A Note to German Bundestag Member Volker Beck on Hate Groups Behind “Obsession”


obsession twn.jpg
German Bundestag Member Volker Beck is a great guy — a hard-driving idealist who works hard on environmental improvement, gay rights, and global human rights. Beck was detained and beaten up by Russian police when he tried to advocate for a gay rights parade in Moscow.
I look forward to seeing him when I attend the German Green Party Convention in Erfurt, Germany this year — and he happens to be a Facebook pal.
On Facebook recently, Volker Beck supports and is a major “recruiter” for a group organized to “Call Facebook to delete all Hate groups against Israel.” The profile reads:

Have a look at this group –
Despite its Terms of use ( http://www.facebook.com/terms.php) , which clearly state that the site can’t be used to – “upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available content that would constitute, encourage or provide instructions for a criminal offense, violate the rights of any party, or that would otherwise create liability or violate any local, state, national or international law;”, this group just keeps growing!
Please send this to as many people as possible, to join this cause – tell them to report this group by going to their page, and clicking on ‘Report Group’ on the bottom left of the page!
Thanks for your support!

I was not able to click through to the St. Johns site as it was an incomplete URL in the facebook profile.
But while I completely agree that hate groups against Israel should not be tolerated in public environments like Facebook, I think that all hate groups should not be tolerated.
That means against Muslims too.
Here, for instance, is a facebook page advocating that people watch this new, disgusting depiction of Muslims and Islam titled Obsession.
I have watched the film, and it reminds me of the worst kind of wholesale character assassination of a culture and people that used to be done in pre-Civil Rights days against African-Americans, in the 1950s and 1960s against gays, against Hispanics, Vietnamese and others. It ties visuals of the acts and beliefs of some of Islam’s worst outliers and then generalizes across an entire culture.
Obsession is gross bigotry — and someone behind that bigotry sent out more than 28 milliion of these CDs to homes across the United States in this election season. Why? To educate about Islam? Or to try and further ratchet up fear in the U.S. among voters and to promote bigotry against Muslims? I think the latter.
So to my friend Volker Beck — whose facebook effort to stand against Israel hate groups is admirable — I strongly encourage you to modify your efforts to include hate groups in general — and specifically hate groups against Muslims.
— Steve Clemons


16 comments on “A Note to German Bundestag Member Volker Beck on Hate Groups Behind “Obsession”

  1. arthurdecco says:

    Carroll, gawd, I luvya! glad to see you back. and in top form 2!
    The article you’ve reproduced is as good an indictment against these traitors and criminals as anything I’ve read.
    These hatemongers can spend up to $50,000,000 disseminating their upchuck and bile!?! …And get away with it!?!
    (Whew! Gotta luv Amerika!)
    Well, in spite of that, we both know they’ll be allowed to continue their racist attacks on their adversaries, don’t we?
    I earnestly wish that were different.


