How the JCRC inspired New York officials to fight BDS

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 18 Comments
JCRC Yuli Edelstein 1
New York City Council members posing with JCRC-NY Vice President and CEO Michael Miller (fourth from left) and Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora (and settler) Yuli Edelstein (center), September 2012.

When New York public officials criticized Brooklyn College for hosting a BDS event with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, their claimed interest in the matter was that the college was a public, taxpayer-funded institution and that, at best, the event was “one-sided” and needed “balance.” Yet this wasn’t the first time New York officials had mobilized against BDS. In March 2012, some of these same elected officials issued public statements against a proposal for an Israel-boycott referendum at the Brooklyn-based Park Slope Food Coop—in a campaign coordinated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY).

Fighting the Coop boycott

The campaign to defeat the Coop boycott proposal was detailed in a recent report entitled IAN Facts 2: Best Practices for Countering the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy, published by the Israel Action Network (IAN).

JCRC IAN Facts

The Israel Action Network is a $6 million anti-BDS initiative established in October 2010 by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). At the time of its founding, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that

The network is expected to serve as a rapid-response team charged with countering the growing campaign to isolate Israel … The network will monitor the delegitimization movement worldwide and create a strategic plan to counter it wherever it crops up.

The JTA article quoted Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the JFNA: “Israel’s government has been advocating for this, especially over the past six months or eight months.”

IAN Facts 2 provides fourteen case studies of recent campaigns to “counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.” The first case study is entitled “Defeating the Boycott at the Park Slope Food Coop,” and is authored by Hindy Poupko and Noam Gilboord of the JCRC’s Israel and International Affairs division.

According to Poupko and Gilboord,

To ensure the BDS measure would not pass, JCRC-NY looked to secure the support of New York’s elected political leadership. Statements were gathered from federal, state, and municipal leaders urging PSFC members to reject the proposed boycott and posted on www.VoicesAgainstBDS.com, a resource hub created by JCRC-NY…

The website VoicesAgainstBDS.com, set up just weeks before Coop members were to vote on the boycott proposal, published statements by several New York public officials calling on Coop members to vote against the boycott proposal. The officials named on the website were:

  • Senator Chuck Schumer
  • Congressmember Yvette Clarke
  • Congressmember Jerrold Nadler
  • NY State Assembly Member James Brennan
  • NYC Council Member Tish James
  • NYC Council Member Brad Lander
  • NYC Council Member Stephen Levin
  • Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz

Additionally, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued her own statement in opposition to the boycott proposal on the day of the vote.

With the exception of Schumer, all the officials named above would later sign on to Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s “progressive” letter against the Brooklyn College BDS event. Two of the three New York City council members listed on the website also signed on to Lewis Fidler’s city council letter threatening funding of Brooklyn College for hosting the event.

(A few other officials made statements against the boycott proposal: Mayor Bloomberg expressed criticism of it when asked by reporters, and City Council Member Domenic Recchia posted a statement on Facebook on the day of the vote. City Council Member Dan Halloran publicly expressed his disapproval, but could not have signed on to the Nadler letter, which was reserved for “progressive” officials. He did sign on to the Fidler letter, however.)

A “local face” that is not the JCRC

In IAN Facts 2, Poupko and Gilboord explained how they directed the campaign while keeping the JCRC’s involvement on the down-low:

Like all community relations activities, the heart of the campaign was grassroots community organizing. In keeping with its culture of community relations, JCRC-NY gathered a group of Park Slope rabbis to present a local face to the campaign and formed the Coalition of Brownstone Brooklyn Rabbis. This group, guided by JCRC-NY, developed a campaign with messaging that would resonate with the local community…

Here, Poupko and Gilboord apply the term “grassroots” cynically, admitting that they were the ones who organized the coalition of Park Slope–area rabbis “to present a local face to the campaign,” and that the coalition continued to be “guided by JCRC-NY.” The JCRC “also produced flyers, posters, and post cards which were distributed through the Coalition of Brownstone Brooklyn Rabbis.” The report reproduces the flier below as an example:

JCRC Brownstone Brooklyn

Note that the flier only says that it is “Sponsored by the Coalition of Brownstone Brooklyn Rabbis,” with no mention of the JCRC, while the accompanying caption reveals its true provenance.

