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The Coalition Against Terrorist Media/The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Israel´s fake "U.S. organizations" on a mission to stop Hezbollah´s Al-Manar TV station reaching Western audiences

Resistance Research, July 2008


The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) is a US based organization and branch of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) - that has been the driving force in the international campaign to ban the airing of Lebanese Al-Manar station - the only international news outlet of the Resistance to Israel´s aggression and occupation of Lebanon.

That Al-Manar is the organization´s main target is described clearly by CATM in its mission statement below (taken from the CATM homepage):

"The Coalition Against Terrorist Media will educate the American people to the threat posed by terrorist controlled- and funded-media outlets. It will advocate for specific government and public action to limit these media outlets’ ability to incite violence, recruit terrorists, and serve as a communications tool between terrorist generals and their troops in the field. The Coalition’s efforts will primarily focus on Hizbollah’s al-Manar television station. With an estimated 10-15 million viewers daily around the globe, it is the most dangerous terrorist-sponsored broadcaster operating today."

On the patron organization FDD´s homepage, the campaign and its methods are further explained:

"FDD is the only organization to create a global campaign, Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) —comprising Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and secular organizations—to shut down Hezbollah's al-Manar terrorist television station and counter the pernicious influence of its sponsors in the Iranian regime.

The campaign involves careful messaging, a detailed plan of all the government officials in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia who would need to be reached, and an ambitious goal: removing al-Manar from worldwide broadcast.

Through numerous media appearances and briefings to over 800 government officials and private sector executives in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, CATM has been instrumental in removing al-Manar from eight satellite providers around the world. As a result, al-Manar can no longer spread hatred, recruit suicide bombers and support terrorism in North America, Central and South America, Asia, Australia and most of Africa. CATM is working to remove al-Manar from the two remaining satellite providers (Egyptian and Saudi) that broadcast the station into Europe, the Middle East and North Africa."

On the same homepage FDD/CATM boasts of its recent feats aganist free speech, listing:

"On March 23, 2006, CATM achieved its most significant U.S. policy objective when the U.S. Treasury Department designated al-Manar and its related radio station and parent company as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entities."

FDD/CATM also wages a war against Al-Manar´s Internet outlets, lobbying against Internet providers and forcing Al-Manar´s homepage off the Net or to change its web addresses (see for instance: "CATM Removes Hezbollah's Al-Manar Website From Service Provider; In Game of Cat and Mouse, Terrorist Site Forced to Change Address and Server", U.S. Newswire, 30 August, 2005).

So which forces are running these "US" organizations?

Investigating FDD´s activities shows close bonds of support to Israeli policies. Under FDD´s homepage the organization for instance boasts:

"FDD has trained hundreds of professors and students as pro-democracy, anti-terrorism advocates and activists. A key part of the training is an intensive fellowship program in Israel and Washington, D.C., examining how democracies defend themselves from terrorism."

"Terrorism" is here the old euphemism for resistance to Israeli dictats.

As one peeks into the staff of FDD, the Israeli connection becomes even clearer.

FDD supporters and so-called "advisors" includes rabid Zionists like Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Louis J. Freeh, Max M. Kampelman and architects and advocates of the Iraq genocide like Richard Perle, Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. Other overt supporters of Israel in FDD´s staff are Joshua D. Goodman, Sasha Eckstein, Cara Rosenthal and Laura Grossman, to name a few.

Mark Dubowitz is the Executive Director of FDD and also the Manager of the CATM and has a genuine pro-Israel record. Dubowitz has for instance been a speaker at the main US Pro-Israel Lobby covention - AIPAC National Summit - held in Philadelphia, October 28, 2007 (see: http://www.aipac.org/about_AIPAC/3435_4966.asp )

Mark Dubowitz also on April 28 2004 addressed the DC chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition "on FDD's activities in Europe and the U.S". Other speakers at that event included Zionist policy makers like Colonel Boaz Cohen, Military Attache from the embassy of Israel in Washington D.C. and Moshe Fox, Minister of Public Affairs of the Embassy of Israel (see: http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=225087 ). Here it should be noted that a Colonel Boaz Cohen was the chief of operations for Israel's Northern Command during the 2006 war against Lebanon.

