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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Monday, September 25, 2017

The new CEO of the Center for Jewish History (CJH), David N. Myers, is a leader of the New Israel Fund, and holds leadership positions at IfNotNow and J Street. Myers also has extreme viewpoints — including supporting “some forms” of boycotts against Israel.

CJH, which serves as the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States, has made an unfit choice in Mr. Myers.

Myers’ writings (which are available for perusal at Nakbaeducation.com) include claiming “that the deep wound of the Nakba must finally be exposed to the light of day.”

He has also written of “…the essential step of acknowledging Israel’s role in the dispossession of Palestinian Arabs,” and quotes Uri Avinery’s wartime memoir, which alleges “cruelty, indifference and violence by Israeli soldiers towards Palestinian Arabs.”

IfNotNow — a group that Myers made an impassioned December 2016 fundraising appeal for — is an organization dedicated to “stopping the occupation,” and “wants mainstream American Jewish organizations to publicly oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.” According to Haaretz, the organization holds “…sit-ins in the lobbies of buildings housing Jewish groups” to protest them for not condemning Israel’s West Bank “occupation.” The group’s members have been arrested while holding sit-ins at the Anti-Defamation League, Hillel International, AIPAC and the Jewish Federation — and they refuse to meet with the leaders of these organizations.

Myers — who was honored by Peace Now in 2014 — has regularly cowritten op-eds with the head of the New Israel Fund, where he calls for Arabs in the settlements to be made Israeli citizens (which would end the Jewish character of Israel). And while Myers writes of mostly opposing the “boycott of Israel,” he also says that the BDS movement should not be “demonized.”

In a May 2016 op-ed in The Forward, Myers observed that “…Israeli democracy is under threat. Incitement against human rights organizations proceeds with little trace of official censure; cabinet ministers aim to impose new ideological litmus tests in the realm of education and culture; government-sponsored bills place Jews on a higher plane than other citizens, and the State’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi declares that ‘Israel is first and foremost Jewish, and only then democratic.'”

Myers also recently described himself as a “fierce critic of Netanyahu and the immoral and destructive policies of his government.”

Is a fierce critic of Israel’s leader an appropriate choice to head such an institution as the CJH?

According to Campus Watch, Myers “employed all the usual clichés — ‘cycle of violence,” ‘disproportionately harsh’ — to single Israel out as ‘the most responsible party’ for the ‘escalating violence’ in a July 2006 Los Angeles Times op-ed. In a piece titled ‘Rethinking the Jewish Nation,‘ which was published in the Winter 2011 edition of the Havruta Journal, Myers argued that ‘Statist Zionism’ should give way to a ‘global Jewish collective.'”

Individuals who hold views such as Myers’ should not hold positions of leadership in the Jewish community. David Myers must be terminated as CEO of the Center for Jewish History.

UPDATE: 9/10/17

Not only is Mr. Myers a leader of If Not Now When, J Street & New Israel Fund, Myers is also an Academic Advisory Board Member for Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) which the Anti-Defamation League has named one of the ten most influential and active Anti-Israel organizations.  Myers condemned a report issued by UC Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion about Jewish students coming under siege on campus by Anti-Israel forces, claiming rather in an open letter that the  ADL was a “well-known rightwing group”, which “..has become known for accusing critics of Israel of being anti-Semitic and denouncing Palestinian rights supporters, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.” 

The incoming head of “…the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States is part of an organization that opposed efforts to adopt the State Department definition of anti-Semitism.  Jewish Voices for Peace today feature in the media urging “young Jews not to take part in Birthright Israel trips.”  He may be a great historian, but the fact that David Myers is actively involved in leadership positions with these organizations should preclude him from holding any communal Jewish leadership position. 

It goes on - Myers made a December 2016 fundraising appeal for If Not Now When – a radical activist organization which according to Haaretz holds “…sit-ins in the lobbies of buildings housing Jewish groups” to protest their not loud enough condemnation of Israel’s West Bank “occupation.” Their members have been arrested while holding sit-ins at the Hillel International, AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federation, and they refuse to meet with those Jewish leaders as they claim there’s nothing to dialogue about.

Simone Zimmerman, the founder of If Not Now was fired by Bernie Sanders during his Presidential campaign for posting a profanity-laced rant on Facebook, “Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative asshole. F— you, Bibi, for daring to insist that you legitimately represent even a fraction of the Jews in this world, for your consistent fear-mongering, for pushing Israel in word and deed, farther and farther away from the international community, and most importantly, for trying to derail a potentially historic diplomatic deal with Iran and thus trying to distract the world from the fact that you sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people this summer.” Myers responded with an impassioned defense of Ms. Zimmerman, detailing her as “the future of American Jewry”, a “beneficiary of the best Jewish education our community offers” someone with a “deep and abiding connection to Judaism and Israel.”

If Not Now When is the future of American Jewry?  Opposing organizations that oppose the entire the spectrum of mainstream American Jewry, including ADL, AIPAC, Hillel and more is the choice of  The Center for Jewish History which encompasses the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardic Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, YIVO and the Yeshiva University Museum?

As Harvard professor Ruth Wisse said “the rapid demoralization of Jews in the face of anti-Zionism… shows the depth of the influence of the past, for many have yet to achieve the simple self-respect that has been eluding the Jews collectively since the dawn of modernity.”

Aside from the unsuitability of someone heading a central Jewish organization and being active in the  above extremist associations, there is the fact that it is only natural that they cloud his views.  Would a hunting meat lover be named head of PETA? Would someone who can't stand baseball be named the head of Major League Baseball? Standing with anti-Zionists at Jewish Voices for Peace and If Not Now When clearly makes one unsuitable to head a Jewish institution with the longterm and widespread influence of The Center for Jewish History.

By: Ronn Torossian, Hank Sheinkopf & George Birnbaum

Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former president Bill Clinton. Ronn Torossian is CEO of one of America’s largest privately held public relations firms, and the award-winning author of “For Immediate Release.” George Birnbaum is a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.