Yes, There Is a World Zionist Congress – and It’s Meeting Now

Zionist Congress

By Alison Weir

Source (First Published on October 23, 2020)

Some have the impression that ‘world Zionism’ is an antisemitic conspiracy theory… even while the World Zionist Congress is in session, with 720 delegates from over 30 countries.

Menifee, CA (IAK) — I’m sometimes astounded at the fact that a major political movement over a century old is so little known among Americans – especially since it has had a momentous impact on the world in general and on the U.S. in particular, causing multiple wars, vast population displacement, and global instability.

In my travels around the US, I’ve found that most Americans know extremely little about Zionism. I would guess that the vast majority of Americans could not define the term (that was certainly my situation for most of my life), and that a great many may not have even heard of it.

And among those who have heard the term, many may think it refers to some antisemitic conspiracy theory.

The fact is, however, that Zionism – according to the dictionary, “a worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the establishment and development of the state of Israel and that now supports the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland” – is both very real and extremely significant.

Zionism succeeded in establishing the state of Israel in 1948 after decades of sometimes open and sometimes covert efforts. It promoted a successful, though extremely false, slogan – “a land without a people for a people without a land” – and succeeded in perpetrating one of the major hoaxes of the 20th century, in which victims (indigenous Palestinians) were designated aggressors, and aggressors (Zionist colonists) were portrayed as victims (as documented by diverse authors, and perpetrated through the silencing of others).

And today this movement contains numerous powerful international entities (see the list below), while remaining largely invisible to millions of citizens of the country that gives Israel massive amounts of money, shields Israel internationally, and has fought at least one war  (against Iraq) on Israel’s behalf.

The dictionary definition captures only the simplest meaning of the word, but not its deep impact: how Israel was established and what supporting Israel today enables.

As numerous historians have documented, Israel was established through a war of ethnic cleansing, in the words of a major Israeli historian, in which approximately 750,000 men, women, and children were violently expelled. Hundreds of villages were destroyed and much of the indigenous population was displaced, their ancestral homes and land confiscated and the former owners made into penniless refugees.

Today, in its pursuit of the Jewish identity mentioned in the definition, Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land, actively discriminates against the remnants of the non-Jewish population that remain in the area, and holds the four and a half million people in the remaining portion of their land (the West Bank and Gaza), in two virtual prisons, their ability to leave and to return to their homes controlled by Israel.

Palestinian villages are invaded daily, people terrorized and abducted, homes and crops are regularly destroyed; for over a year there was a weekly mass demonstration during which Israeli forces shot unarmed demonstrators every week. (To see these actions go here.)

Zionist movement in the US – a century of activism

As I describe in my book, the Zionist movement in the U.S. began in the late 1800s and played a significant role in the events that led to the establishment of Israel.

Today the pro-Israel lobby is probably the most powerful and pervasive special interest group in the U.S. Its members have diverse views and sometimes sharply disagree with one another on aspects of the issue, but all share one goal: support for Israel.

Israel partisans have become extremely influential in both political parties and have obtained numerous US policies of support for Israel. Most recently, they are promoting bills to expend $19 million per day on behalf of Israel; altogether, 90 bills for Israel have been introduced in the current Congress alone. In addition, there is also considerable evidence that Israel partisans were central in pushing the US into invading Iraq, and that many are similarly active in demonizing Iran. (See thisthisthis, and this.)

Conspiracy theory?

Since little of the above is known by the general American public (U.S. media rarely report any of this), some Americans are under the impression that even suggesting there is a “world zionist movement” is an antisemitic conspiracy theory. (In fact, even discussing the Israel lobby in the U.S. can be dangerous to reputations and careers. For example, respected professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were attacked as “antisemitic” for their scholarly work in detailing the power of the Israel lobby.)

The fact is, however, that the World Zionist Organization has been in existence since the late 1800s, and this is just one of a number of international organizations that work on behalf of Israel.

Moreover, all of these are very public – if one knows where to look. Currently, the World Zionist Organization is holding its 38th Congress in an online format from Israel. The Congress is convened every five years.

World Zionist Organization

While US mainstream media have largely failed to even mention this organization and event, it has been big news in the Israeli and Jewish-American press, with numerous stories leading up to the event. Below is an image from an article in the Jewish News of Northern California entitled “Your vote in Israel: Here are the Bay Area Jews running for the World Zionist Congress.”

Image featured on March 3, 2020 in the Jewish News of Northern California about candidates running for the World Zionist Congress. The caption read: “2017 event in Jerusalem commemorating the 120th anniversary of the first World Zionist Congress

The World Zionist Organization (WZO) was founded in 1897. It has an elaborate structure, including a World Zionist Congress, a Zionist General Council, a Zionist Executive, and a Zionist Supreme Court. It also has a department devoted to “repatriation” – encouraging Jews to leave their birth countries and move to Israel – and lists numerous affiliates and partners around the world.

Yesterday, the WZO convened its 38th Congress, with 720 delegates and observers from over 30 countries participating in a three-day conference. Based in Israel as usual, this year’s event is being held online because of the pandemic, and sessions are being synchronized with time zones in Israel, North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. The World Zionist Congress allocates about a billion dollars a year to various projects and is popularly known as the “parliament of the Jewish people.”

The Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper reports that during the Congress “elections will take place for the leadership positions of the National Institutions – the World Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (Jewish National Fund-JNF), and Keren Hayesod [aka United Israel Appeal:  “the preeminent worldwide fundraising organization for Israel, which was established in London in 1920, to serve as the fundraising arm of the Jewish People and the Zionist Movement]. Current issues on the world Jewish agenda will be deliberated…”

Among the issues to be deliberated will be how to “allocate nearly $5 billion to Jewish organizations and programs in Israel and around the world.”

The event is being live-streamed and can be viewed here.

Additional Zionist organizations:

The WZO is far from the only organization with “Zionist” in its title. Among the others are:

Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO): founded in 1902, it currently has 250,000 members around the world.

Mizrachi, the global Religious Zionist movement: “Mizrachi is the global Religious Zionist movement, spreading Torat Eretz Yisrael across the world and strengthening the bond between the international Jewish community and the State of Israel.” It was founded in 1902, is based in Jerusalem and has branches across the globe. It opposes the international movement supporting Palestinian rights known as BDS. It says the Mizrachi Global Summit was held on October 18th.

Zionist Organization of America: “Founded in 1897, the Zionist Organization of America (“ZOA”) is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States.” It has 25,000 members and chapters throughout the U.S.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America: Over a century old, it says its vision is to “strengthen a connection to Israel.” It says it is “the largest women’s Zionist membership organization in the United States. It inspires a passion for and a commitment to its partnership with the land and the People of Israel.”  (Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a lifelong member.)

American Zionist Movement: “AZM works to promote and defend Zionism in the United States; to deepen and expand the active relationship of the American Jewish Community to Zionism in a contemporary context; to facilitate dialogue and collaboration among Zionist organizations through and with the AZM; and to be the central hub for Zionist resources in America.”

(An interesting bit of history is that “Zion” was one of the names Zionist leaders considered in 1948 for the new state, before they finally settled on the name “Israel.”)

Still more Zionist organizations

There are also a number of other major international organizations that work for Israel. Virtually all of these organizations have large staffs, elaborate structures, and multi-million dollar budgets.

Their websites provide an abundance of information about their global reach and diverse activities. Many openly state that they work to oppose the international movement to boycott Israel, which has been organized because of Israel’s long documented human rights abuses. Known as “BDS” (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), the movement “upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”

Below is a partial list:

• World Jewish Congress (WJC) is another international congress that supports Israel. According to its website, the WJC “represents Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world. It advocates on their behalf towards governments, parliaments, international organizations and other faiths.”

The WJC represents significant global wealth. Its annual gala held in New York last year was, as I wrote in a detailed article, attended by billionaires, Russian oligarchs, Ukrainian ambassadors, international financiers, the Rothschilds, and assorted other glitterati.

• World Holocaust Forum is another international entity that supports Israel. It is held in Israel and was founded and run by Russian-Israeli oligarch Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor. Last year, at least 45 world leaders attended his fifth event. Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper called it “an airlift of presidents, prime ministers and royalty from around the world.” Kantor, a billionaire known for unscrupulous business practices, is president of the European Jewish Congress and heads up a network of pro-Israel international entities.

In an interview for a Zionist publication, Kantor was asked: “Why are you so interested in Holocaust education and in creating big events to memorialize the Holocaust?” Kantor answered:

“The Holocaust was an essential tool used to bring about the establishment of the State of Israel. In 2006, it is the most effective tool we have to fight against anti-Semitism and to protect Israel.”

Some of the world leaders from 49 Countries who came to Israel for Kantor’s World Holocaust Forum. Source | Israel Hayom

• American Jewish Committee (AJC), despite its name, is yet another international organization. It has 30 offices around the world in Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacifiic, and Israel. It also has numerous regional offices throughout the US.

• Jewish Agency for Israel has been in existence for 90 years, has branches around the world, and encourages people to move to Israel. It has a branch in the US where donations to it can be deducted from U.S. taxes. It states that it works to oppose BDS.

