The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 02-02-19

Posted on February 7th, 2019 at 12:53 pm by

Israel Fiddles while Palestine Burns

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is being hosted by the University [of Michigan] Musical Society, in an attempt to normalize a country that discriminates against Palestinian Christians and Muslims, is in violation of over 70 UN Resolution, maintains an illegal wall, kills unarmed Palestinian protesters, including first responders, enjoys racist laws, etc., etc. Witness for Peace invites you to join us in protest at:

Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave Ann Arbor, Michigan
This Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019
7:00 – 8:05 pm (Concert begins at 8:00 pm)

Ann Arbor and UM Campus police have been notified to insure safety at this event.

Facebook Notification at https://www.facebook.com/events/309604563028766/

Holocaust Remembrance Day

This writer spoke at the recent Ann Arbor City Council meeting to suggest that the Holocaust be treated as an historical event, without the mantle of religion which it has assumed. Advance to 00:34:05 here to watch the presentation. Full text is included after signature

Billboard Update

Lind Media Company has billed Deir Yassin Remembered for funds AFTER they breached the contract with us. Since they have not responded to our request that they explain the circumstances surrounding the decision to terminate our contract, we have contacted the Small Claims Court of Mansfield, Ohio to initiate legal proceedings to have Lind retract their latest demand and return our property without storage charges. The Court advised a courtesy letter be sent to Lind and a 30-day waiting period for response. See letter to President John Siegenthaler here.

Comments?

Three-four vigilers Jan 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2
Anti-Semitism: An understandable reaction to bad Jewish-group behavior
Witness for Peace
Henry Herskovitz

#

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Feb. 4, 2019

Good evening,

I want to share with Council a document known as the Hasbara Handbook. It teaches Jewish students how to promote Israel on campus. Hasbara is a Hebrew word that roughly translates to “propaganda”. Under the chapter heading “Seven Basic Propaganda Devices” we find “Name Calling”.

I quote: “Through the careful choice of words, the name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.”

Former Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni exposed this technique in 2002, saying, ”Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are anti-Semitic.”

Former Ann Arbor City Councilman Joan Lowenstein has written that I am a “Holocaust Denier”. Other Ann Arbor citizens such as Elena Shur and Eve Silberman have joined in applying the name-calling technique.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has placed Ann Arbor Michigan on its National “Hate” Map simply because of one person’s association with a remembrance group. No proof of “hate” is evidenced.

It’s important to recognize that “anti-Semite”, “Holocaust Denier” and “Hater” are mere epithets thrown at someone to silence them.

If, by using the name “Holocaust Denier”, Ms Lowenstein and others think that I don’t believe Jews were targeted by Germany’s National Socialists, they are wrong.

If they think I don’t believe that Jews were shipped off to concentration camps they are wrong.

If they think I don’t believe that partisan Jews were killed by Einsatzgruppen troops, they are wrong

And if they think I don’t believe that vast numbers of Jews died in these concentration camps, they are likewise wrong.

Holocaust Remembrance Day can be used as a day to reflect on world history and I support the effort. But when examining an historical event becomes reason to silence a person’s informed opinion, that historical event assumes a religious mantle, where one is shunned and silenced, and in some 17 countries, imprisoned.

Religion or History? It’s up to us to decide.

Thank you

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-05-19

Posted on January 5th, 2019 at 9:14 pm by

Jewish Power and the Ohio State Buckeyes

We now admit a sneaky suspicion that our billboard was in erected in a precarious location. It was on the outskirts of Marion, Ohio, facing southbound traffic on US-23, the route used by most Ann Arbor football fans who would travel to Columbus on November 24 for the annual routing of the Michigan Wolverines by the Ohio State Buckeyes.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Lind%2002.jpg

Here are some facts: On October 10, we received a letter from Lind Media Company President John Siegenthaler, signaling his “look[ing] forward to working with [Deir Yassin Remembered] to generate an outstanding campaign”. On December 8, we received the following email from the Company:

Good afternoon,

Your statement is attached – we issued two credits toward your account due to your advertising being removed. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience toward the remaining balance on the account.

Please let me know if there are any questions.

Sincerely,

A phone call determined that our billboard had been taken down some time during the week immediately following Michigan’s loss to the Buckeyes. And before we made any rash statements guessing who was behind this deplatforming (the new term for denying folks access to media), we decided to pen Mr. Siegenthaler a letter with our questions:

1. Who made the decision to breach our contract with Lind?
2. Why was the decision made?
3. Why wasn’t DYR contacted prior to having the billboard taken down? Wouldn’t due        process demand such contact?
4. Who contacted Lind to request the billboard be taken down?
5. What were their names, and organizations they represented?
6. Can Lind provide their contact information?
7. When was the contact made to Lind?
8. What were the specific complaints these people/organizations made to Lind?
9. Did the threat of withholding advertising dollars by these people/organizations play a part in Lind’s decision to breach our contract?

