Tony Greenstein | 12 March 2018 | Post Views:

When is Al
Jazeera Going to Show their undercover documentary on the Israel Lobby’s
Undercover Activities in the United States?

 15 months ago Al Jazeera
broadcast a programme The Lobby in 4
instalments.  It led to the departure
from Britain of Israeli agent Shai Masot and an apology from Israeli
Ambassador, Mark Regev for the fact that an Israeli ‘diplomat’ (in fact he did not have diplomatic status but was an operative of Gilad Erdan’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs) had been caught
discussing how to take down the Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Duncan, a
perceived Arabist.

At the same time a similar under
cover documentary was being produced in the United States focussing on the
Israel lobby in the United States.  It
has never been shown?  Why?  Because of massive pressure that has been
exerted on the Qatari government. 
Richard Silverstein in the article below asks why and then the key
researcher on Al Jazeera itself, Clayton Swisher puts the same question in the
Jewish Forward.

The real reason why the showing of the documentary has been postponed or cancelled, at this stage we don’t know, is of course the blockade of Qatar
instituted in June 2017 by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries.   The aim of the blockade was to put an end to
an independent foreign policy by Qatar. The formal demands included
  • Cutting
    diplomatic ties with Iran and severing ties to “terrorist” organisations i.e. Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and anyone
    else who displeased the Saudis.
  • Closing
    a Turkish military base and halt joint military co-operation inside Qatar
  • Align
    with other Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and
  • End
    interference in other sovereign countries’ internal affairs by not allowing criticism of them by shutting down Al Jazeera and other Qatar-funded news outlets
The last demand, to shut or clamp down on Al Jazeera was one of the key
demands.  The growth of a relatively free
broadcaster shining a light on the iniquities of the Arab regimes (bar Qatar
itself of course) more than irritated the Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain and
Dubai.  At first there was also sabre
rattling militarily though that was soon dispensed with.

The fact that the West and the United States, who are up to their ears in arms deals with a regime which is guilty of multiple war crimes in Yemen, keep silent says everything you need to know about the real commitment of the West to such values as freedom of speech.

It would appear that a major documentary on the Israel lobby in the
United States had become a casualty of a blockade that Donald Trump, though not
his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, supported.  Qatar’s response has been to try and win over
the Zionist lobby in the United States.
Qatar has flown prominent Zionists such as Professor Alan Dershowitz o
Harvard University and Mort Klein of the Zionist Organisation of America to
Doha.  See Qatar
turns to Israel to escape Saudi squeeze
Although Netanyahu did his best to
actually shut down Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel, such is his commitment to
free speech on Israel, other Zionists have proved more amenable but for a price.  Either way it is a sordid affair.

The casualty of all this has been Al Jazeera and its
reputation for independence and accuracy. 
In on sense, having ensured that the threatened documentary isn’t
broadcast, the aims of the  blockade of Saudi
Arabia have succeeded.

It is to be hoped that the Qatar authorities will have enough courage to end their censorship and enable Al Jazeera to go ahead and broadcast the documentary

