The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

How I became a “self-hating Jew”

Posted on July 27th, 2016 at 4:30 pm by

Report on Beth Israel vigil 07-09-16

Posted on July 11th, 2016 at 3:56 pm by

Request Denied

Why do Jewish community newspapers, like the local Washtenaw Jewish News, exist? Well, one reason is to promote activities and events of Ann Arbor’s Jewish community; certainly no harm in that. But another reason is to promote Israel. Take the October 2015 issue of the WJN for example. Ten of the 34 articles contained in this issue promote the Jewish state. They are political in nature and encourage travel to Israel, especially for young people on “Birthright Israel” trips.

The Washtenaw Jewish News appears to be self-funding, i.e. sustained by the financial support of its 39 advertisers (Oct. 2015). This conclusion was based on the fact that Guidestar’s basic report on The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor (WJN’s parent org) does not list WJN in its main programs or operations. Readers should feel free to correct us with additional information.

Based on this funding narrative, JWPF selected one of these advertisers – The Ark (“a nationally known acoustic and folk music venue”) – and appealed to them to refrain from financially contributing to an organization which supports Israel. As we wrote in our letter:

Many performers at The Ark promote peace through their music and lyrics: Jay Stielstra, Chris Buhalis, Cheryl Wheeler, and Gideon Luke are but a few. The Ark hosted a fund raiser for Veterans for Peace Chapter 93 in October. It is in this spirit of peace, spoken and sung by many performers, that I ask The Ark to reconsider its policy of promoting a state which – throughout its history – has been antithetical towards peace.

Here is the answer we received from The Ark’s attorney:

Dear Mr. Herskovitz,

Thank you for your recent letter to The Ark’s Board of Directors requesting that The Ark discontinue advertising in the Washtenaw Jewish News. Your letter was shared with The Ark’s Board at their last meeting. The Ark uses a variety of media to encourage support of the venue and the music. The Ark also has a diverse membership which shares a love of the folk, roots and ethnic music that The Ark presents. The Ark’s membership and audiences include a wide spectrum of political affiliations which are not part of The Ark’s mission. It is The Ark’s policy not to take a position on any issue that doesn’t related directly to its mission or business operations. As such, The Ark will continue to reach out widely in order to share the benefits of music.

Ian James Reach

A Fight Worth Fighting?

In our view, the Ark chose not to respond to any of the seven points raised in the request letter, and merely stated that they were going to continue to conduct their business as usual. We suspect that since they don’t receive many requests of this nature, that it was easy for them to swat away this fly. Perhaps it is business as usual for them; on the other hand, perhaps they wouldn’t dare raise the ire of such formidable a power as that of the local Jewish community were they to take a principled stand and terminate their support for a newspaper openly promoting a racist state.

We can only speculate. However, we are reminded that the original 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS exhorts “…people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts …similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

Do “broad boycotts” include asking advertisers in newspapers dedicated in part to maintaining an apartheid state to reconsider their financial investments? This report indicates that one lone voice doesn’t win the day. If other concerned individuals and groups dedicated to justice for Palestinians, however, could step up and formally request all the advertisers in the Washtenaw Jewish News to reconsider their financial support, might we not expect a more successful outcome?


5 vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
America First Not Israel

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-11-16

Posted on June 16th, 2016 at 12:58 pm by

Remembering the USS Liberty

Two members of JWPF attended the annual Chelsea, Michigan, Memorial Day parade and carried two signs: One augmented Donald Trump’s call, “America First, Not Israel”, and the other “Remember the USS Liberty”. As an old Army Jeep made it down the parade route, its elderly military occupants pointed to the Liberty sign and mouthed “Thank you.”

uss liberty 5-30-16 sm

Q: When is Extreme Jewish Chauvinism not Zionism?

A: When Orthodox Jews of the Hasidic Satmar Dynasty invade and occupy an AMERICAN town and mirror an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank. For all those who keep trying to “educate” this writer into “say[ing] ‘Zionists’, not Jews’” this presents a conundrum as vexing as the Beth Israel conundrum we wrote about in our last report.

Kiryas Joel is the name by which this Jewish (not Zionist, because it doesn’t exist in Palestine) community goes by. OK to call ‘em Jews and not Zionists? Two JWPF member traveled to this insular, unfriendly community this week and were joined by two other activists from upstate New York. As this writer understands the situation, a group of New York City Jews (not Zionists) wanted more Lebensraum (living space) so they purchased land in the 1970’s and incorporated themselves in the Village of Kiryas Joel (literally, the village of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum). These Hasidic Jews (not Zionists) now wish to annex more land and some locals are organizing themselves to prevent this annexation.