• B’nai B’rith International has been in existence for 175 years and had a connection to Israel from the state’s earliest years. Like many of the organizations, it periodically works to prevent events supporting Palestinian rights.

• Maccabi World Union, headquartered in Israel, spans five continents, is in 80 countries, has 450 clubs, and 450,000 members. Its website says it’s “a Zionist organization that utilizes sports as a means to bring Jewish people of all ages closer to Judaism and Israel.” It has a multitude of programs focused on Israel and works to “fight BDS.”

• Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 and played a major role in transferring Palestinian land to Israel. It is holding its national conference right now (video here). Like many of these entities, it has a presence in the U.S. and has acquired tax deductible status.

• World Union of Progressive Judaism, headquartered in Israel, serves 1,200 congregations with 1.8 million members in more than 50 countries. It passed a resolution saying that the organization and its congregations “will act against public and political measures meant to question the legitimacy of the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, including against the BDS Movement.”

• World Union of Jewish Students partners with the WZO and represents Jewish students in 55 countries, with 225 branches around the world. It holds an annual World Union Jewish Student Congress in Israel. One of its commitments is to oppose BDS.

This list could go on and on and on…

What does this all mean and not mean?

The reality is that there are a great many well-funded, well-organized, often quite powerful organizations working internationally in support of Israel and, as part of this, against Palestinian rights.

While I haven’t attempted here to delve into the organizations’ budgets and the wealth of their benefactors, there is no doubt that the combined total represents many billions of dollars. Yet U.S. media rarely tell Americans about this powerful, extremely significant network of international organizations that promote Israel and work to block efforts on behalf of Palestinian human rights.

At the same time, it is important to remember that these organizations, despite some of their names, do not represent all Jews.

While Zionists tried from the earliest days of their movement to conflate Zionism with Judaism – and fooled many people into believing the two were synonymous – for decades most Jewish Americans did not support Zionism, many Jews in Palestine itself opposed it, and today there are many Jewish Americans and others around the world who are critical of Israeli actions.

In addition, some – perhaps many – of the members in the organizations listed above may be deeply uninformed about what the Zionist movement did in the past and is currently enabling against Palestinians.

They’re constantly told about rockets from Gaza, but don’t learn about the massive Israeli violence that preceded these largely home made projectiles and the Israeli weaponry that vastly exceeds their extremely small impact (for the facts go here).

They hear about Arab armies declaring war on the newly declared state of Israel, but they don’t learn that Zionist forces had already committed numerous grisly massacres, had pushed out massive numbers of Palestinians, and were working to dispossess an entire population.

While there have been numerous reports through the years documenting Israeli human rights violations and Israel’s systemic discrimination, the members of these groups either do not know of these findings, or are told they are the work of “antisemites.”

The fact is that these organizations, with their large budgets and often very slick programs, specifically work to inculcate their membership with myths about Israel and falsehoods about the current reality. (Sadly, as mentioned above, they are often assisted in this by U.S. media that largely give us Israel-centric reporting and spin, while often omitting essential facts.)

It is time that more Americans learn the facts about the Zionist movement.

It is time for all Americans – of all faiths, races, and ethnicities – to join together to oppose a chauvinistic, deeply damaging international movement that has caused untold tragedy and harm. The devastation this movement has caused hasn’t been limited to Palestine. It has spilled over into the entire Middle East and North Africa, stretched into Europe, and damaged the U.S. It has caused wars, global destabilization and potential catastrophe.

It is not antisemitic to speak out about world Zionism. It is obligatory.

Occupied Palestine: The Most Enduring Media Cover-up

Global Research, November 28, 2019

Clearing the FOG hosts Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese interviewed Alison Weir, journalist and founder of If Americans Knew, a website that provides factual information about the Israeli State and Palestine. Weir describes how she learned firsthand that US media provide a false and one-sided narrative about Occupied Palestine and why she has dedicated the past twenty years to counter that. She also explains some of the most common myths and what she learned as she did research for her book, “Against Our Better Judgment.” Weir is a very clear thinker on the issue of Palestine-Israel and provides the data and language we need to speak to a propagandized population. You can listen to the entire interview and the week’s news analysis on Clearing the FOG.

Interview

Clearing the FOG (CtF): Alison, your website is a great source of information. Before we get into the site, why don’t you tell us about how you got involved in this issue.

Alison Weir (AW): People always wonder that because I don’t happen to be Jewish or Arab or Muslim or Palestinian and like most Americans 20 years ago, I knew very little about this issue. I had been active on other issues, anti-war during the Vietnam war, civil rights, that type of thing but I had never focused on Israel-Palestine until the Second Intifada began in the Fall of 2000. I’m sure you know intifada just means “Uprising,” a Palestinian Uprising. When that began, in Fall of 2000, I got curious about it.

My background is journalism. At that time, I was the editor of a very small weekly newspaper in Northern California. This wasn’t for my job, it was just my personal curiosity. I started to follow the news coverage on this uprising and I quickly noticed that it was very one-sided, that we were hearing from and about Israelis in great detail, but we got very little information from and about Palestinians.

I went on the internet and discovered a great deal of information from the region itself, from humanitarian agencies that were there, Israeli media in English, Palestinian media. And I discovered that Israeli forces were shooting Palestinians every day in large quantities, including many children and I noticed this reality was not being reported on the news sites that I usually looked at. The San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, especially NPR, seemed to be covering that up.

So the more I looked into it, the more I felt this was a truly significant cover-up. I felt and I do feel now that this was the longest-lasting and most enduring cover-up I had ever seen and that it was occurring across the political spectrum. After a few months of looking into that, I decided, it seemed so significant that I quit my job in Sausalito and traveled as a freelance reporter throughout Gaza and the West Bank. It was a very intense trip, I was not part of any delegation. There really weren’t any delegations at that time.

When I came back, I started the organization, If Americans Knew. The goal has been to be very factual, to show the sources of our information. It’s very transparent. It gives Americans without ideological slant the facts on Israel-Palestine and especially the American connection, the fact that we are in many ways responsible for what Israel does because our tax money goes to Israel. It’s now over 10 million dollars per day. We’ve given Israel far more than we’ve given anybody else.

Most Americans, I think, are the way I was. I felt I had no connection to this confusing issue on the other side of the world, but I learned I have a very direct connection to it and therefore it’s my responsibility to know about it and to act in ways that I feel are morally required. In a nutshell, that’s how I ended up 20 years later still working on this issue.

CtF: That was a very courageous thing to do. Of course, the US also provides cover for Israel in the United Nations or when the International Criminal Court wants to investigate Israel. How were you received by Palestinians when you went there to cover the Intifada?

AW: The perception was and is that you will be in great danger from Palestinians. But I discovered it was the opposite. I was welcomed. I was invited to stay in people’s homes, which I often did. People were very excited to learn that an American journalist was there. I told people I’m here to see what’s going on and people would smile at me in places like Gaza where there were really very few Americans at that time. I didn’t see any other journalists traveling around.

Crowds of people would come up to me and they wanted to show me their bullet-riddled homes and show me what was happening to them. So I found it then and on my other trips there since, people are very welcoming, very friendly. Often they’re very aware of how much money the US gives to Israel. Even though most Americans don’t know that, it is known in the region. Despite their knowledge of that and despite their knowledge of how the US has supported Israel in so many ways, they’re still very welcoming to Americans and very willing to not blame us for what our government is doing. So it’s really the opposite of what people have been led to believe it would be like.

CtF: We were just in Occupied Palestine recently and what you describe is very consistent with our experience as well. Your website focuses on correcting the misconceptions. What are some of the most important misconceptions that people in the United States have about the situation in Occupied Palestine?

AW: That’s at the heart of the problem because there are so many that it’s hard to make people realize it’s really as different as they expect. If there were only one or two, people can accept that. It’s harder for them to realize that almost everything they thought was true is not accurate. And that is what I am often telling them.

One of the main things is that we are directly related to the conflict. We give Israel massive amounts of money. This is per capita on average 7,000 times more than we give other people. One of the other things is that many people are unaware that Israel was established in my lifetime, that when I was born there was no Israel. There was a region called Palestine that had been there called Palestine for really millennia.

Many intelligent and knowledgeable people are not aware of what Israel Palestine is about, that basically Israel was established through warfare. It was not established by the United Nations, another misconception. It was established by a war of ethnic cleansing. That’s what we now term that type of war. It’s the title of an excellent book by an Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, so, the very foundation of Israel is very different than people realize.

This was an intentional dispossession of the indigenous population. It started with the beginning of the establishment of the modern state of Israel and continues through today. Constantly Israel is confiscating additional Palestinian land and taking it over for Jewish-only settlements, as they’re called. Many people are unaware that many Palestinians are Christians. This is where Christianity began. It’s rarely mentioned in the US media.

The other thing people are often unaware of these days is media coverage always focuses on “rockets from Gaza.” Every news report mentions rockets from Gaza. The fact is that I was there traveling around by myself as a reporter before any rockets had been fired and I saw already at that time in early 2001 extreme devastation. I saw neighborhoods in Gaza that were bullet-riddled, that looked like the pictures you see of World War II ruins. In the West Bank too shelling was going on. This was before any rockets had been fired.

