The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-09-13

Posted on November 17th, 2013 at 1:53 pm by

Will Rasmea Odeh follow Rabih Haddad?

Three members of JWPF traveled to Detroit for a rally to have apparently-politically-inspired criminal charges dropped against Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh, who spent ten years in an Israeli prison. This writer was reminded of similar protests in 2002 “demanding” – whatever that means – the release of Rabih Haddad, former Ann Arbor Imam, and personal acquaintance. The federal government didn’t blink in Rabih’s case and he was sadly deported after months of incarceration both in Michigan and Illinois.

A busload of activists from Chicago organized this protest, and only true “anti-Semites” like me would observe that none of the signs mentioned “Israel”, except for the ones I was holding. When JWPF member “L” shouted to the Homeland Security folks that they were working for the Jews and that they could end up in the same boat as Rasmea, she was cautioned by a Chicago activist that “that wasn’t our message”. Identifying Jewish power rarely is.

Ali Abunimah was also in attendance but the two of us failed to even make eye contact. This lack of personal recognition and respect is probably best explained by my critical comments of him in the vigil reports of 03-10-12 and 11-03-12. And this lack of recognition, though understandable, saddens me: Mr. Abunimah was held in the highest esteem by this writer, but much like the esteem held for Norman Finkelstein, it has eroded. Readers will remember that Ali initiated a call for “Granting No Quarter” against Gilad Atzmon, and cautioned my use of the “J-word” at the Al-Awda convention in April, 2011. He apparently does not like Jewish political identity being the subject matter of any discourse relating to the theft of his homeland. Some of his traveling companions on the bus were members of the Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace and that is troubling. He did however, write a fairly accurate report of the day’s proceedings and you can read it here.

US District Judge Paul D. Borman will hear Rasmea’s case, and outside the courtroom this writer asked a Chicago supporter whether Borman was Jewish. It really didn’t matter, I was told, she knew many Jews who were anti-Zionists, and that Borman was reputed to be open and smart.

PeaceMonger wonders about the case of a Black South African anti-apartheid activist facing similar charges. Would people glibly say it doesn’t matter if someone asked whether the judge was an Afrikaner?


Seven vigilers
Does Israel have a “right” to exist as a Jewish state, and, if so, by what right?
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-02-13

Posted on November 11th, 2013 at 5:57 pm by

Dynamic Silence (again)

Benjamin Ginsberg, in his book The Fatal Embrace, identifies the term “Dynamic Silence” for us. From page 124 we read:

Together with their allies, Jews also organized efforts to deprive anti-Semites of access to the media. This effort began during the late 1940s and continued into the 1950s. For example, during this period, the American Jewish Committee developed a strategy it called “dynamic silence” to combat the activities of Gerald L.K. Smith. Working together, officials of the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] would approach the publishers of major newspapers and owners of radio stations in cities where Smith had scheduled appearances to ask that Smith be given no coverage whatsoever. If newspapers and radio stations failed to cooperate on a voluntary basis, Jewish organizations were usually able to secure their compliance by threatening boycotts by Jewish advertisers. This strategy of dynamic silence was extremely effective in suppressing Smith and other right-wing anti-Semites.

In other words, rather than confronting people allegedly holding anti-Jewish attitudes and trying to persuade them and their listeners that the positions they held were logically unsupportable, Jews merely silenced the voices they didn’t like by exerting financial pressure.

Now fast-forward to 2013 and observe the continued practice of dynamic silence applied by a powerful New York Jewish Assemblyman by the name of Dov Hikind. Mr. Hikind took offense that the Institute for Historical Review was distributing books casting doubt on the dominant narrative of the treatment of Jews in German hands, aka “The Holocaust”. And rather than factually dispute the charges in these books, or challenging the directors of the IHR on the merits of their scholarship, Mr. Hikind took the back door to the issue by pressuring MasterCard to revoke its credit card services to the IHR.

He then bragged about this personal coup by publishing a photo of himself and a smiling Richard Santoro, MasterCard Worldwide’s VP of Government Affairs. Dov is smiling probably because he got the dynamic silence he craved, and Mr. Santoro is also smiling, probably because he got to keep his job.
Putting his money where his mouth is, this writer is now waiting for a response from MasterCard to a letter I penned after reading about this successful Jewish effort to stifle historical discourse (letter follows signature). If Jews are powerful enough to bend the will of major credit card companies, who knows the limits of their ability to silence critics of Israel, Jewish identity politics, or political speech disguised as religious worship?


