Simon Wiesenthal Center Demands Immediate Apology from Niagara Foundation

June 22, 2015

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center demands an immediate apology from the Niagara Foundation following its last-minute cancellation of a speech by Israeli Consul General to the Midwest, Roey Gilad, due to pressure from anti-Israeli organizations.

 

In keeping with the Niagara Foundation's mission to, "promote social cohesion by fostering civic conversations and sustained relationships between people of different cultures and faiths,” it invited Israel Consul General Gilad for a June 18 appearance.  Three days before the scheduled event, the Israeli diplomat received a call asking him to cancel.  The cancellation was prompted by an orchestrated campaign by organizations including the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN).

 

“This craven act, legitimizes anti-Semitism and is unacceptable in 21st Century America. The decision by the Niagara Foundation to cancel Consul General Gilad's appearance calls into question the integrity of the mission of the organization. We doubt that any diplomat from Turkey or China would have been subject to such treatment. We urge all fair-minded Chicagoans to add their protests that such bigotry has no place in Chicago,” declared Alison Pure-Slovin, Midwest Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

 

Center officials noted that the responses that followed on Twitter were and continue to be horrendous displays of anti-Semitism. Tweets following the decision included "@niagaraf there's nothing 'interfaith' about giving the mouthpiece of a brutal & oppressive government a platform to speak. Shame on you", and most recently, "@USPalestinian Network: Please thank @niagraf for canceling event with @IsraelinChicago & standing on the right side of history."

 

After numerous attempts were made by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to speak with the group’s representative, the Niagara Foundation responded by suggesting that the SWC, "Schedule a meeting at their office with a Niagara board member to answer any questions or concerns on this matter.”

 

"There is no need for a meeting. The Niagara Foundation needs to publicly apologize for their bigotry,” Slovin concluded.

 

For further information please contact Kathryn Ferrell, 312.981.0105 or kferrell@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook,  www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).