New York, NY, February 3, 2011 … The first stops of a national speaking tour that exploits the memory of the Holocaust to make incendiary and biased accusations against the State of Israel is already stirring discord on college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which described the 12-city campaign as "a blatant attempt to exploit the memory of the Holocaust as a tool to demonize Israel."
The national anti-Israel "Never Again for Anyone" tour intentionally uses Holocaust imagery to demonize the modern Jewish State, turning the story of Israel as a haven for Holocaust survivors on its head by portraying Israelis as Nazi-like persecutors of the Palestinian people.
"Despite promoting the tour as a call for an end to abuse of all minority groups, speakers at every event thus far have solely focused on demonizing Zionist ideology and comparing the Israeli government to Nazi Germany," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "They have misappropriated the message of "Never Again," a reference to a genocide of an entire people, in a blatant attempt to exploit the memory of the Holocaust as a tool to demonize Israel."
The tour has stops scheduled at churches and other venues in a dozen cities across the United States through Feb. 19, including Atlanta,Chicago,Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
At the first stops --Rutgers University in New Jersey, Barnard College in New York and the University of Maryland-- speakers described Israel as an "apartheid" state, referred to Israeli solders as Nazis and compared Israel's blockade of Gaza to a "concentration camp" or "ghetto." Featured speakers include two anti-Zionist Holocaust survivors, and several other activists.
The Rutgers event last weekend had been advertised online as free and open to the public. Tensions arose between event organizers and several hundred pro-Israel students who decided to attend, after the pro-Israel students were told they had to pay a fee to be admitted.
"There's clearly an effort on the part of the organizers to take a one-sided political message about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to take it to an extreme, where Israelis falsely portrayed as the guilty oppressor and the Palestinians are innocent victims," Mr. Foxman said. "Palestinian terrorism and incitement against Israel are ignored, as are Israel's efforts to negotiate a lasting peace."
The tour, which was purposefully timed to overlap with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, is sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an extreme anti-Israel group based in Chicago, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist-Network (IJAN) and the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), a Berkeley, CA-based anti-Israel organization.
AMP is facilitating and coordinating student advocacy in the U.S.through its outreach to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which was recently identified by ADL as one of the Top 10 anti-Israel groups inAmerica.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.