Federation Statement Regarding Ilan Pappe’s Upcoming Forum at The City Club of Cleveland

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The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is deeply disappointed that the City Club of Cleveland is hosting widely discredited historian Ilan Pappe on September 14th and have made our concerns known to City Club leadership.

Jewish Cleveland has unequivocally stood in defense of free speech and respectful discourse – but we also consistently stand against hate speech. We are saddened that the City Club would allow its civic platform to be co-opted by an anti-Semitic ideologue who seeks to delegitimize and demonize Israel.

Pappe has been described as “at best sloppiest, at worst one of the most dishonest” scholars who maliciously distorts research to appeal to Western audiences.1 He himself has said that his motivation is to “convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truth seekers.”2

One does not have to look long or hard to find Pappe’s efforts to promote a hatred of Israel, Jewish Israelis, and Zionists everywhere. For example, he has propagated the false conspiracy theory that the Israeli government intends to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque3 – a blatant lie that has incited terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. He has also written that he dreams of a day “when Zionism will be defeated as the ideology that governs our lives between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea”.4

We as a Jewish people have stood up against anti-Semitism across the generations. Sadly, when speakers like Pappe find a platform at the City Club and at local universities, it is a painful reminder that our work to bridge cultural divides and foster mutual respect is far from done. We look forward to working with the leadership of the City Club to ensure it remains the citadel of free speech – not hate speech.

Should you have any questions, please contact Jessica Cohen at jcohen@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2782 in the Federation’s Community Relations Department.

1 https://newrepublic.com/article/85344/ilan-pappe-sloppy-dishonest-historian
2 http://www.ee.bgu.ac.il/~censor/katz-directory/$99-11-29loos-pappe-interview.htm
3 Ilan Pappe, “Destruction of al-Aqsa is no conspiracy theory,” The Electronic Intifada, https://electronicintifada.net/, 11/10/15)
4 http://electronicintifada.net/content/family-one-thousandth-victim-israels-genocidal-slaughter-gaza/13648

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