Note: There was no Report for 10-26-13 (10 vigilers)
On 11-03-13 there were 4 vigilers
Illegitimate Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

October 28, 2013

To; Richard Santoro
Lobbyist, Vice President, Government Affairs
MasterCard Worldwide
2000 Purchase St
Purchase, NY 10577

Dear Mr. Santoro,

I’m writing in the hope that we can “dig in and do good” together regarding the recent blacklisting of the Institute for Historical Review by MasterCard, the credit card company you represent. The hope I have is that you will reverse your recently initiated policy of not allowing me to charge books in on-line transactions with IHR. Censorship is the realm of dictators.

I currently belong to a local credit union that uses MasterCard as its debit card offering to union members. I have now located another local credit union that does not utilize MasterCard as its debit card offering. I have come to be quite dependent on this small form of private banking.

I would like to remain at my present credit union, and will do so upon MasterCard dropping the policy of blacklisting companies that have come to find disfavor with influential men like Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

I should not have to remind you how Americans as myself cherish freedom of speech, which includes purchasing and reading books of my choosing.

Thank you for taking time to read this, and thanking you in advance for your quick and principled response.

Best wishes,

Henry Herskovitz
404 Mark Hannah Pl.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Posted via email and snail mail

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-19-13

Posted on October 28th, 2013 at 11:10 am by

Protesting the Fed in Ann Arbor

Last Sunday saw nine peace and justice activists at an entrance to the Washtenaw Community College, where the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor was holding its annual “Main Event” – a fund raiser that supports the apartheid Jewish state. We were joined by Michael Rabb, organizer of the only other synagogue protest group in the world (to our knowledge) in Boulder, Colorado.

Protesting the Fed October 2013-sm

Citizens, Taxpayers, and the First Amendment

Last Sunday also witnessed a protest-within-a-protest when Michael Rabb and this writer decided to bring our message onto the campus of Washtenaw Community College, and closer to the Morris Lawrence Building where the Main Event was being held. There are many vehicle entrances to this campus, and we wanted our message to be viewed by as many Federation donors as possible.

We were informed by private security – hired by the Fed themselves – and WCC Campus Security that the rules created by the Board of Trustees prohibited the expression of our First Amendment rights on the campus of this publicly funded institution. According to their “Policy on Student Speech and Expressive Conduct”:

In promoting freedom of expression among its students, the Board reaffirms its commitment to preserving College property as a nonpublic forum as to non-students. Unlike the public streets, sidewalks, and parks, the property, buildings, or facilities owned or controlled by the College are not open for assembly, speech, or other activities.

[Editor's note: Inquiring minds want to know how freedom of speech is promoted by shielding students from the views of non-students]. Michael commented to WCC Security personnel that as a citizen of the United States, he had every right to engage in political free speech on any publicly funded campus. And this writer produced his “[Property] Tax Bill Breakdown for 2013 Summer” and showed WCC Security the line item where it states “COMM COLLEGE … $355.67″

It was explained to Michael and me that neither the private security company nor Campus Security could cite or arrest us “trespassers”, and the Washtenaw County Sheriff was called. After one half hour of protesting on the campus itself, our protest time limit expired and we departed campus property before the deputies arrived, turning the political issue into a moot point.

Next year, however, we are putting Washtenaw Community College on notice: When we protest the Federation (or any other Zionist organization renting space on your campus) you may have us cited or arrested for violating Policy 8018 and we will challenge the legal status of your policy in court.

Remembering Sol Metz

A light rain fell upon the vigilers this Saturday, prompting this writer to remember long time compatriot, vigiler, and breakfast companion Sol Metz. Often on cool, cloudy days, when Sol would mention the threat of rain, I would – in false braggadocios style – proclaim that “God never rains on the vigils”. And almost always, as clouds passed and we were packing up signs after the vigil, Sol would remark “You really dodged a bullet today, Henry”. Well, the bullet struck last Saturday, and one could not help but believe that somewhere, Sol was chuckling.

