The other day this site mentioned Rick Sanchez’s kowtowing to the lobby in the aftermath of his on-air blow-up on CNN that sent him packing in October 2010. Sanchez hired a new PR guy by the name of Ronn Torossian, who, and here the original piece cited his Wikipedia entry, “is a big (right wing) Israel supporter who has handled Girls Gone Wild,” as well as various other far right-wing Israeli organizations.
There’s more to the story.
Torossian, as spotlighted
by a great article published in Haaretz in August of 2009, is also the main PR guy behind the contrived messaging that accompanies all Birthright Israel
trips. Interestingly, the article mentions that many Jews, when they found out Torossian was behind the Birthright Israel messaging machine, became deeply disturbed and there was actually an uproar.
The article also mentions that Torossian founded an organization called “Yerushalayim Shelanu,” which in English means “Our Jerusalem.” This organization works to push Arab Israelis out of Jerusalem, or, in other words, actively works to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. Indeed, in an April 2004 article published in The Forward
, he had this to say
: “The PLO or P.A., or whatever the gangsters call themselves today, have no place in Jerusalem. I feel the need to speak truth to power.”
Even Jeffrey Goldberg, a former IDF prison guard and thus, no lefty
, had this to say of Torossian in a blog he wrote in Oct. 2008
: “It’s said of Ronn Torossian that he represents ‘right-wing’ Israeli politicians, but this description does not do his clients justice. ‘Right-wing’ is Bibi Netanyahu. Torossian represents the lunatic fringe…[A]t various points in his career, has more or less advocated the ethnic cleansing of Israel of its Arab citizens”
The moral of the story? As Israel becomes increasingly and terrifyingly right-wing with each passing day, it is naturally teaming up with those who represent this ideology to help them with “message control” to prevent “delegitimization” of Israel. While this occurs, the Netanyahu-led Israeli government’s actions, with the complicity of the United States, are actually the sole cause of Israel’s delegitimization. The great Gideon Levy points this out astutely
in his column today.
The real key then, is educating the “great ambivalent middle” of (predominately) young American Jews, who are mostly liberals, whom John Mearsheimer referred to
in his April 2010 “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners” speech at the Palestine Center. It must be made known that Israel has moved so far to the right in the past few decades that it naturally aligns with Torossian and many others of his ilk. Birthright trips, for certain, won’t tell them that.
Mearsheimer correctly stated, “The critical question, however, is: what will happen to those Jews who comprise the great ambivalent middle once it is clear to them that Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state and that facts on the ground have made a two state solution impossible? Will they side with the new Afrikaners and defend apartheid Israel, or will they ally with the righteous Jews and call for making Greater Israel a true democracy? Or will they sit silently on the sidelines? I believe that most of the Jews in the great ambivalent middle will not defend apartheid Israel but will either keep quiet or side with the righteous Jews against the new Afrikaners, who will become increasingly marginalized over time. And once that happens, the lobby will be unable to provide cover for Israel’s racist policies toward the Palestinians in the way it has in the past.”
Men like Torrosian must be exposed. The lobby’s legitimacy (but not yet its sway), slowly but surely, is being chipped away at.