‘Center for American Progress’ censors references to Israel from piece on Islamophobic film

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 20 Comments

As you surely know, the Center for American Progress, a thinktank with links to the Democratic Party, has been the target of a two-month-long smear campaign by neoconservatives because the Center employs writers who have at times criticized  Israel. The unfortunate success of this campaign has been an ongoing demonstration of the power of the rightwing Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party.

Well, here is a stunning new development, involving a big news story: the controversy over that Islamophobic film, the Third Jihad, which has been used as a training film by the New York Police Department. 

This film is a production of the Israel lobby. Yesterday Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, two of the bloggers at the Center for American Progress who are in the crosshairs of the neocons, published a piece exposing the donor list for the film’s maker, the Clarion Fund. Several times in their piece, Clifton and Gharib spoke about rightwing Israeli connections to Clarion, and at our site Alex Kane hopped on their reporting to point out the obvious: the agenda of Clarion Fund is to justify Israeli colonization of the West Bank.

And financing the Clarion Fund are a familiar host of philanthropic organizations that are tied to West Bank settlements, according to a Think Progress document Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton released yesterday.

The agenda of the people behind this film is clear: protecting Israel’s illegal settlement project and entrenching further U.S. support to Israel and its colonies.

Well, Kane can say it, but Gharib and Clifton evidently can’t. Daniel Halper reports at the Weekly Standard on changes made to Gharib and Clifton’s piece after it was published. Halper reports two major scrubs. Here’s a paragraph from the original version of story:

The film, the Third Jihad, was created by the shadowy Clarion Fund, which did not return the Times’ requests for comment. Clarion was started by Israeli-Canadian Raphael Shore, who, along with other early Clarion employees, is tied to the Israeli orthodox evangelist organization Aish Hatorah, which works within Israel’s right-wing and settler movements. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has referred to Aish Hatorah as “Jewish extremists.”

A few hours later, that paragraph went on a very strict diet:

The film, the Third Jihad, was created by the shadowy Clarion Fund, which did not return the Times’ requests for comment.

A second paragraph in the original read like this:

But the Third Jihad is not Clarion’s latest project: its focus since shifted to Iran with the 2011 doc Iranium. Written and directed by Alex Traiman, an Israeli-American resident of an ideological settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, “Iranium” prominently features hawkish experts from two right-wing Washington think tanks, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

This one also got a new look:

But the Third Jihad is not Clarion’s latest project: its focus since shifted to Iran with the 2011 docIranium. Written and directed by Alex Traiman, “Iranium” prominently features hawkish experts from two right-wing Washington think tanks, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The piece originally contained four explicit references to Israel. Now it contains only one, at the end, an aside about Gingrich.  This is a shocking effort to remove any description of the Israel lobby from a major ideological and political undertaking. Anyone who has had anything to do with Aish knows that it is a rightwing pro-Israel group. Imagine, that the Center for American Progress cannot say so!!

(Halper, who works for a neocon shop, gleefully credits the changes to a “grownup” at the Center for American Progress. I am also guessing, without any inside knowledge, that a minder did this, and that the reporters did not change their minds.)

And you wonder why Robert Reich doesn’t even dare to guess why Sheldon Adelson is giving money to Newt Gingrich. Our politics are broken because our media are broken… because our leaders are corrupted.

P.S. Eric Alterman takes the CAP bloggers’ side against the smear campaign today in the Nation. Good for him! These folks need some solidarity now. They are the point of the lance in the mainstream, and they are getting whomped on.

P.P.S. This is hardly the first presidential election that Clarion’s pro-Israel agenda has been news. Gharib and Clifton first blew the lid off that agenda when they were at Inter Press Service during the 2008 election and Clarion was up to no good with an earlier movie, Obsession.

A group of hard-line U.S. neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats, among others, are behind the mass distribution, ahead of the November U.S. presidential election, of a controversial DVD that critics have denounced as Islamophobic.

That piece was explicit about the Israel lobby. But the Democratic Party can’t hear that.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

20 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 26, 2012, 11:32 am

    when these kinds of slap downs can get reporters (or editors) to whitewash their stories in a matter of hrs it says a lot about who’s running the show in washington.