The anger this insular community has generated is described well in an op-ed from – “The Lower Hudson Valley’s independent voice”:

“The KJ Annexation is not in the public interest. It’s in a purely misplaced sell-interest that puts segregation ahead of the assimilation by our ancestry in this country. It puts religion above good government. It puts the will of a politically connected few above the interests of the many. And it contorts the facts in such a way to smear every resident of New York that opposes such egregious activity as “Anti-Semitic”.

It’s time for the hatred to stop, and time for the leadership of Kiryas Joel to end it. By continuing this course of action, they put themselves on a collision course with others that has no positive outcome for their own cause.”

Enter Preserve Hudson Valley folks

Our small contingent was met by Emily, one of the directors of Preserve Hudson Valley, and talked about the environmental impact these Jews (not Zionists, ok, you get it) have made on their town of Monroe, from which KJ was formed. One example was the pollution caused by excessive amounts of salt used in the KJ chicken processing plant. The salt removes blood from the chickens in accordance to the dietary requirements of this Hasidic community, and the dumping of this salt has contaminated the water table of the town.

If there was ever a group that needed your donations, PHV is one. They are standing against this current attempt at annexation by the Jews () of Kiryas Joel. According to their web site, KJ wants to annex 500 more acres of land upon which, according to calculations by PHV, will add 50,000 more residents. Emily explained that additional tracts of land along the NY-17 corridor are being purchased for similar villages.


May 28: 6 vigilers
June 4: 5 vigilers
June 11: 6 vigilers

This report dedicated to the memory of Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, and Hedy Epstein

Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

In Memoriam: Hedy Epstein

Posted on May 31st, 2016 at 10:09 pm by

HedyEpstein RIP

Deir Yassin Remembered mourns the recent loss of Hedy Epstein, a longtime member of our Board of Advisors. For more information about Hedy please see Alison Weir’s tribute to her.

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-21-16

Posted on May 26th, 2016 at 1:17 pm by

Conundrum for Beth Israel Congregation

A very pleasant lady named Anne has joined our vigil group on Saturday mornings, albeit as a counter-protester. Her sign reads “God Bless Israel” and she has shown up the last two Saturdays.

Counter Protester 1

She asked if we were afraid because “the Bible says: ‘He who blesses Israel will be blessed; he who curses Israel shall be cursed.’” We countered with: we have nothing against the biblical Israel; it is the state of Israel that is immoral. And also that we are not afraid of a kind and loving God; indeed, why would we?

Here’s the conundrum: Every week a Jewish congregant emerges from Beth Israel to do a head count, so they can “punish” JWPF by donating money to American Friends of Magen David Adom. Have they been counting Anne as one of us? Hmmmm …

JWPF Hires Strategist

At great expense, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends have hired a strategist, who has shared with us the wisdom of his profession. Pictured here is an encapsulated vision of JWPF’s new direction.

America First 1

It is based on the assumption that Americans – like all peoples – become interested in a political cause only if they perceive their own interests are being threatened. In other words, Americans don’t care what happens to Palestinians in Gaza (most couldn’t locate Gaza on a map), but they DO care about America becoming less “American”, because the interests of a small minority (the Jewish Lobby) are being elevated above their own. For proof of this divided loyalty, merely listen to the leading candidates for US President:

Donald Trump: ‘Israel, our great friend and the one true democracy in the Middle East, has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity” and “treating Israel as a second class citizen” would end on the first day of his presidency

Hillary “As president, I will make a firm commitment to ensure Israel maintains its qualitative military edge,” she said. “The United States should provide Israel with the most sophisticated defense technology so it can deter and stop any threats.

Now consider the warning to Congress from former Illinois Congressman Gus Savage: “I am convinced that [the influence of the Jewish Lobby] constitutes a danger for all America and threatens to rip the fabric of our democracy.” [search the Library of Congress records,, 101st Congress, “Laying Out the Facts” or link here for Savage’s presentation.]

May 7: 6 vigilers
May 21: 4 vigilers
America First, Not Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-23-16

Posted on April 28th, 2016 at 1:41 pm by

The Holocaust: An Indispensable Component for Palestinian Liberation

When Benjamin Netanyahu demands of Palestinians that they must accept Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state”, he’s telling us something. He’s telling us where the Zionist argument is weakest. Jewish Zionists like Rabbi Rob Dobrusin echo the PM’s words and Jewish so-called anti-Zionists like Josh Ruebner, do their best to obfuscate the issue. The question loom large: Does Israel have a right to exist as a Jewish state?

