Leading New York City Jewish Historical Center Nixes Events Co-Sponsored by Anti-Zionist Group
by Ben Cohen
The New York City-based American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) has announced the cancellation of two upcoming events that were to have been staged in partnership with “Jewish Voice for Peace” — an extreme anti-Zionist group with no formal affiliation to the US Jewish community whose campaigns are generously supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
In a statement issued on Monday, Rachel Lithgow — the executive director of the AJHS — said the society was pulling the plug on “the Balfour Program scheduled for October 26th and the dramatic reading of ‘Rubble, Rubble,’ scheduled for December 14th.”
“While the programs themselves may have merit, they do not align with the mission of the AJHS,” Lithgow went on to say.
The “Balfour Program” refers to an October 26 event that would have featured Palestinian lawyer Jonathan Kuttab and American Jewish anti-Zionist Robert Herbst. Despite the cancellation, JVP is still promoting the event, which it bills as a discussion of the “ramifications” of the 1917 Balfour Declaration — in which British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour confirmed his government’s support for the establishment of a “Jewish national homeland in Palestine” — “for Palestinians and Jews living in Israel-Palestine today.”
Well-known in Western pro-Palestinian circles, Kuttab is a vocal advocate of the so-called “one-state solution” — the replacement of Israel with a single Palestinian state. In a 2009 LA Times op-ed on this subject, Kuttab presented Israel as a serial violator of minority rights, arguing, “The behavior of the Jewish majority toward the Palestinian citizens of Israel has not been magnanimous or tolerant. Where ethnic cleansing was insufficient, military rule, land confiscation and systemic discrimination have all been employed.”
Kuttab is also a member of the board of Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian organization that flatly denies any Jewish historical or indigenous connection to the land of Israel. According to an ADL briefing on the group, Sabeel’s “efforts to demonize Israel and Israelis have also featured charges of deicide against Jews; they have compared Palestinians to a modern-day Jesus and accused Israel of engaging in a ‘crucifixion’ of these Palestinians.” The ADL noted that Sabeel’s founder, Naim Ateek “explicitly said: ‘Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him…The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily,’ a highly offensive expression given centuries of Jewish oppression on the basis of deicide charges.”
The ADL also pointed out that Sabeel has “compared Israel to the Nazis, accusing Israel of committing a ‘Holocaust’ against Palestinians.”
The second, December 14, event canceled by the AJHS was to have featured the reading of a play entitled “Rubble, Rubble,” whose lead character is a Jewish anti-Zionist. On the website advertising the event, members of JVP were invited to purchase tickets with a hefty discount.
Both events had been scheduled to take place at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) in downtown Manhattan, which houses AJHS and four other Jewish organizations. A source familiar with the inner workings of the CJH told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that all five of its member organizations operate independently.