by Jerry Gordon (February 2011)
Dr. Charles Jacobs is an entrepreneur activist based in Boston. We have written about his exploits in “Chelm on the Charles River” as he endeavored to arouse the Boston Community against the rise of Jihadism in the battle over the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) controlled by Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim American Society (MAS), with terror financier enablers and anti-Semitic trustees. We have also witnessed his valued attempts to warn the Boston Jewish Community of the dangers and delusions of interfaith Muslim dialogue.
Jacobs co-founded several enduring pro-Zionist and international human rights organizations. Among them are the Boston branch of CAMERA – the Middle East Media monitoring group, the David Project – endeavoring to train young Jews in advocacy for Israel on college campuses, Americans for Peace and Tolerance – a diverse group formed to combat extremist Islam and the American Anti-Slavery group (AASG). Jacobs was listed by The Forward newspaper among the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders.
In Part I of our extended interview with Jacobs, we discussed his pioneering work in combating Jihad Slavery in Southern Sudan culminating in his recent trip to free hundreds from slavery and where he witnessed the referendum vote to partition the country between the Arab Islamist North and the Christian Animist South.
In Part II, we discuss his co-founding of Boston’s CAMERA, and the David Project, the brutal lawfare perpetrated by the MAS that controls the ISBCC, his efforts in Boston and elsewhere to warn the American Jewish community about the dangers of Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue and his thoughts on pro-Israel advocacy that focus on Arab Muslim apartheid of Jews and beleaguered Christian minorities in the Muslim Middle East and elsewhere in the ummah.
Jerry Gordon: Charles Jacobs, welcome back.
Charles Jacobs: Thank you for continuing the dialogue.
Gordon: You founded several groups in the last few decades that are of great moment in both Zionist and other causes. One of them was CAMERA; the Boston based Middle East Media Monitoring Group. How did that come about and how were you involved?
Jacobs: Actually what I co-founded was the Boston branch of CAMERA along with Andrea Levin who is now CAMERA’S National President. CAMERA had existed in Washington DC since 1984 as an effort run by one courageous, singular woman, Winifred Meiselman. I was sitting around my kitchen fuming at the Boston Globe’s bashing of Israel daily, painting the Jewish state as amongst the cruelest of nations. I saw a piece in the local Newton Tab by Andrea Levin criticizing the Globe’s coverage and I thought those were exactly the words running through my mind. I thought here was somebody who thinks the same way, and writes beautifully. So, I decided to find out who she was and where she lived. As it turned out, she lives around the corner. So she and I met and we thought about which way to go and finally – I think Andrea discovered a group called CAMERA in D.C. – and we said let’s form a branch here. Our first public act, as I recall, was when we decided to just barge into a pro-Israel fair which was then held on the Boston Common. That was before the Jewish community got too frightened to hold it there, after it was hectored by Boston’s anti-Israel flocks. We set up a table, unannounced and uninvited. We planted our CAMERA sign and handed out Andrea’s column from the Newton Tab. I’d taken $50 dollars from my pocket and gotten hundreds zeroxed. And we launched the Boston chapter that eventually became the national office of CAMERA. The organization now is international and without a doubt, the best intellectual activist group dedicated to understanding, rebuking, deconstructing and refuting the media lies and distortions about Israel.
Gordon: When did you consider forming the David Project to train young Jewish advocates in Zionism and defense of Israel? How did that come about?
