Did Head of Anti-Israel Organization Anna Baltzer Fabricate Background to Gain Legitimacy?
by Zach Pontz
Anna Baltzer was named head of an organization called the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation partly because of a background she promotes as being “legitimate.” She claims she is a descendant of Holocaust survivors who had an epiphany and discovered that Israel and “Zionists” were exploiting and abusing the Palestinian people. An article on the Gatestone Institute’s website, however, claims that Baltzer has been the one doing the exploiting.
According to the article written by Lee Kaplan, Baltzer’s appointment “was intended to convince both Jews and non-Jews that opposition to Israel’s existence is fine because even Jews such as her believe in the necessity of destroying the Jewish state, especially through boycotts and divestment.”
The article continues that Baltzer “has claimed she comes from a Jewish family in which her grandparents were Holocaust survivors; that she was a Fulbright Scholar from Columbia University, and that at first she was pro-Israel. After touring with Fulbright in 2003 in Turkey, she alleges she visited ‘Palestine,’ Syria and Iran and met ‘friends’ who ‘educated’ her on the suffering of the Palestinians at Israeli hands, so that today she is a dedicated anti-Zionist. She included a cry at the end of an interview recorded in Ireland in 2010 on an anti-Israel radio station that it is her hope ‘Inshallah,’ to one day bring down Zionism” — meaning to end the Jewish state.”
In fact, a check of her Twitter page reveals that she refers to herself as a “Jewish-American Columbia graduate, former-Fulbright scholar, the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees, lecturer, author, and activist for Palestinian rights.”
Kaplan did a check on these facts, and apparently he came up empty.
“There is just one problem with this scenario,” he writes. “According to my research, Anna Baltzer never went on a Birthright tour of Israel in the year 2000 or any other time. Inquiries to the New York and Israel offices to ascertain if she went with Birthright, revealed absolutely no record of any Anna Baltzer attending the program ever, let alone in year 2000. In short, it seems that Anna Baltzer lied about her participation in Birthright to convey the false impression that she was once a loyal Jew who supported the Jewish homeland but had discovered the justification for Palestinians’ goals to overthrow Israel.
“Further, after researching Ms. Baltzer’s claims of being a Fulbright Scholar from Columbia in 2003, it has been determined from both Columbia’s and the Fulbright websites, as well as Fulbright officials, that Anna Baltzer was never a Fulbright scholar either. ”
Baltzer is expected to appear in a debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be presented by the Oxford Union in England on January 31st. Oxford Union describes itself as “the world’s most prestigious debating society.” When reached for comment, Kaplan notes that “The Oxford Union’s President was distressed to learn these facts about Ms. Baltzer’s academic fraud and said she would share such information with the faculty advisers with the possible outcome of her being removed from the debate.”
Update: Gatestone Institute has removed the article from its website after it surfaced that Baltzer may have served her stint as a Fulbright scholar under a different surname.