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!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • 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.