The "Protocols" may be false, but Paul Findley’s account is true
"I naively assumed I could question our policy anywhere without getting into trouble. I did not realize how deeply the roots of Israeli interests had penetrated U.S. institutions."
"Congress is 'terrorized' by AIPAC."
"In practice, the lobby groups function as an informal extension of the Israeli government."
They Dare To Speak Out
Author: Paul Findley ©1985 Publisher: Lawrence Hill & Co. ISBN No. 0-88208-179-9
Ex-Congressman Paul Findley
Book excerpts from a courageous United States Congressman, Paul Findley, who served from 1960-1982. Compiled by <www.reportersnotebook.com>:
Page 1 -- Early Naiveté
I had already begun to doubt the wisdom of United States policy in the Middle East when I first joined the subcommittee. For the most part, I kept these doubts private, but not because I feared the political consequences. In fact I naively assumed I could question our policy anywhere without getting into trouble. I did not realize how deeply the roots of Israeli interests had penetrated U.S. institutions.
Page 17 -- Personal Friend Could Not Ignore the Lobby
No event, before or since, disclosed to me so forcefully the hidden leverage of the Israeli lobby on the U.S. political scene. This great, kind, generous Jewish elder statesman, a personal friend for twenty years, could not ignore the lobby and say a public good word for my candidacy. I report this episode because, when a great man like Arthur Burns feels he must keep his views private, lesser men and women who would speak out face an enormous challenge.
Page 19 -- Bob Hope Backs Out
The "panic" even spread to Hollywood. Bob Hope, who never wavered under enemy fire on war fronts in World War II and Korea and withstood heavy criticism for his support of President Nixon’s Vietnam policies, encountered a new and more devastating line of fire when he agreed to appear at a fund-raising event for me in Springfield. ... Coast-to-coast pressure quickly brought a change. Don Norton recalls an urgent telephone message he received from Hope’s manager: Grant told me that Hope was getting tremendous pressure from Jews and non-Jews all over the country. He said it’s gone to the point where Hope’s lawyer of 35 years, who is Jewish, has threatened to quit. The pressure was beyond belief, like nothing they had ever experienced before, and Bob Hope just couldn’t come.
Page 20 -- Lobby Pressures Gerald Ford
Lobby pressure also intruded when former President Gerald R. Ford agreed to appear in my behalf, this time in Alton, Illinois. The first sign of trouble was a call From Palm Springs in which Ford’s secretary reported that the former president had to cancel his date because his staff had mistakenly booked him to speak at a meeting of the Michigan Bar Association the same day. There was no other time that Ford could help me, the caller said, before election day. To determine if some accommodation was possible, my assistant, Bob Wichser, called the Michigan Bar Association, only to learn there was no conflict — no event was scheduled.
Page 21 -- Emotion Drives Israel’s American Supporters
When election time came around again two years later, I was unopposed in the primary, but a strong Democratic opponent, Richard Durbin, emerged in the general election. More experienced and popular, he quickly picked up the resources Robinson had amassed, including Robinson’s list of nationwide contributors. The Associated Press reported that: "Israel’s American supporters again are pouring money into an emotional drive to unseat Central Illinois Representative Paul Findley."
Page 22 -- Puzzlement At Attitude of Pro-Israel Activists
After my twenty-two years in Congress, losing was, of course, a disappointment. But my main reaction was wonderment. I was puzzled by the behavior of the Pro-Israel activists. Why did they go to such trouble to eliminate me from Congress? Why did people from all over the country who did not know me personally and very likely knew little of my record dig so deeply in their own pockets — many of them contributing $1,000 to my opponents? What sustained this commitment for a four-year period?
Page 23 -- Make an Example
Surely they realized that I posed no serious threat. Could Israel’s supporters not tolerate even one lonely voice of dissent? Or was the lobby’s purpose to make an example of me in the Elizabethan manner? (According to legend, Queen Elizabeth occasionally hanged an admiral, just as an example to the others.) Was I chosen for a trip to the political gallows to discourage other Congressmen from speaking out?
Page 25 -- AIPAC the Preeminent Power in Washington Lobbying
Washington is a city of acronyms, and today one of the best-known in Congress is AIPAC. The mere mention of it brings a sober, if not furtive look, to the face of anyone on Capitol Hill who deals with Middle East policy. AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — is now the preeminent power in Washington lobbying.
