ZOA: Hostile-to-Israel Propagandist David Myers Should Not Lead Center for Jewish History
News Press Release
September 18, 2017

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

After investigating David Myers’ anti-Israel agenda-driven “history scholarship,” other writings, affiliations and involvements with anti-Israel organizations, and his anti-Israel activities at UCLA, the ZOA is convinced that David Myers should not head the Center for Jewish History (“CJH”), and should be removed from this post, for the following reasons:

First, Myers’ “history scholarship” and writings focus on locating, elevating and promoting false and/or outright fictional accounts libeling Israeli Jews and Israel – while ignoring or disparaging truthful pro-Israel history as “myths.”  This is extraordinarily harmful and dangerous at a time when Jews and Israel are being defamed throughout the world, causing increased anti-Jewish violence.  The Center for Jewish History is the largest Jewish history center in the world outside of Israel, and needs to be a force that promotes truthful historical facts.  The truthful facts confirm Israel’s and the Jewish people’s rights and decency, and the brutal Arab “holy war” against Israel; the truth is on our side.  Yet, Myers consistently ignores and disparages and seeks to undermine the pro-Israel truth.  Judging from David Myers’ own writings, David Myers’ leadership of the Center for Jewish History could very well turn CJH into an institution that uses its vast resources and extensive public programming to join the defamatory assault against Israel and pro-Israel Jews.  The best that could be hoped for under Myers’ leadership, is that CJH will do nothing to try to stem the tsunami of anti-Israel defamation.  Further, allowing Myers to be the Center for Jewish History’s CEO gives Myers’ existing and future false, misleading, hostile-to-Israel writings and statements an underserved aura of respectability and credibility.  Neither CJH nor the Jewish community can afford to endanger our community this way. 

Myers’ Fictional “Nakba” Claims on the JVP “Nakba Education Project” Website:

A prime example of this problem is Myers’ defamatory use of fiction and falsifications to promote Big Lie “Nakba” claims that Israel brutalized and forcibly expelled the Palestinian Arabs in 1948-1949. “Nakba” is the Arabic term meaning that Israel’s rebirth was a “catastrophe.”  Myers’ “Nakba” narrative also ignores six Arab nations’ 1948-1949 invasion of Israel to murder every Jew in the newly reborn state, and the Arabs’ killing of one percent of Israel’s population at that time, committing real atrocities against innocent Jews.

David Myers’ lengthy article entitled “Victory and Sorrow,” which promotes fictional and false “Nakba” claims, is featured on the website of “The Nakba Education Project” –  a propaganda project of the notorious anti-Israel group “Jewish Voice for Peace” (“JVP”).  JVP is a leader of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and delegitimizaton movements.  Even the leftwing Anti-Defamation League named JVP as one of the “top 10 anti-Israel groups; the worst of the worst.” 

The fact that JVP’s Nakba Education Project Inc. features Myers’ article reveals that Myers and JVP are “on the same page” in their extremist anti-Israel views – regardless of JVP’s recent attempt to downplay Myers’ involvements with JVP, in order to try to help Myers remain as head of the Center for Jewish History.  JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson recently wrote a three-line letter claiming that David Myers “has never in any way been affiliated with any Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) leadership body.” Vilkomerson’s letter is belied by an official JVP publication, JVP’s March 2016 Strategy Brief, which states that David Myers is a “JVP Academic Advisory Board Member.”  (Also note the misleading wording of Vilkomerson’s letter:  She does not deny that Myers is involved with JVP as a “JVP Academic Advisory Board Member.”) 

Ultimately, Myers’ opposition to “the ideology of Statist Zionist” seems to simply be another way to cleave the Jewish people from their land, and to empower far leftwing voices such as his, which want to redefine Judaism into an ideology that bears no resemblance to faith and love for the Jewish homeland maintained by the Jewish people for thousands of years.

Myers’ article on the JVP “Nakba Education Project” website glowingly praises a fictional novella entitled “Khirbet Khizeh,” by S. Yizhar, which portrays Israeli soldiers brutally occupying and expelling residents of a fictional Palestinian-Arab town called “Khirbet Khizeh.”  The novella’s protagonist cries out against Israeli “colonizers” and claims that the land does not belong to the Jews.  Myers gleefully crows that “Yizhar painted a vivid portrait of expulsion,” and “rattles this myth of the noble Sabra and his purity.”  Myers also opines that Yizkar’s story “so richly deserves” expanded readership among the English-speaking public, and that “the Nakba must finally be exposed to the light of day.”  Myers also demeans Jewish “virtue” as merely a “carefully cultivated Zionist image.”

In addition to promoting the completely fictional “Khirbet Khizeh” in his article on the JVP “Nakba Education Project” website, Myers’ article champions “new historians,” etc. to try to undermine the well-documented truth of the Arab League’s responsibility for creating Palestinian-Arab refugees, while ignoring the vast sources to the contrary. 

