A group of hard-line U.S. neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats, among others, are behind the mass distribution, ahead of the November U.S. presidential election, of a controversial DVD that critics have denounced as Islamophobic.
The group, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), is working with another organisation called the Clarion Fund, which produced the 60-minute video and is itself tied closely to an Israeli organisation called Aish Hatorah.
According to this version of the report,
Millions of voters in U.S. states crucial to this fall's presidential election received DVD copies of a controversial documentary film as advertising inserts in their morning newspapers over the past week, with more expected to be sent out over the upcoming weekend.
The 2006 film, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, ...was reportedly delivered, or slated for delivery this weekend, into tens of millions of households in states such as Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri and other "swing states" that don't vote consistently for either party and usually decide elections.
And who are these newspapers? Oh, not the NYT... "all the trash that's profitable to send?"...
The New York Times alone distributed some 145,000 copies of Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West to 11 markets.
In these economic hard times, that's a lot of money. Why the need to push Islamophobia now? Is this supposed to be a racist plug for McCain?
Republicans and their candidate, Sen. John McCain, have made battling the threat posed by radical Islamists a central platform of their campaign, while presenting their Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, as being weak on the issue. Obama has also fought off persistent smear campaigns, particularly among Jewish voters, that he is a closet Muslim.
Gregory Ross, the spokesman for the Clarion group, which produced and is distributing the DVD, told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that the movie was being delivered to 28 million homes throughout the month of September and that the intention was not to sway voters to either candidate.
Right! Of course, the intention had nothing to do with the election! They just wanted to spend a lot of money in swing states because... because... they're "swingers." And they really, really want to be sure that everybody knows that Muslims are a threat. And we need a Great White Right-Wing Hope to save us from THEM.
Clarion Fund was founded by the writer and executive produce of Obsession, Israeli-Canadian Raphael Shore. The group also runs the website Radicalislam.org -- an educational site which implores its readers to "take action against radical Islam" by exploring its resources under four headings: "fueling terror," "Sharia law," "vote 2008," and "radical Islam overview."
Because of Clarion Fund's non-profit, tax-exempt status, it is not permitted to sway voters in a partisan manner. But Radicalislam.org reportedly was, until it was recently pointed out in the media, carrying an article that explicitly endorsed Sen. John McCain.
Ooops. Well, they didn't mean to endorse him. And... are they still granted non-profit status? Or is this another "unregulated" neocon enterprise? Well, as long as they are promoting hate and Islamophobia, I mean, who would want to "regulate" that? Isn't hating Muslims good for security? Well, it seems Clarion, one of the producers of the DVD, is getting some dividends for their efforts,
"We're getting many concerned calls and emails from Muslims around the country who see this as an attempt to not only marginalize and demonize the American Muslim community, but also to sway the election by targeting swing states," Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told IPS. "People are outraged. I haven't seen this kind of outrage in a long time. It's coming to their homes, it's coming to their neighbors and they believe its going to impact their lives and their children's lives negatively."
Hooper also said there had apparently already been an incident of bias against a bus driver for Islamic school children in Ohio. The biased comments were likely inspired by film.
Is that the kind of security they are trying to "promote" in a "non-profit" sort of way? Well, they did put in a substantial investment, so presumably they want a return. A return named McCain.
"I can't imagine that you can produce, package, distribute and advertise this product for less than 50 million dollars," Hooper told IPS.
He also insisted that the substantial financial push may have been intended to sway the election. "Why did they choose to distribute this hate propaganda to millions of homes in swing states in this election?"
Even EMET's spokesman, Ari Morgenstern, admits
"it costs a great deal -- it's a multi-million-dollar effort." Outside experts have estimated the cost of the operation, including reproduction and distribution, at between 15 million dollars and 50 million dollars.
There must be some motivation, and it's obvious what it is.
Not all newspapers were so eager for the advertising dollars that they would distribute this obviously incendiary and prejudicial propaganda, as the IPS reported,
Critics allege that the movie "Obsession" is "hate propaganda" which paints Muslims as violent extremists and, among other things, explicitly compares the threat posed by radical Islam to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
At least two major metropolitan newspapers solicited to insert the paid advertisement into their product have refused to do so because of a perceived bias in the film.
Too bad the NYT had no such moral qualms. All their markets are now inundated with this hate material. And this hate material is just part of a broader effort.
Two weeks ago, EMET sponsored a seminar series on Capitol Hill named for the controversial multi-billionaire casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to right-wing Zionist organisations in the U.S.; the far-right lobby group, Freedom's Watch; and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), whose efforts to persuade Jewish voters that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is aligned with radical anti-Israel forces in the Islamic world have drawn strong criticism from the mainstream Jewish press here.
Making those newspapers look even worse. Is this the fallout of the economic meltdown? More hate? More racism? Less democracy? Sounds like the Republican agenda melding with the right-wing Zionist extremists. It's a hatefest for idealogues.
Not to mention illegal. It is prohibited by law for non-profits or foreign organizations or agents to try to influence an election in any way. And Clarion is just a front, without even an address, acting for an organization in Israel. So where is the law? Or doesn't it matter if this is legal or illegal, just so McCain gets elected?
No respect for the law. More fear. More walls. More divisions between people. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer. Cooperation between people of different ethnic and religions backgrounds gets trumped by the desperate fear-driven fantasized "need" to build walls and bariers between them, seeing others always as threats. Why does the GOP keep sticking to these ideologues? All these propagandists do is make life in America less free, less secure, and the election less democratic.