IRmep

Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy

"Research - Awareness - Accountability"

 

 

 

"The Israel Lobby Enters State Government" - Free on Web & YouTube, also available in Paperback & Audible - 12/09/2019

Israel lobby graft and corruption inside Virginia's state government is rampant. Could it happen to your state?

Free web version Free YouTube audio book Audible Paperback

The Israel Lobby Enters State Government chronicles the formation, rise and secret activities of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB). While other books have focused on the Israel lobby’s influence over the federal government and U.S. foreign policy, there has been little research on Israel lobbying at the state level. Using sensitive documents acquired under Virginia’s sunshine law, this book argues that in Virginia the Israel lobby is no longer on the outside, but has now entered state government. The Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) is presently the only state government entity in the U.S. focused entirely on bringing corporations in from a single foreign country. The book explores how millions in taxpayer and other state funds are quietly being diverted from multiple sources to establish profitable Israeli companies in Virginia. The corporations are involved in military contracting, food and beverage manufacturing, energy generation, waste management and aquaculture. The author analyzes how VIAB projects displace workers and put home-grown market leaders out of business. By unmasking Israeli businesses launching operations that VIAB protects under code-names and opaque shell companies to secretly transact business in Virginia, the book exposes the reason behind some of the secrecy—their extensive business dealings in territory illegally occupied by Israel. 

The author delves into the establishment of VIAB by the state’s Jewish federations, and their continued involvement as VIAB board members, as well as their attempts to rewrite school textbooks and quash through new laws speech critical of Israel. Smith exposes who is running VIAB, how they leverage political campaign contributions, and the bankruptcy of VIAB’s many claims that their dealings are advancing the prosperity of working Virginians—as opposed to Israeli companies and VIAB insiders. He probes the true nature of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board and the future threat if similar Israel lobby entities proliferate within other state governments.

Only 19.7% of Americans share State Dept. view that international law doesn't apply to Israeli settlements - 11/27/2019

 

IRmep Poll: “International law SHOULD APPLY to Israel’s military occupation & colonization of the West Bank, Golan Heights, E. Jerusalem and displacement of their indigenous populations. Do you Disagree or Agree?”

Source: IRmep representative public opinion poll of 2,034 American adults through Google Surveys on November 20-22. Answer order randomly reversed.

Most American adults of voting age don’t appear willing to reject the applicability of international law to Israel’s ongoing colonization of occupied territories in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights.

On Monday, November 18, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reversed a 1978 State Department legal opinion stating that Israeli settlements were “inconsistent with international law.” Citing President Ronald Reagan's 1981 assessment that the settlements were not “inherently illegal,” Pompeo stated that, “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate... the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

The Trump administration relocated the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 and recognized the city as the capital of Israel. This most recent announcement is yet another blow to rule of law and international consensus. However, when polled, 53.6 percent of Americans don’t yet appear ready to register any concrete view on the matter. This may be due to the longstanding absence of serious U.S. mass media coverage of historical and legal issues. In other countries, informed and ongoing international legal analysis is the norm. Given that reality, it is surprising that 26.7 percent of Americans believe international law still applies, while only 19.7 percent believe it does not.

In a Nov. 21 letter sent to Pompeo, 107 House Democrats condemned the State Department’s recent decision on settlements.

Fraud at Israeli Military Contractor Oran Safety Glass: Plunge in DOD contracts incentivizes more war, jeopardizes Greensville County - 11/25/2019

..The fact that particular contracts are for MRAPs is a government secret. So, the five contracts cannot be identified from within publicly accessible listings of payments that have exact dollar amounts related to contracts awarded to OSG. However, military contract databases do reveal that in 2016, in an uncharacteristic move, OSG repaid the US government $4.7 million. It is not known if any American military personnel whose lives depended on non-compliant OSG armor, ever paid the ultimate price over Oran’s contracting malfeasance.

2009-2018 annual OSG revenue from U.S. government military contracts in steep decline ($ million)
Federal Procurement Data System

From the perspective of US taxpayers and residents of Greensville County in Virginia, there are a number of problems with the way OSG does business that are unique to its status as a recipient of massive amounts of funding orchestrated by the Virginia Israel Advisory Board. VIAB is presently the only taxpayer funded state government Israel export promotion council in the US Some VIAB board members hold equity stakes and positions as corporate officers in Israeli companies or joint ventures seeking to start operations in Virginia. Others are long-term officers of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other national Israel affinity and lobbying organizations.

Most news reports about Oran portray the opposite of reality. One year 2019 report, from the Area Development Online news organization ran the headline, "Oran Safety Glass Expands Greensville County, Virginia, Manufacturing Complex." A far more accurate headline would have been, "Greensville County Expands Oran Safety Glass Complex." Initially VIAB and Oran played every angle to squeeze millions in funding out of the state and county, all so Oran could be well-positioned to submit its fraudulent bids for US military contracts. Oran is now one of VIAB’s most cherished projects,..  Full report at Antiwar.com

"Transcending the Israel Lobby at Home and Abroad" Conference, May 29, 2020, Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This annual conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC explores the latest research, innovations and tactics for countering the Israel lobby's damaging policies in the U.S. and around the globe.