Pages 25, 26 -- AIPAC Means Power
Almost without exception, House and Senate members do its bidding, because most of them consider AIPAC to be the direct Capitol Hill representative of a political force that can make or break their chances at election time. Whether based on fact or fancy, the perception is what counts: AIPAC mean power — raw, intimidating power. Its promotional literature regularly cites a tribute published in the New York Times: "The most powerful, best-run and effective foreign policy interest group in Washington." A former Congressman, Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey puts it more directly: Congress is "terrorized" by AIPAC. Other Congressmen have not been so candid on the public record, but many House and Senate members privately agree.
Page 26, 27 -- Lobby Group ‘Extension of Israeli Government’
In practice, the lobby groups function as an informal extension of the Israeli government. This was illustrated when AIPAC helped draft the official statement defending Israel’s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, then issued it the same hour as Israel’s embassy. No major Jewish organization ever publicly takes issue with positions and policies adopted by Israel. Thomas A. Dine, executive director of AIPAC, spoke warmly of President Reagan’s peace plan when it was announced in September 1982, but as soon as Israel rejected the plan, Dine fell silent.
Page 27 -- Even the President Turns to AIPAC
Over the years the pro-Israel lobby has thoroughly penetrated this nation’s governmental system, and the organization that has made the deepest impact is AIPAC, to whom even the president of the United States turns when he has a vexing political problem related to the Arab-Israeli dispute.
Page 35 -- AIPAC Publishes ‘Enemies List’
AIPAC’s outreach program is buttressed by a steady stream of publications. In addition to "Action Alerts" and the weekly Near East Report, it issues position papers and monographs designed to answer, or often discredit, critics, and advance Israel’s objectives. The most controversial publication of all is an "enemies list" issued as a "first edition" in the spring of 1983. A handsomely printed 154-page paperback entitled The Campaign to Discredit Israel, it provides a "directory of the actors": 21 organizations and 39 individuals AIPAC identified as inimical to Israeli interests. Included are such distinguished public servants as former Undersecretary of State George W. Ball, retired ambassadors Talcott Seelye, Andrew Kilgore, John C. West and James Atkins, and former Senator James Abourezk. There are also five Jewish dissenters and several scholars on the list. Seemingly unaware of the AIPAC project, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith almost simultaneously issued its own "enemies list": Pro-Arab Propaganda in America: Vehicles and Voices. It too is identified as a "first edition," and lists 31 organizations and 34 individuals. These books are nothing more than blacklists, reminiscent of the worst tactics of the McCarthy era. A similar "enemies list" is employed in AIPAC’s extensive program at colleges and universities.
Page 36 -- Effectiveness of AIPAC
Paul Weyrich, who worked as a Senate aide before becoming a political analyst, details the effectiveness of AIPAC: It’s a remarkable system they have. If you vote with them, or make a public statement they like, they get the word out fast through their own publications and through editors around the country who are sympathetic to their cause. Of course it works in reverse as well. if you say something they don’t like, you can be denounced or censured through the same network. That kind of pressure is bound to affect Senators’ thinking, especially if they are wavering or need support.
Page 37 -- ‘Our Access is Amazing’
Encountered in a Capitol corridor one day, an AIPAC lobbyist said, "Tomorrow I will try to see five members of the House. I called this morning and confirmed every appointment, and I have no doubt I will get in promptly." Two days later, even he seemed somewhat awed by AIPAC’s clout. He reported, "I made all five. I went right in to see each of them. There was no waiting. Our access is amazing."
Page 43 -- NatPAC
The largest pro-Israel PAC is the national Political Action Committee (NatPAC), headquartered in New York with Marvin Josephson, head of a theatrical and literary talent agency, as chairman. Its Washington-based executive director is Richard Altman, who previously worked as political director of AIPAC. It draws money heavily from the entertainment industry and got off to a fast start in 1982 when Woody Allen signed its first nationwide fund-raising appeal. The National Journal rates it as the nation’s largest non-labor, non-business political action committee.
Page 49 AIPAC Relentless
An Ohio Congressman speaks of AIPAC with both awe and concern: AIPAC is the most influential lobby on Capitol Hill. They are relentless. They know what they’re doing. They have the people for financial resources. They’ve got a lot going for them. Their basic underlying cause is one that most Americans sympathize with. But what distresses me is the inability of American policy-makers, because of the influence of AIPAC, to distinguish between our national interest and Israel’s national interest. When these converge — wonderful! But they don’t always converge.
