Pro-Israel Lobby Uses Sexual Humiliation, Gay Pornography in Anti-Iran Propaganda War
Ben Doherty published an illuminating report at Electronic Intifada about a new initiative by the American Jewish pro-Israel lobby to smear Iran. There are so many that it wouldn’t be newsworthy but for the fact that this new group, Iran180, created under the auspices of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council, is using sexual humiliation and abuse as a political tool smearing Iran’s president.
At San Francisco’s 2011 Gay Pride parade, Iran180 hosted a float which featured a huge papier-mache Ahmadinejad figure with his pants down being sodomized by a presumably Israeli nuclear missile. The original caption accompanying this image was: “Ahmadinejad Getting Fucked in the Ass with a Nuclear Weapon.” Another image featured here shows the Iranian president fellating the same missile. All these are more are linked from the Iran180 site to its Flickr gallery. Another image features Bashar Assad and Ahmadinejad celebrating their gay marriage under a chupah, a Jewish wedding canopy. As shocking as this is (and it is), sleuthing the origins of this group and exposing why it’s presenting such shameful imagery as a form of political discourse in the U.S. is even more instructive. It shows the vast pro-Israel/anti-Iran conspiracy at work in this country seeking any possible opening or advantage in the run-up to Israeli war against Iran.
Iran180 makes a pretense of supporting gay rights inside Iran. But did the knucklehead who came up with this idea ever stop to think how real Iranians would feel about American gays dramatizing the public sexual humiliation of their president? And how these same Iranians might feel toward actual Iranian gays who face constant danger in pursuing their sexual identities? Imagine one of these images gracing the front page of an Iranian newspaper. This isn’t going to generate a whole lot of sympathy in Iran for the LGBT community.
I’ve been exploring over the past few weeks the pinkwashing issue, Israel’s effort to anoint itself a gay rights champion in order to distinguish itself from its supposedly gay-hostile Arab neighbors. This latest effort seems to be pinkwashing on steroids. The thinking appears to be if bragging about gay rights is good, then exploiting gay pornography is even better. I’ve even written here about an earlier similar incarnation of this theme.
Further, Doherty in his EI post correctly notes the textbook depiction of Ahmadinejad with the same beard, flapping ears, and hook-nose featured in those classic Der Sturmer cartoons. The Iran180 float is Jews dusting off old anti-Semitic tropes and packaging them in a new bottle for use against Iran.
I’m sorry to say that prominent journalists, writers and Iranian-Americans have been hoodwinked by Iran180’s agenda. In this photo, Iran180 managed to enlist NY Times reporter Anna Bernard, noted Iranian-Jewish novelist Roya Hakakkian, and two other Iranians for an International Women’s Day event held at the offices of law firm, Skadden Arps. The truth is that those behind Iran180 have exploited these individuals to gain credibility. In doing so, they’ve disregarded any concern for the damage to their reputations that such an association will cause them.
Many of us are uncomfortable with the Iranian regime (as we are with the Israeli government as well). One reason is that it (like those behind Iran180) is seeking any form of leverage they can find to advance their own interests and agenda. If we think associating the regime’s critics with these horrid images isn’t on that agenda, you’d have to be naive. Did Iran180, Washington Square Research, the JCRC give any thought to this before they perpetrated this hoax on all concerned? Do they even care?
Iran180 appears to have begun as an entirely different organization, Stand for Freedom in Iran. The latter group was founded by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations Council (in whose name its domain was registered) in 2010. It consisted of a number of New York non-profits representing the city’s ethnic groups and constituencies. The short-lived purpose (the group’s website hasn’t been updated since 2010, indicating it became moribund the same year it was launched) was to serve as a front for the local Jewish community allowing it to claim that all of the city’s minorities were united in opposing Iran, whose president was to speak at the United Nations. The group hosted a rally against Ahmadinejad outside the UN which was addressed by Rudy Giuliani. The Conference of Presidents original plan to have Sarah Palin, then running as John McCain’s vice presidential candidate, sunk like a stone when New York’s Jewish Democrats fled the coalition in droves complaining that it was a partisan political maneuver on Malcolm Hoenlein’s part (which it was).
