tv Discussion on Pro- Israel Lobby Influence on U.S. Policy - Part 1 CSPAN March 29, 2019 1:34pm-3:24pm EDT
people, this was true people power. in the 40 years since the landscape has clearly changed. there's no monolithic media, broadcasting has given way to narrow casting, youtube stars are a thing, but c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c-span. it's funded as a public service by your cable or satellite provider, on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind. the washington report on please affairs and the institute for region on middle eastern policy recently cohosted an all day event. we'll first hear from the author of a book titled israel's armer, the role of the israel army.
>> all right. good morning, everyone. i'm editor at the washington report on middle east affairs and on behalf of the washington report and the institute for middle eastern policy, i would like to welcome you to today's israel lobby and american policy conference. now in its sixth year, a core goal of this conference is to advance the notion that it is healthy and normal to challenge special interest groups and that no group, including the israel lobby, ought to be exempt from critique. [ applause ]
>> and of course challenging powerful lobbies, helps accountability and policies that promote human rights and the common good rather than special interests. and while this conference will assess the history of the israel lobby, it will also highlight the work of grass roots activists who have worked diligent and often under the radar to challenge the lobby in productive and effective ways. and we hope their words and example inspire our audience to get involved in local and national organizations that are committed to upholding the principles of truth, justice and, human dignity. before we begin today's program, just some information for our audience here. in the bags you were given at reception, there are question cards in there and pens, you can use those to write questions as they come to you, as our speakers are presenting. ushers will be circulating to
collect those cards. please feel free to hand them in, moderators will appreciate having the questions before the q and a sessions begin. you have a red ticket, that will give you a free drink during our reception at 5:00, so you do not want to lose that. we also ask unless you were given prior permission, you do not film this event and you refrain from talking, please do it far beyond the walls so everyone in here can hear the important stuff being said. of course, today's event is being livestreamed on c-span2 and we welcome our -- and online. we welcome our online and television audiences. they can spend in their questions and thoughts. wi-fi information is available on the back of your program.
we'd also like to welcome dignitaries from several embassies, russia, south sudan, and yemen. [ applause ] >> and of course we'd like to thank the wonderful staff at the press club who have been working very hard to set this up. we couldn't do this without their work and of course to our many generous donors, big and small. we wouldn't even come close to being able to do this without your generous support and we thank you tremendously and you all often go unnamed. and i would like to hand it over to the executive director of the washington report who will give a brief overview before we begin today's conference. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you. well, i have ten minutes to tell
you why talking about the israel lobby matters. a subject that writers for our magazine, the washington report on middle east affairs have been focusing on for more than 3 1/2 decades. and there's a shout-out i have to give to andy kilgore who published the magazine and is missing this. and my father is missing this too but my brother is here. this is a very important magazine to our families. [ applause ] >> so in your bag, you'll find two issues of the print edition. we offer a digital edition. i encourage everyone listening today on c-span or everywhere else if you are not a subscriber, please become one. today you'll be hearing from distinguished speakers who have tackled the israel lobby, using keyboards, the courts and
citizen activism. they're working to preserve civil rights here. quite a few of the speakers have attended this conference year after year, inspired by doctors, journalists, and so many others. we hope today that you will be similarity motived not only by our speakers but by participants in this year's ideas fair. we encourage you visit each table. join their important work to make a difference in your own communities. this is the sixth year we've gathered to discuss what's now a hot topic, thanks to the election of a new generation of the members of congress, many of them women. [ applause ] >> democratic representatives ilhan om ilhan omar and tlaib are trying
to bolster voting rights, overhaul the campaign finance system, reduce corruption in washington, d.c. and end the influence of special interests. i wish their elders in congress would follow their lead instead of trying to shush them. i was at the town hall meeting that ignited one firestorm and heard their lively conversation about universal health care. the owner asked the two to address charges of anti-semitism that flare-up every time they discuss the israel lobby or israel. ta lib talked about her grandmother. he stated that this conversation isn't about human rights for everyone. emphasizing this conversation is not centered around hate. it's actually centered around love. omar agreed adding i want to
talk about the political influence in this country that says it's okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country and i want to ask why is it okay for me to talk about the influence of the nra, fossil fuel industries and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy. i left that town hall meeting so inspired, i hope that finally we're -- we've elected leaders who will debate the influence of money in politics and the harm all lobbies, especially israel's lobby, causes to our political system. so i was stunned when the press and legislators went nuts confusing omar of using anti-semitism tropes. it's a red herring and its overuse dilutes the very real danger of true anti-semitism.
[ applause ] >> but it's the charge the lobby always makes to discredit people who dare to speak out. it's the only response possible. that is because not even the israel lobby can provide a defense of the israeli government's action in the territories it occupies, shooting unarmed protestors, including children, building more colonies, constructing walls and roads, unlike the debate on guns, abortion, or climate change, this conversation is closed before it can even start when any criticism of israel is labeled anti-semitic, full-stop, conversation closed. of course the lobby feels it must try to prevent any discussion of these issues because when people raise the questions, there's a very real possibly that other americans will seek chances to these questions themselves. the lobby can only be effective in putting israel's interests
ahead of americans if its actions, some of which it tries hard to conceal, and its history is not open for discussion. but it looks like apex's pandora's box is open and we're proud to be a major part in prying it open. [ applause ] >> according to the center for responsive politics, israel has spent more 63 1/2 million dollars lobbying congress and federal agencies in 2017 and 2018 alone. far more money than any country except south korea at 82 million plus. the non-profit constellation of israel organizations pushing to advance israel has revenues on track to reach 6.2 billion by next year. and most important of all, are
the individual political campaign contributions made in exchange for unquestioned political support for israel. so why can't we talk about the benjamins? the american taxpayers provide israel with more than 3.1 billion annually in military aid. you'll be hearing more on that from the conference coorganizer. since 1948, israel has received far more u.s. foreign aid than any other country, despite polls showing that most americans oppose such aid. on march 6th, gallop claimed, although it was the lowest figure since 2009, that 59% of americans sympathize more with israelis and only 21% sympathy with the palestinians but for decades, gallop's claims of u.s. sympathy for israel coming out just before apex's annual
meeting differed from research. when the poll was fielded through the google survey platform between march 5th and 8, they found that only 22.2% of americans said they sympathy more with the israelis while 52.5% claim they held no opinion. americans have long been told they are highly sympathetic to israel and support giving most of the u.s. aid budget to israel when in fact they aren't and don't. meanwhile this administration has halted u.s. humanitarian aid to palestinens, including scholarships. but we taxpayers can't talk about it. instead the israel lobby pushes the idea that our two nations have shared values, sadly, that is becoming increasing true.