People think Israel is defending itself from rockets, but the rockets were actually resistance groups in Gaza trying to fight back with really very ineffectual rockets. In the whole time they’ve been used, they’ve killed at most a few dozen Israelis. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have killed many thousands of Gazans. The only statistic we get in the typical news report is thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza. They never tell that the total number of Israelis who have been killed is perhaps by now, maybe 50, perhaps not even that high and they never tell that during that time about 5,000 Gazans have been killed. We don’t hear about the massive bombardment of Gaza that’s been going on for a very long time and that has killed thousands of Gazans. And of course, killed many people in the West Bank also.

CtF: When we were there, we saw fighter planes flying over Jerusalem on their way to bomb Gaza. Over 30 Gazans were killed, including a family. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes in the recent siege of Gaza. And these so-called rocket attacks, they’re like little pipsqueak rockets. These rockets were a response to an Israeli assassination in Gaza. It’s really amazing they use that as an excuse, but they do.

AW: They get away with it because the media only tell about the response and don’t tell about what came before. The American population is completely misled. Most of these are small homemade projectiles, but media will report them as missiles and people are imagining a Nike missile or something. That’s just not what’s going on.

There have been studies of the chronology of the violence in the conflict. There was one excellent study by an MIT professor who looked at periods of calm, at various truces through the years. Her study showed that it was something like 96% of the time in the shorter truces it was Israel that had first resumed violence against Palestinians and in the longer truces, it was 100% of the time that Israeli forces resumed the violence. This is just not known to the American public because it’s very filtered news coverage that people are getting.

Your point of hearing jets flying over to bomb Gaza is very significant. People don’t know that here we have one of the most powerful militaries on the planet, largely due to our tax money and often US weaponry, fighting against a population that has no Air Force, no Navy, no aircraft, no helicopter gunships. The disparity is astounding and the media try to call it a war. A war is between two military forces. That’s not what we have when we look at Gaza and Israeli forces.

CtF: It’s such an asymmetric situation. Palestinians have been forced from their homes, living in an apartheid state and have the right under international law to defend themselves. But the Palestinians we met with while we were there, activists, said we are nonviolent, we believe in using non-violence and talked about teaching their children not to hate other people, how giving in to that was destructive. One of the things that people push back in the United States is they say that there never really was a Palestine, that Palestinian nationality didn’t start until the 20th century. Can you comment on that?

AW: Yes. This is one of the Israeli talking points that many people have fallen for. You see this on Facebook and Twitter and various places. It’s a nonsensical argument. It’s true, there was not a state of Palestine. There was not a state of Israel. There was a region called Palestine. You can look at old maps.

Palestine was a region back in biblical times. It was talked about in more recent times. It was talked about in more recent centuries. It was under the Ottoman Empire. It was what we call multicultural. Around 1900, the population was about 80 percent Muslim, about 15 percent Christian and a little under five percent Jewish. This was a region. It was not a nation-state, as we know nation-states came relatively late to the world. Germany wasn’t a nation-state for many years. The United States did not used to be a nation-state. Palestine was a region. Palestinians have existed.

There was a book published some years ago by an Israel partisan who went by the name Joan Peters claiming the Palestinians did not exist, that they were just nomads that had come in because the Zionists’ wonderful entrepreneurial spirit had created jobs for these nomads to join them. This is the thesis of her book called “From Time Immemorial.” Many people read it. It was praised by pretty much every book review in the United States.

People like Barbara Tuchman, an Israel partisan, but known as a historian, praised it. It turned out to be a complete hoax.  Some very good historians and analysts including some Jewish Americans looked into the book and found out that these many footnotes were often fraudulent. They were actually coming from Zionist propaganda. In Israel itself, it was exposed as non-factual. In Britain, it was exposed as non-factual. In the United States, it eventually was, but I don’t think any of the people that gave it a positive review and that endorsed it then had the honesty or principle to retract their erroneous reviews.

Many people, especially many Jewish Americans, read that book and were taken in by it and then repeat the myth that there were no such thing as Palestinians. Even Golda Meir, the famous Israeli Prime Minister, said at one point that quote there were no Palestinians. That’s like Americans trying to say well there were no Native Americans here. Of course, there was.

CtF: Even in the country itself Israeli Jews seem oblivious to the reality in their own country. Home demolitions and the settlers putting settlements on Palestinian communities and on Palestinian lands. We drove on Jewish-only roads. If I Google “Jewish only roads,” I find an article about “Jewish only roads don’t exist.” One of the challenges we have in talking to people in the United States, and even in Israel, Occupied Palestine, is they don’t want to see reality. How do you communicate to people who just seem oblivious whether unintentionally or intentionally?

AW: Certainly, Israelis have been brought up to be just the way you’re describing. Nurit Peled, an academic, has done excellent work showing that Israeli textbooks are very propagandistic in the way that they depict Palestinians. They’re not even called Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. So this is deeply embedded in many portions of the Israeli population.

Fortunately, there are many people in Israel that are dissenting from that and they’re trying to reach their fellow Israelis. There are Israelis Against Torture and Israelis Against Home Demolition. There are a number of Israeli groups within the society, a small fraction, but they’re doing really wonderful work in trying to expose what’s actually going on. There are some Israeli journalists, especially Gideon Levy, who write every week in the Israeli media about some of the latest atrocities being committed by Israel against Palestinians.

I would love to reach everybody. I’d love to reach every Israeli. I’d love to reach every American who’s taken in by Israeli talking points. What I focus on is the really fairly promising reality that about three-quarters of the American population, despite the pro-Israel media coverage that we’ve been getting for decades and despite Hollywood, really does not have a strong view on this issue. And general surveys will show that they say something like we shouldn’t take sides, which is sensible. If you don’t know much about an issue, you just don’t take sides.

That sounds like a fairly wimpy approach to those of us who know what’s going on there, but what that would mean if you don’t take sides is we would stop giving Israel 10 million dollars per day. We would stop vetoing UN resolutions to protect Israel from world condemnation of its violence. So it’s actually quite a good stand if we did what the majority of Americans already say we should do.

I try to focus on giving the general public the facts on this issue and the importance of making their wishes known to their elected representatives that it’s time to stop this massive aid to Israel. It prevents peace. Israeli militarists think they have a blank check from the most powerful nation on the planet, which they do right now. So my view is we give voters factual information on this. We show how extremely tragic the situation is because of what we’re funding and the fact that it hurts us as well and emphasize how important it is to tell our elected representatives that we want them to change these misguided destructive US policies of a blank check to Israel.

It’s time for us to vote and to work on the issue of Israel Palestine. Not only because of what it’s doing to Palestinians, not only because of what it then does to the US but because our support of Israel has led to our wars in the region. It has led to much of the violence in the region that has since spilled over elsewhere. It’s the core issue of the Middle East and it’s the time for us to focus on it and to address it.

CtF: I want to ask you about a topic that you’ve been writing about recently. And that is the criticism that people who question or criticize the Israeli state are anti-semitic. Can you talk about that?

AW: Yes, that’s used all the time and most of us are profoundly opposed to bigotry of all kinds. We don’t want to be splattered with such mudslinging. We don’t want to be called anti-Semitic. We don’t want to be anti-Semitic and we’re not being anti-Semitic when we speak out for justice as a principal, but that’s the attack that they try to use.

A member of the Israeli Parliament some years ago on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now said, and I’m paraphrasing, she said this is a trick. We always use it when somebody is critical of Israel, we call them anti-Semitic and that is exactly what going on. Nobody should be anti-Semitic. Nobody should be against any population, should be hostile and prejudiced against people. Bigotry is wrong. So that’s what they try to use.

What’s gotten worse is that not only do they try to claim somebody’s anti-Semitic when we’re talking about a nation-state and talking about injustice and trying to support principles of justice for all people, there is an effort to change the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticisms of Israel. This is extremely insidious.

It’s been going on for a number of years. There’s a new formulation in which certain criticisms of Israel, factual statements about Israel, will now be defined as anti-Semitism. Therefore it will be defined as hate speech, etc. This effort was begun by an Israeli Minister named Natan Sharansky. It has now been embedded in the US State Department and it’s being embedded elsewhere around the world. We need to learn about that and we need to oppose it. We need to stick with the traditional definition of anti-Semitism and we should oppose all anti-Semitism just as we oppose all racism, but we should not allow that incorrect epithet to be used to silence us or to prevent us from working for justice and human rights for all people including Palestinians.

CtF: One of the people we visited with when we were recently in Occupied Palestine was Rabbi Hirsh, who is with an ultra-orthodox Jew, and he makes a very strong case that Zionism is inconsistent with Judaism, that it violates the Torah. That makes the state of Israel really under his religious analysis to be against Judaism. A growing group of Jews in the United States is getting active in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. A number of Jewish groups are actually beginning to criticize Zionism and Israel. It’s really is an absurd claim that people who criticize Israel or Zionism are anti-Semitic. It just shows the weakness of their arguments.