  2. Carroll says:

    I got a DVD in the mail also…threw it in the trash,had already heard about it and knew what it was.
    If Steve doesn’t know who is behind it he hasn’t talked to his good friend Jim Lobe lately. Americans must hate Arabs also so Israel can continue it’s midget nazi act in Palestine.
    Wednesday, October 15, 2008 02:26 GMT
    Neo-cons, Ex-Israeli Diplomats Push Islamophobic Video
    By Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton*
    WASHINGTON, Sep 24 (IPS) – 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.
    The Fund is currently distributing some 28 million copies of the DVD through newspaper inserts in key electoral ”swing” states — states like Michigan, Ohio, and Florida that, according to recent polling, could go either way in November’s presidential election.
    According to Delaware incorporation papers, the Clarion Fund is based at the same New York address as Aish Hatorah, a self-described “apolitical” group dedicated to educating Jews about their heritage.
    The Clarion Fund’s street address as listed on the group’s website and a DVD mailer for the film is apparently not a physical address, but rather a “virtual address” that goes to a post office box in New York City.
    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.
    “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,” wrote Tim Townsend, a reporter at Missouri’s most influential newspaper earlier this month after it rejected the ad.
    While the initial press reports about the mass distribution focused on the Clarion Fund’s financing role, it was EMET that organised and oversaw the distribution, EMET’s spokesman, Ari Morgenstern, told IPS. Morgenstern, a former press officer for the Israeli embassy here, said he contacted IPS at the Clarion Fund’s request.
    EMET, according to a recent press release, is “a non-partisan, non-profit organisation dedicated to policy research and analysis on democracy and the Middle East.”
    According to filings made in compliance with the organisation’s tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, “the organisation hosts seminars, debates and educational films featuring Middle East experts in order to educate policymakers and the public at large on the common threats facing Israel and the United States.”
    Morgenstern told IPS that EMET was “partnered with the Clarion Fund” on what he called the “Obsession Project” which he identified as “an initiative of EMET”. He declined to name the Project’s donors. A spokesman for the Clarion Fund, Gregory Ross, has also refused to name the Fund’s donors, whose identity remains a mystery.
    Morgenstern also declined to specify the cost of the DVD distribution, but did say, “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.
    Like hard-line neo-conservatives, EMET opposes any land concessions to Palestinians and takes other hard-line positions identified with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party and the ”Settler Lobby” there. EMET’s website says, “We regard ourselves as ‘intellectual revolutionaries'”.
    The group’s acronym, EMET, mirrors the name of a predecessor to the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, which was called Emet. The word means “truth” in Hebrew.
    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.
    EMET’s board of advisers includes a list of familiar neo-conservative figures, as well as three former Israeli diplomats, including a former deputy chief of mission in Israel’s Washington embassy.
    The group is headed by Sarah Stern, who began her activism on Israeli issues in opposition to the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestinians. She made a career out of her activism in the far-right Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) as its national policy coordinator from 1998 through 2004.
    Notable members of the advisory board include prominent hard-line neo-conservatives, including former U.S. U.N. Amb. the late Jeane Kirkpatrick; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; and the Hudson Institute’s Meyrav Wurmser, the Israeli-born spouse of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top Middle East adviser, David Wurmser.
    Other prominent neo-conservative members of the board include Centre for Security Policy (CSP) president Frank Gaffney; former CIA chief James Woolsey; and Heritage Foundation fellows Ariel Cohen and Nina Shea, who has also served for years on the quasi-governmental U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.
    The U.S.-born and -educated hard-line deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at Gaffney’s CSP, Caroline Glick, is also an adviser.
    Glick, Pipes, and Walid Shoebat, a “reformed” terrorist and EMET adviser, are all featured as experts in “Obsession”.
    Also among the top names of listed advisers to EMET are three Israeli diplomats. Two of them, Ambassadors Yossi Ben Aharon and Yoram Ettinger, were among the three Israeli ambassadors whom then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin referred to as “the Three Musketeers” when they lobbied Washington in opposition to the Oslo accords. Indeed, Stern began her career at the behest of three unnamed Israeli diplomats who were based in Washington under Rabin’s predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, according to EMET’s website.
    Ettinger was at one time the chairman of special projects and is still listed as a contributing expert at the Ariel Centre for Policy Research, a hard-line Likudist Israeli think tank that opposes the peace process.
    Ben Aharon was the director general — effectively the chief of staff — of Shamir’s office.
    The third Israeli ambassador, Lenny Ben-David, was appointed by Likud prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve as the deputy chief of mission — second in command — at the Israeli embassy in Washington from 1997 until 2000. Ben-David had also held senior positions at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for 25 years and is now a consultant and lobbyist.
    But EMET is not the only group involved in the “Obsession” controversy to have direct ties to Israel.
    The Clarion Fund has also been criticised for initially denying its ties to the Israel’s Aish Hatorah, which were first disclosed publicly by an IPS investigation last year.
    Honestreporting.com, an organisation set up by Aish Hatorah and also a client of Ben-David, admitted to IPS that it had aided the production of the film.
    The Clarion Fund and Aish Hatorah are headed by twin Israeli-Canadian brothers Raphael and Ephraim Shore, respectively. The two groups appear to be connected as Clarion is incorporated in Delaware to the New York offices of Aish Hatorah.
    “It seems that the Clarion Fund, from what we can tell, is just a virtual organisation that is a front for Aish Hatorah,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told IPS. “They don’t have staff, they don’t have a physical address. Nothing.”
    Little is known about the shadowy Clarion Fund, which is listed with the New York Secretary of State’s office as a “foreign not-for-profit foundation.” The group has rejected requests for information about its donors.
    IPS has, however, uncovered one donor to the Clarion Fund, the Mamiye Foundation, which gave it 25,000 dollars in August of 2007, according to tax filings. Four Mamiyes, Charles M., Charles D., Hyman and Abraham, are listed as trustees on the forms.
    According to filings with the New York Secretary of State, a contact listed for a Mamiye company is also the same man listed as a contact and counsel for the Clarion Fund — Eli D. Greenberg of the law firm Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman and Herz.
    Foreign nationals and companies, and domestic tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profits are prohibited by federal election law from attempting to sway U.S. elections at any level through either contributions to campaigns or advocacy.
    Morgenstern, EMET’s spokesman, said that the DVD distribution only went to “swing states” because media attention is focused there, and EMET is hoping to spark a public debate about the threats posed by” radical Islam”.
    But CAIR has filed a complaint asking the Federal Election Commission to review the actions of the Clarion Fund both as a foreign entity and as a non-profit.
    The complaint by Nadhira Al-Khalili, CAIR’s legal counsel, asked that both charges be investigated.
    *Jim Lobe contributed to this story


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmm, should we assume, by Sweetness’ cavalier dismissal of anti-muslim sentiment, that he is cheered by the Bush Administration’s murder of well over a million Iraqis?
    Or perhaps Sweetness agrees full well with that ignorant crone and McCain, who in league with each other came to the conclusion that if one is not an “arab”, than in turn they must be a “decent person”.
    Aren’t we glad McCain cleared that up for us? Silly me, I thought “decent people” came from all ethnic, religious, and racial lines.
    So, folks, lets ignore today’s holocaust to pay homage to the victim’s of yesterday’s holocaust. God willing, we can milk it for another 75 years.


