Palestine, Israel & Alison Weir

 

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‘Jews In The Movement’

September 26, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

tikun my arse.jpg

By Devon Nola

Thanks to Laura MacDonald for bringing to our attention the revealing thread that begins with Richard Silverstein lamenting over being suspended from Twitter and infringing on his freedom of speech.  This phenomenon of thought police is unfortunate, and we see this happening all over social media.  However, it doesn’t take long before we see Silverstein engages in this very same reprehensible practice, blocking anyone who challenges his opinion or who expresses a view point he doesn’t agree with.

Silverstein is hardly the only one who engages in this behavior. In fact, it’s rampant across social media and most prevalent in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement: it appears to be largely controlled by the so called ‘Jews in the movement,’ a bunch of self-proclaimed anti-Zionist Jews. This contingent seems to be involved, primarily, in keeping the discourse of the oppressed Palestinians free from ‘antisemitism.’ In practice it sets the boundaries of the Palestinian solidarity discussion, so it is compliant with Jewish sensitivities.

What is most ironic is while blocking pro-Palestinian activists or anyone who crosses his redline, Silverstein simultaneously has started another Twitter page, “Why Is Twitter Censoring Free Speech”.  His Twitter name on this page is ‘Tikun Olam Speaks’.  Tikun Olam in Hebrew translates to ‘fixing the world,’ an aspiration of mending the human landscape in an ethical and universal manner.  This may sound like a noble aspiration, yet, the intolerance performed by Silverstein and his acolytes isn’t necessarily the universe the rest of us like to dwell in.

Here are a few pearls from Mr. Silverstein: “…tonight, of all nights, Atzmon himself and a few acolytes decided they would take a dump here in the midst of my efforts to fight back against zio-suppression of free speech.”

“So, these assholes, happy to divert attention from what’s important to their petty ideological squabble, mess things up for all the rest of us.”

Based on these comments one may assume that Silverstein, despite his age, is still well within his anal phase. However, Silverstein continues, “I’ve almost never blocked anyone on the left….” I presume that Silverstein doesn’t see the irony in his supposed fight for free speech.

Maybe, Tikun Olam means fixing the world so it is constructive and beneficial to Jews only or Israelis, more specifically. Whatever the case, I would suggest that Silverstein and his company of ‘world fixers,’ may consider repairing themselves first.

For me, a female goy, self-reflection is the cornerstone of constructive universal ethical correction. Yet, my experience, with many of those who identify as the ‘Jews within the movement’ (including Liberal/Progressive, anti-Zionist, anti-racist, tolerant, peace-seeking, etc.) shows all evidence their agenda is somehow different. Rather than looking in the mirror, they engage in hideous smear campaigns, intense attempts to cancel talks and boycotts against anyone who doesn’t stay within the ‘safe boundaries’ of Palestinian discourse. Sadly, they operate much like the so-called hardcore, right-wing Zionists. This shouldn’t take us by complete surprise, the Zionists and the ‘Jews in the Movement’ self-identify as one people. They seem to disagree on some issues but they happen to adhere to one particular authoritarian political culture.  Truthfully, by now, I have less issue with the Zionists as there is no pretense about who they are.

Two such innocent people who’ve been subject to these attacks are Gilad Atzmon and Alison Weir. The campaigns against them are astounding, merely for not following orders put in place by the so-called ‘Jews in the movement.’  But here is the good news. Both Weir and Atzmon survived the vile onslaught. I believe this is due to people experiencing a change of heart.  It’s become clear to many of us that Atzmon and Weir are somewhat of a litmus test. If you hate them, you are most likely a ‘Jew in the movement.’

It may come as a surprise to some, but many television programs begin with a precursor stating the views in the program are not necessarily shared by the station.  This is how we American Goyim, the so called 98% understand freedom of speech. This is how we unchosen Americans comprehend the 1st Amendment and the American experience in general. We want to see platforms open to all viewpoints.  The notion of silencing dissent is what we Americans with just a single citizenship view as tyranny. If this is what the ‘Jews in the movement’ have to offer, they may be better off operating in isolation as they apparently do.

Watching Silverstein’s Thread is a lesson in Jewish self-ghettoization. You can see how Goyim and dissenters are pushed out one after the other. Within just a few hours a vivid discussion had been reduced into an isolated corner in a remote synagogue. Is it a coincidence that all of that happened just a few days before Yom Kippur when Jews, so we hear, are commanded to ‘self-reflect and amend their ways’?

The ‘Jews in the Movement’ seem to operate as a dedicated thought police force. For them speech is only free if you stick to their ‘script.’  Otherwise, be prepared to face their wrath.  It seems fitting to close with two very profound Atzmon quotes.

1) “Jewish power is the capacity to suppress discussion of Jewish power”.

2) “The discourse of the oppressed is dictated by the sensitivities of the oppressor.”  With friends like this, who needs enemies?

USA firmly under the Zionist jackboot, even criticism of israel is “anti-Semitic”

Landmark Bill Restricting Criticism of Israel Sneaks Through South Carolina Senate

By Alison Weir

The South Carolina Senate has recently passed legislation that changes the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel, and then applies this new definition to college campuses in a manner that experts say will impede free academic inquiry. The U.S. gives Israel over $10 million per day, and Congress frequently approves increases to that amount; restricting discussion on this issue could serve to bolster and increase these expenditures.

The legislation codifies a definition of anti-Semitism that significantly changes the meaning of the word, and it requires the state’s colleges to use this new definition when determining whether an action is “discriminatory” and therefore prohibited. This new definition declares statements that are critical of Israel—even when factual—“anti-Semitic” and therefore impermissible.

A bill on this passed in the state House of Representatives, but when promoters failed to pass it in the state Senate, they resorted to a parliamentary maneuver that may have broken their own rules. They inserted the text at the last minute in South Carolina’s 545-page General Appropriations bill, which is considered a “must-pass” bill because it is required for state government to function. The insertion is on page 348, sandwiched between a section on “Statewide Higher Education Repair and Renovation” and a section that specifies the amount of money appropriated to one of the state’s colleges.

The legislation could mean that University of South Carolina students will only hear one side on the Israel-Palestine issue, helping Israel partisans continue the over $10 million per day that the U.S. gives Israel.

Since the inserted text (section 11.22) does not appear germane to the bill in which it was inserted (and was ruled out of order on the first attempt to add it), the maneuver may have broken legislative rules.*

However, it appears unlikely that the sponsors will be held to account, for two reasons: 1. In Israel the bill is considered extremely important, and some powerful organizations both in the U.S. and internationally support it. 2. However, in South Carolina, legislators tend to consider it insignificant legislation that will have little, if any, impact and therefore see no reason to expend political capital in questioning it. (More on this below.)

Not Law Yet

While pro-Israel groups are celebrating the passage as a “monumental” victory, there are actually two more steps before it becomes state law.

First, the bill must be reconciled with a previous appropriations bill passed by the House. This bill also contains an amendment redefining anti-Semitism and applying it to colleges, but uses different wording. Representatives of the two chambers will meet in the next week or so to create a compromise bill. After that has been accomplished, the Governor must sign it into law.

It is safe to assume neither of these steps will constitute obstacles, however. The governor is in an 8-candidate gubernatorial race where campaign donations are critical, and examination of campaign finance records indicate that pro-Israel donors, often from out of state, frequently play an outsized role in such elections. If history is any predictor, neither he nor any challengers are likely to oppose the legislation.

The Law Will Have Major Impact

The inserted legislation does several things:

First, it vastly expands the traditional, very clear meaning of anti-Semitism—hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people on the basis of their being Jewish—to a new definition that includes certain types of information about Israel.