Tony Greenstein

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani who is believed to have prevented the showing of Al Jazar’s documentary
Al Jazeera’s special investigations team has produced two astonishing
documentary series on the Israel Lobby in the UK and U.S.  The former was aired to great fanfare and notoriety last
year.  It revealed the deep penetration of Israeli diplomats into internal
UK politics and cost at least one of those officials his job.  The Lobby
filed a complaint against the series with UK media regulators, who dismissed
By then the documentary
on the U.S. Israel Lobby
was in the can and ready
for airing.  But it never did.  In the past few months there has been
a furious
tug of wa
r between those targeted in the
documentary and their Lobby supporters in Congress and the Trump
administration, and human rights and media activists lobbying for the Qatari
government to air it.  So far, the Lobby appears to be winning the
battle.  For months, the program has been ready to air but not received
permission from the authorities.  By the way, the notion
expressed by Qatari government ministers
the decision is out of their hands and rests solely with Al Jazeera is
laughable.  No subject this controversial is decided solely on its
journalistic merits.
The reason the documentary is even more controversial is that it has
dropped into a major crisis facing Qatar.  Saudi Arabia’s new boy prince,
Mohammed ibn Salman, has determined to make his mark on the region by shaking
up conventional thinking and acting aggressively in pursuit of Saudi
interests.  So we have the disastrous siege in Yemen which has killed
50,000 Yemenis.  Next, Saudi Arabia lined up all its lackey states in a
row and they all obediently declared Qatar a mortal enemy because it had the
temerity to pursue a semi-independent path.  That included maintaining
relations with both Iran and Turkey, who are persona non grata in Saudi eyes.
Broidy and Israeli premier Bibi Netanyahu (David Carp/Wallenberg Committee)
The Sunni Gulf alliance laid siege to Qatar and did everything short of
declaring war.  The Saudis little brother in the Gulf is UAE, which has
been pursuing a wide-ranging campaign to blacken Qatar.  That has included
media hacks which aired
offensive programming on Qatari TV
insulted the Saudis.  But it’s gone much farther, sending
and pro-Israel
American Jewish emissaries
to Trump’s inner circle to
pressure it to advance Sunni interests, including advocating the firing of
Secretary of State Tillerson.
The question is: did wealthy figures like Elliot Broidy approach Kushner
and Trump et al not just at the behest of UAE; were they also coached or
directed by Israel itself–or by cut-out intermediaries?  Remember, that
the NSA has captured communications intercepts in which senior authorities from
four countries essentially
conspire to buy Jared Kushner

So it is not at all far-fetched that Israel would approach its allies inside
the U.S. Israel Lobby and organize such efforts.
Not that UAE or the Saudis especially need the Israel Lobby to do their
work for them.  They already have a well-financed lobbying campaign of
their own in this country.  But every friend counts and all hands help.
Jonathan Schanzer of the neo-con Israel Foundation for the Defense of Democracies 

Qatar’s new
best friends in U.S. Israel Lobby: Dershowitz, Hoenlein, Klein, Dermer, Rosen

The Qataris too feel they have to play this game.  To that end,
their former foreign minister took a
meeting with Jared Kushner
and discussed a major
investment in a family property that is under water financially. 
Naturally the investment, had it gone forward, would have cemented a golden
relationship with Donald Trump just as he became president.  But
prudently, the Qataris backed out to the chagrin of Kushner.  News
articles have noted that only weeks later Saudi Arabia launched its siege
against Qatar.  It’s no accident that Trump’s first statement was one of
absolute support for the Saudi position; and denunciation of the Qataris in
terms that could have been written by Saudi PR flacks.
The Qatari government has also bought
the services of the leading DC Republican campaign consultancy
.  That firm has in turn bought American Jewish leaders and sent
them on junkets to Qatar
just like the ones they
organize for Congress members and Senators to Israel to cement the loyalty of
the American political class.  Among the bought-leaders have been Malcolm
Hoenlein, Mort Klein, Jack Rosen, and Alan Dershowitz.  After their
meetings with the emir they’ve dutifully spouted pro- Qatari talking
points.  This serves Qatar’s purpose by driving a wedge into the usually
unified Lobby leadership.  Where most side with the blossoming bromance
between Israel and Saudi Arabia and denounce Qatar as a terrorist supporter of
ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, now new voices are offering an alternative
point of view.
This suits the Qataris who know the Israel Lobby could wield massive
force inside Congress and the administration in support of the Saudi
position.  They need to chip away at that unanimity in order to blunt the
attack.  Thus Dershowitz et al are useful tools of disruption for them.
Returning to the documentary: it features extensive surreptitiously
recorded conversations with officials of the neocon/pro-Israel Foundation for
the Defense of Democracies boasting about how closely their lobbying is
coördinated with and by Israel.  A senior official, Jonathan Schanzer, explicitly
says on camera that not only are positions coordinated, but that its work is
financed by Israel.  That is a huge no-no in terms of U.S. law.  Any
U.S. person or group financed by a foreign government must register as an agent
of a foreign government (FARA).  For decades, critics of the Lobby have
demanded that groups like Aipac, FDD and others should register under
FARA.  Naturally, the Lobby objects strenuously.  Admitting that it
is a creature of the Israeli government would not only tarnish its reputation
as being a wholly homegrown American enterprise; it would also raise the
dreaded specter of dual loyalty–a canard often spouted by anti-Semites
claiming that American Jews owe their loyalty not to their homeland, but to a
foreign power.

