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May 3, 2013 2

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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April 15, 2013 2

Anti-Israel Organizations Attack Israel with Tax Day-Themed Campaigns

Today, April 15, is “Tax Day,” the date by which all Amer­i­cans are required to sub­mit their tax returns to the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS). While it is an appro­pri­ate day to spend a few min­utes think­ing about what our gov­ern­ment spends our tax dol­lars on, there are sev­eral anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions that are cap­i­tal­iz­ing on today’s dead­line to ini­ti­ate cam­paigns about what the U.S. gov­ern­ment should not spend its money on: aid to Israel.

In the past week, two promi­nent anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions have launched a new web­site and a new report call­ing for an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Although a pri­or­ity that has long been at the fore­front of the domes­tic anti-Israel movement’s agenda, it has picked up steam in recent years due to eco­nomic con­cerns caused by the Great Reces­sion, seques­tra­tion and bud­get deficits.

The first cam­paign, titled “Demand a Refund,” was ini­ti­ated by the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion in coor­di­na­tion with Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, Jew­ish Voice for Peace, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Com­mit­tee (ADC) and CODEPINK. The campaign’s web­site fea­tures a peti­tion from tax­pay­ers to Pres­i­dent Obama which reads, in part, “As a tax­payer, I am out­raged that your admin­is­tra­tion is report­edly open­ing nego­ti­a­tions to give Israel up to $40 bil­lion in U.S. taxpayer-financed weapons,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to defense weaponry and tech­nol­ogy that the U.S. sells to Israel.

The peti­tion claims that Israel uses Amer­i­can weapons to “com­mit sys­tem­atic human rights abuses” and “oppress Pales­tini­ans.” It also crit­i­cizes Pres­i­dent Obama for increas­ing the amount of aid to Israel dur­ing his admin­is­tra­tion. The orga­niz­ers of the peti­tion hoped to gain 10,000 sig­na­tures by today (the cam­paign was launched last week). At present there are a lit­tle more than 3,000 signatories.

And just last week, the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion If Amer­i­cans Knew (IAK) released a new report titled “The Stag­ger­ing Cost of Israel to Amer­i­cans” to coin­cide with Tax Day. Orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1998, the new ver­sion of the report was writ­ten by Pamela Olson, a new ana­lyst for IAK.

Although the report makes sim­i­lar alle­ga­tions to the anti-aid peti­tion high­lighted above – not­ing, for exam­ple, that “it is crit­i­cal to exam­ine why we lav­ish so much aid on Israel” – the lan­guage cited in this report is far more egre­gious. It claims that U.S. aid to Israel is a result of the “Israel lobby” and insists that the U.S.-Israel rela­tion­ship harms the U.S. because Israel causes “rage and resent­ment among bil­lions of peo­ple… and sells America’s mil­i­tary secrets to its enemies.”

In its men­tion of the “Israel lobby,” the report goes so far as to allege that the U.S. and Israel do not enjoy a strong rela­tion­ship because of shared val­ues or inter­ests but because “Con­gress­men receive pay­ments and sup­port from the lobby in exchange for their loy­alty.” The report also asserts that U.S. aid to Israel makes the pos­si­bil­ity for peace between Israel and the Pales­tini­ans “even more distant.”

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February 7, 2013 1

Free Speech Is A One-Way Street For The BDS Movement

In response to the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing a Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) event tak­ing place tomor­row at Brook­lyn Col­lege, numer­ous pro-BDS pub­lic fig­ures, activists and groups have labeled con­cerns about the event as a “smear cam­paign” designed to get the event can­celed and sup­press the expres­sion of legit­i­mate viewpoints.

A state­ment by the national coali­tion of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) referred to oppo­si­tion to the event as an “onslaught of intim­i­da­tion.” Al-Awda and Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, two off-campus anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions, con­demned the pro-Israel community’s reac­tion as a “smear cam­paign” designed to sup­press free speech. Jew­ish Voice for Peace went so far as to call for Har­vard pro­fes­sor Alan Der­showitz to be fired for argu­ing that Brook­lyn College’s polit­i­cal sci­ence depart­ment should not spon­sor anti-Israel events.

Sim­i­larly, Roger Waters, the founder and lead singer of Pink Floyd, issued a state­ment of sol­i­dar­ity with the SJP chap­ter at Brook­lyn Col­lege, the group orga­niz­ing the event, that con­spir­a­to­ri­ally claimed: “That you have come under attack from pow­er­ful polit­i­cal and media forces for try­ing to shed light on the predica­ment of the good peo­ples of Pales­tine and Israel is wrong. I stand with you. Sadly, none of us knows what lies behind the closed doors of gov­ern­ment, even though we should for we have a right to know, to speak, dis­cuss, still not your voice, be not afraid. More power to you.”

Other more main­stream com­men­ta­tors have also used abra­sive lan­guage to lam­bast those who dis­ap­prove of the department’s spon­sor­ship of the event. Glen Green­wald, in a piece over the week­end on The Guardian’s “Com­ment is Free” site, described those urg­ing the polit­i­cal sci­ence depart­ment to drop its spon­sor­ship as an “ugly lynch mob” and claimed that elected offi­cials in the U.S. sup­port Israel for less than earnest rea­sons: “It is all but impos­si­ble to suc­ceed in New York City pol­i­tics — or US national pol­i­tics — with­out faith­fully embrac­ing pro-Israel ortho­dox­ies. That’s the nature of pol­i­tics in gen­eral: it requires sub­servience to empow­ered fac­tions and majori­tar­ian sentiment.”

It is the BDS move­ment, how­ever, that is inher­ently pred­i­cated on the sup­pres­sion of speech and “free exchange of ideas,” which Green­wald claims to vehe­mently sup­port in his arti­cle. Sup­port­ing boy­cotts of Israeli aca­d­e­mics, diplo­mats and per­form­ers is sim­ply not con­sis­tent with free speech val­ues.  Fur­ther­more, anti-Israel stu­dents can­not legit­i­mately claim to sup­port a “free exchange of ideas” when they reg­u­larly dis­rupt and heckle pro-Israel speak­ers on cam­pus. One anti-Israel stu­dent who heck­led Israeli sol­diers at an event at UC Davis last Feb­ru­ary flatly admit­ted, “My only pur­pose today is that this event is shut down.”

In fact, an increas­ing num­ber of anti-Israel groups do not sup­port a free exchange of ideas and explic­itly argue that the pro-Israel voice does not even deserve to be heard. The tac­tic, known as anti-normalization, is increas­ingly being felt by pro-Israel groups on cam­puses across the coun­try whose coun­ter­parts refuse to engage in dia­logue with them and often try to dis­rupt or shut down pro-Israel events. It seems that the BDS movement’s com­mit­ment to free speech and an open exchange of ideas is only a one-way street.

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