The Senate bill spells out a long, hazy definition that consists of an array of types of actions, “certain perceptions,” “rhetorical manifestation,” etc., that would now legally constitute “anti-Semitism.” Half a dozen of them are related to the modern state of Israel.

The House bill, rather than spelling out the definition itself, codifies a definition adopted by a State Department special envoy in 2010, which also changed the traditional meaning of anti-Semitism to include statements critical of Israel. (Full text of both are below.)

The Senate bill requires South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education to print copies of this new, Israel-centric definition of anti-Semitism and distribute them to all South Carolina public colleges and universities.

Finally, both bills mandate that academic institutions use this definition in deciding whether someone has violated a school’s policy prohibiting discrimination.

If the legislation goes through and becomes law, as proponents appear certain it will, the consequences could be two-fold: a significant loss of academic freedom at South Carolina colleges, and, indirectly, continued one-sided U.S. Middle East policies and massive expenditures.

But first let’s look at the historic and geopolitical background of this new definition.

Origin of the New Definition

The basic outline of this new, Israel-centric definition of anti-Semitism was first created by an Israeli minister in 2004. Israel partisans have successfully pushed its adoption by numerous entities around the world ever since, building on even the smallest endorsements to create momentum and a snowballing effect. (See this for details.)

In the U.S., a two-step process has achieved partial success in getting the nation to legally adopt the new definition, but the effort is ongoing—South Carolina’s law would be a major step forward for proponents of the definition, and the accompanying censorship of certain types of information.

The first step that would enable the adoption of the definition in the U.S. also occurred in 2004: Pro-Israel groups successfully promoted federal legislation to create a “special envoy” and State Department office to monitor anti-Semitism. This was done over the objections of state department officials, who said it was unnecessary.

The second step was accomplished by one of these envoys, who unilaterally adopted the new, Israel-centric definition in 2009. (All three envoys have been demonstrably pro-Israel, two later working for the Israel lobbying organization AIPAC—the American Israel Political Action Committee. President Trump, as part of his general cost-cutting measures, has not yet appointed a new envoy, causing many pro-Israel groups to call him anti-Semitic for this failure.)

 

Anti-Semitism Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal (above) adopted the Israel-centric definition in 2009.

Since that time, Israel partisans have introduced legislation in the federal government and state legislatures—and even on some college campuses—to adopt this definition, which they call the “state department definition.” South Carolina, if the bill becomes state law, will be their first success in this effort.

Curtailing Freedom of Speech and Academic Inquiry

These bills usually contain a final sentence that says they don’t violate the Constitutional guarantee of free speech, and their sponsors make this claim to the people voting for them.

However, the reality seems to be the opposite.

Legal experts say the legislation will do just that, and there is a history of university administrators around the country censoring protected speech on the basis of such definitions.

In fact, the author of the definition adopted by the State Department anti-Semitism envoy has vehemently opposed legislating the definition into law, specifically writing that applying it to colleges “is a direct affront to academic freedom.”

In a letter opposing federal legislation to codify the definition as law, author Kenneth Stern stated: “The definition was never intended to be used to limit speech on college campuses; it was written for European data collectors to have a guide for what to include and what to exclude in their reports.”

Stern, the American Jewish Committee’s expert on anti-Semitism for 25 years, opposed  incorporating the definition into law in a way that he called “unconstitutional and unwise.” Stern warned that this would “actually harm Jewish students and have a toxic effect on the academy.”

Other legal experts agree with Stern.

An analysis by the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups that examined the proposed federal bill (not yet passed) found that not only would it interfere with freedom of speech, but that such censorship was the motivation for the legislation: “The Act purports to address rising anti-Semitism on college campuses, but a close reading reveals that its true purpose is to silence campus advocacy for Palestinian rights and censor any criticism of Israeli government policies.”

The document continues: “This vague and overbroad re-definition conflates political criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, infringing on constitutionally protected speech.”

Finally, the paper specifically emphasizes: “The re-definition is especially detrimental to universities, where freedom of speech, critical inquiry, and unfettered debate are integral.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also actively opposes such legislation, stating that the federal bill poses “a serious threat to the First Amendment free speech rights of those on campus who may hold certain political views.”

In its letter of opposition to the federal bill, the ACLU stated: “The First Amendment prevents the federal government from using its great weight to impose severe penalties on a person simply for sharing a political viewpoint critical of Israel.”

The chief of staff of the ACLU’s legislative office in Washington said that the legislation “opens the door to considering anti-Israel political statements and activities as possible grounds for civil rights investigations.”

How the Law Will Limit Free Speech in South Carolina

An examination of the South Carolina situation indicates how the new law could play out.

University of South Carolina guidelines contain the laudable statement that “all students should be able to learn and live” in an environment that is “free from discrimination … in all programs, activities, and services of the University.”

Since the new legislation defines many statements about Israel, no matter how factual, as “anti-Semitic” and therefore constituting discrimination, Israel partisans can be expected to invoke the law: to prevent public speakers from discussing information on Palestine, to prevent professors from educating students fully and accurately on the Middle East, and/or to punish professors or students who provide facts that Israel and its partisans don’t wish students to know. Anti-Palestinian activists have invoked the definition to accomplish all of these things elsewhere, in a number of instances.

In addition, the legislation could interfere with student groups’ ability to bring speakers to campus. While student groups are normally allowed to use student fees to bring outside speakers, under the new legislation this could change. While students could bring pro-Israel speakers without problems, groups wishing to bring speakers with different perspectives might not have an equal ability to do so. Ironically, a bill that many of its supporters intended to be against discrimination, might actually create discrimination against certain students, including those from ethnic or religious minorities.

By blocking such speakers and information, the “free marketplace of ideas” would be severely limited on South Carolina campuses when it comes to Israel-Palestine—one of the most significant issues in today’s world, a critical factor in Middle East wars, and the core issue of the Middle East.

For decades, the U.S. has given Israel far more of our tax money than to other nation (on average, 7,000 times more per capita than to other people), as well as massive diplomatic cover. Most of the rest of the world therefore considers the U.S. as the sponsor responsible for Israel’s actions. Therefore, it is particularly crucial that Americans be fully informed on Israel and its actions. No one, including the most committed supporter of Israel, benefits from one-sided, incomplete information. Friends don’t let friends bury their heads in misinformation while supporting ethnic cleansing.

“Momentous” Breakthrough

Pro-Israel groups, both international and domestic, have been watching—and participating in—the South Carolina situation with great eagerness. Now that South Carolina seems poised to adopt the “anti-Semitism” legislation, many hope that “as goes South Carolina, so goes the nation”—and the world.

Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper called the South Carolina legislation “a landmark bill that is set to be the model for states across America and countries around the world.”

The pro-Israel Brandeis Center, which helped promote the legislation, declared: “Just as two dozen states followed South Carolina’s lead on legislation condemning the movement to boycott certain countries [Israel], we are hoping this momentous step will result in another national wave to, once and for all, begin defeating rising anti-Semitism.” Anti-Semitism, that is, defined to include many forms of criticism of Israel.

Supporters of these bills claim their efforts are necessary to battle rising anti-Semitism. Therefore, it is important to realize and scrutinize what they mean by “anti-Semitism.”

The much-cited Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and another group, AMCHA, classify many actions in support of international law and Palestinian human rights as supposedly “anti-Semitism.” Both organizations actively advocate for Israel. The ADL, which is often perceived as a civil rights organization, has been connected to some initiatives promoting Islamophobia, and it produced a campus guide describing how to block events about Palestine.