Sol 2011



Six vigilers
Save America; Dump Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-12-13

Posted on October 19th, 2013 at 4:02 pm by

Fast Times in Ann Arbor

This writer hosted author Pamela Olson, who gave readings from her first book, Fast Times in Palestine, at the Literati Book Store in Ann Arbor this week. Attendance was about twenty people and Ms. Olson seemed professional and comfortable in her delivery. Of the points she raised, these seemed notable:

She divides her reading material into “chocolate” – those mostly fiction books that you just devour – and “spinach” – books that teach and enlighten but are more difficult to get through. Fast Times, in her opinion, is a combination of these two extremes, a book that gets across the humiliation, frustration and anger felt by the Palestinian people in a manner that has a “difficult to put down” quality to the reading.

Many of the people attending her readings are quite knowledgeable about Israel’s crimes and legitimacy, a familiarity she describes as traveling 60 miles per hour on the freeway. For the many people who know next to nothing about the “conflict”, Fast Times is, in her opinion, the “on-ramp” to the freeway.

When reading from the book, Pamela reproduced the Palestinian accent in an almost perfect fashion when quoting the people she met there. And during the Q&A, when asked about addressing difficult crowds, she imitated a complaining Jewish woman in New York in such a fashion as to bring tears of hilarity to this writer.

“Protest the Fed” is ON!

Michael Rabb of Boulder, Colorado, read last week’s report about protesting Sunday’s annual fund raiser by the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor, and jumped aboard a United Airlines jet in preparation to stand with JWPF as we protest this display of wealth and power of the local Jewish community. So we are asking all justice and peace activists to join us Sunday (10/20) on the campus of Washtenaw Community College to protest the Fed entering Morris Lawrence Hall.

We will commence the protest at 3:45 PM at the southeast entrance to WCC’s campus, on Huron River Drive, just opposite Emergency Drive leading to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. The protest will last until approx. 5:15 PM.


Seven vigilers
“International Law” conveys no legitimacy
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-05-13

Posted on October 15th, 2013 at 9:05 am by

What’s Good for the Goose

… isn’t necessarily good for the Gander, according to a recently denied request of Pastor James Rhodenhiser of the local St. Clare’s Episcopal Church. You see, last fall Rev. Rhodenhiser requested of this writer a sit-down with Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Pastor Ken Wilson of the Vineyard Church. The purpose of the meeting was to request the Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends cease our weekly vigils at Beth Israel. We accepted the invitation.

With the planned arrival of Dan McGowan and Paul Eisen of Deir Yassin Remembered this fall, we initiated a request for a second meeting with the same crew plus the addition of these two men:

Dan and Paul have been involved in the struggle for Palestine longer than I, and may be able to better explain the political need for our vigils. They see a larger picture and the necessity for actions such as ours to highlight the injustices perpetrated by the forced creation of an ethnic state in Palestine. I think we could all benefit from their historical knowledge and expertise in communicating ideas that fall outside the scope of traditional thinking. Perhaps we could entertain suggestions as to how the vigils might be used to initiated much-needed conversation within the Ann Arbor Jewish community. We would certainly be willing to listen to what you and other invitees have to say.

Miscommunication prevented a timely exchange and meeting agreement, but Pastor Rhodenhiser could not resist the opportunity for rebuke and unsolicited free advice (UFA) in his explanation:

Henry, can’t get the mayor or Ken early Saturday a.m. To hear why scapegoating is a good idea. apologizing would be the way to get Jewish community attention and door to actual dialogue, not posters advocating overthrow of Israel or blaming Zionism for Nazism. Peace is always the result of mutuality not hostility. Ken and I are willing to put up an Israeli flag at our places if you wanted to give Beth Israel a break those weekends, we could make up a schedule together. God bless, james

We turned the matter over to PeaceMonger for consideration and here’s part of what resulted. To get the complete response, click here.

Reading this [email exchange …HH], one wonders if Rhodenhiser is really so ill-informed or ill-educated that he actually believes there is any scapegoating going on. Merriam-Webster defines a scapegoat as “a person who is unfairly blamed for something that others have done”. However, Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) has never been blamed “unfairly” nor for what “others have done”.