AW: It does and I’m glad you brought that up because when Zionism, political Zionism, began with Theodore Herzl and some conferences in Switzerland in the late 1800s, the majority of Jews around the world did not join that movement. They said we’re Americans, we’re British etcetera. Even a Jewish population in Palestine was opposed to it, especially observant Jews were opposed to it and considered it a heretical move. There are many Jews who for religious reasons oppose Zionism saying this is against the Bible. It’s against God’s will. That’s part of what people don’t know. And in my book, in the research I did, it was very interesting to see how Zionists were very upset that Jewish-Americans were not embracing Zionism in the early years. In fact, for a number of decades, there were groups such as the American Council on Judaism that actively and strenuously opposed Zionism.

CTF: Finally, how can people learn more about the work that you do?

AW: The first thing would be to go to our website: IfAmericansKnew.org. From there, you will also go to our blog, the If Americans Knew blog. Between those two resources, I believe there’s a lot of information that will be useful to people. My book is available on Amazon. The short title is “Against Our Better Judgment.” It can be read very quickly. It’s one of the selling points and it’s thoroughly cited. It turned out that the book is half citations. So every statement in it, you can find the source for that statement. It contains a great deal of information that many people, even experts on the issue, did not know about before because when I started researching it, I was starting from scratch. I read a huge number of books. We’re also working to encourage people to join the effort to work within their congressional district to inform the people in your community about what’s going on. You can email us at contact@IfAmericansKnew.org and help get this information off the internet and into the hands of people in your community. We also have a very active Facebook page, If Americans Knew Facebook page, where we post things every day. I especially encourage people to join our email list. We should not rely on Facebook for our communication. That is a private company and they could turn it off whenever they want to so, please join our email list also.

CtF: If you haven’t visited If Americans Knew, it’s a very deep website. If you ever want to understand a particular aspect of Israel or Occupied Palestine, you’ll find a lot of the facts right there. If you’re ever writing about it, debating it, trying to understand and discuss it with others, it’s a very fact-based and deep web site that serves a very useful purpose for engaging on this issue.

AW: We’ve certainly tried and the websites been live about 15 or 16 years. There’s really a depth of content there. We’re trying to upgrade it to a more modern look but there’s so much content, we just haven’t been able to do that yet. So it’s an old-school look but the content is there for people to find and it’s all sourced. We try to make sure that our material is factual and show people that that’s the case.

*

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Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

Featured image is PressTV

Palestine, Israel & Alison Weir

 

‘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:

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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

Another Billboard the Mainstream Media Can’t Quite Fathom

bethlehembillboard

A TV station in North Carolina has published a report on a strange, new billboard that has cropped up in their area that some local residents, at least those who work in the media, are having trouble figuring out.

The billboard in question is similar to the one pictured above. The artwork on it is by the British artist Banksy and depicts Mary and Joseph coming up against Israel’s apartheid wall while attempting to get to Bethlehem.

“It’s only been up for a week and a half, but if you did see it, you might be wondering what the meaning is behind it, just like we did,” says the reporter in a report which can be found here.

The billboard was paid for by If Americans Knew, the organization founded by Alison Weir, who, to the station’s credit, is given airtime in the report.

Another interesting aspect is the behavior of a local man who is also interviewed and whose obvious reticence to comment on the billboard may be–and probably is–due to fear of being accused of anti-Semitism.

“I know what the meaning of it is, that’s why I don’t want to comment on it. I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory,” he says.

All this comes just a few days after I posted an article commenting on another billboard, one that went up in Detroit in 2015, and which also left local media reporters similarly puzzled–or at least pretending puzzlement. As I commented,

The poor TV reporters simply cannot fathom–or at least pretend not to fathom–what the billboard means. “Is it meant to be ant-Semitic or something else entirely? wonders one.

“What exactly does the statement on this billboard mean?” asks another, referring to it as “the million dollar question.”

What we seem to have here is an epidemic of cluelessness. Or at least feigned cluelessness. This, of course, from people whose job it is to inform the public.

Moreover, the report doesn’t endeavor to explain why a billboard in an American city–advocating that America’s interests should be placed first over Israel’s–should even be regarded as “controversial” in the first place. And of course, the reporters are obligated to trot out a member of the Anti-Defamation League to explain it all away as an “old anti-Semitic canard.”

And this is why I say it’s a perfect illustration of where we find ourselves today: Jewish power is the 3,000 pound elephant in the room. It exists. Of that fact there is no doubt. But sadly, no one can talk about it.

Interestingly, the TV report on the new billboard, in North Carolina, did not include comments from the ADL, although maybe that’s just because the ADL hasn’t gotten around to opening a branch in the Appalachian Mountains yet. What is clear, of course, is that either with or without a local ADL office, there is tremendous fear of Jewish power. It is evident in the words of the TV reporter, and especially in the demeanor of the man who refused to talk about the billboard on camera. Even the fact that billboards like this arouse such “controversy” in the first place is testimony to that fear.

America may have once been the “home of the brave,” but that doesn’t seem by and large to be the case any longer. With growing attacks on the BDS movement, with people losing their jobs or being denied tenure for saying the wrong thing, with even the president of the United States being fried, basted, and roasted for merely abstaining on a UN resolution, Americans in increasing numbers are becoming cognizant of who holds the reins of power in their country.

Running from the Truth: Code Pink Excludes Alison Weir from Event

codepink

By Richard Edmondson

The Iraq war was based upon lies. Not many people dispute that any longer. The question is no longer that lies were told; the question now is why they were told, and who stood to gain the most from an invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Was it all for oil, as some have maintained? Did George W. Bush, perhaps one of the most dimwitted presidents in the history of America, initiate the war all on his own? Or was he pushed into it by a powerful lobby or pressure group?

In the video below, Alison Weir, director of If Americans Knew, discusses how a group of neocons in the US, in collusion with Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu, became a powerful force maneuvering the US into war. But Weir says she was not allowed to present this information–even though she had initially been invited–at a “tribunal” held in Washington and dubbed “the People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War.”

The Iraq Tribunal, held December 1-2, was aimed at bringing “the lies that created the war into public awareness,” and also at pushing for “truth and accountability”–that’s according to Code Pink, the activist group which organized the event.

“After 14 years of costly war based on lies, it’s time for truth and accountability,” said Code Pink. The statement goes on to add:

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War will unify the global anti-war/peace movements with other justice movements by uplifting testimonies of the costs of this war—and war itself. The Tribunal will bring the lies that created the war on Iraq into public awareness, while demanding Obama act on them. It will build and inspire the anti-war movement that we will need after the inauguration of the next administration in 2017. It will be a tool that all groups can use to build, inspire, and enliven their organizations and communities.

If “truth and accountability” are so important, one wonders why Weir was excluded from the event. I don’t know the answer to that. You’d have to ask Medea Benjamin, one of the founders of Code Pink. You can find her contact information here, should you be so inclined.

The first day of the tribunal was promoted as offering an in-depth look at the lies told to justify the war, while the second day was devoted to the costs, human and otherwise, of the war and subsequent occupation. Reportedly more than 100 people gave “testimonies” on one aspect or another, and my purpose here is certainly not to disparage or criticize their work. But I can’t help feeling that the event would have been enriched had Weir been allowed to participate.

In 2015, Weir was attacked by Jewish Voice for Peace for giving interviews to media outlets the JVP deemed anti-Semitic. Did this have something to do with why she was disinvited from speaking at the Tribunal? Or was it the content and substance of her talk? She does, after all, name some prominent Jewish neocons who “marketed” the Iraq war.

By contrast, you can go here to watch a six-hour video of the first day of the tribunal and which includes Medea Benjamin’s comments, or her official “testimony,” starting at about 1:12:00 in. In the segment, Benjamin talks about lies told by George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and also about the “complicity of the US mainstream media” and other factors leading up to the war–but makes no mention of Israel or its lobby. The onus is laid pretty much on the Bush administration:

The Bush administration dismissed the inspectors’ findings because their conclusions contradicted those of the US government. The next day, George Bush went on the radio to address the American people, arguing the inspections team did not need any more time because Saddam Hussein was still refusing to disarm, and the rest is history. Iraq posed absolutely no threat to the United States, but the American people, traumatized by the 9/11 attack, were easily duped by the Bush administration’s propaganda.

Benjamin and Weir obviously  have strikingly different perspectives on who was principally at fault for getting the US into this disastrous war. Weir, after listing a number of neocons and neocon think tanks, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, whose advocacy of military intervention was discussed at least in the Israeli press, if not in the American, goes on to cite the supplemental input to the war fever served up by Israeli leaders:

Israeli leaders worked to sell the war to Americans. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former prime ministers Netanyahu, Peres, and Barak, all told Americans that it was urgent that Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction program be stopped. And Israeli intelligence agencies fed the US reports supposedly documenting these.

Weir doesn’t say so, but it’s worth recalling as well that Saddam Hussein was granting sums of money to the families of Palestinian martyrs who died in attacks against Israel, and that he had begun doing this at least as far back as the early 1990s–which is probably one of the chief reasons the leaders of Israel wanted him killed or at least overthrown. In some cases the payouts were as high as $25,000.

In her talk, Weir cites an article in which former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is described as “over the top crazy when it comes to Israel.” Is it hard to imagine such a man might have had a homicidal urge to take out Saddam Hussein?