And though the JCRC now takes credit for having mobilizing the elected officials, it did so less publicly during the campaign. In fact, VoicesAgainstBDS.com, which is now acknowledged as “created by JCRC-NY,” contained no information about its proprietor and made no mention of the JCRC.

JCRC VoicesAgainstBDS
The only contact details provided at www.VoicesAgainstBDS.org

One day before the Park Slope Food Coop general meeting to consider a boycott referendum, Lander posted the following tweet, where he claimed to have “helped set up” the Voices Against BDS website with interfaith leaders and elected officials:

JCRC Brad Lander tweet

As already noted, the website was not set up by Lander, interfaith leaders, or elected officials. The domain was registered by JCRC Program Director Noam Gilboord, with the JCRC’s address and phone number:

JCRC domain name registrar

While battling the Coop boycott proposal, the JCRC also organized a panel discussion entitled “Progressive Voices Against BDS,” featuring speakers from “progressive” anti-BDS organizations J Street, the New Israel Fund, and Americans for Peace Now.

JCRC Progressive voices against BDS

The JCRC itself is not progressive on Palestine/Israel—not even by the low standards of the self-proclaimed “progressive” organizations named. According to its mission statement, “JCRC-NY’s policies on Israel and other international concerns should be consistent with positions determined by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.” The Conference of Presidents, in turn, takes positions consistent with those of AIPAC.

Why, then, did the JCRC organize an event billed as “progressive”? Poupko and Gilboord explain:

[I]t is exceedingly important to identify and refine the right message and messengers for the target audience … In particular, progressive voices reached out to like-minded people who were the primary targets of the campaign and successfully drove a wedge between progressive values and the BDS movement.

Thus the JCRC used these “progressive” organizations—and these organizations allowed themselves to be used—as “wedges” to strengthen the power of the non-progressive forces.

JCRC relations with New York elected officials

The JCRC was able to recruit elected officials for the Park Slope campaign because of its history of courting people of influence in New York. One man in particular, JCRC Vice President and CEO Michael Miller, has fostered close relationships with officials and community leaders on behalf of the organization.

JCRC Michael Miller NYPD
The JCRC’s Michael Miller speaking at the NYPD High Holiday Briefing, Sept. 5, 2012. The JCRC supported the NYPD when it came under attack for spying on Muslim communities.

Christine Quinn, the New York City Council Speaker and possible future mayor, praised Miller at a JCRC rally in support of Israel’s Nov. 2012 Gaza offensive:

I want to echo the thanks to Michael [Miller] and the JCRC—not just for pulling us together today, but keeping us on a daily basis in New York City focused and united in our support of Israel.

One of Miller’s duties is to accompany elected officials and community leaders on JCRC-sponsored junkets in Israel several times a year.

For instance, Quinn, a signatory to the Nadler letter, has traveled to Israel and the Occupied Territories on JCRC-funded trips three times since becoming the New York City Council Speaker in 2006—approximately every other year. Her first trip was in February 2007, when she traveled with 11 other city council members. In February 2010, she was flown to Israel with 14 other city council members, including Fidler-signatories Gale Brewer and Sara González. And last February, she traveled to Israel with 10 other council members, including Fidler-signatories Mark Weprin and David Greenfield.

JCRC El Al
One-fifth of the New York City Council pose for an El Al photo during a JCRC-sponsored Israel junket in February 2012. Among the pictured are anti-BDS letter-signers Quinn (center), Weprin, and Greenfield (third and second from right, respectively). Third from left is Domenic Recchia, who also speaks out against BDS, but only on Facebook.

New York State Assembly members have their own JCRC-funded trips. Pictured below is a photo from a delegation of 19 assembly members—comprising 13% of the New York State Assembly—taken in December 2008 in the occupied West Bank. Nadler-signatory Hakeem Jeffries is in the back row, second from left. Alan “Second Holocaust” Maisel is in the second row, fourth from the left. Michael Miller is in the second row, far right, and next to him is then–JCRC President Janice Weinman Shorenstein.

JCRC NY State Assembly

And the man in the blue sweater standing next to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver? That’s settler leader Shaul Goldstein, then-mayor of the Gush Etzion Regional Council.

Paid Congressional trips are easier to track. Jerrold Nadler received six paid trips to Israel since 2000, three of which were sponsored by the JCRC, while the remaining trips were paid by similar mainstream Jewish organizations. The JCRC also paid for a separate trip for a staff member from Nadler’s office.

