The Syrian government’s Counterterrorism and Religious Extremism Conference is the latest conference organized by a foreign government that has attracted American anti-Semites.
The conference in Syria, held on November 30 and December 1, brought together representatives from 25 countries with Syrian government officials who reportedly harshly criticized the U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition and suggested an “International Counterterrorism Forum” be established in Damascus instead to deal with this issue. Syria’s Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad reportedly stated at the conference that the U.S. is “interfering in other states’ affairs and breaching their sovereignty under the pretexts of humanitarianism and counterterrorism.”
Attendees from Europe at the conference included far-right politicians such as Nicholas John Griffin, a former chairman and later president of the far-right British National Party and Philip Dewinter and Frank Creyelman, members of Vlaams Belang, a far-right Flemish nationalist party.
Four of the eight Americans who participated in the conference were from Veterans Today, a website that presents anti-Semitic conspiracy theories as news.
Jim Dean, a managing editor for Veterans Today who has made claims of Israeli control of America, attended the conference and told an Arabic-language newspaper that Veterans Today has “unconfirmed reports that a secret U.S. organization supported by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad carried out assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists” and that “the same organization has links to the Islamic State (ISIS) and it supervises, through a specialized department, the television filming of beheadings.” He claimed that this secret American-Israeli-supported organization supposedly “oversaw the filming of the beheading of American journalist James Foley in August.”
The delegation from Veterans Today also included Gordon Duff, Colonel Jim Hanke, and Mike Harris, who has ties to members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) and has claimed that Zionists are responsible for a number of mass shootings in America. Among the Americans was also Richard Hines, described by the Syrian media as a former South Carolina politician who previously served in the Ronald Reagan administration.
Coverage of the conference by Press TV, Iran’s government-run English-language satellite news network which provides a platform to well-known American anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, was consistent with the conference’s messaging, discussing the West’s supposed “unprecedented support for terrorism in Syria” which aims “to create sectarian tensions and destroy Syria.”
Press TV also claimed that even “U.S. experts slammed Washington for interference in Syria’s internal affairs,” and then presented Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today, as an expert. Duff told Press TV that “thinking that ISIS…the intelligence support they’re getting, that it doesn’t involve multiple intelligence agencies, that it doesn’t involve a number of governments, is unrealistic. We have to accept that we’re dealing with something that involves a broad conspiracy.”
Others at the conference were not as specific about who to blame for terrorism in Syria, but discussed it as part of a general conspiracy. Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi discussed the need “to defeat the conspiracy” and Syria’s Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad stated that the current events in Syria represented “organized terrorism backed by several countries.”
Additionally, according to Syrian official media, Head of Hezbollah’s Arab Affairs Division, Sheik Hassan Ezzil Deen attended the conference.
Other recent conferences abroad that have hosted American anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and conspiracy theorists include the 2nd New Horizon Conference in Iran in September 2014, a May 2014 pro-“resistance” conference in Beirut that attracted members of Palestinian terrorist groups as well as at least three American activists, and the Iran Hollywoodism Conference in February 2013. Americans who frequent these types of conferences are often given a platform for their fringe views.