Page 54 -- B’nai B’rith Published Report ‘A Complete Fabrication’
An article in the B’nai B’rith Messenger charged that McCloskey had proposed that all rabbis be required to register as foreign agents, declaring that he had made the proposal in a meeting with the editors of the Los Angeles Times. The author assured his readers that the tidbit came from a "very reliable source," and the charge was published nationally. The charge was a complete fabrication, and the Times editor Tony Day was quick to back up McCloskey’s denial. The Messenger published a retraction a month later, but the accusation lingered on. Even the Washington office of the Israeli lobby did not get the retraction message. In an interview about McCloskey two years later, Douglas Bloomfield, legislative director for AIPAC, apparently unaware of the retraction, repeated the accusation as fact.
Page 57 -- McCloskey Hounded Through ‘Tracking System’
A tracking system initiated by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith assured that McCloskey would have no peace, even as a private citizen. the group distributed a memorandum containing details of his actions and speeches to its chapters around the country. According to the memo, it was designed to "assist" local ADL groups with "counteraction guidance" whenever McCloskey appeared in public.
Page 70, 71 Congressmen’s Reaction to Israeli Pressure Groups
A veteran Ohio Congressman observes: When [Stephen] Solarz and others press for more money for Israel, nobody wants to say "No." You don’t need many examples of intimidation for politicians to realize what the potential is. The Jewish lobby is terrific. Anything it wants, it gets. Jews are educated, often have a lot of money, and vote on the basis of a single issue — Israel. They are unique in that respect. For example, anti-abortion supporters are numerous but not that well educated, and don’t have that much money. The Jewish lobbyists have it all, and they are political activists on top of it. This Congressman divides his colleagues into four groups:
For the first group, it’s rah, rah, give Israel anything it wants.
The second group includes those with some misgivings, but they don’t dare step out of line; they don’t say anything.
In the third group are Congressmen who have deep misgivings but who won’t do more than try quietly to slow down the aid to Israel. Lee Hamilton is an example.
The fourth groups consists of those who openly question U.S. policy in the Middle East and challenge what Israel is doing. Since Findley and McCloskey left, this group really doesn’t exist anymore.
He puts himself in the third group: "I may vote against the bill authorizing foreign aid this year for the first time. If I do, I will not state my reason." Solarz has never wavered in his commitment to Israel.
Page 77 -- Many Jews Mistake Criticism of Israel for Anti-Semitism
"What is tragic is that so many Jewish people misconstrue criticism of Israel as anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic." He speaks admiringly of the open criticism of Israeli policy that often occurs within Israel itself: "It is easier to criticize Israel in the Knesset [the Israeli parliament] than it is in the U.S. Congress, here in this land of free speech."
Pages 78, 79 -- AIPAC Caught Napping -- Fail To Detect Rebellion in Congress
For once, both the House Democratic leadership and AIPAC were caught napping. Usually in complete control of all legislative activities which relate to Israel, AIPAC failed to detect the brewing rebellion. Concern over the budget deficit and controversial provisions in the bill for Central America led these freshman democrats to oppose their own leadership. unable to offer amendments, they quietly agreed among themselves to oppose the whole package. When the roll was called the big electric board over the Speaker’s desk showed defeat — the resolution was rejected, 206 to 203. Twenty-four first-term Democrats had deserted the leadership and voted no. Voting no did not mean they opposed Israeli aid. Some of them, concerned over the federal deficit, viewed it as a demand to the leadership to schedule a bill raising taxes. For others, it was simply a protest. But for Israel it was serious. "The Jewish community went crazy," a Capitol Hill veteran recalls. AIPAC’s professionals went to work. Placing calls from their offices just four blocks away, they activated key people in the districts of a selected list of the errant freshmen. They arranged for "quality calls" to individuals who had played a major role in the recent Congressional election. Each was to place an urgent call to his or her Congressman, insist on getting through personally and use this message:
Approval of the continuing resolution is very important. Without it, Israel will suffer. I am not criticizing your vote against it the first time. I am sure you had reasons. However, I have learned that the same question will come up for vote again, probably tomorrow. I speak for many of your friends and supporters in asking that you change your vote when the question comes up again. ... The urgent telephone messages from home carried the day. When the roll was called, 14 of the freshmen — a bit sheepishly — changed their votes. ... To give the freshmen an excuse they could use in explaining their embarrassing shift, the leadership promised to bring up a tax bill. Everyone knew it was just a ploy: the tax bill had no chance to become law. But the excuse was helpful, and the resolution was approved, 224 to 189. the flow of aid to Israel continued without interruption.
