The Simon Wiesenthal Center: A Bastion of Jewish-Zionist Power
By Mark Weber
Since its founding in 1977, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has grown to become one of the most important and influential Jewish organizations in the world. Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, Jerusalem, Paris, Miami, Toronto and Buenos Aires, it reports a membership of more than 300,000 and an annual income of some $30 million.
The Center's imposing "Museum of Tolerance" in West Los Angeles, which presents a relentlessly Jewish-Zionist version of history, draws some 350,000 visitors each year, including tens of thousands of school children who are brought in busloads.
Although it calls itself "an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust fostering tolerance and understanding," the Center in reality is a propaganda agency whose agenda is to further Jewish-Zionist interests. / 1
The Center and its head, Rabbi Marvin Hier, wield considerable political power. "Hier has accrued unprecedented clout in the Legislature, on Capitol Hill, in the city's boardrooms and even in Hollywood," says the Los Angeles Times. / 2
Among the Center's prominent and wealthy supporters are President George W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York), Senator Charles E. Schumer (New York), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of US News and World Report and the Atlantic Monthly. / 3
One of Hier's most important backers has been Roland E. Arnall, a California businessman who played a key role in getting the Center off the ground. With a fortune estimated at $2 billion, he has for years been a major player in state and national politics. / 4 Other major financial contributors, likewise Jewish, have included Ivan Boesky, who is perhaps best known for his prominent role in a mid-1980s Wall Street insider trading scandal, and Gary Winnick, founder and chairman of Global Crossing, Ltd., who donated $40 million for the Center's "Museum of Tolerance" in Jerusalem. / 5
The Center's annual income in the 2002-2003 fiscal year (the most recent for which detailed data is available) was $30 million, of which some $17 million was from public donations, and $10 million -- one-third of the total -- was from taxpayer funds. / 6 Of that $10 million in taxpayer money, $6 million was from the state of California, $2.6 million was from the US federal government, $1 million dollars came from New York City, and $328,147 was from New York State. / 7
That such a large portion of its budget is from public funds is an expression of the Center's political muscle. Even during times of fiscal belt-tightening, Hier's already wealthy Center can count on indulgent treatment by pliant politicians. In 1985, for example, California lawmakers voted to give the Center a $5 million grant of state taxpayer funds. / 8 In 1995 the state legislature gave a second $5 million grant. That allocation -- to the Center's " Museum of Tolerance " (and equal to the entire California Arts Council budget for the year 2004) -- came from funds that had been reserved for the state's public schools. Backing this extraordinary gift were prominent politicians of both parties, including Governor Pete Wilson. / 9
In addition, the Center has received at least $5 million in federal funds, through legislation sponsored by US Congressman Henry Waxman. / 10
"...In what's become a growing scandal," the LA Weekly noted, "funds allocated for the Museum's 'Tools for Tolerance' program [of the Wiesenthal Center] (which trains educators and police on 'diversity issues') are a budget 'line item,' meaning that it's pre-allocated every year by the governor (with legislative approval) -- bypassing the peer-review process of other grants." / 11 The paper went on to remark on the political clout that makes such largess possible: "The Museum's good fortune is as much a testament to the lobbying power of the Wiesenthal Center's dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, as to the much larger social agenda of privatizing public services. For more than a decade and a half, Hier has had powerful backers among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, from former Governor Pete Wilson and former Democratic leader Willie Brown, to President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who invited Hier to briefings on the war in Iraq."
