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Follow the Money: From Islamophobia to Israel Right or Wrong

The following article is very long but well worth the read.:

Follow the Money: From Islamophobia to Israel Right or Wrong

By Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel (AlterNet)

You don’t have to get more than a minute into Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West (2007) to begin to see how inextricably it ties Islamophobia to hardline Israeli policies [1]. Despite its initial disclaimer, the film demonizes all Muslims, and through explicit statements and rapid-fire images, makes clear that there is a direct connection between Nazis and both Palestinians and Muslims.

Obsession played a brief but high-profile role during the 2008 presidential election campaign when the Clarion Fund distributed 28 million DVDs as a newspaper insert in swing states [2]. A few years later, Clarion’s The Third Jihad : Radical Islam’s Vision for America (2008)—about an Islamic enemy that, purportedly, “the government is too afraid to name”—made its own headlines with reports that the New York City Police Department had showed the film to nearly 1,500 police officers [3]. And in 2011, Clarion got still more attention when it issued its third big film, Iranium [4]. The film pushes the Israeli and

neoconservative narrative about Iran’s nuclear program and the need for military action against Iran, using a “clash of civilizations” framework that attributes “unavoidable” conflict to fundamental cultural differences between Islamic and Western civilizations [5].

Obsession and The Third Jihad ignited a firestorm of criticism from Muslim, civil rights and other groups. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) condemned Obsession for spreading “scurrilous accusations against Islam and Muslims,” while the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) denounced The Third Jihad as “blatantly anti-Muslim” [6]. Activists, researchers, and journalists have commented on Obsession’s mistranslations and The Third Jihad ’s use of a “discredited conspiracy theory ” [7]. They have also noted the films’ countless distortions and manipulations: benign images of Muslims at prayer made sinisterby “scary music” and “repeated images of an Islamic flag flying over the White House”—“ cherry picking . . . inflammatory images and splicing them together to create fear” [8].

But others, particularly supporters of Israel’s right-wing policies, found these films’ virulently anti-Muslim message to their liking. All three films have been effectively mainstreamed in the Jewish community, with local showings sponsored by such groups as Hillel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and the Dallas Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and B’nai B’rith chapters [9]. Obsession has become a staple of David Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” weeks on college campuses. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire supporter of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney—and a critic of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) from the right—has distributed copies of Obsession to young people on Birthright-sponsored tours to Israel, a project he funds [10].

The Clarion filmmakers and their funders were using Islamophobia in the service of their vision of Israeli expansionism. Commenting on Iranium, journalists Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib analyze it within the context of The Third Jihad , Clarion’s previous movie. Each, they write, “portrays a clash of civilizations, suggests that Muslims value death over life, and portrays irrational hatred toward Israel and anti-Semitism as key to comprehending the anger and frustration voiced by Muslim countries against the United States. . . . [T]he formula for the Clarion Fund’s anti-Muslim propaganda is becoming more apparent with each new iteration” [11]. And particularly relevant to this article, the films reflect the worldview of almost all of the anti-Muslim ideologues, the funders of a nationwide Islamophobia network, and the right-wing pro-Israel groups that we discuss below.

Some of the activists and journalists critiquing the content of these films also followed the money to the Clarion Fund, especially for Obsession. Ferreting out its funders proved no easy task. While journalists were able to explain fairly easily that Clarion was behind the film and that an $18 million grant from Donors Capital made possible the election-year distribution of the Obsession DVDs, things got messy beyond that. The journalists’ difficulties arose primarily because Clarion has resisted even the most basic level of transparency. An offshoot of the Israel and U.S.-based Aish HaTorah , which supports militant Israeli settlers, Clarion has a “virtual,” rather than a physical, office in the United States and is not forthcoming about its connection with Aish, including having directors with ties to both groups [12]. Sometimes even the most diligent journalist had to just be lucky. An accountant’s error, for example, led Justin Elliott of Salon to learn the identity of the individual source of the huge Donors Capital grant for Obsession—a discovery that, despite IRS forms to the contrary, spokespeople for both the possible donor, Barre Seid, and for Donors Capital claimed to be untrue [13].

