'In the past 3 days, 4 massively powerful organizations with net assets totaling over a quarter of a billion dollars, have released aggressive statements condemning a small-town lecture at a small-town community college. Why is that?
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) – a global organization with thirty offices worldwide and net assets of almost $158 million – has taken a full-throated public stand against an event in sleepy Clovis, California, as has the Anti-Defamation League (ADL – with $81 million in assets), and StandWithUs (annual revenue: $12 million). A director of the Weisenthal Center, another global organization (with assets of $54 million) has spoken up as well.
What sort of lecture could bring down this type of condemnation? What sort of lecturer could elicit descriptions like “notorious for spreading vicious hate,” “noxious,” and “propagandist”?
And the most important question of all: when and where is this event? – because it sounds like a must-see. (Answer: 6:00 pm, September 18th at Clovis Community College Forum Hall, 10309 N Willow Ave, Fresno CA.)
The event was organized by GV Wire, a local news organization that, according to its website, strives to “objectively explore, explain and expose the complex policy issues that impact our lives…we also will not hesitate to shed light on anything that stands in the way of a healthier and more prosperous world.”
Only a handful of topics can generate such excessive censure – even fewer can activate such a high-powered defense team.
It’s about Israel. Not the startup tech part, or the spiritual tourism part.
The “apartheid” part, the “ethnic cleansing” part, and the “racism” part – the parts that are, to say the least, controversial. The parts that some say deserve exposure and robust debate; others call it hate speech and want it shut down.
Alison Weir is founder of If Americans Knew (mission statement here) and President of the Council for the National Interest (mission statement here). She has been writing and speaking about the Israel-Palestine issue for over eighteen years, advocating for transparency in the US government regarding aid to Israel, and calling for justice for Palestinians.
The two organizations she leads have always been extremely diverse, their boards and staffs including people of a variety of races and ethnicities, including Asian American, African American, Hispanic American, Jewish American, and Muslim American, to name a few.
Weir’s belief that “all Americans, regardless of their race, religion, or political perspective, have the responsibility and need to be fully informed about Israel-Palestine, since all of our tax money is going to the over $10 million per day that American politicians give to Israel.” Because mainstream media doggedly refuse to tell the truth about this issue (for example, read this, this, and this), she has dedicated her career to the task.
As a journalist, Weir has written many thoroughly cited, well-researched articles (some of them are here), as well as a book called Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel. She has also been interviewed by many news media, most of them liberal.
The charges and accusers
ADL Central Pacific Regional Director Seth Brysk declares, “Under the pretense of political activism, Weir routinely employs classic anti-Semitic tropes.” Brysk also maintains that Weir refers to Jews as “an object of hatred of all the peoples among whom it has established itself.”
CEO and cofounder of pro-Israel org StandWithUs Roz Rothstein, claims that Alison Weir promotes “vicious hate and wild conspiracy theories about Jews and Israel,” and asserts that the event sponsors will be “complicit in promoting antisemitism” unless they pull out of the venture entirely.
AJC Los Angeles describes Weir as “someone who seeks airtime on white supremacist shows and has promoted the medieval blood libel that Jews ritually murdered Christian children.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center argues that Weir “hates Israel, slanders Israel…she’s not a dialogue lady, she’s a propagandist.” He also questions why the event’s organizer did not bring in a speaker from the other side “to provide more balance on the issue.”