The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-29-16

Posted on November 1st, 2016 at 4:38 pm by


Protesting “Denial” in Ann Arbor

Three activists, working under the auspices of Deir Yassin Remembered, staged a peaceful protest in front of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor prior to the screening of the Hollywood movie “Denial”. We engaged passersby with informative chatter and 13 copies of “What Does Holocaust Denial Really Mean” by DYR Executive Director Daniel McGowan. Patrons of the theater did not, in the main, enter these discussions, but merely called us names; one woman claimed that David Irving – the subject of the film – falsified documents, but when asked, failed to identify any such document.


An Interesting Consideration

In our vigil report of August 27 we explained how Jewish Power cowed Patricia Garcia, publisher of the Ann Arbor Observer, into denying a paid advertisement announcing our weekly vigils at Beth Israel Congregation. Readers will remember the slanderous letter by Victor Lieberman that most likely steered Patricia’s hand in making this decision to limit our ability to reach other audiences.

Most people will side with the Observer on this one. Even Germar Rudolf, in Fail: Denying the Holocaust* agrees with this seemingly bedrock American principle when he admits, “Private enterprises … have the right to reject advertisements…” (p. 135).  He recognizes the difference between governmental right of free speech and that of privately owned newspapers. But he asks an important question:

What good is the right to freedom of speech, if we don’t have the right to be heard?

Let’s take a look at the case of Lester Maddox. His private enterprise was the Pickrick Cafeteria in Atlanta, Georgia and was open only to white customers. It was Maddox’s wish that blacks and those who were considered integrationists were refused service at the Pickrick. Just like Ms. Garcia of the Observer, Maddox thought this bedrock American principle – doing what you want with your own company – would allow him to fulfil his wish.

But enter the US government, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Willis v. Pickrick Restaurant, and Maddox was forced to desegregate the Pickrick. Perhaps the federal government was concerned that the public interest – perhaps a greater good –  was served by forcing Maddox against his personal wishes.

OK, we’re all down with the Civil Rights Act, aren’t we? It just makes sense that – in this case – more goodwill will come out of overriding an owner’s wishes than by allowing him/her to do as they please. But we ask: would a future “Free Speech Act of 2017” force the hand of the Observer, just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forced Lester Maddox’s?


*_G. Rudolf critique of D. Lipstadt’s Denying the Holocaust

Oct. 22: FiveVigilers

Oct. 29: Four Vigilers

Deplorable Lives Matter

Henry Herskovitz

Witness for Peace

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-15-16

Posted on October 17th, 2016 at 9:21 pm by

Israel and the Holocaust at City Council

The power wielded by the Ann Arbor Jewish Community was evidenced Monday, October 3 this year. City Council meetings are scheduled for the first and third Mondays of each month, except for the few times an election preempts the day. “What about our New Year holiday? “ cry the Jews of this town. And before you can say “Remember Deir Yassin”, the Oct. 3 meeting was rescheduled to Thursday, Oct. 6. This writer addressed Council that evening on the topic: Israel and the Holocaust. Text of speech follows signature.

Witness for Peace

Careful readers of these reports have detected a change in the name of our vigil group. Formerly known as “Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends” we have renamed ourselves as “Witness for Peace”.

No more “Jewish”. No more identifying with the false narratives of Jewish exceptionalism, Jewish values (as if they somehow rank higher than other ethno-religious values), Jewish suffering, or anything contributing to the media-induced power that the word “Jewish” conveys. If Jews are represented by the constant haranguing we peaceful protester receive at the hands of BIC congregants (watch a short clip here), then we want nothing to do with anything “Jewish”. For over 70 years, Jews have been pummeling hapless Palestinians while gaining more and more control over a multitude of US foreign and domestic policies, without a peep of protest from the mainstream Jewish community.

Who wants it? For readers wondering about Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace or the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation and claiming that they ARE making sounds towards peace, we ask: Really, are you working for an end to Jewish supremacism in Palestine (or in the US)? Are you defending or ignoring Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state? Are you holding your own, Jewish, community accountable for the racism born and nurtured within?

Who wants it? Will we be successful at extricating ourselves from the Jewish problem? Or will we remain trapped, like Shlomo Sand and Avigail Abarbanel, into their tribal refuge? Gilad Atzmon, in this week’s essay “Can Jews ever leave their Cult?” explains this phenomenon clearly as he writes:

Abarbanel [also Sand … ed.] is obsessed with the holocaust and this is hardly surprising. The Holocaust is currently the most popular Jewish religion. The Israeli prominent philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz observed in the 1970s that Jews believe in many different things but all Jews believe in the Holocaust.

