The CIA’s worldwide reign of terror on behalf of the Illuminati banker elite is reminiscent of a blue-print for global domination that emerged in the mid 1800’s. The controversial document – known as the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion – was obtained by the daughter of a Russian general after she paid a bribe of 2,500 French francs to a member of the Mizraim Freemason Lodge in Paris – home to the inner circle of the Knights Templar known as the Priory of Sion.
The Crusader Templars created the Prieure de Sion on Mt. Zion near Jerusalem in the 11th century to guard such relics as the Shroud of Turin, the Ark of the Covenant and the Hapsburg family’s Spear of Destiny, which was used to kill Jesus as he hung on the cross.
The Priory of Sion’s more important purpose was to safeguard the gold which the Templars had looted from beneath Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and to preserve the Holy Grail bloodline, or Sangreal, of Jesus Christ which they believe is carried forth by the French Bourbon royalty, the Merovingan family.
The Priory of Sion elite believe that Jesus faked his death with the help of certain herbs and married the provider of those herbs Mary Magdalene. The Priory believes the couple fled to southern France and had numerous children. During the 5th century, the theory goes, Jesus’ descendents married into the Frank royalty from which France takes its name, thus creating the Merovingan dynasty. 
Author Laurence Gardner claims Roman Catholic authorities then wrote the New Testament bible in such a way as to discredit Mary Magdalene as a “sinner”, so as to draw attention away from her true role as the wife of Christ and to preserve the dogma that Christ was a loner who died on the cross. 
For the global aristocracy, the Persian Gulf wasn’t the only region where special bloodlines entitled one to a life of leisure. Past Knights Templar Grand Masters include the son-in-law of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
By the 13th century the Templars used their looted gold to buy 9,000 castles throughout Europe and ran an empire stretching from Copenhagen to Damascus. They founded modern banking techniques and legitimized usury, also known as interest payments.
Templars’ bank branches popped up everywhere, backed by their new-found gold wealth. They charged up to 60% interest on loans, launched the concepts of trust accounts and bond markets, and introduced a credit card system for Holy Land pilgrims.
They acted as tax collectors, though themselves exempted by Roman authorities, and built the great cathedrals of Europe, having also found instructions regarding secret building techniques under Solomon’s Temple. The stained glass used in the cathedrals resulted from a secret Gothic technique known by few. One who had perfected this art was Omar Khayvam, a good friend of Assassin founder Hasan bin Sabah. 
The Templars controlled a huge fleet of ships and their own naval fleet based at the French Atlantic Port of La Rochelle. They were the first to use magnetic compasses for navigation and were especially cozy with the royals of England. They purchased the island of Cyprus from Richard the Lion Heart, but were later overrun by the Turks.
On Friday October 13, 1307 King Philip IV of France joined forces with Pope Clement V and began rounding up Templars on charges ranging from necromancy to the use of black magic. Friday the 13th would from that day forward carry negative connotations.
“Sion” is believed to be a transliteration of Zion, itself a transliteration for the ancient Hebrew name Jerusalem. The Priory of Sion first came into public view in July 1956. A 1981 notice in the French press listed 121 dignitaries as Priory members. All were bankers, royalty or members of the international political jet set.
Pierre Plantard was listed as Grand Master. Plantard is a direct descendent – through King Dagobert II – of the Merovingan Kings. Plantard, who owns property in the Rennes-le-Chateau area of southern France where the Priory of Sion is based, has stated that the order has in its possession lost treasure recovered from beneath Solomon’s Temple and that it will be returned to Israel when the time is right. He also stated that in the near future monarchy would be restored to France and other nations. 
The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion was first published in the 1864 French book Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu or the Politics of Machiavelli in the Nineteenth Century by a Contemporary.
By the 1890’s Russian Professor Sergei Nilus had published the Protocols… in his book The Great within the Small: The Coming Anti-Christ. Nilus was arrested and tortured and the Protocols… were suppressed for many more decades.