Alas, two unreturned phone calls from the President leaves us back to conjecturing who was behind the removal of our billboards. Was it a group of Buckeye fans intent on rubbing salt in our wounds? Was it disgruntled Wolverine fans lashing out in anger? Was it Ohio farmers frustrated over the increase in corn prices?

Or … was it the Jewish community exercising their power to control the media, as they did with other outdoor media companies like Lamar Advertising and Adams Outdoor? Right now, only Mr. Siegenthaler has the answer.

Two New Signs at the Vigil

We have become aware of the hypocrisy of Jewish groups like the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS) pushing for unlimited, legal and illegal immigration, while limiting Israeli immigration to Jews only. We feel our sign “Open Borders for Israel” shines a spotlight on that hypocrisy. Our other sign borrows a unique graphic from the anti-Trump crowd and conveys an important message.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Two%20new%20signs.jpg

Comments?

Four vigilers
Anti-Semitism: An understandable reaction to bad group behavior
Witness for Peace
Henry Herskovitz
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-10-18

Posted on November 11th, 2018 at 9:41 pm by

Back in the Harness

After a one week’s hiatus from our weekly presence at Beth Israel, five members of Witness for Peace took to the streets once more in hopes of liberating Palestine (and US foreign policy) from its Jewish masters. Ann Arbor’s finest was there as well, but it appears the officer’s presence was more a reaction to the Pittsburgh shooting than us: he was there a few hours after our vigils ceased for the day.

At least one passerby received our flyer created especially for the day, some random thoughts by this writer a few days after the shooting; text follows signature

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Beth%20Israel%20Officer.jpg

… and Guess what Else is Back?

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hersko/Photos/Lind%2002.jpg

Look, up in the air. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. NO, it’s our billboard! And it’s back again at an undisclosed location in Ohio. Deir Yassin Remembered is picking up the tab, and a 3-month contract has been signed. If you’re feeling frisky and would like to make a contribution to this DYR, just click here.

Wfp on the air

Our friend Kevin Barrett was moved by our last report in which we announced to newly-installed Rabbi Nadav Caine of Beth Israel that we would be canceling our vigil of Nov. 3 in respect for the Pittsburgh shooting. Kevin’s Truth Jihad radio show is two hours long, the first went to Ilia Rashad Muhammad, then I follow up during the second hour. We discussed the Pittsburgh shooting, and the slim chance that the Jewish community would use this tragedy to further understand the corrosive effects of Jewish Power.

Last note: Rabbi Caine has yet to reply to our invitation to open discussion about our vigils, as requested in the letter to him last week. We remain hopeful a response is forthcoming.

Comments?

Resist Jewish Power
Witness for Peace
Henry Herskovitz
#

Pittsburgh Shooting

We mourn the deaths of all innocents; Pittsburgh’s innocents are certainly no exception
We abhor terrorism, whether it originates with the individual, group or state
We have observed that many immediately politicized this particular tragedy
– Some blamed the Trump administration
– Some called out “anti-Semitism”
– Some called for stricter gun control
– Some even used the event to repeat the Holocaust narrative

We hoped for mourning not clouded by political views
At least for a few days
We were disappointed

But we recognize that this event may instigate real discussion
Assuming Robert Bowers is an “anti-Semite”
– Might we not ask him how he came to those views?
– Might we ask why anti-Jewish sentiments exists?
– Might we question the notion that anti-Jewish feelings stems from an unreasonable, visceral hatred that the non-Jew feels for the Jew?
– Might we also suggest that Jewish group actions possibly affects feelings of anti-Jewishness among some citizens?

70 years of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people from their own land – is that a reason?
Violating over 70 United Nations Resolutions?
Influencing US Foreign Policy to the benefit of the Jewish state, and against the interests of our country?
Hounding members of Congress via AIPAC and other orgs to create and sign bill after bill in support of the Jewish state?