As Vigil Supporter M notes: The word “Witness” can be used both as a noun and a verb. Witness for peace.


Oct. 8: Two Vigilers
Oct. 15: Three Vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
Ann Arbor City Council
October 6, 2016

Good evening,

Two items of interest to the historical event called the Holocaust have arisen recently. First is the new law passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Governor Snyder on June 13 mandating the teaching of the Holocaust in Michigan public schools, and the soon-to-be released movie “Denial” which depicts Historian David Irving’s struggles against libelous claims from Emory College Professor Deborah Lipstadt.

Some may think that I’m insensitive for broaching this topic, but there are important reasons for doing so. Why, for instance, have Americans not stood up against Israel’s acts of aggression against the Palestinian people, and Israel’s dominance in the US Congress and White House? I would like to share with you the four reasons most people give for Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish State.

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

Most American Jews are secular and don’t really believe that God intended Palestinians to be so mistreated. The Balfour Declaration, we now find, was a quid pro quo for getting the US into World War ONE on Britain’s side. And the UN Partition Plan was a forced vote with only those countries who would not be affected casting their votes in favor.

And that leaves the Holocaust as the single underpinning for emotional support for the state of Israel. Let’s listen to a few comments; one by Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist in March of this year: “… Israel would have never been established without the Holocaust”. And consider the words of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to Knesset Member 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, and use this historical event to silence criticism? Or will Americans 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 was correct in his description of Nazis as being evil, why did he and his father elect to evacuate Buchenwald with them, rather than wait to be liberated by the advancing Soviets?

Israel and the Holocaust: I hope I’ve made some connections.

Thank you

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-01-16

Posted on October 3rd, 2016 at 10:19 pm by

Who’s Doing the Denial?

Dr. Deborah Lipstadt wrote a book titled Denying the Holocaust, The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, first published in 1993, according to a search on Amazon. (Anecdotally and ironically, it was Deborah Lipstadt who turned this writer into a Holocaust revisionist, i.e. an advocate of Holocaust revisionism). Included in the results of this search is another book, by another author titled: Fail: “Denying the Holocaust”, How Deborah Lipstadt Botched Her Attempt to Demonstrate the Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

The author of this critique is friend and chemist Germar Rudolf, who appears to be taking a leadership role in the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), after the passing of Bradley Smith. In his book, Rudolf – in step by step fashion – takes each claim by Lipstadt, and explains to the reader exactly where factual claims end and her ad hominem remarks begin. She accuses Holocaust revisionists of using “pseudo-science”, but after reviewing Germar’s rigorous application of historical methods, “pseudo-science” seems more applicable to traditional holocaust historians than revisionists.

Why is Exposing Books like Lipstadt’s Important to Liberating Palestine?

Rudolf understands the connection between historical manipulation and the state of Israel. He writes (p. 52): “The politics of Deborah Lipstadt are pervaded by a hypocritical double standard. She actively worked to create a racially integrated, multicultural society in the United States … Yet she most passionately identifies with Israel – an ethnically segregated society whose government actively works to ensure Jewish supremacy and to destroy any chance of an egalitarian, multiracial society from developing between Jews and Arabs.”

This statement helps us understand a few things: Why Jewish Voice for Peace is now excommunicating Miko Peled the way they did Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, for instance. The same pattern for Zionists like Lipstadt and Jewish anti-Zionists, like Joel Beinin, emerges, and underscores Gilad Atzmon’s definition of Zionism as “A Jewish Tribal Preservation Project.” And heading this project is Holocaustianity: the religion for the secular Jew and for the West in general. If you don’t adhere to the Lipstadt-rendered Holocaust narrative, you are simply labeled an “anti-Semite”. Well, if Vigiler G has her way, soon our cars will be adorned with bumper stickers with the exhortation: “Anti-Semitism – Get Used to It”

We also focus readers’ attention to our Vigil Report of April 23, which explains the four pillars of support which the Jewish state enjoys. And how each of them – save the standard Holocaust narrative – wilts under closer examination. It’s time we focus the same attention to this last remaining pillar; it’s essential to the liberation of Palestine that we get all the right cards on the table: what happened and what didn’t happen.

Multi-Media Attack on the Standard Holocaust Narrative

Hollywood’s Weinstein Brothers are about to release yet another emotion-manipulating movie on the history of the Holocaust. “Denial” follows the libel trial against Lipstadt by noted historian David Irving. In an attempt to counter some of the false portions of the narrative, Eric Hunt, also an emerging leader in CODOH, produces a few trailers of his own. Most effective is his short presentation “Denial – The Deborah Lipstadt Movie – Part II”. Click here to view; it contains factual information on the Majdanek concentration camp, countering the Hollywood claims we have become used to.

