Statement regarding BuzzFeed Reporting of Exeter “Peace Week” initiative:
Rose Buchannan from Buzzfeed reached out to StandWithUs for a comment prior to writing this article. Unfortunately, while we provided one, she did not include it.
There are inaccuracies in Buchannan’s report.
As a non-profit organisation which believes that education is the road to peace, we often distribute a variety of educational materials. Some cover diversity in Israel, some deal with women or LGBTQ rights in the Middle East and some cover history and other topics. One particular resource deals with Middle Eastern Antisemitism, a historic problem that continues to this day. Jews are often depicted in the Arab press in a similar vein to Nazi propaganda.
Regarding the contention in the article that StandWithUs is “supported” by the Israeli government, with a link to a Haaretz article, note that the information in the 2015 article is outdated: the project did not proceed, and StandWithUs did not receive funding as noted here:
StandWithUs is an independent charitable educational organisation.
While the booklet was apparently distributed on campus at Exeter by an individual, not by us, it does merit examination and accurate reporting.
This booklet also mentions the historical fact that the then-Palestinian leader Haj Amin Al-Husseini was a supporter of Hitler and echoed his racist rhetoric towards Jews. It gives real and concrete examples of traditional Antisemitic portrayals of Jews that were pioneered by Nazis and were subsequently used by the Palestinian Authority-controlled media, which do not have the same freedom of speech that other journalists have.
Link to booklet: http://www.standwithus.com/booklets/Nazi%20Roots/
Instead of condemning the booklet, which is demonstrably true about the historic support by Palestinian leadership of dangerous racism which is sadly echoed today, the Exeter Friends of Palestine Society – who condemned it – should join with us to condemn extremism and promote initiatives that support coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel, of which there are many.
Buchannan’s headline states that the booklet is “anti-Muslim”. That is patently not true. The booklet is anti-Antisemitism. Buchannan’s assertion is offensive to our diverse educational staff and students who volunteer with our non-profit from all backgrounds and religions.
We truly hope that through education we bring understanding and make peace between peoples. We are glad to support initiatives such as the “Israel Peace Week” at Exeter university and promote the coexistence and understanding in the region.