You probably never heard of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect until 2017, when they started making media rounds for their criticism of the Trump administration that can be generously described as over-the-top:
And they don't plan on backing down anytime soon:
Here are five things you need to know about the Anne Frank Center.
1. The Anne Frank Center doesn't have any connection to Anne Frank herself. The organization's claim to credibility is that Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, was involved in the founding of the Anne Frank Center. However, documents provided by the organization to The Atlantic that they claimed were proof of Otto Frank's involvement were "not conclusive." In fact, Bauco van der Wal, the former head of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, told The Atlantic that it was his job to start an Anne Frank organization in America and Otto Frank had no part in that effort.
2. The Anne Frank Center's website states that it was founded in 1959, but according to The Atlantic, the organization was actually founded in 1977. Even then, the organization was initially called the American Friends of the Anne Frank Center; eventually it became just the Anne Frank Center. The problem is that their website claims that they were named as the Anne Frank Center since the organization's inception. These inaccurate claims put further doubt on the organization's credibility.
3. The Anne Frank Center doesn't really provide much Holocaust education. According to Jewish historian David Benkof:
The group boasts very little programming beyond the dissemination of Goldstein’s sound-bites. Its Web site describes four small traveling Anne Frank exhibits whose ten stops this year include a high school in Elkhart, Indiana and a library in Sarasota. They are very proud of their touring show in which actors visit high schools and community centers playing Martin Luther King dialoguing with Anne Frank. They also plant “Anne Frank Tree Saplings” around the country.
And that’s about it. They have virtually no presence at the Holocaust conferences scheduled year-round, and they have published no significant research in the area of Holocaust studies. They are an utterly marginal organization.
Benkof added that the organization has eight other employees and all but one have zero "qualifications related to Holocaust or anti-Semitism research or teaching."
In fact, the new board chair of the organization, Peter Rapaport, told The Atlantic that the Anne Frank Center doesn't focus on the Holocaust or on Judaism.
"It isn’t our focus to be pro-Jewish or to be just a Holocaust-education [organization]," said Rapaport. "We want to use the knowledge of the Holocaust and go further."
4. The executive director of the Anne Frank Center, Steven Goldstein, is a left-wing Democrat activist. Via Tablet:
A one-time co-campaign manager for former New Jersey Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine, Goldstein had previously served as press secretary for New Jersey’s other Democratic Senator, Frank Lautenberg, as well as an adviser to Chuck Schumer. He is best-known, however, for heading Garden State Equality, an action group that successfully worked to make same-sex marriage legal in New Jersey. Goldstein’s deputy at the Anne Frank Center is David Smith, who had served in the same role at Garden State Equality.
Additionally, Goldstein told The Atlantic that he's "a social-justice activist" and "a Jewish activist"; he also told Forward that his goal was to turn the Anne Frank Center into "a hybrid historic and social justice organization." Goldstein laughably views himself as a "civil rights leader."
5. In sum, the organization is using Anne Frank as a banner for leftist activism. The conclusion of The Atlantic piece is that since the Anne Frank Center "talks a big game and wields the name of Anne Frank, the media has awarded it authority it never earned." Tablet concluded their piece thus:
If the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect — which is now at best tangentially associated with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam — wants, as it claims, to bring about the “kinder and fairer world of which Anne Frank dreamed,” it should probably dedicate itself to the less glamorous work of correcting ahistorical comments, avoiding ugly witch hunts, and teaching others how to avoid meaningless political theater. Anne Frank has suffered enough.
Indeed, using the name of a teenage girl who perished in the Holocaust is nothing short of appalling and reprehensible. It trivializes the importance of Anne Frank's life, her diary and the Holocaust down to the feelings-based delusions held by the Left. The Anne Frank Center is perpetuating a scam in order to get the media to hype the organization's leftist hysteria, and the media continues to fall for it.
Bethany Mandel summed it up best with this tweet: