- Anti-Israel activist
- Former member of the International Solidarity Movement
Born in Connecticut in 1979, Brian Avery is a former member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who frequently speaks on college campuses about the Israeli government's "brutality," of which he claims to be a living example.
After attending high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Avery enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to study music. He dropped out after one year, however, to play in a rock band for the next two years. Avery then worked for six months on an organic farm in Asheboro, North Carolina. He subsequently worked on organic farms in France, Spain, and Portugal as well.
Following these job experiences, Avery moved to Chicago and lived for a year in a housing cooperative where he came into contact with people who helped convince him to become an activist. He then developed an association with the Arab-Jewish Peace Alliance in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is where he first came into contact with the International Solidarity Movement. Before long, Avery joined ISM and moved to the West Bank to serve as an activist and human shield for the organization.
Avery garnered much media attention in April 2003 when he suffered severe face wounds while he was volunteering with ISM in the West Bank city of Jenin. The details of the incident remain unclear. Avery claims that an Israeli soldier intentionally shot him in the face, though there is strong evidence that he was not hit directly with a bullet but rather with ricocheting shrapnel from warning shots fired at the ground. What is indisputable, as Avery’s fellow activist Tobias Karlsson admitted, is that during a curfew in Jenin, the two ISM volunteers actually left their building to investigate the gunfire they had heard coming from outside.
Immediately after his injury Avery was taken to an Israeli hospital in Haifa, where Israeli doctors saved his life and rebuilt his face. Another ISM activist and friend of Avery’s wrote, “Everyone was amazed by the quick recovery. It had taken the surgeons eight hours to do the first emergency operations.” Avery was thereafter allowed to recover for two months in an Israeli hospital free of charge. To this day, however, his face remains disfigured and he uses his victim status on the anti-Israel lecture circuit.
Among Avery’s more notable public statements are the following:
- “We need to dismantle the military culture of the U.S. and Israel and dismantle the entire Military-Industrial complex.”
- “In a lot of ways, the real battle is not in Palestine, the real battle is in America. That’s where the power is, that’s were the money is.”
- “For longer than I have been alive, Palestinians have dealt with this persistent campaign of abuse, intimidation, robbery, rape, and murder as the ideological elite of Israeli governance have sought annexation of their lands as part of a manifest destiny policy of national expansion.”
Avery has also condemned the U.S. media’s “campaign of misinformation by Zionist-leaning news editors.”
In 2004 Avery was a featured speaker at a Duke University event put on by the Palestine Solidarity Movement.
Avery occasionally serves as a guest speaker at events sponsored by the anti-Israel group Wheels of Justice (WOJ). Other noteworthy WOJ speakers include Mazin
Qumsiyeh and Alison Weir.
Today Avery is working on an agricultural research program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is also pursuing litigation against the State of Israel as a result of the injuries he sustained in 2003.
This profile is adapted, with permission, from Stand4Facts.org.