One prominent no-show at the ZOA gathering was Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.
Schwartz, a convert to Islam and a former Washington correspondent for the Forward, was scheduled to speak Tuesday about Saudi Arabia. But days earlier, his name was quietly removed from the press release on the ZOA’s Web site promoting the event.
Mort Klein, national president of the ZOA, said that Schwartz was removed because of a scheduling conflict. But Schwartz said he had no conflict, and that was removed from the schedule because of an e-mail campaign criticizing some of his past writings on Iran and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon. Those opposing his appearance also noted that Schwartz, who was born to a Jewish father, had become a Muslim.