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!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • 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.