BIC is fairly subject to protest for their own public support for the Jewish state that was created by force by a minority population in someone else’s homeland. BIC is fairly subject to protest for indoctrinating children into militant Zionism. BIC is fairly subject to protest for its cheer-leading when Israel goes to war. BIC is fairly subject to protest for its toleration of its senior rabbi’s apologetics of torture.


I can easily imagine a long ago version of Rhodenhiser scolding the prophet Jeremiah as he stood “in the gate of the LORD’S house” and rebuked Israel (Jeremiah 7). I can see him chastising Amos for telling Beth Israel in the Lord’s name: “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies” because the Israelites had turned “justice to wormwood” and brought “righteousness to the ground.” Look, there’s James Rhodenhiser denouncing Isaiah to the city officials for telling Israel they are a “sinful nation, [a] people laden with iniquity” whose “hands are full of blood”.

Late Notice

JWPF has been made aware of a “kosher” fund raiser by the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. National Public Radio personality Susan Stamberg will be the keynote speaker for this event. If any readers are willing to spend some time organizing a protest for this event, please contact this writer. JWPF notes that at least 25% of the funds raised in this event (often exceeding one million dollars in one evening) are used to support Israel’s illegitimate existence and pillorying of the Palestinian people. The Fed’s event will be held on Sunday, October 20 from 4:00 to 7:30 pm at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 East Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor.


Five vigilers
Throw Israel off the Fiscal Cliff
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-28-13

Posted on October 8th, 2013 at 8:47 am by

“Jews Run Your Country”

Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends hosted two directors of Deir Yassin Remembered last week and have been invited by Dan McGowan and Paul Eisen to join their organization as members. Speaking at our salon, Mr. Eisen postulated that American Jews run the United States and encountered little dissent. Although the main item to be discussed at the forum was the influence of Jews in leadership positions in the Palestine peace movement, Paul’s declaration, though provocative and hyperbolic, opens the door to discussions of the disproportionate power of the Jewish community, as evidenced in its domination of US foreign policy (ref: The Israel Lobby by Mearsheimer and Walt). Twenty-six people attended the salon.

Mr. McGowan offered as suggestion for our vigil group that we adopt a weekly theme to our signs, reflecting the news of the week. He feels more of our target audience – the general public – would appreciate and connect with timely messages. Both men joined our vigil on Saturday, raising the attendance to twelve.

Those Darn Revisionists

Joined by Vigil Supporter M, Dan, Paul and I visited the Tennessee home of Ingrid Rimland Zundel, Ed.D. Dr. Zundel is an award-winning writer and the wife of avowed pacifist Ernst Zundel, who spent years in prison for his rejection of the standard narrative of “the Holocaust.” While perusing their vast library, offices and art studio, I came upon a small pamphlet sub-headed “Ernst Zundel Responds to the Atlantic Monthly Article by D.D. Guttenplan Re: the Irving/Lipstadt Trial.” Having read other historical revisionists, I’ve come to give due regard to their claims, because they back them up with sources, many of them primary. But while reading the pamphlet I encountered a claim that seemed dubious. Ernst wrote:

The word “Holocaust” was a propaganda term, appropriated in the middle seventies by the Holocaust promoters. It never had any political meaning attached to it before. Check any dictionary or encyclopedia published before 1975.

I found it hard to believe that within the first 30 years after the end of World War II there had been NO holocaust. We hurried over to the 10-pound 1966 Random House dictionary upon our return to Ann Arbor, and found the definition of holocaust:

1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire. 2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering

No mention of Jewish suffering, unlike in today’s results:

3. (usually initial capital letter) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually preceded by the).

It’s been this writer’s observation that not many folk have read revisionist literature on the Holocaust, but it personally has been an eye opening experience, to say the least. Readers are encouraged to start with the short Debating the Holocaust by Thomas Dalton.


Israel: Illegitimate from the start
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-21-13

Posted on September 26th, 2013 at 3:16 pm by

Falsehoods and Twists of Truth

PeaceMonger deconstructs Steve Friess’ article on JWPF’s 10th anniversary and exposes at least eleven instances of outright falsehoods and twisted truths in his article in the Jewish publication, the Tablet. Here are a few examples identified in “1,443 Words of (Mostly) Balderdash”:

1. Friess writes “Herskovitz, for his part, first called on Beth Israel to denounce Israel’s existence, and now promises they’ll stand down if Dobrusin removes the Israeli flag from the sanctuary.”

