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March 12, 2014

Anti-Israel Conference Broadcast Live On CSPAN Features Anti-Semitism

An event held last Friday at the National Press Club and broadcast live on C-SPAN 3 focusing on the U.S.-Israel relationship featured a number of virulently anti-Israel speakers who made conspiratorial claims about Zionism, the influence of the “Israel Lobby” and much more.jeff-blankfort-summit-dc-cspan

The event, dubbed as a National Summit to “Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship,’” was sponsored by anti-Israel groups If Americans Knew, the Council for the National Interest (CNI), the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) as well as the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Sessions at the summit included, “How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?” and “Does Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?” Subtopics for those sessions included, “In the Israel lobby’s cross-hairs,” and “Are threats to Israel’s security inflated to justify occupation and U.S. support?”

While almost all of the speakers called on the U.S. to end its aid to Israel, the following is a sampling of some of the most inflammatory statements.

  • Paul Findley, a former U.S. Representative from Illinois and a founder of CNI, said: “The influence of Israel, as of today, is so great on Capitol Hill that they [Representatives] see dangers of not surviving the next election if they challenge what Israel is doing.”
  • Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Representative from Georgia, who spoke via Webcast, told the audience that “the pro-Israel lobby usually has a whole lot of money and those of us who act of conscious generally don’t…they [the pro-Israel lobby] can buy and intimidate people.”
  • Philip Giraldi, Executive Director of CNI, talked about an Israeli conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 attacks.  “The existence of a large scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported incorporating Israeli companies…Five Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the Twin Towers going down.”
  • Jeffrey Blankfort, a radio host based in San Francisco, referred to Washington, D.C. as “Israeli-occupied territory” and spoke of “AIPAC’s occupation of Congress.” He also alleged that “PNAC [Project for New American Century] initiated and made up of predominantly Jewish neocons began promoting regime change in Iraq.”
  • Grant F. Smith, the Director of IRmep, said that there has been Israeli espionage in the U.S. since the 1940s. “My conclusion,” he said, “is there is no U.S. law that if it stands in the way of Israel…that cannot be thwarted [by Israel].”
  • Allan C. Brownfeld, a nationally syndicated columnist, said: “What has happened to American Judaism has completely corrupted its religious nature. What we are witnessing today – synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to emigrate to Israel ‘their real homeland,’ – is a form of idolatry making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship rather than God.” He added, “It is also my view that Zionism is a subversive enterprise.”
national-press-club-summit-logo

Summit logo

During a Q&A sessions at the summit, one of the audience members stated that the “Holocaust narrative is still the third rail” and that teaching it in schools is “a violation of constitutional rights. It’s a state enforcement of a religious dogma.”

Jeffrey Blankfort responded to that comment by stating that, “When it comes to the Holocaust, there’s no range of opinions. You teach a certain line; you do not teach about the Zionist-Nazi collaboration…”

Justin Raimondo, the editorial director of Antiwar.com, interjected and asked Blankfort, “What range of opinions could you possibly have about the Holocaust?!” Philip Weiss, a co-founder of the anti-Israel Mondoweiss blog, also responded to Blankfort’s comments and called them “repulsive” but added that, “the West incurred a debt towards the Jews from the Holocaust and the Palestinians paid for that.”

During another Q&A session, an audience member asked, “…why is it such a stretch for us as a body to not publicly say, ‘Israel had a hand in 9/11?’”

Stephen Snagoski, a columnist for the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial Veterans News Now, responded in part: “It seems reasonable that they [Israel] may have known a lot about it and didn’t tell that to people who would act to prevent it in the United States…It looks like all the evidence has disappeared.” Snagoski stated that these alleged developments were reported on, “even Fox,” which he referred to as, “one of ‘their’ channels.”

Several other speakers participated in the Summit, including Stephen Walt, Alison Weir, Raymond McGovern and Paul Pillar.

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December 27, 2013

Campaigns In Atlanta And London Target Israeli Policy In Bethlehem

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St. James Church Wall

Right in time for Christmas, two campaigns have begun that demonize Israeli policy in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.