Among those who receive generous salaries from the Center are four members of the Hier family. In fiscal year 2002-2003, Martin Hier -- its founder and "Dean" -- received $482,528 in salary and benefits, while his wife, Marlene, the Center's "Membership Director," received $312,574. Alan Hier, a son, received $151,761 in compensation and benefits for fundraising activities, and another son, Aron Hier, received $95,656 as "Associate Director." Abraham Cooper, the Center's "Associate Dean," received $397,622 in salary and benefits. Compensation for other senior staff members was similarly generous. / 12
In cultural life as well, Hier's Center has had considerable success in pressing its agenda. Through its "Moriah Films" division, it has produced several movies. "The Long Way Home," a film released in 1997, for example, is a fervently pro-Zionist look at the 1945-1949 period that sympathetically portrays Jews who survived German camps and World II, and the triumphal establishment of a Zionist state in Palestine. Even Jewish terrorist groups, the Irgun and the Stern Gang, are presented with understanding, if not sympathy. / 13
The Wiesenthal Center serves as an informal film censor. Motion picture makers routinely ask it to screen films as they are being considered for production. The Center effectively has the power to kill a movie. As one journalist who tracks the Hollywood scene has noted, Hier's Center "has been active in the entertainment industry for a number of years, often reviewing scripts and consulting with filmmakers and studios on Jewish-related productions. The Center has worked on everything from New Line's 1998 film 'American History X' to the 1989 ABC television mini-series 'War and Remembrance'." / 14
In 2004 the Center called on French authorities to ban the French edition of The Holocaust Industry, a provocative study by American Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein that has been a best-seller in Europe. An official of the Center said that the book "presents a great danger" and should be prohibited in France because it is allegedly "replete with Holocaust revisionism and incitement to antisemitism." / 15
A Record of Recklessness
The indulgent treatment of the Center by politicians is matched by similarly respectful treatment from the press. With an attitude that borders on the reverential, the American media overlooks the Center's easily verifiable record of recklessness and deceit.
In its glossy magazine, Response, and in its other propaganda materials, the Center relentlessly conjures up a frightening image of militant, hate-crazed anti-Jewish legions on the march everywhere, determined to eradicate all Jews in a genocidal new "Final Solution." Its record of exaggerating anti-Jewish sentiment to raise money is no secret. Even the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), another major Jewish-Zionist group, has acknowledged that the Center makes "inaccurate" and "exaggerated claims" about anti-Semitism to raise money. It found, for example, that a Center fund-raising letter is "replete with factual misstatements and exaggerations" about anti-Jewish sentiment in the United States and Europe. / 16
In 1998 the Center issued a report that harshly condemned Switzerland 's treatment of Jews during World War II. The report, which received wide media attention, claimed that Swiss authorities held Jews in "slave labor camps." During the war years, its author charged, "the Swiss were really sadistic. They wanted to hurt the Jews, to deliberately hurt the Jews." / 17 In fact, the report was so inaccurate that Simon Wiesenthal himself took the unusual step of disavowing it. / 18 Although the report's distortions were eventually identified and made public, the damage had been done. The truth about the Center's fraudulent claims received much less media attention, especially in the American press, than did the Center's original, exaggerated accusations.
In 1999 the Center posted on its website a doctored wartime photograph of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Appearing under the heading "Photo Gallery: Hungarian arrivals after the 'Selektion' at Auschwitz," it was captioned: "As these prisoners were being processed for slave labor, many of their friends were being gassed and burned in the ovens in the crematoria. The smoke can be seen in the background." In fact, the photo had been altered by adding phony "smoke," apparently to support survivor testimony about smoke billowing from camp crematory chimneys. It was only after skeptics identified and publicized the fraud, that the Center removed the faked photo. / 19
Many Christians have been offended by some of the Center's overblown pronouncements, such as Rabbi Hier's charge that Mel Gibson and his film, The Passion of the Christ, "stereotype and denigrate the masses of Jews" and "could potentially imperil Jewish lives." / 20 Hier has also chastised Christian leaders during the Second World War, "from Pope Pius XII down, who at best looked the other way, protected their own, were bystanders rather than activists and sometimes even assisted the Nazis in carrying out their Final Solution." / 21 Hier has made the amazing claim, unsupported by any reputable historian, that Pope Pius XII prayed for Hitler's victory in World War II, and gave Church money to the German leader to fight Soviet Communism. The campaign to elevate the wartime pontiff to sainthood, Hier charged, "desecrates the memory of the Holocaust." / 22
Israel and Zionism
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a staunch supporter of Israel and its Jewish supremacist regime. "What happens to Israel is every Jew's business," says Hier. / 23 "Let us never forget," Hier has also said, "that after the Holocaust when hope was bleak and Jewish life was decimated, that it was Israel that made us whole again, restored our pride, our faith, and our determination to go on." / 24 In that spirit, the Center staunchly defends Israel 's policies of oppression, occupation, dispossession, and institutionalized discrimination against non-Jews. / 25