Jacobs: That was after I was working for years at the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG). After President George Bush created the peace between the North and the South in the Sudan, and the slave raids were stopped, I turned my attention to the increasingly problematic situation of the Jews. I used to say and, I still believe it, that the South Sudanese were ‘the Jews of our time’ in that this epoch’s fascists targeted them for physical elimination while the so called civilized world was sitting on its hands. A small people, besieged by monsters, like we were. But given what was happening in Europe and on American college campuses, where Israel was being defamed and delegitimized, and given what I saw as a new type of anti-Semitism – a morphing of classical Jew-hatred into a sophisticated anti-Zionism, it struck me that ‘the Jews were the Jews of our time’ once again. I saw that there was no one was preparing Jewish students for what they were going to encounter on college campuses. College professors were harassing students and teaching anti-Israel lessons in their classrooms. The campus had become enthralled with Palestinianism. Jewish students were not prepared to deal with that. Even kids who went to Jewish day schools and learned some history, were unprepared to debate Israel’s adversaries when they got to campus. So we created the David Project (DP). We went to colleges and trained Jewish students. But we found out that was very hard to do. Students were very busy with school work, and in a way it was too late. We then thought about the tributaries, the feeder streams to colleges. One of them was Jewish Day Schools. We created a curriculum for Jewish Day Schools and we worked diligently to get it adopted. It was harder than you can imagine to get principals of religious schools to give up a period or two a week of Talmud. But we were persuasive. Now, there are about 140 Jewish Day Schools in America that are preparing Jewish kids to make Israel’s case – from the left or the right — on college campuses. The DP also works with Christian groups. We were best known for our activist work. We stopped Harvard University from taking a $2.5 million dollar grant from an anti-Semitic foundation in the Gulf emirates. Rachel Fish, who was a Harvard Divinity School graduate student at the time, led that effort. She was the heroine in this saga. She stood up and did it all by herself. Hillel, and all the Jewish professors – except one — refused to help her. When she graduated, we hired her. She guided our work in New York City. We made a film at Columbia University, “Columbia Unbecoming,” that brought national attention to the problem of anti-Israel professors, intimidating and harassing Jewish students in class and on campus over the issue of Israel. The controversy over “Columbia Unbecoming” generated close to 100 press reports. After that film, the Jewish community began to better understand the threat on America’s campuses. The David Project. is now an internationally established pro-Israel organization.
Gordon: I witnessed your involvement with the large Russian Jewish émigré community in the greater Boston area nearly a decade ago. What attracted them to you and vice versa? How are they involved with pro-Israel Zionist activities?
Jacobs: The Rachel Fish episode actually sent us in the wrong direction for a bit. We thought, after seeing her naturally courageous activism, that all we’d have to do is to find more Fishes on campuses across the country. But there were precious few. What we discovered was that most Jews are unwilling to be very activist when it came to Israel. However, there were four groups we identified who were predisposed towards Jewish activism. One was composed of people like Rachel Fish who were born and raised in places in America where there aren’t many Jews, places where you had o be committed and tough to survive. A second group was the grandsons and granddaughters of Holocaust survivors. A third contingent was converts to Judaism. They came without the sort of political neuroses that seems to afflict many of our brethren. The fourth, perhaps most important group, is Russian émigré Jews. They were inoculated by their struggles and their previous experience In Communist Russia against the left wing liberal mindset. They don’t fantasize utopias. They’ve been cured. They could see through the leftists’ attacks and mindset. And they have no fear. They are Israel’s and Jewry’s natural warriors. For these and more reasons, I was attracted to them. Just six months ago, a group of 90 Russian Jews in Boston signed a letter in my support when I was defamed in the local Jewish press by a progressive Rabbis who took issue with one of my columns, when I criticized one of their own. I love the Russian Jewish community, very much.
Gordon: You were a defendant in probably the most significant piece of lawfare waged by the Muslim Brotherhood via the ISBCC. Other defendants in the legal matter were Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), The Boston Herald American, and FOX TV News Station WFXT. What was that dangerous legal action about and how did it turn out?
Jacobs: Well you are right to call it lawfare because it is one of the main weapons being used to stifle criticism and inquiry about Islamist activities in the United States. When I was President of the David Project, we found out that the Boston Redevelopment Authority gave to give a group of foreign Muslims an important parcel of city-owned land to build a huge mosque. They gave the land for almost nothing. It was in Roxbury — the predominantly black area of Boston. The stated market value by the City was over $2 million dollars and the City gave the Muslim group the land for less than $150,000. This was a Saudi funded group. We asked why the City of Boston needed to give away $2 million dollars, especially land that is designated for the black community. We found this out through a five part investigative series published in the Boston Herald newspaper. The Herald series revealed who was behind the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) mosque. It turned out that trustees of the mosque were pretty unsavory. The founder of the ISB was Abdurahman Alamoudi, former American Muslim Council head, who is serving a term of 23 years convicted of being in a murder plot against the Saudi King and funneling money to Al Qaeda. Another ISB trustee was Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, a cleric living in Qatar, identified as a theologian of hatred by the ADL. All anyone had to do was look him up on the internet, watch some You Tube videos preaching that Jews should be killed, homosexuals should either be stoned or thrown off roofs, wives can be beaten, and Israel has to be destroyed. When I found this out, and here is the really painful part, I called together a meeting of all of Boston Jewish organizations. To my shock and deep disappointment no one wanted to do anything. Not a thing. Instead they said: “We must dialogue with them.” Well, we asked shouldn’t you find out who they are and tell our community. “No, no, no.” So I helped form a group composed of a Jew, a Christian and an authentically moderate Muslim who called themselves Citizens for Peace and Tolerance (CPT), later renamed Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT). They held a press conference about the true identities of ISB trustees.
