Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fair of Shame in the Detroit News

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit's Fair of Shame was mentioned in the Detroit News yesterday. Below is the full story with a comment in italics.
Monday, July 14, 2008

Israel fair to echo 1949

High point of Jewish community's celebration of 60th mixes joy of past event with the present.

Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- The high point of the Jewish community of Metro Detroit's year-long commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel is slated for Aug. 21 at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

"A Fair to Remember," presented by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, is intended to recall a similar event in 1949 when thousands of Detroiters gathered at the fairgrounds in a joyous celebration of the anniversary of Israel.

"It is meant to re-establish the fact of the Jewish community Metropolitan Detroit and its support of Israel," said Scott Kaufman, director of "Israel at 60," to be held the day before the Michigan State Fair opens. "But it also is intended to have a celebration at a time when what we are hearing is mostly bad news, bad economic news, people losing jobs and houses, and the gas prices ... We are kind of looking at it as St. Patrick's Day, or Cinco de Mayo, or the big Arab-American festival -- just kind of an ethnic celebration of community."
Actually, Scott, your Federation's Fair of Shame is more akin to an American celebration of the Wounded Knee Massacre, a Japanese celebration of the Rape of Nanjing, or a German celebration of the Fall Weiss. You see, St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of the peaceful introduction of Christianity into Ireland by a former slave. And, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican defeat of French imperial forces in Mexico. By contrast, your Fair of Shame celebrates the conquest of the indigenous people of Palestine in 1948, well after the establishment of international norms of conduct that the mostly European and North American Jewish invaders refused to abide by. In fact, you are celebrating previous and ongoing crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The rides, food and attractions of the State Fair will be accessible to those attending the event, along with Israel-themed activities, exhibits, shopping at shuks -- Israeli market stands -- and kosher Israeli food. In the evening, an All-Star Musical Tribute to Israel is scheduled at the band shell, with Grammy-nominated children's composer Peter Himmelman and the Israeli rock and reggae group The New Moshav Band performing.

They'll be joined by the Greater New Mount Moriah Baptist Church choirs of Detroit, the Word of Faith Choir from the Word of Faith International Christian center in Southfield and the Drummer Boyz of Pontiac.

The event, for which the Jewish Federation has rented the fairgrounds, is from 3-10 p.m.

Tickets are required for entry and each automobile must have a pass to park on the Fairgrounds.

Tickets and parking passes, including handicapped parking passes, are now available at jewishdetroit.org/israelsixty, or by calling (877) 772-5425. Tickets range from $12.95 to $24.95. Strollers and wheelchairs will be available, on site, for rental.

"The vehicle for the event is the 60th anniversary of Israel," said Zina Kramer of Bloomfield Hills, one of several volunteers working to prepare for the occasion. "But the reason I wanted to be involved is that I see it as an event that has the potential to bring together a lot of people who don't always come together with the Jewish community and, perhaps, along the way they will learn more about Israel and the Jewish community in the area. I also think it will spur a greater interest in Israel on the part of the Jewish community."

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