Doha out of where Al Jazeera operate
In actuality, most American Jews are loyal to their country.  It is
only the Lobby and its most fervent adherents who are guilty of dual
loyalty.  And they should be formally registered as such.
Into this titanic struggle between Qatar and the Sunni Gulf states steps
the Al Jazeera documentary.  A poor lost soul seeking to find its way to
viewers.  The Qataris have two conflicting considerations: they can honor
press freedom and the important issues the program raises; or they can play
realpolitik and do what is best for their national interests.  My cynical
self knows which one is most likely to win out.  But my optimistic self
hopes that they honor their commitment to the right values of justice and
fairness and a free press and permit it to air.
The Lobby wants to leave nothing to chance.  That’s why both the
Saudiphiles and the Qatariphiles have both exerted maximum force to stop
it.  Dershowitz and the other Lobby guests of the emir lobbied him to
shelve the documentary.  They came away believing that he had promised to
do so.  Though Qatari officials have disagreed with this assessment and
made mealy-mouthed professions of support for whatever decision Al Jazeera
management makes.
The Lobby Saudiphiles have also concocted a scheme in Congress demanding
that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether Al Jazeera
itself is an agent of a foreign power.  Thirteen water-carrying Congress
members have written to AG Sessions demanding that he force Al Jazeera to do
what Putin’s RT has been compelled to do: to register under FARA.  The
apoplexy of the Lobby is based mostly on outrage that they were hoodwinked into
talking to a reporter covertly recording their conversations.  The fact
that the content of those conversations proved that the Lobby is an agent of
Israel is what they’d like to suppress.  Instead, they’d like to focus on
their outrage that Al Jazeera engaged in what one Lobby genius called
not mince words about what this was – a well-funded, professional
espionage operation carried out by Qatar on American soil,” Noah Pollak,
executive director of the neoconservative Committee for Israel, has stated.
A telling term to use because it implies that the Lobby itself is a
stand-in for America itself; and that betraying the interests of the Lobby is
the same as betraying the interests of the nation.  A ludicrous, almost
insane notion.  Not to mention that Israeli officials, the Lobby itself and
UAE are engaged here in even more extensive monitoring, spying and hacking of
the sort they complain about regarding Al Jazeera.

AIPAC – the major Israel Lobby Group that is the spider at the centre of Israel’s suborning of elected representatives  and the attack on Free Speech in the United States

We Made A Documentary
Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run?

The Forward March 8th 2018, Clayton Swisher

You never know who you’re going to spot at the Doha Four Seasons in
Qatar. So I was only somewhat surprised when I found myself standing next to
Harvard law Professor Alan
in the omelet line last Saturday.

It was a fortuitous meeting. Dershowitz had recently played
a small role in an episode that was threatening the
reputation of my long-time employer, Al Jazeera. So naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to
defend it.

The circumstances of the threat were these: In 2016, the award-winning Investigative
I directed sent an undercover reporter to look into how Israel wields
influence in America through the pro-Israel American community. But when some
right wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there
was a massive backlash. It was even labeled as anti-Semitic in a spate of articles.
This uproar came at a time when due to an arbitrary
blockade on Qatar imposed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Qatar
had been pursuing an end to its siege by appealing to the U.S. 

According to reports, Qatar sought to offer its own side of the
narrative in this conflict by hosting thought leaders, including from the
American Jewish community. From reports in the Israeli press, I learned that Dershowitz had been
brought to meet with the Qatari emir, and that the American Jews had brought up
what they saw as Al Jazeera’s “anti-Semitism” in those meetings.

Of course, our documentary is not anti-Semitic. It is an
exploration of how Israel, a foreign government, influences U.S. foreign

But I decided to show it to Dershowitz to get his point of
view, and I was pleased when he obliged.
I have no problem with any of the secret filming,” Mr.
Dershowitz told me after watching nearly half of the documentary. “And I can
even see this being broadcast on PBS. What I do take issue with is the lack of
balance this program has, for example, not having a voice like me.”
note: When asked about this by The Forward, Dershowitz said he did
not specifically ask to be in the documentary himself, and that he brought up
PBS for its use of undercover reporters.]

I understood Dershowitz’s remarks as a qualified seal of
approval, which heartened me. And yet, our documentary has now been elevated to
the center of an international scandal, with Al Jazeera’s reputation in America
seemingly hanging in the balance.