The Center supports Jewish religious bigotry, insisting that the Zionist seizure of the land of Palestine ("Zion") is ordained by God, as revealed in the Hebrew scriptures. "In fact," says Hier, "the cornerstone of our [sic] return to Zion was always based on the fact that it was a return to our historic biblical roots." / 26
The Center supports policies of the Zionist state that have been condemned by the world community and which violate United Nations Security Council resolutions. For example, it has repeatedly voiced support for Israel 's formidable "security fence," a hideous barrier that is part of Israel 's long-range policy of seizing land of non-Jews, and which the International Court of Justice says is illegal. / 27 While the Center denounces violence and terrorism against Jews, it sanctions Zionist terrorism against non-Jews. It has publicly honored two Israeli leaders -- Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir -- each of whom has a well-documented record as a terrorist. / 28
In 2002 the Center announced plans to build a grand "Museum of Tolerance"Jerusalem. This was too much even for some Israeli Jews. The former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti, vented his exasperation in a piece published in an influential Israeli daily paper: "It is difficult to imagine a project so hallucinatory, so irrelevant, so foreign, so megalomaniac, as the Museum of Tolerance. The mere attempt to stick the term tolerance to a building so intolerant to its surroundings is ridiculous... There's no need to waste words on the absurdity of a Museum of Tolerance planted on part of an ancient Muslim cemetery, some of which has long since been turned into a parking lot, and will now be topped by spaces in which people are meant to learn about tolerance, mutual respect and coexistence." Benvenisti concluded: "The Museum of Tolerance project must be eradicated without any tolerance." / 29
Propaganda for War
The Wiesenthal Center has a long record of reckless propaganda for war. Long before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, it had been pressing for an American attack against the Middle East nation, backing its effort with alarmist "Big Lie" claims about the supposed danger posed by the Baghdad regime.
In 1990 Hier wrote in Newsweek magazine: "I think the United States should go in. Maybe not tomorrow, but very soon... Three years from now, Iraq will have nuclear weapons." / 30 In early 1991 the Center announced the "shocking revelation" that Iranian prisoners of war were being killed with Zyklon B "in gas chambers specially designed for the Iraqis by the German company Rhema Labortechnik." The Center's magazine, Response, went on to assert that the Iraqi "gas chambers were tiled to look like operating rooms, with a separated observation room for each gas chamber with reinforced glass visibility." / 31
In the months before the US invasion of Iraq, the Center was offering new propaganda reasons for America to go to war. An all out attack was necessary, it claimed in October 2002, because the Saddam Hussein regime had been "continuing to stockpile weapons of mass destruction," and because it "has defied the world and thumbed his nose at United Nations Security Council resolutions." Moreover, the Center went on to charge: "For while there are other tyrants, Saddam alone stands as a menace to world order and stability. While there are others who possess chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, only Saddam has shown an eagerness to use them." / 32
The Center's indignation over the Baghdad regime's alleged defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions is remarkable for its gall, given Israel 's own long record of defying such resolutions.
As the world now knows, the Center's claims about Iraq-- which matched those of the Bush administration -- were empty propaganda pretexts designed to persuade a skeptical public to support unprovoked war against a country that posed no threat to the United States. / 33
Fanning the Flames
In its slick membership magazine, its films, and its public pronouncements, Rabbi Hier and his Center skillfully play to Jewish fears, concerns and sensitivities, above all through relentlessly emotion-laden exploitation of the Holocaust story. In fanning the flames of what Jewish American historian Alfred Lilienthal calls "Holocaustomania," it has no equal.
"Rabbi Hier and the Wiesenthal Center are, in my opinion, the most extreme of those who utilize the Holocaust," the director of Israel 's Yad Vashem Holocaust center has said. "The Jewish people does many vulgar things," he went on, "but the Wiesenthal Center [has] raised it to a complete level: The optimum use of sensitive issues in order to raise money ..." / 34 "The enormous success of the Simon Wiesenthal Center," says New York Times journalist and author Judith Miller, "has given new meaning to what was once a macabre in-house joke ... 'There is no business like Shoah business'," ("Shoah" is the Hebrew term for Holocaust). / 35
The Center has been a major player in what Norman Finkelstein calls the "extortion racket" by Israel and organized Jewry to blackmail billions of dollars from European countries and corporations. / 36 Finkelstein, himself a son of Holocaust survivors, calls the Center "a gang of heartless and immoral crooks, whose hallmark is that they will do anything for a dollar." / 37
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is not only an expression of immense Jewish-Zionist power in America, it plays an important role in maintaining that power. In promoting its agenda, it carries out a well-funded and effective propaganda campaign of deceit, disinformation and lies in support of Israeli oppression and war. In partnership with politicians who put their own interests ahead of the public good, it both reflects and contributes to the corruption of American political and cultural life.