Nadler-signatory Yvette Clarke received one JCRC-sponsored trip to Israel and two from similar organizations, and a staff member received two paid trips, one of which was paid by the JCRC.

A sample itinerary from a February 2010 JCRC junket shows trips to several settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights and no meetings with Palestinians for “balance.” Some JCRC itineraries do show visits to meet with unidentified “Arab Israeli” officials.

Quinn regularly cites her 2007 visit to Sderot, when a Gazan rocket landed about a mile away. “It really deepens your commitment to Israel,” she said. NYC Public Advocate and Nadler-signatory Bill de Blasio cites his Aug. 2011 trip to Israel as an inspiration for his campaign against Iran.

City Comptroller and Nadler-signatory John Liu received a free JCRC trip to Israel in August 2010, as he noted in a press release announcing the city’s “re-commitment to State of Israel bonds”:

Israel has long been an ally and friend to New York, and there is no better way to reaffirm our commitment to the Israeli people than the investment of these funds in their country.

Only afterward does the press release suggest that the bonds are a good financial investment for the city.

Even Brooklyn Borough President Mary Markowitz, a Nadler-signatory, got a free trip to Israel. “This is a working trip to honor Brooklyn’s connection to Israel and reaffirm our support of its goals,” he explained.

Advocating BDS against Iran

And despite the claims of New York officials that BDS is “wrongheaded and destructive,” “simplistic and one-sided,” no compunctions exist when the JCRC proposes such tactics against Iran.

State Assembly Members Brennan, Camara, Jacobs, Jeffries, and Millman—all signatories to the Nadler letter—voted for the Iran Divestment Act of 2012, which “would prohibit entities that invest in the Iranian energy sector from receiving [New York] state contracts.” Also voting yes to the act was Alan “Second Holocaust” Maisel.

According to press releases, the act was “conceived with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.”

JCRC Iran Divestment Act
To introduce the Iran Divestment Act of 2012, New York State assembly members posed with representatives of the JCRC, the ADL, the United Jewish Appeal, and the American Jewish Committee. Apparently no Iranians were available to be photographed.

Meanwhile, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was promoting his own BDS-against-Iran group called Iran Watchlist, created in conjunction with Iran180 (a JCRC “astroturf” front group) and United Against Nuclear Iran (yet another neoconnon-partisan advocacy group”).

In a Times of Israel interview explaining his advocacy for Iran BDS, de Blasio explained that “people in New York City and in the US” would support using “the economic strength of government to achieve these important goals.” Asked whether BDS against Iran would be seen as only hurting the Iranian people, de Blasio replied:

We vetted that argument with UANI, Iran 180 and, more recently, with AIPAC. The answer has been consistent in each case—this argument is a red herring.

Ironically, as Benjamin Doherty has noted,

one of the firms that IranWatchList.com targets is French-Japanese automaker Renault Nissan, which, The Electronic Intifada revealed in 2010, is helping build transportation infrastructure linking Israel’s illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank.

That is, one of Iran Watchlist’s targets is a also a potential target for BDS against Israel.

JCRC de Blasio Iran Watchlist
NYC Public Advocate and anti-BDSer Bill de Blasio calling for BDS against Iran. (photo: Sam Levin)

But whereas Israel BDS is a true international grassroots movement working in solidarity with its target’s victims to compel Israel to end its human rights and international law violations, BDS against Iran is a top-down strategy, with a more extreme application, bent on regime change for geopolitical advantage (for both the US and Israel), with only token regard to the regime’s victims.

Prior New York censorship on behalf of Israel

Despite claiming to respect academic freedom and freedom of speech, some of the Nadler signatories have previously promoted censorship on behalf of the JCRC.

In 2010, following the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, New York activists scheduled a talk at a Brooklyn church for three Mavi Marmara passengers—Brazilian filmmaker Iara Lee, British political leader Kevin Ovenden, and former Turkish parliamentarian Ahmet Faruk Unsal— to speak about what they had experienced.

In response, the JCRC issued a petition calling on the State Department to deny visas to the speakers under the pretense that an investigation would reveal that these speakers had ties to terrorist organizations. To boost the petition, the JCRC arranged a rally in Times Square that featured City Council Speaker (and Nadler-signatory) Christine Quinn and five New York congress members, including Jerry Nadler.