At any rate, it seems very much as if the neocons, working in coordination with Israeli leaders, pushed to have Saddam Hussein removed but to have US  military forces do the job for them. Some people simply can’t get their minds around this. Others don’t want to try. Still others, the more fearful types, believe it’s best just to not even talk about it.

Weir’s video was posted on Monday by Greg Bacon, who, alluding to some of the Jewish supporters of Israel referenced by Weir, comments, “what a nice bunch of homicidal maniacs.” Yet Code Pink, despite its avowed purpose of seeking “truth and accountability” on the Iraq war, apparently preferred to keep the tribunal’s attention focused elsewhere for the most part.

It seems this may be somewhat–although not entirely–out of character for the group. Back in 2011, Code Pink organized a protest in response to AIPAC’s annual convention in Washington that year. It has held similar events in other years as well, but the 2011 affair in particular is discussed in an article at Counterpunch by Harry Clark, who notes that the event included a protest as well as an indoor program of speeches and workshops. And ironically Weir was one of the participants, although she and others of her mindset were “relegated to a workshop in the basement,” as Clark puts it (emphasis added):

Alison Weir and other writer-activists, including Jeff Blankfort, photographer (12) and journalist, (13) Janet McMahon of Washington Report on   Middle East Affairs (14) and Grant Smith of Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (15) were relegated to a workshop in the basement, which was very well attended. Code Pink repeated the event in 2012, and the Israel Lobby critics were allowed only to hold an event in the hall afterward, with the hall stripped of all Code Pink identifying material, and the audience invited to further events scheduled else- where at the same time. One hundred twenty-five remained in the hall to hear the Lobby critics. In 2013, the critics were banned from the program altogether.

Why does Code Pink, a leftist organization which presumably places a high value on free speech and the First Amendment, seem so intent on censoring critics of the Israeli lobby? Why would people who have been critical of Israel in the past, as Code Pink has, want to stymie efforts to exposed the true extent of the lobby’s power? One almost gets the impression that such people are afraid of something.

Fear, Loathing, and Jewish Tribalism

Recently journalist/blogger Richard Silverstein published an interesting article on Israeli whistle-blower Shamai Leibowitz, who in 2009, while living in the US, leaked documents to Silverstein exposing Israel’s strategy of trying to provoke a war between the US and Iran. What you’re about to read might seem a bit off topic at first, but please bear with me.

“In 2009, Shamai Leibowitz was working secretly for the FBI, translating wiretapped conversations among Israeli diplomats in this country,” writes Silverstein. “He passed some transcripts of these conversations to me, which described an Israeli diplomatic campaign in this country to create a hostile environment for relations with Iran.”

Leibowitz told Silverstein that the Israeli Foreign Ministry, along with its diplomats posted in America, were waging a “perception management campaign” against Iran. The two talked over how to go about making the information public and finally agreed that Silverstein would publish it on his blog but would do so in such a manner as to try to conceal Leibowitz’s identity. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out. The Israelis “became aware that their security was breached,” and Leibowitz was prosecuted by a compliant US Justice Department apparently eager to keep Israeli secrets hidden. Leibowitz ended up going to prison for 20 months and being stripped of his right to practice law. He has also been shunned by his community and fired from jobs he has tried to hold.

So intense apparently were the repercussions that Leibowitz, after the going got rough, made a 180 degree turn by publicly denouncing Silverstein and claiming that in leaking documents he had in reality been trying to expose wrongdoing–not by the Israeli government, but by the FBI (this, keep in mind, while still living in America). As Silverstein puts it:

Though I didn’t know it at the time he first contacted me in 2009, Shamai Leibowitz was a psychologically unstable person.  Not to mention that the relationship with me which he initiated caused him to pay a very heavy price.  By leaking secret documents in order to expose Israel’s strategy of provoking a war against Iran, he lost his job, accrued enormous legal debt, and was sent to federal prison for 20 months.  In order to retain the loyalty of his family and the Orthodox Jewish community which supported him, he renounced his journalistic relationship with me and its original purpose.  After his release he published fraudulent (at least to my mind) accounts of his motives and activities, which claimed he had intended to expose wrongdoing within the FBI.  If that was the case, Shamai never mentioned any such matters to me.  He was wholly dedicated to the notion that Israel had created a campaign within the U.S. to exploit our media, and political leadership to go to war against Iran.  That is the reason he and I worked together.

Silverstein also sheds light on the ostracization the whistle-blower suffered within the Jewish community, adding that Leibowitz…

…was known in his religious community as a fine Torah reader who beautifully chanted the Torah portion at his Orthodox synagogue. However, when a well-connected member discovered Leibowitz’ “past,” they told the rabbi that he must take this great communal honor from him or they would leave the congregation. Suchshunning is, unfortunately, all too common in the Jewish community (remember Spinoza?) for those holding unpopular views of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Luckily, Leibowitz discovered a conservative synagogue whose rabbi embraced him despite his “baggage.” Throughout his subsequent trials and tribulations, this rabbi and community have stood behind Leibowitz and his family.

One wonders how the story might have turned out differently had the whistle-blower not found the lone synagogue willing to “embrace” him. If Leibowitz’s story is any illustration, it would seem that if you are Jewish and you take any action deemed as threatening or disloyal to Israel, the consequences can be quite severe. Some criticism, to be sure, is allowed, but apparently there is a point or a line that you don’t cross–or at least that’s my take on it anyway.

How these threats of social reprobation play into the thinking of Jews, and to what extent it cows or intimidates them from saying anything too critical about Israel or Jewish power, is not something I have a great deal of insight into–although perhaps it’s worth mentioning here that Medea Benjamin is Jewish. Below is a picture of her holding a sign avowing her membership in Jewish Voice for Peace–the very group which launched an attack against Weir in 2015.

mbenjamin

JVP, in a statement published online, charged Weir with being “a repeat guest of white supremacist Clay Douglas on his hate radio show.” Her transgressions also include giving interviews to Pastor Mark Dankof–branded by JVP as “anti-gay, anti-Jewish”–and the American Free Press, labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to the statement. Weir’s line-by-line rebuttal to their charges can be found here, and you can also access commentaries on the matter, here and here, by Gilad Atzmon, who defends Weir, calls the attack on her “guilt by association,” and who points out additionally that JVP would not have had the same reaction had Weir appeared on Israeli TV–which Atzmon describes as “suffused with Jewish supremacy and racism.”

As for Benjamin, clearly she has supported many worthwhile causes over the years, both in terms of her work with Code Pink as well as with Global Exchange, an organization she helped start up in 1988. Her hard work was acknowledged by writer David Swanson, who gave her a glowing introduction on day one of the tribunal

“Medea Benjamin, born Susan Benjamin, is an American political activist–I assume everyone knows that,” Swanson said. He went on to add:

Best known for co-founding Code Pink, and along with activist and author Kevin Danaher the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. Benjamin was also the Green Party candidate in California in 2000 for the US Senate. She currently contributes to Op-Ed News and the Huffington Post. In 2003, the Los Angeles Times described her as, quote, one of the high profile leaders, end-quote, of the peace movement. I would describe her as one of the best leaders of the peace movement. Medea Benjamin…

However, one of course must wonder what ground-changing victories can ultimately hope to be be achieved by any movement–whether it be for peace, social equality, justice for Palestine, or any other noble such goal–when the leaders of those movements, rather than confronting hard truths, are instead ducking and running from them.

Watch this short video and follow this brave woman!!!

If Americans knew that Codepink is a controlled opposition apparatus they would get upset..

Once again Alison Weir hits the nail on the head telling the truth that brought America on its knees.

 

Kevin Barrett’s and Greg McCarron look into Max Blumenthal’s affairs

September 02, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

You want to listen to this radio program:

Kevin Barrett’s:  Max Blumenthal – son of Zionist operator, Libya-destroyer, and Hillary confidante Sidney Blumenthal – is one of the highest-profile pro-Palestine Jews and foundation-funded “alternative” media luminaries. Though a notable truth-teller concerning on-the-ground realities in Occupied Palestine, Max Blumenthal occasionally mutates into a self-appointed thought-policeman. As if his past witch-hunts against Gilad Atzmon and Alison Weir were not shameful enough, Blumenthal has now taken it upon himself to decide who is guilty, and who is not guilty, of the dreadful crime of 9/11 truth. The good news is that he has found Abby Martin “not guilty.” The bad news is that he seems to be taking the position that 9/11 truth is indeed pernicious, but that Abby Martin only sought the truth about 9/11 when she was young and foolish. Older and wiser now, Abby is no longer interested in such things, Max assures us.

Today’s guest, Greg McCarron, is not impressed by Blumenthal’s attempts at gatekeeping. Read his analysis at:

MAX BLUMENTHAL FINDS ABBY MARTIN NOT GUILTY OF 9/11 TRUTH

…and listen to our exasperated attempts to figure out where Max Blumenthal (and Abby Martin for that matter) are coming from.