This conference has grown to become one of the largest educational events in Washington, attracting nearly 1,000 participants, including activists, students, educators, alternative news media, nonprofits, the international community and the private sector.  It also provides an excellent opportunity for face-to-face networking.

2020 Themes:

1.       How Americans are effectively working to overcome Israel lobby demands to violate international law, undermine freedom of speech, reward Israeli militarism and denigrate peaceful Palestinian aspirations.

2.       How voters this election year can both support and field politicians, and keep them from succumbing to the lobby's coordinated campaign contributions and constant pressure for fealty.

3.     Exploring important grassroots legislative and legal battles won by peace and justice allies in 2019-2020, how they did it, and how you can, too.

4.     The key differences between Jewish establishment Zionism and Christian Zionism, and common misunderstandings.

5.     How to implement "non-Israel-centric" regional strategies to eliminate the crippling human and financial costs of unending wars.

Conference attendees receive a box lunch and invitation to a special networking reception. 

For the first time ever, we are opening up our traditional "speakers dinner" as a public fund-raising gala! Join keynoters, speakers and a surprising lineup of entertainers for a delicious, educational and uplifting gathering the evening before the conference, on May 28! All gala proceeds go toward covering conference expenses!

Get your discounted tickets now through Eventbrite. Make a tax-deductible contribution to cover conference costs and student travel stipends.

For more information, speaker updates and student tickets, visit the conference website at https://IsraelLobbyCon.org

IsraelLobbyCon is solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep).

 

Confronting the “Deal of the Century” from a US perspective - 11/09/2019

IRmep presentation at the Palestine Center’s annual conference. It covered how the Gallup Organization’s misleading polls about U.S. "sympathy" for Israel would have been deployed to falsely claim Americans support the Trump-Kushner-Friedman-Greenblatt Middle East "Deal of the Century," much like they have been used by the Congressional Research Service to insinuate Americans support massive U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. How Gallup was confronted until it finally admitted its bellwether poll was biased. What most Americans really think about the principle of the economic "Deal of the Century." How Virginians view their own mini "Deal of the Century" advanced by Israel partisans placed inside their own state government by Israel lobby campaign contributions. The relative policy influence potential of the public opinions of the American majority vs economic elites and interest groups, in this case the U.S. Israel advocacy ecosystem.  Slides (PDF) Audio (MP3) Video (YouTube)

Are Israeli Settlers Secretly Installing Solar Panels at Virginia Public Schools? -November-December 2019

AN ISRAELI REAL ESTATE and solar energy giant secretly owns a U.S. solar energy developer and is building solar farms across the state of Virginia. Because it is using shell companies as fronts, nobody but a handful of corporate insiders and members of the state Virginia Israel Advisory Board appear to know the identity of the true beneficial foreign owners in Israel.

None of the customers at public schools, data centers and other organizations now signing 25- and 30-year contracts exchanging valuable rooftops and land for solar farms seem to know about the secret Israeli company’s extensive business activities in Palestinian and Syrian territories illegally occupied by Israel. Some customers are signing deals they don’t fully understand, and their signed contracts are financially disadvantageous to the point of being predatory. Schools in particular believe they are entering into deals with a young, Virginia-based, pet-friendly and social-media-savvy startup that just wants to make the world a bit more sustainable. But the story is much more complex, because stealth and misdirection is everywhere. Read more at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

The Israel Lobby Enters State Government - Author book chat - 11/04/2019

 

New Book! The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board - 10/29/2019

This book chronicles the formation, rise and secret activities of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB). While other books have focused on the Israel lobby’s influence over the federal government and U.S. foreign policy, there has been little research on Israel lobbying at the state level. Using sensitive documents acquired under Virginia’s sunshine law, this book argues that in Virginia the Israel lobby is no longer on the outside, but has now entered state government.

The Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) is presently the only state government entity in the U.S. focused entirely on bringing corporations in from a single foreign country. The book explores how millions in taxpayer and other state funds are quietly being diverted from multiple sources to establish profitable Israeli companies in Virginia. The corporations are involved in military contracting, food and beverage manufacturing, energy generation, waste management and aquaculture. The author analyzes how VIAB projects displace workers and put home-grown market leaders out of business. By unmasking Israeli businesses launching operations that VIAB protects under code-names and opaque shell companies to secretly transact business in Virginia, the book exposes the reason behind some of the secrecy—their extensive business dealings in territory illegally occupied by Israel.