Indeed, if the documentary doesn’t air soon, it might prove
to be the ammunition sought by a group of zealous U.S. politicians who wish to
declare Al Jazeera a foreign entity, and label us journalists as “spies.”
Since moving to Qatar in 2007, my professional life has
been devoted to creating Al Jazeera’s first professional investigative unit,
leading a team of committed journalists striving to challenge conventional
wisdom rather than report the obvious. I am proud of how in such a short span
of time, since our 2011 establishment, we have broken several important stories
that have dominated the global news agenda, and even changed the course of
history. You might recall our “Palestine
” leak of confidential meeting minutes from the Israeli-Palestinian
negotiations under Bush and Obama, or the investigation
I led into Yasser Arafat’s death, resulting in his exhumation
and the discovery of Polonium 210 in his corpse.

We have tackled a breadth of subjects and controversies,
from exposing the depth of the Boeing 787’s
battery problems to genocide in Myanmar to presidential corruption in the Maldives
to a recent exposé on pedophilia in British youth football.

And we’ve won awards, including the Foreign Press
Association, CINE Golden Eagle, One World Media, and the New York Film
Festival, as well as prestigious nominations in Europe’s top contests,
including BAFTA, Monte Carlo, and the Royal Television Society.

Even though our network is a private company funded by the
government of Qatar, my unit operates independently and without government
interference. If that weren’t the case, I have every confidence our staff —
comprised of mostly British and American journalists — would walk. And
rightfully so.
From time to time, when other investigative tactics won’t
work, we escalate our efforts to include undercover reporters and secret
filming. This practice is used by many international broadcasters, including
BBC and CNN, and is carefully managed, through multiple layers of legal and
editorial review, to ensure it is performed consistently with local laws,
industry regulations, and our own Code of Ethics.

This tactic helped us to uncover sports doping at the highest levels of American
professional athletics and, more dangerously, to expose South Africa’s illegal and gruesome rhino horn
trade, which implicated the country’s own minister of state security.

It was under these auspices that our Investigative Unit
placed concurrent undercover journalists in both Washington DC and London to expose the clandestine efforts of Israel’s Ministry of
Strategic Affairs to counter the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions

The UK
of “The Lobby” aired in January 2017. We captured on hidden camera
an Israeli official, Shai Masot, manipulating domestic British NGO’s and
threatening to target pro-Palestinian MP’s. Masot, then a junior employee with
the Israeli Embassy in London, threatened to “take down” the Foreign Office’s number two, Sir Alan
Duncan, a critic of Israeli settlements. A British civil servant
entertaining the plot, who we secretly recorded, was summarily dismissed.

The UK edition of “The Lobby” was of such public importance
that it resulted in a formal apology from Ambassador Mark Regev. Masot resigned. Most significantly, a parliamentary inquiry was
launched into foreign interference in UK foreign policy.

Frustratingly, despite all these proofs of the importance
of our work, we were met with accusations of anti-Semitism. The Jewish
Chronicle anonymously quoted a “communal figure” saying “the documentary revealed an
‘anti-Semitic’ mindset among those who made it.” A number of pro-Israeli
activists brought complaints against us, leading to an extensive regulatory
investigation by Britain’s top broadcast regulator, Ofcom. But even that
investigation cleared Al Jazeera of any foul play, including
anti-Semitism. The lengthy verdict, issued last October, found that our work
yielded “a serious investigative documentary” that was in the public interest.
Surreptitious filming,” Ofcom confirmed, “was necessary to the credibility and
authenticity of the program because without it, the program makers would have
had to rely on second-hand accounts.”

We could not have agreed more. Our journalism got at the
heart of the crucial question of foreign interference in the UK government, and
it was of vital public interest.

It was this same question — whether the Israeli government
was funding or involved in lobbying efforts in the U.S. under the guise of a
domestic lobbying group — that we sought to answer in the American edition of
“The Lobby.”

Nowhere are these lobbying efforts more prominent than in
Washington DC, where we had a second undercover concurrently embedded to report
on how the groups in America really work. We explored American pro-Israel
lobbyists and their relationships with Israeli entities, like the Israeli
Embassy or Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Given the high volume of
footage we obtained, it took us until early autumn 2017 to carefully ready the
US edition for broadcast.

