Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has caught intense flak over her comments questioning the influence of the Israeli lobby in US foreign policy and the split allegiances of some Jewish-Americans. The vociferous attacks on the Congresswoman coalesce around one theme, criticism of Israel equals antisemitism. This is a consistent theme. Walt and Mearsheimer endured the same accusations when they wrote their essay, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” in 2006. The attacks did not let up with the publication of their book of the same name in 2007. At that time, Mearsheimer and Walt described the Israel lobby as a loose coalition. Perhaps at that time it largely was a loose coalition brought together as a counter against the ugliness of antisemitism. I think it was more than that back then and it is certainly more than that now. It is a far reaching and powerful phenomena largely consisting of a coordinated information operation run out of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to further Israeli government policies.
Al Jazeera has put together an excellent series on this phenomena. The first piece of in depth investigative reporting examined the activities of the Israel lobby in Britain entitled “The Lobby.” They followed this series up with “The Lobby – USA” covering the lobby’s actions in the US in 2016. So far I watched the first part of this four part series focusing on the campaign to derail the BDS movement on the UC Davis campus and in Washington DC. This is how modern information operations are conducted. The series was released by the Electronic Intifada rather than Al Jazeera because Qatar censored the series after being pressured by Washington, Tel Aviv and probably Riyadh.
"The Electronic Intifada has obtained a complete copy of The Lobby – USA, a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s covert influence campaign in the United States. We are releasing the leaked film simultaneously with France’s Orient XXI and Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar, which have respectively subtitled the episodes in French and Arabic. The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and was completed in October 2017. But it was censored after Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film. Although Al Jazeera’s director-general claimed last month that there were outstanding legal issues with the film, his assertions have been flatly contradicted by his own journalists."
"In March, The Electronic Intifada was the first to report on any of the film’s specific content. We followed this in August by publishing the first extract of the film, and shortly after Max Blumenthal at the Grayzone Project released others. Since then, The Electronic Intifada has released three other extracts, and several other journalists have watched the entire film and written about it – including Alain Gresh and Antony Loewenstein. Now The Electronic Intifada can reveal for the first time that it has obtained all four parts of the film." (Electronic Intifada)
The first episode of the series offers a graphic portrayal of a a modern information operation. It largely centers on the activities of one Julia Reifkind, an American employed first by AIPAC and then by the Israeli Embassy. She reported to the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs (MSA) with its office in the same building as the Israeli PM. On a daily basis she monitored BDS social media communications and activity using pseudonyms. She gave the collected info to her Embassy boss who transmitted the info back to the MSA. The MSA would pass instructions back to Rifkind through the DC Embassy. She also conducted activities including direct IO action on the UC Davis campus at the direction of the MSA. Dual allegiance my ass! She’s an American citizen employed as an Israeli intelligence and action agent. Her only allegiance is to Israel.
In all of Reifkind’s pro-Israeli activities, she probably didn’t break any US laws, just Facebook TOS in using her pseudonyms. What Al Jazeera did is what we should do. Expose this activity to the light of day. At a minimum, we could be aggressively publicizing this Al Jazeera documentary. I don’t blame the Israeli government for conducting these intelligence and IO activities any more than I blame Russia, China and others for undertaking these activities in their own interests. It’s not war, but we shouldn’t sit back and let this stuff go on unchallenged. We should officially encourage more of this kind of investigative reporting and commence a vigorous public awareness campaign concerning this threat. Expose the vampire to sunlight and holy water. Beyond that, LEA, IC and CYBERCOM elements should be tearing into foreign country’s activities and capabilities in this area without mercy. After all, it’s not war.
In the case of Israeli IO, we must work to break the idea that opposition to Israeli governmental policies and actions is equivalent to antisemitism. Given the persistence of that idea and the lengths the Israeli government goes to reinforce that persistence, this is a tall order. However, it must be confronted. In this vein, I welcome those voices in the Democratic Party who are speaking out in defense of Ilhan Omar. If it causes strife within the Democratic Party, so be it. Some fights are worth the price.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lSjXhMUVKE (The Lobby – USA, episode 1 – The Covert War)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XytkI7afHcQ (The Lobby – USA, episode 2 – Managing Elites)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm-Dm4pO0xY (The Lobby – USA, episode 3 – The Witch Hunt)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1OgxfCT044 (The Lobby – USA, episode 4 – Marketing Occupation)