As Alex Pareene reported in Salon, “Nadler had an extended bit about how we would respond if New York were under rocket attack—from New Jersey.” Nadler also stated,

It’s incredible that Israel released all the terrorists—all the non-terrorists, but also all the people who were wearing bulletproof vests, who had $10,000 in cash in their pockets, and who had apparently done the fighting, and they apparently released them all. They should not have done so, and those people should not be permitted into this country.

Although Public Advocate Bill de Blasio did not attend the rally, the JCRC released a statement from him where he said, “Anyone connected with a terrorist organization should be investigated before they are allowed to tour our City.”

In the end, Unsal’s visa was denied, but the event proceeded with the remaining speakers.

JCRC Times Square
Nadler (at the podium) and Quinn (left) at a JCRC rally calling for passengers of the Mavi Marmara to be banned from the United States, or at least from New York. Times Square, June 14, 2010.

Packing JCRC rallies with New York officials

On Nov. 20, 2012, during Israel’s “Operation Pillar of Cloud,” the JCRC organized a support rally across from the Israeli Consulate in New York. Once again, several elected officials lined up to be counted, including Nadler, Fidler-signatories Greenfield and Weprin, and five Nadler-signatories: James, Quinn, Liu, Thompson, and de Blasio. Even Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes stood in line for his opportunity to defend Israel. (Hynes has been accused of granting special treatment to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish leadership in Brooklyn when confronting allegations of child sexual abuse within their communities.)

At the rally, Michael Miller explained:

The purpose of this gathering is to express the unequivocal support for the State of Israel among New York’s political, communal, ethnic and faith leaders.

JCRC Pillar Cloud
Among the many officials appearing at this rally in support of Israel’s Gaza offensive were Nadler-signatories Bill Thompson (blue tie on the left), Christine Quinn (red hair, center), and John Liu (right). The ubiquitous Michael Miller appears to the left of Liu.

Other recent JCRC-sponsored rallies featuring New York officials include a rally against the International Olympic Committee for not memorializing the Munich 11 enough:

JCRC Olympics

A rally against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations last September, as credited to Iraq180:

JCRC Ahmadinejad

And a rally against the status of “non-member observer state” for Palestine at the United Nations:

JCRC statehood

At every event, JCRC Vice President and CEO Michael Miller is present; Congressman Jerry Nadler is never far behind; and mayoral candidates (and Nadler signatories) Quinn, Liu, de Blasio, and Thompson are almost always there, along with an assortment of city, state, and congressional officials.

Was the JCRC involved with the Nadler letter?

Was the JCRC involved in organizing opposition by elected officials against the Brooklyn College BDS event?

Last week, after the Brooklyn College BDS event, Alex Kane posed the question of JCRC involvement to Councilmember Brad Lander and Congressman Jerry Nadler. Lander responded on behalf of Nadler and himself, saying that the two of them, on their own initiative, drafted the letter and solicited signatures themselves. In preparing the letter, Lander said they consulted with many people “across the political spectrum,” including the JCRC. Lander acknowledged that the JCRC was prominent in the campaign against the Coop boycott proposal, but he said that the JCRC had no direct involvement in the letter to Brooklyn College.

Hoping to pose the same questions to the JCRC, I contacted three people:

  • Michael Miller, vice president and CEO of the JCRC-NY;
  • Noam Gilboord, former JCRC Program Coordinator for Israel & International Affairs, creator of the Voices Against BDS website, co-author of the IAN Facts Coop boycott report, and current director of community strategy at the Israel Action Network;
  • and Hindy Poupko, JCRC Director of Israel & International Affairs and co-author of the IAN Facts Coop boycott report.

Of the three, only Poupko responded. She told me by email:

We [the JCRC] were not involved in the drafting of the letter nor did we make any suggestions about its content or framing. We knew about the second Nadler/Lander letter about 30 minutes before it was made public.

She also said that the JCRC did not solicit signatures for the letter, nor was it involved with the Fidler letter. When asked if the JCRC helped draft the Brooklyn College Hillel statement on the BDS event, she answered yes.

