The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-07-18

Posted on April 11th, 2018 at 10:38 am by

The Intolerance of “The Left”

This writer is sensitive to name calling. Not in the “I’m hurt” sense, but sensitive to the presence of unwarranted and unwanted name calling. Calling the late Ernst Zundel an “anti-Semite” comes to mind. So when the mainstream press labels Richard Spencer a “White supremacist”, my name-calling antenna starts to quiver. None of the handful of newspaper reporters I contacted responded to my question of why they selected this particular term to label Spencer.

So I laid a simple plan for myself: I’d remain ignorant of further media coverage of Spencer’s speeches and writings and hear only from the horse’s mouth what Spencer had to say. Three members of Witness for Peace drove up to East Lansing, Michigan on March 5 to hear this “White supremacist “ speak, to determine for ourselves if the label fit the bill of goods.

During the Q&A I asked Spencer if he wished to be referred to as a White supremacist and he said no. He preferred the term “White Identitarian”. That is, he identifies as White, and fears for the group’s assimilation and disappearance into a multi-raced society. Erica Chernofsky, writing for BBC News, identifies a similar fear in Jews: “Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears.”. Perhaps it is the same fear which drives the Jews described by Chernofsky that also drives White identitarians like Spencer.

Interviewed by WILX-TV after the event (interview here), they reported, “’I don’t think I’m for or against, I think I’m for free speech. I am for his ability to speak whatever he wants. I came away from this conference thinking that Richard is a guy I wouldn’t mind having a beer with. I think he’s open to various points of view,’ said Henry Herskovitz, who attended Spencer’s speech.”


I shared this interview with a group of men with whom I enjoy a yearly April retreat, and that unleashed some pretty unfriendly responses and ultimately resulted in my being effectively banned from this year’s event. The risks one encounters by crossing the lines of Political Correctness are severe and swift. These particular men, described as “intelligent, informed and concerned guys” by one group member, are in fact White men. This writer finds the irony breathtaking that an affinity group like ours would be all White, yet their reaction when someone who is willing to consider a man like Spencer on his own terms and respect his humanity if nothing else, is opprobrium.

It’s the Holocaust, Stupid!

Perhaps this email excerpt from one group member – a former Michigan Supreme Court Commissioner – revealed my true transgression:

… But I am disturbed by the evolution of Henry’s political beliefs. He seems to have moved far away from his original position, in which he spoke up bravely for principles of fairness and humanity, to a position that is incomprehensible to me: in our last [gathering] he denied the Holocaust.

Stop and think about that. That is a defiance of reality.

It is not open to discussion. Period. My daughters are Jews. I will not countenance that lie. It is part of a great evil, for which Spencer is a chief spokesperson.


Unless you can tell me that what I have recounted does not fairly reflect your views (you denied the Holocaust to my face, and cited figures from the book you were reading as evidence that no systematic extermination of Jews occurred and that only a few hundred thousand died!), I think you should vote yourself off the island.

So I’m now off the island, the politically correct are fully in charge, and as one of the friends writes, the tradition can continue without having it “poison[ed]” by unpleasant topics and associations. The liberal crowd is properly challenged by Paul Eisen:

… The Holocaust resolves the great dilemma of modern Jewish life – how to be a Jew when you no longer believe in the Jewish God. Secular Jews have found many gods to replace the one they reject – Marx and Trotsky, atheism, psychoanalysis, multiculturalism, human rights, money and success, and of course, Zionism – there’s lots to choose from but only one that serves as a catch-all for everyone. And if you don’t believe it, try this – go find the most educated, secular, progressive, enlightened, perceptive, sensitive Jew you know – deny the Holocaust and then stand back.

Some notes in closing: The three WfP members who attended the Spencer talk agreed that ALL the violence they witnessed in East Lansing emanated from the antifas present and NOT from the supporters of Spencer. Anticipating violence from the antifas, Spencer’s groups elected to distribute tickets at a distant outdoor location. And all three – even those who don’t drink beer – admitted that, from what they had heard, Spencer did not appear to be the vile racist the media depict him to be.


(We averaged between 3-6 protesters March 10 – April 7; vigils were held every week)
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Henry Herskovitz

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-07-18”

  1. anonymous

    glad to y read your take; we are with you!! hypocrisy abounds and one need be careful when calling it out
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