By Amanda Hohmann
League of Human Rights
B'nai Brith Canada
As reported by CIJNews Wednesday, “Independent Jewish Voices” (IJV) has admitted to posting an article on social media that promotes Holocaust denial, but claims it was all unintentional. The article in question was published by Veterans Today, a white supremacist website.
IJV has since doctored its original statement, which was issued in response to Tuesday’s B’nai Brith Canada Investigation revealing that IJV has a history of engaging with Veterans Today.
In its original statement, IJV claimed that it had no idea about the nature of Veterans Today. IJV claims that author Alan Hart is a "widely-respected journalist and Mid-East expert,'' and had originally stated that Hart’s piece was published without his permission on the Veterans Today site. In truth, Hart is a well-known conspiracy theorist who peddles the idea that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and is a regular columnist for Veterans Today. IJV has subsequently altered its original release, removing the claim that Hart had no knowledge of the posting on Veterans Today.
In Wednesday’s amended press release, IJV now admits that Veterans Today is “an extremely disreputable site that engages in wild conspiracy theory and Holocaust debunking.'' It is extremely curious, then, that an article by IJV spokesperson and campaign coordinator Tyler Levitan is actually featured on Veterans Today. Jim W. Dean, the Holocaust-denying managing editor of Veterans Today, glowingly describes IJV as “Righteous Jews” in his preface to this piece. Dean tells readers that Levitan’s piece was sent to Veterans Today by Ed Corrigan, a London, Ontario immigration lawyer and former city councillor. In 2011, IJV wrote a letter for Corrigan absolving him of antisemitism as part of his libel lawsuit against a fellow lawyer who allegedly called him an antisemite (also subsequently deleted from the IJV website).
It is disturbing that the views of a so-called progressive Jewish organization and a white supremacist hate-site align so clearly. IJV should have immediately disavowed all connections to Veterans Today. Instead, it chose to defend the reputation of one of its regular columnists.
When subjected to public scrutiny, IJV has a history of reactionary revisions to its publications. Though the group has not responded to B’nai Brith’s revelation that Diana Ralph, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who IJV claimed to disavow in 2009, remains a member of the group’s Steering Committee, it has once again simply hidden the truth by deleting the page publicly listing its members on the website.
In its original release, IJV also touted the fact that it had deleted the posts promoting Holocaust denial from its social media pages, but as of this writing, the links remain live on the personal Twitter account of Sid Shniad, its co-chair and official spokesperson. In light of the controversy surrounding this issue, it is odd that IJV’s official spokesperson still has Holocaust denial on his personal Twitter feed.
Amanda Hohmann is the National Director of the League of Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the second in a series of a B'nai Brith investigation into the activities of Independent Jewish Voices.