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Top Jewish Non-Profit Heads Leading Iran Sanctions Call

By Marsha B. Cohen | LobeLog | December 19, 2013

The Forward recently released its annual list of top-earning heads of Jewish non-profit organizations and the results of an independent analysis revealing not only that they earned more than the top leadership of non-Jewish nonprofits, but that several were egregiously overpaid.

Not noted by the analysts is that most of them spend a considerable portion of their time clamoring for more and stricter sanctions against Iran, something that has little to do with their stated organizational mission statements that include social justice, equality, human rights, and the well-being of the Jewish people.

Several of these de facto Iran sanctions lobbyists earn more than the President of the United States ($400,000 per year).  Five earn over half a million dollars a year.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), #2 on the Forward list, was paid $751,054 in 2012. Hier was ranked “by far the most overpaid CEO” according to the Forward‘s Salary Survey, earning more than twice what a head of an organization the size of SWC is expected to make. The Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance opened in 2003 “to challenge visitors to confront bigotry and racism and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts.” But illustrating the old adage that “when you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” Hier has been in the forefront of promoting analogies between contemporary Iran and Nazi Germany. Amid warnings that a 2006 rumor that Jews in Iran would be forced to wear yellow badges was untrue, Hier’s corroboration of its veracity reportedly served as the basis for the Canadian National Post publishing the bogus claim as though it were fact. (Jim Lobe was among the first to spot and discredit the National Post story, leading to its retraction.)

Hier has repeatedly denounced the idea of negotiations with Iran, mocked Iranian leaders, and accused Iran of emulating North Korea in its negotiations with the 6 world powers known as the P5+1. He has also placed the SWC in the forefront of opposition to a negotiated deal with Iran and in favor of imposing new sanctions as soon as possible.

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is #5 on the list with a 2012 salary of $688,280. Forward‘s Salary Survey found Foxman to be overpaid by 70%. The National Director of the ADL since 1987, Foxman has been accused in recent years of diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry in the U.S. and abroad to putting the ADL “firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” From dabbling briefly in Islamophobia during the Park 51 “Ground Zero Mosque” debate three years ago to the detriment of his organization, Foxman has since attempted to redeem himself by climbing on the Iran sanctions bandwagon.

After what was supposed to be an unpublicized meeting between the White House and the heads of prominent hawkish Jewish groups, Foxman, who was among them, seemed to confirm reports that Jewish organizational leaders, himself included, were willing to take a “time out” from vigorously campaigning for new and more crushing Iran sanctions. Less than two weeks later, however, Foxman blasted the Obama administration for an agreement Foxman claimed would not only roll back the sanctions regime prematurely but also “legitimize Iran as a threshold nuclear state.” While he said he wanted to give the Obama administration “a chance to demonstrate that they could make real progress on this issue,” Foxman took issue with “some of the points of the tentative agreement to be acted upon November 20 in Geneva.” Refraining from enacting additional sanctions was a “luxury” the U.S. did not have,” Foxman said.

On Dec. 6 Foxman told Haaretz that he was embarrassed “by how our government has accepted the threats of blackmail by the Iranians against even discussing new sanctions.” Berating the Obama administration’s “hysterical” reaction to the prospect of new anti-Iran sanctions, Foxman fumed, “I would have liked them to tell Tehran: we are a democracy, and you can’t tell our legislators or us what we can or cannot discuss.” Foxman has never expressed criticism of Israeli leaders for telling Americans and U.S. legislators what they may and may not discuss. On Thursday, Foxman came out in strong support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act which the White House has vowed to veto.

Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) since 1990 (#7), received a salary of $563,372 in 2012, an overpayment of 93% according to the Salary Survey. A cursory glance at the RJC website reveals the organization’s vitriol against Iran diplomacy and Democrats, foremost among them President Obama. Several times a week the RJC sends out e-mails touting the need for more sanctions and skewering the notion of any diplomatic approach to Iran. The RJC’s Chairman of the Board of Directors is multi-billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who recently proposed that the U.S. attack Iran with nuclear weapons.

Howard Kohr, the Executive Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) since 1996 and its CEO since 2013 (#8), pocketed at least $556,232 in 2012 from AIPAC, and, according to AIPAC’s IRS 990, $184,410 in additional compensation. While the public face and voice of AIPAC is usually its president (a philanthropic board of directors activist chosen for a two-year term), it is Kohr who actually runs the organization.