(source: http://truthjihadradio.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/greg-mccarron-max-blumenthal-finds-abby.html)

Kevin Barrett’s and Greg McCarron look into Max Blumenthal’s affairs

Kosher Palestinians! by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

 by Nahida Exiled Palestinian 

A kosher Palestinian, is the one who he believes in:

  • The “specialness” and “chosen-Mess” of Jews”, for they always “know better” and no movement or organization can function if not headed by them and guided by their “light”
  • They believe that anyone on earth be called racist supremacist except Jews, so they take “strong stands” against “Palestinian racism” and “Palestinian antisemitism” if Palestinians question the right of the “Jewish state” to exist, but a Kosher Palestinian never ever questions Jewish supremacy and racism, worse, they accuse those who request a condemnation of ideological Jewish supremacy of being “antisemites”
  • They also believe in the “primacy of Jewish suffering”, more than their own, and revere the “holocaust” as their one and only true deity worthy of worshiping, never to be doubted or questioned
static1.squarespace.com

Image result for Vanessa BeeleyBOYCOTT ALL SOFT ZIONISTS…and APOLOGISTS

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY AND EXPOSE THESE INSIDIOUS GATEKEEPERS. They are serving only Israel.

Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada supports cancellation of the US Nakba speaking tour in case it offends the Zionists. I say boycott Abunimah and all the other sell outs and vassals of the illegal and oppressive state of Israel.

Abunimah’s [false] claim was that Alison Weir of If Americans Knew [one of the best websites educating Americans about the Palestinian cause] might have been in the audience.

Anyone who supports this Zionism apologist, please feel free to unfriend me right now.

Paul Larudee of the Free Palestine Movement.

Alison Weir had nothing to do with the event and apparently showed up to hand out flyers for her website. One of the SJPers criticized Alison,claiming that the issue was Alison’s refusal to respect Israel’s “right to exist” as a regime. The Palestinian speaker, Amena Ashkar, agreed with Alison’s view on this matter, but was told by organizers that she was not allowed to voice her opinion. The speaker, being a principled person, refused to give the talk if her feelings about the colonial regime that dispossessed her were going to be censored from the discussion. So the organizers decided to cancel the entire event.

Their own explanation doesn’t even make sense. If the problem was Alison Weir or her flyers they could have simply removed the materials (and Alison as well), and in fact it appears they had done that just. Instead they cancelled the entire event, and that is because they did not want Amena’s views to be expressed.

It is beyond despicable that Stanford SJP would go to this length to cancel a talk by two Palestinian refugees who have spent their lives in a refugee camp, unlike the privileged brats who organized — and then cancelled –this talk. That includes an 85-year-old Nakba survivor. But now they want to rationalize their disgusting behavior by drudging up rumors and innuendo about some white lady who was in the audience and her pamphlets?

Stanford SJP owes their guests — and the rest of us — an apology. I am currently speaking to some of the national tour organizers about putting out a public statement where Amena can express the ideas Stanford SJP denied her the opportunity to speak at Stanford, and calling on Stanford SJP to retract this ridiculous explanation and show some accountability for what they just did.

http://freepalestinemovement.org/…/why-was-the-nakba-tour-…/

ALISON WEIR’S STATEMENT
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10153546910184632&id=32975139631&substory_index=0&hc_location=ufi

Gilad Atzmon‘s article:

http://www.gilad.co.uk/…/2…/4/15/ali-abu-kosher-did-it-again

Related

If Americans Knew What Stanford SJP Stands For

April 16, 2016  /  Gilad Atzmon

Allison Weir On Stanford SJP And Their Notion Of  ‘Solidarity’…

Source:

Dear friends,

Some people who oppose If Americans Knew are misrepresenting a recent event at Stanford University in which the Stanford SJP demanded that their invited speaker, Amena, a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, censor her talk. She refused to do so and the event was not held. (UPDATE: Amena explains what happened: iakn.us/22vvXxE)

The organizer of the speaking event, the North America Nakba Tour, posted an account of what transpired. (iakn.us/1VV1GYL)

However, to our astonishment, some opponents of If Americans Knew then tried to divert attention to me and IAK rather than keeping it on this woman and her colleague who traveled so far to tell us their story. Someone at Stanford SJP posted a fraudulent statement about the incident on their Facebook page, which we expect will be repeated far and wide by people bent on taking down If Americans Knew.

While the Nakba Tour statement already gives the basic facts, we are now augmenting this with a more detailed description of what transpired.

Below are the facts:

The Stanford SJP event was part of a tour by two Palestinian women who have recently arrived in the US from a Lebanese refugee camp to speak at events under the North America Nakba Tour. They are Mariam Fathalla (respectfully known as Umm Akram) an 86-year-old Nakba survivor, and Amena Ashkar, the 22-year-old granddaughter and great granddaughter of other Nakba survivors, who has known no other home than refugee camps.

The purpose of the Nakba Tour (iakn.us/23tcAuX) is to bring Palestinian refugees from camps in Lebanon to tell Americans about Israel’s mass expulsion of Palestinians 60 years ago and of their subsequent plight, voices that are almost never heard in the U.S. Nakba means catastrophe, the term Palestinians use to refer to the 1948 war of ethnic cleansing that created Israel. (For details, read the excellent book by Israeli historian Ilan Pappeiakn.us/1VlUsOA and see our short brochure on it. iakn.us/1XvmchG)

Several months ago, the organizer of the Nakba Tour, Paul Larudee, asked me and many others to help with various aspects of the tour. Like others, I responded that I’d be glad to help.

On request, I agreed to help, as needed, with driving, with visits to Capitol Hill and with promoting the tour. As you’ll recall, IAK posted announcements of the tour to our list and on our Facebook page encouraging people to organize venues for the speakers.

When the two women arrived, Paul asked me to join a discussion on how to present to Americans (we both live in the SF Bay Area), since this is their first visit to the U.S. I agreed to do this and mainly emphasized how little most Americans know about this issue. The tour organizers had not had time to put together written materials to take along, so we arranged that IAK would provide these free to the Nakba Tour to make available to audiences, particularly our Synopsis factsheet, which gives important history and context about Palestine-Israel.

Since speakers can only cover so much in a 45 minute talk, it’s always valuable to provide additional informational materials to audiences. Many groups around the country use If Americans Knew materials, which are largely articles written by respected experts that IAK republishes into booklets and factsheets. (iakn.us/IAKmaterials) Some of the most popular are the Origin booklet (written by Jews for Justice in the Middle East) (iakn.us/1XvmCVa), Right of Return booklet (by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh) (iakn.us/25ZZzYp), Synopsis fact sheet (iakn.us/1RUbPDS), and map cards (iakn.us/1MQhEzM). We also arranged that IAK would provide some of my books (/iakn.us/AOBJ-book) for the Tour to sell at events, with all proceeds going to the Tour, as a fundraising contribution and to educate attendees about the history.

Paul told me that the meeting about speaking to Americans had been extremely helpful and asked me to come hear the talks in person and perhaps afterwards give feedback. I felt both speakers would do a superb job – Amena’s English is excellent and both have powerful stories – but I said I’d be glad to come along if this might be of help, and rode with them to Stanford.

The Stanford Incident

When we arrived at the venue, the Tour videographer Samir Salem and I set up the materials table in the back. Suddenly, a few students confronted me, saying I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was entirely taken aback that they were focusing on me, rather than their distinguished guests.

(By the way, this was a huge change from when I spoke at Stanford several times a number of years ago. A 2004 lecture was covered in the campus newspaper (iakn.us/1SajfSh), and I was enormously touched when a student reporter told me, “That was the most powerful speech I’ve ever heard.”)

Paul tried to explain to today’s Stanford SJP students (none of whom have heard my talk (iakn.us/1Mu8ew6) or read my articles (iakn.us/1JV1KST) and book) that I wasn’t a speaker and that I had come at the Tour’s request to sit in the audience and hear the talks.

During the ensuing discussion, one or two of the students obliquely referred to the JVP-USCEIO unfounded accusations against me (iakn.us/1F7ax4u). They appeared not to know that these have been widely discredited and are opposed by most pro-Palestine activists, including some of the most respected and committed individuals both in the U.S. and in Palestine (see, for example,iakn.us/1S6IEdj.)

The students first objected to the books (which have been purchased by over 24,000 people and widely praised by reviewers, activists, and general readers, many saying they are “eye opening,” and “should be read by every American”), claiming they couldn’t sell things.

Next, they objected to the cards and booklets (eventually admitting it was because they contained the IAK website). Paul responded that these were the Tour’s materials and that he had never heard of speakers not being allowed to provide materials to audiences. I removed the offending books from the table and left the conversation, feeling the event shouldn’t be about me or IAK, but about Amena and Umm Akram.

At about this point, Amena entered the discussion, and students told her they objected to my views on “Israel’s right to exist” (one of our brochures contains John Whitbeck’s excellent article deconstructing this alleged “right.”iakn.us/1V0g6bj).