In Atlanta, Georgia, five electronic billboards are currently on display for a two week duration that depict Jesus’s parents Mary and Joseph being unable to gain entry into Bethlehem in modern times because of Israel’s security barrier on the border of the West Bank (the image was created by the artist Banksy). These billboards are sponsored by If Americans Knew (IAK), a virulently anti-Israel organization that has been running anti-Israel billboards in cities across the United States over the past year.

In London, England, St. James’s Church erected a large display outside of the church to depict the security barrier that surrounds Bethlehem. The church’s reverend, Lucy Winkett, claimed that the display, which resembles the security wall in Israel, was designed to show passersby “what the people of Bethlehem are experiencing today.”

The mock security wall outside St. James’ Church is part of a festival called “Bethlehem Unwrapped,” which is being sponsored by the Holy Land Trust, a Bethlehem-based group that advocates for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel. The festival will take place in London from December 23, 2013 until January 5, 2014. It will feature, among other programs, a comedy show called “Stand Up Against the Wall,” a “Bethlehem Christmas dinner,” and a debate titled “Both sides of the Barrier – Separation or Security?” which will feature Jeff Halper, the founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Leila Sansour, a resident of Bethlehem; Yiftah Curiel, the Public Affairs spokesman at the Embassy of Israel in London; and Alan Johnson, a representative from the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Both the billboard and mock wall display deliberately fail to account for Israel’s legitimate security concerns. While IAK claims that their billboards, “will be seen an estimated 4 million times,” those who view the billboards will not receive any information about why the security barrier was built and what it has done to thwart terrorist attacks.

Indeed, Israel’s security barrier was built as a defensive measure that was first approved by the Israeli government in 2002 to prevent Palestinian terrorists from reaching their civilian targets inside Israel. Since it was built, there has been a sharp decrease in Palestinian terrorism – not because there have been no attempted attacks, but because the security barrier has impeded terrorists from reaching Israeli cities, or has forced them to take more circuitous routes, leading to their capture.

Although both campaigns seek to reinforce the point that Bethlehem has become inaccessible because of the wall, thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world visit Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations every year. This year was no exception, according to news reports, the turnout was “the highest in years.”

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May 3, 2013

Alison Weir Laments On “Jewish Power” To Anti-Semitic Newspaper

Alison Weir, the director of two organizations that try to steer public support away from Israel and traffic in conspiracy theories about the Jewish state, gave an interview earlier this week lamenting the allegedly all-powerful “Israel lobby.”alison-weir-american-free-press-podcast

Weir’s interview was with the American Free Press (AFP), a Wash­ing­ton, DC-based conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic news­pa­per pub­lished by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto.

During the podcast interview, titled “AIPAC Slaps America in the Face, Again,” Weir claimed that the “Israel lobby” is pressuring Congress not to reduce foreign aid to Israel despite sequestration and seemingly is unconcerned with the fact that the money could otherwise be spent on domestic projects that would benefit Americans. She alleged that the lobby suppresses any opposition to Israel, Zionism or “Jewish power.”

Her interviewer, Dave Gahary, readily agreed with her, calling her analysis “terrific” and reiterating that there is strong evidence of “Jewish power.” He pointed to Jews’ “control” of Hollywood and Weir agreed, saying that it’s an “inside joke” in LA that Jews control Hollywood. She also defended Helen Thomas’s anti-Semitic remarks and claimed that Jewish-Americans are “very powerful in politics.” Weir even reflected that she was uncomfortable herself talking about the subject in a public broadcast because it is “taboo.”

At one point during the interview, Gahary rhetorically asked “why should we have to hide discussions about Jews or Jewish power? We shouldn’t. We should be able to say whatever we want.” Weir agreed, asserting that even when people apologize for making anti-Semitic comments, their apologies are sometimes deemed insufficient and they have to “grovel and grovel and grovel.”

It is not the first time that anti-Israel ideologues have appeared on American Free Press. In August 2012, Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, was interviewed by AFP to promote JVP and the group’s boycott campaign against Israel. The parents of Rachel Corrie, a young activist who was killed while protesting Israeli policy in Gaza, and Yisroel Dovid Weiss, the spokesperson for the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta, have also been interviewed by AFP in recent years.

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