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Quaker group honored by Yad Vashem for helping Jews during Holocaust is now banned from Israel

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One of the special ironies of the weekend’s news that Israel is barring 20 international organizations from entry because they support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is the appearance on that list of the venerable American Friends Service Committee, or AFSC, which was founded 101 years ago as an antiwar organization.

AFSC earned distinction and a Nobel Prize for helping Jews and other refugees escape the Holocaust. Now it is on that list because it is helping Palestinians!

AFSC is honored at Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. From Yad Vashem’s portrait of the American Friends Service Committee:

Relief organization established in 1917 by the Quakers, also known as the Society of Friends, as a forum for doing service to humanity in a moral
fashion. The Quakers make up one of the smallest religious groups in the United States.

During the first years after Adolf Hitler rose to power, the Quakers were afraid to jeopardize their reputation in Germany, so they did relatively little to help
refugees escaping the Nazis. However, after the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938, the AFSC opened a Refugee Division, which provided services for European
refugees who immigrated to the US. The AFSC concentrated on Americanizing the new arrivals and adjusting them to their new country.

The Foreign Service Section of the AFSC did even more than the Refugee Division. Cooperating with Jewish relief agencies, in 1939 the organization
sent a delegation to Germany to check on the situation of Jews and Christians and provide relief if necessary. They mainly assisted Christian refugees, but
they also helped Jews. Among other activities, they fed and saved children in France, assisted Jews who had reached Portugal, and organized the activities
of relief agencies in Spain.

In 1947 the AFSC won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping refugees during and after World War II.

Mike Merryman-Lotze of the AFSC was quoted today by IMEU on the move by Israel:

“We will continue to stand up for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine regardless of the recent Israeli announcement that staff from AFSC and 19 other organizations may be denied entry to Israel because of our support for the grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights.

“Our response to the Palestinian BDS call is in line with our similar support for divestment from apartheid South Africa and boycotts during the civil rights era. Our work is motivated by Quaker belief in the worth and dignity of all people, and it is that belief that has led us to support and join in nonviolent resistance to violence and oppression around the world, including the Palestinian BDS call, for a hundred years.”

Thanks to Ofer Neiman and Eitan Diamond. Oh and Haaretz also did the story. And thanks to Mondo’s co-editor Adam Horowitz– who used to do Palestinian work at AFSC.

P.S. This story feeds my spiritual understanding that Palestinians are being forced by Israel to recapitulate the history of the Jews. What we experienced in Europe, Palestinians must experience in Israel and Palestine. This time around we play the guys with the jack boots! Of course there is a big arc in that story; the group goes from being humiliated outsiders to people granted prestige by the world for their suffering. Palestinians are gaining prestige by the moment. AFSC is surely proud of being named.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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33 Responses

  1. ritzl on January 8, 2018, 11:17 am

    Israel can do nothing now to counter growing awareness of its behavior and resolve to correct it, without making the problem (growing awareness) much worse. It’s out of options. We’re in the beginning of the end game on this issue.

    • Misterioso on January 9, 2018, 11:21 am

      The Zionist entity is in panic mode and digging its grave deeper. It could only be thus. The world, including increasing numbers of Jews, is waking up and seeing it for what it truly is, a monster.

      • ritzl on January 10, 2018, 9:23 pm

        “It could only be thus.”

  2. John O on January 8, 2018, 11:38 am

    “During the first years after Adolf Hitler rose to power, the Quakers were afraid to jeopardize their reputation in Germany, so they did relatively little to help
    refugees escaping the Nazis.”

    “[Victor] Gollancz publicised the anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime early on; in 1933 he had published the compilation volume The Little Brown Book of the Hitler Terror[9] and Fritz Seidler’s book on the Nazi persecution of the Jews The Bloodless Pogrom in 1934.” (Wikipedia: He went on to found the charity War on Want, now also on the blacklist.

    • Kay24 on January 8, 2018, 7:16 pm

      Zionists have a way of highlighting the negative to justify their actions. Instead of acknowledging the fact that these brave people were given a Nobel Peace Prize for their bravery, they will instead quote some irrelevant point, to cast a negative light, even on those who risk their lives to help Jews during the war. It’s like the Muslims in Besa who also risked their lives, to hide many Jews during the Holocaust, you never hear appreciation from the zionists about that at all, only this narrative about Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims being evil.
      Talk about being ungrateful.