As I’m sure you’re aware, the demand that Palestinians recognize Israel’s alleged “right to exist” is one of Israel’s major talking points, and a demand that many Palestinians reject, since it would mean that Israel supposedly had the “right” to ethnically cleanse them, the “right” to discriminate against them, and the “right” to prevent people like Amena, Umm Akram and numerous others from returning to their homes. As Whitbeck writes:

“To demand that Palestinians recognize ‘Israel’s right to exist’ is to demand that a people who have been treated as subhumans unworthy of basic human rights publicly proclaim that they are subhumans. It would imply Palestinians’ acceptance that they deserve what has been done and continues to be done to them. Even 19th-century US governments did not require the surviving native Americans to publicly proclaim the ‘rightness’ of their ethnic cleansing by European colonists as a condition precedent to even discussing what sort of land reservation they might receive.”

Amena questioned the Stanford students, who told her she could not give her views on “Israel’s right to exist.” She then said she felt “unwelcome,” refused to give a censored speech, and the event did not go on. I was not involved in that conversation, which took place largely in Arabic, and I did not discourage her from speaking. (Hear Amena’s account of what transpired: iakn.us/1VV1GYL)

Nonfactual statement by anonymous individual from Stanford SJP

Someone has now posted on the Stanford SJP website and Facebook page a truly bizarre, highly inaccurate statement about the incident containing numerous false and absurd assertions. (iakn.us/1WrHzlF) Among these is the claim that they canceled the event because of me, that I “refused to leave” (no one ever asked me to do so), and that I have supposedly “made derogatory remarks about Arabs, endorsed speech by a former head of the KKK, denied the impact of South African Apartheid, and referred to communism as a Jewish conspiracy.” Whew!

When some individuals tried to post comments on the Facebook post objecting to the statement and giving real facts, their comments were quickly removed. At this point in time, however, perhaps a new moderator seems to have stopped removing such comments, and the thread contains a great many comments supporting me and opposing the Stanford students’ actions and statement, including the following by Paul Larudee:

“Whoever wrote this should be congratulated for cramming so many falsehoods into such a small space. If invited, I would be happy to elaborate, but why bother when the gatekeepers are removing all the evidence whenever it is posted? If they will allow this comment to remain, I suggestfreepalestinemovement.org/…/31/the-north-america-nakba-tour/. Long live free speech everywhere except Stanford.”

(By the way, it’s probably relevant to note that a committed Palestine activist has written to me that this Stanford behavior seems to be part of a problematic pattern with the current group, whose version of the divestment resolution takes a liberal Zionist position: ignores refugees, dates the injustice only from 1967, disavows BDS, and endorses Israeli self-determination at the expense of Palestinians.)

The Good News

Fortunately, to date the Stanford behavior has not been replicated by other groups on the Nakba Tour. In fact, Paul and others say that their reception has been overwhelmingly positive, and that individuals hosting the Tour in other locations are outraged at the Stanford group’s actions.

Meanwhile, at IAK we’re busy putting up more and more billboards (including our incredibly popular billboard supporting Flint, which has been shared by well over a thousand people on Facebook), sending out materials around the country, and preparing for my upcoming talks in Washington State, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

And I’ve just received word that a wonderful supporter, outraged by this malicious attack and extremely pleased with our work, has given us $10,000!

As we’ve mentioned previously, our IAK talks are going extremely well – to standing-room-only, receptive audiences, many of whom buy my book. (In fact, many supporters suggest that it is specifically because the talks are so effective and the book is doing so well that the attacks on us continue and escalate.)

UPDATE: 

I just gave two talks in Spokane, Washington. The first was in a large, hugely popular local bookstore with many people new to the issue in the audience. The event was full – all the seats were taken and people were standing in the back. The response was extremely positive and many people bought my book.

The second event was on Friday evening in Whitworth University. 135 students attended and again the response was electric and numerous people bought the book.

Of course, this is exactly what Zionists – with Ali Abunimah’s help – wish to prevent, but are failing to do.

Today I give talks in two Seattle libraries, tomorrow in a Portland, Oregon, church, and after that in Pennsylvania and Florida.

Thanks so much, everyone, for exposing and opposing the malicious actions and fraudulent claims by the JVP-USCEIO-Abunimah machine.

Best,

Alison

Ali Abu Kosher Did it Again

Shabbos Goy Ali Abunimah, the man who planned  to reduce the Intifada into an electronic noticeboard, did it again. Abunimah is notorious for being an appeaser of light Zionists and AZZs, is caught on the above tweet thanking Stanford  Students for stopping a Nakba event featuring an 85-year-old Nakba Survivor and others who have spent their entire lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Stanford SJP are now claiming — falsely — that they cancelled the event “because “Alison Weir who refuses to respect Israel’s “right to exist as a regime” was in the audience.

if Ali Abunimah like Stanford SJP insists upon Israel’s right to exist, he should consider Join the Likud party…

To learn more on this fiasco read Marxism.org:

[Marxism] Stanford SJP shuts down Palestinian refugee event, falsely blames it on Alison Weir

SJP shut down an event featuring an 85-year-old Nakba Survivor, one of two  people who have spent their entire lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Now they are claiming — falsely — because Alison Weir (remember her <https://louisproyect.org/2015/06/25/the-jewish-voice-for-peace-attack-on-alison-weir-jvp-loses-its-balance-2/&gt;?) was in the audience.

 Stanford SJP is lying. It had nothing to do with Alison Weir and everything to do with the fact that one of the speakers wanted to question Israel’s right to exist as a regime:

Alison Weir had nothing to do with the event and apparently showed up to hand out flyers for her website.

One of the SJPers criticized Alison, claiming that the issue was Alison’s refusal to respect Israel’s “right to exist” as a regime.

The Palestinian speaker, Amena Ashkar, agreed with Alison’s view on this matter, but was told by organizers that she was not allowed to voice her opinion.

The speaker, being a principled person, refused to give the talk if her feelings about the colonial regime that dispossessed her were going to be censored from the discussion. So the organizers decided to cancel the entire event.

Their own explanation doesn’t even make sense. If the problem was Alison Weir or her flyers they could have simply removed the materials (and Alison as well), and in fact it appears they had done that just. Instead they cancelled the entire event, and that is because they did not want Amena’s views to be expressed.

It is beyond despicable that Stanford SJP would go to this length to cancel a talk by two Palestinian refugees who have spent their lives in a refugee camp, unlike the privileged brats who organized — and then cancelled — this talk. That includes an 85-year-old Nakba survivor. But now they want to rationalize their disgusting behavior by drudging up rumors and innuendo about some white lady who was in the audience and her pamphlets?

Stanford SJP owes their guests — and the rest of us — an apology. I am currently speaking to some of the national tour organizers about putting out a public statement where Amena can express the ideas Stanford SJP denied her the opportunity to speak at Stanford, and calling on Stanford SJP to retract this ridiculous explanation and show some accountability for what they just did.

Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative

Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative


Ali Abunimah has been speaking to pro-Palestine groups in Australasia and last week was in Wellington, New Zealand, as a guest of the Wellington Palestine Group.

Abunimah has a profile as a pro-Palestinian activist and as a founder and editor of the blog Electronic Intifada. He is also known to be at the forefront of the campaign to purge from the pro-Palestine movement those who are not deemed to be sufficiently opposed to antisemitism. He has accordingly been described by his critics as a ‘gatekeeper on the payroll of his Jewish Zionist friends’, a ‘soft Zionist’, a ‘sabbos goy’ and many other things less printable.

My reading on Abunimah before the meeting revealed that he is associated with campaigns to vilify and exclude from the Palestine movement a considerable number of pro-Palestinian activists, including many of Jewish ancestry, like Richard Falk, John J. Mearsheimer, Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen, Jonathan Azaziah, and Israel Shamir, or Palestinian backgrounds, such as Samir Abed-Rabbo, Ramzy Baroud, Nahida Izaat, Sammi Ibrahim, Sameh Habib and Jonathan Azaziah.

He is also complicit in the attempt to ostracise the highly regarded Alison Weir of the Not in My Name campaign, which led to the resignation of the Free Palestine Movement from the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation.

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, example of Abunimah’s exclusion campaign is his statement calling for the disavowal of the ‘racism, antisemitism of Gilad Atmon’, signed by 22 Palestinian activists.

At the meeting in Wellington Abunimah gave a good speech about the current situation in Palestine, and then focused on the BDS campaign, though without addressing long-term solutions, eg whether there should be one or two states. He also mentioned the Palestinian killed by an Israeli soldier in Hebron recently.

I wanted to address the issue of Abunmah’s opposition to other activists, and began by referring to Gideon Levi’s article about the Hebron murder, quoting as follows:

‘Never have so many cheered such a vile murderer. …This combination of racism and thirst for blood is not only repulsive, it’s also volatile and dangerous… it’s doubtful there’s another Western society whose racism is accompanied by such bloodlust.’

I pointed out that while Levi’s target audience was the people of Israel, there are people whose focus is outside of Israel, aiming to change the mindset of individuals or communities, Jewish and/or non-Jewish, who support ethnic cleansing and land theft in Palestine. However Abunimah has worked to exclude many of these people from the movement such as Gilad Atzmon, Paul Eisen, Alison Weir …

At this point Abunimah interjected, declaring that it was not in his power to purge anyone. These people were all bigots and white supremacists. Abunimah was not going to debate with someone who supported racist bigots.

