The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

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]


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

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.


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.


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

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.


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

Report on Beth Israel vigil 07-28-18

Posted on August 1st, 2018 at 12:26 pm by

Dear Jacqueline

A close friend of ours lives in Hillsdale County. She has held that this writer’s interest – including speaking out – about the Holocaust undermines Palestinian liberation. This report is for her, and others who hold a similar opinion.

Jacqueline notes a few things: One, that I have an effective message attempting to halt the plight of the Palestinian people and can deliver that message in an impassioned, reasoned presentation. She notes others speakers, and other groups, deliver such messages without mucking it up with comments about a 75-year-old historical event.

Here’s the rub: the current release of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi brings tears of sympathy and joy from those few activists who pay attention to the endless crimes of the Jewish state perpetrated against innocent Palestinians. We remember our friend Basem Abu Rahme, shot to death by Israeli forces in April 2009. And we remember American student Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by a Jewish bulldozer operator in March 2003. The list goes on and on, and our hearts are torn by the suffering of Palestinians and those supporters who have had their lives taken by Israelis.

But 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 alleged 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. But because the actual perpetrators are Jews, we Americans go soft in the gut and can’t bring ourselves to hold these particular perpetrators responsible for their crimes.

The Holocaust – as it is presented to us by a Jewish Hollywood and a complicit American press – is the ultimate gate keeper that prevents Palestine’s oppressor from being exposed and brought to justice.

Mendacity and Manipulation


Jacqueline is correct in stating I have lost friends, mutual friends too, over my writings and talks about the Holocaust. But she is mistaken when she claims it is I who brings up the topic. Check the 300+ movies Hollywood has cranked out on the topic, not even counting (if we could) the other movies not listed as Holocaust films, but carry some slight – and pointed – reference to it. And try this: search the New York Times for “Holocaust” on a regular basis and observe for yourself how consent on this topic has been manufactured by the Holocaust Industry. [type into your browser “site: holocaust”]. It’s almost as if, instead of the actual persecution of Jews being incidental to World War II, that war is perceived as incidental to the Holocaust. Hollywood has been labeled the best messaging machine in the world, and we have indeed been manipulated to the point where Palestinian suffering lies secondary to Jewish suffering.

Mendacity? Listen to Dan McGowan: “If other myths, like making soap from human fat, have been dismissed as Allied war propaganda, why is it ‘unacceptable behavior‘ to ask if the gas chamber at Dachau was not reconstructed by the Americans because no other homicidal gas chamber could be found and used as evidence at the Nuremburg trials?”

Soap making and lampshade myths join others, not so well known: Thomas Dalton (Debating the Holocaust, 2017) documents claims of mass killings by electrocution in “electronically charged vats”, reported by the New York Times in 1942. Today, as Dalton writes, these claims “are all completely discredited”. Likewise the claims of deaths by steam chambers have been found “difficult to see” even by Holocaust traditionalist Gerald Reitlinger (Dalton, pp 143-145).


Have we, in the words of Malcolm X, been “took, hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray and run amok” when it comes to separating true Jewish WWII suffering from the Hollywood Holocaust? Will we ever see the day when, as part of US middle school required reading, the story of Razan Al Najar joins Anne Frank on the library shelves? Is Bishop Richard Williamson – with whom we quaffed a beer in London in 2010 – correct when he estimates the total number of Jewish deaths in WWII as 200-300,000? Why are there no open debates on the topic? Is it becoming more obvious why the media over-saturates Americans with endless Holocaust “eye-witness testimonies”?

Our Pledge

To dear Jacqueline I pledge to stop writing and speaking about the inaccuracies in the traditional Holocaust narrative as soon as THEY stop writing, forcing their one-sided view of history upon American students, stop manufacturing books, movies, and “news” reports about this topic, and imposing prison sentences on revisionists like Monika Shaefer. Swear to Buddha.


Attendance held between 4 and 5 vigilers June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28
Witness for Peace
No Jewish State
Henry Herskovitz

DYR Archives Donated to the Palestine Museum US

Posted on July 28th, 2018 at 8:10 pm by

July 27, 2018


Contact: Daniel McGowan (Email)
Telephone: 315-789-3524

On Sunday, July 29th, 26 boxes of historical material from the archives of Deir Yassin Remembered in Geneva, New York will be transported to their new home in the Palestine Museum US in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

The archives include books, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, and documents related to the Deir Yassin massacre and to 25 years of work to build a memorial at the site of Deir Yassin on the west side of Jerusalem, close to the most famous Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem.