Page 95 -- ‘Israel Controls the Senate’: Fullbright
Appearing on CBS television’s "Face the Nation" in 1973, [Senator William J.] Fullbright declared that the Senate was "subservient to Israeli policies" which were inimical to American interests. He said the United States bears "a very great share of the responsibility" for the continuation of Middle East violence. "It’s quite obvious [that] without the all-out support by the United States in money and weapons and so on, the Israeli couldn’t do what they’ve been doing." Fullbright said the United States failed to pressure Israel for a negotiated settlement because The great majority of the Senate of the United States — somewhere around 80 percent — are completely in support of Israel, anything Israel wants. This has been demonstrated time and time again, and this has made it difficult for our government. The Senator claimed that "Israel controls the Senate," and warned, "We should be more concerned about the United States’ interests."
Page 101 -- President Ford backs Down Under Pressure
It was a historic proposal, the first time since Eisenhower that a United States president even hinted publicly that he might suspend aid to Israel. Israel’s response came, not from its own capital, but from the United States Senate. Instead of relying on a direct protest to the White House, Jerusalem activated its lobby in the United States, which, in turn, signed up as supporters of Israel’s position more than three-fourths of the members of the United States Senate. A more devastating — and intimidating — response could scarcely be conceived. The seventy-six signatures effectively told Ford he could not carry out his threatened "reappraisal." Israel’s loyalists in the Senate — Democrats and republicans alike — were sufficient in number to reject any legislative proposal hostile to Israel that Ford might make, and perhaps even enact a pro-Israeli piece of legislation over a presidential veto. The letter was a demonstration of impressive clout. Crafted and circulated by AIPAC, it had been endorsed overnight by a majority of the Senate membership. Several Senators who at first had said "No" quickly changed their positions. Senator John Culver admitted candidly, "The pressure was too great. I caved." So did President Ford. He backed down and never again challenged the lobby.
Page 102 -- TV’s ‘Holocaust’ Series ‘Simplifies Lobbying’
The Israeli lobby pulled out all the stops. It coordinated a nationwide public relations campaign which revived, as never before, memories of the genocidal Nazi campaign against European Jews during World War II. In the wake of the highly publicized television series, "Holocaust," Capitol Hill was flooded with complimentary copies of the novel on which the TV series was based. The books were accompanied by a letter from AIPAC saying, "This chilling account of the extermination of six million Jews underscores Israel’s concerns during the current negotiations for security without reliance on outside guarantees." Concerning the book distribution, AIPAC’s Aaron Rosenbaum told the Washington Post: "We think, frankly, that it will affect a few votes here and there, and simplify lobbying."
Page 102, 103 -- AIPAC ‘Demands 100 Percent’ Loyalty
[William] Hathaway was one of the forty-four who stuck with AIPAC, but this was not sufficient when election time rolled around. AIPAC wanted a Senator whose signature — and vote — it could always count on. Searching for unswerving loyalty, the lobby switched to Cohen. Its decision came at the very time Hathaway was resisting pressures on the Saudi issue. The staff at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was outraged. One of them declared to a visitor: "AIPAC demands 100 percent. If a fine Senator like Hathaway fails to cooperate just once, they are ready to trade in his career." A staff member of a Senate committee declared: "To please AIPAC, you have to be more pure than Ivory soap — 99.44 percent purity is not good enough." Lacking the purity AIPAC demanded, Hathaway was defeated in 1978.
Page 106 -- Israeli Lobby Exerts ‘More Constant Pressure’
[Charles] Mathias cited the Israeli lobby as the most powerful ethnic pressuer group, noting that it differs from others in that it focuses on vital national security interests and exerts "more constant pressure." Other lobbying groups "show up in a crisis and then disappear" and tend to deal with domestic matters. Mathias continued: With the exception of the Eisenhower administration, which virtually compelled Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai after the 1956 war, American presidents, and to an even greater degree Senators and representatives, have been subjected to recurrent pressures from what has come to be known as the Israel lobby.