During Kohr’s 17-year tenure, “the Iranian threat” moved to the forefront of the AIPAC policy agenda. AIPAC was a driving force behind the formative Iran Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 and has claimed credit for the passage of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act in 2009. In 2011, Kohr dismissed the “the Arab Spring” as a diversion and called upon AIPAC activists to refocus members of Congress on the centrality of the Iran issue. In June 2012, AIPAC declared the talks between Iran and the P5+1 a failure and demanded the acceleration of  “crippling economic sanctions” by Congress.

AIPAC has since maintained its support for tightening sanctions, notwithstanding the historic Nov. 24 interim agreement between Iran and world powers. An AIPAC Policy Memo issued on Nov. 25  insisted that Iran should not be allowed any uranium enrichment capability whatsoever — a non-starter for Iran. It also demanded that Congress press the administration to fully enforce existing sanctions, prohibit any increase in Iranian oil sales, limit the repatriation of Iranian funds to $3-4 billion, sanction companies attempting to re-engage with Iran’s economy, and closely monitor humanitarian aid destined for Iran.

Kohr recently suggested that AIPAC could back away from confronting the Obama administration on sanctions and instead direct its energies toward shaping the terms of the final deal with Iran. Nevertheless, two of AIPAC’s favorite senators from both parties, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), are at this moment actively working with AIPAC to push for new sanctions, notwithstanding the warnings by the Obama administration that additional sanctions will violate the interim accord and put the entire diplomatic process at risk. In the House, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), both among the top recipients of largess from AIPAC-linked pro-Israel PACs, have also threatened to impose new sanctions on Iran, though Hoyer appears to have acquiesced to appeals from the administration to hold off for now (see Jim Lobe’s recent piece).

AIPAC also pays $466,912 salary to Vice CEO Richard Fishman, who was managing director until 2013. Fishman also serves as executive director of the America Israel Educational Foundation (AIEF), a tax exempt organization that brings members of Congress on “educational” junkets to Israel.

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for the past 23 years (#11), also tops the half million mark with a salary of $504,445. Iran has also moved to the center stage of the AJC’s agenda in recent years. Harris’s niche in a crowded field is alleged Iranian support for terrorism. On Jul. 1, a few weeks after Hassan Rouhani was elected as Iran’s new President, Harris charged that Rouhani was implicated in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires; this was more than a week after Alberto Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor in the AMIA case, had informed Times of Israel editor David Horovitz that Rouhani was neither under indictment nor accused of any involvement. Harris was the first of Jewish head honchos invited to the White House in late October to deny that any agreement had been reached with Jewish groups about lessening their pressure for sanctions.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hollywood uses ‘American Sniper’ to destroy history & create myth

By John Wight | RT | January 23, 2015

The moral depravity into which the US is sinking is shown by American Sniper glorifying the exploits of a racist killer receiving six Oscar nominations, whereas ‘Selma’ depicting Martin Luther King’s struggle against racism has been largely ignored.

American Sniper is directed by Clint Eastwood, and tells the story of Chris Kyle, a US Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a sniper credited with 160 confirmed “kills”, and earning him the dubious honor of being lauded the most lethal sniper in US military history.

Played by Bradley Cooper, in the movie Kyle is an all-American hero, a Texas cowboy who joins the military out of a sense of patriotism and a yearning for purpose and direction in his life. Throughout the ‘uber-tough’ selection process, Kyle is a bastion of stoicism and determination, willing to bear any amount of pain and hardship for the honor of being able to serve his country as a Navy Seal – America’s equivalent of the Samurai.

The personal struggle he endures as a result of what he experiences and does in Iraq is not motivated by any regrets over the people he kills, including women and children, but on his failure to kill more and thereby save the lives of American soldiers as they go about the business of tearing the country apart, city by city, block by block, and house by house.

If American Sniper wins one Oscar, never mind the six it’s been nominated for, when this annual extravaganza of movie pomp and ceremony unfolds in Hollywood on February 22, it will not only represent an endorsement of US exceptionalism, but worse it will be an insult to the Iraqi people. In the movie they are depicted as a dehumanized mass of savages – occupying the same role as the Indians in John Wayne Western movies of old – responsible for their own suffering and the devastation of their country, which the white man is in the process of civilizing.

Anything resembling balance and perspective is sacrificed in American Sniper to the more pressing needs of US propaganda, which holds that the guys who served in Iraq were the very best of America, men who went through hell in order to protect the freedoms and way of life of their fellow countrymen at home. It is the cult of the soldier writ large, men who in the words of Kyle (Bradley Cooper) in the movie “just want to get the bad guys.”