After our journalism was validated and upheld by Ofcom in
October, we assumed that the US edition of “The Lobby” would be aired in just a
matter of weeks, as I said in a series of interviews at the time. It was to be made
available in the U.S. on YouTube.

There was a final step to the process. As a UK-regulated
entity, we are obliged to send formal “right to reply” letters to anyone caught
on our secret cameras, which I proceeded to do in January. This late stage
formality is done in every project to notify unwitting people of our intention
to broadcast. These letters clearly state the essence of our findings,
providing the subjects the opportunity to respond. I duly instructed our reporter to proceed with sending the
letters, which he did. More than 70 letters went out.

To this day, our letters yielded only a paltry three
replies. Instead we faced a spate of articles by right-wing pro-Israel news sites in
America, harshly attacking our work. They came from the likes of the
“Foundation for the Defense of Democracies,” whose staff was included in our
secret filming, and who, according to earlier leaked emails, has aligned its pro-Israeli
advocates with the United Arab Emirates government to smear Al Jazeera’s work
as “an instrument of regional instability.”

Others, like Noah Pollak from the Committee for Israel, impugned our
journalism as a “professional espionage operation carried out by Qatar on
American soil.”

Rather than reply to our letter inviting him to challenge
our findings about him, Pollak and other “leaders of Jewish American
organizations” instead took meetings with the State of Qatar’s registered agent
and lobbyist, a former aide to US Senator Ted Cruz named Nick Muzin, to “see if
he could use his ties with the Qataris to stop the airing.”

Muzin, it seems, told them he could. In February, Muzin
told Haaretz that “he was discussing the issue with the Qataris and didn’t
think the film would broadcast in the near future.” One anonymous source even
boasted to Haaretz that “the Qatari emir himself helped make the
decision” to spike our film.

These same zealots are now lobbying Congress to pressure the
Department of Justice to require our network to register as “foreign agents” under the Foreign Agent
Registration Act (or “FARA”). In a letter circulated on Capitol Hill last week,
some lawmakers even raised alarm over “reports” that our undercover had
“infiltrated American 501 (c)(3) and (c)(4) nonprofit organizations” in the
course of our journalism.

I was outraged. When the network launched in 1996, it was
set up to shine the light of transparency across the Arab and Muslim world.
Established powers hated us, and on any given day, still do. Even the Bush
administration contemplated bombing our headquarters during the second Iraq war. It was
incredible to hear just a few years later then-Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton defending Al Jazeera as “real news
in testimony before Congress. I defy any journalist who truly values her or his
craft to say that Al Jazeera has not been a force for good in our troubled
planet. Al Jazeera has without question expanded press freedoms throughout the
Arab and Muslim world.

And yet, I have to admit that someone has been hard at work
putting the kibosh on our film.
For since October, we’ve faced a series of unexplained
delays in broadcasting our project, the likes of which I’ve never experienced.
I was repeatedly told by everyone I asked to “wait,” and was assured our
documentary would eventually see the light of day. Then, as now, I took my
senior management at its word. To my own specially trained ears, “wait” did not
constitute “stop.

In fact, it must not constitute “stop.” For if
our documentary does not air, it may well lend credibility to the claim these
14 U.S. politicians have used and defamed us with — that Al Jazeera is indeed a
foreign agent, at the direction and control of Qatar’s government.

I confess my own disappointment with Al Jazeera’s
non-response to these attacks. In part because of this deep frustration and my
inability to get any real transparency about the decision to delay our
broadcast, I asked for and received a sabbatical, which I began this week.
Meanwhile, the attacks against us continue. Although Al Jazeera is a world
class media organization that wins awards and has changed history and the Arab
world so much for the better, our shortcomings remain being way too shy (and
late) to tell our own story. Worse, we often let others who have an agenda
against us to tell it for us.

I am distressed to find that our investigation into
America’s pro-Israel lobbyists may represent the most important test yet of Al
Jazeera’s independence, and whether our network still has space to thrive
amidst the unjust blockade against our Qatari host. I pray those outside our
network do not seek short term political expediency and inappropriately interfere
with our professional work, which we have zealously guarded and worked long
term to preserve and uphold.

