A Palestinian family reacts after Israeli bulldozers demolished their home in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Feb. 5, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Newly elected Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid (l), leader of the Yesh Atid party, speaks to Naftali Bennett, head of the hard-line national religious party the Jewish Home, during a Feb. 5 reception in Jerusalem marking the opening of the 19th Knesset. (URIEL SINAI/GETTY IMAGES)
Richard Curtiss at work in his Washington Report office. (STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY)
Then-Vice President Dick Cheney (l) and Likud chairman Benyamin Netanyahu, out of office at the time and serving as the official Israeli opposition leader, at a March 23, 2008 breakfast meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (r) shares candies with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim during a Feb. 11 visit to the rebels’ stronghold in Sultan Kudarat on the island of Mindanao. (KARLOS MANLUPIG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Emad Burnat views his five broken cameras in his documentary of the same name. (PHOTO COURTESY KINO LORBER)
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 1992, pages 88-89
AIPAC IN ACTION: An Attack on the Washington Report
(as printed in the May 11, 1992 issue of AIPAC's Near East Report)
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, as revealed in the article by its former "opposition researcher," Gregory Slabodkin, does most of its blacklisting of Jewish and non-Jewish critics of Israel out of sight. Its files on political leaders, journalists and other public figures are compiled in secret, kept under lock and key in the office of AIPAC Deputy Director of Research and Information Michael Lewis, and released, on a "not for attribution" basis, to trusted agents for use in smear campaigns, Slabodkin reports.
Lewis's secret "Opposition Research" section within AIPAC, recently euphemistically renamed "Policy Analysis," also distributes a monthly publication, Activities, to a select list of 400 AIPAC officers and board members and to leaders of other national Jewish organizations. AIPAC employees are forbidden to carry a copy of Activities out of the AIPAC offices, or mention its existence to anyone, even members of their families, Slabodkin reports.
Nevertheless, an example of Lewis's work was published in the May 11, 1992 issue of the Near East Report. It summarizes material he presented orally the previous month at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington, DC. His presentation took place at a workshop on "Anti-Israel Activities in the U.S." chaired by AIPAC Vice President Amy Friedkin and restricted to invited AIPAC activists, and to Jewish journalists or representatives of selected Jewish publications. At that session, Lewis told attendees that American "Arabists" now have become a major problem for Israel in the United States. Lest there be any doubt as to the identity of some of these Arabists, attendees were shown copies of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Its publisher, Ambassador Andrew I. Killgore, is a retired State Department "Arabist" and its executive editor, Richard Curtiss, is a retired U.S. Information Agency "Arabist."
Above right is a verbatim reprint of Mr. Lewis's entire article on the Washington Report. It is surprising not for the space devoted to extracts from AIPAC's super-secret blacklist, but for its lack of professionalism. The quotations are presented not merely out of context. They are simply inaccurate. If material like this is par for the course inNear East Report, with a claimed circulation of more than 40,000, what's the level of accuracy in Activities, with only 400 readers—all of them friends of AIPAC?
While we try to find out, here is Mr. Lewis' article, headlined "The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs," and nine footnotes of our own.
Washington Report footnotes:
1. The magazine's article on the subject, by former Congressman Paul Findley, did not cite Mossad as a "prime suspect" in the Kennedy assassination. Instead it noted the readiness of American audiences to accept the thesis of the Oliver Stone film that the assassination was the result of a plot by America's CIA, while no one in the media had ever seriously advanced the more likely possibility that it might have been the result of a plot by the Mossad, Israel's equivalent of the CIA.
2. Although the title is flattering, Mr. Curtiss was not USAI "chief," but rather the USIA's chief inspector, reporting to the USIA director, a presidential appointee.
3. The two served among a dozen others on CNI's first board of directors for six months, starting in October 1989.
4. The Curtiss article from which the cited media quotations were drawn specifically said "that's not a media conspiracy," but rather a matter of each journalist personally "doing his bit for Israel."
5. The actual quotation from which AIPAC's distorted version was drawn: "All 'leading economic indicators' are up but one. It's called the 'consumer confidence index.' I suspect not one in a hundred Americans had ever heard of it until after pro-Israel American journalists lost confidence that Israel was going to get its loan guarantees from the United States without someone blackmailing the president."
6. The actual quotation from which this distorted AIPAC version was drawn read in full: "Those hundreds of unseen hands in the U.S. media are hard at work to fulfill the desperate hope of Israel's Likud leaders that, by bringing down their own government, holding elections, and then taking their time about organizing a new Israeli government they can stall on peace negotiations, stall on freezing settlements and stall on trading land for peace until President Bush is beaten at the polls next November, like President Carter in 1980."
The distortion makes it appear that the author has said that American Jewish journalists are trying to bring down the U.S. government rather than the correct version that Likud leaders brought down their own (Israel's) government. This is a particularly crude attempt to make a factual statement into a seemingly "anti-Semitic" remark.
The distortions continue but these citations make the point that in its article on the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, the Near East Report literally stood truth on its head, making no serious attempt to get the quotations right either in letter or in spirit, much less in context.
7. Both Killgore and Curtiss have spoken hundreds of times to membership groups, seminars and on radio and TV talk shows. The reference to one of those audiences as an "anti-Semitic" organization smacks of McCarthy-era "guilt by association."
8. As the former president of another Arab-American organization puts it, tongue in cheek, "AIPAC is accusing Killgore and Curtiss of associating with 'known Arab-Americans.'"
The Curtiss article, "Cutting Bush Down to Size: How Israel Gets Its Way in the U.S. Media," from which AIPAC's Lewis drew some of his inaccurate media citations, ends with a quotation from Abraham Lincoln too well known to be distorted, even by AIPAC: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
Perhaps its clumsy public attempt to discredit the Washington Report indicates that a Lincolnesque moment of truth has arrived for AIPAC, the unregistered lobby for a foreign power that for so long has fooled the American people with its stealth files and secret slanders.