Despite what the legislation’s supporters would have us believe, a 2017 report found that Jewish students “reported feeling comfortable on their campuses, and, more specifically, comfortable as Jews on their campuses.” Fewer than 10 percent of the students articulated the belief that anti-Israel sentiment is anti-Semitism. Even some Israel partisans have said that reports of alleged anti-Semitism on campuses are inaccurate.

Barry Trachtenberg, who teaches in the Jewish Studies Department at Wake Forest University, said it was a “factual distortion” to call colleges “hotbeds” of anti-Semitism, and said that that criticism of Israel is part of healthy academic debate.

“Students who engage in speech critical of Israeli policy are largely motivated by their concern for Palestinian human rights,” Trachtenberg said. “They are not motivated by anti-Semitic hate, but its opposite — a desire to end racial and religious discrimination of all kinds.”

The reality is that students who support Israel are extraordinarily well supported on American campuses. There are over two dozen organizations that collectively contribute millions of dollars to campaigns to promote Israel on campuses. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly has raised at least $20 million to quash student speech critical of Israeli policies. Sheldon, who has said he wished he had served in the Israeli military rather than in the U.S. army, has created a task force that funds pro-Israel students to organize events on campuses, with the funding per campus reportedly in the six figures per year on at least forty campuses.

Israel has long recognized the need to promote its interests on campuses. The Israeli minister who created the original formulation for the new anti-Semitism definition said that college campuses were “one of the most important battlefields” for Israel.

An Israel lobby leader announced some years ago, after student government at U.C. Berkeley considered taking some measures to boycott Israel:  “We’re going to make certain that pro-Israel students take over the student government. That is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.”

 

Organizations & individuals behind the bill

A number of pro-Israel organizations took credit for helping on South Carolina’s anti-Semitism legislation.

The Brandeis Center, named after former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (who for a period headed the world Zionist movement) announced that its representatives “testified at multiple South Carolina hearings on the bill and have been working closely with state legislators to ensure passage.”

Another group that helped promote the bill was the Israel Allies Foundation. Its U.S. executive director Joseph Sabag stated: “The IAF was honored to help lead the advocacy and surrounding educational efforts, as well as provided policy and legal resources to legislators for this effort.”

IAF is a multi-million dollar international organization that promotes Israel around the world. Sabag explained that the mission of IAF, “via its 37 pro-Israel Caucuses worldwide, and in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures, is to provide policymakers with the resources they need to craft sound public policy.” IAF particularly works to create support for Israel among Christians, putting on events at churches and other venues throughout the United States.

Sabag said that the Israel Allies Foundation “couldn’t be prouder of what’s been accomplished here in South Carolina.”

The Israel Project, with a budget of about $8 million, is another organization that helped on the legislation. Founded 16 years ago to support Israel, The Israel Project focuses on “informing the media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East.” Its website proclaims that it “is the only organization dedicated to changing people’s minds about Israel through cutting-edge strategic communications. We don’t attack the media, we become a trusted partner and resource.”

Israel Project President Josh Block (annual salary half a million dollars) praised South Carolina: “South Carolina was the first state to pass anti-BDS legislation and now has become the first state in the nation to pass uniform definition of anti-Semitism legislation.” (BDS—boycott, divestment, sanctions—is an economic campaign to pressure Israel to end its violations of international law, U.S. law, and human rights.).

The Brandeis Center also credited CUFI (Christians United for Israel) and StandWithUs for their help on the legislation.

Founded in 2006, CUFI claims to have 3-4 million “members,” though this seems to actually be the number of emails the organization has gathered; the number of active supporters may be closer to 30,000 to 50,000. CUFI lobbies on behalf of Israel and disseminates pro-Israel spin on diverse issues to Americans and Canadians.

Charisma News reports: “It’s no secret that one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, D.C., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has long wanted a ‘Gentile arm,’ and some believe they now have it in CUFI.”

While CUFI’s head is megachurch pastor and celebrity John Hagee, its executive director and co-founder David Brog may be the organization’s real mover and shaker. According to Charisma News, “Brog is the powerhouse behind the Christian organization, yet he’s also a conservative (non-Messianic) Jew.” The article reports: “Brog, who was chief of staff to liberal Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania for seven years, is said to run CUFI like a political campaign. He has talking points, stays focused and rallies his constituency.” Prime Minister Ehud Barak is his cousin.

Stand With Us is an international organization supporting Israel headquartered in Los Angeles that works in the U.S., Canada, Israel, England, South Africa, China, Europe, and Australia. CEO Roz Rothstein commended South Carolina’s legislation, saying: “Just as South Carolina took the lead in passing anti-BDS legislation, we hope that the passage of H3643 will be the first of many states to follow suit.”

The Brandeis Center also credited the Jewish Federations of Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina with helping on the legislation.

Representative Alan Clemmons

The official author of the House bill was Representative Alan Clemmons, known for his Israel advocacy. South Carolina’s Post and Courier newspaper reports that Clemmons is “Israel’s biggest supporter in a U.S. state legislature.”

Clemmons, a Mormon, has traveled to Israel four times, met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, sometimes leads South Carolina delegations to Israel, and was a drafter of the 2016 national Republican Party platform on Israel, parts of which have been adopted by the Trump administration. In 2017 Clemmons joined U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at special U.N. event sponsored by the World Jewish Congress.

Clemmons sometimes meets with extremist Israeli settlers (Israeli settlements are illegal under international law), and calls them his “great tutors” on the issue of Israel-Palestine. (But Clemons ignores the statements of religious leaders such as Dead Sea scholar Millar Burrows, Naturei Karta rabbis, and the American Council on Judaism, who have long opposed Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land.)

There is no record of Clemmons and his delegations ever traveling to Gaza or the West Bank on independent, fact-finding trips or having unscripted meetings with Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

Opposition to the Legislation

A number of South Carolinians objected to the legislation for diverse reasons.

Some argued it could “restrict thoughtful critiques of Israeli policy.” A Palestinian student activist wrote a letter to the editor in which she explained that her group, which included  Jewish members, “fully acknowledge and sympathize with the Jewish history, but assert our right to criticize the actions of Israel.”

South Carolina’s State newspaper reported on opponents who testified against the House bill: “Speaking hurriedly to meet a two-minute time limit lawmakers had imposed, they said the bill would discourage college discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gag pro-Palestine student groups.”

The paper reported that Caroline Nagel, an associate professor of geography at the University of South Carolina, said she feared that the bill would “silence professors and student groups who are trying to explain and to give voice to a diversity of opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“I am frankly baffled,” Nagel said, “as to why any legislator would consider an idea to curtail our freedom of speech.”

Some opponents felt that the House members who signed onto it had been “hoodwinked.”

“They just think it’s something that’s nice for Israel,” said David Matos, president of Carolina Peace Resource Center. “They don’t realize it’s a pretty nasty attempt to suppress free speech on college campuses … to suppress debate on college campuses on Israel and Palestine.”

“It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Matos said. “The intent is to suppress political speech and smear it as anti-Semitism.”

Some State Legislators Raise Questions

South Carolina State Senator Brad Hutto held up the Senate bill, leading its sponsors to slip it into the appropriations bill instead. Hutto said: “I have heard not one university trustee that I know come up here and tell me that they were having any problems understanding how to read the dictionary or make up their own mind and needing our help on it.”

The Israel Allies Foundation, angered at Hutto’s action, blasted Hutto, a longtime liberal who calls anti-Semitism “horrible,” for allegedly working “to benefit the forces of bigotry and intolerance.”

In reality, however, Hutto had explained that he would support the legislation if it applied to “all races, ethnicities and gender identities.”

In an interview for this article, Hutto said that he was opposed to the bill for several reasons.

