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April 14, 2015 2:21 pm

Haaretz Writer Praises Anti-Israel Conference, Hides Conflict of Interest

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Haaretz's Gideon Levy. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

From Gideon Levy at Haaretz:

…A completely unusual event was taking place at the National Press Club. At a conference on Friday titled “The Israel Lobby: Is It Good for the U.S.? Is It Good for Israel?,”cosponsored by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, remarks the likes of which are rarely heard in the United States were made.

Attendees included members of the U.S. Congress, former diplomats and intelligence officials, Palestinian student leaders, Jewish activists from the left and academics. This was not the Saban Forum, nor the AIPAC Policy Conference: This was the other America. “Welcome to another Israeli-occupied territory: Washington,” someone on the stage half-joked. At a time of a new zenith in Israeli interference in the U.S. capital and a new and inconceivable nadir in American groveling before Israel, the anger, the insistence, the fear and perhaps also the hatred of the few was heard clearly at the conference. If their voice is set to grow, then Israelis should be aware of it.

…Paul Findley, 93, a Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois (from 1961-1983), mentioned a senior diplomat friend of his who knew it was impossible to criticize Israel to the secretary of state through the usual channels, only in one-on-one conversations. There are hundreds of people in the Administration whose salaries are paid by the U.S. taxpayer and who believe their sole mission is to defend Israel, even by destroying freedom of expression, Findley added. His voice shook when he said the conference was a rare opportunity to express such ideas. He spoke of the paralyzing fear of criticizing Israel, lest one be labeled an anti-Semite. It’s not the politicians who run this country; it’s the lobbyists, including the Jewish lobby, Findley said. His remarks were echoed by Nick Rahall, who served as a Democratic U.S. Representative from West Virginia for 38 years and who said American democracy had been hijacked by wealthy businessmen like Sheldon Adelson.

Paul R. Pillar, formerly a senior member of the U.S. intelligence community, explained in a brilliant lecture the advantages of the nuclear agreement with Iran, and argued that Israel’s opposition to it stemmed from the fear that, in its wake, the occupation would become the main issue.

There was, as far as I can tell, no English-language* news coverage of this conference anywhere except in this column by Levy in Haaretz. The videos of the conference do not show the size of the crowd so we don’t know how many people actually showed up; I would be surprised if more than 50 people attended based on the sound of the applause on the videos and the size of the venue.

But Levy didn’t mention a salient fact:

Levy was one of the honored speakers at this anti-Israel hatefest.

Yes, Levy’s effusive praise was for a conference which highlighted his own speech there!

This conflict of interest would be required to be revealed in any normal journalistic outlet. But – this is Haaretz, where the normal rules for journalism do not apply.

Haaretz’ ethical standards are as high as their editorial standards.

*While there wasn’t any English-language coverage, Arab newspapers gleefully quoted Levy’s column “reporting” that former members of Congress say that the Jewish lobby controls America.

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