    • split
      January 26, 2012, 12:18 pm

      “who’s running the show in washington” In Washington? Ask who’s running the show in “our” media and “our” Country? ,…

    • RoHa
      January 26, 2012, 10:17 pm

      Anti-Semitic trope, Annie?

  2. Dan Crowther
    January 26, 2012, 11:45 am

    Obama let these guys know what time it was the other night with the “Our iron clad, IRON CLAD! commitment to Israel’s security” line in his speech.

    He was telling CAP and others to shut up. And, let’s not project views onto Reich, do we know what he thinks? That surely seemed like an intentional attempt to whitewash…..

    • mudder
      January 26, 2012, 8:49 pm

      We may not know what Sec. Reich thinks, but Sec. Clinton certainly does. Maybe they had some pillow talk about how to stay in power.

    • mudder
      January 26, 2012, 9:33 pm

      I was listening to PEP Thom Hartmann on my lunch hour two weeks ago when guest Sec. Reich explained that he had known Sec. Clinton “since she was 19.” This link explains everything.

    • mudder
      January 26, 2012, 10:27 pm

      I meant PEP Thom Hartmann, PEP Hillary Clinton, and PEP Robert Reich. Did I forget any other PEPs here? Sigh.

    • Citizen
      January 27, 2012, 7:55 am

      Here’s more on the CAP tempest, including a bit from an Obama rep–I guess they never read Elmer Berger on Zionism’s inherent mentality (see other article on MW recently), or at least Goldberg didn’t–lots of comments too; lotsa angst about the term “Israel Firster::

      link to theatlantic.com

  3. seanmcbride
    January 26, 2012, 12:39 pm

    This style of crude and heavy-handed censorship, which is designed to conceal the truth, has very much the look and feel of Soviet-style dictatorial methods. No wonder the Israel lobby is provoking fear and loathing among an ever-growing number of thoughtful Americans.

    The neocons often remind one of Soviet commissars — they have that authoritarian and anti-democratic mentality. They have made it clear that they have ambitions to turn the United States into a police state and military dictatorship that is completely subservient to Likud. They are arguably the most extreme and dangerous political cult that has ever arisen on the American scene.

  4. Bill in Maryland
    January 26, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Thanks Phil. Here is an absolutely relevant, important, and timely story about the media- let’s see if Howard Kurtz (Reliable Sources on CNN) or Brooke Gladstone (On the Media, NPR) have the courage and integrity to take the ball and run with it.

  5. pabelmont
    January 26, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Phil: You rightly put this down not merely to pressure from AIPAC (et al) but to oligarchy more generally: “Our politics are broken because our media are broken… because our leaders are corrupted.” It’s all corruption, wall-to-wall corruption.

    I invite MW’s readers to take a look at my diagnosis and prescription regarding the ending of USA’s oligarchy. It’s at link to 123pab.com I don’t even bother to talk about AIPAC and BIG-ZION. America has bigger problems (or at any rate, sufficient other problems).

    • American
      January 26, 2012, 2:32 pm

      ““Our politics are broken because our media are broken… because our leaders are corrupted.” It’s all corruption, wall-to-wall corruption.”

      Been saying and saying that for decades.
      And the thing is they are Not Going to Reform Themselves.
      So someone better figure out a way to get rid of them by hook or crook.
      We need to put All Options, as ‘they” are so fond of saying, on the table for the public.

  6. justicewillprevail
    January 26, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Extraordinary to see that it is utterly taboo to point out the facts of the case. Tiptoeing around the issue, as if mentioning it might trigger a meltdown, when in fact all that will happen is that a bunch of self-appointed right wing professional Israeli firsters will get hysterical and get their knickers in a twist. CAP practices the worst form of censorship – self censorship, which betrays everything they claim to stand for, as well as giving succour and encouragement to loudmouth bullies. Feeble, hopeless and terrified of standing up for free speech, they represent the political establishment in a nutshell – cowed and policed by a relatively small thought police force of hysterical Zionists, whose job is to quash any discussion of the disastrous influence of extreme rightwing Israel policies on the US.

  7. Hostage
    January 26, 2012, 6:02 pm

    The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has referred to Aish Hatorah as “Jewish extremists.”

