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Did LA pro-Israel group conceal right-wing identity from Hollywood celebs and media?

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On August 23, the Los Angeles group Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) released a widely reported on statement in Billboard Magazine – “200 Hollywood Heavyweights Support Israel.” What was not reported is that CCFP is a “creative” front group for the right-wing, pro Israeli settler nonprofit StandWithUs, that has a close relationship with the Israeli government. Though CCFP carefully avoids explaining this on their website and materials, CCFP is the same legally-registered nonprofit as StandWithUs (SWU), and, as of October 2013, operated from within SWU’s LA office.

Felice Gelman from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel commented, “We wonder if CCFP explained to the Hollywood luminaries who signed its statement, like Ziggy Marley and Sarah Silverman, that its apolitical message of ‘art building bridges for peace’ is actually a sanitizing front for the right-wing, pro-settler organization StandWithUs, that has deep ties to the Israeli government? We are also concerned that US media covering the statement did not report on who CCFP really is.”

The statement on Gaza is as misleading as its hidden identity and the politics of its sponsor SWU. Nerdeen Kiswani, a student activist with Students for Justice in Palestine, explained, “CCFP begins and ends its statement with apolitical, and essentially deceptive invocations of peace. But the core argument reflects typical SWU talking points and Israeli government right-wing spin, that Palestinians themselves are somehow entirely to blame for Israel’s slaughter of over 2000 Palestinians and the destruction of thousands of homes and entire villages in Gaza.”

Since the statement was first published, at least one celebrity ‘signatory’, Moroccan filmmaker Sanaa Hamri, has had her name removed, saying she never agreed to sign on.

SWU, which was originally created and registered in 2001 as Israel Emergency Alliance, states on its website that “StandWithUs, known as the Israel Emergency Alliance, is a 501(c)(3) organization.” CCFP, created in 2010, also states on its donation page that it is “a 501(c)(3) organization, dba [doing business as] Israel Emergency Alliance.” Upon creation, CCFP was simply integrated into the existing legally registered organization Israel Emergency Alliance/StandWithUs. As The Jewish Daily Forward reported in October 2013, CCFP is not actually a nonprofit, but rather it operates under the aegis of the long-established nonprofit StandWithUs, which is “widely perceived to be on the far right of the pro-Israel spectrum.”

SWU regularly touts congratulations and endorsements by the Israeli government and has organized pro-settler PR projects with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SWU also works with the right-wing evangelical group Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and CUFI’s homophobic leader, John Hagee. Additionally, in 2010, SWU members disrupted a Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) meeting, even pepper-spraying two JVP members.

Exposing CCFP’s similarity to SWU, The Forward reported in October 2013 that CCFP “takes positions that appear to be held by only a narrow spectrum among Jews who support Israel,” disputing that Israeli settlements are a primary obstacle to peace, and that Israel holds Palestinians under military occupation. The Forward article showed that CCFP is in lockstep with Israel’s right-wing government, quoting David Siegel, Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles, lavishing praise on CCFP, and saying “they are effective because they work from inside the industry.”

CCFP’s cofounder, music executive David Renzer, has attempted to distance CCFP from SWU, telling The Forward that CCFP has “always operated independently,” and asserting “there is no day-to-day relationship” with SWU. The facts belie this. On top of CCFP’s legal status as part of SWU, David Renzer is married to the SWU’s cofounder and president, Esther Renzer. Another CCFP co-founder, Ran Geffen-Lifshitz, is on the board of StandWithUs Israel, and CCFP and SWU held a strategy session together with Israeli government officials to shape CCFP’s activities.

SWU and CCFP have gone to lengths to camouflage their interrelationship, even registering StandWithUs and Creative Community for Peace with the LA County Clerk in 2010 as “fictitious business names” for Israel Emergency Alliance (documents viewable in this expose). Though CCFP asserted to The Forward  last year that it was only working under SWU while “awaiting the processing of its application” as “a tax-exempt charity,” current online searches of IRS and California state records for Creative Community for Peace continue to come up empty.

Despite the fact that CCFP operates within SWU/Israel Emergency Alliance, the most current publicly available 990 tax form for SWU/Israel Emergency Alliance from 2012 makes no mention whatsoever of CCFP. The 2012 990 demonstrates that the organization is managed by SWU, noting the salaries and titles of six “Key Employees,” each of whom is an SWU staffmember, with no one listed from CCFP.

The 2012 990 also lists Steven Rosen of Silver Spring, Maryland as a “Strategic Adviser.” SWU’s 2011 and 2010 990s also show that Rosen was paid $120,000 and $127,000 from SWU in that same role. For 23 years Rosen was a top official at AIPAC, the right-wing Israel lobby group. He served as AIPAC’s Director of Foreign Policy until he was indicted for alleged violations of the Espionage Act, though the charges were later dropped. A New Yorker expose on AIPAC last week noted that Rosen “was fond of telling people that he could take out a napkin at any Senate hangout and get signatures of support for one issue or another from scores of senators.” One of Rosen’s favorite quotes during his years with AIPAC was, “A lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”

For more detailed background and documentation on CCFP, SWU and their relationship see this expose by Phan Nguyen.

About Adalah-NY

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel is a grassroots strategic alliance of concerned organizations and individuals in New York, formed to demand an immediate, unconditional, and permanent end to U.S. and U.S.-sponsored Israeli aggression in the Middle East.

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20 Responses

  1. Jim Holstun
    September 3, 2014, 11:40 am

    Regarding StandWithUs: this non-profit pays its CEO and COO, Roz Rothstein and her husband almost 300K p.a., according to its IRS Form 990. The Vice President of its Board is notorious Islamophobe Steven Emerson.

    • ritzl
      September 4, 2014, 11:55 am

      How can the people that signed that letter support a racist like Emerson?

      God willing, this may come to the point where folks like Rogen can’t work if they don’t sign and few will watch their movies if they do sign.

      People power always wins. Eventually.

  2. Krauss
    September 3, 2014, 12:06 pm

    “We wonder if CCFP explained to the Hollywood luminaries who signed its statement, like Ziggy Marley and Sarah Silverman, that its apolitical message of ‘art building bridges for peace’ is actually a sanitizing front for the right-wing, pro-settler organization StandWithUs, that has deep ties to the Israeli government? We are also concerned that US media covering the statement did not report on who CCFP really is.”

    Would it make much difference? The so-called “peace camp” is not only dead: it has never existed. Rabin didn’t want to give the Palestinians a full state and he was the “peacenik”.

    Silverman came out in defence of the latest Gaza slaughter. Another self-described “progressive” like Emily Bazelon, but when it counts, she defends the slaughter of innocent children because the army doing it happens to be Jewish.

    These celebs know what they are doing. Most of them do it out of conviction and a few, especially the Gentiles, probably do it out of career reasons.

  3. Marnie
    September 3, 2014, 1:41 pm

    I guess that explains Seth Rogen’s “sorry for being such an asshole” look on his face. At any rate, the actors/muscians/entertainment industry people to avoid like the plague with my money just keeps getting bigger.

  4. michelle
    September 3, 2014, 3:20 pm

    .
    well spotted
    .
    one could go even further and add;
    “Israeli aggression in the Middle East” is all well and good
    might want to include the United States and some other
    (Middle East aggressive) countries as well
    .
    it isn’t Israeli money/arms funding these aggressive acts
    seems like Israel though happy to oblige is in part the front
    ‘man’ for much of this murder and oppression of Arabs
    .
    would Israel make these same choices if ‘they’ had to pay
    out of their own coffers
    could Israel even afford the cost of the land grabs and enforced oppression
    it’s doubtful
    .
    Israel is by this measure a paid thug
    the only way to end this is to go after the ‘mob bosses’
    .
    G-d Bless

    • bilal a
      September 3, 2014, 4:45 pm

      Thuggery is part of the American sub-culture that has corrupted Israel and the UK as well:

      ” The court heard that Masterson attacked the MP because he felt that George Galloway was an enemy to Judaism.

      Prosecuting, Tom Gill, said: “He said he carried out the attack because he felt the victim was enemy of Judaism.”