The Protocols… were a manifesto written by a secret society that claimed itself superior to the rest of mankind, using the Hebrew word goyim (cattle) to refer to the masses.
Anti-Semites, including Hitler, have used the Protocols… to falsely attack a “Jewish conspiracy”. But the Protocols… authors were hardly religious.
Instead they were intent on a political movement called Zionism which seeks to use Israel as its lynchpin for global hegemony and as guardian of the vast oil reserves of the Middle East region. The movement has as much to do with the Christian secret society Knights Templar, as is does with the Jewish secret society Cabala and the Muslim Brotherhood. Its power center has moved from the Roman Empire to the City of London.
The Illuminati nucleus of this movement claims to be Luciferian in orientation. What follows are excerpts from the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion:
Protocol 4: “In order to give the goyim no time to think and take note, their minds must be diverted towards industry and trade. Thus, all nations will be swallowed up in the pursuit of gain and…will not take note of their common foe. But, again, in order that freedom may once and for all disintegrate and ruin the communities of goyim, we must put industry on a speculative basis, the result of which will be that what is withdrawn from the land by industry will slip through their hands and pass into speculation, that is, to our classes.”
Protocol 10: “It is from us that all-engulfing terror proceeds. We have in our service persons of all opinions: monarchists, demagogues, socialists…trying to overthrow all established authority. By these acts all states are in torture; they exhort tranquility, are ready to sacrifice anything for peace. But we don’t give them peace until they openly acknowledge our international super-government, and with submissiveness…to utterly exhaust humanity with dissension, hatred, struggle, envy and even by use of torture, by starvation, by inoculation of diseases, by want, so that the goyim see no other issue than to take refuge in our complete sovereignty in money.”
Protocol 13: “And how far-seeing were our learned elders when they said that to attain a serious goal behooves not to stop at any means or to count the victims sacrificed…We have not counted the victims of the goy cattle. In order that the masses themselves may not guess what they are about we must further distract them with amusements, games, pastimes, passions, people’s palaces…these interests will finally distract them from questions in which we should find ourselves compelled to oppose them. Growing more and more disaccustomed to reflect and form opinions of their own, people will begin to talk in the same tone as we, because we alone shall be offering them new directions of thought.”
Protocol 15: “We shall create and multiply Freemasonic Lodges in all countries of the world, absorb into them all who may become or who are prominent in public activity, for in these Lodges we shall find our principle intelligence office and means of influence. Among the members of these Lodges will be almost all the agents of international and national police since their service is for us irreplaceable in the respect that the police are in a position not only to use its own particular measures with the insubordinate, but also to screen our activities and provide pretexts and disguises. All these Lodges we shall bring under one central administration, known only to us and to all others absolutely unknown, which will be composed of our learned elders (Illuminati)…The most secret political plots will be known to us and will fall under our guiding hands on the very day of their conception.”
Protocol 16: “…we shall emasculate the first stage of collectivism – the universities…any form of study of ancient history…we shall replace with the study of the program of the future. We shall erase from the memory of men all facts of previous centuries which are undesirable for us. Each…life must be trained within strict limits corresponding to its destination and work in life. The system of bridling thought is already at work in the so-called system of teaching by object lessons (objectivity). In our program one-third of our subjects will keep the rest under observation…It will be no disgrace to be a spy”
Another section of the Protocols… states, “We are the chosen, we are the only true men. Our minds give off the true power of the spirit; the intelligence of the rest of the world is merely instinctive and animal. They can see, but they cannot foresee…Does it not follow that nature herself has predestined us to dominate the world. Outwardly we…(will) do our best to appear honorable and cooperative. A statesman’s words do not have to agree with his acts. If we pursue these principles, the governments and peoples which we have thus prepared will take our IOU’s for cash…the substitution of interest-bearing money…Economic crises have been produced by us…by no other means than the withdrawal of money from circulation…One day they will accept us as benefactors and saviors of the human race. If any state dared to resist us, if its neighbors make common cause with it against us, we will unleash global war.”
