The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

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

Report on Beth Israel vigil 05-12-18

Posted on May 17th, 2018 at 12:00 pm by

Laying Claim

As our small group approaches its fifteenth year of existence, we claim the title of “Longest running regular street protest in Ann Arbor history”. Are we mistaken? Have we forgotten an activist group with a longer, sustained record? Please inform us and we will gladly take our ordered place in the history books.

Shaking Down the Mennonites

At the request of Bruce Leichty, Witness for Peace members Dan McGowan and I traveled to Newton Kansas to attend a conference entitled “Mennonites and the Holocaust”, held at Bethel College in North Newton, March 16 and 17. Bruce was the immigration lawyer who represented Ernst Zundel’s unsuccessful attempt to be reunited with his American wife, Ingrid Rimland Zundel. It was Dan’s and my first opportunity to meet Bruce, and we were impressed with the man’s decency.

Some of the conference’s views were captured by titles of the presentations, e.g.:

– “Anti-Semitism and the Concept of ’Volk’”
– “Mennonite Scholarship in the Third Reich: From Knowledge Production to Genocide”
– “An Illusion of Freedom: Denominationalism, German Mennonites, and Nazi Germany”
– … and the Keynote Address: “Neighbors, Killers, Enablers, Witnesses: The Many Roles of Mennonites in the Holocaust” (This topic was the Keynote Address, delivered by Doris Bergen, the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto)

A lifelong Mennonite, Bruce sees himself as a member of that community. Alerted by the above topics and sensing a shakedown of his Mennonite community, Bruce secured a nearby venue for Dan and I to speak and bring a different point of view to those being disseminated at the conference. To inform conference goers of his event (“Two Jewish Revisionists Consider the Holocaust”), Bruce created and distributed flyers announcing the Friday evening event. Political flyering seems as common as football pep rallies on college campuses, but when campus honchos determined that Bruce was using this technique, he was ordered to stop.

And stop he did. But on Saturday he was asked to leave the campus by College President Jon Gering. This writer video-taped the exchange between Gering and Leichty, which included an impromptu conversation between myself and an unknown Holocaust affirmer; that video can be viewed here.

I wanted to remain in the lobby of the Luyken Fine Arts Center to capture Bruce’s exit from Krehbiel Auditorium, but was asked to leave the campus by the North Newton police. They could provide no reason to have me removed from the campus, other than the request came from President Gering, who, according to the police, needed no reason to have me evicted from campus.

I asked the officer if he would inform Bruce of my off-campus location and he said he would. To my surprise, it was the officer – not Bruce – who showed up to tell me that Bruce had been arrested and was being detained at the Harvey County Detention Center. Bruce was released only after 18 hours of detention. His story has been picked up by CODOH, the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust: “Lawyer Arrested for Holocaust Dissent in Kansas”. Readers are encouraged to view this document while holding the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution close by.


Attendance held between 3 and 4 vigilers April 21, 28 and May 5, 12
Witness for Peace
Remember Al-Nakba
Henry Herskovitz

Report on Beth Israel vigil 04-14-18

Posted on April 17th, 2018 at 2:52 pm by


Prior to our most recent report, this formerly-unfailing writer always used the blind carbon copy option (BCC:) to send out our vigil reports. Last week I failed (using TO:) and that contributed to the kerfuffle of emails flying this way and that. Sorry about that; will do better in the future. Comments from readers are always welcome, but it would ease the process if folks posted their comments on (see Comment link at the bottom of each report.)


Some readers were upset upon receiving last week’s report, and some have opted out of receiving future reports. Some others wanted to offer their thoughts and admitted feelings of discomfort. We have always respected email privacy, but need to know if you want your name removed from the list. Just send me an email requesting same, and you’ll receive no more vigil reports.

Response to a Comment

We quoted a segment from Paul Eisen’s Holocaust Wars last week, and in response a reader suggested viewing that quote from a different angle He suggested that we all try to “… go find the most educated, secular, progressive, enlightened, perceptive, sensitive African-American you know – deny American slavery and then stand back.”

On the surface, it appears he’s onto something, but further thought on this produced some real differences between denying the Holocaust and denying American slavery.

I first thought of Monika Schaefer, a Canadian citizen now serving her 100th day of administrative detention (no charges have been brought) in a German prison for singing about the Holocaust. I could be wrong, but I know of no country that imprisons people for denying American slavery. Perhaps some readers could show me I’m wrong about this, and I’d be happy to admit it.

Second, I pondered whether there were lies promulgated about slavery to the extent lies have been spread about the Holocaust. Was the fat of deceased slaves used to make bars of soap? Were lampshades made of Blacks’ skin?

Have books been recently banned on American slavery the way Amazon has just banned over 100 titles questioning the standard Holocaust narrative? Check out the Jewish Chronicle’s article “Under pressure, Amazon stops selling Holocaust-denial books” here.

Are there over 50 museums in Germany dedicated to the memory of American slavery? Is there one in Berlin, built with German taxpayers’ Euros? Is it mandated by law that German children are taught the history of American slavery? Consider:

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is located on the National Mall in our nation’s capitol, funded in part by US taxpayers. And although it is not yet US National policy to mandate the teaching of the Holocaust, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that eight states (including Michigan) have some form of required instruction “about genocide, including, but not limited to, the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.” And The article reports the prospect of 20 more states “pledg[ing] to mandate Holocaust education.”

This list of differences is just a minimal one; others may suggest additions to it.

Having a Beer with Thomas Jefferson

Many readers remain unconvinced that Richard Spencer’s response to my question exonerated him of the title “White supremacist”. This writer wouldn’t mind having a beer with Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson, and he is almost never referred to as a White supremacist. In fact, he is often quoted as saying, “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate, than that these people [Black slaves] are to be free.”

Yet the next few sentences of the same quote reads “Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them. It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and deportation peaceably and in such slow degree that the evil will wear off insensibly, and their place will be pari passu filled up by free white laborers. If on the contrary it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up.”

Now, some readers might be nodding and saying to themselves that indeed Jefferson was a White supremacist, but would the wish to share a beer with the man cause such societal rejection as not minding having a beer with Richard Spencer?


Four vigilers in a steady rain and 36F
Witness for Peace
America First Not Israel
Henry Herskovitz

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
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