However, Myers ignores all favorable-to-Israel statements by the very same “new historians” work whom Myers cites in his article on the JVP “Nakba Education Project” website.  For instance, Myers cites the leftwing Benny Morris – but never mentions that Benny Morris wrote that “the 1948 war was an Islamic holy war” and that “the central element in the war was an imperative to launch jihad”; and that Israel, its government, the IDF, Haganah and Revisionist forces had “no policy of expulsion” and that “for the most part the Arabs simply fled” (although 160,000 Arabs remained in Israel, which has grown to 1.6 million today), and that, on the other hand, “Arab countries carried out ethnic cleansing and uprooted all the Jews, down to the last one, from any territory they captured in 1948 – for example, the Jordanians in Gush Etzion and Jerusalem’s Old City, and the Syrians in Masada, Sha’ar Hagolan and Mishmar Hayarden. The Jews, on the other hand, left Arabs in place in Haifa and Jaffa, and in the villages along the country’s main traffic arteries – the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway – a fact that does not conform with the claim of successful’ ethnic cleansing.”  Benny Morris also noted that “many [Arabs who fled from Israel in 1948] somehow returned, [and] were allowed to stay and became citizens of the Jewish state.”  (Israel Conducted No Ethnic Cleansing in 1948,” by Benny Morris, HaAretz, Oct. 10, 2016.)

Myers also ignores the numerous factual sources that belie his “Nakba” claims.  Contemporaneous British police reports (a source that was not inclined to be favorable towards the Jews), as well as Arab refugee accounts in the Arab press, Arab leaders’ statements and memoirs, and numerous other independent sources documented that Arab leaders told the Arabs to leave, while Israeli Jews and Jewish leaders begged the Arabs to stay in their homes and live together in peace.  Many Arabs did stay, and are full citizens of Israel today.  Israel has Arab Members of Knesset, doctors, lawyers and Supreme Court Justices. 

The Arab High Committee and six Arab nations who invaded the fledgling State of Israel in 1948, told the Arabs to leave, to make the job of killing Israel’s Jews easier.  For instance, Iraqi Arab Prime Minister Nuri al-Said declared: “We will smash the Jews with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in.  The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down.”  (See, e.g., “Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine,” by Shmuel Katz, listing sources.)  Former Syrian Prime Minister Khalid al-Azm wrote in his 1972 memoirs “It is we [the Arab nations] who made them [Arab refugees] leave.”  

But Myers never mentions these accurate historical sources.  Instead, Myers calls the historical facts that Arabs fled their homes of their own volition or at the behest of Arab leaders as a doubtful “received account,” and quotes a leftist leader’s statement that Jews “deluded themselves into the belief that we didn’t expel the Arabs.”

Moreover, Myers’ article does not even acknowledge that surrounding Arab countries went to war to obliterate Israel and every Jew living there, invaded Israel in 1948-1949, killed one percent of Israel’s Jewish population, and illegally seized lands designated under the mandate for the Jewish homeland, including the old city of Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria – and that the 1948-1949 War of Independence was a defensive war for survival.  Instead, Myers falsely portrays Israelis brutalizing and expelling resident Arabs.

Myers’ article on the JVP “Nakba Education Project” website also promotes the Big Lie of a “Dir Yassin massacre” – which in fact never occurred.  Dir Yassin was a base of Arab forces near the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road that was preventing passage of food convoys to Jerusalem (in an attempt to starve out Jerusalem’s Jewish residents).  The so-called “Dir Yasin massacre” was in fact a fierce two-way battle between Arab and Jewish fighters in which the Jewish fighters were pinned down by Arab sniper fire.  One third (40 out of 120) of the Jewish fighters were killed.  Many of the Jewish casualties resulted from the Jewish forces attempting to issue an advance warning to Palestinian civilians to get out of the line of fire, causing the Jewish forces to lose the critical element of surprise.  Many of the approximately 100 Arab casualties resulted from the Arab fighters barricading themselves into civilian homes along with civilians, and Arab fighters dressed in women’s clothing to attack the Jewish fighters and make it difficult for the Jewish boys to tell who was a civilian and who was not.  In other words, there was no massacre.

Myers’ also omits the Arabs’ numerous deliberate well-planned massacres of Jews, in Hebron, Jerusalem-Hadassah Hospital, Kfar Etzion, Safad and many others, including the well-planned attack four days after the Dir Yassin battle, in which Arab forces slaughtered a civilian convey of 70 Jewish doctors, nurses, medical school professors and patients on their way to treat sick patients at Hadassah Hospital.

There is much more. 

Myers “Scholarship”: Digging Up An Obscure Long-Dead Professor’s Unpublished Chapter to Malign Israel:

Myers’ 2009 book, “Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz” (Amazon) also confirms that Myers is fixated on trying to portray Israel as brutally wronging innocent Arabs in 1948.  The book’s Amazon listing explains that “at the heart of Myers’ book is a chapter that Rawidowicz wrote . . . but never published [that] called for an end to discrimination against Arabs resident in Israel—and more provocatively, for the repatriation of Arab refugees from 1948.” 