as israeli elections near, prime minister benjamin netanyahu is pushing divisive politics. he declared that israel is the nation state of the jewish people. implying that the others are second-class citizens. netanyahu is backed by the far right party known as jewish power. like our own president, netanyahu is pandering to far-right voters and sowing addition. huge campaign billboards show netanyahu and president trump
who declared jerusalem as israeli's capital and moved our embassy there shaking hands. in a couple of days, we'll see a lot of members of congress clambering for a microphone at the conference talking about shared values and shared foreign policy goals. they'll be pushing for more handouts from american taxpayers, a war with iran, and, well, they already -- they were going to be pushing for golan heights but they got surprised. they'll be focusing on anti-semitism and ignoring the dangers of islamaphobia and fear of immigrants. they'll talked about the resolution condemning hate was diluted. they'll be talking about which party, the democrats or republicans is better for jews and america and israel. two weeks before israelis go to the polls, both benjamin
netanyahu and his rival will be campaigning for office at apex policy conference. apec has invited a senior leader of the settler umbrella organization to speak. as ilhan omar wrote in her march 18th "washington post" op-ed, america's image in the world is undermined when we don't live up to our own values. she called for an inconclusive foreign policy, one that centers on human rights, justice, and peace as the pillars of america's engagement in the world. when the speakers criticize israeli government actions, spoil alert, the critique will be unforgettable, it's because these actions threaten peace in the region and also the national security of the united states. it's not anti-scientific to criticize the government or its lobbies in the united states or to peacefully advocate bds.
like omar, i'm proud to stand up for real american values and i know you are too. thank you for being here today.. >> if everybody could please put your devices to vibrate, or some mode where they will not be going off during presentations, that will be wonderful. i have the honor of introducing professor walter himson, who is the author of a half dozen books about foreign policy. he's taught history for 36 years and is currently the distinguish
distinguished professor of history at the university of akron. professor hixson's books, american foreign relations, american history, american settler clonian imp. the myth of american diplomacy, u.s. identity and foreign policy, parting the curtain, propaganda, culture and the cold war and you don't owe cannon, cold war icon clast. most exciting to us is walter hixson's new book, israel's armor. the role of the israel lobby in the history of the palestine conflict. he is going to be available after this presentation in which he will make some contact with anyone who wishes at the ideas fair table, and talk about his book and copies will be
available for pre-sale. he provided a copy to conference organizers early on, and we were simply astounded by his new sources of information that he has tapped. those of you who have questions, please feel free to pass question cards to our helpers today who will collect them and provide them to me for moderated q&a. and please help me welcome professor walter hixson. [ applause ] >> thank you, grant. thank you to dalinda, janet, dale, and all of the folks with washington report and with the institute. it's a great honor for me to be here. and i'd also like to thank all
of you who are activists in this cause, or interested in this cause, whether participants here, or organizers, people watching on television, watching online. i'd also like to especially thank eyewitness palestine, they have a table here, i went on a three-week trip which was indispensable and piv tall in my intellectual development on this subject. and helped me set up a trip, i went on to lebanon and i recommend that to anyone, especially you students here, who might be interested. normally, i don't like to read a talk, but in the interest of time efficiency, and it also is very helpful when you're dealing with israel and the lobby to say exactly what you mean. so i will, i will read this talk. this conference speaks truth to power. we gather here because we support truth and justice in palestine. we also insist on a free and open discussion of the israel
lobby and its impact on american democracy as well as world politics. all of you already know that the israel lobby is extremely powerful. for the record, it constitutes easily the most powerful diaspora lobby, representing the interests of a foreign nation, in all of american history. but you may not know how deeply rooted it is. in fact, the extensive lobbying efforts of zionists and their jewish and christian sympathizers in the united states and there is not enough work on the israel lobby by scholars for reasons that may be obvious, this book is good, but doesn't go back to the deeper roots of the conflict, as i'm able to do in this book, on the first generation. i'll talk about it, but then i'll talk about the subsequent project i've undertaken. so their influence of the lobby flourished throughout the first
generation of the palestine conflict, which is what the book is about. as good a date as any, to fix the origins of the israel lobby in the united states, is the 1942 builtmore conference held in the heartland of american zionism, new york city. zionists quickly discovered that they could mobilize jewish organizations as well as groups such as the american christian palestine committee. it is also important to point out that there was a considerable dissension in, among jewish americans, including the american counsel on judaism, which utterly opposed zionism. and utterly opposed their religion being hijacked for the cause of creating a so-called jewish commonwealth. so it is certainly a amerimista assume that jewishness equals zionism and always has been. so the biltmore conference, after that zionists quickly discovered that they could
mobilize these organization, the nascent lobby efficiently lined up the two main political parties in the support of the creation of a jewish commonwealth. admissions of masses of refugees and frus crucial u.s. financial assistance to accommodate them. military assistance would come later a well organized and effective zionist lobby thus pre-dated the creation of israel. it was poised to ensure that israel would refer the diplomatic, political, and military support that would enable it to undertake decades of aggressive expansion in direct violation of myriad u.n. resolutions, principles of human rights, and international law. from the beginning, the purpose of the lobby was to insulate the zionist state from widespread criticism, to deflect and distort the truth about its aggression, so that it could reap the benefits of the security and massive financial assistance from the most
powerful country in the world. lewis lipski, an american zionist from rochester declared that propaganda and persuasion would provide quote the armor that israel cannot live without. the key figure in the first generation of the lobby, however, was a little known zionist from cleveland, isaiah leo kinnen. working hand in hand with the famous israeli diplomat, abe eban, kinnen became the work horse of the israel lobby. his personal papers available at the center for jewish history in new york yet largely neglected by scholars reveal the early history of the lobby. those in myriad other papers, along with state department records and an abundant secondary literature provided the research foundation for the book that i have done. the palestinians and the arab world had no comparable lobby in the united states which had the
largest jewish population in the world, and millions of modernist and fundamentalist protestants as well. they were ready to line up behind the jewish refugees in palestine, and the zionist agenda. full awareness of the horrors of the nazi genocide and also with the impact of the zionist aggression in palestine underlay u.s. public support. buoyed by the u.s. growing support, israel expanded its borders, rejected international mediation, and turned a blind eye to the plight of hundreds of thousands of palestinian refugees. when the u.n. mediator count fork bernadette of sweden pressured israel to compromise, a terrorist troika that included future israeli prime minister yitzhak shamir had him gunned in his jeep at a road block in
september 1948. by that time, with a press detectionle election looming in november, the lobby exercised a powerful influence over the truman administration. zionists worked through david niles a white house adviser on jewish affairs which became an essential post in future presidential administrations, they all had a specifically jewish affairs or zionist lobby adviser. the israeli patriarch hime wiseman assiduously cultivated truman with eddie jacobson, a zionist from kansas city. fully aware and frequently resentful of the pressure exerted on him by tzionist lobb, truman sided with it and against the state department. the united states became the first nation to recognize israel, supported a massive influx of jewish migrants and glossed the ethnic cleansing of
palestine. president eisenhower, and secretary of state john foster dulles, presented a greater challenge for israel and the lobby then had truman. the republican administration entered office in 1953, determined to rein in israel and forge a middle east peace that would protect oil supplies, allow arab moderates to fend off extremists, and support the over arching foreign policy of containment of communism. israel appeared vulnerable when arial sharon manifested a lifelong zeal for in discriminate slaughter of vulnerable arab people as he orchestrated a massacre at the west bank village of kibya, in october 1953. deeply alarmed by the impact of the massacre might have on american public opinion, kinnen mobilized the local counsels to calm the waters in the wake of the indiscriminate killing of innocent villagers in their
homes. kinnen soon realized that the political power of the lobby already was so well ensconced that representatives and senators of both parties could be counted on to line up behind israel in a crisis. this was an important moment, as kibya showed that israel could massacre people and rely on the lobby to effectively manage the political fallout. israel thus could continue to lash out violently across its expanded, already expanded borders, regularly carrying out assaults disproportionate to any provocation in jordan, syria, egypt, and lebanon. in 1957, eisenhower did force israel to pull back after it had invaded egypt but even then, israeli aggression was rewarded with critical new navigation rights that would enable it to
