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Independent Jewish Voices apologize for links to far-right website, accuse B’nai Brith of ‘slander’

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Independent Jewish Voices said that it had “thoughtlessly linked to” an article by anti-Zionist journalist Alan Hart SCREENSHOT

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) has issued an apology for February 2015 postings on its Facebook page and Twitter feed that linked to an article on a website that supports Holocaust denial and various conspiracy theories.

IJV said that it had “thoughtlessly linked to” the article, titled “A truth most Jews don’t want to know about anti-Semitism,” by anti-Zionist journalist Alan Hart and published on Veterans Today, but it stressed that, “like Hart, IJV strongly condemns anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial of any kind.”

Veterans Today has been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Law Poverty Center as a white supremacist hate site, and accuses Jews of being responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.

Independent Jewish Voices said that it had “thoughtlessly linked to” an article by anti-Zionist journalist Alan Hart
Independent Jewish Voices said that it had “thoughtlessly linked to” an article by anti-Zionist journalist Alan Hart

Inserted into Hart’s article is an editor’s note that reads, in part, “One of the most prevalent abuses of what is called the holocaust is the ritual exploitation of numbers which have long been debunked, but are still continually abused.”

IJV, which has been criticized for promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, said in its statement that the postings were “an oversight.” It removed them June 7, apparently in response to a press release by B’nai Brith Canada that publicized the postings and denounced IJV.

IJV’s statement referred to Hart, who has claimed the Mossad was behind the 9/11 attacks, as a “widely respected journalist and Mid-East expert,” and called B’nai Brith’s press release “slanderous.”

B’nai Brith had declared that the IJV “promotes Holocaust denial” and questioned IJV’s identification as a Jewish organization. It noted that the group’s spokesperson, Tyler Levitan, “has been given a prominent place in reporting by the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and Canadian Press on the recent failure of an anti-boycott bill in the Ontario legislature.”

B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn condemned IJV for “masquerading as a representative Jewish group,” adding: “These postings cement the notion that IJV is a Jewish fig leaf for neo-Nazis and anti-Semitism… and provides a cover for those who would peddle anti-Semitism under the guise of radical anti-Zionism.”

Amanda Hohmann, B’nai Brith’s national director of the League for Human Rights, said the IJV post was first unearthed by campus affairs co-ordinator Aidan Fishman, whose role includes responding to complaints about anti-Semitism.

“We’ve had a couple complaints from people in the community about [IJV] and about the media… giving them a platform, especially around the recent BDS motion,” Hohmann told The CJN.

She said B’nai Brith’s June 7 release is the first in a series the group is planning to issue that will “expose what IJV is all about.”

Hohmann added: “The fact a ‘Jewish’ group is linking to anything on Veterans Today is completely insane… We’ll be doing follow-ups on other posts and on IJV’s connection to other far right-wing sources.”

Scott Weinstein, a member of IJV’s steering committee, told The CJN that his organization is “guilty of sloppy social media use, but it’s a real leap of logic to say we deny the Holocaust.”

He said IJV takes full responsibility for failing to carefully examine the website that Hart’s article was posted on, but now acknowledges that Veterans Today is “a disreputable site.”

“We’re not Holocaust deniers, and we take as a given that it was six million Jews who were murdered and it was an atrocity,” he said.

Weinstein said the editor’s note in Hart’s article may have been added after IJV linked to the piece, but he’s not sure.

“B’nai Brith is part of a strategy that refuses at all costs to have a rigorous, factual and honest discussion about what’s going on in Israel and Palestine. So what they do is resort to slandering critics of Israel and supporters of Palestinian human rights in any way they can. They call us anti-Semites, they Jew-shame us. That’s their game,” he said.