The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday criticized a national speaking tour that stops at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee this evening as "a blatant attempt to exploit the memory of the Holocaust ... to demonize Israel."
The "Never Again for Anyone" tour, featuring Dutch Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer and Muslim scholar Hatem Bazian, argues that "Israel misuses the Holocaust to justify … apartheid policies" against Palestinians.
The tour, sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, is making stops in cities across the country, from New York to Los Angeles. The tour has been generally uneventful, except for its Jan. 29 stop at Rutgers University, where organizers and pro-Israel protesters classed over their admission to the hall.
The lecture is being brought to UWM by the Muslim Students' Association, at 7 p.m. at the Helene Zalazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.
At its first stops, the Defamation League said, speakers referred to Israeli soldiers and "Nazis" and compared Israel's blockade of Gaza to a "concentration camp" or "ghetto."
"There's clearly an effort on the part of the organizers to take a one-sided political message about the Palestinian-Israel conflict and take it to an extreme," said ADL National Director and Holocaust survivor Abraham Forman.
An American Muslims for Palestine spokeswoman defended the program.
"It's not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of Israel that are against international law and racist," said KristinSzremski, who describes the tour's message as one of hope.
"You can uphold the dignity and honor of those who perished in the holocaust by upholding human rights for all people," she said.
UWM spokesman Tom Luljak said he was unaware of any protests planned for the lecture, but that the university always has security in place in case of conflict. Tension mounted between Muslim and Jewish students at UWM last year after a clash at a Hillel event in April.