What’s To be Done?

Witness for Peace (JWPF’s new name) has decided to focus our street protests outside Beth Israel Congregation on the harm Israel does to the Palestinians and the United States. We specifically omit focus on the Holocaust for these protests. In order to organize future actions based on challenging the standard Holocaust narrative, we turn to our sister organization Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) to encourage Holocaust-based discussions and actions. One such action will be to await the release of “Denial” to Southeast Michigan, and plan peaceful demonstrations at those theaters who will screen this film. Please join DYR at these protests; stay tuned for time and location.


Five Vigilers

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-10-16

Posted on September 17th, 2016 at 8:24 am by

When Propaganda Masquerades as News


In July of this year Newsweek came out with a 98-page glossy special edition with the words “Hitler: Can his evil legacy ever be defeated?” printed on the cover. The contents page is titled: “An Enduring Evil.” Three subsections are “Origins of Evil”, “Reign of Terror” and “Fighting his Legacy”.

We thought words like “evil” and “terror” were arrived at as personal conclusions by the readers of news magazines, rendered from the facts presented by the source. “Evil” is not a fact; neither is “terror”. For a news source to draw these conclusions, rather than to leave that to the readers, seems to be a violation of basic news reporting. What’s going on? Are the proponents of the standard narrative of the events of World War II running scared? Even as the Michigan Legislature passes into law the mandatory teaching of the Holocaust to high school students, this historical event morphs ever so slowly into religious dogma. Ditto the timely release of the Hollywood movie “Denial.” Again, what’s going on?

Additionally, we wonder to whom is the last chapter dedicated: “The United States of Extremism; How the world’s oldest and strongest democracy is ripe for the rise of a homegrown autocrat”. Can you say “Donald Trump”? We knew you could …

We leave this critique with some good news for our readers, especially our Jewish ones. Nowhere in these 98 glossy pages is the term “gas chamber” used. Those friends brought up with the stories of their relatives being led into homicidal gas chambers built by National Socialists in an effort to exterminate (also a word not used in this propaganda piece) Europe’s Jews can now breathe a sigh of release; apparently even the propagators of Nazi “evil” and “terror” have dropped this claim into the same bucket as bars of soap and lampshades. What, we wonder, will be next?

Christopher Bollyn Speaks in Dearborn, Michigan

Four members of Witness for Peace attended a 90-minute presentation by author Christopher Bollyn, who addressed a small audience as a preview for a revisit later in the month. Christopher implicates Israel and its many supporters in the attacks on the World Trade Centers on 9/11 in his 2012 book, Solving 9-11; the deception that changed the world. Well received in Michigan, Christopher was labeled “Jew-Hater” (he overnighted at this writer’s home) by Daily Beast writer Jacob Siegel and Daniel Sieradski, publisher of Jewschool in Brooklyn, New York, “the most Jewish borough in America’s most Jewish city”. Both writers must know, from reading their Hasbara Handbook, how to utilize Name Calling (p. 22) when you cannot defeat your opponent using fact and reason.


Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
Sept 3: six vigilers
Sept. 10: five vigilers

Report on Beth Israel vigil 08-27-16

Posted on August 30th, 2016 at 2:08 pm by

Jewish Power claims another victim

Patricia Garcia, publisher of the Ann Arbor Observer, felt the ire of the Jewish community and capitulated to their demand that the Observer refuse to re-run our 2015 advertisement urging attendance at our vigils. Last May we reported that we were going to test the range of Jewish Power by attempting to run the ad, in spite of sidewalk taunting by synagogue congregant Victor Lieberman.

Well, the votes are in and Jewish Power is ahead 1-0. In a brief conversation with this writer, Ms. Garcia admitted (a) she wasn’t Jewish and (b) she’s not politically active. She apologized for her decision, but piqued my curiosity when she said “It’s clear your demonstrations are more closely aligned with hate than with peace”

Me: What makes you say we’re hateful?
Garcia: You stand in front of a house of worship
Me: If it’s a house of worship, why do they fly a foreign flag in their sanctuary?
Garcia: I don’t want to debate with you. I’ve made my decision and it’s final

Certainly the AAO didn’t characterize our vigils as hateful when they published James Militzer’s “Sacred Ground: The Israel-Palestine conflict in Ann Arbor” in the Observer in May, 2006. In any event, Garcia alluded to a group who approached her after our ad ran last year, but could not say whether Victor Lieberman was part of that group or not. Since we’re in possession of a letter he sent to John Hilton, editor of the Observer, we hold a strong suspicion that Lieberman played a defining role in her decision to cave to Jewish demands.

