An event held last Friday at the National Press Club and broadcast live on C-SPAN 3 focusing on the U.S.-Israel relationship featured a number of virulently anti-Israel speakers who made conspiratorial claims about Zionism, the influence of the “Israel Lobby” and much more.
The event, dubbed as a National Summit to “Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship,’” was sponsored by anti-Israel groups If Americans Knew, the Council for the National Interest (CNI), the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) as well as the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Sessions at the summit included, “How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?” and “Does Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?” Subtopics for those sessions included, “In the Israel lobby’s cross-hairs,” and “Are threats to Israel’s security inflated to justify occupation and U.S. support?”
While almost all of the speakers called on the U.S. to end its aid to Israel, the following is a sampling of some of the most inflammatory statements.
- Paul Findley, a former U.S. Representative from Illinois and a founder of CNI, said: “The influence of Israel, as of today, is so great on Capitol Hill that they [Representatives] see dangers of not surviving the next election if they challenge what Israel is doing.”
- Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Representative from Georgia, who spoke via Webcast, told the audience that “the pro-Israel lobby usually has a whole lot of money and those of us who act of conscious generally don’t…they [the pro-Israel lobby] can buy and intimidate people.”
- Philip Giraldi, Executive Director of CNI, talked about an Israeli conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 attacks. “The existence of a large scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported incorporating Israeli companies…Five Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the Twin Towers going down.”
- Jeffrey Blankfort, a radio host based in San Francisco, referred to Washington, D.C. as “Israeli-occupied territory” and spoke of “AIPAC’s occupation of Congress.” He also alleged that “PNAC [Project for New American Century] initiated and made up of predominantly Jewish neocons began promoting regime change in Iraq."
- Grant F. Smith, the Director of IRmep, said that there has been Israeli espionage in the U.S. since the 1940s. “My conclusion,” he said, “is there is no U.S. law that if it stands in the way of Israel…that cannot be thwarted [by Israel].”
- Allan C. Brownfeld, a nationally syndicated columnist, said: “What has happened to American Judaism has completely corrupted its religious nature. What we are witnessing today - synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to emigrate to Israel ‘their real homeland,’ - is a form of idolatry making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship rather than God.” He added, “It is also my view that Zionism is a subversive enterprise.”
During a Q&A sessions at the summit, one of the audience members stated that the “Holocaust narrative is still the third rail” and that teaching it in schools is “a violation of constitutional rights. It’s a state enforcement of a religious dogma.”
Jeffrey Blankfort responded to that comment by stating that, “When it comes to the Holocaust, there’s no range of opinions. You teach a certain line; you do not teach about the Zionist-Nazi collaboration…”
Justin Raimondo, the editorial director of Antiwar.com, interjected and asked Blankfort, “What range of opinions could you possibly have about the Holocaust?!” Philip Weiss, a co-founder of the anti-Israel Mondoweiss blog, also responded to Blankfort’s comments and called them “repulsive” but added that, “the West incurred a debt towards the Jews from the Holocaust and the Palestinians paid for that.”
During another Q&A session, an audience member asked, “…why is it such a stretch for us as a body to not publicly say, ‘Israel had a hand in 9/11?’”
Stephen Snagoski, a columnist for the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial Veterans News Now, responded in part: “It seems reasonable that they [Israel] may have known a lot about it and didn’t tell that to people who would act to prevent it in the United States…It looks like all the evidence has disappeared.” Snagoski stated that these alleged developments were reported on, “even Fox,” which he referred to as, “one of ‘their’ channels.”