Two speakers who peddle conspiracy theories about Israeli responsibility for terror activities have been making the rounds at U.S. campuses and libraries on separate book tours.
Thomas Suarez and Christopher Bollyn have made appearances throughout the country, the first to promote his book State of Terror: How terrorism created modern Israel, the latter to push his volume, The War on Terror: The Plot to Rule the Middle East.
Suarez appeared at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Sept. 18, while Bollyn stopped off at San Jose State University's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on Saturday.
Suarez, a well-known figure in the U.K. who has given speeches at London campuses comparing the "cult" of Zionism to Nazism, gave his UMass lecture to a crowd of approximately 100 students and locals. The event was held at the on-campus Integrative Learning Center and co-sponsored by the UMass chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, Interlink Publishing, and Media Education Foundation.
In his talk, according to the Daily Collegian, Suarez accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Palestinians and charged the Israeli military and U.S. police with racism.
One Jewish attendee told the school paper he found the speech "offensive, conspiratorial and anti-Semitic."
UMass history faculty members Jay Berkovitz, Daniel Gordon, and Jonathan Skolnick released a statement writing off Suarez as an "amateur author" who produced "deeply flawed work … full of factual errors, and distortions of the archival record."
"It is disappointing to see a student group and outside groups use universities to promote ideological polemics like Suarez's which only look to demonize an 'enemy,'" they wrote. "This is unscholarly incitement, not responsible history."
Suarez previously announced on Facebook that he would also be appearing at Rutgers University and Columbia University, though neither of those events have been confirmed. He also spoke at the Palestine Center in Washington, D.C.
A diligent fact-check report of Suarez's "State of Terror," produced by two U.K. pro-Israel advocates, found it "dripping with racial hatred against Jews."
In his SJSU talk, Bollyn pinned the 9/11 attacks on Israel, according to Jewish news site the Algemeiner. With the guidance of "Jewish neo-cons" such as Bill Kristol, Israel crafted the U.S. response and wrote the narrative about Islamic involvement, said Bollyn.
A call to the King Library dean was not returned by press time.
Bollyn will next be speaking at the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library, followed by appearances at Wisconsin's Janesville Conference Center and West Allis Public Library.
Michael Koszalka, director of the West Allis library, told the Washington Free Beacon he consulted with the city attorneys when approached by Bollyn event organizers, and said it was determined that the program could not be stopped, citing free speech statutes.
For his "9/11 truther" lecture, Bollyn has rented out the meeting room, where programming, as per library regulations, must be free and open to the public.
He will not, however, be allowed to sell his books at West Allis, as such an event must be co-sponsored by the library, which Koszalka said they would not do.
Published under: College Campuses , Israel