In newspaper parlance the “firewall” is commonly defined as “the once inviolate barrier between newspapers’ editorial and advertising missions.”  Since Lieberman wrote his communication to editor John Hilton, we contacted him, too, but he invoked the firewall to prevent his possible overriding of the decision of Advertising. OK, we get it, and Mr. Hilton – although he didn’t want to meet in person – was kind enough to allow me to explain in writing the falsehoods contained in Lieberman’s words. Everybody’s kind when they hold the keys. But how the publisher of an otherwise fine publication can claim to be politically neutral, yet makes a political decision is a question that troubles us.

We present to readers Lieberman’s letter to Hilton and my response after signature. As always, it’s yours to judge.

Blogger highlights our Rudy

Internationally known blogger Linh Dinh (Postcards from the End of America) was scheduled to stand vigil with us last month, but a delayed flight prevented his appearance. He was, however, able to spend considerable time with our stalwart vigiler, and was impressed enough in Rudy’s history to blog about him.


Henry Herskovitz
Four vigilers
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
America First … Trump!


Letter from Lieberman to AAO Editor John Hilton:

Dear John Hilton,

It has been reported that the group which has picketed worshipers at Beth Israel synagogue every sabbath for the past 13 years has purchased an ad in the Ann Arbor Observer inviting others to join their picket.

This group is composed of hard-core anti-Semites. One leader explained his motivation to me in these precise words on June 9, 2012: “Yes, I’m an anti-Semite. I hate Jews. Whatever happened to them in World War Two they brought on themselves. They deserved everything they got.” Two others explained more recently that the Holocaust never happened, and that Jews themselves built the gas ovens after the war ended.  These sophisticates have also told me straight-faced that Jews planned and directed the attacks of 9/11. These sorts of venomous insults are hurled weekly at worshipers about whose personal political opinions the picketers know absolutely nothing and whose only offense is that they are religious Jews.

I see no principled difference between this group and the Ku Klux Klan. Would you allow the KKK to recruit members in The Observer? This picket of a house of worship has been condemned by virtually every Christian and Muslim pastor in Ann Arbor, by the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, by the mayor, the City Council, and every agency of goodwill. Group hatred is not what Ann Arbor stands for. And it should have no place in your pages. I urge you to cancel the ad.


(Prof.) Victor Lieberman

member, Beth Israel Congregation


Our Response to Lieberman’s letter:

August 26, 2016


Thanks for allowing me this opportunity to address some issues. This is a response to the allegations Victor Lieberman has leveled against our vigil (protest) group which has appeared on the sidewalks next to Beth Israel Congregation every Saturday morning for 13 years. I have attached the memo addressed to you and signed by him as reference.

He calls members of our group (currently Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, JWPF) “hard-core anti-Semites.” And buttresses his claim from the sarcastic words I said to him, in a successful attempt to get him to stop his taunting: “admit it, the only reason you’re out here is because you hate Jews.”

Did I say those words he claims I did? Technically, yes, but as the boss says to a late-arriving employee “Aren’t we getting to work early today?” he means just the opposite, and so did I. When I read those words which Lieberman took out of the true context in an article written by him in the September, 2015 issue of the Washtenaw Jewish News, I penned a short reply to Editor Susan Ayer. My response was neither acknowledged nor printed by her:

September 26, 2015

Dear Ms. Ayer,

To clear up any misunderstanding between our group and the local Jewish community, neither I nor anyone in our group believes that Jews “deserved” the suffering they experienced during World War II in Europe.

Thank you,

Henry Herskovitz

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends


In March of this year I penned a similar clarification to my attorney, John Shea, and copied Lieberman. As with Susan Ayer, I’ve received no acknowledgment by him.

Returning to his claim that some of us are anti-Semites … My response: Absolutely not. I love my sister, her children, my cousins and their children and grandchildren. Three Jewish members of JWPF have died in the last 13 years: Sol Metz, Larry Hochman, Rachel Persico, two of whom I was extremely close with. Marcia Federbush lies in the Glacier Hills rehab unit as we speak; members of our group visit her regularly. We remain friends with Alan Haber and Barbara Stohler-Schalk, Jews who vigiled only once with us. To paint us as anti-Semites is just ludicrous.