Nothing less than free speech and democratic values are at
stake here.

Clayton Swisher is a Doha-based investigative
journalist on sabbatical leave from Al Jazeera Media Network and author of “The
Truth About Camp David” and “The Palestine Papers.” The author speaks for
himself and not for Al Jazeera. Follow him on Twitter @claytonswisher.

in Al Jazeera’s undercover film on the US Israel lobby?

Foundation for Defense of Democracies vice
president Jonathan Schanzer testifies at a hearing in Congress. (

The leading neoconservative think tank Foundation
for Defense of Democracies
is functioning as an agent of the Israeli
government, Al Jazeera’s forthcoming investigation on the US Israel lobby will

According to a source who has seen the undercover
documentary, it contains footage of a powerful Israeli official claiming that
“We have FDD. We have others working on this.”

, a former
Israeli military intelligence officer
, is said to state that the foundation is “working
” projects for Israel including “data gathering, information analysis,
working on activist organizations, money trail. This is something that only a
country, with its resources, can do the best.”

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly
known as FARA, US organizations and individuals who work on behalf of foreign
governments are required to register with the counterintelligence section of
the Department of Justice.

A search on the FARA website shows that the Foundation for Defense of
Democracies is not registered.

Al Jazeera’s film reportedly identifies a number of
lobby groups as working with Israel to spy on American citizens using
sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast
light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical
of Israel.

Israel lobby groups have placed intense pressure on
Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, to shelve the film, fueling speculation it may
never be aired.

Covert agent of Israel

Sima Vaknin-Gil, who holds the rank of
in Israel’s military, is now the top civil servant at Israel’s Ministry of
Strategic Affairs

The ministry is in charge of running a covert
of sabotage against
BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in support of Palestinian
human rights.

Vaknin-Gil’s ministerial boss is Gilad Erdan, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Soon after she was appointed to lead the ministry
at the start of 2016, Vaknin-Gil promised tocreate a
community of fighters
” who would “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda
that would be publicly distanced from the government.

As well as getting funding from Sheldon
, the anti-Palestinian billionaire and number one
to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Foundation for Defense of
Democracies has close ties to the United Arab Emirates.

In hacked
emails last year
the Emirati ambassador in Washington encouraged the foundation to push
for moving a US military base from Qatar to his own country.

The film will also reportedly show undercover
footage of a junior Israel lobbyist boasting of how close Israel’s ties are
with the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf regimes.

UAE, Israel deepening ties

Information removed from Max Adelstein’s Facebook
page. Click here
for full resolution
Max Adelstein is said to be seen in the film
stating that the lobby has helped Israel and the United Arab Emirates develop
security links “all under the table.”

Adelstein was an intern at Washington lobbying firm
the Harbour Group. The firm’s clients include the United
Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

It received $2.2 million from the UAE and more than
$300,000 from Saudi Arabia during the six months ending 30 September 2017.

Adelstein now says he works for AIPAC, Washington’s
most powerful Israel lobby group whose annual conference began Sunday. (Shortly
after this article was published, Adelstein switched on his Facebook privacy settings and removed mention of his AIPAC
role. Screenshots of his profile have been added.)

The film is said to show Adelstein boasting that
ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel are “getting so much better,
and nobody knows it.”

He told an undercover Al Jazeera reporter that “The
governments have to coordinate on security. It’s all under the table. But on
trade, security, tech, medicine, there’s a lot of cooperation.”

According to The Electronic Intifada’s source,
Adelstein is seen in the undercover footage explaining that an American Jewish
Committee “study tour” of the United Arab Emirates focusing on “mutual
was planned.

In January, the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations, a forum of Israel lobby groups whose membership includes the
American Jewish Committee, announced it had sent
a “large delegation” of leaders to the United Arab Emirates, where it “met with
everybody at the highest levels.”

The additional insight into the United Arab
Emirates’ cozying up to Israel lobby groups comes as the wealthy monarchy’s
activities in Washington are facing renewed scrutiny.

On Saturday, The New York Times reported that
special counsel Robert Mueller is expanding his investigation from alleged
Russian meddling in the US presidential election to “include Emirati influence
on the Trump administration
” through the president’s son-in-law and adviser
Jared Kushner.
“Anti-Semitism as a smear is not
what it used to be”

, senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is
said to be seen in the undercover footage briefing recruits on how to smear
Palestine solidarity groups in the US who support the BDS movement.