Hutto felt there was no need for the legislation. While he emphasized that “anti-Semitism is a horrible thing,” he pointed out that the universities have an elected board of trustees fully capable of managing any complaints or problems. He said there was no need for the State Assembly to “micromanage conduct on campuses.”

Hutto also disliked that the bill focused on only one type of bigotry, and in only one place. He emphasized that “all bigotry of every kind is bad,” and said “it’s bad everywhere, in housing, at work, everywhere.” Hutto said he might consider supporting a broader bill that made a general statement against all bigotries in all their various forms and locations.

Hutto also felt it was a mistake to inject foreign policy into the state legislature when there are numerous pressing issues in South Carolina that the legislature needs to address.

The bottom line, however, was that Hutto didn’t think the law would have any impact, “other than getting one or two members free trips to Israel.”

For that reason, he said, most Senators considered the legislation unimportant. While some other Senators also opposed the legislation, he said—mostly out of freedom of speech concerns—they didn’t see the need to expend “political capital” on a law that they felt would “do nothing.”

Hutto, focused on South Carolina and the needs of his constituents, seemed surprised that the bill is considered so significant elsewhere.

A few people in the state house also opposed the bill.

One of them, Josiah Magnuson, said in an interview for this article that he supports Israel, but thought that the bill was “probably not the right approach” and was concerned that it might limit free speech. Like Hutto, though, he didn’t think the legislation was important or would do much.

Representative Jonathan Hill, a former sponsor who took his name off the bill, said that he thought it was wrong to apply to U.S. citizens a State Department definition of anti-Semitism intended for use abroad: “It does not necessarily account for the rights of American citizens to free speech. It’s designed for application in a geopolitical context.”

In an interview for this article, Hill noted that the State Department definition “was created for diplomatic purposes, not for use in the U.S.” and was concerned that applying it to colleges “could interfere with the Constitutional rights of Americans.”

Hill emphasized that he finds anti-Semitism “reprehensible,” but is focused on “the most appropriate way to handle the situation.” He said, “I’m not against what Senator Clemmons is trying to accomplish, but I feel that he is going about it the wrong way.”

“The First Amendment is a pretty big deal,” Hill said. “At the end of the day the government can’t start micromanaging the things that you say.”

Jewish Academics Oppose the Legislation

Some Jewish groups and individuals also opposed the new definition and codifying it in federal law or state law.

The American Council on Judaism’s Allan Brownfeld recently wrote: “There is a campaign to redefine anti-Semitism to mean criticism of Israel and opposition to Zionism. This campaign has as its goal the silencing of those who are critical of Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestinian territories and are engaged in activities such as support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.”

Brownfeld concluded: “Real problems must be addressed with real discussion and debate. Only those who have something to lose by open debate would use the tactics we have seen deployed by Israel and its most fervent American supporters.”

Over 60 Jewish scholars signed a letter calling the federal bill “misguided and dangerous.”

Another 300 Jewish students signed a letter objecting that the federal bill conflated “legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism, using a problematic definition of anti-Semitism never intended for use on college campuses … At a time when freedom of expression is under threat across the country, we need to be protecting and expanding speech, not restricting it.”

The letter said that such legislation would “limit our freedom of expression around the vital issues of our time.”

Truly a Vital Issue

The issue of Israel-Palestine is particularly relevant right now.

In the last few weeks there has been a massive uprising by men, women, and children in Gaza against the theft of their homes, their virtual imprisonment by Israel, and the decade-long blockade against them that has caused malnutrition among their children and severe hardship for their whole population.

Israeli forces have injured approximately 5,000 of the demonstrators, including a child who was shot in the head. During Easter, Israeli forces blocked hundreds of Palestinian Christians in Gaza from praying at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

These are not pleasant facts to disseminate or to know. Israel partisans may wish to dispute details, and have the right to do so. But the proper way to go about this is with civil, open, fair debate—not by suppressing information, breaking the rules, cheating students of their rights, and violating a Constitution that has served the United States well for over 200 years, as we have striven ever closer to the ideal of equal rights for all.

Allowing a special interest group to censor important information from our country’s students, even for the most benign of motivations, is unfair to our young people, damages our way of government, and causes profound harm to all of us.

Let us hope that South Carolina’s legislators rethink their support for this bill. If they don’t, let us hope that other states don’t follow in a direction that violates some of our nation’s most fundamental principles. Our students and our nation deserve better.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

* The first attempt to insert the text into the Senate appropriations bill, Amendment No. 49, was ruled not germane and ruled out of order. Supporters of the text then came back with Amendment No. 74, which added the requirement that the new definition be printed and distributed. Because this required an expenditure, this time the amendment squeaked through. Both amendments were introduced by Senator Larry Grooms, who had shepherded the bill in the Senate.

House Appropriations bill 4950

Below is the section about anti-Semitism:

117.149. (GP: Prohibition of Discriminatory Practices) (A) In the current fiscal year and from the funds appropriated to public colleges and universities, when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion, South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent.

(B) Nothing in this proviso may be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Section 2, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.

(C) For purposes of this proviso, the term ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ includes:

(1) the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State in the fact sheet issued on June 8, 2010; and

(2) the examples set forth under the headings ‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ and ‘What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?’ in the fact sheet.

Senate General Appropriations bill 4950

Below is the text on pages 348-9 of General Appropriations bill 4950 passed by the Senate on April 12, 2018:

11.23. (CHE: Prohibition of Discriminatory Practices) (A) In the current fiscal year and from the funds appropriated to the 16 Commission on Higher Education, the commission shall print and distribute to all South Carolina public colleges and universities 17 the definition of anti-Semitism. 18 (B) For purposes of this proviso, the term “definition of anti-Semitism” includes: 19 (1) a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations 20 of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions 21 and religious facilities; 22 (2) calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews; 23 (3) making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews 24 as a collective; 25 (4) accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person 26 or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews; 27 (5) accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; 28 (6) accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest 29 of their own nations; 30 (7) using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis; 31 (8) drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; 32 (9) blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions; 33 (10) applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; 34 (11) multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations; and 35 (12) denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist, provided, however, that 36 criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. SECTION 11 – H030 – COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION PAGE 349 1 (C) South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of 2 determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether 3 there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion. 4 (D) Nothing in this proviso may be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the 5 Constitution of the United States or Section 2, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.

Below is the earlier bill, that had been held up in the Senate:

South Carolina Bill 3643

 

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-101-220 SO AS TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS CONCERNING ANTI-SEMITISM, TO PROVIDE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING IN THIS STATE SHALL CONSIDER THIS DEFINITION WHEN REVIEWING, INVESTIGATING, OR DECIDING WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A VIOLATION OF AN INSTITUTIONAL POLICY PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION, AND TO PROVIDE NOTHING IN THIS ACT MAY BE CONSTRUED TO DIMINISH OR INFRINGE UPON ANY RIGHTS AFFORDED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION OR SECTION 2, ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1. Article 1, Chapter 101, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 59-101-220.    (A) For purposes of this section, the term ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ includes:

(1)    the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism of the Department of State in the fact sheet issued on June 8, 2010; and

(2)    the examples set forth under the headings ‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ and ‘What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?’ in the fact sheet.

(B)    In reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion, South Carolina public colleges and universities shall take into consideration the definition of anti-Semitism for purposes of determining whether the alleged practice was motivated by anti-Semitic intent.

(C)    Nothing in this section may be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Section 2, Article I of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895.”