precipitate the pivotal 1967 war. in the period between suez and the 1967 war,on f. kennedy won election backed by overwhelming jewish political support. in 1962 jvg pronounced the existence of the special relationship, and opened the military supply spigot by selling israel hawk surface to air defensive missiles. the israelis showed their appreciation to kennedy by repeatedly lying to him about the nuclear research program in the desert at dimona. they pledged not to introduce nuclear weapons to the middle east, when in fact, they were committed to doing precisely that. israel refused to sign the nonproliferation treaty. iran by contrast, here is a moment of humor in our talk, like the overwhelming majority of nations in the world, iran of
course is a signatory. by the kennedy year, the lobby had reorganized several times, and established its structural component, aipac, you've heard of that, blocked by influential supporters in both political parties. kinnen regularly stuffed congressional mailboxes with copies of the near east report, the well-edited and highly successful propaganda newsletter that he created. inside the white house, the jewish affairs adviser mier mike feldman undermined efforts to rein in israel. the lobby ensured that the state department and the few members of congress who asked trouble some questions, notably senator jay william fullbright, woops, that's not fullbright there, were kept at bay. the lobby then targeted and in 1974 helped defeat fullbright
and drive him out of the senate. noting that the kennedy administration was virtually powerless against israel and the lobby, adviser robert comber himself jewish asked in frustration, what kind of relationship was this? to comber and the state department diplomats, it was obvious that israel and the lobby were the tail that wagged the strategic dog of american middle east policy. that's fullbright. in his bluusch from my book, jo mereshimer reported it is especially good to show how a select group of pro israeli americans profoundly influenced president lyndon johnson who was putty in their hands. johnson had about pro-israel since his youth when his aunt jessy infused him with the biblical lore that god had
chosen the jews to inherit the holyland and enjoyed the company of close jewish friends and advisers, abe portis, our ther goldberg, arthur and matilda crem, among others. johnson apparently did not direct the green light, israeli's initiation of the june 1967 war, but neither did he flash a red signal. as several israeli leaders subsequently openly acknowledged israel in 1967, as in 1956, launched the june war as a first rather than a last resort. the israelis, as well as the cia, new that israel was the more powerful force, could defeat all of the arab rivals combined, and that is precisely what israel did, initiating a blitzkrieg attack rather than seeking a negotiated settlement of maritime and territorial dispute. after the war, which included
the apparently deliberate attempt to sink an american spy ship, the uss liberty, killing 34 and wounding 11 u.s. sailors, johnson reversed a generation of u.s. policy, up holding the 1949 borders. he acquiesced to the lobby in support of an occupation of arab territories that extended in myriad directions far beyond the 1949 armistice line. the lobby thus enabled israel to exploit the military triumph by embarking on a messianic quest for the greater israel. my study culminates in 1967, initial yating an illegal occupation and the violent aggressive apartheid state. before most americans even knew that it had existed, the lobby had played a piv tall role in enabling israel to launch an aggressive war to choose land
over peace with the plirns and its other arab neighbors and continue to thumb its nose at the u.n. and international law. the united states not only enabled the illegal occupation, it bolstered the idf with advanced weaponry, including tanks, and f-4 phantom jets, sky hawks as well, despite israel's contempt for the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. by 1967, israel and the lobby had achieved a strangle dells ho dellshold over modern american political life. quote the u.s. position is all that can be desired, kinnen declared after the six-day war. the u.s. is working like never before. the lobby achieved its success by circumventing the foreign policy bureaucracy, and applying pressure directly on the president and the congress through campaigns to secure financial assistance, armaments, and unstinting diplomatic
support for israel. by the 1970s, the lobby and kinnen himself began to be identified as chronicled by the press. asked in 1973 to explain the operations of the lobby, kinnen responded, i put it very succinctly in one sentence, we appeal to local leadership to write or telegraph or telephone their congressmen and urge them to call upon the president to overrule the department of state. and this has been going on now for some 20 years. unquote. at the time of the interview, the nearest reported achieves a circulation of nearly 30,000. as kinnen suggested, and as my book show, throughout the first generation of its existence, from truman through the johnson years, the lobby successfully fended off persistent state department efforts to forge a quote impartial or balanced diplomacy between israel and the
arabs. while israel carried out cross-border attacks, stonewalled refugees, and rejected diplomacy, the lobby successfully undermined the advice of area experts, some of whose children organized the magazine and responsered this conference. undermined the advice of area experts and warned, who warned that the imbalanced pro-israeli policy would perpetuate instability and achieve security for no one, including israel. american professional diplomats often wrongly dismissed as pro-arab or even anti-semitic, neither of which was true, warned about the consequences, including the rise of extremism in the arab world. their prophecy would come full cycle in the 21st century. i turn now to, well, you know
what's happened since, all of these images will be familiar to all of you. i now turn to broader interpretive, a broader interpretive study i have undertaken on a history of u.s./israeli special relationship. going beyond where this book ended up. when i began intensive study of israel/palestine several years ago, i was susceptible to the familiar stereotypes, age-old religious conflict, ancient mid east, neither side willing to compromise. now that i know better, i am of course charged with being one-sided. so let me say this. palestinians and arabs are human, and have made many mistakes to be sure. the historical record clearly shows however that the palestine conflict is rooted in zionist aggression.
accelerating settler colinization has both caused and perpetuating the conflict and moreover has forclosed genuine opportunity force a peace settlement. in 1949 even more clearly in 1967, and in the 1990s as well. in every day life, we learn and teach our children that it is inappropriate to blame the victim. the same is true in diplomatic history. no one blames poland for being invaded in 1939. accordingly, the focus of what follows is where it belongs, squarely on the aggressors and they' their apologists. today current backers are currently, looking at israel the capital and savagely cutting or gaza as well as aid to the palestinian refugees, engaging in targeting killings and collective punishment, and now,
yesterday, the united states signed off on another illegitimate land grab, annexation of the golan heights. we may not be able, all of this, all of these actions, are in direct violation of international law. we may not be able to stop these actions at this moment in time, but what we can do as scholars and activists is to call to account israel and the united states. specifically, we must gain a clearer understanding of israel's core identity, and the ways in which the lobby attempts to cover up israel's crimes. application of the framework of settler colonialism to explain israeli history has been a step in the right direction. but what does this label really mean? here's a brief overview. animated by nationalist and religious discourses, settler states, such as israel, the
united states, australia, and south africa, among others, are con genitally aggressive. they strive to cleanse the land of its indigenous residents, in the name of providencial destiny, modernity, and racial hierarchy. settler colonial states work relentlessly to establish facts on the ground. they embrace violent solutions. including regular resort to massacre. they reject legal restraint. and they abhor external authority. the drive to lay claim to the biblical holy land meant that israel would not agree to a negotiated settlement of the palestine conflict. the peace process became a sham providing cover for the establishment of ever-more facts on the ground. fueled by aggressive instincts,
and mythical destiny, israel became a reactionary and rogue state, building illegal settlements in contempt of the u.n., repressing palestinians in contempt of human rights. knowing that the lobby had its back, israel ignored the state department, and rebuffed american presidents, thereby affirming mora diane's famous equips, our american friends offer us money, arms and advice, and we take the money, and we take the arm, we decline the advice. the israel patriarch hengerian liked to say, it is not important what the gentiles say, what matters is what the jews do. the israeli political system has empowered a series of bigoted, bell cos leaders who showed utter contempt for arabs and a determination violently to dispossess them. the early zionist leaders bore the psychic scars and traumas of
the bloodlands of east central europe, from which they came. they carried the terrible burden of the nazi genocide, that took the lives of their family members. and some six million jews. as a result, they were quick to brand arab leaders like nassar, as the next hitler. diplomacy became a reprise of munich. any effort at compromise was dismissed as appeasement. this time, they vowed the jews would be the aggressors. the israely leaders thus inherented, in termized and perpetuated an intolerance habsian world view that was inimical to peace making. for most of its existence, israel has been led by men who should be held accountable for war crimes.