Lieberman twists the words of my colleagues as well in regards to their views on the historical narrative of the Holocaust and to the attacks of 9/11. Lieberman typically conflates gas chamber with cremation ovens which were built and used by the Nazis. All historians now regard the gas chambers exhibited at Dachau concentration camp to be post-war reconstructions. And books, like Solving 9-11 by Christopher Bollyn, do in fact suggest Israeli involvement in those attacks. Personally, I have read many Holocaust revisionist texts, and plan to continue to do so. I don’t think we should be criticized in our attempts to educate ourselves about the past.

We do not hurl venomous insults at Beth Israel congregants. This is simply not true and Observer readers know this from reading the article on our group by James Militzer in May, 2006. Ryan Stanton of the Ann Arbor News also featured our group in an article three years ago; hurling insults of any kind were absent from both articles. When challenged, especially by name-callers like Lieberman (I’ve made videos), we do respond, but we never initiate contentious dialogue. Lieberman knows better than to make this false claim; he does it anyway.

Lieberman is wrong again when he writes that we know absolutely nothing about congregants’ political views. Rabbi Rob Dobrusin wrote an Op-ed in the Ann Arbor News on Jan. 14, 2007, in which he said: “there is one general statement which I can make on behalf of the congregation – Beth Israel Congregation affirms without any hesitation or equivocation the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state…” On the most important issue – Israel’s “right” to exist as a Jewish state – we know exactly what views the congregants hold.

Lieberman is correct to state that many groups have stood against us, and in some cases we know why. For instance, we have the letter penned by BIC congregant Barry Gross to our City Council in 2004, where he tells Mayor Hieftje: “The time when your silence was acceptable is long past. The 470 family units in our congregation virtually all live in Ann Arbor. We are avid voters. We are watching closely for your response.” Unfortunately, the Mayor and Council abdicated their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States and passed a resolution condemning the exercise of our First Amendment rights; simply put, they yielded to pressure from the Jewish community.

Perhaps Lieberman projects some self-contained guilt when he likens our peaceful vigils to the KKK. It is his country Israel who, like the white supremacists in the KKK, represent a Jewish supremacist state in Palestine.

John, two things in closing. One, I learned my lesson: Never use irony with an opponent; they’ll use your literal word against you. Two, I recognize that this may appear to you as some he-said, she-said internal strife, but my point is that outside organizations should not play a role in whose voice gets to be heard. As we talked about on the phone, I’m not looking for you to override Patricia’s decision not to run our ad. What’s done is done. But I do hope that you and I, the Observer and JWPF, can work together in the future.


Henry Herskovitz



Report on Beth Israel vigil 07-30-16

Posted on July 31st, 2016 at 10:22 pm by

Are You anti-Israel? Why not?

“You can’t be neutral on a moving train” wrote Howard Zinn in 1994. Did anybody bother to ask him if that slogan applied to his personal feelings about the Jewish state? Seems doubtful he was put to the test, and since he has passed away, it would be unfair to hold him accountable to a question seemingly never asked.

But there are Jewish leaders – historians, authors and peace activists – who are still with us, and who can be asked the question. And certainly this applies to all historians, authors and peace activists: Are you anti-Israel? Why not? How can you be neutral on an issue that has influenced so much of the world’s misery? Didn’t even the late Elie Wiesel say: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends are anti-Israel. We have followed Elie’s lead and have taken sides. We see no right for Jews to invade and occupy Palestine so that Jews can have their own state. Our signs and flags echo our anti-Israel political position every Saturday.

So here’s your task, Mr. and Mrs. Peace Activist:

The next time you attend a speech from Alice Rothschild, Josh Ruebner, Phil Weiss, Omar Barghouti, Ali Abunimah, Andrew Dalack, or anyone else claiming to represent the Palestine liberation movement. raise your hand during the inevitable Q&A and ask loudly:

Are you anti-Israel? Why not?

Let them supply an answer. If they claim neutrality, remind them of the quotes from the two Jews quoted above. If they say yes, ask them to join JWPF next Saturday or start their own Zionist synagogue protest. If they say no, put it to ‘em: demand to know why they have not taken sides. Ask them to state their reasons – for the record – why they feel they are PRO-Israel. Then ask them to leave the movement.

You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

This writer responded to a request from my friend Germar Rudolf, representing the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust for a video response to the question, “Why do I support open debate on the Holocaust?” The four-minute video is available here.


July 16: 4 vigilers
July 23: 5 vigilers
July 30: 5 vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
America First Not Israel

Henry, A Former Jew, supports open debate on the Holocaust

Posted on July 27th, 2016 at 7:21 pm by
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