  4. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by Sweetness Oct 13, 1:44PM – Link
    Matthew writes: “Sorry, but fighting anti-Semitism today takes
    about as much courage as singing the national anthem.”
    Only in America. Elsewhere, the national anthem is sung to
    exclude Jews as not of the nation in question.
    Are you ready to apply this rule to Hezbollah and Hamas?
    Sweetness, when you say “Only in America”, you imply that it
    takes a lot of courage to fight anti-Semitism in, let`s say most
    countries in Europe. That`s a weird statement. You also seem to
    imply that anti-Muslim sentiments are rather harmless, non
    existent or even justified… In either case, this is even more
    You should know that I recognize anti-Semitism as a dangerous
    phenomenon. And you yourself should recognize that anti-
    Muslim sentiments are currently much more virulent, wide
    spread and dangerous in many part of the world. This may
    change in the future, but if you`re not capable of seeing this
    today, you`re 50% blind.


  5. arthurdecco says:

    Matthew, Sweetness has already proven herself to be a bigot. For proof, you only need to access her previous collisions with me here on the Washington Note. (Just make sure you read ALL of our acrimonious exchanges before you take sides.)


  6. David says:

    The most disturbing thing about hate groups, and viscious videos like this one, is that they manage to get specific people beaten and/or killed, and more generally they do incredible damage to the civil body politic. These people are ultimately anti-social criminals, although in my southern past they were all too often “upstanding members of the community” whose views were embraced by the majority community. It did change regarding blacks, perhaps because of a combination of shared blue collar experiences and football games won because of including black athletes on the team.
    The anti-Muslim vitriol will be much more difficult to overcome wherever it becomes entrenched, thanks in part to this video and in part to a lack of the kind of shared experience that helped southerners overcome apartheid sentiments. Thus I think this anti-Muslim prejudice/hatred could prove really intractable.
    Palin is succeeding in linking Obama to bin Laden at her rallies, and eliciting exactly the response I would expect. McCain took something of a stand against it in Michigan, but refused to reject a Virginia official’s linking of Obama to Osama (which means Obama deserves to die). By doing that, McCain legitimized those sentiments among his Virginia supporters. That is beyond irresponsible – it is dangerous.


  7. Matthew says:

    Sweetness, you’re kidding, right? Hez’b was formed to eject Zionist invaders from Lebanon. That is hardly a “hate group.” Oh, the Litani River, the Zionists cast a lustful eye onto you.
    I just love the way that anyone who opposes Zionist aggression is labeled a bigot. I guess those Palestinian farmers who are getting stoned by Zionist nutjobs during the olive harvest are also part of a “hate group.”


  8. Danilo says:

    Volker ist der Beste! Just received the same crap in the mail last week. Thought it was from my Republican family in TX but I guess I was wrong.
    Not sure if I should bother watching it. Did anyone see it yet?


  9. Sweetness says:

    Matthew writes: “Sorry, but fighting anti-Semitism today takes
    about as much courage as singing the national anthem.”
    Only in America. Elsewhere, the national anthem is sung to
    exclude Jews as not of the nation in question.
    Are you ready to apply this rule to Hezbollah and Hamas?


  10. Kathleen says:

    Volker Beck step up to the plate and make a stand against all hate groups not just against Israel. If Volker does not step up to the plate and stand against all hate groups he shows his true color.


  11. Matthew says:

    Steve: It’s a simple test. If a person peddles anti-Muslim trash like “Obesssion,” then all their other “human rights” work is meaningless. Anti-Muslim bigotry is the premier and REAL civil rights threat of our time. Sorry, but fighting anti-Semitism today takes about as much courage as singing the national anthem.


  12. J. R. Cotner says:

    “Radical Islam’s War Against the West” is a misnomer. Islam’s ‘war’ is against the other two Middle-Easternisms, Judiasm and Christianity. Not the West.
    Judiasm, Christianity and Islam are all Middle-Eastern religions/philosopies and have nothing to do with Western religions/philosphies.


  13. pacos_gal says:

    Steve, I’d heard about this dvd being sent out with the Sunday newspapers to voters particularly in what is considered to be swing states. After reading your post this morning, I did a little more searching. I’d refer you to Richard Silverstein’s blog. He has been doing a lot of research on the dvd Obsession and Third Jihad. http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/
    He has been following the various paths of distribution and money to find out who actually has been paying to have these movies made and distributed. It’s interesting reading.
    I agree with you that hate groups of any sort shouldn’t be on facebook. But then I always hope that hate groups can be a thing of the past, that can be looked upon as a part of history and not playing a role in the present. It’s a hope, it’s not reality, obviously. *sigh*
    I think that hate groups who distribute propaganda should be outed. People should know exactly what it is and who it is that they are buying into. You can’t make an informed decision without being informed.


  14. FaceOnMarsz says:

    Just tossed this in the circular file yesterday after finding it in my PO Box.
    While I normally try not to judge a book by it’s cover, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what was on this video.
    Unfortunately, I’m sure plenty of people may not apply their common sense filter to this unsolicited “gift”.


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