i do not make such an accusation lightly. abundant evidence exists under international law to make the case against, at a minimum, benguria n, diane, begin, sharon, shamir and netanyahu. they must be held to account in the dock of history, if nowhere else. millions of decent, caring people live in israel. some of them bare a heavy burden of regret and frustration over their country's actions, as do many of us, with respect to american policies, both at home and abroad. the crucial point, however, is that neither peace-minded israeli citizens nor liberal american jews, have thus far been able to break through the iron wall of israel's militant chove nix or to unhinge the right wing vice grip on political power. the conclusion seems in
escapable. the militant and messianic state selects like-minded leaders. i think it is essential to come to grips with the militant core of israeli identity in order to understand the role of the lobby. the lobby provides cover for israel's con genital aggression, its pursuit of land over peace, its flaunting of international law. while israel carries out violent and criminal acts, the lobby functions to insulate it from criticism, to distort history and reality. in sum, to provide what lipski described, the armor israel cannot live without. such is the hubris of imperial settler states like israel and the united states, that even as they engage in violent repression, they simultaneously insist on being loved, honored, and accredited as model democracies. historical denial and policing
of descent are thus among the primary characteristics of the militant settler state. efforts to unpack israeli or for that matter american mythology, and to expose the aggression that inheirs within, are invariably attacked as subversive. for israel, like the soviet union of old, glasnos could become a deadly virus. for these reasons, israel and the lobby smear and condemn their critics unmercifully. which makes us to the recent remarkable deeply disturbing and yet highly revealing case of representative ilhan omar that dalinda has already spoken of. representative omar may have been guilty of hitting the send button on loosely worded tweets, clearly as rare and heinous of a crime as there is in america today. israeli's apologists attacked
representative omar for linking benjamins with the israel lobby, that is for having the temerity to suggest that a political lobby in a capitalist society might raise and use money in an effort to shape public opinion and the resultant national security policy. this of course is precisely what the israel lobby does do. nonetheless, representative omar apologized for the tweet. showing a degree of states womanship that you may never see nor hear from the israel lobby. think about all of the people that camera, and other zionist attack groups have smeared over the years. have you ever known them to apologize? israel's vocal san backpartisan backed up the assault on omar when she stated another truth, namely that the lobby demands political allegiance to the state of israel. so we have a situation in which
a lobby was created for the express purpose of promoting uncritical bipartisan support for israel, yet when a member of congress, on the foreign affairs committee at that, dares to point this out, she is viciously attacked and inundated with death threats. dairyow and fukow would be no doubt gratified that the israel lobby has mastered the concept of tropes. as well as the ability to use them to manipulate an all too easily confused interneted aled mass society. tropes is the french theorists taught us are deployed for the purpose of exercising power. while representative omar herself never used the term dual loyalty, her critics unleashed this particular trope, as if she had. she was then promptly saddled with the scarlet letter of anti-semitism.
unreflective journalists including the so-called liberal news media jumped on the bandwagon, affirming and spreading the word to the point that a ka nard, effectively became the truth namely that omar had trafficked in anti-semitic discourse. what she had done in actuality was attempt to criticize israel and illuminate the role of the lobby. these are the reasons that she had to be smeared and silenced. smears and distortion undermine free speech and dissent in a supposedly democratic society, but even worse, in this case, they cheapen and detract from the chilling reality of actual anti-semitism, the hate-filled stereotypes and violent attacks such as charlottesville and especially in the massacre at the pittsburgh synagogue in october of last year. let's consider another trope. islamic terrorism. in the united states, and
israel, and other countries, you are free to use this trope at will. it is perfectly acceptable to link the world's second largest religious tradition with millions of adherents and scores of countries all over the world with terrorism. if you say islamic terrorism, there will be no lobby, no trope police, to step in, with smears and vilification. you are free to inspire people to take action, like the mass murders last week in the new zealand mosque. if you apply axis of evil, or evil-doers to islamic countries, that is well and good. however, if you are a nonwhite islamic congresswoman who wears a head scarf, and you condemn as evil israeli war crimes, killing innocent civilians in the gaza strip, you are an anti-semite. the smearing of omar calls to mind the remark netanyahu once
made, unaware he was recorded how easy it was to manipulate discourse and move public opinion in the united states. it also lays bear the cynical tactics of the israeli lobby. from kibyom, to the killing fields of gaza, israel and the lobby have discovered that a tenacious and relentless propaganda campaign can cover up almost any crime, justify almost any calumny, overcome almost any political challenge. israel and the lobby have learned to mobilize fast, to attack without restraint, to eliminate perceived threats, and to ultimately turn them to their own advantage. israeli propaganda thus mirrors israeli military power. both deployed campaigns of shock and awe, allowing the bodies to fall where they may, ever willing to make truth the first casualty. as i bring this talk to a close, bear with me while i engage in a final bit of historical reflection. we live in dangerous times.