Let’s talk about gun control

Let’s talk about the Holocaust

Really talk; set up debates … bring in historians specializing in World War II

History or Religion? Let’s talk …

… in the meantime we mourn the Pittsburgh 11, along with the Gaza 5, which occurred the day before Pittsburgh’s tragedy

… we mourn the other 205 Gazans killed by snipers since the beginning of their unarmed marches at the Gaza border

… Violence solves nothing

“I strongly believe that antisemitism and Jewish chauvinism can only be fought simultaneously.”
Israel Shahak

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-27-18

Posted on October 31st, 2018 at 4:28 pm by

WfP Cancels Vigil for Nov. 3

Witness for Peace issued the following letter to Rabbi Nadav Caine of Beth Israel Congregation and hand delivered it to his office on Oct. 31. We will continue our weekly vigil restarting on Nov. 10.

Rabbi Nadav Caine
Beth Israel Congregation
Oct. 31, 2018

Dear Rabbi Caine,

We are Witness for Peace. We have held silent vigil for Palestine every Saturday morning for the past 15+ years in front of Beth Israel Congregation. We mourn the deaths of all innocents; Pittsburgh’s victims are certainly no exception. We abhor terrorism, whether it originates with the individual, group or state.

Out of respect for human lives lost and those who mourn them, we have elected to cancel our protest this Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. We remember the innocent victims there, as we remember the innocent victims of violence everywhere.

I recognize this short note as an awkward greeting to you, and am open to introducing myself, discussing our vigils, this and other tragedies with you at any time and place of your choosing. Please feel free to share this letter with the Congregation.

With sadness and respect,

Henry Herskovitz
Witness for Peace
[phone number]

Comments?

Five vigilers
Witness for Peace
Henry Herskovitz
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-20-18

Posted on October 21st, 2018 at 2:49 pm by

Palestine and the Holocaust

We presented a major reason for revisiting the facts surrounding the Holocaust in our vigil report of July 28 and this week decided to share this important viewpoint with members of Ann Arbor’s City Council at their meeting on Oct. 15. Council meetings are videotaped and you can advance to 00:25:20 at

https://a2ctn.viebit.com/player.php?hash=8cZBXOIMeurk

Or simply click here to just get the three-minute presentation. The text of the talk follows signature:

New Sign at our Vigil

University of Michigan professor John Lippold-Cheney has been punished by the University for refusing to write a letter of recommendation to a student who wished to study in Israel. Cheny-Lippold was motivated to withhold the letter by his activism, honoring the 2005 Palestinian Call for Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions on Israel for its ongoing violations of Palestinian civil rights.

This writer believes Cheney-Lippold did right by refusing to write the letter. Other well-meaning activists disagree, but we both agree that the reaction of the University – to rescind the professor’s upcoming sabbatical, to make him ineligible for his merit-pay increase, and to threaten him with job loss – is extreme.

Comments?

Three vigilers
Witness for Peace
Resist Jewish Power
Henry Herskovitz
#
Ann Arbor City Council
Public Commentary
Oct. 15, 2018
[392 words]
Palestine and the Holocaust

Good evening,

Many critics of Palestinian resistance to their ethnic cleansing at the hands of Israel have often complained that they should utilize Gandhian tactics of peaceful protest instead of violence.

Many Americans are unaware that Palestinians initiated just such a tactic on March 30 of this year, when thousands of them amassed on the Gaza border seeking to end their incarceration. Every Friday more tens of thousands take part in this march.

What has been the reaction of Israel to this peaceful attempt at liberation? Israel stages and uses IDF snipers, who use live ammunition and have killed over 200 Palestinian protesters. Seven more were killed two days ago in an action by the Jewish state that is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. The Palestinian protesters are unarmed.

I have been active in Palestine’s liberation for the last 15 years. Many of my friends have indicated to me that to bring up the Holocaust weakens and undermines my efforts to bring freedom to Palestine. I disagree, and here’s why:

One of the victims of these sniper attacks was a 21-year-old female medic named Razan Al-Najjar. She was shot to death trying to help a wounded protester on June 1. We now remember her. We remember the American student Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death in 2003 by an IDF bulldozer. We remember my friend Basem Abu Rahme, shot to death in 2009 by an Israeli teargas cannister at close range.

I’ve spoken to council about these killings and I’m sure many of you share in the sorrow we in the Palestine liberation community feel. The trouble is, no matter how much we grieve, no matter how much average Americans feel for the Palestinians, these feelings of sorrow and pity are always trumped by the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust.

It’s that simple. If it were any other people trampling the lives and rights of Palestinians, Americans would have no problem going after the perpetrators of these crimes and bringing justice to Palestine.

The Holocaust seems to be the ultimate weapon used to manipulate American feelings. Fear of being accused as a “Holocaust Denier” keeps many inquisitive people in line. It is indeed a powerful weapon, and it appears vital to me and many others that this weapon be examined to see if it warrants the power it wields.

