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December 26, 2013

Anti-Semites Take Credit For Mainstreaming Anti-Israel Sentiment

Anti-Semite Patrick Slattery and anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald have asserted that mainstream figures have adopted their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views in end-of-year fund-raising appeals.  david-duke-anti-israel

Slattery, who made an appeal to supporters on behalf of his close associate David Duke, claims that Duke influenced mainstream figures like Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and musician Roger Waters in their views on Israel and the “Israel lobby.” 

Slattery asserts that Waters sounded like Duke when Waters talked about a powerful “Jewish lobby” in the U.S. in an interview in CounterPunch Magazine.  In that same interview, Waters also claimed that the Jewish lobby prevented more celebrities from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Likewise, Slattery argues that Mearsheimer and Walt sounded like Duke when “they published their book on the power of the Israel Lobby.” The two professors wrote a 2008 book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, in which they assert that the “Israel lobby” uses pressure to stifle criticism of Israel and to ensure America’s pro-Israel policy, against America’s true interests.

In the appeal, Slattery writes, “These people sound like Dr. Duke because, directly or indirectly, they are getting their information, their examples, their sources, their ideas, their narrative from him.”

In MacDonald’s fund-raising letter to supporters of Occidental Observer, an anti-Semitic online magazine he edits, he also cited Waters’ statements in Counter-Punch and the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions as proof that more mainstream groups have accepted his view that Israel is a “pariah state.”

MacDonald writes, “There has been a noticeable increase in criticism of Israel,” and takes credit for attacking the Jewish state and the “Israel lobby” in various columns in the Occidental Observer.

While certain anti-Israel campaigns have occasionally received mainstream attention, there is no linkage between these campaigns and white supremacists like MacDonald and Duke.

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August 21, 2013

Al Jazeera America Debut Featuring Stephen Walt Casts Doubt Over Network’s Objectivity

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Stephen Walt (right) appears on Al Jazeera America

August 20 marked the much anticipated premiere of Al Jazeera America, the Qatari government-backed 24-hour news broadcaster that has sought to make greater inroads in the American market in recent years. Although the network has striven to assure the public that it will present the news in an objective manner, Al Jazeera America’s debut news segment cast immediate doubt over its impartiality.

Their program on Tuesday featured an interview with anti-Israel professor and author Stephen Walt discussing the turmoil in Egypt. Al Jazeera’s choice of Walt as its first guest raises early questions regarding the network’s claimed intention to provide the American public stories that are “impartial, accurate and comprehensive.” 

Stephen Walt, an International Affairs Professor at the Kennedy School of Government, is best known for his anti-Israel position as described in his 2007 book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” co-authored with John Mearsheimer. Walt is a proponent of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has several times accused the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. of exercising excessive power to stifle criticism of Israel.

Prior to the launch of Al Jazeera America, the network received considerable praise from journalists, such as Soledad O’Brien and John Seigenthaler, who were assured that the new station would focus more on American issues and less on opinions and international news. According to Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s acting chief executive, “Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news.” 

Since the Qatar-based network announced the creation of Al Jazeera America in early 2013, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed its ongoing concerns about the pan-Arab satellite network’s “troubling record” of providing a platform to all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists. Al Jazeera America’s decision to feature Walt on its inaugural broadcast was not an auspicious beginning.

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February 28, 2012

Profile on Stephen Walt, Speaker at Upcoming “One State” Conference

Stephen Walt, an International Affairs Professor at the Kennedy School of Government, is scheduled to speak at this weekend’s one-state solution conference at the Kennedy School. Walt will participate in a panel discussion called “What Happened to the Two-State Solution?” The two other panelists, Ali Abunimah and Eve Spangler, are both supporters of a one-state solution, which would necessarily result in the dismantlement of Israel as a Jewish state. 
Walt’s anti-Israel positions were most prominently aired in his 2007 book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” which he co-authored with John Mearsheimer. Since its publication, Walt has spoken to a variety of audiences about U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asserting that the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. has excessive power and divided loyalties and uses its power to stifle criticism of Israel against America’s true interests. 
Walt also regularly focuses on Israel on his blog on ForeignPolicy.com. In the past year, Walt has authored more than a dozen posts about Israel, most of which focus exclusively on why the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. negatively affects American interests and should therefore cease to exist.
Walt’s framing of the issue makes it seem like pro-Israel forces in the U.S. engage in coercive tactics and compel U.S. policymakers to take harmful decisions on matters related to Israel. In a November 2011 post titled, “Is Israel REALLY a strategic asset?,” Walt writes, “Israel is the only country in the world that mainstream U.S. politicians (and most members of the foreign-policy establishment) cannot openly criticize.”

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