The ”bad guys” are, as mentioned, the Iraqis. In fact if you had just arrived in the movie theatre from another planet, you would be left in no doubt from the movie’s opening scene that Iraq had invaded and occupied America rather than the other way round.

Unsurprisingly, the real Chris Kyle was not as depicted by Clint Eastwood and played by Bradley Cooper. In his autobiography, upon which the movie is supposedly based, Kyle writes, “I hate the damn savages. I couldn’t give a flying f**k about the Iraqis.”

It is clear that the movie’s director, Clint Eastwood, when faced with the choice between depicting the truth and the myth, decided to go with the myth.

But it should come as no surprise, given that the peddling of such myths is the very currency of Hollywood. Over many decades the US movie industry has proved itself one of the most potent weapons in the armory of US imperialism, helping to project a myth of an America, defined by lofty attributes of courage, freedom, and democracy.

As the myth has it, these values, and with them America itself, are continually under threat from the forces of evil and darkness that lurk outwith and often times within. The mountain of lies told in service to this myth has only been exceeded by the mountain of dead bodies on the basis of it – victims of the carnage and mayhem unleashed around the world by Washington.

Chris Kyle was not the warrior or hero portrayed in American Sniper. He was in fact a racist killer for whom the only good Iraqi was a dead Iraqi. He killed men, women, and children, just as his comrades did during the course of a brutal and barbaric war of aggression waged by the richest country in the world against one of the poorest.

They say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In the hands of a movie director with millions of dollars and the backing of a movie studio at its disposal, it is far more dangerous than that. It is a potent weapon deployed against its victims, denying them their right to even be considered victims, exalting in the process, when it comes to Hollywood, those who murder and massacre in the name of America.

With this in mind, it is perhaps fitting that Chris Kyle was shot and killed by a former Marine at a shooting range in Texas in 2013. “Man was born into barbarism,” Martin Luther King said, “when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence.”

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Rogue agents behind Argentine prosecutor’s death: Buenos Aires

Press TV – January 24, 2015

Argentina says rogue agents from its own intelligence services were behind the death of the prosecutor of the 1994 AMIA bombing case.

Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator into the 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994, was found dead in his apartment late on January 18.

The initial police report said Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, however, said in a statement posted on her Facebook page on Thursday that the prosecutor’s death was not a suicide.

Nisman’s death happened hours before he was to testify before Congress on Monday about his allegation that President Fernandez conspired to derail his investigation of the attack.

The government claims the prosecutor’s allegations and his death were linked to a power struggle at the Latin American country’s intelligence agency and agents who had recently been fired.

“When he was alive they needed him to present the charges against the president. Then, undoubtedly, it was useful to have him dead,” the president’s chief of staff, Anibal Fernandez, said Friday.

Under intense political pressure imposed by Israel, Argentina formerly accused Iran of having carried out the 1994 bombing attack on the AMIA building. AMIA stands for the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina or the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association.

Iran has categorically and consistently denied any involvement in the terrorist bombing.

In January 2013, Tehran and Buenos Aires signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly probe the 1994 bombing.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

77 Palestinians, Mostly Children, Displaced in Three Days


IMEMC News & Agencies | January 24, 2015

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley confirmed on Friday that, in the past three days alone, a total of 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have become homeless.

He expressed concern over Israel’s recent spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

According to Rawley, “demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension.”

Home demolitions must stop immediately, Rawley demanded, in a press release that WAFA received.

UN concerns stem from the fact that some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families. Rawley explained: “At least eight of these structures were funded by international donors.”

Since 20 January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has recorded the Israeli demolition of 42 Palestinian-owned structures in the Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho and Hebron governorates.

In addition to those displaced, 59 Palestinians were affected, mainly due to the demolition of structures essential for their livelihood, mostly animal shelters.

According to OCHA figures, in 2014, “Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people – the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008.”

Area C of the West Bank is under complete Israeli control.

Humanitarian and Legal bodies and institutions such as the UN, OCHA and B’Tselem confirm that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.

Having no other choice, many Palestinians are forced to build without permits to be able to provide a shelter for themselves and their families, risking having their buildings demolished, in the process.

Rawley demanded that Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ed Miliband: I’d be as good a friend to Israel as Cameron

MEMO | January 24, 2015

rededmiliLabour leader Ed Miliband has promised to be as good a friend to Israel as David Cameron, should he be elected in May.