The evidence that these two groups are different iterations of the same anti-Iran smear? If you review the list of sponsoring groups, the two share the following ones: 100 Hispanic Women, NAACP-NY, NY Coalition of 100 Black Women, Jewish Community Relations Council, Anti-Defamation League, Alliance of Iranian Women, Planet Iran, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (CUFW), Chinese Community Relations Council and Turkish American Community of NY.
At the press conference announcing the launch of Iran180 (in September 2010), there are several prominent Jewish leaders who take a leading role (as they did in Stand for Freedom). They are Michael Miller and Alan Jaffe, CEO and board president respectively of the JCRC, Alisa Doctoroff and John Ruskay, board chair and CEO respectively of UJA-Federation of NY, and a Who’s Who of NY Democratic politics including the governor, members of Congress, and a U.S. senator. To their credit, Chuck Schumer and Michael Bloomberg weren’t there. There was one lone Iranian participating in the launch. They must’ve found him or her via a Hollywood casting call.
Among the new groups who came on board to sponsor Iran180 are the pro-Mujahadeen a-Khalq (MEK) front group, Progressive American-Iranian Committee, one of whose leaders is the MEK spokesperson, Hassan Daioleslam; United Against a Nuclear Iran, a more conventional neocon group founded by the usual Aipac-affiliated neocons and think-tankers; American Jewish Committee; and UJA Federation of NY. I’ll be bringing to the attention of the staff of the AJC and Jewish federation their endorsement of sexual humiliation as a tactic in demonizing Iran.
What strikes me as “innovative” in this strategy is the attempt to reach out to the U.S. gay community as an ally in the “war” against Iran. American Jewish pro-Israel advocates, in their efforts at pinkwashing, presume that the enemy of their enemy will be their friend. If they can demonize Iran as a gay Hell, then gays will become automatic allies in the campaign to overthrow the Iranian regime. I’m not sure gay Americans are quite that knee-jerk in their politics.
But in the outreach effort to American gays, someone at Iran180 or their political consultants has gone way off the reservation of reasonable political discourse. Do UJA federation, the ADL, AJC endorse sodomy and fellatio as a legitimate political tools to dramatize their campaign for regime change?
Since Ben Doherty published his EI post, he’s discovered that in essence Iran180 is a purely astroturf organization. It doesn’t exist in the sense that a traditional NGO might exist having a grass roots membership, a mission statement, and a cohesive set of goals and organization. Iran180 is a figment of a PR flack’s imagination. In this case, it’s a product of a bunch of pro-Israel media/PR flacks called Washington Square Research. The principals in this charade are the CEO Marco Greenberg, Liel Liebovitz and Chris DeVito (who’s also listed as Iran180’s “Outreach Director”). Greenberg’s professional background includes stints with Burson Marsteller (which pioneered astroturfing) and BBDO Israel, along with training Israeli diplomats for the hand-to-hand combat they’ll experience in the U.S. media marketplace.
Liebowitz is a lieutenant in the IDF, “senior writer” for the Jewish neocon-funded Tablet Magazine and has also contributed to the New Republic. In fact, he met his current boss while both served in the IDF as PR flacks:
Messers. Leibovitz and Greenberg first met in the Israel Defense Forces over a decade ago, where they both were entrusted with revising the Army’s strategic media infrastructure.
There is a reason why Iran180 was entrusted by the NY Jewish community leadership to a bunch of IDF-trained PR flacked. Because it exists essentially to serve Israel’s interests, and not the ostensible goals listed in the group’s website of promoting human rights for Iran.