The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion have been taken seriously by many scholars, along with political and economic leaders including Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and American industrialist Henry Ford.
The document refers often to the “Ancient Mysteries”, the “seed of David” and the “symbolic snake”.  Its concluding statement reads, “Signed by the representatives of Sion of the 33rd Degree.”
All the Ancient Mysteries had played out in the Middle East region where Israel was inserted by the Rothschild clan after WWII under the guise of “guardian of the secrets of man’s origins” and “a Jewish homeland”. The actual role of Israel is as guardian of the energy force which the non-denominational Illuminati bloodline elite control and which they have carefully woven into the fabric of modern life in their quest for control of the global economy, namely crude oil.
Fortress Persian Gulf
Following the Iranian Revolution the US more overtly displayed its willingness to lean on the Saudi monarchy. During the 1979 border war between North and South Yemen US Secretary of Defense and Trilateralist Harold Brown pressured the Saudis to supply $390 million worth of US weapons to North Yemen where US advisers were running the show.
The conflict underscored the vulnerability of the oilfields of the Kingdom to the kind of nationalist rhetoric coming from the neighboring South Yemen government.
Brown also directed the Saudis finance the sale of twelve F-SE fighters by the US to Sudan. With the Shah deposed, Brown busied himself selling surplus Iranian-bound weapons to the Saudis, as well as to Israel, Jordan, Oman and Egypt. In the spring of 1980 the US signed a military pact with Turkey and sent the Turks $1 billion in weaponry. 
The Saudis immediately announced an oil production increase when the mullahs took Tehran. Within two weeks of that announcement the US State Department unveiled a $1.2 billion program to shore up the Saudi National Guard. The program would be supervised by Vinnell Corporation, a subsidiary of TRW, the San Francisco-based consumer credit reporting giant and leading supplier of NSA spy satellites. By 1979 Saudi purchases of US weaponry surpassed even those of the Israelis.
Bendix, Raytheon, Grumman, Northrup, Lockheed, TWA and the US Army Corps of Engineers all flocked to Riyadh to exhibit their wares. The US implemented American Peace Shield, through which tens of billions of dollars in defense contracts would be doled out. Richard Secord swung an $8.5 billion contract for Boeing to provide AWACs to the Saudis. An integrated Command and Control Center (C3) was established in Saudi Arabia. 
The US, Britain and France pushed for defense offset deals with the Kingdom, under which weapons were paid for in oil. In 1990 the Saudis bought French Crotale missiles, with the French receiving discounted oil and promised to invest in Saudi industry.
A British program known as AlYamamah was spearheaded by British Aerospace (BAE) and run by a consortium of pan-European interests, whose governments established the Anglo-Saudi Committee.
Under Al Yamamah the Euro governments, along with BP Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell, receive free oil. European arms dealers get contracts with the House of Saud and the Saudis receive help from the British in moving their oil operations downstream by investing in old Eastern European oil refineries. 
In 1989 BAE contracted to build Prince Sultan Air Base, while also selling Tornado fighters to the Saudis. BAE bought Ballast Nedam, a Dutch heavy construction firm with Saudi ties, which built the massive bridge that now links the Saudi mainland to Bahrain. BAE netted $60 billion in the largest contract ever received from the Saudis by a Western company. According to a June 27, 2007 Financial Times article, AlYamamah and BAE were being investigated by the US Justice Department.
The militarization of the Gulf Region went beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia. In 1980 US arms sales and military aid to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) emirates were unprecedented. The AWAC-monitored C3 defense system, now in place in Saudi Arabia, would be integrated with Hawk missile systems installed in all six GCC nations.
