Sunday, January 26, 2014

Israel Bash-Fest Comes to Washington

Israel Bash-Fest Comes to Washington

By Arnold Ahlert

A press release published by Reuters has announced that America’s first National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” will be held on March 7 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. In reality, the conference will be little more than an Israeli bash-fest. It is being organized by a host of virulently anti-Israel entities, including the Council for the National Interest Foundation (CNIF), If Americans Knew (IAK), the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep), and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA). The unifying feature of these organizations is their obsession with the so-called U.S. “Israel Lobby” that allegedly manipulates America into going to war and is responsible for the deaths of Americans and Palestinians, among other smears. “Research indicates the U.S.-Israel ’special relationship’ is a major factor in foreign hostility towards Americans,” states the press release.

Right off the bat, the organizers reveal a tenuous relationship with the truth. “U.S. financial, military, and diplomatic support for Israel … now dwarfs annual American foreign assistance to all other nations,” the organizers contend.

Not exactly. In 2012, Israel received $3.075 billion in financial aid from the United States, more than any other nation in the world. However, the next four nations on the list, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Iraq are all countries with Muslim-dominant populations. They received a combined total of $6.97 billion in U.S. assistance, more than double the Israeli total. In projected aid for 2014, Iraq drops to 7th on the list, while Nigeria with a population of 75.7 million, of which 47.9 percent are Muslims, moves up to fifth. The more than 2-1 ratio in aid remains constant.

Another constant with regard to the conference is the reality that the organizers are little more than anti-Israel apologists for the Palestinian cause.

CNIF, which counted as one of its board members convicted terrorism funder Abdurahman Alamoudi, claims that it “advocates for Middle East policies that serve the national interest; that represent the highest values of our founders and our citizens; and that work to sustain a nation of honor, decency, security and prosperity.” Yet on the first page of its website it insists that the “greatest danger facing Americans today” is our “highly unusual relationship with Israel.” It is a relationship that has ostensibly “diminished our moral standing in the world, lessened our domestic freedoms, and exposed us to unnecessary and growing peril” and one that a “majority of Americans oppose.”

That is also a lie. A Gallup poll taken last March reveals that Americans support Israel over the Palestinians by a margin of 64 percent to 12 percent, matching an all-time high. Seventy-four percent say Israel can be counted on as a strong U.S. ally.

In recent years, CNIF has sent delegations to the Middle East to meet with U.S.-designated terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas. It has run several anti-Israel ads in major national newspapers condemning Israeli “occupation” of Palestine, and its “apartheid polices.” It blames Israel for getting the United States into war with Iraq and for trying to push us into war with Iran. While Islamic terror is scrupulously ignored, CNIF accuses the Jewish State of ”metastasiz[ing] terror around the world,” and for “acts of aggression, provocation, and massive retaliation” against neighboring Arab states.

IAK claims it is is “an independent research and information-dissemination institute with particular focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy regarding the Middle East, and media coverage of this issue.” On its website it contends the American media systemically misinforms, or keeps the public uninformed, about what is really happening in the West Bank and Gaza. That point of view is based largely on the personal experiences of Alison Weir’s “independent travels” through the region in 2001, and the “dozens of books” she has read on the topic. According to Weir, charges of anti-Semitism made against her are an attempt to divert attention from the “facts” she presents to the public.

IAK’s main agenda is to lend support to those they deem have been unfairly attacked by the pro-Israel establishment in the U.S. Chief among its defendants was the late White House press correspondent Helen Thomas, following Thomas’s statement that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to “Germany, Poland, America, and everywhere else.” IAK considered Thomas’s statement to be reasonable because Jews are “settlers” in the region, and the “Nazi holocaust ended well over half a century ago.” The IAK also continues to promote the now-debunked conspiracy theory that Israeli forces intentionally attacked the U.S.S. Liberty during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the “murder” of peace activist Rachel Corrie who was unintentionally killed by a bulldozer while she blocked the demolition of terrorist tunnels in Gaza. Both incidents are cited as examples of Israeli “brutality.”

IMrep is ”a Washington-DC based nonprofit researching U.S. Middle East policy formulation and how warranted law enforcement and civil action can improve outcomes.” In reality its main agenda is to provide a series of “news” releases designed to ramp up anti-Israeli sentiment among the American public. They include such topics as the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) ”rushed campaign to insert Stanley Fischer straight from his position leading Israel’s central bank into the number two spot at the Federal Reserve,” how the Israel lobby will undermine the Obama administration’s deal with Iran, and an FBI investigation of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for espionage. One article posits that the assassination of JFK should be commemorated as “National Ignorance Day” because the “common origin of some of America’s worst regional policies [in the Middle East] is the void created by the JFK assassination.” Another article speaks to the “Ten Explosive U.S. Government Secrets about Israel,” a compendium whose sub-headline asserts that absent greater transparency, (undoubtedly provided by IMrep) Americans “should assume the worst” about the Jewish state.

All of the articles reek of conspiracy theories in which high-ranking American or Israeli government officials, government organizations, Jewish lobbyists or Jewish political organizations plot to promote Israel’s interests and deceive the American public.

WRMEA bills itself as “a magazine published by the American Educational Trust focusing on news and analysis from and about the Middle East and U.S. policy in that region.” The American Educational Trust (AET) is an anti-Israeli organization responsible for the fiscal sponsorship of the Free Gaza Movement that has made numerous attempts to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip terror enclave. The AET accepted tax-deductible donations for the movement, despite its extensive ties to Hamas. At the WRMEA website, the AET makes the claim that it “does not take partisan domestic political positions” and that it supports Middle East solutions deemed to be “consistent with the charter of the United Nations, international law, the Geneva Conventions, and traditional American support for human rights, self-determination, and fair play.”

The magazine, published 9 times a year, makes the same claims as its publisher regarding its non-partisanship and support for Middle East “solutions.” Yet since its launch in 1982, the WRMEA has often defended Muslim groups who have advocated anti-Semitism and supported terrorism.

The current crop of stories on the main page of its website are telling. One is a column about Secretary of State John Kerry “facing down” Israel and AIPAC to reach an agreement with Iran that should earn him a Nobel Peace Prize. Another contends that the greatest danger to Israel is not an Iranian nuclear bomb, but the “stupidity of our leaders.” Iran, by contrast, “now looks like a responsible country, led by sober and shrewd leaders,” and AIPAC “has started to order its senators and congressmen to work out new sanctions” in order to save itself “from the image of utter failure.” Still another story accuses Israel of plundering Palestinian natural resources. There is also a piece written by Marwan Barghouti, one of the leaders of the Second Intifada against Israel. Barghouti who was unconditionally released from prison by Israel despite being convicted on five counts murder, likens his struggle against Israeli “apartheid” to that of Nelson Mandela’s triumph in South Africa.

Considering this lineup of organizers, there is little doubt that the self-described National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” will have nothing to do with “reassessing” anything. More accurately it will be a rehash of tiresome, extreme anti-Israel accusations with no references to terror, other than that committed by Israeli “aggressors” seeking to preserve their “apartheid” regime. That preservation can only continue because of an American Congress utterly beholden to the interest of Jewish lobbyists such as AIPAC, and a Jewish-controlled media that serves as the Israel’s propagandists, either by commission or omission. No doubt a fun, Israel-bashing time will be had by one and all.