Pro-Palestinian Activist's Book Talks Scrapped

Calif. Stores Cancel Readings by Free Gaza's Greta Berlin

By JTA

Published October 18, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Free Gaza Movement co-founder Greta Berlin, who has come under fire for tweeting that Zionists created and ran the Nazi concentration camps, had book talks canceled by at least two California venues.

Book Passage canceled Berlin’s talk scheduled for Sunday at its flagship location in Corte Madera. UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies had canceled her Oct. 9 talk.

Both appearances were part of Berlin’s national book tour to promote “Freedom Sailors,” her newly published account of the Free Gaza Movement’s boat campaigns to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Kal Raustiala, associate vice provost for international studies at UCLA, wrote in an email to j., “My understanding is that the [interim] co-directors of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies thought the most appropriate action, in light of recent events involving Ms. Berlin, was to cancel the talk.”

On Sept. 30, Berlin tweeted that “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews.” Her tweet appeared on the Free Gaza Movement Twitter account with a link to a video claiming an alliance between Hitler and the Zionist movement. The tweet has since been deleted, but Avi Mayer, head of social media for the Jewish Agency, preserved a screenshot that has been widely distributed.

Although Berlin later said her tweets were taken out of context, pro-Palestinian groups have rushed to disassociate themselves from her. Jewish Voice for Peace canceled its sponsorship of her book tour, and in an Oct. 8 statement, former Free Gaza Movement board members said Berlin’s excuse was inadequate.

However, a letter signed by more than 100 Palestinian activists disavowing anti-Semitism within their ranks said that the Palestinian struggle is “opposed to all forms of racism and bigotry, including, but not limited to, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia [and] Zionism.”

The latter comment put Jewish groups on guard.

Steven Bayme, director of the Contemporary Jewish life Department at the American Jewish Committee, was quoted in a Daily Beast article Oct. 16 as saying that whatever its intent, the letter “remained a statement aimed at the delegitimization of Israel, equating Israel with policies of racism and apartheid.”

Not every venue has canceled Berlin’s book talk. She appeared Oct. 11 at the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where a staffer said the event was sponsored by Code Pink and L.A. Jews for Peace.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.