In an interview published in Jewish News this week, the leader of the opposition acknowledged unhappiness among the pro-Israel Jewish community about his party’s Middle East policies, but emphasised “the things that unite us.”

intolerance of those who question the existence of the State of Israel, intolerance of boycotts and total intolerance of anti-Semitism. Those are the strands that unite us and I think those strands are very important.

Miliband said he would be “intolerant of those who question Israel’s right to exist” and “those who attack Israel in various ways”, but declared himself “a great supporter of meaningful negotiations.”

The paper also reported on remarks Miliband made at a recent public meeting in Hendon, where he defended his criticism of Israel’s assault on Gaza, saying: “I don’t believe that kind of action enhances the long-term security of Israel.”

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

StandWithUs an Agent of Foreign Power?

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | January 24, 2015

The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) declares that U.S. citizens in this country who work or lobby on behalf of foreign countries must register as its agents. Because doing so would significantly diminish the credibility of such individuals in the eyes of the American public, lobbyists go to great lengths to avoid doing so. For decades, critics of the Israel Lobby have complained that Aipac is such an entity, but the group cleverly articulates its programs and activities to avoid the necessity.

One of the main criteria in determining whether someone is violating FARA is if they are receiving funding directly from a foreign government. Aipac carefully avoids any semblance of such activity.

There are however newer members of the Lobby who are more impetuous, more overtly aggressive, and more eager to do the bidding of the Israeli government.  They are less cautious about their activities and more eager to collaborate directly and publicly with the government. One of these is StandWithUs. It is clear to careful observers of the Lobby that groups like SWU, The Israel Project, and others are agents of the Israeli government. In fact, then-deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon told Israeli TV that the government was funding efforts by groups like SWU, involved in the Olympia food coop lawsuit (a final appeal of SWU’s loss in that suit was heard before the Washington State supreme court this week).

israeli hasbara war room

Israeli on-campus hasbara war room.

Most of the time, government officials and the groups themselves are careful to conceal the tracks of such collaboration. But recently another door was opened into the ways in which such projects and funding mechanisms are developed by both parties. SWU’s press release announcing the initiative was dutifully picked up by the Likudist Jerusalem Post. The democracy watchdog media outlet, 7th Eye also reported that the group was joining with a government agency carrying a 1984-like name, the National Information Directorate (based in the prime minister’s office). Together, they would create a social media war room project that would aggressively disseminate the government’s point of view during times of crisis when Israel’s reputation needed a boost.

With the government and SWU contributing $500,000, they would select students in the UK and the U.S., who would come to Israel for hasbara training.  SWU would recruit the students and the government would train them in conducting social media warfare on Israel’s behalf. They would then return home to cities like New York, Los Angeles and London (specifically referenced as places the project would like to target).

A headline in 972 Magazine about it raised a red flag:

StandWithUs to take cash, messaging from Israeli gov’t

If this were true, it would be the smoking gun that might prove SWU had finally crossed a red line many of us have known they crossed long ago. Though the contents of the article didn’t quite support the claims advanced in the headline, I decided to read the minutes of the government meeting at which the project was approved. They raise some intriguing questions about the project and SWU’s role. In fact, the officials discussion of the project debated what the nature of SWU’s involvement would be. Was the government purchasing the services of SWU? Or is Israel supporting of the organization? And they (conveniently, as far as FARA is concerned) came to the conclusion that the GOI (Israeli government) would be purchasing services from SWU, and not supporting SWU as such.

But U.S. officials who examine such an arrangement might take a different approach to this question.

Below I’ve paraphrased (and at times quoted) the meeting minutes (Hebrew) at which the government representatives approved the joint project:

The need for this project arose in the wake of interactive campaigns in the course of Operation Protective Edge and Pillar of Cloud, which united Israeli hasbara officials with organizations and volunteers in a collective effort.

In light of this [previous success], it was decided to continue this activity with the goal of combating negative programs intended to damage the State of Israel by channeling truthful, balanced information to social media at normal times and times of emergency and military conflict.

The project is modeled on similar efforts involving Israel university students who participated in media war rooms during Operation Protective Shield. Often the war rooms were located at the universities and students received course credit for participation.

Those participating in the new initiative would attend multiple training sessions including a preparatory meeting at their home campus. There they would receive the needed hasbara materials and undergo training in how to use social media in order to disseminate the appropriate message. They would then learn how to create and manage a situation room and then launch it.

