Winning wars in the Information Age largely depends on winning the battle for public opinion. Thus the opinion-shaping role of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) when it attacked a high profile California professor for his criticism of Israeli policy in Palestine.
That ADL intimidation campaign successfully chilled debate on campuses nationwide during several time-critical months while a new president, promising the hope of change, reassessed U.S.-Israeli relations. His only change—endorsing more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land—quashed any hope of peace.
This ADL silencing strategy offers a microcosm of how the U.S. was induced to war in Iraq based on false intelligence. From the provocation of September 11, 2001 until the invasion of March 2003, war-planners ignored, dismissed or sought to silence anyone critical of the spurious premises offered for war.
Only later did we discover that the intelligence was fixed around a preset agenda. Even now, Americans are unaware that the U.S.-led invasion had long been an Israeli goal.
In similar fashion, an ADL campaign silenced on-campus criticism of Israel’s December 2008 assault on Gaza. At the University of California Santa Barbara, ADL-initiated charges were lodged against sociology Professor William Robinson. The disciplinary action dragged on until June 24th when 100 professors and 20 department heads demanded an end to all proceedings.
By then the damage was done—to the reputation of Professor Robinson, to academic freedom at the University of California and to national security as this campaign silenced academics countrywide. While Robinson’s reputation can be restored, the damage to national security is irreparable.
The ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles coordinated the assault on Robinson after he shared with students from his globalization website a photo essay critical of Israel. The essay had circulated for weeks on the Internet.
Aaron Ettenberg, a member of the Faculty Senate Charges Committee, collaborated with Santa Barbara Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer who reviled Robinson in the local community and urged—along with the ADL—that he be disciplined by the university for his “anti-Semitic” behavior.
Chancellor Henry Yang was subjected to threats to withhold funding featuring a campaign led by ADL National Director Abe Foxman and Rabbi Marvin Heir from the Wiesenthal Center.
Professor Ettenberg had served the previous two years as president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith, an ADL affiliate. Rabbi Gross-Schaefer was director of the local chapter of Hillel, an on-campus ADL affiliate.
Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, opted not to intervene even as this silencing campaign attracted international attention. Yudof’s wife, Judith, is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues. She is also a director of Hillel.
As with the dominance of Jewish Zionists among neoconservative war-planners, the pro-Israeli bias was all-pervasive. Richard Blum chairs the statewide Board of Regents for the University of California. His wife, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. What was their reaction as this professor was silenced? Silence.
Coincidence or Faith-Based Coordination?
Would a professor and a local rabbi have risked their careers and their reputations absent their confidence that—based on the shared bias of university administrators and government officials—they could intimidate with impunity? Absent such implied support, would this silencing operation have dragged on for so long?
Absent their silence—with its tacit approval—what might have been the impact of campus criticism when Israel’s assault on the captive population of Gaza left 1300 dead, one-third reportedly women and children? Those complicit in this silencing campaign knew the impact on public opinion of student protests against the Vietnam War—particularly on California campuses.
Those concerned about anti-Semitism must explain how this broadly coordinated intimidation campaign was allowed to succeed. In the same way that public opinion was manipulated prior to an invasion that launched the Global War on Terrorism, this campaign sought to deny students the facts required to understand Israel’s role in provoking that terror.
Absent access to facts, how can the U.S. preserve a system of self-governance founded on the premise of informed consent? Without facts, how can national security be protected from those who “fix” intelligence in order to deploy the U.S. military for the interests of a foreign nation?
Unless those complicit are held accountable, how will American youth learn the essential role of free and open debate on topics of direct relevance to their lives?
In a representative system of government, the greatest threat to liberty is manipulation of the facts required for informed citizen participation. Anyone who cherishes freedom should be alarmed at the ongoing success of such manipulation and outraged that its common source traces to a purported ally.
Psychological warfare targets knowledge as a means to manipulate thought, opinion and emotion (the “hearts and minds”) and thereby influence behavior. At the center of such disinformation is the displacement of facts with false beliefs meant to prod decision-making toward a preset goal.
Thus the false reports of Iraqi WMD, Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, Iraqi mobile biological weapons laboratories and so forth. Thus the high profile assault on a high-profile center of learning to silence a professor who threatened to replace manipulated beliefs with confirmed facts.
Where U.S. policies toward Israel are at stake, facts are routinely suppressed to shape debate. Such strategic deceit systematically undermines U.S. national security.
Treason in Plain Sight
Intimidation campaigns have long been a key tool for organized crime and for those whose undisclosed agenda can succeed only when shielded from public scrutiny. Those complicit in such “psy-ops” know their agenda could not prevail in an open debate. They also know that if their treachery is detected they face charges of treason, a capital crime.
That’s why this form of treason instead targets knowledge to corrupt the facts required for informed choice. That focus denies those targeted a meaningful choice while leaving intact the appearance of open debate. Meanwhile the perpetrators seek refuge behind the very freedoms they undermine—freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion.