Further, Dubowitz - a staunch supporter if Israel´s "Security Fence" - also writes in The Jewish Standard (02/22/2007, see: http://www.jstandard.com/articles/2312/1/Despite-efforts-at-reconciliation,-‘never-again’-divides-Germans,-Jews ), where he writes:

"We sat at a bonfire at the foot of Masada under the stars, discussing the existential threat to Israel from Iran."

Dubowitz has also written for "inFocus", the Jewish Policy Center's quarterly journal (see the article " Terrorist TV in Eurabia")

Mark Dubowitz will further increase his Israeli liason when he is to speak at the Israeli based ICT´s - International Institute for Counter-Terrorism - annual conference in its headquarters in Herzliya, Israel, in September 2008 (see: http://www.ict.org.il/AnnualConference/ConferenceUpdates/tabid/284/Default.aspx )

Among Dubowitz´ fellow speakers at that conference are people taken straight from the Israeli military Security Establishment such as:

Maj. Gen. Shahar Ayalon, Deputy Commissioner, Israel Police, Israel

Mr. Eliezer Tsafrir, Former Head of Mossad Branches, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, and Lebanon, Israel

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amnon Sofrin, Former Head of Intelligence Directorate, ISIS, Israel

Mr. Shabtai Shavit, Former Head of the Mossad and Chairman of the Board of Directors, ICT, IDC Herzliya, Israel

Dr. Col. (Res.) Shaul Shay, Head of Security Policy Division, National Security Council; Senior Research Fellow, ICT, IDC Herzliya, Israel

Mr. Pini Shif, CEO, Organization of Israeli Security Companies, Israel

Maj. Gen. Dov Lutzky, Head of Operations, Israeli Prison Service, Israel

Prior to Dubowitz, Avi Jorisch was Executive Director of CATM. Jorisch presently stands as the Senior Fellow and "terrorism expert" at the FDD.

Avi Jorisch, who holds a master's degree in Islamic history from Israel´s Hebrew University, also has a long record of cooperation with Israel´s main lobby groups, with a few examples given below.

Jorisch has been a speaker at Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) in 2008 (see: http://www.israelcc.org/resources/Speaker_Avi_Jorisch.htm).

Avi Jorisch further reveals his Israeli leanings as he was a speaker at AIPAC´s Policy Conference, Washington DC, on June 2, 2008 (see: http://www.aipac.com/about_AIPAC/Learn_About_AIPAC/2841_12377.asp )

Jorisch has also spoken for the Jewish Students Association and The Coalition of Hopkins Activists for Israel (CHAI) in 2004 (see: "Jorisch details Hezbollah role", http://media.www.jhunewsletter.com/media/storage/paper932/news/2004/04/02/News/Jorisch.Details.Hezbollah.Role-2244937.shtml ).

Avi Jorisch is also to speak at AIPAC´s Young Leadership Event in Chicago in 9/10/2008 (see: http://aipac.org/AIPAC_events/index_15350.asp )

Jorisch is also a consultant expert promoted by The Israel Project, an Israeli propaganda organization (see: http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.887609/k.5889/Expert_Sources_by_Topic_avaialable_for_comment.htm ).

Mr. Jorisch has written the Washington Institute propaganda monograph entitled "Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballah's al-Manar Television" (2004) which is their main pamphlet in their war against Al-Manar.

Zionist Avi Jorisch, FDD/CATM.

Among CATM´s so called "coalition members" includes bulvans of Israel like the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress (AJC).

CATM´s master organization - the FDD, has deep roots in the Zionst-Israeli establishment in the US. Daniel McCarthy hs written a lenghty and revealing article on FDD's origins in the November 17, 2003, issue of The American Conservative ( http://www.amconmag.com/article/2003/nov/17/00017/ ):

"In early 2001, a tightly knit group of billionaire philanthropists conceived of a plan to win American sympathy for Israel's response to the Palestinian intifada. They believed that the Palestinian cause was finding too much support within crucial segments of the American public, particularly within the media and on college campuses, so they set up an organization, Emet: An Educational Initiative, Inc., to offer Israel the kind of PR that the Israeli government seemed unable to provide itself.