It was quite poignant for the Muslim co-founder of CPT, Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, who was a trained Islamic theologian in the ‘Vatican of Sunni Islam,’ al Azhar University in Egypt. Mansour is a reformer. For his efforts at enlightenment, Mansour was had to flee Egypt for his life and he received political asylum in the United States. He was sponsored by the Harvard University Scholars at Risk Program. One day when he went to pray, he walked a mile up to Central Square in Cambridge and went into the ISB’s Cambridge mosque. He was shocked to find literature that was anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-American, and anti-Democratic. He thought he had left that behind when he fled Egypt. However, it seems to have followed him right into Harvard Square. He was brave enough to join the others at the press conference and he spoke out, very eloquently. For this, there was pronounced a fatwa on him and his family. (None of the Jewish leaders of Boston have ever thanked him, or even met with him. It is deeply shameful. The man risked his life to guard Boston from Islamist hatred.)
At the press conference, parts of which can be seen on our APT website: www.peaceandtolerance.org, Sheik Mansour along with Professor Dennis Hale who is a Christian and a Professor of Political Science at Boston College and a businessmen and lawyer named Steven Cohen explained their concerns based on the data published in the Herald.
Very soon afterwards they were sued by the ISB for “defamation” and conspiracy to prevent Muslims from practicing their First Amendment religious rights. The ISB plaintiffs named as other defendants Boston citizens who had spoken to newspapermen about what they had found out pertaining to the backgrounds of the owners of the new mosque. Those included the David Project, its Executive Director at the time, Anna Kolodner, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) and the Boston Herald newspaper, several reporters and FOX News channel WFXT. There were about a dozen defendants in the suit. Defending against the suit cost an enormous amount of money — and this was the whole purpose of the suit, to impoverish and intimidate. Effectively, the legal process was the punishment. It cost the David Project about $900,000. I signed the checks for our lawyers. I know it cost Steve Emerson’s group significant amounts of money. Fox News was said to have spent $500,000 in legal fees for its defense; the Herald another $500,000. All of this was meant to intimidate us and to stop us from having a public discussion about whether it was proper for the Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, to have authorized a land parcel purchase at rock bottom prices to enable the construction of the ISBCC which was to be directed and operated by people with such unsavory backgrounds
In the course of our investigations, we found on the website of the ISB a teaching on “how to beat your wife” which we’ve captured. The ISB subsequently took it down, but only after we mentioned it. It can be found on our site. In the discussion on the ISB website on “how to beat your wife,” Muslim men are taught to place a whip or a stick in a prominent place in your apartment or home living room so that, one supposes, every time a wife would see it that it would remind her that she should be obedient and compliant. That was just one of the things that we found.
We also found other information on the ISB website that now we see reverberating across America as Muslim extremists pose falsely as moderates. Walid Fitahi, ISB Outreach Director and board member, is a fabulously wealthy Saudi. Both he and his family had given millions of dollars to this Boston mosque. He was their “outreach director” and he pretended to be friendly to Jews. Fitahi made special efforts to befriend Rabbi Freidman of Temple Israel, the largest synagogue in the Boston area. As their “dialogue” proceeded, Rabbi Friedman found out that Fitahi had written an article in Arabic in an Arabic newspaper that Jews were the sons of the rapists of the Prophet, etc. Rabbi Friedman, with the help of the ADL, wrote letters to the ISB asking how Fitahi could have done this when as outreach director he was talking up Abrahamic brotherhood. The ISB response to Rabbi Freidman’s letter was that it never happened; it’ wasn’t true. But it was true. The next round of letters from the ISB gave the answer that it wasn’t a good translation. So the Rabbi and ADL had professional translators re check. It was not a bad translation. Finally, the ISB simply said, Fitahi wasn’t referring to “all the Jews.” Later, a group of liberal Jews, including Leonard Fein, invited Fitahi to Boston to apologize to the Jewish community. He apologized to them but refused to do it more publicly. But to these Jews, that was just fine. He passed muster. So this gave them a free pass to “dialogue.” Shameful.
