Who is Charles Jacobs?
by Karin Friedemann, Boston
A Polish immigrant armed with only a BA from Rutgers and a Masters in Education from Harvard has proven exceptionally effective in manipulating the US government and major American institutions into following policy blueprints created by his Israel advocacy organization, the David Project. Charles Jacobs, like Charles Krauthammer and Richard Perle, obtains speaking engagements through a PR firm called Benador Associates, which specializes in pro-Israel campus events focusing on Islam and terrorism. Like Alan Dershowitz, Charles Jacobs considers himself a progressive liberal. Fareeha Iqbal, a student at MIT, disagrees.
"Dr. Jacobs’ talk expressed blatantly racist and anti-Islamic views. In fact, I have never seen Islamophobia exuded so blatantly at a public forum at MIT, nor such racist views aired at a panel discussion on human rights.”
CAMERA, co-founded by Jacobs in 1982, is a media-monitoring organization dedicated to enforcing pro-Israel, anti-Arab and anti-Islamic bias in the news. It was a pioneer in the technological aspects of mass-marketing hate. One of the first media pressure groups to invest in the software necessary to create database capabilities for email blasting tailored messages to specific target groups, CAMERA sends out action alerts instructing its members to overwhelm newspaper and politicians’ offices with hundreds of emails and threatening phone calls to complain and argue about any media coverage critical to Israel or friendly to Islam.
In 2002, a network of national Jewish organizations met to evaluate what they saw as an alarming rise in anti-Israel activity on campus. From those meetings emerged the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), which is founded in partnership with Hillel and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. (The three organizations share a building in Washington.) The David Project is an affiliate member of the ICC. In October 2003, the David Project agreed to provide funding for a film, produced by Ralph Avi Goldwasser, to slander professors Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad, Hamid Dabashi, and Georges Saliba of Columbia University's Department of Middle East studies. Joseph Massad became known as "one of the most dangerous intellectuals” on campus. Calls for the professor’s dismissal were issued by Congressman Weiner and by the editors of the Daily News and the New York Sun, and the propaganda film was shown in Israel before a government minister at an anti-Semitism conference.
The David Project regularly placed racist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim speakers on Harvard campus, but its first major accomplishment was blocking a $2 million donation from the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, for a chair in Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. The Project's 2003 smear campaign was coordinated with the ADL. By preventing Zayed from contributing to Harvard, Jacobs sought to minimize future input from Arabs and Muslims into discussions of developments at Harvard University.
American Anti-Slavery Group
The American Anti-Slavery Group grew directly out of Jacobs' pro-Israel advocacy. The group supports the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), which has been employed by the US in order to destabilize the Islamic Republic of Sudan and is believed to have trained along with Israeli forces at Otis Air Force base in Massachusetts.
The American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) is based in Boston and works with Christian Solidarity International. The organization has been closely involved in filming fraudulent "slave redemptions." Jacobs was presenting the issue as one of northern Arab "slavers" and African Christian southerners. In addition to claims of slavery, Jacobs has also described Sudan as a "terrorist, genocidal" state engaged in a "holy war." Charles Jacobs and his American Anti-Slavery Group's carefully designed "PR puff pieces" have managed to secure national media coverage. This campaign to vilify Arabs and Muslims is a multimedia effort that supplies huge quantities of lurid, both popular and pseudo-academic hate material.
JCRC sponsored organizations that are staffed by Israel advocates trained by the David Project have further poisoned human rights discourse with the dishonest Save Darfur campaign aimed at divesting from Sudan as well as from any country which does business with Sudan. The David Project has proven uncommonly effective at changing US policy in a matter of months to listing Sudan as a terrorist nation and barring all trade with the country. While pro-Palestine activists have struggled for years to slow the stream of US public funds to Israel, Jacob’s anti-Sudan campaign is probably the quickest divestment success in US history. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of JCRCs and affiliated groups, Sudan divestment resolutions have become law in Iowa and are in the process of approval in 12 states. Although US involvement in Sudanese politics can only be a disaster for the Sudanese and for America, this sort of propaganda serves the purpose of turning Arab and African Americans against each other in order to prevent them from mounting any jointly organized political efforts. The David Project and the JCRC, who have had more than one director in common, work hand in hand to minimize the potential political influence of groups who might oppose continuing US funding of Israel.
Muslims Sue the David Project
In 2006, after the David Project was found instigating a lawsuit against the City over the construction of a new mosque, Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, chairman of the board of the Islamic Society of Boston, addressed Charles Jacobs in an open letter that was quoted in the Boston Globe.
"We would like to know why you and others at the David Project appear to be so intent on inflaming relations between our communities," Abou-Allaban wrote. "Do you really hate us that much?"
In a landmark defamation suit, the ISB detailed "a concerted, well-coordinated effort to deprive ... members of the Boston Muslim community of their basic right of free association and the free exercise of their religion." Discovery materials from the ISB lawsuit have exposed a network of Neocons in the establishment, pro-Israel organizations, the mass media, and Islamophobic academics, working together to make the public fear the Muslim community.
The list of defendants in the lawsuit include Steven Emerson, a self-proclaimed 'expert' on radical Islam whose documentary, “Jihad in America," has been widely discredited, William Sapers, a director of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Boston Herald, Boston's FOX TV station, the David Project, and Citizens for Peace and Tolerance (CPT), whose president is Dennis Hale, a speaker for the David Project.
Some Jewish groups have distanced themselves from the conspiracy to deprive Muslim Americans of their constitutional rights, which is a federal crime, but Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston stated, "None of those organizations [who signed statements supporting the mosque] are members of the organizations of the JCRC. We don't consider them to be a part of the mainstream Jewish community."
Much of the mainstream media’s negative coverage of Muslims arises from the continuous stream of poisonous accusations and racist insinuations distributed as press releases by the David Project and its affiliates. Until recently, Israel advocacy organizations, which have been heavily engaged in subverting US foreign and domestic policy, have remained mostly invisible to American political scientists, who focused on traditional political lobbies like AIPAC.
Karin Friedemann is editor of World View News Service in Boston, focusing on the Islamic world. Please visit http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/.