Third time’s the charm, so they say. Following the last two transparent failures to influence American politics with Islamophobia, the Clarion Fund (Aish HaTorah) is literally counting the seconds down until their “nationwide event” to reveal their newest scare-mongering dud: Iranium.
We have reported on Clarion’s last two anti-Muslim films: Obsession (see: Obsessionforhate) and Third Jihad. Those films featured a number of Islamophobic “experts” we have exposed on this site (i.e. Daniel Pipes, Brigitte Gabriel, Walid Shoebat, Steven Emerson) who specialize in making lucrative careers off Islamophobic fear. Those two films were disturbingly similar to other sophisticated propaganda films that demonize entire populations. Jack Shaheen, an Oxford University research scholar and author of four books on racism, stereotyping and propaganda, describes the film Obsession as “very convincing.” He says:
“Goebbels would be proud. This film has a place in cinema history with the racist film Birth of a Nation and the Nazi film Triumph of the Will because it so cleverly advances lies to vilify a people.”
Those are the old films. But with this new film will Clarion reform its alarmist ways and instead present us with an insightful, balanced, and objective analysis of the situation in Iran? A quick look at some of the film’s interviewees tell us, no.
Iranium, like its predecessors, seems to rely on a highly edited mix of expert and pseudo-expert commentary. Among the most glaring pseudo-experts is Frank Gaffney; noted on this site for his adherence to the “stealth jihad” conspiracy. Gaffney is founder of the Center for Security Policy where he lobbies for hardline neoconservative security policies. Gaffney is a prolific writer on the Washington Times’ anti-Muslim editorial page where he has seriously argued that President Obama is a secret Muslim, lambasted Obama for daring to reach out to the Muslim World, and accused Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan of facilitating a Sharia take-over… twice.
Due to his obvious conflict of interest, Gaffney’s presence as a film expert raises serious doubts about the credibility of the film. Since Gaffney is a neoconservative lobbyist, he writes security “analysis” that favors neoconservative policy prescriptions. In other words, it is not in his policy interest to provide us with an objective analysis. Hence, he has been duly noted for the idiocy of his hyper-inflated anti-Sharia report.
If all of Clarion’s films have relied on pseudo-expert testimony that supports a pre-defined policy prescription, then why should we take seriously their hyping the Iranian threat? Is the purpose to inform the public or to influence them to vote a certain way? Iranium appears to be just another expensive attempt to influence American politics by scapegoating the Islamic/Iranian boogeyman.
People who are inspired by the Clarion Fund should flip the scenario around. Would it be acceptable for me to create a serious documentary entitled Israelanium featuring Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu? Would it be right if my film deliberately blurred the line between extremism and Judaism? Somehow I think charges of anti-Semitism would immediately ensue, but this same crowd of people has no problem using the same cut, paste, and smear tactics against Muslims.
Don’t get me wrong. The Iranian government should be subject to all the international laws and standards that all nations are held to. There are important concerns about which people need to get good, balanced information. So for this reason the film Iranium promises to harm our national debate even more by injecting inflammatory, one-sided propaganda into the discourse at a time when people need clear-headed assessment.
So while Clarion prepares for another Muslim-fearing mulligan, let’s hope that this film follows its cousins as another embarrassingly epic failure. Perhaps our efforts to restore sanity will overcome their march to keep fear alive.