The author delves into the establishment of VIAB by the state’s Jewish federations, and their continued involvement as VIAB board members, as well as their attempts to rewrite school textbooks and quash through new laws speech critical of Israel. Smith exposes who is running VIAB, how they leverage political campaign contributions, and the bankruptcy of VIAB’s many claims that their dealings are advancing the prosperity of working Virginians—as opposed to Israeli companies and VIAB insiders. He probes the true nature of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board and the future threat if similar Israel lobby entities proliferate within other state governments. Buy at Middle East Books & More or Amazon.com

US Should Support Israeli Land Grabs Say AIPAC Think-Tankers - American cash for weapons and Israeli settler relocation - 9/25/2019

...If the delivery vehicle of Be Strong and of Good Courage is a collection of enticing founding father bios, what is the payload? It appears in the final chapter. As to be expected, it is an appeal for additional withdrawals from the U.S. Treasury Department and already dangerously overdrawn bank account of US international standing.

The book proposes that in exchange for ending settlement construction east of the separation wall Israel built, much of it on Palestinian land, and a halt in Jewish real estate acquisition within Arab neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers would move to locations within Israel or to lands that will soon become part of Israel. Israel will of course maintain the right to conduct military operations east of the wall, but would abide Palestinian development of Dead Sea tourism and mineral industries.


The book recommends that the US Israel lobby, which partly owes its existence, identity and power to Israel, do what it does best: extract what Israel needs from America to realize Israel’s national ambitions. The US should provide "cash" to relocate settlers to areas within the Green Line or to newly annexed West Bank settlement blocs. The US should then block any UN resolutions opposed to unilateral Israeli annexations, and "work with the Europeans and others to gain their public support for Israel’s unilateral moves to ensure separation." The US should also fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and publicly criticize European and Arab leaders who fail to wholeheartedly approve. Of course, Israel’s annexations will create new security challenges, so the US should also promptly increase Israel’s "qualitative military edge..." Full Report at Antiwar.com Related video at YouTube.

Something's Fishy About AquaMaof's "Project Jonah" in Virginia - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Special Report October/November

 

Special WRMEA report. Israel Lobby Archive VFOIA documents Podcast interview Interview page

Poll: Americans oppose Israel lobby junkets, but longstanding capture of the IRS perpetuates conduits like AIEF - 08/15/2019

"...A close tie to the IRS is also the story of how the American Israel Education Foundation came into being. Although AEIF claims it "was created in 1990" it actually formed in September of 1988 and applied for tax-exempt status in April of 1989. AIEF’s application presented tightly argued reasons for why it should immediately – and forever after – be affirmed by the IRS as a tax-exempt educational charity. The IRS delivered a determination letter to AEIF in just four months. There was little chance for a conditional five year "probationary" period which is common for new entities with no track record. That is because of AIEF’s October 11, 1988 (PDF) seven-page justification for why it should receive tax exempt status. It was signed off and most likely entirely drafted by Milton Cherny who had worked as the technical advisor in charge of tax exempt rulings at the IRS National Office in Washington up until departing the IRS in September of 1988 to "begin" work on AIEF’s submission.

Despite well-documented complaint filings to the IRS that AIEF is a prohibited "sham…alter ego" organization of AIPAC, there is little chance the IRS will compare AIEF’s present day activities with its original tax exempt purpose. Likewise for yet another official IRS complaint about AIPAC’s own failure to mention in its 1967 application for tax exempt status that it was formerly an unincorporated lobbying division of an umbrella organization ordered to register as the foreign agent of Israel by the Department of Justice in 1962. In the 1960s IRS Commissioner Mortimer Caplin, a longtime Israel booster, delayed and finally brushed off a 1963 Senate Foreign Relations Committee demand for the review of Israel lobby entity tax exempt status.

Today in an America where key federal and even state agencies are under increasingly intense levels of capture by Israel and its US lobby, warranted accountability and compliance with regulations rigorously enforced on most other taxpayers simply does not exist." Full report at Antiwar.com AIEF application for tax exempt status at the Israel Lobby Archive Discussion on KZYX "Takes on the World" (audio)

“Visit your district, not Israel” 65.7 percent of Americans tell Congress - 08/12/2019

IRmep Poll: 41 House Democrats are now visiting Israel during the Congressional recess on a trip funded by a tax-exempt pro-Israel charity linked to the U.S. Israel lobby group AIPAC. Source: IRmep representative poll of 2,000 American adults through Google Surveys on August 8-10.

Most American adults of voting age believe representatives should visit their congressional districts rather than go to Israel according to a new poll. IRmep Polls surveyed 2,000 American adults about where they believed congressional reps should go during recess.

Junkets to Israel funded by an entity housed within the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a domestically registered lobby and a small number of other Israel lobby groups account for a third of all privately funded congressional trips with an international destination.

