Lannan Foundation’s Anti-Israel Bias

Lannan Foundation – Anti-Israel & Anti-Semitic?

Since at least 2001, when the Lannan Foundation sponsored Edward Said, the notorious anti-Semite (and later found to be distorter of his own background to puff up his anti-Israel resume), the Lannan Foundation has sponsored at least 14 speakers and moderators who have profound antipathy to Israel. They have sponsored zero balanced or pro-Israel speakers – not even speakers who will provide historical accuracy to the audience.

Some of these notorious speakers in the past have included:

  • Edward Said, 2001
  • Amy Goodman, 2002 & 2012
  • Noam Chomsky, 2005 & 2015
  • Amira Hass, 2005
  • Chris Hedges, 2006 and 2011
  • Mohammed Omer and Dahr Jamail, 2010
  • Ilan Pappe, 2010
  • Norman Finkelstein, 2011
  • Glenn Greenwald, 2011 (scheduled again in 2017 – cancelled)
  • Phyllis Bennis, 2012
  • Omar Barghouti, 2013
  • Max Blumenthal, 2014
  • Richard Falk, 2015; Ali Albunimah, moderator (see here and here)
  • Juan Cole, 2016; Phyllis Bennis, moderator
  • Gideon Levy, 2016; David Barsamian, moderator; [see our analysis of this talk here]
  • Angela Davis, 2016; Barbara Ransby, moderator
  • Andrew Bacevich, 2016; Marilyn Young, moderator

In 2013 the Lannan Foundation held an artwork exhibition entitled, “AGAIN: Repetition, Obsession and Meditation in the Lannan Collection”.  Though they claim to be “dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity,” apparently this doesn’t include promoting understanding of the diversity about Israel.

By choosing only virulently anti-Israel speakers who could easily be judged anti-Semitic by their double standards and demonization of Israel, the Lannan Foundation could also be considered to be supporting and spreading anti-Semitism as well.[1, 2]


[1] The US State Department defines anti-Semitism related to Israel as follows:
What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?
EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:
DEMONIZE ISRAEL:
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
  • Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations
DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist
However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
[2] The European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism uses the following definition of antisemitism:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).

Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

Eric R. Mandel, in an op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post (7/7/14), “Is the United Nations anti-Semitic?” states:
The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (ICCA), composed of 140 parliamentarians from 40 countries, affirmed the definition of anti-Semitism by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). It states, “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is anti-Semitism.