Slandering the messenger won’t conceal the truth.
Unable to withstand criticism from their shameful attacks on Jewish students and pro-Israel activists exposed by Frontpage, the Jewish Federation of Orange County (JFOC) has taken to the media to slander our publication. These calumnies must not go unanswered.
On May 4th, Frontpage made public serious reports of misbehavior on the part of the JFOC at a student-run pro-Israel event held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). One of the most notable revelations of the piece was a report that JFOC representative Lisa Armony was witnessed attempting to move pro-Israel activists waving Israeli flags away from anti-Israel protesters who ambushed the event.
Writing on behalf of the JFOC in the Jerusalem Post, Armony’s primary complaint was that Frontpage’s coverage was based on “unsubstantiated" information from “unnamed sources.”
In fact, the information directly related to Lisa Armony and the JFOC in this incident was based on a named eyewitness' account of Armony’s activity. Gary Fouse, a lecturer at UCI and credible witness, confidently affirmed to Frontpage what he saw. We subsequently reported this eyewitness account, taking the utmost care with the accuracy of its presentation. As such, accusations that Frontpage’s coverage of this incident was flawed are simply false.
Of course, the JFOC’s reprehensible behavior as detailed in Frontpage’s May 4th report involves much more than just flags. Of note is what the JFOC did not deny in its article in the Post. JFOC President and CEO Shalom Elcott engaged in an unhinged verbal attack on the 21-year-old female student president of Anteaters For Israel (AFI), the student group that hosted the campus pro-Israel event at UCI. Numerous witnesses recounted to Frontpage Elcott screaming at this young pro-Israel leader, bringing her to tears in the middle of the public event. The student herself, Sharon Shaoulian, confirmed this to Frontpage.
The mistreatment of Shaoulian is deeply disturbing and warrants a public apology. While the JFOC decries Jews “turning against one another” in its Post article, the first place to start to remedy this is clearly at the federation itself.
Also conspicuously absent from the denials issued by the JFOC is the report, witnessed last year by Shaoulian, of a student being screamed at by another representative of the federation after she called police following her injury from anti-Israel protesters. Such behavior should only be expected from an organization that donated tens of thousands of dollars to a campus group, the Olive Tree Initiative, that arranged a secret meeting between students and a leader of the terrorist organization Hamas in 2009. This same campus organization exposes students to indoctrination by world leaders in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and the terrorism-supporting International Solidarity Movement (ISM). This, again, was neither denied nor explained by the JFOC in its attack on Frontpage in the Post.
Without a doubt the JFOC has much to answer for. The JFOC can be assured Frontpage will continue our no-holds-barred coverage of its brazen attacks on Jewish students and pro-Israel activists without apology.
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