The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 02-18-12

Posted on February 26th, 2012 at 10:50 am by

The Third Rail

Prior to 2005, the group Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago called itself “Not in My Name”. The group continues to maintain a 12-year-old weekly vigil, upon which JWPF patterned itself — sign holding, some banners, respectful, silent and peaceful. Every week this report gets sent to their email list for distribution ( among its 112 members, and has done so since we started our vigils in 2003 – until recently, that is.

The list maintained by Owner/Moderator Michael Levin is scrutinized for unpopular messages, and our vigil reports of January 21 and January 28 were rejected for dissemination. Rather than subject our reports to such scrutiny, we have decided to terminate sending them to JVP-Chicago. Levin’s decision to refuse publication was affirmed by the group’s steering committee, although the JVP-Chicago website lists only “Staff and Board”, and includes the following folks whom, we assume, a majority of lent their support to Levin:

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director
Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director
Sidney Levy, Director of Advocacy
Stephanie Fox, Director of Grassroots Organizing
Jane Suskin, Administrative Director
Alissa Wise and David Leskowitz

So why were these reports rejected? According to Levin: “I don’t view the list as being a forum for holocaust revisionism; my call as moderator”. Asked to put his decision to the members, Levin only went so far as to run it by his superiors. Technically fair enough; Yahoo Groups are not democratically run – anybody can create a list, populate it, and moderate it as they see fit. But his decision reminds us of the role Jews often adopt as gatekeepers. When faced with the choice of disseminating or silencing unpopular opinions that bear upon Jewish power or Jewish suffering, they typically choose to silence those opinions. Jews need to challenge Jewish supremacism, not shield it from the light of truth.

Readers will remember that our two silenced reports dealt with the exact same censorship issue: Jewish leadership in JVP-Chicago and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK) appear to be more invested in protecting Jewish narratives than in exposing the racist/ethnocentric attitudes that are rife in Jewish-dominated organizations. Paul Eisen articulates well the correlation between modern Jews and the Holocaust, he writes:

The Holocaust resolves the great dilemma of modern Jewish life – how to be a Jew when you no longer believe in the Jewish God.

Readers should consider why discussions pertaining to the history of World War II are significant in the Palestinian solidarity struggle: Zionist, and many “anti-Zionist” Jews keep “The Holocaust” foremost in any political discussion. For example, the New York Times contains at least seven articles this month alone mentioning or dealing with the Holocaust, including “From Overseas Visitors, A Growing Demand To Study the Holocaust” on February 15.

As Norman Finkelstein writes in Beyond Chutzpah:

As already noted, Jewish elites in the United States have enjoyed enormous prosperity. From this combination of economic and political power has sprung, unsurprisingly, a mindset of Jewish superiority. Wrapping themselves in the mantle of The Holocaust [“an ideological representation of the {actual} Nazi holocaust”], these Jewish elites pretend­ and, in their own solipsistic universe, perhaps imagine themselves­ to be victims, dismissing any and all criticism as manifestations of “anti-Semitism.” And, from this lethal brew of formidable power, chauvinistic arrogance, feigned (or imagined) victimhood, and Holocaust-immunity to criticism has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today.

Clearly, the Holocaust is the elephant in the room, and many Jews want to make sure no one loses sight of Jewish suffering, but few want to hold open discussions. The decision to censor these needed discussions by Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago seems to affirm this claim. Chicago “L” riders know what the third rail means; now we do, too.

Detroit Billboard Project

Our billboard at I-96 and Greenfield Road still is attracting viewers and contributors, but more are needed to keep this project afloat. JWPF, along with IfAmericansKnew and Deir Yassin Remembered are grateful to 21st century technology, since the location of these digital billboards can be changed with the push of a button. We report that the current location our location is set to change on Monday, March 19th to an as-yet-undecided location in the Detroit area. Also, our messages will be slightly modified as well, reflecting the dire local economic conditions felt by many Detroiters.

Please donate to keep these billboards financially afloat:

Click on the donate button and note that funds are to be applied to the “Detroit Billboard Project”


Seven Vigilers
Shining the Light on Truth
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

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