  3. eljay on January 8, 2018, 12:49 pm

    The ASFC failed to accept and respect two principal tenets of Zionism:
    – Acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews justify acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews.
    – Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

    • eljay on January 8, 2018, 3:25 pm

      || eljay: The ASFC … ||

      Correction: The AFSC …

  4. Citizen on January 8, 2018, 2:37 pm

    The hypocrisy here by Israel is so glaring, why can’t the US main media, especially on cable tv news, not allow a quaker rep on to facilitate the informed consent or not of what US & Israeli governments are doing to the Palestinians?

  5. RoHa on January 8, 2018, 7:43 pm

    Thanks for the help, but we don’t need your values any more. Don’t come back.

    • on January 8, 2018, 8:59 pm

      Kay24 – ungrateful – even to their God and religion

    • GodWPalestine on January 9, 2018, 3:36 am

      Then you don’t need the American tax either!!
      Have you ever questioned yourself how would you survive on the stolen lands of Palestinians without the American tax, or without your weapons?!
      A man without a gun is like a human without balls!
      If you love Israel that much why won’t you go fight and protect your people, you might become famous?!

      • Misterioso on January 9, 2018, 11:24 am


        In order for Roha to “protect” his “people,” he would have to leave his family’s basement.

    • Maghlawatan on January 9, 2018, 5:09 pm

      It was the same with the UN.

    • RoHa on January 9, 2018, 5:46 pm

      Some confusion here, I think. I was summarising the Israeli position, not endorsing it.

      Nor does my house have a basement.

      • GodWPalestine on January 9, 2018, 10:39 pm

        My apologies for the confusion RoHa, I meant to send this message to “Mooser” from another article!!

  6. on January 8, 2018, 9:17 pm

    Zionists work without shame and expect you to be the same if you support them. It’s one of the reasons why they are a powerful bunch.

    Criminals are no different. They are not ashamed about stealing from you, about making you look like the aggressor while they commit their crimes, they don’t care if you are a child, woman or senior citizen – they take what they want when they want it without shame and with malice.

    One needs only to look at Israel’s leaders to witness a shameless bunch of criminals at work.

    • Kay24 on January 8, 2018, 11:59 pm

      They cunningly do use God and religion, for their benefit though, especially to rally moderate Jews, to protect and support, their evil causes. As for shame they have none, an ugly quality among their leaders. After years of criticism, condemnation, and being disliked around the world, they still keep the occupation going, the very shameful stealing of lands, for illegal settlements, and they keep killing civilians with impunity.

      • on January 9, 2018, 4:49 pm


        Seems like the good rabbi David Shapiro is of the same opinion.

        “These are not religious Jews that are running the country, they are atheists. And yet the Israeli prime ministers from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu use the bible as an excuse for ownership of the land… Ben-Gurion… didn’t believe God spoke to the prophets. He doesn’t believe it at all. Neither does Netanyahu at all.”

        Taken from –

      • Kay24 on January 9, 2018, 7:30 pm

        LHunter, that is right. They keep quoting the Bible, which they do not follow, nor believe in, and use it to dupe the evangelicals, and other Christians, who think the Jews will lay down the red carpet for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Whether nor not JC will want to touch down on stolen lands, is another matter.

        They seem to not know that many Churches have been burnt, and vandalized, in Israeli, and hardly anyone is ever charged with that crimes. Either they are ignorant, or pretend they do not know the truth.

  7. GodWPalestine on January 9, 2018, 3:32 am

    We should all support BDS even more and start boycotting celebrities who support and give for building the illegal settlements in Jerusalem.
    Comedian Jerry Seinfeld visited an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank last week with his family and they participated in an Israeli military tourist training camp (i.e. shooting)!
    Adam Sandler supported the genocide on Gazans during the 51 day bombarding of the city and sent over 300 Xbox for the Jew’s children living in the occupied lands bordering the Gaza strip!
    Mayim Bialik who said “Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to have an autonomous state in Israel”, supporting the theft of land and apartheid!
    In my opinion non of those call themselves comedian makes me laugh, if it wasn’t for their colleagues their part will be dull and plain especially Seinfeld. So I have decided for many years not to waste my money on their movies or any of their products and hoping that there are many people out there who agrees with me.
    Let’s all get banned from entering the “promised land” destroy their tourism and the good name of their beaches that if you are not local then you have to pay to enter, anyway we’re not Jews so the chances we’ll be investigated and interrogated for hours at their borders before getting the thumbs up to cross in.