Page 114 -- JFK ‘Insulted’ by Jewish Offer
The night before, Kennedy had gone to dinner with a small group of wealthy and prominent Jews in New York. An episode of the evening had troubled him deeply. Describing it to Bartlett as an "amazing experience," he said one of those at the dinner party — he did not identify him by name — told him he knew his campaign was in financial difficulty and, speaking for the group, offered "to help and help significantly" if Kennedy as president "would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years." It was an astounding proposition. Kennedy told Bartlett he reacted less as a presidential candidate than as a citizen. "He said he felt insulted," Bartlett recalls, "that anybody would make that offer, particularly to a man who even had a slim chance to be president. ..."
Page 119 -- No Protestant Support ‘All We Get Is A Battering From the Jews’
A determined president [Eisenhower] took his case to the American people in a televised address in the spring of 1957: Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of the United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal? If we agreed that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order. Letters and telegrams poured into the White House, but almost all of the communications came from Jews, 90 percent supporting Israel’s position. Dulles complained, "It is impossible to hold the line because we get no support from the Protestant elements in the country. All we get is a battering from the Jews."
Page 127 -- Power From Willingness to Make Use of Charge of Anti-Semitism
[George W.] Ball believes the lobby’s instrument of greatest power is its willingness to make broad use of the charge of anti-Semitism. "They’ve got one great thing going for them. Most people are terribly concerned not to be accused of being anti-Semitic, and the lobby so often equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. They keep pounding away at that theme, and people are deterred from speaking out." In Ball’s view, many Americans feel a "sense of guilt" over the extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany. The result of this guilt is that the fear of being called anti-Semitic is "much more effective in silencing candidates and public officials than threats about campaign money or votes."
Page 180-- Making It ‘Hot Enough’ on Campus
In 1979 AIPAC established its Political Leadership Development Program, which trains student activists on how to increase pro-Israeli influence on campus. Coordinator Jonathan Kessler recently reported that in just four years "AIPAC’s program has affiliated over 5,000 students on 350 campuses in all 50 states. They are systematically monitoring and comprehensively responding to anti-Israeli groups on campus. They are involved in pro-Israel legislative efforts, in electoral campaign politics as well."
Page 239 -- Christian Affinity to Israel
Virtually all Christians approach the Middle East with at least a subtle affinity to Israel and an inclination to oppose or mistrust any suggestion that questions Israeli policy. The lobby has drawn widely upon this support in pressing its national programs. More important, fresh perspectives which challenge shibboleths and established prejudices regarding the Middle East are often denounced by both the lobby and many of its Christian allies as politically extremist, anti-Semitic or even anti-Christian. The religious convictions of many Americans have made them susceptible to the appeals of the Israeli lobby, with the result that free speech concerning the Middle East and U.S. policy in the region is frequently restricted before it begins. The combination of religious tradition and overt lobby activity tends to confine legitimate discussion within artificially narrow bounds.
Page 239 -- Conservative Christians Rally to the Cause
Fundamentalist and evangelical groups have been active in this campaign to narrow the bounds of free speech. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson proselytize tirelessly for ever-increasing U.S. backing of Israel, citing scriptural passages as the basis for their arguments. As the membership of conservative Protestant churches and organizations has expanded over the last decade, this "Christian Zionist" approach to the Middle East has been espoused from an increasing variety of "pulpits": local churches, the broadcast media and even the halls of Congress.
Page 240 -- Jerry Falwell Embodies Christian-Zionist Connection
Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral majority, and a personal friend of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, has been described by The Economist of London as "the silk-voiced ayatollah of Christian revivalism." Acclaimed in a Conservative Digest annual poll as the most-admired conservative outside of Congress (with President Reagan the runner-up). Falwell embodies the growing Christian-Zionist connection. He has declared: "I don’t think America could turn its back on the people of Israel and survive. God deals with nations in relation to how those nations deal with the Jew." He has testified before Congressional committees in favor of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Falwell is perhaps the best known of the pro-Israel fundamentalist spokesmen, but he is by no means the only one.
Page 241 -- Televangelists Proclaim ‘Sanctity of Israel’
Radio and television broadcasts by Jim Bakker, Kenneth Copeland, Roberts, Swaggart and others routinely proclaim the sanctity of Israel through scriptural quotations, usually from the Old Testament, and then reinforce it with political and strategic arguments supplied by the broadcaster.
