On Sunday, May 19th, Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) led a protest outside a “Breakfast for Israel” fundraiser for Magen David Adom, the Israeli version of the Red Cross, at Congregation Beth Sholom in Teaneck, New Jersey.
About a dozen protestors from DYR – an organization whose leaders have called for the elimination of Israel, described Zionism as a “cancer” and claimed that Israel is a hub for pedophilia and organ trafficking – were joined by four members of Neturei Karta, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose Zionism and the existence of Israel.
The DYR protest was led by the organization’s New Jersey-based co-directors Rich Siegel and Nedal Hassan. According to northjersey.com, almost 200 counter-protesters were also on hand.
DYR’s Facebook event page stated that the rally was to “show the Zionists we oppose their pro-Israel events,” and some of their signs read: “When do we Jews notice that Israel is a terrorist state?!,” “Our tax dollars support Israeli terror” and “Stop killing Gaza’s children.”
However, the ideology of DYR’s leaders goes well beyond protesting Israeli policies and military action. On May 12th, Rich Siegel called on his social media readers to “do everything you can to end Israel.”
Siegel has also rejected the two-state solution, and has collaborated on a music project with Gilad Atzmon, an outspoken promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Nedal Hassan has expressed radical anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic views. On May 11th 2019, responding to the Philadelphia chapter of the Muslim American Society’s scandal involving school-age children reciting language about defending the Al-Aqsa mosque by “chopping off heads,” Hassan defended the recitation: “All of this distorted media coverage because girls read poetry that encourages resistance to liberate Al Aqsa. Because little girls expressed outrage and want to fight back their oppressors who murdered babies. I will not apologize and I don't like that MAS [Muslim American Society] apologized for that.”
In another Facebook post, Hassan compared Israelis to Nazis by agreeing with a commenter who refers to Israelis as “Israelie [sic] Adolfs” who are perpetrating “killings, murdering & butchering innocent children’s [sic] daily.” On May 4th, Hassan called Zionism “cancer.” Hassan also uses his Facebook page to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Israel, writing on April 29, “The hub for illegal organ trafficking is Israel. The sanctuary for known pedophiles is Israel.” On April 26, he referred to the “Israelis [sic] occupation of our [United States] government.”
DYR, named to commemorate a 1948 massacre by Zionist militias in the village of Deir Yassin that killed more than 100 Palestinians, describes itself as an educational organization that supports “a just and durable resolution to the conflict.” However, its leadership has long included Holocaust deniers and overt anti-Semites. Until 2019, Deir Yassin’s Board of Advisors and Directors included Holocaust deniers Paul Eisen and Henry Herskovitz. In addition, its most recently retired executive director, Daniel McGowan, wrote the forward to a book by Germar Rudolf, a German Holocaust denier who was sentenced to jail in Germany. And although Siegel asserts on Facebook that DYR “does not associate with Holocaust deniers,” its website still hosts Herskovitz’s blog posts.