In 1983 the GCC began to conduct joint regional military maneuvers under the watchful eye of US advisers. The Saudis and Kuwaitis conducted the first such exercises, followed by joint training between Oman and the UAE. Eventually all six nations were running coordinated military exercises on a regular basis. In 1984 the GCC established a Joint Chiefs of Staff and developed its own Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF), both modeled after and facilitated by the Pentagon. The Saudis and Kuwaitis agreed to foot the lion’s share of the bill, including an agreement whereby the two richest GCC monarchies paid for air defense systems for Oman and Bahrain.
In late 1984, with the Iran/Iraq War heating up, the Pentagon coordinated the first Peninsula Shield exercises involving troops from the US, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and the GCC countries.  The US set up a fallback arc of bases and obtained basing rights for RDF in Oman, Kenya, Somalia and Egypt. The US B-52 forward base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia was beefed up. Egyptian and Pakistani Air Forces, which the GCC nations rely heavily upon, were supplied with new F-16 fighters from Northrup Corporation. Omani and Egyptian Armies regularly conducted joint military exercises involving US troops.
The French placed Mirage fighters at bases in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia. The British added Tornado fighters to its bases in Oman. And NATO fortified its bases in Turkey, especially at Incirlik Air Base in the south of the country near the Iraqi border. In 1983, following a trial run invasion of Grenada, President Reagan merged the RDF into the US Central Command. A US Middle East Forward Command (MIDEASTFOR) component was established at the huge US naval base near Jufair, Bahrain which houses the US 5th Fleet and serves as the biggest ARAMCO customer on the planet.
Since 1973 65% of US arms sales have gone to the Middle East. Between 1977 and 1987 $34 billion in arms flowed into the Gulf region, more than was supplied to the rest of the entire world combined. US defense giants sold AWAC’s and F-15’s to Qatar and Kuwait. After the Gulf War President Bush authorized the sale of Apache attack helicopters to Bahrain and Kuwait.
Saudi Arabia now boasts the highest per capita defense spending in the world. In 1984 alone the Saudis spent $22.7 billion on US weaponry. The GCC also “rents” military troops from the best US-trained armies in the region, using aid as payment. The Saudis have elaborate military assistance arrangements with Pakistan, whereby the Saudis send Karachi aid in return for the services of Pakistani military units. Kuwait has long received military forces from both Pakistan and Egypt in exchange for billions of dollars in aid. Pakistan’s best pilots are sent to the UAE to fly the emir’s F-16 fighters. Similar arrangements exist between the GCC and Turkey. 
US-trained militaries in Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey are renowned as the best Muslim forces in the world. When combined with Israel, the three countries account for one-half of US military aid. The US once eyed Pakistan as a central command headquarters for its RDF, while Turkey keeps its bases open for US military adventures such as the no-fly zone patrols over northern Iraq.
In effect, the US is defending GCC oil with third country armies which it has trained and over which it holds the purse strings, thus curtailing the power of any potential rogue GCC sheik who may decide to go it alone. The arrangement dilutes the political power of the Gulf States’ people, whose countries are occupied by foreign troops, ready to dispassionately put down any revolt that might threaten either the emirs or the oilfields.
While Third World grunts provide a standing army, the US is careful not to allow GCC personnel to become proficient in the control of advanced weapons systems. The most sophisticated systems are monitored by US military officers. At Riyadh, for example, US CENTCOM is in charge of monitoring AWACs and tanker air traffic.  Key equipment on the AWACs requires US personnel to operate beyond a few days. The planes contain a digital look-down link so the US can monitor the AWACs from American soil.
There are 6,000 Americans working in the Saudi Arabia arms industry. Many hold key positions. This figure does not include US troops whose numbers have steadily increased since the mid-1980s and took a quantum leap during the US war with Iraq in 1991.
Another neo-colonial policy disallows licensing of high-tech arms production outside NATO and Pacific Alliance countries. Spare parts for GCC weapons systems are available only on a strict US schedule. These technological dependencies insure a perpetuation of the oil for arms quid pro quo which the Four Horsemen, the US defense establishment and the international bankers wish to impose upon the GCC.
