Chloe Valdary is an African-American, Christian Zionist, and University of New Orleans undergraduate who’s been embraced by the Israel Lobby. It has showered her with Israel junkets (Aipac, CAMERA and ZOA have each sent her), funding ($6,000 per year from CAMERA), and lots of promotion (her video was produced by a group founded by the David Project‘s Charles Jacobs). She blogs at the Seth Klarman-funded Times of Israel and the settler media portal, Arutz Sheva.
One of her signature projects is Declare Your Freedom 2.0 (here and here). She’s hosted at least one previous event at her campus and there is another scheduled in New Orleans and at the University of Central Florida (though she’s not listed as the producer, the event features her ad copy and many of the same performers). Valdary is soliciting contributions for these projects through a number of different pages on Indiegogo. Last year, she raised $6,500 and this year she’s raised nearly $8,000 in total for a concert scheduled on March 30th. There’s certainly nothing wrong with soliciting donations for a worthwhile cause.
— Chloé Simone Valdary (@cvaldary) February 14, 2014
But there is a problem if you are using false advertising. You can see from the accompanying festival poster and tweet that she advertises hip-hop performers Los Rakas, SHI360 and Pep Love. In her Indiegogo promotion copy for the same concert, she only advertises SHI360, and says he “may” come. What kind of concert promoters advertises performers who may come? You’ve either booked them or you haven’t. If you haven’t you don’t advertise them. So the question is: has she or hasn’t she? Now that her integrity is on the line, let’s hope she produces what she’s promised; but not be too surprised if she doesn’t.
For the UCF concert, she also features Nosson Zand as a performer she “may bring” if enough money is raised. I approached every performer she listed in her promotional materials. Max Blumenthal directly asked Valdary and her patron, Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project. Each refused to respond. Goldstein said Blumenthal would just have to come to the concert to find out. Too cute by half. Each of these artists requires a minimum of $10,000 to perform plus other expenses. In addition to the three musicians, she lists Alan Dershowitz and three others as speakers. Even if they all donated their fees (which is especially doubtful for Dershowitz), they’re simply not going to pay their own way to speak at her festival. She’d require a minimum of $50,000 to put on the festival with this list of performers. She doesn’t appear to have it unless a Sugar (or Milk and Honey) Daddy steps in. And if there is a Sugar Daddy, then why is she using Indiegogo to solicit donations?
At first, I was willing to chalk this up to youthful naivete and a lack of knowledge of how the music business and concert production works. But when I saw the festival poster which promised the three acts, I felt something more deceptive may be at play. You simply don’t produce such concert promotion unless either you’ve booked the acts or you’ve thrown caution and discretion to the winds.
Valdary probably thinks she will draw a larger audience than the 100 who came to last year’s event if she produces such a slick poster and headline acts. Perhaps she even thinks, misguidedly, that she might book these acts somehow, and can justify the poster in that way. But no matter what her motivation, if hasn’t booked the groups and signed a contract, then she’s wrong. And she’s misleading and deceiving the public, and being exploitative of the artists.
If you review this biography of Valdary offered at the Lawfare Project, you’ll see just how wholeheartedly she’s been embraced by the Lobby. She’s a Lawfare Project Fellow (Ryan Mauro of the Islamophobic Clarion Fund is also a member of this august group). She is assistant director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, a vanity project of Stockton, CA. evangelical pastor, Dumisani Washington. Washington is heavily affiliated with John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. IBSI at one time promoted itself on Facebook as a “non-profit group.” But it no longer does, nor could I find an IRS 990 filing under that name. She’s also director of marketing and branding at Here is Israel. It seems little more than a Facebook account and YouTube channel touting ‘successful’ Israeli Palestinians to show Israel is a diverse, tolerant and just society.
Which brings us to the question: what’s going on here? Why has the Israel Lobby annointed Chloe Valdary their Zionist of Color? Could they not identify someone with more experience and maturity? Someone with a greater sense of responsibility?