      Mr Gill said that Masterson told the police: “I didn’t want him to think I’m scared, Galloway is Anti-semitic and I am Jewish.” ”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11068824/Jewish-carer-denies-George-Galloway-attack.html

      • Mooser
        September 7, 2014, 11:49 am

        “Prosecuting, Tom Gill, said: “He said he carried out the attack because he felt the victim was enemy of Judaism.”

        He’, Tom Gill, is the prosecutor? Than why is he reciting the Ziocaine Syndrome defense?
        You don’t prosecute him with that, you defend him with it! The guy is mixed up.

  5. James Canning
    September 3, 2014, 3:51 pm

    “Pro [illegal] settler” is euphemism for promoter of endless war in the Middle East.

  6. German Lefty
    September 3, 2014, 4:53 pm

    OMG! I just read the statement. They actually dare to use the word “justice”. Also, I sent a tweet to Sarah Silverman.

  7. Chu
    September 3, 2014, 6:16 pm

    These rubes got duped by settlers in beatnik drag. Figures. Maybe they’ll learn their lesson next time.

    • Pixel
      September 3, 2014, 7:35 pm

      .
      @Chu

      “These rubes got duped by settlers in beatnik drag.”

      LMAO

  8. Pixel
    September 3, 2014, 7:24 pm

    .
    Honestly, I doubt it mattered.

    Just another knee-jerk reaction in support of anything and everything pro-Israel.

    If they notice or care it’s only because after they stood up on cue, they looked around and freaked out when they realized that there were only 200 of them standing there with their pants down, and many of those were lightweights.

    “Hey, where is everyone?”

    .
    Cowardice is more contagious than courage.

  9. aiman
    September 3, 2014, 8:33 pm

    The statement itself is dishonest and fully pro-Zionist. Those who put their names down must have surely read it,

    • Chu
      September 4, 2014, 9:50 am

      It was a career move. sure, I’ll sign it. Need to work the angles in Holywood
      and dare not offend anyone when looking for work.

  10. amigo
    September 4, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Speaking of celebs , Joan rivers is dead.

    I wonder if she will meet any of the 500 children slaughtered in Gaza when she gets through the Pearly gates.She can ask them how kiddie terrorists got into heaven.

    Sorry , cannot feign sadness on this one.

  11. kalithea
    September 5, 2014, 1:06 am

    Did Joan Rivers belong to this group? Too bad her final act had to be her grotesque apathy towards the countless civilians slaughtered by Israel in Gaza. I wonder if she’ll be shown the same mercy and compassion on the other side that she offered Palestinian children? I only feel sorry she wasn’t given the chance to face all those 500 or more mutilated Palestinian children and babies so she could perhaps admit she was ignorant and wrong and that they were human after all and once had IQs despite their captivity and didn’t deserve to die that way. What a crazy, upside-down world we live in when a comedian who spews something so hateful gets a wall-to-wall eulogy on the media and 500+ innocent massacred children and countless mor civilians get nothing.

    Words don’t matter, some say?

    But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

    Joan’s jokes and quotes are getting all the attention now, but what about her famous last quote?

    You’re dead, you deserve to be dead!… and shortly thereafter…

    Not just words afterall. She can never take it back now.

    Never dishonor the innocent dead.

  12. kalithea
    September 5, 2014, 10:28 am

    Without taking back a syllable except to add the e in *mor* and separate *afterall* (Where’s the edit gone to btw?); I just want to add this distinct comment: As a daughter myself and truly grateful for my sweet, precious mother, I want to say that I do earnestly feel for the loss that Joan Rivers’ daughter is experiencing, as it’s a terrible thing for anyone to lose their mother. At the same time, though, I hope she never resorts to the kind of hateful lapse her mother exhibited while innocent Palestinians were dying and that one day she will apologize on her mother’s behalf to all the Palestinian daughters who lost their own mothers in this recent massacre and in all previous and future cyclical slaughter of Palestinian civilians by the Jewish State and I hesitate to call it that.

  13. Talkback
    September 5, 2014, 12:29 pm

    I bet none of them is Jewish.

  14. Jim Holstun
    September 5, 2014, 5:05 pm

    My mistake: a different Steven Emerson

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