The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 07-30-11

Posted on August 10th, 2011 at 11:53 am by

The South Rises

This writer took his pre-conceived notions about our red-state neighbors to the south and, as Johnny Cash says, “came away with a different point of view”. This turning point came at Floydfest , a four-day musical festival (July 28-31, held 5 miles south of Floyd, Virginia, and adjacent to mile post 175 of the Blue Ridge Parkway). Ten stages featured scores of performers, but it was the people who took center stage. Over twenty knowledgeable people approached me and spoke approvingly of the “Stop Israel” hat and Anti-Israel t-shirts. Never before has this garb elicited so many favorable responses in such a short time.

One short-order cook came from the rear of the food preparation tent to personally shake hands and to offer support. At least five lengthy conversations were held, which exposed my bias in thinking Southerners were ignorant about world affairs. In fact, their knowledge about Israeli atrocities even topped mine, e.g. one man spoke of human trafficking in Guatemala, whose military is armed and funded in part by Israel.

The best minds at Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends are still grappling with this phenomenon, and have suggested that since Jewish Zionists – Left and Right – inhabit large population centers, they have forsaken the hinterlands; hence, southerners are free to investigate and express their concerns without fear of the neighbor down the street, who otherwise would be quick to condemn and name call.

Jewish Exceptionalism Displayed at Motorcycle Rally

This writer also attended the BMW MOA motorcycle rally held in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania July 21-24, and witnessed what was not evident in the last 23 rallies: a special Committee was created and designated as Jewish Observances, headed by Jay Rubin, who started the Jewish religious services held and attended by this writer on Friday evening.

There are at least thirty committees of everything required to put these rallies together, with a chairperson heading each one: from Local History and Culture chairs to Bike Wash and Logistics chairs. There always has been a Religious Committee Chair, and for years that committee has been headed by Jerry Settle, a nice enough guy and Zionist — his “JerUSAlem” T-shirt being the giveaway.

For the tiny handful of Jewish riders (a dozen attended Friday services; 7,300 attended the rally) it seems that their needs could have been met by worshipping with the general population or by setting up Friday services under the auspices of the existing committee. Jerry was asked specifically at Sunday’s “Religious Observances” whether the services organized by the Religious Committee were for Christians only or would other faiths be welcome. Jerry affirmed that all were welcome.

From the FAQ section of the rally program we read: “Will worship services be available? Yes, we are excited to have Jewish Observances on Friday evening, in addition to the Christian Services, which have been a part of the Rally scene for years…”. But as stated previously, there never was a “Christian” Committee, rather a “Religious” Committee.

We noted that there was no Baptist Committee and Chair, no Lutheran Committee and Chair nor Muslim Committee and Chair, but there just had to be a Jewish Observances Committee and Chair. Vigiler L quipped that it was probably a reaction to my attire that led to the flexing of this muscle, and it was remembered from the Johnson City rally (2009) a second-hand report that a woman was “offended” by some bumpers sticker she saw.

Other Stops

Rich Siegel, co-Board of Advisors member of Deir Yassin Remembered toured this writer and Executive Director Dan McGowan around his town of Teaneck, New Jersey, highlighting its heavy Jewish influence. He also spoke of nearby Tenafly, an Orthodox community which staked out its ceremonial turf (called and eruv) as apart from the profane goyische area by having lechis – thin black plastic strips – attached to utility poles. This not only created the desired shtetl, but allowed the Sabbath prohibition against pushing or carrying burdens to be skirted by the assumption of a “living space” within the perimeter of the area. For example, pushing a stroller is permitted in one’s home on the Sabbath, and this eruv served the purpose of extending this “home” to the outside world. The creation of this eruv also resulted in the court case of Tenafly Eruv Ass’n, Inc. v. Borough of Tenafly; interested readers can view the US Appeals Court opinion here .

Steve France continues his educational activities outside the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He distributes an informative flyer to those attending the museum, and gets many positive reactions.

Lunch with Ingrid Zundel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, who relentlessly pursues the return of her husband Ernst to her side, was informative. She gifted this writer a DVD which describes Ernst’s abduction by US officials in 2003 and subsequent rendering to Canada and then to Germany.


July 9: Six vigilers
July 16: Nine
July 23: Eight
July 30: Seven
Just Say No to a Jewish State
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends


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