There have been voices within US foreign policy circles for some time calling for outright occupation of the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. The US has planned for this contingency since the 1950’s construction of the first air base at Dhahran, less than five miles from ARAMCO headquarters. The US Army Corps had made a conscious effort to overbuild the Saudi military infrastructure so that it might later be utilized by the US during a Middle East regional war.
One Saudi agreement allows Saudi bases to accept US F-15’s in a short time period and to instantly integrate the fighters into the existing command and control system. Similar agreements were signed with the other GCC nations in the climate of fear which followed the 1991 Gulf War.
 Behold a Pale Horse. William Cooper. Light Technology Publishing. Sedona, AZ. 1991. p.79
 Bloodline of the Holy Grail. Laurence Gardner. Element Books, Inc. Rockport, MA. 1996
 Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Michael Bagent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. Dell Publishing Company New York. 1983
 Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons and the Great Pyramids. Jim Marrs. HarperCollins Publishers. New York. 2000. p.150
 The Arms Trade: A New Level of Danger. Andrei Kozyrev. Progress Publishers. Moscow. 1985
 “Arms and Oil Resources Tie Two Nations Together”. John Roberts. The Oil Daily. 11-12-90. p.C-2
 “Different Direction for Growth: Defense Offset Deals”. Michael Frenchman. The Oil Daily. 11-12-90. p.C-8
 Defending Arabia. J.E. Peterson. St. Martin’s Press. New York. 1986. p.221
 Ibid. p.205
 Ibid. p.193
Dean Henderson is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve. Subscriptions to his Left Hook blog are FREE at www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com
Israel’s failure to implement censorship
Can a democracy censor? Despite Western-propaganda, the answer is yes. However, unlike the situation in totalitarian regimes, democratic censorship is invariably disguised as something else; in this aspect, totalitarian regimes are more honest than what nowadays is wrongly referred to as democracies. The events surrounding 9/11 and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are a good example of that. Despite American media sanctimonious claim of being balanced, one won’t find a balanced report on these issues. When was the last time the Taliban’s leader got the Times’ front page? How can censorship in a democracy be achieved? Let’s answer this question by illustrating the topic with a current event. In the case of Israel, how can the state censor events linked to Nakba Day? Oddly enough—and I would be accused of anti-Semitism if I were to add the obvious—Israel does that through the Ministry of Finances.
Palestinian PR Victory
Nakba Day is the “Disaster Day” on May 15, when Palestinians remember Israel’s Independence declaration. Israelis celebrate it at a different date. Formally, civil affairs in Israel are conducted using the Hebrew calendar, thus official events change in their Gregorian date because the Hebrew calendar is lunar in nature, meaning it wobbles in cycles of 19 years. On all official documents issued by Israel, the Hebrew date is proudly stated; however, since this calendar wobbles, everybody uses the Gregorian calendar as the main reference calendar. This includes offices from the Israeli Administration; all appointments with them are arranged using the Gregorian calendar. Most of the calendars sold in Israel show the Gregorian date in large digits and the Hebrew date in small—almost illegible—digits. Actually, most Israelis would fail if asked to list the names of the Hebrew months in their correct order. “Independence Day is in April or May” they’ll say hesitantly, mixing up the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars. Since the Palestinians stick to Gregorian dates, they have an easy job promoting Nakba Day, a much easier task than Israelis face with the wobbling Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day (see Is this Israel’s last Independence Day?).
