You almost certainly have heard of Anne Frank.
It’s unlikely that until Trump’s election you heard of an entity calling itself the “Anne Frank Center (US).” That’s because for most of its history, AFCUS has quietly done work educating people about Anne Frank.
Then in the spring of 2016 everything changed. AFCUS changed its focus, hired a political activist named Steven Goldstein, and began to reposition itself as a social justice organization.
AFCUS has, since Trump’s election, issued a series of inflammatory statements that get gobbled up by the media looking to bash Trump.
The accusations leveled by AFCUS were cartoonish, just what the media wanted:
AFCUS held itself out as the voice of authority on anti-Semitism, using that authority to attack, among others, Sean Spicer:
AFCUS, because it has Anne Frank’s name in its title, received media credibility as a source:
Goldstein was frequently on TV:
The claim that AFCUS was founded by Anne Frank’s father was critical to the organization’s asserted credibility, as this Washington Post article showed:
I’ve been trying to call attention to the fact that AFCUS was not what it seemed on Twitter for months.
I gathered links, screenshotted and archived pages from the old and new AFCUS website, and laid the foundation for a major research post of the type I like to do.
But because I have less than zero available time, I never was able to fit in the days it would take to put it together. There always seemed to be some other event or issue more pressing. Our other authors also are on the verge of blogger burnout, and we don’t have the resources to hire more people. So I never wrote about the Anne Frank Center (US), I just kept tweeting to people, including to Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor in Chief of The Atlantic.
Along the way, Dave at IsraellyCool did groundbreaking work not only questioning AFCUS’s politics, but also whether it even was founded by Anne Frank’s father Otto, as it claimed.
Yet AFCUS continued to grab headlines everytime it issued anti-Trump statements.
That may not be the case anymore. The Atlantic has an excellent, in-depth article, Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?
I encourage you to read the whole thing. It confirms what I’ve been tweeting and the doubt on its history probed by IsraellyCool.
Here is the punch line in The Atlantic article (emphasis added):
In other words, it is a tiny organization in the process of reinventing itself. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and Understanding may not be a Holocaust organization, a Jewish organization, or one founded by Anne Frank’s father. Its may not have leaders with a scholarly background, a mass membership, or institutional standing among Jewish groups and Holocaust museums. But because it talks a big game and wields the name of Anne Frank, the media has awarded it authority it never earned.
Is there anything worse than exploiting the name and memory of Anne Frank for political purposes?
That’s a question the celebrities featured at the AFCUS annual gala in June should be asking.
I tweeted at them asking them to read The Atlantic article.
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) April 24, 2017
What does Steven Goldstein, the new leader of AFCUS have to say? Well, he’s turned his Twitter account private, something I noticed weeks ago. In hindsight, it likely was because he had been contacted by The Atlantic and knew what was coming down the road.
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