Thank you

Report on Beth Israel vigil 09-15-18

Posted on September 17th, 2018 at 11:35 am by

9th Annual Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day

Apologies for the late notice, but this Wednesday – September 19, 2018 – is the 9th anniversary of the holiday we call the “Annual Bill Henry International Eat-a-Cheeseburger Day”. Join us in celebration by enjoying a cheeseburger at your local burger joint.

If a picture is worth a thousand words…

… then it’s hard to place a value on the excellent video created by our friend Gilad Atzmon at our vigil this Saturday. He was there to participate in our 15th year anniversary of the longest running regular street protest in Ann Arbor history. Combining his excellent video and interviewing skills, Gilad captures the essence of our protests. Watch “Who conflates Zionism and Judaism?” and see if you agree.

Comments?

Nine Vigilers
Witness for Peace
Resist Jewish Power
Henry Herskovitz
#

Report on Beth Israel vigil 08-25-18

Posted on August 27th, 2018 at 12:52 pm by

Approaching the Tipping Point?

Our weekly de-briefing yielded a consensus opinion: the motoring public provided support for our vigil in an unprecedented manner. In our 75-minutes, almost ALL of the passersby who indicated either support of disapproval, were in support of our messages. What is to be concluded from this observation?

– That Americans are realizing Israel is no longer our friend
– That Americans are getting tired of forking over $10 Million a day to Israel
– That Americans have tired of fighting wars for Israel
– Or that, senility is setting in amongst us vigilers

Whatever the reasons, there did seem to be a noticeable tick upwards in the way we were perceived by motorists last Saturday. Think we’re senile? Come check us out as we approach our 15th anniversary of working for Palestinian liberation and freedom.

Witness for Peace – 15 Years!

Our vigil on September 15, 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of our weekly vigils, If you’ve ever joined our protests, please consider a homecoming visit in three weeks. There will be much to celebrate, and to review the reasons why this small group is committed to this form of political activism. See our report “Back to Basics”.

Outlasting the Rabbis

Rabbi Rob Dobrusin of Beth Israel Congregation announced his retirement this past June. He joins Bob Levy from Temple Beth Emeth as activist local rabbis unable to dislodge Witness for Peace from our goal of peacefully dismantling the Jewish state. Levy, who was once referred to as a “nasty rabbi” by former vigiler Larry Hochman, stepped down in 2016, and we note that Jewish Federation Executive Director David Shtulman – also a WfP critic – threw in the towel in January 2017. To the new rabbis and directors who have taken their place we welcome discussions about our activism, anytime, any place.

Gilad Atzmon will Celebrate our Anniversary

Philosopher, author and world-renowned saxophonist Gilad Atzmon will be with us September 12-15 and will join our vigil on Saturday September 15. Gilad never claims to be a street activist, but will set aside that claim and thrill us with his presence to celebrate our 15 years. He has committed to an open house evening discussion at Vigiler L’s home in Ypsilanti at 7pm on Thursday Sept. 13, and a concert/discussion with a musical group in Toledo, Ohio on Friday Sept. 14. Details for the concert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/314852275742258/

Listen to a Jewish Rant

On August 15, this writer addressed the board of directors of the People’s Food Co-op in an effort to get them to cease advertising in the Washtenaw Jewish News. We noted that the Co-op works “towards the elimination of institutional and structural racism and oppression” and asked why we would advertise in a newspaper that promotes a country that practices the opposite. Unfortunately, my presentation was interrupted by a local Jewish fellow named Blair Ellis, who hurled insults like “holocaust denier”, “fascist”, and “anti-Semite” towards me. PFC President Jaime Magiera asked Ellis to refrain from interrupting, and when Eliis refused, placed a call to the police. If you download and play this audio file you will hear Ellis’ hysterical rants and a young woman’s willingness to stand in “solidarity” with him. [Curiously, Ellis has nothing to say about the gun-toting Israeli soldiers, implicitly supported by the Washtenaw Jewish News, who killed over 130 men, women and children in the recent Israeli assault on Gaza protesters… ed.]

We plan to continue our presentation to the Board at their September meeting. Stay tuned.

RIP Phyllis Ponvert

Our friend and former vigiler Phyllis Ponvert passed away about two weeks ago and Witness for Peace mourns her loss. Her unique style of protest was to hold a sign for Beth Israel Congregants to read, which listed the current number of Palestinian children’s deaths as well as Jewish Israeli children. We dedicate this report to Phyllis, and miss her.

Comments?

Attendance held between 4 and 6 vigilers August 4, 11, 18 and 25
Witness for Peace
No Jewish State
Henry Herskovitz
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