At first, Emet floundered, without an executive director or a well-defined mission. But that changed after Sept. 11, and Emet changed too, into what is now the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The name is different, but the goal of influencing America's opinion-forming classes remains. Emet became the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies thanks in large part to Clifford May, FDD’s president and an old hand at the spin game. From 1997 to 2001 he was the Republican National Committee’s director of communications. Before that he was a journalist—associate editor of the Rocky Mountain Daily News and earlier a reporter and Africa bureau chief for the New York Times. May’s vice president, Nir Boms, similarly has a background well suited to the group’s operations. Boms was an academic liaison for the Israeli Embassy in Washington and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces. He came to the group even before May, as Emet’s first hire."

The article also reveals the close link between FDD and Israel´s estalishment:

"To that end, FDD has established academic fellowship programs that last summer took 52 undergraduates and 19 professors—plus one journalist, Joel Mowbray, author of Dangerous Diplomacy—to Israel, where they could see the effects of terrorism at first hand and attend lectures by Israeli diplomats, academics, and military personnel [...]."

The article continous with revealing further on FDD:s Jewish-Zionist connection (highlights below added as underlined):

"What makes all of this possible is the support the foundation receives from its billionaire backers. Its nearly $3 million annual budget comes from 27 major donors, most of whom are members of "the Study Group"--also sometimes called the "Mega Group" because of their sizeable contributions--a semi-formal organization of major Jewish philanthropists who meet twice a year to discuss joint projects.

The group’s membership includes, among others, U.S. Healthcare founder Leonard Abramson, New York financier Michael Steinhardt, Seagrams patriarch and Jewish World Congress president Edgar S. Bronfman Sr. and his brother Charles, and Lynn Schusterman, widow of Oklahoma oilman Charles Schusterman. Some of the group’s projects have been establishing and funding Birthright Israel, which provides Jewish youths with free travel to the Holy Land; a synagogue restoration program called STAR (Synagogue Transformation and Renewal); and the renovation and re-invigoration of Hillel, the Jewish campus chaplaincy. More than a few of these projects have generated controversy among some American Jews, who see this small group of mega-donors exercising considerable influence over Jewish-American affairs. But for all the debate that has attended some of these projects, none before has been as overtly political as Emet or FDD. Leonard Abramson was the point man for establishing Emet. He, Michael Steinhardt, and Edgar Bronfman were the foundation’s board of directors at the time of its incorporation in the spring of 2001. Their original plan called for Emet to have centers in both the U.S. and Israel, with the Israeli branch to be located at Tel Aviv University under its president, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich. Emet was to have close ties to the Israeli government as well—so close, in fact, that there was some dispute between the mega-donors and the Israeli Foreign Ministry over just whose project this was. On March 9, 2001, three days before Emet’s articles of incorporation were filed in New York, the Forward reported that “A[n Israeli] Foreign Ministry source leaked news of the initiative—called ‘Emet,’ or ‘truth,’ in Hebrew —to Israel Radio, portraying the effort as a Foreign Ministry project that the Americans were trying to co-opt.” According to the Forward, the mega-donors were quick to assert their control in a letter to the Foreign Ministry, saying in part, “Either the Ministry will be part of the project or the Ministry will be left out.”

Israel was the focus of Emet’s first and only major project. Emet worked through Hillel to sponsor fellowships for 40 undergraduates from North America to go to Israel, where “Hillel experts will help students prepare proactive Israel advocacy action plans for their campuses,” according to a Hillel press release dated July 10, 2001. At that time, Nir Boms was the only person working for Emet full-time. By the beginning of September, the mega-donors were looking to jump-start the organization. According to a report publishing in the Forward on Sept. 7, 2001, Emet—even before it became the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies—was already looking to recruit Jack Kemp and Jeane Kirkpatrick, two future FDD board members, to “speak out on Israel’s behalf.” At the same time a prospective board of directors was being assembled, Emet’s backers and their associates were also in discussions with Clifford May about becoming the group’s executive director. When Emet was re-launched as the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies shortly after 9/11, May was its president, and Kemp, Kirkpatrick, and Steve Forbes—and also, initially, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)—were on its board of directors.