Members of Congress participating in the trips are accompanied by AIPAC employees. According to a leaked briefing booklet the trips are designed to present Israel as a militarily vulnerable and valuable ally deserving massive U.S. foreign aid. The program does not include any discussion of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, military occupation of Palestinian territories or meaningful visits with Palestinians representative of those displaced by Israel’s creation. More at IRmep Polls.

 

The IRS supports illegal settlements, but doesn't want to talk about it. 8/1/2019

 

Grant F. Smith, director of research at IRmep, exposes the IRS's long history of aiding and abetting billions of dollars of U.S. charitable contributions flowing through tax-exempt charities into illegal West Bank settlements during a live broadcast with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate. YouTube Audio

68% of Americans would reject Trump’s Mideast “Deal of the Century” August-September 2019


IRmep Poll: If you were expelled & resettled into a resource restricted area, would you fight to return or forfeit legal claims for a new life under a promised economic development plan? SOURCE: IRmep representative poll of 1,450 American adults fielded through Google Surveys on July 11-21, 2019. 

ON JUNE 25-26 JARED KUSHNER orchestrated the “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain. Kushner is President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and his senior adviser on ­negotiating a Middle East peace. The White House plan closely follows a strategy proposed by the late Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres assumed integration of the Middle East through widescale economic development would induce all parties to successfully tackle more difficult final status ­issues of borders, territory and refugees at a later time.

Palestinian government officials have broken off contact with the Trump administration since its December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They did not attend the conference, but some Palestinian businesspeople did.

While the “Peace to Prosperity” plan mentions the West Bank and Gaza, it makes no reference to Jerusalem. The ­financing for “Peace to Prosperity” is extremely speculative with no firm guarantees that any funding would materialize even if the Palestinians accepted.  Read more at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Only 5.7% of Americans say Israel is the top meddler in US elections: Skepticism about lobbying for foreign government "relationships"- 07/15/2019

Mainstream news coverage of foreign government influence on U.S. elections has been extensive since allegations first surfaced about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. According to a new poll, a solid 60.0% majority of Americans now believe Russia is the single top meddler in US elections, followed by China (16.4%) and the United Kingdom (7.1%).

Despite little warranted media coverage, a surprising 5.7% of Americans believe Israel is the single biggest "meddler" in US elections. Why might a swath of voting-age Americans as numerous as the population of the state of New York believe such a thing? One reason may be that nearly half do not appear to believe there is any difference between groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that claim to lobby for closer foreign government "relations" versus organizations directly lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.

IRmep Poll: Which country do you believe meddles the most in US elections?

Full report at Antiwar.com. See more polls at IRmep Polls.

Did Israel pull the U.S. out of compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? 7/08/2019

IRmep Director Grant F. Smith asks Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association if the long documented history of unpunished illegal diversions of U.S. nuclear weapons material, technology and know-how to Israel have pulled the U.S. out of compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  YouTube video.

 

U.S. Israel Free Trade Agreement damage assessment - 6/20/2019

Why has the Israel Free Trade Area Agreement (ILFTA) been so bad for America? Will Israel and its lobby advance even worse U.S.-Israel initiatives?

On this day 35 years ago following bitter complaints by U.S. exporters, the FBI launched a counter espionage investigation targeting the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli embassy. U.S. exporters at the time were near unanimously opposed to opening the vast U.S. market to Israeli exporters in exchange for limited, variable and tightly controlled U.S. access to Israel’s tiny market.

AIPAC and Israel worked every angle to pass the 1985 U.S. Israel Free Trade Area Agreement (ILFTA). ILFTA was the first of a string of so-called “Free Trade Agreements.” The joint effort by Israel and its lobby included stealing and using data provided in confidence by U.S. exporters to the International Trade Commission, which ITC had compiled into a classified report called “Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel, Investigation No. 332-180.”

By purloining and using the report against U.S. industry, and leveraging a vast coordinated political campaign contribution system, the Israel lobby won passage of ILFTA in 1985. ILFTA has produced a $182.25 billion bilateral trade deficit in goods. This report examines why ILFTA is the worst performing bilateral FTA in terms of cumulative trade deficit, surpassed only by the multilateral NAFTA deal.

$182 billion cumulative U.S. trade deficit with Israel 1985-2018

Source: U.S. Census Foreign Trade Data, Cumulative Trade Surplus (or Deficit) – $ Billion, compiled and inflation adjusted by IRmep.

Complete report (Text) (Audio) (Video) (PDF)

 

Lesson from FBI’s ‘Niger uranium forgeries’ file:There will be no consequences for twisting intelligence to attack Iran - 05/20/2019

An analysis of 640 pages of FBI investigatory records obtained by IRmep under the Freedom of Information Act reveals how the FBI Director limited Senator John D. Rockefeller’s urgent 2003 written demand for accountability over faulty Iraq war intelligence into a narrow overseas investigation. The released files, originally scheduled for declassification on December 31, 2028 document how FBI special agents from the Washington Field Office trailed Niger uranium sale forgery suspects in European regions where they held little jurisdiction – but were not allowed by FBI Director Robert Mueller to pursue any officials in their own back yard that twisted dubious intelligence to support the US invasion of Iraq. The lesson is clear. Despite subsequent years of Senate investigations into pre-invasion claims that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, Americans are still vulnerable to the misuse of real and fabricated intelligence deployed by unscrupulous US government officials seeking to plunge the nation into war.

To justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, White House officials repeatedly used dubious intelligence to publicly make accusations that Iraq had a clandestine nuclear weapons program. The most compelling accusation was that Iraq secretly sought to purchase 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger to refine and produce nuclear weapons. It was compelling because Iraq had only one plausible use for uranium – making nuclear weapons.

Full report at Antiwar.com   FOIA release of the FBI Niger uranium forgery investigation file

How The New York Times rigs news on ­ Israel-Palestine
James North, Mondoweiss

...First, there’s nothing better than a little good old-fashioned Orientalism, trying to treat Muslims and Arabs as though they’re a different sort of human being who operate under different assumptions and are motivated in different ways. The Times still relies on this to some extent. Again, I think this is unconscious, but I’m just going to give you [some examples of] good old-fashioned Orientalism, centuries old.

OK, this example is from a news analysis that appeared a couple of years ago. First I’ll quote a paragraph here from Steven Erlanger, who’s a veteran reporter. And then I’ll tell you what I think is going on here. Here’s the paragraph: “Unlike Fatah, Hamas claims the whole of the British Mandate of Palestine as land granted by Allah, which cannot be ceded. In other words, Israel is illegitimate and its occupants should ‘go home.’ The most any senior Hamas official ever offered was a hudna, a cease-fire, which the Prophet Muhammad offered enemies to restore his strength.”

Now this is a classic Orientalist gem. Let’s start with not translating “Allah” to “God.” I mean, this is very commonly done, and not just by The Times. Just imagine if every time you read a story from France where God was mentioned, if it said Dieu, or every time a Spanish person in your newspaper would talk about God, it would put in Dios. I mean, this is why some Americans actually believe that Muslims believe in a different God than non-Muslims. This is part of the reason for it. But it gets better. more at WRMEA

 

U.S. foreign aid and the Israeli nuclear weapons program
Grant F. Smith, IRmep

...The policy goals of the entire U.S. policymaking community for the Israeli nuclear weapons program were to compel Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to uphold U.S. obligations under that treaty, withhold the sale of nuclear delivery-capable Phantom jets from Israel that they wanted to buy, and compel the Israelis to dismantle their Dimona nuclear weapons facility. Their consensus, as stated in a memo compiled by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, was to avert a disaster in terms of the peace process. They felt that nuclear weapons would “sharply reduce the chances for any peace settlement in the future”—and, boy, were they ever right.

Israeli policy goals were to buy those nuclear-capable jet fighters, to maintain their Dimona facility, and to get the United States to enter into an Israeli-contrived policy of forever being ambiguous about whether they did or did not have a nuclear weapons program.

And so, these two policy objectives were fundamentally opposed, and the United States decision factors really rotated around the Nixon assessment of the Israel lobby’s ability to mount pressure upon them. Henry Kissinger noted that if they made public the fact that they were going to base sales of these jets on the nuclear program, that an enormous pressure would be mounted on them by the lobby.... there was another consideration within the policy compilation which they all considered. This is something most Americans don’t know about, but there was concern because they knew that the Israelis had in fact stolen weapons-grade uranium from the United States beginning in about 1965 from a plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania. more at WRMEA

What does a censored undercover news investigation reveal about the Israel lobby in America?
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intafada

...These organizations include the Israel on Campus Coalition, The Israel Project, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies—it’s more like the foundation for defense of apartheid, occupation, sniper murder and so on. It also showed how the Israeli Embassy in Washington itself was running some of these operations. For example, a woman called Julia Reifkind—who at the time was an Israeli Embassy employee, but previously was an AIPAC campus activist in California—described her typical daily work as “mainly gathering intel, reporting back to Israel to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.” She discusses how the Israeli government is “giving our support to various front groups,” in “that behind-the-scenes way.” She also talks about using fake Facebook profiles to monitor campus and pro-Palestine groups.

And, again, these efforts are run in direct coordination with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs whose director general is a woman called Sima Vaknin-Gil, who was herself a former military intelligence officer.

She talks about how her operation, run through the ministry, has mapped the universe of Palestinian rights activism globally, “not just the United States, not just campuses, but campuses and intersectionality and labor unions and churches.” And she says that this data is used for “offense activity” against Palestine activists. See more at WRMEA
.

