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The ‘Obsession’ DVD: What Rough Beast Slouches From Jerusalem?

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I keep missing a big campaign story that is on my beat: the efforts by a shadowy network that has Jerusalem connections to distribute DVDs of the movie "Obsession," which portrays Islam as the fount of jihad, to voters in swing states, by paying to have them included inside newspapers. The efforts are obviously aimed at raising the fear factor among voters, in John McCain's behalf. For being a strong leader is his only selling point. But the ultimate goal of the network behind the film would seem to be to stop Obama from becoming president and thereby reviving the "peace process" and the Clinton Parameters, which hinted at dividing Jerusalem.

Is this the September surprise we've all been waiting for? There are tons of developments on the story. Joachim Martillo has shown that the Clarion Fund, which is distributing the film, has connections to Aish haTorah, a Jewish revivalist outreach group that I've run into myself that is based in Jerusalem, with storefront centers around the U.S., and that has rightwing biblical views on the Land of Israel. Two big newspapers are refusing to distribute Obsession, though the New York Times did distribute it. Meantime, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is seeking a Federal Election Commission investigation of the free DVD distribution, saying that Clarion Fund/Aish is an Israel-based group that is seeking to "whip up anti-Muslim hysteria." Richard Silverstein says he's going to file a tax complaint against Clarion for violating 501c3 status and thinks there is a Sheldon Adelson connection, which makes sense because Adelson is against dividing Jerusalem. Even the JTA states that the film claims that Islam is "prone to hegemony." Well that sounds like a bad word. Prone to authoritarianism?

The issue is heating up in Florida, where the Palm Beach Post has slammed the distribution:

"The irony is that The Clarion Fund, whatever the group is and whoever
runs it, is operating like the secret cells it warns about. Terrorists
are cowards. In their own way, so are the people sending out this
campaign ad."

This is the heart of the issue, that rightwing Zionists operate so often in this country with a hidden agenda. Like Sheldon Adelson, benefactor of One Jerusalem, the anti-Camp David group, propping up George Bush's campaign in 2000 and Bush hiring One Jerusalem's Doug Feith as an under secretary of Defense just as Adelson's third tranche of $300,000 in gifts to a Republican committee arrived. Yes I wonder about the conspiracy. Feith brought with him the Invade Iraq neoconservative virus. Of course other people had it, too. But again, where is the journalism? Where is the description of the neocons' agenda, network, and covert ops.

A friend writes, "This is a dirty secret that needs to be
dealt with:  American Muslims feel that right-wing American Jews create an
environment of extreme hostility towards them. It poisons inter-community
relations and unfortunately strengthens anti-Semitic attitudes (for instance: Jews are a
powerful enemy who hate Muslims). The argument paraphrases an old article that
Daniel Pipes, who's in the Obsession movie, wrote entitled: American Muslims against American Jews (Commentary
1999)."

There is obviously some truth to that Muslim fear, with respect to right wing Jews. You'd think Americans are better than this, or the Jewish community is. So far the best journalism on the matter is in the blogosphere.

Philip Weiss

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

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