The leftwing Forward’s review of David Myers’ book states that: “from reading Rawidowicz, and Myers’s excellent assessment of him, one can surmise that the moral crisis in Israel is not the result of the war in 1967 or the intifadas in 1987 and 2000.  Instead, the crisis begins in 1948, with Israel refusing to offer protection to the Arab refugees, most of whom were innocent victims of a bloody war, and then making it unreasonably difficult for those who remained to acquire citizenship in a new Jewish state that was envisioned by its architects as a model for tolerance.”

It is of course somewhat unseemly to publish a chapter that an unknown professor who died in 1957 never bothered to publish and may no longer have believed after he wrote it.  But leaving that aside, the book reveals that Myers’ “history scholarship” consists of finding any scrap of writing – fiction, an unpublished chapter purportedly written by an obscure professor who died sixty years ago, out-of-context pieces of leftwing “new historians” work – to try to defame Israel.  Myers may very well do the same as head of CJH.

Myers Falsely Blames Israel for Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and Condemns Essential Israeli Security Measures to Stop Terrorist Attacks:

Myers also falsifies history to whitewash and blame the anti-Israel anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on Israel, and condemn Israeli security measures.  Myers falsely asserts:

[W]e kid ourselves if we don’t recognize that there would be no BDS movement if there were no occupation of the West Bank and ongoing denial of Palestinian national rights.  BDS took rise in July 2005, after the collapse of the Second Intifada and the Oslo peace process.  Its first declared goal was to end the occupation of the West BankUnlike prior Palestinian actions, it is a nonviolent form of protest against the ongoing denial of self-determination to the Palestinian people. . . Israel is the far stronger party in the conflict and continues to suppress the Palestinians through a system of land expropriations, checkpoints, security raids, intelligence operations and the invasive security barrier.  This is politically and morally unsustainable.  It’s not enough to fight BDS; one must fight the occupation: . . . [I]t is imperative to fight the root cause of BDS, which is not anti-Semitism, but rather the occupation.”  (“Another Way to Think About BDS,” by David N. Myers, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Oct. 14, 2015.)

Myers’ statement is wrong in numerous respects.  In fact, Arab anti-Jewish boycotts began before Israel was even a newly reborn state, and long before Israel recaptured Judea/Samaria and the old city of Jerusalem from their illegal Jordanian occupiers in 1967.  Arabs began boycotting Jews in the pre-state yishuv in the 1920s, and the Arab League Boycott (the precursor to wider BDS) began in 1945.  The modern call for totally economically isolating and sanctioning Israel occurred at the 2001 Durban conference, near the beginning of the deadly Second Intifada.  This opening BDS call in Durban – and the 2005 BDS call – were and continue to be another form of warfare against the Jewish state – not a “nonviolent form of protest,” as Myers claims. 

Further, the BDS movement’s first declared goal in 2005 was not merely “to end occupation of the West Bank,” as Myers falsely asserts.  The BDS movement call’s first and continuing declared goal was and is to “end [Israel’s] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.”  (See July 9, 2005 Call for BDS.)  This means ending all of Israel, all of which is viewed as an “occupation” and “colonization” of Muslim lands by the radical rejectionist groups who are the real sponsors of the BDS Movement, including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other PLO and PA-constituent entities, and the PA itself.  (See Unmasking BDS: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends, by Dan Diker, Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs.) 

It is also alarming that Myers’ disparages essential, life-saving Israeli security measures as “morally unsustainable suppression of Palestinians.”  As a historian, Myers should know that Israel had to establish checkpoints, intelligence and security operations and the security fence to finally successfully put a stop to the Second Intifada (2000-2005), in which Palestinian-Arab terrorists murdered over 1,000 innocent Jews and wounded about 10,000 innocent Jews.

In his “Another Way to Think About BDS” article, Myers also states: “I can’t join in the rising chorus of demonization against [BDS].”  Thus, according to Myers’ convoluted logic, the demonizers are the pro-Israel advocates who are trying to stop the libelous demonization of Israel.

And in a recent article, Myers condemns an Israeli bill that would bar entry to non-Israelis who “knowingly issued a public call to impose a boycott on the State of Israel.”  This bill simply attempted to bar entry of persons promoting economic and political warfare against the Jewish State.  However, in order to demonize Israel, Myers speculates that Israel is soon going to bar people for mere ideological differences.  (“Would Ahad Ha’am Be Denied Entry to Israel Today?,” Jewish Journal, by David N. Myers, Apr. 5, 2017.)   