1. See also M. Weber, "The Simon Wiesenthal Center : An Overview," The Journal of Historical Review, July-August 1995, pp. 2-7. Additional useful information about the Center is posted on David Irving's website: http://www.fpp.co.uk/docs/Wiesenthal/
2. S. Teitelbaum and T. Waldman, "The Unorthodox Rabbi," Los Angeles Times Magazine, July 15, 1990, p. 9.
3. Other prominent supporters of the Center have included:
President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, Governors Jeb Bush (Florida), Gray Davis (California), and George E. Pataki (New York), New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Senator Charles E. Schumer (New York), Senator Dianne Feinstein (California), and her investment banker husband Richard Blum), entertainers Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, columnist George Will, television journalist Barbara Walters, several members of the moneyed Belzberg family, Alan Greenberg (chairman of the investment firm of Bear Stearns), and New York financiers Nelson Peltz, Ronald Perelman and Ivan Boesky.
4. During the 2001-2005 period, for example, Arnall, his companies and his wife, have made more than $8 million in political donations. He has been a major financial backer of President George W. Bush and California Governor Schwarzenegger. Arnall and his wife gave $5 million to a group that supported Bush's presidential reelection campaign, and he and his companies provided $1 million to finance Bush's 2003 inaugural. Source: E. Scott Reckard, "Ambassador Nominee's Company is Scrutinized," Los Angeles Times, Sunday, August 7, 2005, pages A1, A28.
5. S. Freudenheim, "$40-Million Gift to Fund Israeli Tolerance Center," Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2000; D. Colker, "Global Chairman Defends...," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 2, 2002, pp. C1, C4.
6. According to the Center's public IRS Form 990 for the year 2002, filed on May 19, 2004, the Center's income during the year ending June 30, 2003, was $30,540,845, of which $16,867,991 was from "direct public support" (donations from the public), and $10,117,676 was from "government contributions (grants)."
7. Information provided by the Wiesenthal Center.
8. M. Chazanov, M. Gladstone, "Museum of Tolerance': Proposed State Grant for Wiesenthal Facility Raises Eyebrows," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1985.
9. D. Morain, "Lean Times Don't Imperil Wiesenthal Grant,"Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1995.
10. S. Teitelbaum and T. Waldman, "The Unorthodox Rabbi," Los Angeles Times Magazine, July 15, 1990,
11. S. L Morris, "Swimming with sharks in a sea of arts funding," LA Weekly, June 27-July 3, 2003.
12. Information from the Center's public IRS Form 990 for the year 2002, filed on May 19, 2004.
13. H. Sheehan, "The Long Way Home': A Personal History," The Orange County Register, Sept. 19, 1997.
14. Josh Spector, "Forget Ebert: Studios Now Look for Thumbs Up from Special Interest Groups," Inside Magazine, March 26, 2001. See also: Tom Tugend, "Hollywood Director Says Wiesenthal Center Nixed Film," Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), April 20, 2001; Tom Tugend, "Pressure Power?," The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 6, 2001.
15. "Simon Wiesenthal Centre Testifies in Paris Libel Suit Against Norman Finkelstein," Die Jüdische, March 26, 2004.
16. Miles Corwin, "Claims About Anti-Semitic Wave Hit by B'nai B'rith," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 12, 1984.
17. "Jews Mistreated in Swiss WWII Camps, Study Says," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 13, 1998; "Swiss Slowed Jews' Escape, Report Says," Los Angeles Times, June 10, 1998; Essays by Rabbis Hier and Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center, and by Swiss Ambassador Thomas Borer, "Perspectives on the Swiss in World War II," Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1998.
18. "Wiesenthal Dismisses Report on Switzerland," The Orange County Register, June 18, 1998.
19. "How the Simon Wiesenthal Center Falsifies History," The Journal of Historical Review, Sept.-Dec. 1999 (Vol. 18, No. 4-5), pages 4-5.
See also: David Irving, "Bowing to the 'deniers' Wiesenthal Center has finally removed faked photo from its website."
