File this in the Passing Parade.
The late Avi Davis was the founder of the American Freedom Alliance, a conservative group dedicated to elucidating and preserving the values and underpinnings of Western civilization. When he died unexpectedly in 2015, we lost a champion whose verve and kindness really are irreplaceable. I feel that loss keenly, and selfishly so, in part because Avi was such a strong champion of my work. While I think we had connected even before 2007, the year The Death of the Grown-Up appeared, that book, I am happy to say, deeply resonated with him. Over the years, we had many occasions to come together in in-depth interviews and conferences, and naturally I accepted when Avi asked me to become an AFA fellow.
In 2009, I was honored to introduce Geert Wilders at an AFA gala dinner in Los Angeles, where he was receiving the AFA's Hero of Conscience Award.
In 2013, after the publication of American Betrayal, which Avi read immediately, our friendship would deepen as we watched, in growing disbelief, the smear campaign against my book spearheaded by David Horowitz, his lifelong friend Ron Radosh and Frontpage magazine, locus of what some might see as a competing conservative group in Southern California, The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Avi was very disturbed and outraged over the defamation of both my book and person by Horowitz et al, and there were some very long telephone calls between us discussing the latest surreal developments in this unrelenting effort (nearly two dozen related pieces) to kill the book and my crediblity.
Avi was determined to do something about it, and we came up with a marvelous two-day program in LA at the end of 2013, dedicated to American Betrayal, including the controversy. I went to LA to give a lecture at the Skirball Center, which was followed by commentary and discussion featuring skyped-in appearances by M. Stanton Evans and Sebastian Gorka. On the second day, Avi hosted (and cooked!) a gourmet dinner for special guests at his home, after which we went to another home for dessert, where we joined guests gathered to hear Avi interview me about American Betrayal and all of that radioactive fallout, followed by a lively Q & A. It was an excellent, probing discussion (alas, not recorded).
In 2014, Avi bestowed the AFA's Hero of Conscience Award on both Jesse Lee Peterson and me — truly, a capstone honor. Looking at the handsome plaque today, I realized I had forgotten the inscription. It says: American Freedom Alliance is proud to present The 2014 Hero of Conscience Award (to me) "for her outstanding commitment to revealing the truth about the penetration of Soviet influence into the highest realms of the U.S. government in the 1930s and 1940s and her continuing commitment to the advancement of Western values and ideals."
Part of that commitment included fighting and triumphing over the Horowitz-led disinformation campaign.
How tragic it was when Avi Davis died in December of 2015 at age 57. In 2016, the Hero of Conscience Award went to Avi, postumously.
I am reminded of all of this on seeing that the American Freedom Alliance, under its new leadership, will be awarding the Hero of Conscience Award of 2017 to ... David Horowitz.
Is "irony" a sufficient label here? I think not; however, I will leave to others the work of describing this juxtaposition of persons and events.
More important is just to set it down for the record.