Myers’ “Ahad Ha’am” article also defends “targeted BDS”: calling it “prominent Israeli and Diaspora Jews” who boycott Israeli “settlement products,” and falsely claims that these so-called targeted boycotts are “a very different matter than calling for an academic, cultural or economic boycott of the State of Israel.”  In fact, both so-called targeted boycotts and full BDS are anti-Semitic discrimination, and basically equivalent.  For instance, boycott promoter “Partners for Progressive Israel” began with a “targeted boycott” and then expanded the boycott to the Israel within the Green Line because “everything is intertwined.”

Myers also falsely claims that those calling for full BDS “are a much more marginal group” – when in fact “full BDS” calls and activities are the norm.

Myers’ writings are thus again the words of a pro-Palestinian, hostile-to-Israel propagandist – not writings of an objective historian.

Further, Myers’ characterization of the Jewish presence in the old city (eastern portion) of Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria as an “occupation” in this article, and throughout his writings, is wrong:  Israel is entitled to these areas under international law, and cannot be an occupier of the lands to which she is entitled to.   See further discussion of this issue below. 

Myers Falsely Denies the Rampant Anti-Israel Incitement in Palestinian-Arab Textbooks; and Mischaracterizes Israeli and Palestinian-Arab Textbooks as Similarly Problematic:

In May 2017, David Myers’ used an isolated, dishonest, highly flawed, much-criticized February 2013 “study” to deny the rampant incitement contained in Palestinian-Arab textbooks: Myers wrote that Palestinian-Arab schoolbooks have “little evidence of dire demonization” towards Jews and Israelis, and misleadingly asserted that “both sides” neglect or distort the depiction of the “other.”  (“The Importance of Learning the Other’s Past,” by David N. Myers, (L.A.) Jewish Journal, May 12, 2017.)  

Myers’ also falsely called the study a “2013 study sponsored by the U.S. State Department” to try to give the study undeserved credibility (Id.) – despite the fact that, as the Israeli government response to the 2013 study had pointed out: “While the project did receive a State Department grant in 2008 [at the early stage], the US government had no involvement with the methodology or findings of the study and has not lent its support to the actual report.” (See The ‘Victims of Our Own Narratives’ Study: Analysis and Response Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs,” reprinted at the NGO Monitor website.)

Myers and the 2013 study ignore the overwhelming evidence – including the 2013 study’s actual raw data; actual Palestinian Authority textbooks; and the repeated studies that demonstrate beyond any doubt that anti-Israel incitement permeates Palestinian-Arab textbooks at every grade level, while Israeli textbooks teach co-existence.

Israel’s response to the 2013 study provided 21 actual examples of false and vicious anti-Israel aspects of PA textbooks and related educational materials that were completely ignored by the 2013 study.  (Id., pp. 4-18.)  Myers also ignores all these examples.  These ignored examples included, for instance, PA/PLO sponsored stories for children saying: “We will return to the cities and villages which the Zionist occupier stole by force in 1948,holding up Hitler as a role model who killed Jews “so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world,” and saying that “if you love death . . . then you are a Palestinian”; Arabic language textbooks stating “the Occupation . . . is a group of people that attacked our land, scared the people, killed some of them and exiled them from the place where they lived. . . . One day we shall certainly return to our land . . . when we are equipped,” and “snakes invaded us,” and “Your enemies killed your children, split open your women’s bellies, held your revered elderly men by the beard, and led them to the death pits”; Arabic language tests asking students to punctuate the sentence “Do not view the occupier as human“; religious affairs textbooks calling Jews “greedy, avaricious, coward, weak, envious and humiliated” and stating that “Misery and avarice are among the Jews’ prominent traits, alongside cowardliness….Stirring up dissension and creating corruption in the land are among the Jews’ traits” and prohibiting befriending Jews and Christians; a First Grade textbook describing a play in which an Israeli soldier with a religious head covering aims a rifle at an elderly Palestinian man and woman; a language textbook celebrating martyrdom with lines such as “The sound of the clashing [swords] is pleasant to my ear, And the flow of blood makes my soul happy, And a corpse thrown to the earth, over which the predators of the desert fight”; and the PA Education Ministry’s “Foundations of Belief” textbook which urges finding Jews and killing them.

The Israeli response to the 2013 study also documented the anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian-Arab leaders of the council that sponsored the 2013 study.  (Id., pp. 18-19.)  In addition, Israel’s response noted that even the flawed 2013 study found “that in Palestinian textbooks, 84% of the descriptions of the other are very negative or negative, 87% of the descriptions of the other’s actions are very negative or negative, and jihad is the number one value (together with cooperation) attributed to the self-community.”   

Also see Whitewashing Hate,” by Itamar Marcus, Palestinian Media Watch, first published in the Jerusalem Post, Feb. 10, 2013, further discussing the 2013 study’s serious flaws.