Israel’s Armor: The Israel lobby and the first generation of the Palestine conflict
Walter Hixson, University of Akron

...Let me conclude in the same spirit. Let us declare here today that if demanding the right to exist while denying it to your neighbor is not wrong, nothing is wrong. If driving people from their land and demolishing their homes is not wrong, nothing is wrong. If asserting absolute authority over a historic city, rightful home to people of all faiths is not wrong, nothing is wrong. If slaughtering children for throwing stones at their oppressors is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

If terror and deprivation that are being inflicted every day upon the imprisoned people of Gaza is not wrong, nothing is wrong. If supplying $125 billion to finance a regime that commits such crimes against humanity is not wrong, nothing is wrong. If converting the Congress of the United States into a lapdog for Israeli policies is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

Let us also emphasize once again that if anti-Semitism is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Cynical deployment of baseless charges of anti-Semitism, however, in order to legislate against free speech, stifle criticism of a foreign nation, or insist on the right to outlaw boycott of an apartheid state—if these things are not wrong—nothing is wrong.

As we continue to struggle, no matter what the odds and the monies arrayed against us, let us derive inspiration from another antebellum freedom fighter. “I am earnest,” William Lloyd Garrison declared in 1831 when he launched the publication of the first issue of the antislavery newspaper The Liberator. “I will not equivocate—I will not retreat a single inch—and I will be heard.” See more at WRMEA
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Why talking about the Israel Lobby matters
Delinda Hanley
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

...So why can’t we talk about the Benjamins? American taxpayers provide Israel with more than $3.8 billion annually in military aid. You’ll be hearing more on that later from our conference co-organizer, IRmep’s Grant Smith.

Since 1948, Israel has received far more U.S. foreign aid than any other country, despite polls showing that most Americans oppose such aid. On March 6 Gallup claimed—although it was the lowest figure since 2009—that 59 percent of Americans sympathized more with the Israelis and only 21 percent sympathized more with the Palestinians. But for decades, Gallup’s lofty claims of U.S. sympathy for Israel, coming out just before AIPAC’s annual meeting, differed significantly from Pew Research.

Question: In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?

When IRmep fielded Gallup’s poll through the highly accurate Google survey platform between March 5 and 8, IRmep found that only 22.2 percent of Americans said they sympathize more with the Israelis, while 52.5 percent claimed they held no opinion. Americans have long been told they are highly sympathetic to Israel and support giving most of the U.S. aid budget to Israel—when in fact they aren’t, and don’t. See more at WRMEA.

Gallup quietly admits ‘Israeli vs. Palestinian’ sympathy polls are misleading
 4/17/2019

Pollster Gallup admitted on March 28 that three decades of polling data contain fundamental flaws "well beyond what we would attribute to normal sampling error."

Gallup’s admission centers on its high-stakes question of whether Americans have greater sympathy for Israelis or for Palestinians. Gallup loudly trumpeted that Americans "increasingly sympathized with Israel in recent years." U.S. based Israel affinity organizations and the Congressional Research Service long used Gallup sympathy polls to claim that most Americans support giving most of the US foreign aid budget to Israel.

Gallup attributes its sudden admission of error to "an analysis of [Gallup] World Affairs surveys and other surveys conducted at about the same time indicate this is not the case."

Gallup’s reevaluation may have been triggered by more than its own polling and cited polling done by CNN and Pew Research. In both 2018 and 2019 IRmep paid to field Gallup’s precisely worded polling question through the highly accurate Google Surveys representative polling service. The analysis of results, published at Antiwar.com on March 13, 2019 and April 29, 2018, found that contrary to Gallup results the majority of Americans do not sympathize more with Israelis "in the Middle East situation."

Full report at Antiwar.com

YouTube Playlist
The Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference 2019
4/2/2019

 

On The Ground:
The role of the Israel lobby in the Palestine conflict -
 3/29/2019

Live Video Stream Archive
The Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference 2019
3/22/2019

 

Poll: Only 22.2% in US sympathize more with Israelis -  Despite Gallup claims, most Americans have "no opinion" - 03/13/2019

On March 6 Gallup claimed 59% of Americans sympathized more with the Israelis and only 21% sympathized more with the Palestinians. The poll was part of a multi-question survey fielded by telephone. Gallup’s question was, "In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?"

Gallup said this high purported level of sympathy for Israel was nevertheless below its 64% peak reported by Gallup in 2018. According to Gallup, US sympathy for Israel has now reached its lowest level since 2009.

For the second year IRmep fielded Gallup’s precisely worded sympathy question through the Google Surveys online platform between March 6-8 and once again received vastly different results.

IRmep Poll: In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?

Source: IRmep representative poll of 1,003 American adults through Google Surveys on March 6-8.

A majority of Americans, 52.5%, far from expressing overwhelming – but declining – sympathy for Israel, claim that they hold "No opinion" on the matter. Only 22.2% of Americans said they sympathized more with the Israelis. This amount is less than the total number (25.3%) of Americans answering "Neither" "Both" and "Palestinians. The "Palestinians" response was 6.8%.

