StandWithUs is relieved to learn that Ben Garrison, an American artist whose political cartoons have featured blatantly antisemitic imagery, will no longer be attending the July 11, 2019, White House Social Media Summit. This was the right call, and the situation offers an opportunity for administration officials who are committed to countering the spread of antisemitism to speak out and seek more careful vetting of White House invitees and honorees.
Invitations to the White House carry a sense of prestige, and inherently bestow a certain level of honor upon the invitee. Honoring individuals like Mr. Garrison, who choose to perpetuate age-old antisemitic conspiracy theories, sends a message of approval of such hateful rhetoric. It may also serve to embolden others to spread the same vitriol, wrongfully tarnishing the reputation of Jews, and potentially jeopardizing their very safety. Those who are willing to peddle antisemitism should be roundly censured, including by government officials who have a uniquely influential position from which to denounce such bigotry.
Words (and images) matter. There is simply no place for Jew hatred in these already divisive times. We stand with those individuals of conscience who made their objections to Garrison's invitation known, and urge them, and others, to continue to speak boldly against antisemitism and those whose actions would offer it a platform.
StandWithUs (SWU) is a eighteen year-old, international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Based in Los Angeles, the organization has 18 chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada and Brazil.