Four answers are always offered:

1. God gave the Jews the land
2. The Balfour Declaration
3. The 1947 UN Partition Plan
4. The Holocaust

Think we’re joking? Here’s one of many conversations this writer has had with Jewish activists, in this case an ACLU fund raiser:

Me: I’d like to know if the ACLU supports Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state?
Fund Raiser: Of course we do
Me: That’s very disappointing to me. By what right does Israel claim?
FR: What about the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust?
Me: I can assure you that 6 million Jews did not die in the Second World War
FR: <click>

Space limitations require our responses to three of the answers be short. For #1, our biblical friends can explain to us why this is a misreading of prophecy, and we non-biblicals can only shake our heads at a God who condones the use of violence against people. #2: Britain had no right to give away another peoples’ land. #3: UN Resolution 181 never went to the Security Council for a vote; ergo no force of law ever said that the UN “created” Israel.

Guess what that leaves? Yep, the forbidden H-word. The ol’ briar patch where Zionists both left and right, threaten to throw those who deign enter this hallowed ground. Listen to Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, speaking at the “Israel’s Influence” conference March 18:

“… Israel would have never been established without the Holocaust”

Or listen to former American-Israeli PM =Golda Meir= speaking to then MK Shulamit Aloni:

“After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.”

Are they? Are Jews really allowed to bludgeon Palestinians, dominate the US, brandish its hegemony over the Middle East (if not the world), and use this historical event to silence criticism? Or will we activists educate ourselves about the facts and have the strength to separate historical event from religious dogma? At least to ask questions like: If Elie Wiesel – the “High Priest of the Holocaust” – was correct in his description of Nazis as being the most evil force on earth, why did he and his father elect to evacuate Buchenwald with these monsters, rather than wait to be liberated by the advancing Soviets? Why doesn’t Elie even mention the existence of homicidal gas chambers in his fabled novel “Night”?

These two questions – given the courage to ask them – are but a mere tip of an iceberg that begs our attention. Spend a week with “The Fate of Jews in German Hands” by Joel S.A. Hayward*, or a day with “Debating the Holocaust” by Tom Dalton, and you might come away shocked. This writer did.

Or spend no time but just consider the fact that a dozen “Western” countries lock up historians and scientists like David Irving and Germar Rudolf for the mere crime of researching The Holocaust as an historical event. Could we claim the earth to be flat or the moon to be made of green cheese and expect such treatment? Why not? Who’s in charge?

In the balance lies the liberation of Palestine – and perhaps the liberation of America as well. To paraphrase Frederick Douglass “Jewish Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

• We note that Professor Hayward has portrayed internet copies of his thesis as “altered and unreliable”, but the University of Canterbury holds the only approved copy in Christchurch, New Zealand. This writer read the copy by Gengis Khan Publishing House a few years back and found its contents – 214 pages, 967 footnotes, 6 appendixes – valuable.


Apr 2 – 8 vigilers
Apr 9 – 3
Apr 16 – 5
Apr 23 – 7
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Remember Deir Yassin

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-02-16

Posted on April 3rd, 2016 at 6:30 pm by

Controlled Opposition Sadly Alive and Well

Two members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends ventured to Washington, DC for a “massive” (read: 500 people) protest of the AIPAC meeting there on Sunday, March 20. Organized by Al-Awda and the ANSWER Coalition, we understood going in that Jewish Power was a topic not to be brought up. Neither group has ever encouraged discussion of this vital subject.

In an attempt to ensure the topic would receive at least some coverage, we carried a sign reminding viewers of the truly massive power of the Jewish Lobby after the Jewish state launched a devastating and one-sided assault on the people of Gaza in 2014. Our sign read “Jews Control US Senate – Unanimous Vote – July 17, 2014”.

Jew Control Senate - sm

Listen to a finger-wagging Jewish commissar laying down the rules on YouTube: “You’re doing the work of the Zionists, aren’t you? Is that what your sign’s about? All Jews control …? I’m Jewish. I’m here. (to others): I mean ‘Jews control’? The ‘Zionists’, that’s different”. (To me): “Don’t conflate the two. The Nazis do, and the Zionists do, and you’re either working for one or the other.”

The Arab controllers followed suit. They snapped over 300 photographs of the event and posted them on Facebook, but in spite of being quite visible at the two-hour protest, the signs we carried didn’t make it out of the editing room.

More Controlled Opposition

The JWPF contingent also attended the “Israel’s Influence: Good or Bad for America?” conference two days prior at the National Press Club. And in spite of the fact that the crimes against Palestine are 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*, none of the speakers dared to hold Jews responsible.

This conference failed the transparency test immediately: there were no remote microphones to take unfiltered questions from the audience. Questions written on 3 by 5 cards from this author never made it to the panel. My personal best guess for this change in format came from an event that happened two years ago at this same conference. A woman from the audience had the audacity to question Holocaust education in the US at taxpayers’ expense. For a classic example of Jewish Power censorship see Justin Raimondo and Philip Weiss putting the clamps on this lady’s question here.


March 26: Three vigilers
April 2: Eight vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
Remember Deir Yassin
* paraphrase of Paul Eisen
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