The Zionists’ Deepest Fear
The extent of mind-control the Israeli administration attempts on the population it rules is astonishing. Prime Minister Golda Meir claimed Palestinians do not exist, and expected the people to answer: “amen!” Things didn’t improve much since her departure; for many years possessing a Palestinian flag—even if hidden in a dark drawer—was a punishable crime in the state claiming to be “the only democracy in the Middle East.” The Zionist leaders’ deepest fear is that their people will realize they have been deceived by them; they fear that the people will realize that the Zionist dream is nothing but a hollow, meaningless dream built atop solid Palestinian structures. After all, most of the Israeli towns had been built by Palestinian workers. Thus, the attempt to suppress the commemoration of events like Nakba Day was to be expected. Considering the extent of the protests taking place on that day across Israel, the task was herculean even for roughish Zionist administrators. The logo below belongs to the Settlers’ Channel 7 (see “Juden Raus!” says Israel) and was featured in their articles covering the Nakba Day this year. Even the settlers—who often draw maps of the West Bank which ignore Palestinian cities—cannot ignore this event.
Beginning Administrators’ Error
On paper, the Israeli administration gave a “proper Zionist Answer,” (“tshuva tzionit olemet” in Hebrew). This is a popular phrase used in Israel against any event that is perceived as a threat. It implies violence, though nothing specific is said. In this case, the implied violence came in the form of state censorship of an event it dislikes; beginner administrators as they are, they thought that by controlling the people’s pockets, they will gain control of their minds. On Monday 14, 2012, they woke up into their worst nightmare.
Today, Tel Aviv University—a perceived stronghold of the Jewish establishment—commemorated Nakba Day. Tel Aviv University’s dean of students had previously approved a ceremony to commemorate Nakba Day in the plaza adjacent to the “Naftali” social sciences building. However, University security services decided that due to the “possibility of disturbances,” the event will be held at “Antine Square,” located next to the University’s main entrance. The pictures brought here are from the protests; the distinctive buildings of the university dormitories across the street can be clearly seen. “Every year different political bodies organize events focusing on the Nakba, in an attempt to make it the focal point of relations between Jews and Arabs in the area. What has never been done, and the time has come to do it, is to commemorate the Nakba in an alternative way, accessible to and created for the Israeli public—an event to remember the tragedy and great loss that befell the people who were here before ’48, many of which still live here,” said Noa Levy, a law student and organizer of the Nakba Day ceremony.
The pictures are incredible. The fact that 400 participants crowded the small plaza and that they read an alternative version of Yizkor, the Jewish prayer of mourning is even more so. The names of pre-1948 Palestinian villages inside what is today Israel, were read and the event included a moment of silence. For non-Israeli readers I must clarify this resembles very much Holocaust Day. Following this, the horrified Israeli government might declare a new Holocaust Day to commemorate the defiling of its Independence Day by its own citizens. “The education minister is of the opinion that the decision is wrong and infuriating,” said the minster’ spokesman, while referring to the university’s decision to allow the event. Beginners and unprofessional as they are, the Israeli administrators forgot to cover in their censorship law spontaneous events that come out of people’s warm hearts and not out of cold government’s budgets. However, if expanding on this one may be denounced as anti-Semite by the censoring, undemocratic, Israeli government. Isn’t that so, Mr. Netanyahu?
Is Obama gay or not? We don’t know the answer, Newsweek says he is the ‘first Gay president‘ and brother Nathaniel seems to agree.
But does it matter? Obama didn’t have to be a Jew in order to subscribe to AIPAC pressure, he probably doesn’t have to to be Gay in order to fund his next election campaign by gays. What is more significant here is the transition of American lobby politics. American politics is now navigated by some tiny marginal lobbies that do not reflect the culture and the spirit of the entire nation.
For long time it was AIPAC, now it is GAY-PACK but who is next?
An Interview with Armen Chakerian and Susan Schuurman
Susan Schuurman and Armen Chakerian are two of the founders of the New Mexico-based Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, a group of activists who seek to raise public consciousness on Palestine by means of roadside billboard campaigns. The coalition was formed in fall of 2008, but it wasn’t until April of 2009, three months after Operation Cast Lead, that the group went public with its first advertisement—featuring a picture of a Palestinian girl with the words “Stop killing children. No more military aid to Israel.”