Page 263 -- Catholic Nun Smeared by Jewish Publication
Sister Miriam Ward, a professor of humanities at Trinity College in Vermont and a Catholic nun, has a long record of humanitarian concern for Palestinian refugees. By her own description, her role in LaGrange II was modest. "I had doubts about whether I could justify the expense of going," she recently recalled. Sister Miriam moderated a panel discussion and received an award for her humanitarian endeavors. Like Mr. Wagner, she knew from experience the price of speaking out on Palestinian questions. Her activities had also attracted hate mail and personal innuendoes. Still, she was not prepared for the smear which resulted from her participation at LaGrange. Sister Miriam was singled out for a personal attack in The Jewish Week-American Examiner, a prominent New York City Jewish publication. The June 21, 1981, issue gave prominent coverage to a scheme to disrupt Israeli policy on the occupied West Bank which Sister Miriam had supposedly advanced at the conference. The article claimed that she had urged that "churches finance a project with staff in the U.S. and fieldworkers in Israel and the West Bank for the purpose of ‘spying on the Israelis.’ " She was reported saying, "By the time the Israelis caught on to what was going on and expelled a fieldworker, they [presumably Sister Miriam and her co-conspirators] would have a replacement ready." The Jewish Week article added that "the proposal was accepted without dissent, and ways of obtaining church funds for it were discussed." The report was a complete fabrication. No one at the LaGrange Conference had suggested such a plan, least of all Sister Miriam, and she was stunned when Wagner telephoned from Chicago informing her of the printed allegations.
Page 265 -- American Jews Made to Feel Guilty
In its efforts to quell criticism of Israel, the pro-Israel community’s first goal is to still Jewish critics. In this quest it receives strong support from the Israeli government. Every government of Israel gives high priority to maintaining unity among U.S. Jews. This unity is regarded as a main line of Israel’s defense — second in importance only to the Israeli army — and essential to retaining the support Israel must have from the United States government. American Jews are made to feel guilty about enjoying safety and the good life in the United States while their fellow Jews in Israel hold the ramparts, pay high taxes, and fight wars.
Page 269 -- Noam Chomsky One of Few Able to Criticize Israel
In my 22 years in Congress, I can recall no entry in Congressional Record disclosing a speech critical of Israeli policy by a Jewish member of the House or Senate. Jewish members may voice discontent in private conversation but never on the public record. Only a few Jewish academicians, like Noam Chomsky, a distinguished linguist, have spoken out. Most, like Chomsky, are protected in their careers by tenure and thus are able to become controversial without jeopardizing their positions.
Page 284 -- ‘One Word of Sympathy’ Can Bring Jewish Hate Mail
Those who speak up pay a price, says Stone, noting that journalists with long records of championing Israeli causes are flooded with "Jewish hate mail, accusing them of anti-Semitism" if they dare express "one word of sympathy for Palestinian Arab refugees."
Page 287 -- Lobby Tentacles Reach Even to ‘Main Street’
Efforts by the pro-Israel lobby to influence American opinion and policy most often focus on national institutions, particularly the federal government. yet the lobby in its various forms branches out widely into American life beyond the seat of government on the Potomac River. Local political leaders, businesses, organizations and private individuals in many fields experience unfair criticism and intimidation for becoming involved in the debate over Middle East issues. Many on "Main Street" have paid a price for speaking out. Particularly distressing are instances of discrimination against Americans of Arab ancestry."
Page 295, 296 -- Possible Accusation of Anti-Semitism Keeps Journalists in Line
The Israeli lobby works diligently to keep journalists from rowing against the tide of pro-Israel orthodoxy. This mission is accomplished in part through carefully arranged, "spontaneous" public outcries designed to intimidate. Columnist Rowland Evans writes: "When we write what is perceived to be an anti-Israeli column, we get mail from all over the country with the same points and phrasing. there is a consistent pattern." The ubiquitous cry of "anti-Semitism" is brought to bear on short notice, and it is this charge which has been most responsible for compelling journalists to give Israel better than equal treatment in coverage of Middle East events.