Money was still coming in from the mega-donors. Edgar Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, together with Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, each gave the organization $250,000 in 2002. (Bronfman and Marcus gave their money directly; Steinhardt’s contribution came through the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Foundation.) Leonard Abramson, Charles Bronfman, and Lynn Schusterman each gave $100,000 or more individually or through personal foundations, as did several other major donors associated with the Study Group. Dalck Feith, father of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, also gave $100,000. The foundation’s revenue in 2002 came to $2.9 million. In addition to such prominent, high-dollar donors, FDD also boasted a board of advisors that reads like a Who’s Who of neoconservative wonks—Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, and Frank Gaffney among them— and politicians and political activists from both parties, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.). Fully funded, fully staffed, and able to claim support from members of both major parties, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, after a slow start as Emet, was ready to step into action.

Along the way the idea for an Israeli branch was jettisoned. May says he is unfamiliar with any plans there may have been for an Emet center in Tel Aviv. And, although there might be some broad similarities between the Emet fellowship program with Hillel and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ own fellowships, May insists that they are two different things. “My conception of what kind of program we should do was rather different,” he says, “… to be honest, I just wasn’t terribly impressed with [Emet’s] conception.” Israel is still the site for the fellowship program, according to May, because it provides a setting in which students and faculty can see terrorism and counter-terrorism up close.

We take them to Israel for the same reason that you’d take them to Kansas to study tornadoes or equatorial Africa to study tropical diseases. It’s a place where you know you’ll see the impact of terrorism and you’ll see a small country fighting terrorism every day. You can, as we did this summer, take our students, who include Christians—mostly Christians—Jews and, this summer, two Muslims, and you take them to the border with Lebanon, and you can say, ‘You see right there? Look through the binoculars, that’s the Hezbollah outpost. Notice that it’s flying a Hezbollah flag, not a Lebanese flag. Now look over there. That’s a UN outpost. The UN does nothing about Hezbollah except to protect Hezbollah.’”

May and others at FDD emphasize that the foundation is about more than just Israel, however. If Israel seems especially important, that is in large part because of the extensive experience Israel has had with jihadist terrorism. Jihadist terrorists are of more interest than other kinds of terrorists, such as the IRA or the Columbian FARC, simply as a matter of priorities, FDD says. Andrew Apostolou, the foundation’s director of research, notes that other kinds of terrorism may require more attention in the future: “Remember that the worst war crimes of the last decade were committed by Orthodox Christians in the Balkans and these people are perfectly capable of striking out one day, [but] they haven’t yet.”

And just as terrorist threats may not always arise from Islamic fundamentalists, moderate Muslims can be an important ally in the war on terror, according to the staff at FDD. Eleana Gordon stresses that the foundation is careful not to be seen as calling for a war against Islam, and furthermore that it “also communicate[s] that Muslims are probably the number one victims. If you look at … the civil war in Algeria, they kill Muslims and moderate Muslims first.”

For all that, one will not find anyone speaking in behalf of Palestinian complaints against Israel at FDD. Asked about this, Gordon said that addressing such grievances is outside the foundation’s purview. The foundation’s interest lies in the means chosen to press the case. All at the foundation agreed that when terrorism is the means, it must be seen to reflect negatively on whatever cause it is employed to serve. May agreed that this should hold true for Israel as well, and that some discussion of the terrorism perpetrated by Irgun and the Stern Gang would be appropriate for FDD’s programs.

Does all of this mean that the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has abandoned Emet’s goal of providing public relations support for the state of Israel? With mega-donor funding, a very capable staff, and a presence on campuses across the country, FDD is making a difference for someone. At the very least, the billionaire activists who established and support the foundation seem to be getting their money’s worth."

So the next time medias say that some Al-Manar news outlet has been shut down, we know who´s been pulling the strings; not the peoples of the USA and Europe, but the Israeli Censorship Masters operating in those countries.



 




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