JCRC Congressional Breakfast

Last Sunday, three days after the Brooklyn College BDS event that was decried as “one-sided” and an inappropriate use of taxpayer money, the JCRC held its annual Congressional Breakfast in Manhattan. In attendance were at least twelve of the Nadler/Fidler signatories: de Blasio, Brewer, Clarke, Greenfield, Jeffries, Liu, Nadler, Quinn, Squadron, Thompson, Velazquez, and Mark Weprin—and likely others.

There, elected officials got to mingle with representatives from AIPAC, address an unequivocally Israelist audience, and discuss how much Israel meant to them. Many of these officials gave speeches, including self-styled “progressive” Congressman Jerry Nadler, who reportedly told the audience that the issue of “850,000” Jewish refugees from Arab countries would need to be addressed in the Middle East peace process.

As with their Israel junkets and their JCRC rallies, they would have been deprived of dissenting viewpoints. Instead, they would have been thanked for their “principled stand” against BDS. And when Michael Miller needs some public officials to promote his next campaign, he’ll know who to call.

The attendees, who were for a brief moment so concerned about “balance” and so concerned about the best use of taxpayer resources, were once again back in the arms of their political benefactors—not that they ever left.

JCRC congressional breakfast
Among the attendees at this year’s JCRC Congressional Breakfast were Nadler-signatories Bill de Blasio, Yvette Clarke, Jerry Nadler, Christine Quinn, Hakeem Jeffries, and Nydia Velazquez.
 

18 Responses

  1. Citizen
    February 12, 2013, 2:46 pm

    “Grassroots” on this issue complex was really, initially the orchestrated “brownstone rabbis”? Reminds me, I just read another article arguing the Tea Party was initiated not by “Grassroots” but by a Koch Bros concocted web site, allegedly the first on the internet to present self as the “Tea Party”–with the issues of less taxation and simpler tax code.

  2. Cliff
    February 12, 2013, 2:56 pm

    Excellent report as always Phan.

  3. American
    February 12, 2013, 3:09 pm

    link to democraticwhip.gov

    December 15, 2003

    House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer addressed the AIPAC Political Leadership Conference on December 15, 2003

    (excerpts)

    ”And, as you know, I had the privilege of leading the largest congressional delegation in history to Israel in August.

    This was my sixth trip to Israel, and my fifth as a member of Congress.

    But for many of the 28 other Democrats in our delegation, this was the first time they had been there.

    ‘Let me say very clearly: as a member of the Democratic leadership and a long-time supporter of Israel, it is absolutely imperative that Members of Congress – especially our new members and those who have few Jews in their Congressional Districts – recognize the moral and strategic significance of the U.S.-Israel partnership.

    I am confident in saying that two new Democratic members who have a better appreciation of that are Denise Majette of Georgia and Artur Davis of Alabama. Both were part of our delegation. Both are articulate, engaging African-Americans from the south. And both are committed supporters of Israel.

    There are some who believe that we must demonstrate more even-handedness in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

    I do not.’’
    >>>>>>>>>

    There are many Hoyers in US government, they must go.
    Is there any other country in the universe in which their elected officials take other new officials to a foreign country to teach them to be loyal to that foreign country?
    God help the US if this doesn’t end.

    • Chu
      February 12, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Hoyer was even more craven in the recent AIPAC soirees.

      link to thehill.com

      ‘Pushing back against President Obama, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested Sunday that Israel should not be required to shrink its borders as a precondition of peace talks with the Palestinians.
      “Israel’s borders must be defensible and must reflect the reality on the ground,” Hoyer said to a standing ovation at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). ‘

  4. Bill in Maryland
    February 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Beautiful reporting Phan. Thank you for sharing this in-depth, well-written and thoroughly researched entry.

  5. Linda J
    February 12, 2013, 3:23 pm

    An much-needed exposé. Will they even blush? Not now, but maybe soon.

  6. Annie Robbins
    February 12, 2013, 3:33 pm

    more great reporting by Phan!

  7. Les
    February 12, 2013, 3:39 pm

    JCRC — The Invisible Hand

  8. Rusty Pipes
    February 12, 2013, 3:43 pm

    What was the timeline on the Nadler/Lander letter, the Fidler letter and the Hillel Board statement?

    Of the three, only Poupko responded. She told me by email:

    We [the JCRC] were not involved in the drafting of the letter nor did we make any suggestions about its content or framing. We knew about the second Nadler/Lander letter about 30 minutes before it was made public.