According to the source, Schanzer admits to the
undercover reporter that “BDS has taken everybody by surprise.”

He calls the response by Israel lobby groups “a
complete mess,” adding, “I don’t think that anybody’s doing a good job. We’re
not even doing a good job.”

According to the source, Schanzer laments that
attempts to smear Students for
Justice in Palestine
and American
Muslims for Palestine
as linked to extremist Islamic terrorism have failed
to gain traction.

He is also said to regret that the Israel lobby’s
habitual tactic of falsely
Palestine solidarity activists are motivated by anti-Jewish hatred is
losing its impact.

“Personally I think anti-Semitism as a smear is not
what it used to be,”
he is said to tell the undercover reporter.

Schanzer’s views echo a secret report endorsed by
the Israeli government and distributed to Israel lobby leaders last year. That
report, a leaked copy of which was published by
The Electronic Intifada
, concludes that Israel’s efforts to stem the
growth of the Palestine solidarity movement have largely failed.

Film delayed

In October last year, Clayton Swisher, Al Jazeera’s
head of investigations, first
that the Qatari satellite channel had in 2016 run an undercover
journalist in the US Israel lobby.

Swisher made the announcement soon after the UK’s
broadcast regulator dismissed all complaints against Al Jazeera’s film The

That documentary, broadcast in January 2017,
exposed Israel’s covert influence campaign in the UK’s ruling Conservative and
opposition Labour parties. The film revealed an Israeli embassy agent plotting
with a British civil servant to “take down” a
government minister seen as too critical of Israel.

Although Swisher promised the US film would come
out “very soon,” nearly five months later it has yet to be broadcast.

Israel lobby in Qatar

Over the same period, a wave of
Israel lobbyists
has visited Qatar at the invitation of its ruler, Emir Tamim bin
Hamad Al Thani

Among them have been some of the most rightwing and
extreme figures among Israel’s defenders in the US, including Harvard law
professor Alan Dershowitz and Morton Klein, the head of the Zionist
Organization of America.

Multiple Israel lobby sources told
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper
last month that they had received assurances from
Qatari leaders late last year that the Al Jazeera documentary will not be
Qatar has denied this.

Pro-Israel groups have gone on the offensive to try
and deter Al Jazeera from showing the film.

“Let’s not mince words about what this was – a
well-funded, professional espionage operation carried out by Qatar on American
Noah Pollak, executive director of the neoconservative Committee for
Israel, has stated.

Ironically, pro-Israel members of Congress are now pressuring the
Department of Justice to force Al Jazeera to register as an arm of Qatar, under
the Foreign Agents Registration Act, just as the Russian-funded network RT was
recently forced to do.

Whether this pressure will succeed in burying the
documentary for good is perhaps the ultimate test of the Israel lobby influence
Al Jazeera journalists sought to expose.

Updated to add Max Adelstein screenshots.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and
associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.

See also Electronic Intifada’s How
“Russiagate” helps the Israel lobby
. Russia’s RT has been forced to
register as a foreign agent in the United States.  This is now being used to close it down.  The same is now happening to Al Jazeera,
again to silence it.  Of course the
corporate media, whose only allegiance is to the pockets of those who own them
and United States capitalism will not be so registered.  It’s all in the name of free speech and

Morton Klein – far-Right President of the Zionist Organisation of America invited to Qatar as part of an attempt to win over key Zionists in America
Sigurd Neubauer
The Forward March 9, 2018

Some surprising news emerged on the heels of the annual
shebang of America’s largest Israel lobbying group. On the final day of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference, news broke that
an undercover Al Jazeera documentary — about the very topic of Jewish advocacy
for Israel — might lead to espionage charges against the network.
As part of the documentary, a young man
went undercover to work for pro-Israel lobbying and fundraising groups.
American critics have argued that this constituted “espionage” against US
citizens, since Al Jazeera is funded by the government of Qatar. Al Jazeera
should therefore be forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration
Act, or FARA.
A FARA designation would for all practical
purposes cripple Al Jazeera and its ability to interview US officials and bring
guests on air. But this week, the efforts got traction on Capitol Hill when
U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Lee Zeldin sent a letter urging
Attorney General Jeff Sessions to enforce the FARA. 19 members of Congress have
signed onto the latter, as has a single senator — Ted Cruz.

