Just after the Goldstone Report was released the Israeli foreign ministry began an online ad campaign offering the “facts” about Operation Cast Lead. Clearly, someone feels this campaign was too straightforward and perhaps ineffective. Now a new online ad campaign has been created by a hazy group of right-wing pro-Israel sources. The ad, discovered by reader John Dickerson to be running at at least one progressive website, Antiwar Newswire, features a link to UN Goldstone Gaza Report. This is a fairly straightforward hasbara site offering media analysis and Israeli government rebuttals of the Report.
But there are several other interesting aspects of the site. First, nowhere does it identify the specific organization behind this effort. It does credit the Richard and Rochelle Maize Foundation for financial support. The Maizes are wealthy Los Angeles Jews with real estate interests whose foundation supports mainly white bread Israeli projects like the Maccabiah. This page on their site under the “human rights” section describes their visceral distaste for Goldstone. They link to the hasbara site I mentioned above plus a second site, the Association for Human Rights in Israel.
The reason my antennae went up is that there is a legitimate Israeli NGO, the Association for CIVIL Rights in Israel, which protects the rights of Israeli-Palestinian citizens. But there IS no Association for Human Rights in Israel. In fact, the groups website was first registered on September 17, 2009. In other words, whoever is behind the anti-Goldstone campaign has created a front group that doesn’t exist and named it so as to confuse people about the true identity of the group. They seek to hijack the legitimate reputation ACRI has developed for fighting on behalf of Israeli civil rights in order to lend false luster to their own fraudulent enterprise.
Another entity credited for the campaign is Leyden Communications, which is an Israeli PR consultant, Joel Leyden. The latter’s website notes that he served in the Israeli Border Police, known as one of the most thuggish of Israeli law enforcement agencies. In addition, other clients have been the IDF, the Israel Project, Israel Aircraft Industries, Israel Military Products, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel Government Press Office, Israel Internet Terrorism Hotline, and Free the Iranian Jews.
So if we’re looking for the fingerprints of the original agent in this campaign, my first guess would be the Israeli foreign ministry or some official Israeli government body. But my eyes were drawn to an interesting link in these two sites’ blogroll, Honest Reporting. This is a hasbara site dedicated to rebutting anti-Israel coverage in the media. It is run by Rabbi Ephraim Shore and closely affiliated with Aish Hatorah, Clarion Fund and Rabbi Raphael Shore. Clarion and the latter Shore were the figures behind the anti-Muslim films, Obsession and Third Jihad. My money is on Honest Reporting being involved in, or the sole agent of this project.
Of course, it is always possible that the Maizes themselves are the culprits as this passage from a press release they distributed about their effort notes:
In an unprecedented move, California mortgage broker Richard Maize put immense efforts into creating human rights information sites on the Internet to call into question the conclusions reached in the UN Goldstone Report which was released last week.
If this is the case, then blame falls squarely on Joel Leyden as being the “intellectual” author of, and scumbucket behind this campaign.