The next time any journalist, novelist or public intellectual receives an invitation to speak for this group from Chris DeVito, they might ask him why he doesn’t reveal that he’s not working on behalf of Iranian human rights, but that rather his paycheck is paid by a PR firm and New York’s pro-Israel Jewish community. DeVito is an especially sad case since he has legitimate academic credentials as a Mideast scholar with training at Tuft’s Fletcher School. But to prostitute that knowledge on behalf of a PR firm and to not admit in your political advocacy that you’re being paid not by the NGO but by bunch of flacks who’re likely paid by the New York’s pro-Israel lobby–that’s distressing.
In the old days of the Cold War, Americans were regaled with stories of ominous Communist front groups created with seeming all-American names and values, in order to conceal the sinister Red hand behind them. American Jews should ask why their supposed leaders would need to adopt the same surreptitious, duplicitous strategies employed by earlier subversive groups. Engaging in such subterfuge indicates that the guiding Israel-lobby hand behind these efforts doesn’t have faith that Israel’s anti-Iran message will resonate loudly enough. It simply lacks confidence in the real message, so it gins up a fake campaign using fake issues to create fake emotional responses from American gays. This is pinkwashing taken to an absurd degree.
43 thoughts on “Pro-Israel Lobby Uses Sexual Humiliation, Gay Pornography in Anti-Iran Propaganda War – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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It’s difficult to see the difference between the Israeli Lobby in America and the Israeli government.
This is far less troubling than the ever-blurring perceived difference between the Israeli Lobby and organised Jewishdom.
What will the anti-Iran propagandists do when Ahmadinejad is out of office next year? And I wonder how many of them know that Ahmadinejad isn’t Iran’s most powerful leader or that he has very limited power in Iran.
The anti-Iran propagandists have already begun transitioning to their new Iranian boogeyman, Ali Khamenei.
When is Khamenei up for re-election?
I believe Iran’s “mad mullahs” are up for re-election about the same time Israel’s “rabid rabbis” are up for re-election.
SEE: West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel, By Haaretz Service, 11/09/09
Book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro of Yitzhar permits even the murder of babies and children who pose threat.
SOURCE – http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/2.209/west-bank-rabbi-jews-can-kill-gentiles-who-threaten-israel-1.4496
RE: Israel’s “rabid rabbis” – me, above
ALSO SEE – Rabbi Aviner: Women must not wear pants even when alone, by Neta Sela, 05/02/08
One of Religious Zionism’s most prominent leaders defines trousers as a ‘self-prohibition,’ says women ‘must dress modestly also when alone and in the dark’
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3552461,00.html
P.S. RE: Israel’s “rabid rabbis” – me, above
FROM YOSSI GURVITZ, 6/13/12:
SOURCE – http://972mag.com/when-it-comes-to-racism-foreign-ministry-worried-about-image-not-reality/48231/
MORE FROM YOSSI GURVITZ, 6/13/12:
SOURCE – http://972mag.com/when-it-comes-to-racism-foreign-ministry-worried-about-image-not-reality/48231/
This is not only pathetic, but also a sign of how desperate the Israel lobby has become.
If this is supposed garner gay support it is incredibly maladroit but worse than that it is sinister and two-faced. I take its real agenda to be to link homophobic slurs and stereotypes with Ahmadinajad in order to attack him in terms which resonate with the homophobic conservatives in Iran itself as well as with Republicans and Israeli conservatives. This kind of slander has no place in a gay pride parade because it is very far from affirmative, but I take it someone has been spreading money around and pretending to be sympathetic to gay causes.
You wrote “Die Shturmer”. Should be “Der Sturmer”.
“… Jews dusting off old anti-Semitic tropes and packaging them in a new bottle for use against Iran.”
Willy nilly, Jewishdom is perceived to be represented by Israel and it’s hard to outdo Israeli (Cabinet-) Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai, who refers to African refugees as “cancer”.
Iran executed three men for being gay right around the same time as this parade. There has got to be a way for people of good conscience (including Americans and Israelis) to draw attention to the despicable manner in which gays are treated (and sometimes killed) by the Iranian authorities without being accused of spreading propaganda. As far as I am concerned, any effort to condemn Iran for acts such as these ought to be supported by progressives around the world.