Full report at Antiwar.com Polling data IRmep poll page

The real reason Congress is targeting Ilhan Omar -  (Hint: it's about the Israel lobby) 03/07/2019

 

Do members of Congress take too many private trips to Israel with AIPAC?
41% now want their representatives to visit Palestinians - 03/01/2019

One of every three members of Congress boarding a jetliner on a privately-funded all-expense paid trip overseas has Israel as their final destination. Only one out of a hundred ever visits Palestinian territories as a final destination.

Analysis of Gift Travel Filings made to the US House of Representatives Office of the Clerk over the past half-decade reveals Israel is far and away their top foreign destination. House of Representatives members made nearly 1,400 trips to Israel, while total subsidized visits to foreign countries other than Israel were 2,500.

  Member of Congress Privately Funded Foreign Trips – 2014-2018  
   
  Source: Travel Reports from the office of Clerk  

The vast majority of Israel trips are funded by the American Israel Education Foundation which raises tax-exempt contributions from pro-Israel donors and Jewish federations. They typically last eight days and cost $10,000. AEIF is a corporation created in 1988 by the domestically-registered lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In 2009 66% of AEIF’s board was comprised of AIPAC directors. Since AIEF is merely a lobbying funding conduit with no employees, whenever members of Congress travel to Israel, they are accompanied instead by staffers from AIPAC. In 2017 AIEF reported raising $60 million in revenue and expending $57 million. Another sole-purpose entity set up by AIPAC in 1984 is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy which works to portray policies favored by the Israeli government as being in the American interest.

Full report at Antiwar.com

Speakers at "The Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference 2019 " on March 22

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- “The Israel Lobby & American Policy 2019 Conference” takes place all day on March 22 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and will feature the following speakers:

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian novelist, poet, essayist and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine. Her keynote speech topic is “Israel: More than just Apartheid.”

Ali Abunimah is a journalist and the co-founder and executive director of the widely acclaimed The Electronic Intifada. He will discuss “What does a censored undercover news investigation reveal about the Israel lobby in America?”

Saqib Ali served as a Democratic Party member of the Maryland House of Delegates and will address “Why I’m suing Maryland to protect my constitutional right to boycott Israel.”

Kathy Drinkard is a retired teacher and elementary school counselor, and pro-Palestine activist who will address “How the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR) is preventing Israel affinity organizations from politicizing K-12 textbooks.”

Walter Hixson is a distinguished professor of history at the University of Akron. He will discuss key findings from his forthcoming book, Israel’s Armor: The Israel Lobby and the First Generation of the Palestine Conflict.

Martin F. McMahon is the plaintiffs’ attorney in the landmark legal action against Israeli settlers and their American financiers. He explains what follows his Palestinian and American plaintiffs’ recent legal victory in the DC Court of Appeals.

James Metz co-founded Richmonders for Peace in Israel-Palestine and will speak about “Why VCHR is taking on the Virginia Israel Advisory Board.”

James North is a contributing editor at Mondoweiss and will examine “How The New York Times rigs news on Israel Palestine.”

Paul Noursi is co-director of the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR) and will discuss “What is the VCHR?”

Brad Parker is senior adviser, policy and advocacy, at Defense for Children International and will cover “What lessons can activists take away from the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act?”

Grant Smith is research director at IRmep and will speak about “U.S. foreign aid and the Israeli nuclear weapons program.”

Register online at https://IsraelLobbyandAmericanPolicy.org or https://israellobbycon.eventbrite.com

Students may apply for free tickets and stipends at https://israellobbyandamericanpolicy.org/Students_Stipends/

News media may apply for press credentials at https://israellobbyandamericanpolicy.org/Press_credentials/

Ticketholders can attend the main program, ideas fair, receive a box lunch and an invitation to the post-conference reception!

IsraelLobbyCon is solely sponsored by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep).

IRmep Poll: 41% want members of the U.S Congress to visit Palestinian territories - 02/26/2019

When asked, 41.2% of American adults recently polled said members making visits to Israel should also visit “territories where Palestinians expelled during Israel’s creation live.”

Question: Should members of the US Congress taking educational trips to Israel also visit the territories where Palestinians expelled during Israel's creation live?

Source: IRmep representative poll of 1,014 American adults through Google Surveys on February 19-23 with a root mean square of 4.7%.

Though not as statistically relevant as the overall poll results, demographic filtering reveals younger and older adults are generally more supportive of Palestinian territory visits. In the 18-24 category, 45.7% favored such visits while in the 25-34 age group 46% were supportive of Congress members visiting Palestine. 55-64 year-olds and 65+ category also had higher favorability to the idea. Other IRmep Polls

Poll: 75% of Americans Oppose Outlawing Boycotts of Israel  - Some fighting back over freedom of speech - 02/12/2019

New legislation passed in the Senate seeks to legalize the right of individual state governments to force American companies to certify they won’t engage in economic boycotts of Israel as a condition for receiving government contracts.