In this case, pro-Israeli operatives silenced on-campus criticism of Israel while Israel committed dozens of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Evidence of those crimes was depicted in the Internet-posted photo essay that the ADL attacked as “anti-Semitic.”
What was the strategic result? That assault on Gaza marked yet another violent provocation guaranteed to catalyze a violent reaction (aka “terrorism”), adding plausibility to the narrative of “militant Islam.” The result made the U.S. appear guilty by its association with this criminality.
We then compounded our complicity by covering up the facts when the Congress, dominated by the Israel lobby, overwhelmingly approved a resolution portraying as “irredeemably biased” a chronicle of those war crimes in “The Goldstone Report,” a comprehensive account by an eminent Jewish jurist. [See How the Israel Lobby Took Control of U.S. Foreign Policy.]
The U.S. was doubly damaged. We not only discredited ourselves, we also endangered our national security by condoning criminality destined to provoke more violence directed at our troops.
When such psy-ops campaigns are detected, defenders of democracy must fight back by making the perpetrators transparent and their common motivation apparent. This is how Israel wages war on the U.S. from inside the U.S.—by deceiving us to wage its wars and by provoking others to hate us due to our alliance with religious extremists and their apartheid policies.
Duplicity has long been a weapon deployed to “wage war by way of deception.” That’s the operative motto of the Mossad, the intelligence and foreign operations branch of the Jewish nationalists who have dominated Israeli politics since a Christian-Zionist president erred in 1948 by recognizing as a legitimate “state” this enclave of Jewish extremists and ultra-nationalists.
Israel specializes in what the Pentagon calls unconventional warfare. Such warfare is only “unconventional” for the targeted population (us). For militant Zionists, this is how war is waged. When your numbers are few and your ambitions vast, deceit becomes an essential force-multiplier.
In the Information Age, why would anyone expect war to be waged in any way other than by deception? Where else but in plain sight could such warfare be waged?
For freedom to prevail against such psy-ops requires a shift in strategic focus. A robust defense would make this manipulation transparent in real time before deception can work its intended impact on public opinion.
The dominance of pro-Israelis in mainstream media complicates that task. Media complicity was essential to succeed in the deceit that took the U.S. to war and that now seeks to obscure Israeli war crimes.
A Special Relationship with Fanatics
The Pentagon warned six decades ago that Jewish extremists sought military and economic dominance over the entire Middle East. As the Joint Chiefs of Staff cautioned Harry Truman:
“All stages of this program are equally sacred to the fanatical concepts of the Jewish leaders. The program is openly admitted by some leaders, and has been privately admitted to United States officials by responsible leaders of the presently dominant Jewish group—The Jewish Agency.”
Other than religious fanatics, who would deny Americans—including college students—the facts required to make informed choices on an issue as critical as taking the U.S. to war in the Middle East? Other than pro-Israeli publishers and broadcast media owners, who would have the motivation to report as “facts” the phony intelligence that was fixed around Israeli goals?
If not Israel and its Zionist advocates—both Christians and Jews—who would have the means, motive, opportunity and, importantly, the stable nation state intelligence required to corrupt the intelligence that took the U.S. to war? Or to silence academic critics just when those who induced the invasion of Iraq intensified their efforts to expand this war to Iran and now Pakistan?
If the behavior described is not treason, what is? If this is treason, why have those complicit not been charged? Is Professor Ettenberg still employed by the university? If so, why? Have rabbis Gross-Schaefer and Heir been dismissed from their positions of influence? If not, why not?
Why hasn’t the ADL’s Abe Foxman been indicted? Did he confer with the Yudoffs during this silencing campaign? Has a federal grand jury been impaneled to consider charges of treason? Foxman was invited to the White House for the October 28th signing of the ADL’s “model hate crimes” bill. Will that federal legislation now be deployed to lawfully intimidate critics?
Have mainstream publishers and media owners been investigated for their complicity in this national scale fraud on public opinion? If not, why not? Is the Federal Communications Commission moving to revoke the broadcast licenses of those who used the public airwaves to deceive the public? If not, why not?
Are news reports correct that an investment firm run by Richard Blum made more than $100 million on the rising value of its stock in a top defense contractor? Did his firm also invest in media outlets that sold us this war?
In an irony of epic proportions, ADL’s amendment to federal hate crimes law was tacked onto an appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. Will the ADL now seek to portray as “anti-Semitic” those who document for a long-deceived military the common source of the psy-ops that took U.S. forces to war in the Middle East?
Will those who repeat the Joint Chiefs’ warning about religious fanatics be targeted for federal prosecution? Will allegations of hate be deployed to silence debate? Is treason now lawful?
When sociology Professor William Robinson stared down the Anti-Defamation League, it looked like a victory for academic freedom. Yet was it? Robinson was portrayed as an anti-Semite because he sent an email to students featuring a photo essay critical of Israel that had circulated online for weeks. While University of California administrators dallied, the ADL and its international network turned up the heat—signaling academics worldwide they could be next.