Bob, gay condemnation occurs in many parts of the world. As to why you and other pro-Israeli supporters have such a focus on Iran, that’s clear as well.
Iran’s domestic policies are for Iranians. MYOB.
Bob always finds the gem in the pile of manure. The article is about a Jewish group using anti-semitic tropes to stigmatize Iran. It is not about homophobia in Iran or elsewhere. It is about pinkwashing, Israel’s attempt to be seen as an oasis of liberation for gays and about encouraging anti-Iran feeling in preparation for war. However, in this matter of gay rights, Israel compares itself with the rest of the ME not with the West and the presumed “shared values.” This comparison is convenient: In the latter comparison, Israel stinks in most of the relevant dimensions.
Also, given how badly the truth about Sakineh (the woman who brutally murdered her husband and was given only a symbolic stoning sanction by some rural judge, later rejected by the automatic appeal to the highest court in all of Iran) was skewed for the same purposes.
Enough, the games are transparent. You’re worried about human rights? Look at West Bank and Gaza. Right at home, there’s one of the gravest human rights problems in existence today.
What an odd series of posts. On the one hand you write that Iran’s domestic policies are for Iranians. And that I should mind my own business. Then you write that if I am worried about human rights I should look at the West Bank and Gaza? Oddly you say that is “right at home” – but my home is in the United States. Why shouldn’t I mind my own business with respect to there as well?
I would also point out that I have no focus whatsoever on Iran when it comes to fighting for gay rights. They are just one of many countries with a horrible record on that score (worthy, to be sure, of condemnation). My work on this issue, however, is primarily focused here in the US. I do, however, voice my support for those like-minded people who are fighting for this cause all around the world.
Oh please, Bob. You bend the rules when it comes to Israeli talking points!
You just went on a diatribe about how this pinkwashing was great.
In the same line of keystrokes you decry the commoditization of gay rights and then post this, “As far as I am concerned, any effort to condemn Iran for acts such as these ought to be supported by progressives around the world”. This, in reference to a country that has been TRANSPARENTLY bombarded by propaganda and stigmatization efforts by pro-Israelists over a decade or more.
You also ask Richard and others to often reshape their
words or factual statements to minimize damage to Israel’s reputation. Finally, you’ve also complimented or tried to explain away criminality by Israel that hurts American interests. Would you like me to pull the relevant examples from this very blog?
I’m not the Patriot Police over here demanding that you wave an American flag, but how many people do you think you’re fooling with the suave manipulation act?
It is smooth stuff, always the little exception, a fine point aimed at reducing the main premise indirectly. This is classic Bob here, on this article. It is good but not good enough.
All human-rights violations (homophobia included) should be effectively condemned by everyone whenever possible.
Having said that, the circumstances and nature of this particular condemnation of Iran is somewhat reminiscent of the vehement anti-Turkish rage (over the Armenian genocide) being pathetically played in Israel’s Knesset right now.
Agreed on both counts.
I do think groups take advantage of the issue in order to score anti-Iran points. That being said, however, it is still an issue that I would hate to see get lost among all the politics.
I couldn’t agree more.
I hope none of us like seeing basic human-rights issues being reduced into political commodities.
The problem with this kind of thinking is precisely that it does take political pressure to force such regimes to change their behavior. Regardless of whether or not the debate is high-minded enough for you, the problem isn’t with groups in the US using puppets at gay pride parades; it’s with an Iranian regime that persecutes gay people every day.
You call the display in SF merely “not high-minded enough?” Really. Is that the best you can do? And contrary to your nonsense the problem is both with an intolerant Iranian regime AND its enemies who use lies & fraud to pursue their own agenda.
The pathetically obvious ulterior motives behind such condemnation make it grossly counterproductive to the good cause it purports to forward.
My comment right above was my response to Panameno.