the distortions and deep divisions within this country sometimes remind me of the antibell um years in american history. ominously, it was a time when the political system collapsed. in the year 1858, the nation confronted irwreck con sileable national divisions as a result of its long embrace of crimes against humanity. at that moment, a little known former one-term congressman from the midwest seized the national spotlight by declaring a house divided against itself cannot stand. a nation he declaimed could not endure permanently half slave and half free. it was true of the united states in 1858, and it is true of israel/palestine today. something, somewhere, somehow, sometime, is going to have to give. in 1861, abraham lincoln went on to become president. he famously wore a top hat, which reposes in the smithsonian
just a few blocks from where i stand today. and circling lincoln's top hat is a black silk mourning band which he honored the son of his son willie who died prematurely at the age of 116789 i think back to lincoln and the top hat and the president we have today, a flag hugging certifiable narcissist demagogue who sports a red maga ball cap. the juxtaposition of lincoln and trump reminds me of the famous education of henry adams. the aserbic historian and scion of the american family wrote, the progress of evolution from president washington to president grant was alone enough to upset darwin. i hate to think when henry adams might say today. amid the horrific civil war over which he agonized on a daily basis, lincoln repeatedly demonstrating an astonishing ability to say so much in so few
words. including the breath-taking poignanty of his rarps at gettysburg in november 1863. months later in april 19 1864, lincoln revealed his prose in a letter to a kentucky newspaper editor when he declared if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. let me conclude in the same pert. let us declare here today if demanding the right to exist while denying it to your neighbor is wrong, nothing is wrong. if driving people from their land and demolishing their homes is not wrong, nothing is wrong. if asserting absolute authority over an historic city, rightful home to people of all faiths is not wrong, nothing is wrong. if slaughtering children for throwing stones at their oppressors is not wrong, nothing is wrong. if terror and deprivation that are being inflicted every day
upon the imprisoned people of gaza is not wrong, nothing is wrong. if supplying $125 billion to finance a regime that commits such crimes against humanity is not wrong, nothing is wrong. if converting the congress of the united states into a lab dog for israeli policies is not wrong, nothing is wrong. let us also emphasize once again that if anti-semitism is not wrong, nothing is wrong. cynical deployment of baseless charges of anti-semitism, however, in order to legislate against free speech, stifle criticism of a foreign nation, or insist on the right to buy cot an apartheid state, if these things are not wrong, nothing is wrong. as we continue to struggle, no matter what the odds, and the moneys arrayed against us, let us deriv inspiration from
another antebellum freedom fighter, i'm earnest, william lloyd garrison declared in 31, when he launched publication of the first issue of the anti-slavery newspaper, the liberator, i will not equivocate, i will not retreat a single inch, and i will be heard. thank you. >> we've got a few questions. and hearts stop in six minutes so i'll try to get through as
many as i can. professor, please expand on the relationship of the lobby and the jfk administration. was jfk convinced ideologically or politically? and as a corollary to that, developing relationship, is the u.s., is the lobby controlling u.s. policy, of u.s. expansion in the middle east? >> jfk is a very interesting case because his father of course had been ambassador to berlin in the 1930s. and was associated in the minds of many jews with appeasement of nazi germany. and kennedy himself had had some anti-colonial sentiment, but there's some very interesting material at the kennedy library where i did research, and when he wanted to run for president, some boston zionists basically worked with him, and he understood that he wanted to generate jewish support, his
views changed, and he began to make, became a zionist in essence. he, what's interesting about the research that i did on these presidents, through johnson, and including johnson, they all were at various times extremely upset and ang wer the pressure the israelis brought to bear. they got the state department reports. they also had the larger goal of containing communism. and the cold war. they feared that all-out u.s. support for israel would lead to arabs aligning with the ussr. so there is a lot of conflict in all of the administrations. but certainly, ultimately, yes, the lobby does enable israeli expansion. there is no doubt about that. >> so a question here about the u.n. in history. it says because israel continues to ignore u.n. resolutions, condemning its behavior, is the u.n. even able to decertify
israel from this building, or from this body? >> well, i think the, i'm not an expert on the history of the u.n., or on international law, but having said that, the u.n. has always been, i mean it's headquartered in new york, it was basically an american idea that, of roosevelt's drawing on wilson's original league of nations, and the u.s. funding has always been instrumental. american power and the u.n. have always been inextricably linked. so in many respect, especially with the way the u.n. is set up, with the security council and veto power, and if you know anything about the u.s. record when it comes to u.n. resolutions on israel, you'll see many votes with the united states and the great power of the marshall islands, lining up against the rest of the world. so the united states effectively has something of a veto power over the u.n. >> and if you could comment on bringing this forward, how might the israel lobby be influencing
u.s. policy in syria? >> well, that's very clear that so-called neo cons and trump and, you know, obama was under pressure as well, but they would love to not only obviously control syria but invade iran, attack iran. there's a desire out there to do that. and now, especially with the golan annexation, obviously this is an israeli border state, that it very much wants to contain, but as i'm sure many of you know, as a result of the interventions in lebanon, they don't always go the way the israelis like them to go, so i think syria and lebanon and other states, hezbollah, are going to be around for israel to have to deal with. >> and a question about advisers and liaisons, you mentioned eddie jacobson and some other names. does a similar pattern exist in
congress where each member of congress would necessarily have such an adviser on their staff to help in understanding the middle east? >> you are going to have to look at individual congressmen. one of the problems with this subject is that, look, i've got ten year, i'm nearing retirement, i'm a distinguished professor, i can take this on, junior members of, historians and political scientists run the other way from this topic, so it is not studied enough. we don't know answers to all of the questions we need answers to, like that. there is a book, a manuscript i'm looking at now on the role of congress in the '70s, which is very good, but we have a lot more to learn in these areas, because it is understudied, because of the power of the lobby again. >> okay. question from an internet viewer. why, you said specifically that apac founder isaiah kinnen's papers have not been the subject
of much interest. why do you suppose that is so? >> i think it is the same answer that i just mentioned, it's a, the papers were astonishing to me. there is kennen, basically laying out the whole early history of the lobby. it is much harder to get at the later history. they've gotten a little smarter about not making things available, i think. but again, i think it is just very difficult, you know, when i publish an op-ed piece in akron, ohio, where i live and teach, i was attacked by the cleveland akron lobby, my university administrators get nervous. this is how it works. they put, and so younger scholar, junior scholars, don't go there. >> all right, everybody. you can visit with professor hixson in the ideas fair, and talk more about his new book, join me in thanking professor hixson. >> thank you.