Still another detailed critique of the 2013 study found that the study “systematically exaggerates the faults in Israeli textbooks and downplays those found in the Palestinians’.  Its methodology tends to distort the raw data rather than analyze it, usually to the detriment of the Israeli education system.  Put simply, it makes every possible effort to create the impression that Israeli and Palestinian attitudes toward each other are the same, even when this is demonstrably untrue—according to the study’s own research data. It is no surprise that the State Department, which funded the study in its early phases, has endorsed neither the composition of the committee nor the report’s findings.”  (See The Palestinian Textbook Fiasco,” by Adi Schwartz, The Tower, June 2013.) 

Adi Schwartz also noted that, despite the 2013 study’s flaws, the “report itself states that ‘the other’ is portrayed in positive or neutral terms in 51 percent of Israeli textbooks, but only 16 percent of Palestinian textbooks.  ‘The other’ is portrayed in negative terms in 49 percent of Israeli textbooks, but a stunning 84 percent of Palestinian texts.”  (Id.

Myers’ article thus contradicts the data and findings in the 2013 study that he cites.

Myers also ignored the thorough Hebrew University study published in April 2017 (one month prior to Myers’ article) that reproduced page after page of the vicious anti-Semitic, anti-Israel statements found in PA textbooks at every grade level and for every subject.  The 2017 study documents that the PA schools teach “a strategy of violence and pressure . . . Struggle against Israel and its disappearance is the main theme. Martyrdom, demonization and “return” are educational keys.  Children are expendable. . . [S]ystematic hatred of all things Jewish/Israeli . . . Palestinian students vow to “saturate the ‘generous’ land” with their blood.  Each student recites: ‘I vow I shall sacrifice my blood . . . will remove/eliminate the usurper from my country, and will annihilate the remnants of the foreigners.’  There is apparently no restriction on violence until the last Israeli is out of Palestine.”  Even math problems in the PA’s math textbooks are based on numbers of “martyrs” to teach Palestinian Arab children to “martyr” themselves to kill Jews.  (See Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016–17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program,” by Eldad J. Pardo, Impact-SE, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, April 2017) 

Myers also ignored all the other studies that found that PA texts incite the murder of Jews, falsify history, promote terrorism, invent Jewish attacks on Muslim holy sites, and promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”  (See, e.g., Palestinian Authority Education A Recipe for Hate and Terror,” by Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik and Alona Burger, Palestinian Media Watch, Sponsored by the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Israel, 2015, and “Mahmoud Abbas’ PA Introduces New School Textbooks That Incite Hatred And Murder Of Jews, ZOA, Aug. 31, 2006, discussing findings of The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzliya study of PA textbooks.)

What kind of historian is Myers to deny, distort and ignore all this? 

Myers Promotes the Big Lie That Israel is an “Illegal Occupier”:

Myers’ also disregards historical facts (and international law) by promoting the big lie that Israel is an illegal occupier.  In a recent article, Myers’ claimed:

Israel’s occupation was and remains illegal: The fact that the United Nations acts unfairly toward Israel [by passing UNSC Resolution 2334 in December 2016] cannot erase a basic truth recognized by the entire world: Israel’s occupation of territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War is illegal . . . No amount of deflection, deception or delusion can get around this universally held view of the illegality of the occupation.”  (“UN Resolution 2334: Six Take-Aways From a Turbulent December,” by David N. Myers, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Jan. 3, 2017.)

Myers’ arrogant, conclusory, devoid-of-facts statement displays his breathtaking lack of knowledge – or deliberate distortion – of history, the facts and international law, unbefitting someone who calls himself a Jewish historian and who wants to lead the Center for Jewish History. 

Israel has the greatest historical, religious and legal right to Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (the old city of Jerusalem).  Very briefly: There was never a Palestinian-Arab state in the area – while Jewish kingdoms existed in these areas for hundreds of years.  Binding international legal documents, including the San Remo Resolution, British Mandate for Palestine, designated these areas as a sacred trust for “close Jewish settlement” and the Jewish homeland, and UN Charter Article 80 preserved these rights.  In addition, Israel was entitled to all these areas under the firm legal principle of uti possidetis juris (which entitles newly formed sovereigns to all the territory held by the mandatory power).  Further, Jordan illegally occupied these areas for 19 years after capturing them in 1948 – during which time Jordan demolished 58 Jewish synagogues and other sites.  Jordan relinquished all claims to them in 1988, and in the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty.  The only sovereign with rights to these areas is Israel.

The Levy Commission (appointed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and headed by esteemed former Israel Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy) concluded that when Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria: “the original legal status of the territory was restored, namely, a territory designated as a national home for the Jewish people, who had a “right of possession” to it during Jordanian rule while they were absent from the territory for several years due to a war imposed on them, and have now returned to it.”

Myers Misunderstands and Appears to Justify Palestinian-Arab Violence Towards Israelis:

David Myers also misunderstands the driving factors behind Palestinian violence, and even appears to justify such violence.  In an article last month, Myers proclaimed: “[I]n this conflict, stasis, or the perceived absence of diplomatic movement, often is a catalyst for violence.”  (“Why We Need More History Lessons,” by David N. Myers, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Aug. 17, 2017.)   