Page 296 -- American Media ‘Overwhelmed’ by Lobby Pressure
Journalist Harold R. Piety observes that "the ugly cry of anti-Semitism is the bludgeon used by the Zionists to bully non-Jews into accepting the Zionist view of world events, or to keep silent." In late 1978, Piety, withholding his identity in order not to irritate his employer, wrote an article on "Zionism and the American Press" for Middle East International in which he decried "the inaccuracies , distortions and — perhaps worst— inexcusable omission of significant news and background material by the American media in its treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict." Piety traces the deficiency of U.S. media in reporting on the Middle East to largely successful efforts by the pro-Israel lobby to "overwhelm the American media with a highly professional public relations campaign, to intimidate the media through various means and, finally, to impose censorship when the media are compliant and craven." He lists threats to editors and advertising departments, orchestrated boycotts, sanders, campaigns of character assassination, and personal vendettas among the weapons employed against balanced journalism.
Page 301 -- Radio Producer ‘Terminated’ For Trying to Balance Coverage
On a Saturday morning in 1977 producer Debbie Gage encountered peril of a different sort when she put on a one-hour program of interviews with local people of Palestinian origin on Minneapolis Public Radio. The station’s switchboard was promptly swamped with calls demanding equal time for the Israeli viewpoint. Gage demurred, responding that she had decided to do her program because of the heavy coverage being given to the Israeli view in the local press. She saw her broadcast as "simply a small attempt to redress that imbalance." The following Monday news director Gary Eichten informed Gage that her job would be terminated in three weeks and that a program devoted to pro-Israelt views would be aired the following Saturday. Eichten denied that he was pressured into doing the follow-up program, but, as station intern Yvonne Pearson observes, "If dozens of angry phone calls aren’t pressure, I don’t know what is."
Page 303 -- ‘Army of Workers’ Swamp Congressmen, Editors
Major national media have not escaped these pressures. Organized letter campaigns are a favored tactic of pro-Israel groups. Lawrence Mosher, a staff correspondent for the National Journal, observes that such groups have a seemingly indefatigable army of workers who will generate hundreds or thousands of letters to Congressmen, to newspaper editors, etc., whenever the occasion seems to warrant it. ... Editors are sometimes weighed down by it in advance and inhibited from doing things they would normally do if they didn’t know that an onslaught of letters, cables and telephone calls would follow if they write or show such and such.
Page 311, 312 -- Holocaust Museum Director Berenbaum (Former Lobbyist) in the Newsroom
Fairness in reporting Middle East events has been a special concern of the Washington Post over the last several years. Complaints from pro-Israel groups about its coverage of Lebanon — especially the massacres at Sabra and Shatila — led to the unprecedented placement of a representative from a pro-Israel group as an observer in the Post newsroom. The idea arose when Michael Berenbaum, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, council president Nathan Lewin, and Hyman Bookbinder, area representative of the American Jewish Committee, met with Post editors to inform them that the paper had "a Jewish problem." The meeting followed substantial correspondence between the Washington Post and Jewish community leaders. As an accommodation, executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee agreed to have Berenbaum observe Post news operations for one week, provided he not lobby or "interfere with the editorial process in any way."
Page 313 -- Pressure to ‘Stop the Ads’
Direct pressure to reject paid advertising unsympathetic to Israeli interests was applied beginning in late 1982 against major media in Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. The National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA), a Washington-based private membership organization, purchased radio air time in these areas for commercials questioning the U.S. government’s decision to increase aid to Israel. Typical of the messages was this one aired in Pennsylvania: "While there are more than 12 million Americans unemployed, with over half a million from Pennsylvania alone, Congress decided to give Israel two billion, 485 million of your tax dollars. Senator Arlen Specter [D-PA] is on the Senate Appropriations Committee that wanted to give Israel even more. Is funding for Israel more important than funding for Pennsylvania? Call your senators and ask them if they voted to give your tax dollars to Israel." Thirteen Pennsylvania stations contracted to carry the NAAA message, but four of these canceled the ads after only three days of an agreed-upon five-day run. Mike Kirtner, an ad salesman representing two stations in Allentown, informed the NAAA that its ads were being taken off the air because "they were getting a lot of calls, hate calls. and a lot of pressure was coming down on the station to stop the ads." Station management refused to comment on who was pressuring the station to take the ads off the air. Mike George, salesman for an Erie station which cancelled the ads, was more frank. He informed the NAAA that the station owner had been called by "a group of Jewish businessmen who told him that if he did not cancel the ads immediately, they were going to cause his radio and television stations to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars."