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National Press Club rented event space to anti-Israel group

“They would not rent, I would hope, to the Ku Klux Klan,” said William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

A "Prime Suspect Card" of IDF chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi created by radical NGO DAWN. Source: Screenshot.
A "Prime Suspect Card" of IDF chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi created by radical NGO DAWN. Source: Screenshot.

The National Press Club, a more than 115-year-old journalism club, is drawing criticism for renting space in its building, located blocks from the White House, to an anti-Israel group, Jewish Insider reported.

The club rented space on Tuesday to Democracy for the Arab World Now, which hosted a discussion about the United Arab Emirates.  

Although the club, which is a for-profit entity, told the publication that it rents space to anyone, William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that doing business with DAWN crossed a line.

“They would not rent, I would hope, to the Ku Klux Klan. They would not rent, I would hope, to Louis Farrakhan,” he told the publication. “Certainly, this organization, DAWN, is one that should be beyond the pale, and is, in fact, beyond the pale.”

Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for AIPAC, told Jewish Insider that “legitimacy should not be granted to an explicitly anti-Israel organization, which is extremely hostile to America’s ally.”

After Israel freed four hostages from Gaza last weekend, DAWN wrote that “Israeli officials should be held responsible for this grotesque, botched Israeli operation—massacring not only 274 Palestinians, mostly women and children, but reportedly also killing three hostages, including a U.S. citizen—because it has violated the most basic laws of war.”

According to IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, “under 100” Palestinians were killed during the operation, including some civilians. Casualty figures published by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry do not distinguish between combatants and noncombatants.

IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner has dismissed as “propaganda” Hamas’s claims that Israeli forces killed three hostages during the raid.

In January 2017, the National Press Club rented space for a “Deploraball” in support of President Donald Trump.

“The organizers approached our staff last year to rent our space as many supporters of past winners of the presidency and state societies have done for decades. My predecessor, along with our staff, carefully negotiated the deal and briefed our club leadership,” the club’s then president told Newsweek.

“We agreed to rent the space to the organizers both on First Amendment grounds and recognizing that legally, we were counseled that local human rights law dictates—even to private organizations, that they cannot discriminate against political speech,” he added. “Succinctly put, the same law in D.C. that prevents a bakery from discriminating against an LGBTQ couple from buying a wedding cake, applies to us and the organizers of the Deploraball.”

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