Not true, Steve. I have neither first called on Beth Israel to denounce the Jewish state’s existence, nor have I ever made that demand. While I personally believe “Israel” has no right to exist (can anyone defend Netanyahu’s claim?), it was made clear that JWPF will terminate the vigils if Beth Israel works towards – among other demands by Palestinian civil society – returning displaced Palestinians to their homes, a human right enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights.

2. Friess: “protesters … wave doctored Israeli flags, with red lines crossing out the Star of David in the middle, and solicit honks from passing motorists.”

We all know what eternal victims Jews claim to be, but this statement from Friess really distorts the truth. The truth is that JWPF has become (June, 2012) an anti-Israel peace group, and have decided to express that statement via the graphic, internationally recognized “NO” sign placed over the Israel FLAG. We had no input in the design of the Jewish state’s flag which happens to have the hexagram centered on it. Had the flag’s creators decided upon a Christian cross to be placed there, our international “NO” circle would have slashed through that as well.

3. Friess: “Such commentary [my offerings to explain why Jews were feared and hated in WWII Europe - HH], while historically suspect and abhorrent to most Jews, has made Herskovitz a celebrity of the anti-Israel fringe.”

PeaceMonger really goes after this false accusation and provides us with at least eight sources showing that my brief history lesson was more accurate than “suspect”:

Now, let’s sum up what we have learned in this … section. Contra Friess, there is nothing “suspect” about Herskovitz’s “commentary” about attempting to understand the rational basis for German antipathy to Jews. This is not to excuse the irrational imputation of collective guilt to all Jews qua Jews but to point out that there is evidence that Jews, a tiny minority, exercised disproportionate power in Russia, Germany, and elsewhere. Jews used power in their perceived self-interest and in a manner which alienated and angered members of the majority populations of these countries. Jews may find this truth “abhorrent” but they do no one, least of all themselves, any favors by refusing to wrestle with it.

Please spend the time to review Friess’ gaffes and distortions by reading the full entry on the ZionistsOut blog. The comments serve as excellent instruction in the science of exposing Jewish Hasbara.

Venue Found for Discussion of Jewish Power Friday (9/27)

As reported last week, Dan McGowan and Paul Eisen, co-directors of Deir Yassin Remembered, will be in Ann Arbor to discuss the sometimes corrosive influence Jews in leadership positions in the Palestine peace movement wield. A list of those who’ve expressed interest in our topic has been created, and those people invited. Readers of this report who have not been contacted, but would like to attend this meeting should contact this writer by Friday afternoon.

President Obama Draws the Line; Will Jewish Activists Respond?

US President Barack Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, addressed the United Nations General Assembly this week and perhaps gave away his hand. The following paragraph is lifted from Israel Hayom (Israel Today) a relatively new Israeli newspaper:

Obama reiterated that his administration is “determined to resolve a conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. I have made clear that the United States will never compromise our commitment to Israel’s security, nor our support for its existence as a Jewish state … the state of Israel is here to stay.”

We note with some curiosity that he did not say “the state of Japan is here to stay”, or “the state of South Korea is here to stay”. We wonder why he would single out the Jewish Apartheid state for such an unwarranted and strange expression, and we conclude that he recognizes Israel’s vulnerability and asks the world to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.

Israel’s existence – its own Declaration of Statehood self-defines as a Jewish state – is indeed the core issue that is begging to be addressed. All other atrocities, walls, white phosphorus bombings, attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque this week, stem from this basic assertion: that Israel claims a “right” to exist as a Jewish state. Seems like President Obama has bought in …

So which group, other than Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, will stand up and ask “Mr. President, we respectfully question Israel’s existence despite your assurance that it is ‘here to stay’. On what moral basis do you support Jewish supremacism in Palestine? By what right can Israel claim to exist, as you say, ‘as a Jewish state’?”

Will Jewish Voice for Peace ask these questions of the President? Will Code Pink be the second to ask? What about the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network? Will the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation step up? There’s a London based peace group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Will they offer up a foreign Jewish voice to question Mr. Obama?

The President has set the stage. Who will walk upon it?


Note: there was no Vigil Report for 09-14-13, but there were 13 vigilers
8 vigilers on 09-21-13
Remember Deir Yassin
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
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