20. SWC news release, "SWC and Mel Gibson's Film The Passion of the Christ," February 2004.
21. M. Hier, "Heroes Aren't the Story, Villainy Is," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 19, 1995.
For a succinct response to criticisms of Pope Pius XII for his actions during World War II, see "The Myth of Hitler's Pope," a review by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., July 25, 2005. Posted at:
22. C. Reed, "Wartime Pope 'Prayed for Nazi Victory'," The Guardian (Britain), May 15, 1999, p. 18.
23. SWC news release, Feb. 12, 2001.
24. SWC news release, July 22, 2001. On Hier's ardent support for Israel and its policies, see also SWC news release, April 11, 2002 "We Stand With Israel."
25. On the systemtic and institutionalized nature of Israeli discrimination against non-Jews, see: "Saving Israel From Itself: A Secular Future for the Jewish State," by Bernard Avishai, Harper's Magazine, January 2005; Norman Dacey, "Democracy' in Israel: Government, Social Order and Institutions (IHR: 1992?); Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978), esp. chap.VI; Issa Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem (New York: 1991).
26. SWC news release of Jan. 10, 2001, "Israel's Honor and Soul Should Not Be Up for Grabs," Jan. 10, 2001.
27. SWC "Press Information" statements of August 20, 2003, and July 9, 2004. For more about the "security fence," see: "Israeli Official: Wall to Ensure Jewish Majority," AP, July 11, 2005; "Stop the Wall" website http://stopthewall.org/ ; "Israel's Confiscation Barrier Through Palestine," If Americans Knew.
28. M. Weber, "The Simon Wiesenthal Center : An Overview," The Journal of Historical Review, July-August 1995, pp. 2-7.
"Both the Stern Gang and the Irgun, which included [later Israeli] prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, were involved in the bombings of Arab markets, the bombing of the British military headquarters in Jerusalem's King David Hotel -- an attack that left over 80 Englishmen, Arabs and Jews dead -- and the assassination of UN mediator Count Bernadotte, author of a June 1948 peace plan calling for, among other things, an Arab-controlled Jerusalem." See: James Ciment, Palestine/ Israel: The Long Conflict (New York: Facts on File, 1997), pages 186-187; George W. Ball, Douglas B. Ball, The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present (New York: 1992), p. 141; Baylis Thomas, How Israel Was Won: A Concise History of the Arab-Israel Conflict ( 1999).
29. Meron Benvenisti, "A Museum of Tolerance in a City of Fanatics," Haaretz (Israel), Dec. 5, 2002.
30. Marvin Hier, "Crisis in the Gulf," Newsweek, Nov. 26. 1990. Facsimile in Christian News, Nov. 26, 1990,
31. "German Firms Produce Zyklon B in Iraq," Response: The Wiesenthal Center World Report, Spring 1991, pp. 2, 4; D. Willis "German Exports: 'Was the Lesson of Auschwitz in Vain?," Orange County Register, Feb. 8, 1991.
32. SWC news release of October 7, 2002. "Wiesenthal Center Supports Congressional Resolution on Iraq."
33. A major and probably crucial factor in the US decision to bomb, invade and occupy Iraq was to eliminate a regime that was hostile to Israel and dangerous to Zionist interests. See: M. Weber, "Iraq : A War for Israel," May 2005; James Bamford, A Pretext for War (Anchor, 2005); Stephen J. Sniegoski, "War on Iraq - Conceived In Israel," Current Concerns (Switzerland), Issue No. 1, 2003.
34. Ha'aretz, (Israel), Dec. 16, 1988. Reported in: David Sinai, "News We Doubt You've Seen," ["Sad"], The Jewish Press (Brooklyn, New York), Dec. 23, 1988.
35. Judith Miller, One by One, by One: Facing the Holocaust (New York: Simon and Schuster/ Touchstone, 1990), p. 237.
36. Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry (London, New York : Verso, 2003 [second ed.]), pp. 89, 94, 130, 138, 139
37. "A Conversation with Professor Norman Finkelstein." Conducted by Don Atapattu, Dec. 13, 2001.
-- September 2005
Mark Weber is director of the Institute for Historical Review. He studied history at the University of Illinois (Chicago), the University of Munich, Portland State University and Indiana University (M.A., 1977). For nine years he served as editor of the IHR's Journal of Historical Review.
The Institute for Historical Review, founded in 1978, is dedicated to promoting greater public awareness of history, and especially socially-politically relevant aspects of twentieth century history. It is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational enterprise.