This of course makes no sense.  If stasis is the catalyst for Palestinian-Arab violence, why did the Arabs reject generous statehood offers in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2001, and 2008, and instead go to war or increase terror against Israel?  If stasis is the catalyst for Palestinian-Arab violence, why did Israel’s Gaza withdrawal lead to Hamas launching 19,000 rockets at Israeli civilians?

In fact, history demonstrates that the catalysts for Palestinian-Arab violence are: (i) Israeli concessions (each Israeli concession and offer of concessions increased Palestinian-Arab violence); (ii) incitement by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, such as Mahmoud Abbas’s repeated broadcasts that Jews’ and Christians’ “filthy feet” defile Arab holy sites, accompanied by exhortations to Palestinian-Arabs to spill blood to stop this – which was the catalyst for the past two years’ deadly terror wave; (iii) the Palestinian Authority’s “pay to slay” payments to terrorists to murder Jews; (iv) funds provided to Hamas and the PA, which give them the wherewithal to fund terror; and (v) a radical religious “obligation” to murder Jews and drive Jews out of Israel. 

Myers Fuels the Myth of Apartheid; Supports Kerry’s Anti-Israel Statements:

In December 2016, a few days after the Obama administration orchestrated the passage of anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution 2334, then-Secretary of State gave an extraordinarily anti-Israel falsehood-filled speech.  (See ZOA: Kerry’s Speech Ignored the Facts and Endangers Israel’s Safety and Security,” Dec. 28, 2016, analyzing falsehoods in Kerry’s speech.)

Sickeningly, David Myers promptly sided with Kerry against Israel, and reiterated some of Kerry’s falsehoods and outrageous accusations, saying: “John Kerry’s frustration was palpable and understandable: In his Dec. 28 speech, Secretary of State Kerry . . . could not restrain his profound frustration over Israel’s continuous appropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements. He understands exactly where this is leading Israel: to a choice between a single democratic state of all its citizens or an apartheid state that systematically denies rights of citizenship to millions of subjects.” (“UN Resolution 2334: Six Take-Aways From a Turbulent December,” by David N. Myers, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Jan. 3, 2017.)

In fact, there has been no “Israeli continuous appropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements.”  Since 1993, there has been no outward growth of “settlements” beyond their footprint in 1993, which is only 2% of Judea/Samaria.  Judea/Samaria is moreover not “Palestinian land.”  Further, the expansion and appropriation is happening the other way around:  Palestinian-Arabs have built tens of thousands of illegal units on Jewish land in Judea/Samaria.   And Myers’ “apartheid state” comment is libelous for a host of reasons. Israel’s Arab citizens have equal rights; an Israeli Arab judge (George Karra) even sentenced ex-Israeli president Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years.  And 98% of Palestinian-Arabs in Judea/Samaria have their own PA government, their own PA schools, sports teams, newspaper, television, etc. 

Myers Falsely Publicly Claimed Iran Deal Was Grounded in Rigorous Inspections and Monitoring:

Myers signed a public letter supporting the disastrous Iran deal, which falsely claimed that: “The deal . . . is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring. . . . Congress . . . killing the deal would be a tragic mistake.”  (See letter posted at “98 Prominent Hollywood Jews Back Iran Nuclear Deal in Open Letter (Exclusive),” by Seth Abramovitch, Hollywood Reporter, Aug. 12, 2015.) 

Even the most cursory reading of the Iran Deal (a/k/a “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” or “JCPOA”) reveals that the inspections and monitoring are far from rigorous: The International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”)’s regular access is limited to specific declared sites for a limited number of years.  Key sites are off limits, and the IAEA is required to undergo a lengthy process to possibly obtain access to undeclared nuclear sites.  (See Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” July 14, 2015, Annex I, Part P, Paragraphs 70-73, and Part Q – Access, Paragraphs 74-78.)

Moreover, Myers’ and his fellow “Hollywood Jews”’ letter was published approximately two weeks after then-Congressman Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton discovered and alerted the public to the existence of IAEA-Iran “side deals” making “inspections” of the critical Parchin site lax and virtually useless.  Senator Bob Menendez explained that “side deals governing inspections of the Parchin military complex allows Iran to collect its own soil samples, instead of IAEA inspectors. That is like letting Lance Armstrong collect his own blood samples for a doping investigation.”  (“Obama’s Secret Iran Deals Exposed,” by Mark Thiessen, Washington Post, July 27, 2015.)

This is not simply a matter that Myers’ held an opinion favoring the Iran deal, when 6 out of 7 Israelis, the entire Israeli government, and the majority of American Jews opposed this catastrophic deal.  Myers’ signed statement misstates critical facts about the contents of the deal.  And that displays a lack of integrity – a willingness to say anything, truthful or not, to support hostile-to-Israel positions.

