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April 23, 2015 2

“Israel Lobby” Conference Features Anti-Israel Rhetoric

A one-day con­fer­ence titled, “The Israel Lobby: Is it Good for the US? Is It Good for Israel?” took place on April 10, 2015 at the National Press Club in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The con­fer­ence fea­tured sev­eral anti-Israel speak­ers who chose to focus on the alleged role that the “Israel lobby” plays in the U.S.-Israel rela­tion­ship and to eval­u­ate whether it is pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive for both countries.

Miko Peled

Miko Peled speak­ing at the conference

At the con­fer­ence, there were six panel dis­cus­sions on top­ics such as “What Is the Israel Lobby and How Does It Work?,” “Are Crit­i­cal Voices Silenced?,” “Is Free­dom of Speech Encour­aged on Amer­i­can Cam­puses?,” and “Is the Lobby Good for Israel?” Speak­ers on the pan­els included Grant Smith, the founder and direc­tor of the Insti­tute for Research: Mid­dle East­ern Pol­icy (IRMEP); Israeli anti-Zionist author and activist Miko Peled; Gideon Levy, an Israeli jour­nal­ist from Ha’aretz; Richard Falk, the for­mer United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Pales­tin­ian human rights; and Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the Inter­na­tional Sol­i­dar­ity Move­ment (ISM).

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sions, par­tic­i­pants spoke about var­i­ous aspects of the “Israel lobby” and groups that are involved with Israel advo­cacy work in the U.S. Below are some of the most inflam­ma­tory com­ments from par­tic­i­pants at the conference:

  • Richard Falk, in his pre­sen­ta­tion titled “Weak­en­ing and dis­cred­it­ing the UN: The work of pro-Israel NGOs,” claimed that the United Nations is biased towards Israel and that pro-Israel groups are engaged in work to dele­git­imize the UN. He spoke about the recent AIPAC Pol­icy Con­fer­ence where Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham report­edly spoke neg­a­tively about the UN and stated that Graham’s remarks didn’t rest on facts, but instead claimed, “It rests on the rep­e­ti­tion of the defama­tion and if you repeat, as Joseph Goebbels under­stood very well…If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes a kind of pub­licly accepted truth. And that’s where the very destruc­tive effect of these kinds of tac­tics occurred.”
  • Miko Peled spoke about “How the Lobby enables Israeli Pol­icy: Views of an Israeli in Amer­ica.” In his remarks, he claimed that Israel was founded on eth­nic cleans­ing and that Israel is an ille­git­i­mate state because “Israel was cre­ated as a result of a bru­tal eth­nic cleans­ing and estab­lished itself as an apartheid regime imme­di­ately when it was formed. There was no bet­ter Israel. There was no uncor­rupt Israel. There can­not be an uncor­rupt Israel because it was built on a crime and has no legitimacy.”
  • Gideon Levy’s pre­sen­ta­tion, which was titled “Does uncon­di­tional sup­port for Israel endan­ger Israeli voices?,” addressed whether or not the U.S.-Israel rela­tion­ship is cor­rupt and whether it has had a neg­a­tive impact on both coun­tries. Levy stated, “We are deal­ing with a cor­rupt­ing friend­ship. I think that if it wouldn’t be the Israel lobby, Israel would have been today a bet­ter place to live in. Israel would have been a more just place. And I think that if there wasn’t an Israel lobby, the United States would have been a bet­ter place and a more demo­c­ra­tic place, but it’s not for me to judge the Amer­i­can politics.”
  • Grant Smith deliv­ered a pre­sen­ta­tion titled “How big is the Lobby and what does it do? An overview of the 501© uni­verse,” and in his remarks, he claimed that U.S. tax­pay­ers are “vic­tims” who are owed money from Israel for U.S. aid that he believes was deliv­ered to Israel on false pre­text. He also labeled pro-Israel groups in the U.S. as “Israel-affinity groups” and claimed that, “The edu­ca­tion and train­ing indoc­tri­na­tion seg­ment of Israel-affinity groups and orga­ni­za­tions is really involved with train­ing within the com­mu­nity, Zion­ist education.

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March 12, 2014 3

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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