hello. i'm janet mack man, managing editor of the washington report on middle east affairs. i'm janet mcmahon, manager editor of the washington report on middle east affairs. i first became aware of our next speaker in the 1990s. when i began reading his masterful letters to national public radio. pointing out their errors of omission and commission alike. which of course were numerous. journalists, abu ally nimma is the executive director of the widely acclaimed electronic int fadda. a nonprofit independent online publication focusing on
palestine. he has been an active part of the movement for justice in palestine for two decades and was the recipient of a 2013 labben cultural freedom fellowship. a graduate of princeton university and the university of chicago, he is a frequent speaker on the middle east, contributing regularly to numerous publications. he is also the author of one country, a bold proposal to end the israeli/palestinian impasse, and the battle for justice in palestine. and he will be signing both books in the ideas fair room, during the morning break. immediately following our question and answer session. the electronicitada has been at the for front of censorship by contextualizing the lobby. the al jazeera lobby, exposing the activities of the israeli
lobby in this country. today he will be addressing the question, what does a censored undercover news investigation reveal about the israel lobby in america? so please join me in welcoming ali abunima. >> thank you very much. and good morning, everyone. and thank you to the organizers, to the int tuition, and to the washington report, for -- institute, and to the washington report for inviting me back fear hooer for the second year in a row and it is an honor and a pleasure to see so many people here this morning. and some of you were in the room last year when i stood here to talk about this documentary, and at that time, nobody had seen it, and grant asked me, he said
do you think we'll ever see it, and i don't remember exactly what i said, but i think i said we will see it, or i didn't know, and what happened was in, back in march, last year, our publication, the electronici intifada was the first to publish the contends of the documentary, and in august, we were the first to publish excerpts, video ex er789e, excerpts from the film and in november along with alhud in beirut and in france, actually published the entire film. now, for those of you who don't know, anything about this film, and there may be some people, first let me give credit to the team at al jazeera
investigations, led by clayton swisher, and phil reese, and their colleagues, and of course the undercover reporter known as tony who did a really fantastic historic piece of journalism. a four-part documentary, going undercover, in the israel lobby, in the israel project, revealing candid conversations by top israel lobbyists who did not know that they were being recorded. but unfortunately, this fantastic piece of journalism was suppressed, and i will say more about that in a moment. but let me just ask how many of the people in this room have actually watched the documentary, or any part of it? and i'm going to say that that's maybe about 25 to 30%, which is pretty good, but really, i'd like to encourage everyone to
watch it. and it's available online free, at the electronic intifada, and other sites, and already, hundreds of thousands of people, if not maybe in the low millions, have seen it, if you were to add up all of the different copies that are out there. so what does this film reveal? well, first, a little bit of background. the film was made by al jazeera in 2016, and was completed in 2017, but as i mentioned, it was censored after the gulf state that funds al jazeera came under intense pressure from the israel lobby. now, this is remarkable, because it is a film about the power of the israel lobby, and this same lobby succeeded in getting qatar to suppress this film, all the
while denying that the israeli lobby has any power or influence. now, late last year, the director general of al jazeera claimed at the conference in the u.s. that the reason the film had not been shown was due to outstanding legal issues. this was flatly contradicted by his own journalists, and we know that in fact, the film had been completed, and it had passed through all of the usual and rigorous legal and standards review that al jazeera does, and we know how rigorous that is, because in january of 2017, al jazeera did actually broadcast a similar film focused on the israel lobby in the u.k. that film revealed that a spy at the israeli embassy called shima
sok was working secretly in his words to take down a british minister who was deemed too critical of israel and to secretly set up a pro-israel organization within the opposition labor party. this was being run out of the israeli embassy. when this was revealed, the british expelled shimaaah, but the british very swiftly is swept this under the carpet. and then the broadcast, you can watch that film on the al jazeera web site because they actually did broadcast it, after the film was broadcast, israeli lobby groups and individuals in the u.k. filed a raft of complaints with of-com the british broadcast regulator, we don't really have an equivalent in the u.s. where you can complain about fox or cnn, or
msnbc, or rachel maddow, pour mad conspiracies claiming russians is going to cut off the heating of americans ins the depth of winter, there is no one to complain about that but in the u.k. they have a powerful broadcast regulator that can actually take away your license. and off-com, did an eight-month investigation and threw out every single complaint against the documentary. there was no bias. there was no misrepresentation. there was no unfairness in it. and the u.s. film was made exactly the same standards, by exactly the same journalists. this film, which i again, encourage you all to watch, exposes the efforts of israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear, and intimidate u.s. citizens who support palestinian human rights, especially the boycott divestment and sanctions
movement. it shows that israel is running a covert and semi-covert black ops from a kboft government agency called the ministry of strategic affairs which is staffed by many people from israel's intelligence agencies, and that this effort is being done in collusion with an extensive network of u.s.-based organizations who are not registered under fara, as agencies of a foreign power. but based on what is in the documentary, they clearly should be. these organizations include the israel on campus coalition, the israel project, and the foundation for defense of democracies. it's more like the foundation
for defense of apartheid, occupation, sniper murder, and so on. it also showed how the israeli embassy in washington itself was running some of these operations. for example, a woman called julia riffkin, who at that time was an israeli embassy employee, but previously was an apac tempast activist in california, described her typical daily work as, quote, mainly gathering intel, reporting back to israel, to report to the ministry of foreign affairs, and the ministry of strategic affairs, and she discusses how the israeli government is quote giving our support to various front groups, end quote, that behind the scenes way. she also talks about using fake facebook profiles to monitor
campus and pro-palestine groups. and again, these efforts are run in direct coordination with the ministry of strategic affairs, whose director general is a woman called seema vackin gill, who was herself a former military intelligence officer, and she talks about how her operation, run through the ministry, has mapped the universe of plalestinian rights activism globally, quote not just the united states, not just campuses, but campuses and intersectionality and labor unions and churches. and she says that this data is used for quote offense activity
against palestine activists. the film also shows jacob baem, executive director of the israel on campus coalition, describing how his organization runs a multi-million dollar effort, he doesn't say exactly where those millions come from, but he talks about millions of dollars, using corporate level enterprise grade social media intelligence software. those are his words. to gather lists of palestine-related student events on campus, quote, generally within about 30 seconds or less of them being posted online. and how this information is then filtered to this network of organizations that are working to sabotage these groups, and that this effort is coordinated with the israeli ministry of strategic affairs.
jacob baem describes how the israel on campus coalition is part of this israel run, or israel-coordinated strategy, uses anonymous web sites to target activists. quote, with the anti-israel people, what's most effective, what we've found at least in the last year, is you do the opposition research, put up some anonymous web site, and then put up targeted ads on facebook. he talks about canary mission as a good example, and adds, it's psychological warfare. one of the cases in the film that's profiled is professor bill mullen at purdue university, in indiana, who found himself the target of just such an anonymous smear campaign, where web sites went
up, featuring totally false accusations of sexual harassment and anti-semitism against him. even to the point where these m daughter and his wife. so you can imagine the psychological affect on someone of seeing websites with that kind of false allegation. other websites targeting student leaders in indiana included one which claimed that a young woman was a terrorist. and another which claimed that a young muslim woman activist was engaging in late-night drinking and sex and other activities which were calculated to try to shame her and to -- you know, to bring her into disrepute with her family and her community. the film named d convicted a ma.