    Now there’s a guarded understatement. BTW, I believe their World headquarters is located on a choice piece of ethnically cleansed real estate opposite the Western Wall in East Jerusalem.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    January 26, 2012, 6:16 pm

    RE: “A group of hard-line U.S. neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats, among others, are behind the mass distribution, ahead of the November U.S. presidential election, of a controversial DVD that critics have denounced as Islamophobic.” ~ Gharib and Clifton, 2008

    ALSO SEE: Barre Seid Plausibly Denies Funding ‘Obsession,’ All the While Doing Precisely That, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 01/26/12
    STEVE ROSEN’S

    (excerpt) Justin Elliott has finally solved the riddle of who gave $17-million to Clarion Fund to distribute 28 million DVDs of its anti-Muslim porn (not as in sex) film Obsession during the 2008 presidential election. Well, to be more specific, we know who, or more precisely what gave the gift to Clarion: Donor’s Capital Trust. But till now, we didn’t know who gave the gift to that arch-conservative donor advised fund. Now, we know, thanks to Justin that it was computer power strip king (bet you didn’t know there was such a beast, did you?) Barre Seid (bio). Here’s Clarion’s 990 form addendum documenting Seid’s gift. This complicated funding process, designed to provide plausible deniability to Seid, thus allows his assistant, in the Salon story, to deny Seid funded the film:
    “Mr. Seid did not make any contributions to the Clarion Fund.”
    She’s right, technically. He didn’t. DCT did. But DCT wouldn’t have without Seid’s gift to it. You see how these dudes operate? Is this legal? Should it be? …

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

  9. Les
    January 26, 2012, 9:31 pm

    Our media is reluctant to report on the video, better title, The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.

  10. richb
    January 27, 2012, 10:56 am

    Meanwhile progress is being made on the ground.

    link to coloradodaily.com

    The University of Colorado Student Government rejected a resolution to support Israel-U.S. relations Thursday during the weekly Legislative Council meeting.

    About 15 people, including members of CU-Divest — a student group urging CU to divest from Israel –encouraged CUSG to vote against the resolution, according to the group’s founder Michael Rabb. About four people spoke in favor of the resolution during the open hearing portion of the meeting, he said.

    The resolution was supported by Christians United for Israel, Students for Israel and CUSG treasurer Aslinn Scott.

    The resolution also expressed opposition to admitting Palestine into the UN and called for a U.S. veto for the same. Palestinian students spoke eloquently for the cause, especially Mirvat Abdelhaq, PhD student from Palestine. The vote was roughly 35-1 against.

    • richb
      January 27, 2012, 11:27 am

      Here’s the resolution which confuses whereas with resolved but I digress.

      Therefore let it be resolved by the Colorado University Student Government that the U.S.-Israel relationship should be maintained and strengthened according to the shared interests of both states. 

      Let it be further resolved by CUSG that the Colorado University Student Government that this resolution is not advocating against Palestine nor any student, community member, or administration who believes in Palestine’s right to exist.  

      Let it be further resolved by CUSG that the Colorado University Student Government will stand with its sister student governments across the country to support the U.S. – Israel relationship.    

      Let it be further resolved by the CUSG that the University of Colorado at Boulder will stand with President Obama’s decision to veto the Unilateral Declaration of Independence should the Palestine push for a vote in the U.N. Security Counsel.

       BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislative Council of the University of Colorado Student, THAT:

       Section 1: The University of Colorado Student Government Legislative Council hereby supports the US-Israeli Relationship.

       Section 2: Upon passage of this resolution Christians United for Israel will send this to the local news outlets and seek to further engage the student body about the US-Israel relationship.

       Section 3: This Resolution takes effect upon final passage and upon obtaining the signatures of the CUSG Legislative Council President and the Executives.

      CUFI was going to use politically. The fact they went down 35-1 I doubt they will take this to local news outlets.

  11. chauncey
    January 27, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Greenwald wrote about this today.

    link to salon.com

  12. Justice Please
    January 29, 2012, 6:43 pm

    “that Islamophobic film, the Third Jihad, which has been used as a training film by the New York Police Department. ”

    I know many get really upset if someone compares anything to Nazi Germany. Sorry, but stuff like this is right out of the Hitler playbook. Take your country back, Americans, or you as a society will suffer like German citizens suffered when the cops and soldiers began to watch scary films about “evil people from the Middle East”.

Leave a Reply