This is a departure from our usual programming, but we considered it to be worthy of your attention. From Asia Times (hat tip reader Cash Mundy):
A group of hardline United States neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats were behind the controversial, allegedly Islamaphobic DVD which was recently distributed in US swing states ahead of November’s presidential elections.
The 60-minute movie,Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West , was an initiative of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), but produced by the Clarion Fund, an organization described as a “front” for Israeli group Aish Hatorah.
Some 28 million copies of Obsession are currently being inserted in newspapers and delivered by mail in key electoral swing states – such as Michigan, Ohio and Florida which, according to recent polling, could go either way.
Critics allege 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 refused to run the movie because of its perceived bias.
“Despite the perilous state of American newspapers, the St Louis Post-Dispatch advertising department took an ethical stand and refused to distribute the DVD of a film that for two years has troubled American Muslims,” Tim Townsend, a reporter at Missouri’s most influential newspaper wrote this month…
While initial press reports about the mass distribution focused on the Clarion Fund’s financing role, it was EMET that organized and oversaw the distribution, EMET’s spokesman and a former press officer for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Ari Morgenstern, told Inter Press Service….
Like hardline neo-conservatives, EMET opposes any land concessions to Palestinians and takes other hardline positions identified with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party and the ”Settler Lobby” there. EMET’s website says, “We regard ourselves as ‘intellectual revolutionaries’.”
Two weeks ago, EMET sponsored a seminar series on Capitol Hill for the controversial multi-billionaire casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is a major donor to right-wing Zionist organizations in the US, such as the far-right lobby group, Freedom’s Watch and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).
RJC 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….
But EMET is not the only group involved in the controversy to have direct ties to Israel…
“It seems that the Clarion Fund, from what we can tell, is just a virtual organization that is a front for Aish Hatorah,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “They don’t have staff, they don’t have a physical address. Nothing.”….
Foreign nationals and companies, and domestic tax-exempt non-profit organizations, are prohibited by federal election law from attempting to sway US elections at any level through either contributions to campaigns or advocacy.