SECTION    2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

This article was originally published by “IAK” –  

How israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet

Source

Students at the Israeli military’s Computing and Cyber Defense Academy. Israel is also “scouring Jewish communities abroad for young computer prodigies willing to join its ranks.”
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | March 8, 2018

Numerous well funded, organized projects by and for Israel work to flood social media with pro-Israel propaganda, while blocking facts Israel dislikes. The projects utilize Israeli soldiers, students, American teens and others, and range from infiltrating Wikipedia to influencing YouTube. Some operate out of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S.

By Alison Weir

Recently, YouTube suddenly shut down the If Americans Knew YouTube channel. This contained 70 videos providing facts-based information about Israel-Palestine.

People going to the channel saw a message telling them that the site had been terminated for “violating YouTube guidelines”—implying to the public that we were guilty of wrongdoing. And ensuring they didn’t learn about the information we were trying to disseminate.

When we tried to access our channel, we found a message saying our account had been “permanently disabled.” We had received no warning and got no explanation.

After five days, we received a generic message saying YouTube had reviewed our content and determined it didn’t violate any guidelines. Our channel became live once more.

So why was it shut down in the first place? What happened and why?

As it turns out, Israel and Israeli institutions employ armies of Internet warriors—from Israeli soldiers to students—to spread propaganda online and try to get content banned that Israel doesn’t want seen.

Perhaps like our videos of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

What happened

A few days before the termination of our channel, we received a form email from YouTube, telling us we had gotten “one strike” for a short video about a Palestinian man killed by Israeli soldiers. The video was part of our series of videos to make Palestinian victims, usually ignored by US media, visible to Americans.

It takes three minutes to view the video and see that it contains nothing objectionable, unless revealing cruelty and oppression is objectionable:

YouTube’s email claimed we had somehow violated their long list of guidelines but did not tell us which one, or how. It simply stated:

“Your video ‘Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’ was flagged for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines. We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account.”

Such a penalty is not public and does not terminate the channel.

Three days later, before we’d even had a chance to appeal this strike, YouTube suddenly took down our entire channel. This was done with no additional warnings or explanation.

This violated YouTube’s published policies.

YouTube policies say there is a “three-strike” system by which it warns people of alleged violations three times before terminating a channel. If a channel is eventually terminated, the policies state that YouTube will send an email “detailing the reason for the suspension.”

None of this happened in our case.

We submitted appeals on YouTube’s online form, but received no response. Attempts to find a phone number for YouTube and/or email addresses by which we could communicate with a human being were futile.

YouTube’s power to shut down content without explanation whenever it chooses was acutely apparent. While there are other excellent video hosting sites, YouTube is the largest one, with nearly ten times more views than its closest competitors. It is therefore enormously powerful in shaping which information is available to the public–and which is not.

We spent days working to upload our videos elsewhere, update links to the videos, etc. Finally, having received no response or even acknowledgment of our appeal from YouTube, we decided to write an article about the situation. We emailed YouTube’s press department a list of questions about its process. We have yet to receive any answers.

Finally that evening we received an email with good news:

“After a review of your account, we have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service. As such, we have unsuspended your account. This means your account is once again active and operational.”

Our channel was visible once more. And YouTube had now officially confirmed that our content doesn’t violate its guidelines.

Ultimately, the YouTube system seems to have worked, in our case. Inappropriate censorship was overruled, perhaps by saner or less biased heads. In fact, we felt that there might at least be one positive result of the situation—additional YouTube employees had viewed our videos and perhaps learned much about Israel-Palestine they had not previously known.

But the whole experience was a wakeup call that YouTube can censor information critical of powerful parties at any time, with no explanation or accountability.

Israeli soldiers paid to “Tweet, Share, Like and more”

Israel and partisans of Israel have long had a significant presence on the Internet, working to promote the Israel narrative and block facts about Palestine, the Israel lobby, and other subject matter they wish covered up.

Opinionated proponents of Israel post comments, flag content, accuse critics of “antisemitism,” and disseminate misinformation about Palestine and Palestine solidarity activists. Many of these actions are by individuals acting alone who work independently, voluntarily, and relentlessly.

In addition to these, however, a number of orchestrated, often well-funded projects sponsored by the Israeli government and others have come to light. These projects work to place pro-Israel content throughout the Internet, and to remove information Israel doesn’t wish people to know.

One such Israeli project targeting the Internet came to light when it was lauded in an article by Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news organization headquartered in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

The report described a new project by Israel’s “New Media desk” that focused on YouTube and other social media sites. The article reported that Israeli soldiers were being employed to “Tweet, Share, Like and more.”

The article noted, “It is well known nowadays that what happens on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has great influence on events as they occur on the ground. The Internet, too, is a battleground.” It was “comforting,” the article stated, to learn that the IDF was employing soldiers whose job was specifically to do battle on it.

Israeli students paid to promote Israel on social media

Screen shot from a video about student program to spread pro-Israel content on the Internet and social media.

Another project to do battle on the Internet was initiated in 2011 by the 300,000-strong National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS). The goal was “to deepen and expand hasbara [state propaganda] activities of students in the State of Israel.”

Under this program, Israeli students are paid $2,000 to work five hours per week to “lead the battle against hostile websites.”

An announcement for the program (translated here into English) noted that “many students in Israel master the Internet and are proficient at using the Internet and social networking and various sites and are required to write and express themselves in English.” Students can work from the comfort of their own homes, points out the announcement.

“Students work in four teams: Content, Wikipedia, Monitoring and New Media,” according to the program description. It details the responsibilities for each team:

The content team is responsible for creating original content in a news format.

The monitoring team is responsible for “monitoring efforts while reporting and removing anti-Semitic [sic] content from social networks in a variety of languages.” (The program conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism; see below.)

The New Media team is responsible for social media channels, “including Facebook accounts in English, French and Portuguese, Twitter, YouTube channels, and so on.”

The Wikipedia team is “responsible for writing new entries and translating them into languages that operate in the program, updating the values of current and relevant information, tracking and preventing bias in the program’s areas of activity.”

This program sometimes claims it is working against antisemitism, but it conflates antisemitism with criticism of the state of Israel. This is in line with an Israel-backed initiative to legally define “antisemitism” to include discussing negative facts about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

Campaign to infiltrate Wikipedia

The pro-Israel organization CAMERA infiltrated Wikipedia for a time. (Illustration by Electronic Intifada.)

Several years ago, another project came to light that targeted Wikipedia. While manipulating Wikipedia entries doesn’t directly impact YouTube, it provides a window into some of these efforts to manipulate online content.

A 2008 exposé in the Electronic Intifada revealed: “A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia.”

While it is common and appropriate for individuals to edit Wikipedia entries to add factual information and remove inaccurate statements, this project was the antithesis of such editing. As EI, reported, its purpose was “to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged.”

Author Ali Abunimah reported that a source had provided EI with a series of emails from members and associates of the pro-Israel group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) that showed the group “was engaged in what one activist termed a ‘war’ on Wikipedia.”

CAMERA Senior Research Analyst Gilead Ini organized a project to infiltrate Wikipedia.

CAMERA called for volunteers to secretly work on editing Wikipedia entries. It emphasized the importance of keeping the project secret. Volunteers were schooled in ways to elude detection. After they signed up as editors, they were to “avoid editing Israel-related articles for a short period of time.”

They were also told to “avoid, for obvious reasons, picking a username that marks you as pro-Israel, or that lets people know your real name.”

CAMERA also warned them: “Don’t forget to always log in… If you make changes while not logged in, Wikipedia will record your computer’s IP address.”

A Wikipedia editor known as Zeq helped in the effort, telling volunteers: “Edit articles at random, make friends not enemies—we will need them later on. This is a marathon not a sprint.” He emphasized the importance of secrecy: “You don’t want to be precived [sic] as a ‘CAMERA’ defender’ on wikipedia that is for sure.”

Zeq recommended that they work with and learn from an independent, pro-Israel Wikipedia editor known as Jayjg, but directed them to keep the project secret even from him.

When this all came to light, Wikipedia took measures against such manipulation of its system and the CAMERA program may have ended.

If it did, others stepped into the breach. In 2010 two Israeli groups began offering a course in “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia entries. The aim was “to make sure that information in the online encyclopedia reflects the worldview of Zionist groups.” A course organizer explained that the use of the word “occupied” in Wikipedia entries “was just the kind of problem she hoped a new team of editors could help fix.”

Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported: “The organizers’ aim was twofold: to affect Israeli public opinion by having people who share their ideological viewpoint take part in writing and editing for the Hebrew version, and to write in English so Israel’s image can be bolstered abroad.”

There was to be a prize for the “Best Zionist Editor”—the person who over the next four years incorporated the most “Zionist” changes in the encyclopedia. The winner would receive a trip in a hot-air balloon over Israel.

High tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, a right-wing minister close to the settler movement, describes the program:

The UK Guardian reports: “One Jerusalem-based Wikipedia editor, who doesn’t want to be named, said that publicising the initiative might not be such a good idea. ‘Going public in the past has had a bad effect,’ she says. ‘There is a war going on and unfortunately the way to fight it has to be underground.’”

Again in 2013, there was evidence of pro-Israel tampering with Wikipedia. Israel’s Ha’aretz reported that a social-media employee of NGO Monitor edited articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an allegedly biased manner. “Draiman concealed the facts that he was an employee of NGO Monitor, often described as a right-wing group, and that he was using a second username, which is forbidden under Wikipedia’s rules,” according to the paper.

Such actions have had an impact. A website critical of Wikipedia said in 2014 that there were “almost ten times as many articles about murdered Israeli children as there are articles about murdered Palestinian children,” even though at least 10 times more Palestinian children had been killed.

The website also pointed out: “While editors like Zeq (TCL) and CltFn (TCL) may get banned in the end, the articles they started remain.”

If YouTube reviewers and others use Wikipedia in their determination about whether content should be removed or not, these efforts to censor Wikipedia could adversely affect their decisions.

Social Media Missions for Israel

Title image from Forward article about the Act.IL campaign.

In 2017 yet another project to target Internet platforms was launched. Known as Act.il, the project uses a software application that “leverages the power of communities to support Israel through organized online activity.”

The software is a joint venture of three groups: Israel’s IDC University; the Israeli American Council, which works to “organize and activate” the half million Israeli-Americans who live in the U.S.; and another American group called the Maccabee Task Force, created to combat the international boycott of Israel, which it terms “an anti-Semitic movement.” Maccabee says it is “laser focused on one core mission—to ensure that those who seek to delegitimize Israel and demonize the Jewish people are confronted, combatted and defeated.”

Image from Maccabee end of year report.

In addition, the project is supported by Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry and Israel’s intelligence community. Its CEO is an eight-year veteran of Israeli army intelligence.

Israel’s Jerusalem Post reports that Act.IL is “a wide-ranging grassroots campaign app that lets individuals combat BDS in the palm of their hand” or, as we will see, from public computers in the US.

“Act.IL is more than just an app,” the Post article explains. “It is a campaign that taps into the collective knowledge of IDC students who together speak 35 languages, hail from 86 countries and have connections to the pro-Israel community all over the world.”

The article claims: “A platform like Act.IL offers world Jewry an opportunity to fight for one thing the majority can rally behind: Israel.” (This ignores the fact that there are many Jewish individuals who oppose Israeli policies.)

Israel partisans around the world download the app, and then “in this virtual situation room of experts, they detect instances where Israel is being assailed online and they program the app to find missions that can be carried out with a push of a button.”

An organizer notes: “When you work together, with the same goals and values, you can be incredibly powerful in the social media landscape.”

Some missions ask users to report videos. Israeli government officials say that the Act.il app “is more effective than official government requests at getting those videos removed from online platforms.”

The project is led by former Israeli intelligence officers and has close ties to American casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Another funder is the Paul R. Singer Foundation, funded by the Republican hedge fund billionaire.

The Forward calls Act.IL a new entry into the “online propaganda war” that “has thousands of mostly U.S.-based volunteers who can be directed from Israel into a social media swarm.”

According to the Forward, “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

The Forward reports: “Act.il says that its app has 12,000 sign-ups so far, and 6,000 regular users. The users are located all over the world, though the majority of them appear to be in the United States. Users get ‘points’ for completed missions; top-ranked users complete five or six missions a day. Top users win prizes: a congratulatory letter from a government minister, or a doll of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister.”

Photo of group that participated in Act.IL training

Act.IL’s CEO, a veteran Israeli army intelligence officer, said the Israeli military and its domestic intelligence service “‘request’ Act.il’s help in getting services like Facebook to remove specific videos that call for violence against Jews or Israelis.” This according to the Forward report.

The officer later tried to walk back his statement, “saying that the Shin Bet [intelligence service] and the army don’t request help on specific videos but are in regular informal contact with Act.il. He said that Act.il’s staff is largely made up of former Israeli intelligence officers.”

Teens in American JCCs carry out missions assigned from Israel

New Jersey “Media Room,” a project of IAC New Jersey in partnership with Act.IL.

The project recruits Jewish teens and adults and sometimes operates out of local Jewish community centers, the Forward says. The paper describes one example:

“The dozen or so Israelis sitting around a conference table at a Jewish community center in Tenafly, New Jersey, on a recent Wednesday night didn’t look like the leading edge of a new Israeli government-linked crowdsourced online propaganda campaign.

“Tapping on laptops, the group of high school students and adult mentors completed social media ‘missions’ assigned out of a headquarters in Herzliya, Israel.”

In addition to the Tenafly “media room” another operates in Boston in cooperation with the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. There are also regular Act.il advocacy-training sessions at The Frisch School, a Jewish day school in Paramas, New Jersey. Other media rooms are reportedly in the works, with one in Manhattan, hosted by The Paul R. Singer Foundation, scheduled to open soon.

 The Forward reports: “In November, the Boston media room created a mission for the app that asked users to email a Boston-area church to complain about a screening there of a documentary that is critical of Israel. The proposed text of the email likens the screening of the film to the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, and calls the film’s narrator, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, a ‘well-known anti-Semite.’”
Photo of Boston Media Room published by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, which states: “Media Room Ambassadors are students and adult mentors who are trained with the knowledge, skills, and tools to positively influence public discourse by developing pro-Israel social media campaigns.”

According to the Forward, Act.il also produces “pro-Israel web content that carries no logo. It distributes that content to other pro-Israel groups, including the Adelson-funded Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi and The Israel Project, which push them out on their own social media feeds.”

The Forward predicts: “Initiatives in cyberspace seem likely to increase.”

Screenshot from video promoting the project, posted on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston website.

Israeli media report that the Israeli military “has begun scouring Jewish communities abroad for young computer prodigies” to recruit for its ranks.

An Israeli official described the process: “Our first order of business is to search Jewish communities abroad for teens who could qualify, Our representatives will then travel to the communities and begin the screening process there.”

Israeli Government Ministry backs secret online campaigns

General Sima Vaknin-Gil told Israeli tech developers to “flood the Internet” with pro-Israel propaganda. As Israel’s Chief Censor, she said: ” “We censor information that is critical to our enemies, who have no capabilities like us, do not have a Jewish brain, and therefore our enemy relies to a large extent on open information…”

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, which is behind this and similar projects, has mobilized substantial resources for online activities.

Israel’s Ynet news reports that the Ministry’s director “sees it as a war for all intents and purposes. ‘The delegitimization against the State of Israel can be curbed and contained through public diplomacy and soft tools,’ she says. ‘In order to win, however, we must use tricks and craftiness.’”

The director, General Sima Vaknin-Gil, told a forum of Israeli tech developers at a forum: “I want to create a community of fighters.” The objective is to “curb the activities of anti-Israel activists,” and “flood the Internet” with pro-Israel content.

An Israeli report in December stated that the ministry has acquired a budget of roughly $70 million to “stand at the forefront of the battle against delegitimization, adopting methods from the fields of intelligence and technology. There is a reason why ministry officials define it as ‘a war on consciousness terrorism.’” [‘Delegitimization’ is a common Israeli term for criticism of Israel. See here for a discussion of the term.]

A Ha’aretz article reports: “The Strategic Affairs Ministry’s leaders see themselves as the heads of a commando unit, gathering and disseminating information about ‘supporters of the delegitimization of Israel’—and they prefer their actions be kept secret.”

The article reports that the Ministry includes a job role entitled “Senior official—new-media realm,” responsible for surveillance and activities “in the digital realm.”

This individual head is responsible for analyzing social media and formulating a social media campaign against sites and activists who are deemed a threat to Israel.

Among the job’s responsibilities are:

“Analysis of the world of social media, in terms of content, technology and network structure, emphasizing centers of gravity and focuses of influence, methods, messages, organizations, sites and key activists, studying their characteristics, areas, realms and key patterns of activities of the rival campaign and formulating a strategy for an awareness campaign against them in this realm and managing crises on social media. That is, surveilling of activities mainly in the digital arena.”

Officials at the ministry are charged with “construction and promotion of creative and suitable programs for new media.”

The unit works to keep its activities secret from the public. For example, a program to train young Israelis for activities on social media was exempted from publishing a public bid for funding. Similarly, the ministry’s special unit against delegitimization, “Hama’aracha” (The Battle), is excluded from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law.

The 29th floor of Tel Aviv’s Champion Tower is the nerve center of a 24-7 ‘war’ in which Israeli agents working behind the scenes advance U.S. legislation, torpedo events, organize counter-protests, & close bank accounts.. The Director says: ‘In order to win we must use tricks and craftiness.’

Its activities reportedly include a “24/7 operations room monitoring all the delegitimization activities against Israel: Protests, conferences, publications calling for an anti-Israel boycott and international bodies’ boycott initiatives. The operations room will transfer the information to the relevant people to provide a proper response to these activities, whether through a counter-protest or through moves to thwart the initiative behind the scenes.”

Other programs include a 22-million-shekel project to work among labor unions and professional associations abroad “to root out the ability of BDS entities to influence the unions,” and a 16-million-shekel program focused on student activities throughout the world.

Israel’s UNIT 8200

Photo from article about Unit 8200 on Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre website.

Another Israeli entity that plays a role in covert Internet activity is the Israeli military’s legendary high-tech spy branch, Unit 8200. This unit is composed of thousands of “cyber warriors” primarily 18 to 21 years of age; some even younger. A number of its graduates have gone on to top positions at tech companies operating in the U.S., such as Check Point Software (where the spouse of the Jewish Voice for Peace head is employed as a solutions architect).

In 2015 Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced plans “to establish a special command to combat anti-Israel incitement on social media.” The command would operate under the foreign ministry’s hasbara [propaganda] department and would especially recruit from graduates of Unit 8200.

An article in the Jewish Press about the new command reports that Unit 8200 “has developed a great reputation for effectiveness in intelligence gathering, including operating a massive global spy network. Several alumni of 8200 have gone on to establish leading Israeli IT companies, including Check Point, ICQ, Palo Alto Networks, NICE, AudioCodes, Gilat, Leadspace, EZchip, Onavo, Singular and CyberArk.”

Check Point Software headquarters in Tel Aviv. Founded by a former Unit 8200 member, it also has offices throughout the U.S. Israeli tech companies sometimes assist in online spying efforts.

Numerous Israeli tech companies, many of them headed by former military intelligence officers, assist in these online spying efforts, sometimes receiving Israeli government funding “for digital initiatives aimed at gathering intelligence on activist groups and countering their efforts.”

According to the ministry’s statement, among the Command’s activities is finding videos with inflammatory content and issuing complaints to the relevant websites.”

To be clear, this is an occupying military working covertly to achieve censorship of reporting on its atrocities.

YouTube & Google officials meet with Israeli Minister

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaking to the Israel Collaboration Network’s Israeli Women in Tech Group on August 25, 2016.

Major Internet companies have reportedly been cooperating in this effort.

In 2015 Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that she had visited Silicon Valley and met with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Google’s Director of Public Policy (it is unclear whether this was was Jennifer Oztzistzki or Juniper Downs; Hotovely’s announcement referred to “Jennifer Downs”).

“At the end of the meeting,” Israeli media reported, “it was agreed that Google would strengthen bilateral relations with the Foreign Ministry and build a collaborative work apparatus.”

Another Israeli news report about the meeting states: “…it was agreed that the companies would strengthen ties with the Foreign Ministry and build a regular mechanism of control to prevent the distribution of those incendiary materials on the network.”

Google, which owns YouTube, denied the Foreign Ministry’s report. The Ministry accordingly “clarified” its statement somewhat, but continued to say that Israeli officials would be in “regular contact with Google’s employees in Israel who deal with the problematic materials.”

Such officials often have close ties to Israel. For example, Facebook’s Head of Policy in Israel, Jordana Cutler, had previously been employed for many years by the Israeli government. (More about Facebook can be found here.)

The Green(stein)-Eyed Monster

February 27, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

envy.jpg

By Devon Nola

Tony Greenstein has been having a tough time, lately. He was recently expelled from the Labour Party for misbehaving. Actually, being antisemitic is what he was accused of. It’s ironic as I see him as one of the hardest working Jews to protect Jews. It’s his top priority. Or is it? At least equally important, if not more so, is over-indulging his clear obsession with jazz artist/philosopher, Gilad Atzmon. He credits Atzmon with the formation of his blog site so as to have a platform on which to display his, in my opinion, homoerotic sweet-tooth for Atzmon.

It’s Atzmon’s alleged anti-semitism that seems to get Greenstein’s knickers in a twist, but it’s worth emphasizing it is Greenstein who got the boot from the Labour Party, not Atzmon. Frankly, I don’t think Tony deserves it, either. As I said, it is the preservation of the Jewish reputation that drives Greenstein, so much so that he believes he gets to determine what is “real” antisemitism and he’s shifty enough to wrap it in a Palestinian flag. Tony likes to play the “good Jew”, but it is Atzmon who, for at least a decade, has been brave enough to dig deep into the nuances of Jewishness and what it means to be/identify as a Jew. Atzmon isn’t interested in protecting Jewishness. He is more about liberation and seeking truth. Atzmon has a horse in this race, after all. He was born in Israel and its only natural for truth-seekers to want to understand whence they came and how it relates to the world around them. Atzmon rarely, if ever draws conclusions or offers solutions. As a philosopher, he refines the questions. For some reason, Atzmon’s questions make Greenstein nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Greenstein’s latest meltdown has him hurling accusations of holocaust denial at Atzmon . Apparently, Greenstein doesn’t want the philosopher to pose questions about or defend anyone’s right to delve into this historical event. Like many others in his tribe, he wants the primacy of Jewish suffering never to be questioned. Is it possible he knows what should be concealed?. He has a lot of rules regarding what should and shouldn’t be discussed which is rather peculiar as he fancies himself a fighter against fascism.