So the ISB lawsuit was on. It went on for several years. It was very painful and at the end of the day the ISB dropped the lawsuit ten days before we were scheduled to depose their most vulnerable people and bring back from the Middle East the people who were plaintiffs to take their depositions. Unfortunately, our side treated this as a legal matter and not a political matter. Rather than forcing debate in the public square whether we were speaking truth or defaming the ISB trustees, we listened to our lawyers who told us that judges don’t like to have their cases tried in public. And after the ISB dropped their case against us, the Herald stopped reporting about ties of the ISB mosque may have had to terrorism and hate speech. We confirmed this by graphing their coverage of these topics. FOX News channel WFXT also dropped it as well. The intimidation worked. While the ISB dropped the case we at the David Project were punished to the tune of almost a million dollars in legal costs, the people of Boston still don’t know to this day that there is a very deep problem sitting in Roxbury at the largest mosque on the Eastern Seaboard.
Gordon: You and a group of like minded people protested the opening of the ISBCC in June of 2009 and yet Jewish communal groups, rabbis from Synagogues and Reformed Temples rushed to participate. What was the problem?
Jacobs: Well we did protest. We got very good news coverage by the way. Our signs said, “Prayer Yes, Extremism No.” The Jewish establishment position on these matters is you must not say anything, ever, critical of Muslims. Or you are a racist, bigot, Islamophobe. You must dialogue. You must not tell Jewish constituencies what you know about the facts about the people who operate the mosque — because these disclosures could only lead to more conflict. We are led by conflict-averse people. However as part of the legal process, we were able to capture from the ISB lawsuit 40 boxes of deposition material. That included their bank records, checks and internal emails. We were able to put that material together and make Power Point presentations of salient information to major Jewish organizations in Boston. Because of those presentations, the major Jewish establishment organizations – the JCRC, and the Federation boycotted the grand opening. They were supposed to be highlighted and showcased at the dedication of the ISBCC mosque. But we convinced them not to go. It was an important victory.
The goal of radical Islam in America is to radicalize the historically moderate Muslim population here and conduct a long march through our institutions and become legitimized. There are different pathways for doing this, the most important are the academic world, the media, the black community and the Jewish Community. These are key targets of the radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups. Why the Jews? Non-Jews in any city will naturally think that if the city’s Jews give a Muslim group the equivalent of a good housekeeping seal of approval then that Muslim group must be alright. In the view of the non-Jewish community Jews are the best natural vetters of Muslim groups because they have the most skin in the game, the highest and most urgent need to assure themselves that a group is not radical. So when the city’s Jewish leadership establishes normal relations with radical mosques, this gives the Islamists a key to the city. The black community has also been successfully targeted by radical Islamic groups as evidenced by the high rate of conversions in that community. I feel ashamed that the Jewish community has allowed radical Muslims to install themselves here, in the cradle of liberty, without criticism. In doing so, Jewish leaders have betrayed their own constituencies and the rest of the city as well.
Gordon: You were the object of scorn in an open letter sent by more than 70 reform and reconstructionist Rabbis to the Jewish community in Boston. Why did they criticize you? Does their act set a dangerous precedent for not only Boston but the American Jewish Community?