The Israeli students would be brought to the central situation room located in StandWithUs’ Jerusalem office. There, after receiving briefing materials, assignments would be given and they would be trained by officials of the PMO.

The student units would be activated during periods of emergency and would gather on their campus to take action. They would communicate and take direction from the central situation room in Jerusalem.

Three times a year, students designated as leaders of their respective campus groups would travel to Israel, where they would conduct “educational meetings” and training that would be later conveyed to the other student participants in their home campuses.

PMO officials would develop messaging for the foreign students. It will direct the subjects which they will promote on social media platforms and the talking points that should be emphasized. The ministry would have a direct, active and hands-on role, thus guaranteeing the students stay “on message.”

The government turned specifically to SWU, according to the minutes, because it is widely known as an effective communicator of the pro-Israel message on the internet and social media.  The group is seeking to increase its pro-Israel advocacy on American campuses in response to the rising tide of anti-Israel activism there. SWU’s purpose here is to present a true, authentic and appropriate image of Israel on campuses, in the media, and in different constituencies. Information SWU uses in its advocacy is known for being sound and well-prepared, including facts about different aspects of the State of Israel.

Participants in the government meeting were told that SWU reaches 1.2-million viewers each week (a figure I would strongly dispute) through various forms of new media. And customized content is created specifically for various target audiences, which include positive facts about Israel.

SWU was also chosen specifically for its reputation for battling the BDS movement through various media platforms like Buzzfeed, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Graduates of its training programs use what they learned on the internet. They employ the information and techniques taught them in order to advance a positive message about Israel online.

When asked how students would be chosen to join the project, an Israeli official told the government committee that a group, composed of representatives of the PMO and SWU would determine the best students to participate on the basis of criteria they established.

There was some debate within the project committee whether students would receive payment for their services (coyly named “scholarships”). Those in this program would not (those in the earlier Israeli student programs I mentioned above did receive compensation). They would suffice with certificates of appreciation which would add luster to their resumes.

Committee members were told that the government would not buy equipment or build out space for the project. Rather this would be the responsibility of SWU, whose Jerusalem offices would house it.

Among other interesting phrases to consider in analyzing the nature of the project and collaboration between SWU and the Israeli government is this:

The initiative for the project and operational responsibility for it lie essentially with the National Information Directorate, assisted in carrying it out by the organization (SWU). This project could not be carried out by the organization alone without official government involvement.

The level of involvement of the NID will be quite high, including determining the strategy and the hasbara messaging which would be disseminated.  A committee, most of whose members would be government officials, will create systems of review and oversight of the project.

According to the determination of the government specialist, members of the committee are convinced that this funding request is classified as a purchase of services and not as [organizational] support

My guess is that the issue about building out the situation room space in SWU’s office was a sensitive one. Perhaps the minutes included a reference to the government’s non-participation in this aspect of the project as a way of distinguishing between purchase of services and funding the organization. But the intense level of oversight the government is offering and its control of almost all key aspects of the project indicate that SWU is not really a partner in the project in the full meaning of the word, but rather taking direction from the Israeli government. The funding provided by the government will advance the goals of SWU. There is an utter seamlessness between the two entities. You could not really tell where the government’s involvement ended and SWU’s began. As such, SWU is an agent of the Israeli government.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Argentina investigates security officers over AMIA prosecutor death

Press TV – January 24, 2015

Ten Argentine police forces assigned to protect the AMIA bombing case prosecutor are under investigation for their activities on the day he was found dead.

The officers, together with two supervisors, are being questioned as part of an internal police probe into the handling of Alberto Nisman’s death, a source close to the investigation said.

According to the source, the officers are not considered suspects, but they have all been suspended from duty during the probe.

The body of Nisman was discovered on January 18 in the bathroom of his apartment in a neighborhood of the capital, Buenos Aires, with a bullet wound in his head.

The initial police report said Nisman had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Thursday, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner refused allegations that prosecutor Nisman committed suicide.

“I’m convinced that it was not suicide,” said the president in a statement posted on her Facebook page.

Nisman’s death happened hours before he was to testify in a congressional hearing about AMIA.

The “real move against the government was the prosecutor’s death… They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead. It is that sad and terrible,” the Buenos Aires Herald quoted Kirchner as writing in a letter on Thursday.

In July 1994, a car bomb exploded at the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, also known as AMIA, in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people died and hundreds more were injured.

The Israeli regime accuses Tehran of masterminding the terrorist attack. The Islamic Republic of Iran has strongly denied any involvement in the incident.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , , , | Leave a comment