If Iran was run by a truly democratic government it wouldn’t have to use gays as whipping boys. If Israel, the U.S. and others stopped scheming against Iran, such a development would happen much sooner. As long as the continue demonizing Iran, change will not come. Trying to dramatize the horrors of Iran’s treatment gays divorced from the country’s overall predicament is puttingthencart before the horse.
Can you give more detail Bob Mann? I had the inmpression that gays were ‘only’ executed in Iran in case of rape.
Shameful Hubris all of it.
Would these people care about gays in Iran if a Shah, and not the mullahs, were ruling Iran? One suspects not.
Probably not and that says it all. The lip service is here for a reason and that reason is not fear that the homophobia in Iran will “get lost.” It is an attempt to undo the main issue — the Israel Lobby at work — by sanctimonious sniveling about another, separate matter. Homophobia, as such, is not the issue here.
Well, as we never hear anything about gay rights in Saudi Arabia or the Golf States, or about human rights in general in these places, I think we have the answer.
This is a great point. People really do need to bring more attention to the horrendous gay rights record in places like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
In fact, Saudi Arabia seems to get a pass on a number of human rights issues, merely due to the cozy relationship the monarchy there enjoys with the United States.
How come we’ve never had such an enthusiastic comment from you about the need to bring more attention to the horrendous HUMAN rights record in occupied Palestine ?
In fact, Israel seems to get a pass on a number of human rights issues due to the cosy relationship the ethnocracy there enjoys with the United States.
RE: “Doherty in his EI post correctly notes the textbook depiction of Ahmadinejad with the same beard, flapping ears, and hook-nose featured in those classic Der Sturmer cartoons. The Iran180 float is Jews dusting off old anti-Semitic tropes and packaging them in a new bottle for use against Iran.” ~ R.S
AND RE: “If you review the list of sponsoring groups, the two share the following ones: …Anti-Defamation League…” ~ R.S.
MY QUESTION FOR ABE FOXMAN OF THE ADL: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
• “Have You No Sense of Decency”: The Army-McCarthy Hearings – http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6444
• Joseph N. Welch – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_N._Welch
P.S. SEE: Fire Foxman, by Joey Kurtzman, Jewcy, 07/08/07
ENTIRE POST – http://www.jewcy.com/post/fire_foxman
P.P.S. As to ADL/Iran180’s incredibly tasteless, Der Sturmer-like float (incorporating old anti-Semitic tropes) in San Francisco’s 2011 Gay Pride parade, I guess we should be thankful that the GOP-maligned Sister Boom Boom did not get in on “the act” (Ahmadinejad being sodomized by a presumably Israeli nuclear missile).
CORRECT LINK: Sister Boom Boom – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Boom_Boom
“Iran executed three men for being gay right around the same time as this parade. ” If my post is not followed by a convincing link, please regard this info as false.
Wiki gives the last such execution in 2007. Iran actually did make some quiet reforms in penal code. Quiet because the law is supposed to be immutable, being from God, but interpretation may be altered.
Gay rights in ME are complicated. I think that what Ahmedinejad said in an interview, that there are no gays in Iran, may actually reflect the official policy, “don’t ask dont’ tell”.
Personally, my main objection is the fascistic nature of the float. Glorification of force and mayhem. But useful as an extra documentation for Guenther Grass poem.
Truly stupid stuff, and not helping anyone in any way.
RE: “this new group, Iran180, created under the auspices of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council, is using sexual humiliation and abuse as a political tool smearing Iran’s president.” ~ R.S.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN ISRAEL – MK Michaeli: Gays need therapy, commit suicide at age 40, by Ami Kaufman, +972 Magazine,6/14/12
SOURCE – http://972mag.com/mk-anastasia-michaeli-gays-need-therapy-they-all-die-at-age-40/48294/
P.S. RE: “MEANWHILE, BACK IN ISRAEL” ~ me, above
ALSO SEE: ‘Pro-Palestinian activists have sexual identity problems’, by Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine, 6/12/12
SOURCE – http://972mag.com/deputy-ambassador-to-ireland-pro-palestinian-activists-have-sexual-identity-problems/48180/