Jacobs: I may well be the first target of a Rabbinic Fatwa in the country. We patiently explained the dangers to many of these liberal progressive Rabbis. We showed them who the ISB trustees are. We showed them that the group that subsequently took over the running of the Mosque, the Muslim American Society (MAS), was identified by Federal Prosecutors in the Dallas Federal Holy Land Foundation trial and convictions as the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” We showed these progressive rabbis that the ISB were bringing in speakers who said the Holocaust is a hoax; Jews want to destroy the Muslims, that Christianity is theological filth, that homosexuals and apostates should be killed and women should be beaten. And that no Muslim should be guided by democratic procedures, only by Allah. After we explained this to the progressive Rabbis, most of them still wanted to dialogue and they still didn’t want to tell their own constituencies what they knew. They would admit to us that “yes,” this is problematic, but they didn’t want to tell their own people. One member of this group of progressive Rabbis went to the ISBCC mosque and appeared in the pages of the Boston Globe embracing the leader of the mosque, Bilal Kaleem. I wrote a Boston Jewish Advocate column criticizing this rabbi. All Hell broke loose. Within a very short time following the publication of my critical column they got 70 colleagues to sign an Open Letter to the Community criticizing me for taking to task one of their own, and defaming me as one who was a defamer of the entire Boston Muslim community. It’s almost impossible to get 70 Rabbis to agree on anything. Where is the rabbi letter that explained to the Jewish people that Islamic anti-Semitism is the biggest threat since Hitler. Where is the rabbis’ letter that explained to the Jewish people that Israel is besieged, surrounded and endangered now. No, this was a letter that contained only an ad hominem attack directed at the messenger – me. Their letter had two parts. The first part was fair. It asked why I severely criticized – in almost a personal manner – their fellow Rabbi. The second part stated that I was a defamer of the Muslim community in Boston. Well that is absolutely not true – and it may endanger me and my family. Already the leadership of Boston’s radical mosque has used the rabbis’ letter to denounce me. Who knows but that it might inflame a zealot to undertake actions against me on the false notion that I have defamed an entire Muslim community. The rabbis who signed this letter know that I have a Muslim scholar on my board at the APT. They know – or should have known – that I have been a champion of Muslims in Darfur and South Sudan. They know or could have known that Dr. Zhudi Jasser, leader of moderate Muslims in America, spoke out in our defense in Boston, and debated the head of the mosque at Boston’s prestigious Ford Hall Forum.
The letter is only part one. In effect, I’ve been “Juan Williams-ed” in Boston’s reform temples, quietly blackballed from any platform in virtually all of the synagogues that those Rabbis control. That enables them to persist in not telling their congregations what they know about the dangers that we face, about the identities of the people who run the ISBCC and the MAS– the organization that controls the largest mosque on the Eastern seaboard. Nor will they even allow any presentation on the real data… that they have seen, about this issue. In my view this is a serious situation for the Boston and American Jewish community at large.
Gordon: You exposed an example of Jewish Muslim Dialogue gone wrong sponsored by a New York based group called the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) whose head is Rabbi Marc Schneier, who is also a Vice President for the World Jewish Congress. Your column in the Boston Jewish Advocate on the matter was entitled “Buffaloed in Buffalo.” Please explain.
Jacobs: This is an example of the dangers of unexamined Jewish Muslim dialogue. Rabbi Marc Schneier’s group, FFEU intends to ”twin” mosques with synagogues in 100 cities, for the purpose of “interfaith dialogue.” In Newsweek, he claimed that Buffalo was a great success. Well, we were contacted by a grandmother in Buffalo who told us that her synagogue was twinning with a Muslim group. She had researched on the internet some of the people involved and found them problematic and was seeking help from us. Our APT research director Ilya Feoktistov, does superb research. Regarding the Muslim dialogue partners in Buffalo, he found a typical disconnect. On their English websites it was all kumbaya, brotherhood and Abrahamic relationships. However, on their Arabic sites it was quite different. The Jews and Israel were horrible.Ilya prepared a Power Point presentation based on his research. We flew to Buffalo. We met privately with the ADL, the Federation, other Jewish leaders, and school teachers. We held a public meeting with the Jewish leadership and concerned citizens. We had over 40 people in attendance, among them were two of the three Rabbis who had signed on to twin with Mosques under the FFEU program. Ilya presented his documentation. It turned out that the revered mentor of the Muslim partner had hosted Nazis and Farrakhan in his mosque and wrote terrible things about Jews in his book. The Rabbis were visibly upset. Then they did an unusual thing: they admitted that they made a terrible mistake In public. They apologized to the community. Then they withdrew from Schneier’s twinning program. It was hard for them to do, but these are righteous men. We hope to use this episode as an example for the rest of the American Jewish community. I called Rabbi Marc Schneier and spoke with him about the Buffalo twinning exposé, but to no avail. This is happening around the country because of failed Jewish leadership. A leadership which simply has no idea of what to do about Islamic radicalism in America. They are conflict-averse; they have fallen into the trap of believing that if they say one thing critical of a Muslim leader in America, they would be castigated as defamers, Islamophobes, bigots, and racists. This is a very dangerous thing for the Jewish community. Even more so if Jews give radical Muslim leaders a good housekeeping seal of approval, by being seen to be in dialogue with them, then effectively they have given radicals a key to the city. This is a very dangerous situation.