In Response to Widespread Concerns About the Murders of Jews During the Second Intifada, Myers Downplayed Concerns as “Tapping Into Historical Memory,” and “Bemoaned   the Mainstreaming of Morton Klein”:

By way of background, prior to 1993, there wasn’t a single suicide attack in Israel.  The Zionist Organization of America and its President Morton Klein predicted that the 1993 Oslo Accords establishing and arming the Palestinian Authority would be a disaster, and lead to more terrorism.  Indeed, immediately after the 1993 Oslo accords, deadly Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks on innocent Jews increased fourfold.  And the situation grew even worse.  In response to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s over-generous offer of land and Palestinian-Arab statehood in 2000, PA/PLO leader Yasser Arafat launched the Second Intifada (2000-2005), during which Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered over a thousand Jews and wounded approximately 10,000 innocent Jews, in gruesome suicide attacks, including bombings of pizza stores and a Seder dinner with hundreds of people in Netanya. 

And in the midst of the Second Intifada, instead of condemning the Palestinian-Arab terrorists and admitting that ZOA’s and Morton Klein’s concerns were correct, David Myers portrayed Mort Klein’s concerns about ongoing Arab terrorism as playing on “historical” fears, and “bemoaned the mainstreaming of Morton Klein.”  (“Tapping Into Jews’ Fears: Zionist Morton Klein–Once Seen as an Extremist–is Winning Support for his Hard-Line View of Palestinians, Even Among U.S. Liberals,” by Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2002.)

Myers’ statements display a mind-boggling refusal to squarely and objectively look at the facts of Palestinian-Arab terrorism.  Instead of castigating the terrorists, Myers directs his misplaced ire at those of us at ZOA who have accurately warned about the terrorists. 

Myers’ “Applied History” and Anti-“Statism”:

Myers reveals more potentially concerning aspects his philosophy in his article entitled “Rethinking the Jewish Nation” (by David N. Meyers, Havruta Journal, Winter 2001).  In this article, Myers first argues for Jewish studies scholars refocusing on “applied history” –  drawing on history to inform contemporary debates and resolve conflicts.  The concept of “applied history” would not be troubling in the hands of someone who honestly understands historical experience with, for instance, giving concessions to terrorists.  However, someone with David Myers’ distorted, cherry-picking views of history does immense damage when he applies his revised version of history to contemporary issues.

In the same article, Myers argues that “the ideology of Statist Zionism” (meaning “maintain[ing] that the State of Israel . . . represents the fulfillment of the most exalted millennial hopes of the Jewish people”) “discourages . . . efforts toward fortifying, the global Jewish collective.”  Myers thus disparages the essence of Judaism and Zionism: the view of the State of Israel as the fulfillment of the Jewish people’s millennia of hopes and dreams. 

One must wonder: Why do we Jews pray towards Jerusalem and for Jerusalem every day, why have we done this for thousands of years, if Jerusalem and Israel are not central to the Jewish people?  Myers never even asks the question.  Ultimately, Myers’ opposition to “the ideology of Statist Zionist” seems to simply be another way to cleave the Jewish people from their land, and to empower far leftwing voices such as his, which want to redefine Judaism into an ideology that bears no resemblance to faith and love for the Jewish homeland maintained by the Jewish people for thousands of years.

Myers Harmed Jewish and Pro-Israel Student Life on the UCLA Campus, and Elsewhere:

The reports that Myers severely harmed Jewish and pro-Israel student life at UCLA are extremely concerning, and are a further indication that Myers will have no compunction about doing the same at the Center for Jewish History.

A UCLA Professor and former colleague of Myers is reported to have spoken out against Myers as follows:

The damage that Myers caused to Jewish life at UCLA will take many years to erase. He undermined systematically any attempt to bring students closer to Israel, and created two bastions of anti-Israel cultures: 1. the Center for Jewish Studies, and 2. The history department.

“[Myers] sees his mission as preparing students to stomach the inevitable demise of Israel, rather than preventing it. He is a dangerous person precisely because he can hide behind the title of a history professor and a “Zionist.” His perception of history is agenda driven, and his Zionist title is a deception.

“If he takes over the Center for Jewish History, American Jewry should better seek another depository to preserve its heritage. Myers will distort it to fit his agenda. The role of American Jews in the creation of Israel will be minimized and stripped of its heroic legacy.  Myers simply does not believe that Israel plays, or should play a central role in Jewish identity.  This will be reflected in the character of Jewish history that will be filtered under his leadership.  It has happened at UCLA.”  (“Action Alert: UCLA Professor: ‘The Damage that Myers Caused to Jewish Life at UCLA Will Take Many Years to Erase,’” The Israel Group.)

And UCLA Alumnus Allan Kandel is reported to have likewise spoken out against Myers, stating: “I’ve followed Myer’s career for years in Los Angeles at UCLA. You have no idea how many kids he has turned off to Israel and how he espoused his anti-Israel rhetoric at any opportunity. Israel is to blame for everything according to him and he’s dangerous because of his self-proclaimed “love” for the Jewish state.”  (Id.)