strange episode makes more sense if you take a closer look at who’s running the
charges. The largest contributor to Gottheimer 2018 election campaign is
NorPac, a “non-partisan” political action committee whose “primary purpose” is
to support candidates who demonstrate “a genuine commitment to the strength,
security and survival of Israel,” according to Open Secrets. Given that New
Jersey has the second largest Jewish population after New York in the U.S., a
re-election campaign focused on Al Jazeera and its coverage of American Jews
would be a good play to Gottheimer’s base.

But Al Jazeera is facing intense
international pressure, too. The FARA letter comes during a nasty feud between
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which has resulted in a crushing blockade
against Qatar. And in some ways, this Gulf crisis also comes back to Al
The blockade is the result of the Anti
Terror Quartet, which consists of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi
Arabia and Egypt. They have long-standing grievances with Qatar’s independent
foreign policy and especially with Al Jazeera, which has since its inception in
1996 prodded fellow Arab governments about sensitive issues, including the role
of political Islam, corruption, Arab states’ support for the US/UK-led invasion
and occupation of Iraq, and the lack of democracy across the Arab world.
Of course, while generally progressive on
Arab issues, when it comes to the coverage of the Qatari royal family and of
Qatari politics, Al Jazeera’s coverage is muted, at best (which falls in line
with the rest of the GCC state media, which prohibits criticizing royal
families and government policies in general). It’s also true that Al Jazeera is
fully state owned, which explains why Qatar’s neighbors have long considered it
to be a tool of Doha’s foreign policy.
And yet, the Arab world’s hatred of Al
Jazeera is in direct proportion to its influence shaping the discourse, which
runs deep, including on Israel. Al Jazeera Arabic remains the Arab world’s most
popular news channel, and is the only Arab network to regularly provide
Israelis with a platform to present their views.
That Al Jazeera continues to push
boundaries was evident after it came under intense scrutiny on
social media last month for providing IDF Spokesman in Arabic Avichay Adraee a
platform to present the Israeli position. Still, Al Jazeera, along with Saudi
Arabia’s Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia networks, is well-known for presenting
the Palestinian narrative of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. AJ+, an online
news and current events channel run by Al Jazeera, is known for producing
content sympathetic to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions agenda, along with
other subjects popular with America’s far-left constituency.
Due to its influence, a core demand by
those imposing the siege was that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera if they want the
siege to end (Qatar, for its part, considers the 13 demands not a negotiation
gambit but an imposition meant to curtail its sovereignty).
In other words, Qatar is now being
pressured to shut Al Jazeera by Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, 19 congressmen, and Ted Cruz.
But this confluence of national and
international pressure around Al Jazeera is not accidental. Qatar has long
feared that its regional rivals would partner with American Jewish groups to
jointly lobby the U.S. Congress to force the network to register under FARA.
It’s widely
 within Washington policy circles that the UAE sought to
take advantage of the Trump presidency to solve the Qatar issue once and for
all. It’s not just the Trump administration, either. Leaders of the American
Jewish community have been courted by both Qatar and the UAE, and Jewish
 have even been hired for
their long-standing ties to the Jewish community.
Ultimately, it’s unclear whether the House
Republican leadership would even consider bringing the FARA measure up for a
vote. But no matter what American Jews think about Al Jazeera, they should
recognize the true context of the FARA request: that media and intellectual
diversity face unprecedented scrutiny at home and abroad, especially within the
Arab world. Instead of using their lobbying influence to become partisans in
the ATQ-Qatar dispute by calling for Al Jazeera’s FARA registration, American
Jewish leaders should continue their respective engagements with the Qatari and
UAE leadership.
If the Doha-based network is forced to
register as a Foreign Agent, it will likely have ripple effects against media
organizations around the world. The American Jewish leadership should not want
this stain on its reputation, especially given that they are known for
championing tolerance and pluralism at home and abroad.
Sigurd Neubauer is a Middle East
analyst based in Washington and a frequent contributor to Al Jazeera. He is
also a graduate of Yeshiva University in New York where he studied Political
Science (BA) and Modern Jewish history.

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Tony Greenstein

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