Read the rest…

 

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  • Chameleon

    @Geji,

    I certainly don’t believe JSB is in support of any injustices either, and my posts weren’t about any individuals or even groups being at the root of the problem. The problem is the belief in the delusional fantasy that dueling racist states (Palestine for Arabs, Israel for Jews) will ever lead to a sustainable solution. This delusion is not unique to Zionists, by the way, but to all those who support racially segregated states. To support such a solution, particularly with so much land being extremely fragmented between the two races is nothing more than a recipe for ever increasing atrocities. Race can never be the foundation of any democracy — period. It just doesn’t work that way, as decades of failure and violence have already proven.

    Of course there have been many non-Jews in history who have supported Zionism in the sense of racially segregating Jews to some far away corner of the globe (primarily those whom I call the NIMBY Zionists, for “Not In My Back Yard”). However, I would argue that most of them are either racist or simply too incompetent to understand the meaning of democracy and its non-negotiable respect for diversity. After all, it was primarily the racism of the Europeans and their hatred of Jews that led them to forcibly annex the land to create the race-based state of Israel (at least in my opinion). It was in this way that they exported their “Jewish problem”. However, in doing so, they exported and deeply institutionalized racism in a land where it previously did not exist — at least in the malevolent form as it does today, with the stage now set for a future Holocaust of one side or the other.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Géji:

    Since you mention me a few times, and we have had civil conversations, let me answer a few points you make.

    1. HGG is not my puppet. We do agree on various matters, but we are separate people with separate views, and we certainly have never coordinated what to say here. If we agree on something, fine; and if we do not agree, HGG is probably wrong.

    2. You say, “you’re analogy to Nazi ideology should be precisely between those wishing for the same ethnic/racial purity as the Nazism adherents did…” I don’t think we get too far by accusing the Palestinians and/or Transjordanians of being Nazis. No one denies that they achieved a form of complete ethnic/racial purity by expelling all the Jews who had not fled from the parts of Palestine they wound up controlling in 1947-1949 or that they had laws imposing the death penalty for selling land to Jews. Even though they would not countenance any Jews, whether Zionist or anti-Zionist, as residents in their land, the analogy goes too far to be correct and is unhelpful in terms of dialogue.

    3. As for my own views, you are right that I have often expressed support for the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. I think that a two-state solution is more practical than a one-state solution, and I support that in part because I think it is a faster route to Palestinians’ ability to control their own fate. If I am wrong and a one-state solution winds up being what the parties agree to, I would support it.

  • Géji

    @HGG, everywhere Zionism is somehow contradicted here you are appearing from nowhere in its defense. By the way, oddly enough we can say the same thing about you following JSB as puppet as well? very odd in deed. And FYI Ms HGG, the blind adherents following a dogmatic truth and you’re analogy to Nazi ideology should be precisely between those wishing for the same ethnic/racial purity as the Nazism adherents did, not the people that speak against it.

    @Chameleon, I agree with most you said in your post, certainly many Jews that adheres to Zionism aspire for such notion of ‘racial’ or perhaps ‘ethnic’ purity that doesn’t exit, and its certainly the main reason of the injustices taking place today in the land previously known as Palestine, but I do not think JSB is one of them, or is in support of such injustices leveled against native Palestinians. I’ve seen many of his comments saying otherwise, I do not know what are his thoughts on Palestinians right of return, or about the one state solution, but I believe he expressed supporting the Palestinians right for self-determination.

  • HGG

    “I am interested in the truth”

    A blind adherence to a dogmatic “truth”

    You know who else did that?

    The Nazis.

    See? It’s so easy!

  • Chameleon

    @Searcher,

    So your argument goes something like this: I am aware of the truth, so what I say must be truth. Brilliant circular logic, Watson.

  • Chameleon

    @JSB,

    I am not interested in “easily reached agreements”, and I am not here to chat. I am interested in the truth. I refuse to blithely participate in Holocaust denial — or worse, the next Holocaust that is already staged to happen based on the same root cause — all for the sake of political correctness.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Chameleon:

    I read your last comment and our discussion is over.

    If you need to know why, that would only show why I can have discussions on this thread in which I easily reached agreements with AJ and Ilisha but not with you.

    Respond if you wish, as that is your prerogative, but I plan to ignore your comments.

  • Chameleon

    @Searcher,

    You say, “You calling exposing Jihad attrocities ” “organized hatred” I would call ludicrous. But maybe you do mean it is a good thing to ‘hate’ the organized crime of Jihad!”

    It is logically impossible to deny that your claim is based entirely on the premise that Jihad = crime. Now prove your premise, or prove your hate by your own silence.

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