Founded in 1995, Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks “to eliminate prejudice against Palestinians and to promote the human side of a people who have been the victims of the Zionist colonization of their land and of the apartheid conditions under which they now live.” Since its inception, DYR has perpetuated the libel that, in April 1948, Jews engaged in the “systematic murder” of innocent civilians in Deir Yassin, a Palestinian-Arab village near Jerusalem. The group portrays this “massacre” as the beginning of a coordinated strategy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people:
“The massacre of Palestinians at Deir Yassin… stands as the starkest early warning of a calculated depopulation of over 400 Arab villages and cities and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian inhabitants to make room for survivors of the Holocaust and other Jews from the rest of the world.”
In memory of the victims of the alleged atrocity, DYR plans “to build a memorial at Deir Yassin.”
Most historians agree, however, that DYR’s depiction of the events is propaganda, not history, and that the idea of a “massacre” at Deir Yassin was invented, by Arabs, for the dual purposes of: (a) shaming Arab nations into waging war against the state of Israel, and (b) frightening the local Arabs and encouraging them to flee. For details of this incident, click here.
Daniel A. McGowan, a retired professor of economics (who taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges), is the founder and longtime Executive Director of DYR. In 1995, McGowan launched fundraising efforts for the Deir Yassin memorial at an American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee convention in Washington, DC. With Professor Marc H. Ellis, a director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor University, McGowan wrote Remembering Deir Yassin: The Future of Israel and Palestine (1998). Soon after, DYR formed a Board of Directors and Advisors, which included, among others, Edward Said, Norman Finkelstein, Hanan Ashrawi, Ilan Pappé, Hedy Epstein, Saudi-financed Paul Findley, feminist and pro-Palestinian activist Sherna Berger Gluck, International Jewish Peace Union member Rachelle Marshall, Arab Media Watch director Muna Nashashibi, and convicted spy and traitor Mordecai Vanunu. Other notables who subsequently served as DYR board members included Lawrence Davidson and Jennifer Loewenstein.
Besides these radical activists, DYR is home to a number of notorious Holocaust deniers. Paul Eisen serves as the group’s UK Director and, in 2005, Israel Shamir became a board member, causing even longtime activists Michael Warshawski and Jeff Halper to resign in indignation that a “racist” had joined their institution. In 2007, DYR initiated a Scholarship Committee that aims “to seek peace through education.” On the committee were Israel Shamir, Steven Beikirch, Henry Herskovitz of the International Solidarity Movement, Susan Abulhawa, and Michelle J. Kinnuca.
DYR founder Daniel McGowan also created DYR’s partner website, RighteousJews.org, whose mission is “to commemorate the memory of those Palestinians who have been, and continue to be, depopulated, dispossessed, humiliated, tortured, and murdered in the name of political Zionism.” Toward that end, the website features anti-Israel and anti-Semitic essays]25 written by Paul Eisen, Ilan Pappé, Gilad Atzmon, Stephen M. Walt, and John Mearsheimer, among others. RighteousJews.org is affiliated, in turn, with a host of other radical groups: Americans for Peace Now, the Free Muslims Coalition, Holocaust Heroes, the Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Peace in Palestine, Movement for One Democratic Secular State, and Not in My Name.
An essential feature of DYR’s rhetoric is the conspiracy theory which claims that the American government is controlled by the Jewish Lobby. According to Paul Eisen, U.S. politicians simply cannot afford to cross Israel’s interests:
“[C]onsider the power and influence of the ‘Jewish’, ‘Zionist’ or ‘pro-Israel’ lobby, as when many an otherwise responsible lawmaker, faced with the prospect of an intervention in their re-election campaign from the Jewish lobby, seems happy to put his or her re-election prospects way in front of what is good for America.”
Even President Barack Obama’s 2010 nomination of liberal Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court was interpreted by DYR as evidence of the power of the Jewish Lobby in America. As Henry Herskovitz wrote on DYR’s blog at the time: “An implied 40% quota on Jews able to serve on the highest court in the land is contained in the nomination of Elena Kagan by Barack Obama. (The fourth Jew would make it 4/9=44%).”