Gordon: Unlike many American Jewish leaders you’ve had a long association with Christian Evangelical Groups in Boston, nationally and internationally. Why do you consider the Evangelicals as important Zionist allies and friends of the Jewish people?
Jacobs: Because they are Zionist allies and friends of the Jewish people. I know them well. I know that we Jews have had very good reasons historically to be suspicious of Christians who smile at us. But American Christianity is not European Christianity, which has a history of harboring and expressing a deep hatred of Jews. In America, that is not the overwhelming mindset of Christians whatsoever. I read a poll recently that Judaism is the most popular religion and well liked religion by Americans. As Jews, we never learned about American Evangelicals. Michael Oren’s book on the Founding Fathers and their visions self-consciously inspired by the Torah, was a shocker. All Jews need to read it. I have worked with pro-Israel Christians. I know and trust them. That is not to say that there was never a case of an Evangelical Christian who may be authentically a pro-Israel person who also wants Jews to convert to Christianity. I know that exists. However, I don’t believe there is a great risk in that for us. The real risk would be to cling to our historic partnership with the leftist mainstream Christian leadership. Many of these people have learned to hate Israel and its supporters. We need trusted allies. I believe pro-Israel Christians may do more for the Jewish state than Jews do. Another reason for allying with Evangelicals is that both Jews and Christians are targeted as Kafirs, infidels, by radical Islam. Today we see Christians being bombed in their churches in Egypt and in Iraq, murdered and enslaved in Sudan. They are subject to state execution by charges of blasphemy in places like Afghanistan. Middle East Christians are now the victims of Islamic Jihad. Christians used to make up 20% of the Middle East. Now they account for less than 3 or 4%. They are being chased out of the Middle East. Christians and Jews are defined in Islamic theology as “dhimmi” people. They are considered People of the Book who should not be forced to convert to Islam as long as they accept “dhimmitude” – a subjugated status. They do not have the same rights as Muslims in Islamic societies. Israel is hated by Muslims not because of anything they did to the Palestinians, but simply because the Jews are not supposed to have self-rule in formerly Muslim realms. Israel is a theological catastrophe for Islamic fundamentalists. Israelis are by religious definition rebellious dhimmis. As I explained in part I of the interview, Southern Sudan is the second non-Muslim self-ruling polity in the region. So for all of those reasons and more, the Evangelicals are our allies, as are many Hindus in America who are also targeted by Islamic regimes. We are not alone, but we have a leadership caught in a time warp, thinking that Christianity is the perennial danger, and that danger to us will come from Nazis. These leaders are not necessarily leftists, though that is usually the case. They might be better described as Chelmists – foolish Jews.
Gordon: What do you see as the future possibilities for educating American Jewish youths before they reach college about Zionism, commitment to their history, heritage and the emerging threat of Islamic antisemitism both in America and the world at large?
Jacobs: This is the biggest challenge that we face right now. American Jewish youth are losing interest in and allegiance to Israel. They are being subjected to the mainstream media view of Israel as among the cruelest of nations. Long before they get into college, even in high school, they are often taught that Israel is a pariah apartheid state. This is not generally known. Most Jews think that college is the problem area for young Jews, but we are finding that Islamist groups have penetrated teacher training programs in high schools and grammar schools. In alliance with leftist , under the multiculturalist guise of teaching students about the culture of Islam, some curricula teach about “Palestine” – and will be taught that Israel is a racist state. My new research is finding virtually unknown, anti-Israel lessons in public school classrooms.