as being the mastermind and key fender of canun funder of canary mission. i should mention that jacob baim of the israel on campus coalition described this strategy to smear and target and intimidate people as inspired by general stanley mccrystal's count er counterinsurgency in afghanistan, for all the success that has had, since the u.s. is in negotiations with the
taliban, 18 years after the u.s. innova invaded afghanistan. it shows the mindset that israel and its proxies in the united states are waging a war on american citizens, including teenagers on college campuses who are exercising their constitutional rights to speak up about an issue they care about deeply. we have it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. sima vacnin gill, the director general of the foreign ministry states, we have fdd, that's the foundation for defense of democracies, we have fdd, we have others working on projects, including data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, money trail. this is something that only a country with its resources can
do the best. so she is -- states on camera in the film that these groups are working with the israeli government to carry out this operation. when we checked on the u.s. government's foreign agency registration act website, we did not find the foundation for defense of democracies or any of its principals registered as agents of the israeli government. one of the revelations in the film that i found particular ly amusing, let's say, is israel's -- rather, the efforts of the israel project, the israel project is a lobby group based here in washington. it's run by a former clinton administration official, josh
block, who also worked for apec previously. and it also works closely with the israeli government. and israel project -- actually, the undercover reporter, tony, as he is known in the film, actually got a job -- an internship at the israel project, which is pretty amazing. but the israel project, the film reveals, was running a major effort -- a major covert influence campaign on facebook. and this is really remarkable. what they did is set up pages or communities on facebook. some of them have hundreds of thousands -- half a million or more followers. one of them -- i don't know if we have the ability to project
from the internet. i should have thought of this. one of them puts up really cute pictures of kittens and doughnuts. here is one of the actual israel project doughnuts. this is a black and white image, but it's really pinck. it looks toxic. it looks like it would kill you if you ate it. no food is naturally that shade of hot pink. but it actually describes itself as -- on the about section of the facebook community, it's called cup of jane. and it describes itself as sugar and spice and everything nice. what it tries to do is to establish progressive credibility by posting not just pictures of kittens and
doughnuts but also photos and quotations from such black female icons as maya angelou and ida b. wells. there are posts about the gro d groundbreaking environmentalist rachel carson. even about emma gonzalez, who along with her classmates launched a national campaign for gun legislation after surviving the parkland school massacre in florida. but woven into this stream of progressive flavored fluff are attacks on actual ro grprogress movements and pro-israel pr propagan propaganda. for example, posting in october 2016, they attempted to portray israeli militarism as cute and
empowering. they posted an israeli f-16 fighter jet painted pink. pinch pink is a very important color to the israel project. and it says, the israeli air force has painted fighters in pink in aid of breast cancer awareness month. how cool is that? and then it adds, this is fierce. women, by the way, need an air force all their own. so feminist. of course, at the same time that this is going on, dozens of women in gaza documented have died due to israel's siege denying them potentially life saving treatment, dozens of cancer patients, i should say, many of them women, documented
by the world health organization to have died because israel would not allow them out of the gaza ghetto to obtain life saving treatment. but this is the propaganda that cup of jane is pushing. and it's very clear why the israel project is pushing and it's very clear why. it's because israel's brand is toxic, and you can't sell it directly, especially to young people. so you have to try to mix it in with hip, cool stuff that looks innocuous or even progressive. the film shows one of the staffers at the israel project explaining the logic behind this. one jordan shaktel. he says, we're putting together a lot of pro-israel media through various social media
channels that aren't the israel project's channels. so we have a lot of side projects that we are trying to influence the public debate with. that's why it's a secretive thing, because we don't want people to know that the side projects are associated with the israel project. in fact, this network of pages run by the israel project are not labeled as being run by the israel project or they just say, a project of t.i.p. nobody who doesn't know what the israel project is would have any idea what t.i.p. is. it was a covert effort. when we asked facebook to comment on this and to look into it, the media office, you know, said, okay we will have a look. they got back to us. they said, we asked
specifically, does any of this violate your terms of service? remember, this is at the same time as facebook is taking down pages of legitimate news organizations and legitimate organizations based on the claim that they are somehow agents of russian influence. completely bogus stuff. facebook has partnered with the israeli government to shut down palestinian media pages. facebook partnered with the atlantic counsel, the nato think tank here in washington funded by the u.s. government, by the euro european union, by saudi arabia, partners with them to supposedly identify pages that should be taken down. and they took down lots of pages that were perfectly legitimate,
including, as i mentioned, pages of journalists and media organizations. but facebook's reply to us about this extensive covert israeli influence campaign on their platform, or pro-israel influence campaign on their platform was, this violates none of our rules. those pages are still operating. there's a lot more in this film in reference to the benjamins, let's say. it shows -- it reveals, again -- some of this is known, but it's different to actually see people talking about how it's done. fund-raisers for political candidates where hundreds of thousands of dollars can be raised in a single night without anything being put on paper. you have one of the people involved in this fund-raising
saying, we don't even send out invitations. there's nothing -- these fund-raise fund-raisers, people just hand over their credit cards. and the organizer runs it up for the maximum, $2,700 or whatever it is. and in a single night, they can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a political candidate who agrees to tow the israel lobbyist line. what's significant in the film -- i'm not an expert on campaign finance law. but the film indicates that these practices are, if not outright illegal, certainly come very close to skirting the campaign finance laws. and we need to have a conversation about that. because it is very much about the benjamins.
let me conclude with a couple of comments about the israel lobby in general. i, again, commend this film to you. i would like to see everyone watch it. it's great viewing. not just watching it, but sharing it, telling people about it. how can you find it? just go on google and search. watch the film the israel lobby didn't want you to see. it will come up. because that's the headline that we ran it under. watch the film -- yeah, watch the film the israel lobby didn't want you to see. and you can see it. i think the bigger picture is that, you know, you are going to hear -- we heard this morning from the extremely informative and learned presentation of professor hixson that this lobby
is very powerful. you are going to hear that again throughout the day. and it is very powerful. but there is a subtle message that we should also not ignore, which is that this lobby is losing its power. because the israel lobby, its power operates best in the dark. and already what we're having, even with the completely unfounded attacks on representative amar is something the israel lobby never wants, which is a public discussion about it. [ applause ] in the film, jonathan shanza, the vice-president of the foundation for defense of democra
democracies, makes an admission. he says, personally, i think the anti -- that anti-semitism as a smear is not what it used to be. i completely share professor hixson's statement that we must stand against anti-semitism, as any other form of racist. anti-jewish bigotry of any kind has no place in a moment for palestinian hu palestinian human rights. that's a message that we must always be in the forefront of saying. of course, there is a cynical campaign to weaponize false accusations of anti-semitism to smear and silence people.
this has been done with, sadly, a great deal of success in the uk where for the past three or four years, labour party leader jeremy corbyn has been the target of bogus claims that the party under his leadership is facing endemic institutional anti-semitism. it's a lie. it's an outright lie. there have been very few number of marginal cases which have rightly been condemned. but there's no evidence that the party is institutionally anti-semitic. the warning i want to give here is that this template is now being imported from the uk directly to the u.s. and to the democratic party. again, it's not a sign necessarily of the strength of this lobby, but a sign of its weakness. in the sense that, if the
democratic party was all solidly pro-israel, as perhaps it used to be, you wouldn't need to smear people as anti-semites. it is because of the growing support for palestinian rights, the growing disgust that the party establishment's complicity with israel, nancy pelosi led the smears and nancy pelosi will be at apec in the coming days and proudly so. it is because the base is rejecting this message from the leadership that we must all march in lockstep with israel that this debate is happening. and so i end with the words of eric gallagher, one of the israel project officials featured in the film who himself used to work for apec.
he says, the foundation that apec sat on is rotting. they used to be actual widespread public support for israel in the united states. i don't think that apec is going to remain as influential as it is. that's a very optimistic note for us to end on coming straight from a former apec official. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, ali. we have some questions here that i will read to you. the first one is -- i have a -- i'm going to indulge myself. will the lobby u.s. be available on dvd?