The "Combating BDS Act of 2019" is embedded as Title IV within the ‘‘Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019’’ (S.1). If signed into law, S.1 would allow states to withhold government funding from entities unwilling to certify they will not boycott Israel. Most existing state anti-BDS measures require pledge forms that contractors must sign as a condition for winning or renewing contracts

But only 22.5% of American adults favor anti-boycott measures. A new representative IRmep poll conducted through Google Surveys finds that 74.9% of Americans oppose forcing government contractors to forswear boycotts.

Question: Should Congress force American businesses seeking government contracts to first sign a pledge that they won’t boycott Israel for its human rights record and military occupation?

Full report at Antiwar.com   Polling data   IRmep poll page

What Israel lobbyists have been getting away with for years - 2/11/2019

Flashpoints host Dennis Bernstein and IRmep's Grant F. Smith discuss the Twitter and media frenzy unleashed by Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar's brief tweet about the Israel lobby and money. How did AIPAC reconstitute after the Department of Justice ordered it to register as an Israeli foreign agent? How does AIPAC wield power and influence? Why does establishment media do such a poor job reporting on Israel Palestine and the lobby? What cracks are starting to appear?

Full podcast audio

IRmep Lawsuit: US nuclear "policy substitution" for Israel undermines NPT, AECA and bilks US taxpayers - 1/25/2019

On January 17, IRmep filed a 59-page brief (PDF HTML) in a lawsuit demanding release of a series of secret presidential letters promising not to force Israel to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or publicly discuss Israel's nuclear weapons program.

The brief contextualizes a formerly top-secret 1969 cross-agency study about what U.S. policy toward Israel’s nuclear weapons should be. Unanimous consensus between the Departments of Defense, State and intelligence community was that Israel should be compelled to sign the NPT in order to be allowed to purchase conventional U.S. military weapons. Government agencies correctly believed that if Israel was allowed to possess nuclear weapons there would never be peace in the Middle East. National security adviser Henry Kissinger also grudgingly revealed intelligence in the summary that Israelis had stolen U.S. government nuclear material to build their arsenal atomic weapons. (1969 NSC papers on the Israeli nuclear weapons program filed as Exhibit A PDF)

Going against the consensus advice, on September 26, 1969, President Nixon adopted the Israeli policy of “ambiguity” (never confirming or denying Israel’s nuclear weapons program) in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. US presidents through Donald Trump have continued the Israeli "ambiguity" policy in a series of letters written under intense lobbying by the Israeli government.


According to the IRmep legal filing, this policy has perpetuated a $222.8 billion dollar fraud against U.S. taxpayers through non-enforcement of Arms Export Control Act bans on U.S. foreign aid—absent specific waivers—to known foreign nuclear powers that have not signed the NPT. The IRmep filing also debunks a series of assertions and disinformation filed in an affidavit by the National Security Council

On January 18, 2019 the Department of Justice filed a motion to indefinitely stop the lawsuit from proceeding until the end of the government shutdown, citing lack of funds to mount a legal defense. (PDF)

Listen to a discussion about next steps for this critical IRmep litigation and our other lawsuits on the Scott Horton Show (MP3).

IRmep Stream: Evidence of Israel's undue influence: Joshua Geltzer, former Obama NSC, asked to respond - 2/1/2019

 

NSC swears US policy on Israel’s nukes is legit - DOJ argues using secrecy to cover up wrongdoing is permissible - 01/15/2019

The NSC and NARA are attempting to dismiss a lawsuit seeking release of the letters by claiming the very fact of the existence (or nonexistence) of such letters would inherently be classified – and that therefore no search for responsive documents need be performed. Since FOIA courts readily defer to agency affidavits asserting irreparable harm to national security – provided such affidavits are specific enough – the NSC also provided a written justification.

Fitzgerald claimed that confirming or denying the existence of the letters could result in "sowing doubt about the US commitment to the Nonproliferation Treaty…eliminating strategic ambiguity…revealing information shared with an expectation of confidentiality; undermining US government policy limiting the potential for an arms race in a particular region…suggesting differential treatment; and revealing the relationship (or absence of such a relationship) with foreign intelligence agencies...."

...However, citing a dubious precedent, the Department of Justice, counsel to NARA in the court battle, argued that even if the letters are being kept secret to cover up wrongdoing, such secrecy is allowed. "There is no legal support for the conclusion that illegal activities cannot produce classified documents…history teaches the opposite." The cited precedent was the withholding of illegal FBI surveillance tapes of Dr. Martin Luther King from assassination researchers in 1980. In that case the DOJ managed to win a court order sealing the records for an additional fifty years since they might "compromise legitimate secrecy needs."
Full report at Antiwar.com  Lawsuit for presidential files





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