We have also to understand that Hasbarah and Israel PR have been abject failures. The classical notion is that we should try to learn how to answer every Arabist lie. The classical method was exemplified in Mitchell Bard’s book, Myths and Facts, a compilation of charges against Israel followed by an explanation of how each charge is wrong, a distortion, a fabrication. This does not work. You answer one lie and before you know it, another one comes up. You can do this forever. What you are doing is perpetuating a conversation in which Israeli conduct and Jewish behavior are under a microscope, and Jews are on the defense stand. That will never win, but we do it anyway. Most establishment Jewish groups are reactive and apply defensive tactics. What has to happen to change this takes some courage. We have to start changing the conversation and go on the offense by talking about what the Islamists world is and what they do, and the human rights crimes they commit. We have to change the conversation, starting off, perhaps with a campaign whose clear purpose is to say: “They lie about us, all the time, perpetually. Here are ten lies. Now guess what? It turns out that they are actually guilty of what they charge us with. I’ve heard it called “turn-speak.” Here’s how we must respond: “Apartheid?” Glad you asked. Let me tell you all about Arab/Islamist apartheid, starting with the Copts, or if you like, the black Africans.” Etc, etc, etc. Have you noticed a pattern here? Everything they charge us with, they do themselves. Land theft? Wow!, that’s an easy one. Brutality? Easier still. Get the picture?
But even the best of Jewish groups hesitate and are reluctant to go on the offensive. It is a major problem that I have written white papers about. The notion that you are going to tell people that Israel is a wonderful place because they have these scientific inventions, they have gay rights, they have nanotechnology, is just ridiculous. The Germans knew the Jews were smart but look what happened. It didn’t help. Jews must point the finger at the real apartheid in the Middle East. The Arab world enslaves blacks, treats women like chattel, kills apostates, dominates and makes subservient and oppresses all minorities, religious and racial. That’s the conversation you have to have. Otherwise you are going to lose because Israel will become nothing more than, to use Andrea Levin’s phrase, “the apartheid state with nanotechnology.” You are not going to win with a list of Israel’s good deeds, when the background of the conversation is decades of Israeli “crimes.” Nor are you going to answer all the lies and false charges. Ask any courtroom lawyer if defense is an effective thing. It’s not. It’s a loser, but that’s what we’ve been doing for decades. And Jews are thought to be verbally talented!
Gordon: There have been important changes in the composition of Congress given the results of the 2010 Mid Term elections. Do you think that some of these issues that you have discussed during this interview will surface in a positive direction?
Jacobs: I’m hopeful. I see Rep. Peter King; the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress is holding hearings on radical Islam in America. I think that is extremely important. The Republican takeover of the House will add many more pro-Israel voices to Congress. These developments are all extraordinarily important. But again, our problem is Jewish leadership … it’s absolutely abysmal, a complete failure. I was at an international convention in Jerusalem a few years ago. It was a two day conference on the rise of Islamic anti-Semitism. All of the Jewish scholars involved with this topic were there. People like Professor Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University. The leaders of American Jewish organizations were there as well. They heard that radical Islam is the biggest threat to our lives since the Nazis. But they simply will not tell that to their constituents. I have made a very harsh critique of the Anti Defamation League, the ADL. I documented – with hard data, that they are not speaking out on what they know to be the biggest threat to Jewish life since the Nazis – Islamic Antisemitism. We calculated that the percentage of their press releases related to that topic was miniscule, this even given that Foxman himself has said Islamic Jew hatred is the biggest problem we face. Until we have a change of leadership in the Jewish community that message is not going to get through. However, the Jewish grassroots is moving in the right direction and getting to understand the threat. And we can hope that our alliance with the Evangelical Christians will grow solidify and will strengthen the fight against radical Islam.
Gordon: I want to thank you for this wide ranging interview. It has vividly illustrated your vast experience at the local, national and international levels, not only in Jewish communal affairs, but also important humanitarian causes. Kol hakavod (all honors).
Charles: Thank you Jerry.
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