They include rare books from the collection of Mufid Nashashibi and the co-founder of Deir Yassin Remembered, Issam Nashashibi. Many were written by Jewish authors, both Zionists and anti-Zionists. Others were written by distinguished authors who have also served on the DYR Board of Advisers, including Edward Said, Hanan Ashrawi, Norman Finkelstein, Israel Shamir, Paul Findley, Ilan Pappe, and Salma Jayyusi.

There are historical maps, video lectures, and audio recordings of eyewitnesses to the massacre, which took place on April 9, 1948. There is an original letter by Albert Einstein written on April 10, 1948 condemning the Jewish gangs that perpetrated the massacre the previous day. There are recordings of large commemorations DYR has held over the years in London, Jerusalem, Sidney, and Kuala Lumpur.

In 2004 the DYR archives were housed at the Warren Hunting Smith Library at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, New York) after a pledge of $50,000 by Robin Zahran, a Palestinian American, members of whose family had been murdered at Deir Yassin and whose daughter was then attending William Smith College.

Contacts for interview:

Daniel McGowan, Executive Director, DYR, (Email) Tel. 315-789-3524

Faisal Saleh, Founder, Palestine Museum, (Email) Tel. 203-530-2248

# # #

July 2018 photo of Daniel McGowan with DYR archives
DYR Executive Director Daniel McGowan poses with the organization’s archives before they are transferred to the Palestine Museum US.

Report on Beth Israel vigil 06-23-18

Posted on June 29th, 2018 at 8:17 pm by

Back to Basics

The lady in this  January video repeats an oft asked question: why do we hold our vigils in front of a synagogue? Let’s take a moment to answer this question, because on the face of it, it’s a pretty good question.

We answered this question briefly in our 2003 statement: Why We Vigil, but as the years rolled on, our answer became more sophisticated, nuanced and factual. Our statement then read: “We hold vigils outside this synagogue because Beth Israel is a political institution as well as house of worship, using its faith to promote a nationalist political agenda…”

A few years after that (2007) Rabbi Rob Dobrusin spilled the beans and admitted that every member of Beth Israel Congregation supported Israel’s claimed “right” to exist as a Jewish state. In other words, he affirmed our conviction that Beth Israel Congregation is indeed a Zionist organization.

In addition, we pointed out that Beth Israel flies a foreign flag in its sanctuary, that the congregation recites a prayer for the state of Israel every week, that many congregants wave Israeli flags as they drive into the parking lot, and that some even sport Jewish (as opposed to NON-Jewish) Israeli license plates on their vehicles.

Then we read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and our argument became even stronger. Malcolm argued that the best way for sincere white people to help his “Organization of Afro-American Unity”, was to confront the racism that existed within the white community. We then recognized the similarity … the racism that drives the Jewish state is created and nurtured within the Jewish community, and that Beth Israel was certainly no exception.

For starters, Jews are told they are different from the rest. This creates an “us-versus-them” paradigm. They wear skullcaps; Jewish children are taught a foreign language which is used officially in only one country. They are taught unnecessary dietary laws; their families use two sets of dinnerware, some even use two dishwashers, one for each set. They worship on Saturday, though the majority of the religious US population prefer Sundays. They celebrate holidays which underscore us-versus-them. The Book of Esther is a good example. A common Jewish reference to many holidays are “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.”

Alleged victimization is the crucial bond that convinces Jews (and many non-Jews) that the uniqueness of this particular group of people creates for them a special status. When Hollywood – an effective emotional manipulation tool – produces over 300 films on both Holocaust fact and fiction, a toxic supremacism is formed. Perhaps Golda Meir said it best: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” Using military snipers to kill over 130 Palestinian Gandhi-styled protesters, and taking advantage of a compliant American press to suppress these murders from US citizens is a good example of Jews being allowed to do simply anything they want.

So back to the woman’s question, and to paraphrase Vince Lombardi, “A synagogue isn’t just an appropriate place to protest the state of Israel; it’s the ONLY place.”


Attendance held between 4 and 5 vigilers May 19,26 and June 2, 9, 16, 23
Witness for Peace
Remember the USS Liberty
Henry Herskovitz
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