It looked like progress when the faculty at UC Santa Barbara urged “changes in procedures to avoid improprieties and abuses in the future….” But was it? By then the ADL campaign had created the intended chilling effect. This silencing campaign was featured news for five time-critical months while a newly elected U.S. president was reassessing U.S.-Israeli relations. How can anyone calculate the full extent of the damage—not only to Robinson’s reputation and to the stature of the University of California but also to national security?
So where’s the victory? Clearly Robinson deserves acclaim for resisting pressure as the ADL deployed its most seasoned operatives, including Marvin Heir, a rabbi at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Only an investigation can identify who mobilized the donor community that threatened UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang with the withdrawal of funds.
What was the motivation for this high profile intimidation campaign? Was the ADL driven simply by the discomfort that two students voiced on their receipt of his email criticizing Israeli policy? Or did the ADL network have its sights on a broader strategic goal?
Facts have since proven it was largely pro-Israelis who fixed the intelligence that manipulated the U.S. to invade Iraq. That same network has now mobilized to expand that war to Iran. A key barrier: the global condemnation of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza. How does Tel Aviv limit the public relations fallout? On what leverage points should Israel focus to contain the censure while continuing to obscure Israel and pro-Israelis as the common source of this manipulation?
Aiding An Enemy Within?
The Founders faced a similar challenge during the Revolutionary War. How could they distinguish patriots from those loyal to a foreign nation? Knowing the vast risks that accompany betrayal, they lowered the evidentiary standard for treason. Guilt still required proof beyond a reasonable doubt but a conviction only required evidence of “adhering” to an enemy or giving them “aid and comfort.” To remove all doubt about the gravity of this capital offense, they even included those relaxed standards in Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
Fast-forward two centuries to the Information Age and consider the challenge of distinguishing friend from foe. With a new president sworn into office on a platform promising change, how should Tel Aviv continue to conceal the fact that it was pro-Israelis who deceived the U.S. to wage war in Iraq for the expansionist goals of Greater Israel?
During the Democratic presidential primaries, Senator Barack Obama promised no change in U.S.-Israeli relations. But that pledge was made while he and Hillary Clinton were vying for the pro-Israeli vote. What about now—particularly now that he knows Israel scheduled its assault on Gaza between Christmas and the Obama inaugural—knowing that interval would ensure Tel Aviv could operate largely free of official criticism?
Campaigning for president is one thing. Serving as commander in chief is another. What became of the prospects for change after this professor of constitutional law took a constitutional oath that obliged him to defend the U.S. from all enemies—both foreign and domestic?
Based on the success of pro-Israelis in inducing the U.S. to invade Iraq, how does this international network best expand this war to Iran? To succeed again, how can Tel Aviv best control the risk that facts unhelpful to its agenda find their way into the marketplace of ideas?
How about this for a psyops strategy: launch an intimidation campaign on a high-profile campus and portray a critic as an anti-Semite for sharing photos that had been circulating for weeks on the Internet. Then threaten his job, smear his reputation, put him in fear of his physical safety and threaten to withhold critical funding. Then see if on-campus critics still dare to speak out.
While the Faculty Senate should be commended for its stance, one must ask: what took so long? And what will be done to ensure that never again is a professor on any University of California campus subjected to such abuse with the complicity of university administrators? What steps will be taken to ensure this conduct does not recur on campuses nationwide?
Where was UC President Mark Yudof as this intimidation campaign progressed with such well-timed success? What role was played by the pro-Israeli bias of his wife, Judith, the immediate past president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues?
Where was the Board of Regents while this silencing campaign advanced between the invasion of Gaza and President Obama’s White House meeting with Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Did Board of Regents chairman Richard Blum harbor an undisclosed bias that precluded him shutting down this ADL operation? How about his wife, pro-Israeli U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee? What role did bias play in a community-wide smear campaign led by Arthur Gross-Schaefer, a Santa Barbara rabbi?
Was this only an offense against a courageous professor who fought on while university administrators retreated? Or was this assault more strategic? The Faculty Senate cannot on its own correct these wrongs because key offenders remain beyond their reach. What they can—and must—do is dismiss any faculty member complicit in this operation, condemn any university administrator who failed to act promptly and rebuke complicit operatives in the community.
The reputation of Prof. Robinson was only grist for the same mill that churned out the phony intelligence required to induce the U.S. to war in Iraq. That same network of deceit now seeks to catalyze war with Iran. Robinson was not the target. His reputation was collateral damage. The target was the mindset of academics that—because of this assault—hesitated to criticize Israel.
Until steps are taken to deter future offenses, these psychological operations (psyops) will continue and the reputation of the U.S. will continue to be collateral damage. Most ominous of all, those who wage war “by way of deception” (the motto of the Israeli Mossad) will continue to displace the facts on which self-governance depends. Progress must be measured by how many educators grasp that what was done to one could be done to all.