    She also said that the JCRC did not solicit signatures for the letter, nor was it involved with the Fidler letter. When asked if the JCRC helped draft the Brooklyn College Hillel statement on the BDS event, she answered yes.

  9. mcohen
    February 12, 2013, 4:02 pm

    great to see these guys standing up to the anti israel propaganda-the fact that they are also pro palestinian and seeking a peaceful solution for both sides is encouraging
    good post mr nguyen

    • Shingo
      February 14, 2013, 8:01 am

      great to see these guys standing up to the anti israel propaganda

      While spreaking pro Israeli propaganda and anti Iranian propaganda.

      the fact that they are also pro palestinian and seeking a peaceful solution for both sides is encouraging

      Yeah pro Palestinian the way a pedophile is pro children.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    February 12, 2013, 11:51 pm

    RE: “In IAN Facts 2, Poupko and Gilboord explained how they
    directed the campaign while keeping the JCRC’s involvement on the down-low . . .
    ~ Alex Kane

    AS MJ ROSENBERG WAS TOLD AT AIPAC: “A lobby is like a night flower. It thrives in the dark and withers in the light.”
    SOURCE – link to huffingtonpost.com

  11. DICKERSON3870
    February 13, 2013, 12:39 am

    RE: State Assembly Members Brennan, Camara, Jacobs, Jeffries, and Millman—all signatories to the Nadler letter—voted for the Iran Divestment Act of 2012, which “would prohibit entities that invest in the Iranian energy sector from receiving [New York] state contracts.”

    PERHAPS IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH “CORN PONE”:

    . . . He [Mark Twain] quotes his childhood friend as saying, “You tell me where a man gets his corn pone (bread), and I’ll tell you what his opinions are.”
    Meaning that one’s opinions can be told based on where that person got their bread. . .

    SOURCE – link to english414fall2011.wordpress.com

    P.S. ANOTHER RELEVANT QUOTATION: “You can’t use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!” ~ From ‘The Education of Henry Adams’, By Henry
    Brooks Adams
    (American journalist, historian, academic and novelist, 1838-1918)
    The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams – link to gutenberg.org
    The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography (Google eBook) – link to books.google.com

  12. Sandy M
    February 13, 2013, 3:04 am

    Ground breaking, high quality, painstaking investigative journalism is not quite completely dead yet, as there remain people such as Phan Nguyen who are apparently willing to do it for free.

  13. DICKERSON3870
    February 13, 2013, 4:00 am

    RE: “The Israel Action Network is a $6 million anti-BDS initiative
    established in October 2010 by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) . . .”
    ~ Alex Kane

    AN EXAMPLE OF JEWISH FEDERATION SUPPORT FOR FASCISTIC ELEMENTS IN ISRAEL: “Houston Jewish Federation, Jewish Agency Fund Im Tirzu’s Assault on Israeli Universities” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/17/10

    (EXCERPTS) What do the Houston Jewish federation, the Jewish Agency, John Hagee, and Im Tirzu have in common? They’re all either directly or indirectly funding a major assault on academic freedom on Israeli campuses. . .
    . . . The Israeli finance website, Calcalist, reports that John Hagee donated $120,000 to Im Tirzu in 2009 through the Jewish Agency. The money had been transferred to the [Jewish] Agency by the Houston Jewish Federation as part of an overall $5-million gift. $3-million of that came from [John Hagee’s] CUFI [Christians United for Israel] and went towards its largely pro-settler Israel philanthropy. Hagee passed the gift through the Agency in order to qualify for a U.S. tax deduction. . .
    . . . A second article in the Calcalist makes this important point:
    “The Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI ~ J.L.D.] supports organization’s from the Israeli lunatic right, which are attempting to destroy the values of academic freedom in Israeli higher education.”