  8. Kay24 on January 9, 2018, 6:03 am

    Many days of “Bibi go home” on the streets of Israel.

    Finally some Israelis are realizing they have a corrupt man, who seems to have led them astray.
    Despite the accusations of corruption against Palestinian officials by the Hasbara gnats, it seems they have a bigger problem in the only “democracy” in the ME. While one previous PM is serving a jail sentence, the present evil one, is being investigated, along with his dear
    wife. Oy vey!

    • echinococcus on January 9, 2018, 11:22 am


      So what? The slogan doesn’t say “Bibi Mileikovsky, go home to Warsaw!”
      It’s just a bunch of genocidal invaders protesting so-called corruption by genocidal invaders. The overwhelming majority’s home is outside Palestine anyway.

      “a corrupt man, who seems to have led them astray” my foot. They are still for invading, stealing and occupying other people’s land –to the tune of over 90% if any of the very many polls are credible. And some surely are.

    • Marnie on January 10, 2018, 2:39 am

      Don’t forget the corruption that didn’t fall far from the etz – ‘Strippergate’: Everything you need to know about Yair Netanyahu’s … › Israel News

      The Mothers of Invention – The Idiot Bastard Son – YouTube

  9. Vera Gottlieb on January 9, 2018, 11:27 am

    So much for loyalty. Served their purposes and now get a kick in the rear. israel’s shameful attitudes getting worse and worse.

    • Marnie on January 10, 2018, 2:37 am

      But this is nothing new; a friend until you speak the truth, then you’re dead to me. Way to go, blight among the nations!

  10. Misterioso on January 9, 2018, 12:58 pm

    “BDS activists slam Chris Rock for performing in Israel” Al Jazeera, Jan. 9/18

  11. Ossinev on January 9, 2018, 1:23 pm

    Got to agree with Echi on this. The Yahoo`s corruption is but a minor irrelevant side show in the grand Zioscheme of things. What these “protesters” should be railing against is the fact that in his desperation to keep pace with the loony extreme right wing Bennett,Shaked,Hot and Lovely,Regev etc etc he is leading Zioland to the edge and over the cliff. They are blind to and/or in denial about the real damage he is doing and they thoroughly deserve him.

    • echinococcus on January 9, 2018, 3:45 pm


      What these “protesters” should be railing against is the fact that… he is leading Zioland to the edge and over the cliff

      They better not do that! It’s absurd to cheer for the Yahoo to be replaced by someone more effective. Over the cliff is where the place belongs.

  12. Maghlawatan on January 9, 2018, 5:33 pm

    The past is assumed to be prologue . Zionism is a model. It is linear. New Systemic thèmes are hard to fit into models. They are ignored. Zionism has departed from reality. What does the Torah say?
    The point of a model is to reflect reality, not the other way around.


  13. iResistDe4iAm on January 9, 2018, 8:01 pm

    If your side bans a human rights organisation with a 101 year history of working for peace and social justice,
    an organisation honoured by both the Nobel Committee and Yad Vashem for helping victims of war, from World War I to the present,
    an organisation that has supported nonviolent resistance for over 100 years, including against apartheid in South Africa,
    then you’re on the wrong side.

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”
    ~ Martin Luther King Jr

  14. Sulphurdunn on January 10, 2018, 8:02 pm

    How arrogant, paranoid, and stupid is to ban Quakers? There should be a special comedy award for it.

  15. Kathleen on January 13, 2018, 7:34 am

    American Friends an amazing organization. Help so many. My dear cousin Barb Roberts ran the AFCS for 35 years in Dayton Ohio until she died.

    As you said Phillip it makes sense AFCS would wear being on Israel’s hit list as a badge of honor.

    An important group to support!

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