Myers was also one of the hostile-to-Israel Jewish professors who wrote a letter to the Orange County District Attorney opposing the DA’s decision to prosecute eleven members of the Muslim Student Association for their orchestrated, repeated raucous disruptions of a lecture by the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC-Irvine.  (“USA: Anti-Israel Jewish Studies,” by Cinnamon Stillwell and Judith Greblya, Israel National News, Apr. 26, 2011.)

In addition, a CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) fellow reported that Myers gave a one-sided hostile-to-Israel speech at Brandeis University.  The student reported that Myers ignored Palestinian-Arab terrorism against Jews from pre-State days onwards, and “also disseminated extreme statements about Israelis such as implicitly comparing Israeli-Jews to Nazis by saying that the oppressed had become like their oppressors in behavior and attitude.”  (“Criticize David Myers’ Evaluation of the Israel-Palestine Conflict,” by Aviya Zarur, CAMERA InFocus, Nov. 3, 2016.)

Myers’ Involvements with Extreme, Radical Hostile-to-Israel Groups:

Myers assists and/or serves on boards of extreme radical anti-Israel groups, including the following:

If Not Now:  Myers’ statement and picture is featured in an advertisement asking for donations for the extreme radical group “If Not Now.”  “If Not Now” is an offshoot of the extremist anti- Israel J Street formed by J Street student leaders who thought that J Street was not radical enough.  It castigates Israel and American Jewish groups, and is dedicated to “the end of the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation” – meaning pressuring Israel to retreat to indefensible lines, and establishing what would be a Iran-satellite Hamas terrorist state today, thereby endangering the lives of all Israelis. 

If Not Now’s harmful and juvenile stunts have including supporting “solidarity with Palestinians” during the Gaza war (while Hamas was raining rockets down on Israeli civilians); retweeting anti-Semites; demanding that Hillel promote anti-Israel BDS campus events; staging protests at AIPAC headquarters, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and in the lobby of the building housing the leftwing ADL; refusing the ADL chief’s invitation to meet; and getting arrested.  (See, e.g., 23 Jewish Activists from Simone Zimmerman’s Anti-Occupation Group Arrested at Passover Protests,” JTA, Apr. 21, 2016; and “Bernie Sanders “Jewish Outreach Coordinator” Is An Anti-Israel Activist,” by Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag., Apr. 11, 2016.) 

Yet, Myers praises If Not Now, proclaiming in his advertisement that “For my daughters, If Not Now is a place to build community and resistance. . . . They have a deep sense of commitment and ethical clarity.  They understand that the Jewish community has hesitated for too long in calling out the moral and political disaster that is the occupation.”

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): And as noted above, notorious anti-Israel, anti-Semitic pro-BDS hate group JVP listed David N. Myers as a “JVP Academic Advisory Board Member” in JVP’s March 2016 “Strategy Brief,” which accuses pro-Israel, anti-BDS advocates and philanthropists of “Misusing Anti-Semitism Charges to Silence Free Speech.”  JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson did not deny that David Myers is a JVP Academic Advisory Board Member.

New Israel Fund (NIF): Myers is also listed as serving on the board of the radical New Israel Fund, a group responsible for funding numerous anti-Israel NGOs, including “Adalah, Breaking the Silence, +972 Magazine, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that are primarily active in campaigns that contribute to BDS and delegitimization.”   (See NGO Monitor Discussion of NIF.)  Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated that “The NIF works methodically and consistently to attack our Israeli soldiers, accuse them of war crimes, of torturing Palestinians and intentionally attacking women and children. They turn to the UN and to the committees that are most hostile to Israel and try their best to convince them that Israel is a war criminal.”  (“The New Israel Fund Is No Friend of the Jewish State,” by Ronn Torrosian, Algemeiner, July 19, 2017.)

J Street:  David N. Myers is also listed as serving on the hostile-to-Israel J Street’s Advisory Council.  Among other things, J Street maligns Israel as an “oppressor” and an “occupier”;  brings pro BDS leaders to speak at its conventions, J Street’s co-founder has even called Israel’s rebirth in 1948 “an act that was wrong.”  J Street lobbies for anti-Israel UN Security Council resolutions, lobbies against anti-BDS laws, and raises money to elect hostile-to-Israel Congresspersons and defeat Israel’s best friends in Congress. 

Myers Seems Likely to Damage CJH’s Ability to Obtain Donations of Money and Artifacts:

The ZOA has heard that an important group that had been considering donating its artifacts to the Center for Jewish History is now unlikely to do so, due to David Myers being placed at CJH’s helm.  We also know of at least one board resignation – thus far.  There may very well be much more of this to come, and previous donors may request the return of their donations, if David Myers does not step down or is not promptly relieved of his position as CJH’s CEO. 


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