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October 5, 2012 5

Free Gaza Founder Embraced by Jewish Groups Despite Recent Anti-Semitic Tweet

Update, Octo­ber 10, 2012: Jew­ish Voice for Peace issued a state­ment on Octo­ber 7 announc­ing that it  is “dis­as­so­ci­at­ing our­selves from spon­sor­ship of Berlin’s cur­rent book tour in the U.S.” and would no longer endorse Free Gaza Movement-related activ­ity. The state­ment described Berlin’s expla­na­tions and apol­ogy as inad­e­quate, say­ing “We unfor­tu­nately don’t think her responses ade­quately address our con­cern about cir­cu­lat­ing anti-semitic materials.”

Greta Berlin, the co-founder of the Free Gaza Move­ment (FGM), is plan­ning to visit the West Coast next week to pro­mote her new book, Free­dom Sailors, which is about the tra­vails of the Free Gaza Move­ment and its boat cam­paigns to Gaza. Two Jew­ish anti-Zionist groups based in Los Ange­les, Jew­ish Voice for PeaceLA and LA Jews for Peace, are spon­sor­ing one of her appear­ances, which will take place next Thurs­day, Octo­ber 11, at the Lev­an­tine Cul­tural Center. 

Last week, Berlin posted a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic tweet to the FGM Twit­ter account, which she oper­ates, that claimed that Zion­ists “oper­ated the con­cen­tra­tion camps.” The tweet has since sparked sig­nif­i­cant media atten­tion and out­rage, even from some anti-Israel activists. Berlin and FGM sub­se­quently apol­o­gized, claim­ing that the tweet was an acci­dent and was only intended for Berlin’s Face­book page.

Berlin ini­tially claimed that she had not watched the video, which was titled “Zion­ists oper­ated the con­cen­tra­tion camps and helped mur­der mil­lions of inno­cent Jews,” and was unaware of its con­tent. Later, FGM issued an apol­ogy on its web­site offer­ing a dif­fer­ent rea­son for the alleged over­sight. The state­ment claimed that the post was intended to be received by a group of peo­ple on her Face­book page who were in the midst of a dis­cus­sion about “pro­pa­ganda and racism.” There is no evi­dence of this dis­cus­sion on Berlin’s Face­book page.

In fact, Berlin’s Face­book page con­tains sev­eral other recent hate­ful post­ings. On the same day Berlin posted the offend­ing tweet, she posted a pic­ture to her Face­book page of Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad shak­ing the hand of a mem­ber of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta. Berlin added the fol­low­ing com­men­tary: “if he hated jews so much, as he is often accused of, would he be warmly greet­ing some of them? what he hates is zion­ism, and so do i!”

Berlin is also sched­uled to make sev­eral other speak­ing appear­ances next week to pro­mote her book, includ­ing an appear­ance at UCLA, and var­i­ous stops in the Pacific Northwest.

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