    The Agency, a body whose mission it is to bring new immigrants to settle in the Holy Land, instead transfers very large sums to poisonous organizations which seek legitimacy in attacking academics who’ve actually done something in their lives, having not just written propaganda exposes divorced from any reality.
    The columnist concludes by noting the absolute insanity of the Jewish Agency [funded by the Jewish Federations with the help of John Hagee & CUFI ~ J.L.D.] providing funding to an organization that wishes to unleash the thought police on Israeli universities. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 13, 2013, 4:07 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Im Tirzu Steals Confidential Documents from Lawyer’s Office”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 1/19/13

      [EXCERPTS] In a deposition in a libel case brought by the far-right Israeli group, Im Tirzu, its director, Ronen Shoval, admitted that he hired private investigators (Hebrew and English) who obtained confidential legal documents about the defendants and transferred the documents to two far right Israeli newspapers. Michael Sfard, the Israeli human rights attorney defending the suit noted that his law office had been burglarized and documents stolen related to the case. All this means (and what follows are my own judgments, not those of the defendants or Sfard), that Ronen Shoval directed individuals to break and enter Sfard’s office and steal documents that were privileged and confidential. They also broke into the office of Yesh Din, whom Sfard represents. This also means that the two newspapers received such stolen documents, probably knowingly.
      The libel suit was brought by the highly litigious Shoval against those Israeli activists who created a Facebook page, Im Tirzu–Fascist movement–So There! The group’s claim is that calling it fascist constitutes libel because it is false and damaging to its reputation. Apparently, the group doesn’t think much of democratic values like free speech unless the values are ones THEY are exercising.
      In a circumambulation through the miasma of Jewish ultra-nationalism, Sfard questioned Shoval for three hours. Among other pearls of wisdom emanating from him [Im Tirzu’s Shoval] were these notions: western culture is decadent, materialist and egotistical, Am Yisrael (the Jewish people) is a metaphysical entity and an organic vision of nationality. . .
      . . . Shoval confessed that he didn’t believe in unfettered freedom of speech: the law should prevent human rights organization from publishing statements or materials that endangered the State.
      You can imagine how sweeping the definition would be. . .
      . . . Im Tirzu is poison and Israeli society has been infected with this poison by its far-right ultranationalist ideology. . .
      Lest anyone argue that the Shovals of Israel are flukes or a minority–that simply isn’t so. He is a prince of contemporary Zionism. Like Naftali Bennett, who stands to win 15 Knesset seats in the upcoming election (running to the right of even Avigdor Lieberman’s Likud-Beitneu Party), Im Tirzu is Israel’s future (if not its present).
      Imagine not Ronen Shoval, director of Im Tirzu, but Minister Shoval, who gets the opportunity to direct the activities of the Shin Bet and Israeli police. Then he can abandon the private investigators and use the machinery of state to persecute his enemies.
      What liberal Zionists must ask themselves is how can they stomach an Israel that is run by unreconstructed fascists like Shoval and Bennet?
      How long can they defend an Israel run by and for not just Jews, but this particular aberrant version of the Jew? . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        February 13, 2013, 4:23 am

        P.P.S. RE: “Among other pearls of wisdom emanating from him [Im Tirzu’s Shoval] were these notions: western culture is decadent, materialist and egotistical, Am Yisrael (the Jewish people) is a metaphysical entity and an organic vision of nationality. . . ~ Silverstein article (from above)

        FROM WIKIPEDIA [Revisionist Zionism]:

        [EXCERPTS] Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism. Revisionism is the precursor of the Likud Party.[1] . . .
        . . . Up to 1933, a number of members from the national-messianist wing of Revisionism were inspired by the fascist movement of Benito Mussolini. Abba Ahimeir was attracted to fascism for its staunch anti-communism and its focus on rebuilding the glory of the past, which national-messianists such as Uri Zvi Greenberg felt had much connection to their view of what the Revisionist movement should be. [citation needed]
        Abba Ahimeir’s ideology was based in Oswald Spengler’s monumental study on the decline of the West, but his Zionist orientation caused him to adapt its ultimate conclusions. Achimeir’s basic assumption was that liberal bourgeois European culture was degenerate, and deeply eroded from within by an excess of liberalism and individualism. Socialism and communism were portrayed as “overcivilized” ideologies. Fascism on the other hand, like Zionism, was a return to the roots of the national culture and the historical past. According to Achimeir, Italian Fascism was not anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist, whereas communist ideology and praxis were intrinsically so.[citation needed]
        He also developed a favorable attitude toward fascist praxis and its psycho-politics, such as the principle of the all-powerful leader, the use of propaganda to generate a spirit of heroism and duty to the homeland, and the cultivation of youthful vitality (as manifested in the fascist youth movements). . .

        SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

  14. Les
    February 13, 2013, 12:09 pm

    JRC, as real as astroturf.

Leave a Reply