The Jewish Community Center of Manhattan (JCC) has announced that is is hosting a “conversation” on March 17th with Avraham Burg, a former Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset who recently joined the Israeli Communist party and has declared that “Zionism is over.”
Advertisements for the event do not mention Burg’s extremist record since leaving Israeli politics.
In September 2003, as buses were exploding all over Israel, he wrote an op-ed titled “The end of Zionism” in The Guardian and in the French daily Le Monde which justified Palestinian terrorism. He wrote:
Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated.
In 2015 Burg declared yet again in Yediot Achronot, a major Israeli newspaper that “Zionism is over,” appearing to justify terrorists who kill Israelis.
A profile in The New York Times noted, “[Burg] said that Israel should not be a Jewish state, that its law of return granting citizenship to any Jew should be radically altered, that Israeli Arabs were like German Jews during the Second Reich and that the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of Hitler.”
Burg supports a boycott of all products from the settlements, and says that Israel should dismantle the memorial of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem. In interviews, Burg says that “The Holocaust is a national strategy; or rather, trauma is a national strategy. The leadership promotes trauma, since it enables many things which a secure State and a secure society would not tolerate.”
Burg compares the Law of Return, which singles out Jews, to rule under Nazi Germany, noting, “The Law of Return is an apologetic law. It is the mirror image of Hitler. I don’t want Hitler to define my identity.”
Ari Shavit, a writer for the left-wing Israel newspaper Haaretz, said of a recent book Burg authorized that this “book is anti-Israel in the deepest sense. It is a book from which loathing of Israeliness emanates.” Shavit sees the book as “an unempathetic attack on the Israeli experience.”
Avraham Burg is a leader of New Israel Fund, a leader of their International Council as can be seen on the NIF website. This is not the first time the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan has hosted radical left-wing extremists.
George Birnbaum is a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications, is a political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former president Bill Clinton.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of a top 20 US PR agency, and author of For Immediate Release.