i know you may not be able to control. i'm also thinking, will it be shown on campuses where so many students are being attacked by the canary mission and are so scared about their future because of that? doesn't that seem like a great combination? >> that is a great question. the first thing to say is, we released -- we obtained a leaked copy of this film. several people asked me, are you going to explain how you got it? hate to disappoint you. no, i'm not going to explain how we got it. the important thing is we did get it and we released it. but we don't claim -- we don't have any copyright over it. we didn't know what the reaction of i' would be. i believe that there was a strong public interest in
releasing this film and a strong journalistic defense in doing so. but i can't tell you to show it or not show it. we have made it available, and people are free to do as they wish with it. if they want to burn it on dvd or show it on college campuses -- i think it needs to be seen. but that's not something we have the permission to say, you can do it or don't do it. i do believe that there's a public interest in seeing this film and in sharing this film. the only reaction we have seen is they issued a statement saying, we are very disappointed that it has come out. we have seen no other action from them so far. >> another question is, can you expand on the relationship of collusion between the mainstream press and the lobby? i don't know if it was in the video, but it's my impression
that the israel project works with foreign bureaus of newspapers in israel. >> yes, that is something that the film shows. how the israel project shapes coverage. again, you know, the main media organizations, whether it's the ap or cnn or others, they have their bureaus in tel aviv. they don't have bureaus in gaza or west bank for the most part. so they rely very much on israeli organizations or even the israeli government to provide them access. in the film, the israel project claims that it got the ap to actually change headlines to be more in accord with its message. it also profiles a cnn report on supposed terror tunnels from
gaza that the israel project claimed complete credit for shaping. you actually see the cnn report and how it's just putting out completely bogus israel lobby talking points and israeli propagan propaganda. the so-called terror tiunnels from gaza, they presented this as if palestinians are digging tunnels from gaza to come up in israeli kindergartens and israel bedrooms. this is a total lie. there's no case ever where palestinians have used a tunnel to do anything from gaza other than to attack legitimate military targets. that was stated explicitly in the u.n.'s independent commission of inquiry report on the 2014 go saturdaza war. you wouldn't know that from watching cnn. that's an example of the collusion featured in the film. >> how do you explain how we
have missed the political -- the potential political gain brought by these documentaries? how the tide has been overturned. where and when did we fail in the uk and the u.s.? >> you know, i don't know what more we could do. i think it's -- we're in an atmosphere where establishment media, establishment politicians don't want to talk about this. we know why. you look at what happen ed. the weight of the lobby is such that people are afraid. people are afraid to do it. more and more people are talking. that's a good thing. i think things are changing as i mentioned. take just -- i mentioned this before. to me, it's really striking. leave aside the explosive content of this film. just the mere fact that this film was suppressed, under
pressure from the same lobby on the government of qatar. that by itself is a major story. imagine if this film had been about supposed russian interference and the russian government had put pressure on a major international network to suppress the documentary. rachel maddox would be shooting from the rooftops. it would be front page news on "the new york times" and "the washington post." instead, total silence. another part of the story that's incredible, that's not in the film but it's very much in the reporting, is that israel lobby effort and qatar's effort to court the israel lobby, which included hiring a lobbyist here in washington at $50,000 a month. and that lobbyist then bringing
a parade of some of the most extreme right pro-israel figures from the u.s. to qatar. some of them meeting with the amir, for example. alan dershowitz and martin kline, the head of the zionist organization of america. qatar gave donations of hundreds of thousands of dollars to zionist organizations, including the zionist organization of america. it's incredible. no one is talking about that. nobody can deny it, because it's all in the official disclosure documents that the lobbies firm had to do of how -- whether money came from and who it went to. it came from qatar and went the zionist organization of america. those have to be investigated. the only thing i will say is, we -- the electronic intifada, a
little publication. we have a staff of eight. we were able do this because we're independent. because we're funded by our readers. that's not a pitch, but feel free to donate. electronicintifada.ny electronicintifada.net. that's critical. the fact we're independent, we do not fear the pressure of the lobby. no one is going to fire us for doing this job, because this is our job. it's what people support us to do. [ applause ] >> another question of you is, is any pro-israel group registered as a foreign agent, to your knowledge? >> you know, i'm not the expert on that. that's, i think -- grant smith is the expert on that.
>> there have been attempts to register apec. >> apec is not registered. i know we checked the foundation for defense of democracies is not registered. the israel on campus coalition is not registered. we checked when we were doing the reporting. we could not find any evidence that those groups were registered. i think there's at least one we found that had registered. its name escapes me. it's a relatively small player. that's a question perhaps grant can answer when he is back up here. >> a final question about the film. now that the documentary is out, was there anything in it concerning or invoking foreign agency and dual loyalty? if not, was that deliberate, do you think? >> the film does not use the term dual loyalty. that's sort of a trigger term
that i don't like to use, because i think i have heard people use it in a way that suggests that -- to me suggests kind of a racist or anti-semitic tone. i don't like to use that term, dual loyalty, in that sense. the film has nothing anti-semitic in it. it is strict reporting. it doesn't accuse people of dual loyalty. it simply reports what they're doing. nobody has disputed the reporting. of course, morton kline and the zionist organization of america claim the film was anti-semitic. we can be descriptive and accurate that these groups profiled in the film are working with the israeli government to implement the israeli government's agenda of shutting down support for palestinian
rights by spying on, smearing and sabotaging american citizens. to me, there's no dual loyalty there. it seems to me that their p primary or only loyalty is the agenda of israel. it's also important -- it's also important to state and note that -- and to be very clear about this, that there is no -- the israel lobby -- this film focuses on several organizations, because those are the ones that journalists were able to get into. the israel lobby is much bigger than the organizations that are profiled in that film. of course, the largest base of the israel lobby in the united states and increasingly so is not jewish americans.
it's the christian zionist component. that's the mass base of the israel lobby today in the united states. of course, we know that there is a very disturbing relationship there in the sense that a large part of that pro israel, christian ee van gel tvangelica >> i have three minutes. only if you want to take another question. only if there's another question. if there is one, we will take it. >> i have a question about anti-semitism. given the trajectory of the lobby's development over the years and misuse and abuse of anti-semitism, what do you see as the greatest fear of real anti-semitism in america going forward? >> that's a great question. there is real anti-semitism in
mesh and there is real anti-semitism in europe. this anti-semitism is coming from the right. it's coming from white nationalists. it's coming from neonasd nazis. it's coming from the ideology that drove the shooter in the quebec city mosque and in christchurch mosque. it's coming from the same ideology that is driving xenophobia and islamaphobia in europe. notab notably, most of the governments that condemned the christchurch shooting didn't mention islamaphobia because they would name themselves. so much of the islamaphobia that was in the new zealand shooter's manifesto, could have been talking pointing from any political party in the west today. i'm sorry to say it. i think professor hixson
underlined that in his comments. the total normalization of references to islamic extremism and tiring 2 billion in the world is linked to terrorism. whereas this real rise and real disturbing trend of lethal anti-semitism is clearly visible, its ally is israel. let's be clear about that. who is allied with the anti-semitic governments of hundred g hungary, poland, racist islamic phobic movements like the freedom party in austria that is half of the coalition government there. the alternative for deutsche land. all have close ties to israel.
particularly to benjamin netanyahu who you will remember after victor orban, the prime minister of hungary, praised the war-time collaborationist leader who sent half a million hungarian jews to their deaths in hitler's camps, after the israeli foreign ministry condemned the hungarian prime minister for praising him, netanyahu overruled the foreign minuistry and ordered them to withdraw the statement. victor and the anti-semitic government of hungary are his friends. that's the service israel provides in the world today. it's a whitewashing and laundry service for anti-semites and racists of all kinds. as if you are the freedom party and founded by former nazis.
if you come to israel and go light a candle and say how much you love israel, then the israeli prime minister is prepared to give you a certificate of good conduct. israel is a force today of anti-semitism, white supremacy and extremism that is destabilizing the world. thank you. >> thank you so much. [ applause ] >> now we're going to have our morning break and ideas fair. ali will sign his books in there. we thank him very much for being here again this year.