I watched Greenstein’s interview with George Galloway and his hypocrisy was tangible (https://youtu.be/n1PTeqbSXLM). Galloway quoted the Jewish sage, Hillel, “that which you hate, do not do to others” to which Greenstein seems to be in full agreement with. In fact, this little profundity also graces the top of Greenstein’s Twitter page. Yet, he makes a career out of doing the opposite. His Twitter feed is one ugly tweet after another as he rabidly makes personal attacks on anyone he doesn’t like, calling them Zios (short for Zionist), anti-Semites, racists, or what appears to be the ultimate blow, an Atzmonite and then blocks them. I have a second a account which allows me to indulge a guilty pleasure of observing Tony come off the rails on a daily basis with the periodic “Free Palestine” thrown in for good measure. But none of these verbal abuses carry as much venom as those lobbed at Atzmon. See, Atzmon doesn’t follow Greenstein’s rules of (Jewish) engagement, which are to stick to the script of criticizing Israel and Israel, only. Zionism is fair game as well, but don’t dare make any connections between the Jewish state and Jewishness. That’s when he starts foaming at the mouth. It’s important to mention the full Hillel quote; “That which is hateful unto you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Go forth and study”. This is the big reveal, as it is my assessment Hillel’s quote was not a universal statement but rather instructions for how Jews should be treating other Jews. Who else reads the Torah? . If one lives within a cultural or religious ghetto, it is your own kind that are your neighbors. So, it seems somewhat fitting Greenstein favors this quote. However, he seems to have some difficulty staying within even the narrow parameters this quote provides. For Tony, it only applies to those he deems kosher, his fellow AZZ activists. Hillel also offers us this pearl of wisdom: “if I am not for myself, who is for me”. This isn’t a universal attitude, this is possibly the core philosophy of Judeo centricism. It seems to depict Israeli attitude toward Palestinians and African migrants. It also sheds light on the ugliness of JVP and the rest of the AZZ community, who favor going after genuine seekers of truth like Alison Weir, Richard Falk and of course, Gilad Atzmon. Sadly, Jewish voices for peace becomes Jewish voices for Jews.

It’s my belief he is envious of Atzmon, to a suffocating degree. No one really pays attention to Greenstein. Maybe he wants to be Atzmon or at least garner the accolades of Atzmon, but I don’t think this is possible. It takes some talent. He would have to leave the safety of his tribe, leave the ghetto, become an ordinary human and take a long hard look in the mirror. The evidence suggests he’s not wired to do this. As soon as the pathetic Labour kicked him out, he completely reverted to type. He became a Jewish victim, the rabbi’s son. He seems to use this line of defense every time he gets into trouble. So, instead, he will continue to devote a blog site to the man he secretly admires, lamenting over that which he cannot attain.

Then They Came for Tony Greenstein

February 19, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

Then they came for Tony Greenstein ...

Then they came for Tony Greenstein …

by Gilad Atzmon

Following the outrageous expulsion of AZZ extraordinaire Tony Greenstein from the Labour Party, the equally vindictive Labour Against The Witchhunt (LAW) published this embarrassing tweet:

Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 11.46.21.png

According to LAW’s logic, Greenstein should have been vindicated due to the fact that he is:

1.       a Jew

2.       a Rabbi’s son

3.       an offshoot of holocaust survivors

The above tweet is no doubt a glimpse into the morbid universe of Jewish privilege. If Greenstein’s line of defence is built upon him being Jewish, a Rabbi’s son and blood relation to Holocaust survivors where does it leave the rest of the British working class. How many John Smiths can hide behind the blood of their Jewish mother, their rabbi papa or their holocaust  credentials?

As if the situation isn’t funny enough, the banal minds at LAW  decided to quote Martin Niemoller’s “First they came for….”

Considering Greenstein being a dedicated witchunter approved by the ultra Zionist BOD and Jonathan Freedland, Guardian of Judea’s prime hasbara merchant, Niemoller’s poem needed a bit of a tweak which I was happy to provide:    

First Tony Greenstein came for Israel Shamir, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not Israel

Then Tony came for Deir Yassin Remembered, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not from Deir Yassin

Then Tony came for  Richard FalkJohn Mearsheimer,  Samir Abbed RabboMakram Khoury MachoulAlison WierNahida IzzatNorman Finkelstein,  Ken O’KeefeOren Ben DorPaul EisenGreta Berlin, Lauren Booth, Laura Stuart, Gabi WeberIan Donovan, Gerry Downing and Socialist Unity and  many others.

And I did not speak out because this confirmed everything I had to say about the corrosive impact of the Jewish solidarity spin.

Then they came for Tony Greenstein — everybody was laughing with satisfaction except myself because I pretend to be an empathic goy…   

 

New Evidence Emerges in USS Liberty Attack

“The reason is apparently that the Americans have findings that show our pilots were in fact aware the ship was American.”

[ Ed. note – If you’re a Zionist or an Israeli (or both), then I guess the word that might come most immediately to your mind here would be “Oooops!”

Imagine this: a long-suppressed Israeli Foreign Ministry document comes to light. It consists of a communication sent from New York to Jerusalem, apparently shortly after the attack on the USS Liberty, which took place on June 8, 1967. The communique conveys the message that an Israeli official has reached a somewhat unsettling conclusion–that US officials just may “have findings that show our pilots were in fact aware the ship was American.”

This is what we have in the article below posted by Alison Weir. The Israeli historian who discovered the document doesn’t believe it amounts to a “smoking gun,” but smoking guns are very much like beauty: both are in the eyes of the beholder. If you were sitting on a jury and this evidence was presented by a prosecutor, which way would you vote? Would you find the Israelis who ordered and carried out the attack on the Liberty guilty of deliberately murdering Americans…or not?

Apparently, judging from the evidence presented here, the Israelis at the time felt they had reason to be worried. ]

***

Israeli Documents on USS Liberty: ‘Americans have Findings Showing Our Pilots Were Aware the Ship was American’

If Americans Knew Blog

Recently discovered documents show Israeli leaders were worried that evidence would come out that Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty was intentional.

The Liberty was a Navy electronics surveillance ship operating in international waters during the Six-Day War. Israeli forces perpetrated an extended air and sea assault on the ship that killed 34 Americans, injured 175, and damaged the ship beyond repair. Afterward, Israel claimed the assault was an accident and provided $6 million in compensation for the loss of the $40 million ship. (More information here.)

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israeli historian Adam Raz recently examined hundreds of documents related to the Liberty that had been posted by Israeli State Archives.

(Raz is author of The Battle Over the Bomb,” available only in Hebrew. He also is reported to have written “a fascinating article about Israel’s nuclear secrets in last week’s Hebrew Haaretzsupplement.”)

Ha’aretz reports that Raz is “fully aware of the fact that the ‘smoking gun’ won’t be found in the papers in the State Archives, because if Israel really had intended to hit the ship, that would have been known only to a handful of people.”

One of the documents Raz did find is an Israeli Foreign Ministry communication sent from New York to Jerusalem. Ha’aretz quotes the document:

“Menashe [apparently an Israeli official] informed us we had better be very careful… The reason is apparently that the Americans have findings that show our pilots were in fact aware the ship was American.”

And later: “Menashe believes there is a recording on the ship of the conversations between the ship and our pilots, in which the ship’s crew said the ship is American. Menashe says that, in his opinion, our only chance of getting out of the crisis is to punish someone for negligence.”

In another document, the Israeli Embassy in Washington writes to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem under the heading “Urgent.”

Continued here

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