Based on my reading I had rather expected Abunimah would respond with a personal attack, and I wasn’t surprised that he should be less that honest about his involvement in shutting people out of the Palestine movement, though I would have liked to ask exactly why these people were ‘bigots’.

In the unlikely event I was allowed to continue, I had hoped to focus on the ‘disavowal’ of Atzmon. There have been some excellent responses to this statement (see below). Some concentrate on defending the various accusations levelled at Atzmon, while Nahida Izaat picks up on the Talmudic nature of the language used – she associates, for example, the word ‘disavowal’ with the Judaic concept of Herem, the ban imposed on an individual to separate from the rest of the community (Izaat’s findings were echoed by Atzmon, who commented that ‘we aren’t just dealing with a cult discourse, … we are actually dealing with a rabbinical operation that exercises the most repulsive Judaic excommunication tactics’).

I myself planned to address Abunimah regarding the narrative he espouses.

‘We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism … must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity. ‘

It is clear from this statement that, leaving aside the Palestine issue proper, Abunimah’s language and priorities are identical to that of the most extreme Zionist: the focus on antisemitism, conspiracy theories, and above all holocaust denial. These are the three main strategies for the Zionist activist.

Firstly, to keep the conversation fixed on antisemitism, to keep Palestinian activists tip-toeing round Jewish sensibilities in order to neutralise criticism. Hence the huge campaign against Gilad Atzmon, who calls out the Jewish community for their support for Israel.

Secondly, to carry out personalised and derogatory attacks against anyone who asks awkward questions. In her video presentation on how the CIA influences the media Sharyl Atkinson listed a few words which alert people to what she calls astroturfing, one of them being ‘conspiracy’ (‘astroturfers seek to controversialise those who disagree with them’). ‘Conspiracy theorist’ and ‘truther’ are terms commonly applied to those who investigate 9/11, though I have been called a ‘truther’ by Ahmad Idrees, when I produced evidence from MIT that the Syrian government can’t have been responsible for the Gouta sarin attack.

Most important for any Zionist is to protect the holocaust cult. So successful have Zionists been with regard to control of the holocaust narrative, that Germany, Austria and France are prepared to compromise themselves morally and intellectually by criminalising the dissemination of serious research into the holocaust. Anyone active on social media who has any contact with the subject knows that the very people who are totally callous when it comes to the abuses inflicted on Palestinians scream ‘Jew hate’ if one so much as defends someone who questions any aspect of the holocaust.

It is extraordinary that a pro-Palestinian activist should package up and present these three major Zionist strategies as fundamental to the Palestinian cause, that the sensibilities of those who support the most racist country in the developed world, arguably on the whole planet, should matter so much more to him than the Palestinian cause itself.

‘Contrary to the understanding and lopsided logic of Mr Ali Abunimah and his cohorts, discussing and criticising the ideologies, the politics, the aims, and the motivations of some Jewish Zionists or anti-Zionist persons or groups, is NOT anti-Semitic. Such criticism does not occur “simply because they are Jews”:

‘We criticise their obfuscation of truth, by acting as filterers of information, attempting to prevent people from learning about issues, vital to understanding the Palestinian catastrophe;

‘We criticise the hysterical manner in which they react against people who attempt to examine and understand the global and powerful Jewish-Zionist networks and lobby, their unrelenting support of “Israel” and it’s ramification on Palestine and the Palestinian cause’ (Nahida Izaat)

It is also consistent with Abunimah’s ‘soft Zionist’ viewpoint that, like all Zionists, he promotes the NATO discourse on the war on Syria, exemplified above all by his writings on the Yamouk refugee camp.

Abunimah is a strong advocate for BDS, which is supported by most Palestine activists. However, to return to the Wellington meeting, someone present asked how effective BDS can be if the US will always underwrite Israel – and we know that as things stand it will do just that. BDS should be combined with strong attacks on the communities that back Israel and on American acquiescence towards the power of AIPAC, and furthermore with questioning of the Zionist narrative and the motivations behind it. If Abunimah cannot be part of this, or at least back those who are, his usefulness to the Palestinian cause is questionable.

Bibliography

Ali Abunimah: Palestinian writers, activists, disavow racism, anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/palestinian-writers-activists-disavow-racism-anti-semitism-gilad-atzmon

A large number of activists, Jews, Palestinians and others, have replied to this, most being referenced after Roger Tucker’s article:

Yarmouk Refugee Camp

Abunimah has written several articles on Yarmouk, e.g. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/dont-forget-us-here-photos-reveal-devastation-syrias-yarmouk-camp

Shame on Christians Witnessing for Palestine,

July 23, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

For blackballing Alison Weir/If Americans Knew

Dear Elaine,

I recall your Christian Witnessing for Palestine group censuring Gilad and Deir Yassin Remembered in past years, but this is a new low.

While I am confident that you personally did not blackball Alison, the group has.  To me that is an indication that it has been co-opted by Zionists and Christians who are so philosemitic that they cannot even recognise the hypocrisy of their actions.  Shame on them and their refusal to speak truth to power.

I would appreciate your informing the group of these sentiments and that they come directly from me.

With kind personal regards for you and Ron, who is undoubtedly caught between a rock and a hard place.

Dan McGowan

Deir Yassin Remembered

 

www.deiryassinremembered.org

www.deiryassin.org

Dear Alison,

I am writing to let you know about the very difficult decision reached by our group re the IAK ad for our upcoming film series.  After much discussion of the current controversy and with no real consensus we have decided we cannot at this time accept an ad from IAK for this year’s booklet.  I say “at this time” because we hope for continuing and respectful conversation, and pray for deeper understanding among groups such as IAK, JVP, and US Campaign nationally and here locally.  For now we hope and pray for your strength and perseverance in the good work you have undertaken and we look forward to future ways to make common cause and be in conversation.

In peace and hope,

Elaine Johnson

Christians Witnessing for Palestine, Rochester NY

Free Palestine Movement Resigned from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

July 21, 2015  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: Congratulation to  the Free Palestine Movement for making the right step.   We are moving rapidly towards a partitioned solidarity movement. The separation wall between the Anti Zionist Zionists  AKA AZZ  and the rest of us is impossible to deny.

To:            The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

From:            The Free Palestine Movement

Date:            July 21, 2015

Subj:            Free Palestine Movement Resignation from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Please be advised that the Free Palestine Movement resigns from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, effective immediately.

We resign because of the disgraceful, disrespectful and unjust treatment of Alison Weir and her organization, If Americans Knew, in the procedures to expel her from the Campaign on the spurious grounds of insufficient avoidance of anti-Semitic persons and institutions.

We resign because it is clear that the decision had been made to expel IAK before the proceedings to do so had ever begun.

We resign because, in defiance of the most basic principles of justice, Ms. Weir was not given the opportunity to confront her accuser.

We resign because no evidence was presented that she herself is anti-Semitic.

We resign because the USCEIO policy on racism is so broad that someone who is not racist can be found in violation for being insufficiently vigilant about confronting and challenging anti-Semitism whenever it is encountered.  This is so vague that the rule can be applied arbitrarily, as has been the case with IAK and Alison Weir.

We resign because the language of the policy on racism was formed through procedures and meetings that allowed persons selected arbitrarily by the staff and leadership of the USCEIO to control the wording, consultation and approval process of the policy and to disregard, disrespect and manipulate attempts by member organizations to participate in the process.

We resign because the policy implicitly gives priority to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia as forms of racism and does not even mention Zionism in the policy statement.

We resign because the cause of Palestinian suffering and ethnic cleansing is not anti-Semitism, but rather Zionism.

We resign because the USCEIO is in violation of its own policy on racism because it tolerates Zionism in its midst and neither confronts nor challenges it.

We resign because the mission of the USCEIO is hypocrisy: to apply double standards to racism and to tolerate Zionism while using anti-Semitism as a tool to determine who may be permitted to participate in the Palestine Rights Movement.

We resign because we prefer to take the courageous Palestinian resistance as our standard, and not anti-Semitism.

We resign because, unlike the USCEIO, we recognize that Zionism is the main problem and almost the only problem for Palestinians, and not anti-Semitism, and that the eradication of a state founded on Zionism must be our primary goal and almost our only goal.

We resign because we believe that a manipulative USCEIO gatekeeper entity does not serve the interests of justice for Palestine and Palestinians, nor for Americans, nor for Jews.  We will seek the future of justice in more likely places, which is to say almost anywhere.

We do not give our consent to be considered one of the many cameo organizations, used to inflate the apparent size and importance of the USCEIO even though they have long stopped participating.  We believe that the USCEIO is a much smaller organization than it pretends, and should be treated as such.  Please remove us from all mailing lists and from the regional list serve, with its threats to remove anyone who steps out of line.

Finally, we join others in thanking the USCEIO for revealing its true face of arrogance, repression and hypocrisy to all who care to see.   In this respect you have rendered a great service.

This Is The Woman The Blumenthals Are Dying To Expel

In the last two months, the entire AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) league (JVPThe US End Of Israeli OccupationMax Blumenthal, Sabos Goy supreme Ali Abunimah ) has been going out of its way to expel this great woman from the solidarity shtetl.

Watch Alison Weir in action:

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