Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: ‘Obsession’ Gets Some
Overdue Mainstream Attention via by admin on 10/29/08
“Obsession,” the Islamophobic video that has been distributed via
newspaper inserts to some 28 million households in key swing states
this fall, is getting some overdue negative attention from the
mainstream media at last. The Washington Post carried an article about
the video Sunday that made it clear that the mass distribution was
intended to influence the election in the Republicans’ favor. And
Monday’s Atlantic online blog post by Jeffrey Goldberg, entitled “The
Jewish Extremists Behind ‘Obsession’” was particularly notable.

He casts a remarkably negative light on Aish HaTorah, the Israeli
organization whose U.S.-based officials, in Goldberg’s words, “are up
to their chins in this project.” (I think IPS was the first news source
to point out the connection between Aish and ‘Obsession’ in an article
published back in March, 2007, although more has since come out,
including a recent IPS update in September which noted other Israeli
connections to the video and its distribution.)

I especially appreciated Goldberg’s identification of the Jerusalem
Post’s Caroline Glick as one of his “favorite hysterics” — I posted on
one of her fulminations last June — and as those behind the project as
representing the “lunatic fringe.” In addition to Glick, who also heads
the Middle East program at Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy,
Goldberg would presumably apply that description to Daniel Pipes and
Steven Emerson who played prominent roles in the video. It was
Goldberg, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), who wrote that
passionate indictment, “Israel’s ‘America Problem’” in the Washington
Post’s Outlook section last May of the major national Jewish
organizations, particularly the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations and AIPAC, for confusing “pro-Israe”l
with being pro-settler in their advocacy efforts.

Of course, the producer/distributor of “Obsession” was the
still-mysterious Clarion Fund, which has just released a sequel, “The
Third Jihad” about which my colleague Eli Clifton posted earlier this
month. The new video, originally intended for distribution before next
week’s election, according to the Post’s article, suffered production
delays (hence, the distribution of “Obsession” instead).

While I haven’t yet seen it, I understand that it features commentary
by Clifford May of the Likudnik Foundation for the Defense of Democracy
and, more prominently, Princeton historian and neo-con icon Bernard
Lewis, who, according to various accounts, helped persuade Dick Cheney,
among others, that the Iraq invasion would be a very good thing for all
concerned. It was also Lewis who on August 8, 2006, predicted on the
editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal that Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would very possibly launch an attack on Israel
exactly two weeks later, on August 22, to mark “the night when many
Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the
winged horse Buraq, first to ‘the farthest mosque,’ usually identified
with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back. This [date],” he went on,
“might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of
Israel and if necessary of the world.” Goldberg’s words about
“hysterics” and “the lunatic fringe” come to mind.

Nonetheless, it was just six months later that, with Cheney in
attendance, Lewis delivered the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI)
annual Irving Kristol Lecture — in which he warned that militant Islam
was launching its third attempt to conquer Europe and the West through
“terror and migration.” And it was presumably after that that he sat
down for a long interview with the Islamophobic makers of “Obsession”
and “The Third Jihad.”

Incidentally, for a penetrating analysis of “Obsession”, read a review
by David Shasha featured on Richard Silverstein’s blog at the Tikun
Olam site.

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