them they will go away" is spurious. The Ann Arbor News aided and abetted them in unbalanced news reports and frequent appearances on the op-ed page, while often rejecting rebuttals. Its successor did little better in its first couple of years. They had a free ride and no incentive to stop. Now, the ICPJ and have caught on, though many on this thread have not yet.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Jerusalem syndrome?


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Are you referring the picketing of the UMS concert by the Jerusalem String Quartet by the Herskovitz handful plus a dozen Palestinians imported from Dearborn?

Joel A. Levitt

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

The ICPJ's statement is clear and correct. It was made at this time, because ill-informed people have come to believe that ICPJ approves of the useless and offensive picketing. Why does the choose to not get it?

Ruth Kraut

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Actually, Paula, ICPJ did ask for the vigils to stop back in (I believe) 2006. The organization decided to *restate* its opposition to the vigils at this time, but in fact had already done so.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

@northside: We can agree to disagree. I see it differently. The brutal occupation of Palestine is ongoing; the protest against it should be ongoing (and widespread...).


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Taking a stand against Israel's occupation is an act of conscience. Holding a weekly, nine year long protest outside a congregation because they wouldn't let you make a presentation? Grudge match. The problem with this protest is that it long ago became about this protest, not about the occupation.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

@northside: I doubt the protestors would consider their protest a grudge match. But my point was that someone does have the 'slightest idea.' Invite the people of conscience, the silent vigilers, in for a talk. So simple.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

@ cindy: Being against the protests does not equal supporting Beth Israel's position. Whether they should have allowed Herskovitz to make a presentation is a fair question. But a protest lasting 9 years as a result of their refusal? That's just a grudge match and has nothing whatsoever to do with raising awareness of what the Palestinians are suffering.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

" one seems to have the slightest idea as to what might work." Not true. The silent vigils began after the synagogue repeatedly refused to allow Herskovitz and others to enter for the purpose of speaking about what they witnessed in Palestine. The desire to do so still stands and is still rebuked. Warpehoski supports the synagogue.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

And ICPJ has just done what everyone else has: hope that ignoring the protests eventually leads them to fade away. The strategy has certainly failed, but no one seems to have the slightest idea as to what might work.

Albert Howard

Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Why such a sudden opinion about an organization that has a 'change of heart' in favor of a cup of coffee beans? This was a brave statement made by Chuck Warpehoski. Ann Arbor, Michigan does have a conscience!


Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

In case anyone's interested, Gaza is again under Iraeli attack with explosions in urban civilian populated areas. Almost impossible to find it reported anywhere.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

No nation would tolerate daily rocket fire from terrorists whose sworn objective was it's complete destruction nor should they.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

I should have stated: Almost impossible to find *accurate* reporting on Israeli brutality and destruction of Palestine anywhere.


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

@ aanative: If you and everyone you knew had been living under a brutal occupation for decades, how would you respond?


Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

You mean, the Israeli response to the rocket fire on a jeep?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Google Gaza.


Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

It seems hypocritical of to criticize the Interfaith Coalition for not putting forth strong enough words against the Beth Israel protests. A search of your website indicates that until this week you had not posted any articles or editorials about the protests. If this is such a crucial issue that warrants community intervention, why wasn't it covered for several years? My guess is the reason hasn't given attention to the protests is identical to ICPJ's: doing so may likely fuel them. The community is dealing with an unusually stubborn group. Let's be honest: no one really knows what to do. To single out ICPJ for blame, especially when you have taken the same "ignore them and they'll go away" stance, is terrifically unfair.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

The answer to your question is that (and its predecessor the Ann Arbor News) have had editors whose attitude about Henry Herskovitz mirrored the attitude of some conservatives to Joe McCarthy: "I do not agree with his methods but, after all, his heart is in the right place". This has also been the attitude of ICPJ until now. ICPJ finally gets it, and so does under its new editor.


Sun, Nov 11, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

There's one more indicator of how has avoided this issue and should not be criticizing others for the same strategy. This piece contains tags for Rise and Fall, Sweetwaters, and icpj, but no tag for the name of the group holding the protests.