The ads appeared on 10 billboards throughout the city of Albuquerque. The message was designed to be “deliberately provocative” in hopes of generating some local media coverage. It worked. Maybe a little too well. On April 28, just three weeks into what had initially been a two-month contract period, Lamar Outdoor Advertising effectively censored the ad by taking every one of the signs down. “The advertising was removed due to numerous complaints questioning the facts,” said the company’s local manager.
Emails in support of the ads poured in, however, and Lamar, at least initially, announced it would allow the signs back up but with a somewhat watered-down message (same photo with the words “Stop giving weapons to Israel with our tax dollars!”). This offer, however, lasted a mere two weeks and came to an abrupt end when the corporate office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana ordered the Albuquerque office to cancel its contract with the Coalition. Lamar cited an intense telephone campaign directed at its home office in Louisiana by Israel supporters. Somewhat lamely, the Albuquerque office offered to erect a replacement sign consisting of the words “Tell Congress: Stop Giving Money to Israel”—without a photo—but this was rejected by the Coalition as “too severely compromised.” The Coalition had just fought its first battle with America’s Israeli Lobby, and seemingly the Lobby had come out on top.
Yet at the same time, what had taken place in Albuquerque helped to inspire similar efforts around the country, with ads on billboards as well as public buses and trains. In Seattle a group readied a bus ad campaign featuring the words “Israeli War Crimes. Your Tax Dollars at Work” alongside a picture of a Palestinian family standing next to their demolished house. Though timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the campaign was nixed by Seattle/King County officials. However, a separate transit ad campaign was successfully launched, in Chicago—with ads featuring the words “Be on our side” along with pictures of Israelis and Palestinians. Calling for an end to US military aid to Israel, the ads first appeared in late 2010 and have since spread to New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C., and other cities, with the message being expanded from small signs on buses and trains to large roadside billboards.
The year 2012 has seen the Coalition launching a new billboard campaign, not in Albuquerque this time, but in Denver. The ad features the American flag as a backdrop and the words, “Tell Congress: Spend our money at home, not on the Israeli military.”
The response to all this by Zionists has been varied. “The Jewish community of Seattle should respond with the full force and let the Hebrew hammer drop on these haters like never before,” wrote one Israel supporter in reaction to the King County bus ads. “This group has unwittingly provided an opportunity for the world to be taught the lesson that if you slander the people of the book, you may just get the book thrown at you.” The same writer also proposed a four-step plan of attack that included suing the bus company along with a campaign of civil disobedience by “courageous young Jews” who would locate the garages where the buses were kept and lay down in front of them so as to keep them from “circulating their hateful message.”
But sentiments like this seem to have opened Israel supporters to charges of attempting to stifle free speech, an accusation no doubt lent credence by the fact that the ACLU launched a civil suit against the Seattle bus system over cancellation of the ads—and now some Israel advocates seem to be taking a different tack, involving perhaps a tad bit less swinging of the hammer. In response to the new campaign in Denver, that city’s chapter of the pro-Israel group Stand With Us has countered by launching a billboard campaign of its own—and one member of Stand With Us, Dr. Shaul Gabbay, likens what have been referred to as the “dueling billboards” in his city to a spirited dinner conversation.
“Both perspectives are legitimate in terms of trying to influence the discourse here in the United States,” said Gabbay. “When you have just one voice, we make mistakes. When we have different and sometimes heated positions, then we can make better decisions.”
In fact, there seems to be an emerging consensus—at least if we go by a Denver Jewish newspaper’s recent coverage of issue. This new consensus presupposes that signs referring to war crimes or the killing of children constitute “incitement” (never mind that some 1400 Palestinians died in Operation Cast Lead, approximately 300 of whom were children), but that ads appealing strictly to the economic argument (US tax dollars are better spent at home, etc.) are permissible. Which in essence means that a call for ending aid to Israel will be regarded as tolerable as long as the ad is ambiguous on why the aid should be terminated.
The Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel took its name from the ten year/$30 billion aid package to Israel agreed to by the Bush administration in 2007. Susan Schuurman and Armen Chakerian were interviewed by Richard Edmondson. The two Albuquerque activists responded to questions submitted by email.
Q: The story in the Intermountain Jewish News says there are two organizations with the words “stop$30 billion” in their names, one based in Denver, the other in Albuquerque, but asserts there is no affiliation between the two groups-even though one supposedly funded the billboard campaign in the other’s city. Can you clear up the confusion on this? Is there one organization, or two, or many? Basically give us a rundown on “who’s who” in the stop-aid-to-Israel billboard movement, and where are billboard ads running currently-in what cities?
A: We were the first organization to coin that name. The Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, with a website called www.stop30billion.org. We are based in Albuquerque and are a grassroots group of volunteers. There have been two offshoots completely independent of our work, inspired by our work certainly, who borrowed elements of our name for their organization without frankly consulting us. The first one was based in Seattle, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) which used part of our name in their web domain (www.stop30billion-Seattle.org). Sometimes we get inquiries to our site that we can tell are in response to the Seattle group’s work. Recently we learned that a group in Colorado also borrowed words from our name, the Colorado Campaign to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, and has put up transit ads in Boulder and Denver. Their work was completely independent of ours and coincidental. To be honest, there are so many campaigns around the country calling for an end to military aid to Israel that is it challenging to keep up with them all. Our initiative to expand our campaign out of state was because a former member of our group moved up to the Denver area and found a billboard company willing to put up our message.
The only other multi-location billboard campaign is the Be On Our Side campaign, launched originally from Chicago but now maintained by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (http://www.twopeoplesonefuture.org/). They started in Chicago and spread to the Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Boston; Tempe, Ariz.; and Albuquerque.
Q: How long have you been doing this, how did you get started, and can you talk about some of the difficulties you’ve had getting your ads placed?
A: We started our billboard campaign in April 2009. The Coalition was an offshoot of the Middle East Peace and Justice Alliance. Many of us were frustrated with devoting much of our energy to hosting events and potlucks for visiting speakers. We felt that American aid to Israel made us as taxpayers complicit in war crimes and violations of international law. In the Fall of 2008, three of us (Armen Chakerian, Lori Rudolph and Susan Schuurman) decided to form a separate coalition of groups dedicated to working solely on this aspect of Middle East peace and justice work. We got a great response, especially after Operation Cast Lead; more than a dozen social justice groups joined the coalition.
We put up ten billboards that said “Stop Killing Children” (see www.stop30billion.org homepage). Three weeks into the two-month contract the billboards were taken down by the billboard company because they got a lot of phone calls complaining about the content. Then we toned down the message to “Spend Our Money at Home, Not on the Israeli Military” and were able to put up a full-sized billboard at two different locations for several months each. We did not have any problems putting up the “Be On Our Side” messaged billboards. However, when we attempted to put up the flag design out of state we did encounter some resistance, claiming it was too controversial. We were successful in putting the flag design up on I-40 in New Mexico for six months last year without any problems, and we were also successful recently putting up 20 billboards with the same design in Denver. We hope to have this design up in another out-of-state city in a month or two.
Q: I understand the billboard featuring the picture of the Palestinian child with the words “Stop killing children-No more military aid to Israel” got censored. And of course the bus ads in Seattle that highlighted Israeli war crimes also were prevented from running. Why do you think these ads prompted such angry, emotional responses from pro-Israel groups, and what does it say about the state of free speech in America when public officials, such as those in Seattle, cave into their pressure?
A: “Pro-Israel” groups like Stand With Us and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) respond to our message of human rights for all people with a knee-jerk, emotional reaction that is based in fear. They often mistakenly interpret our call for equality as a call for Israel’s destruction. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many politicians and media outlets are in turn afraid of the power wielded by the “pro-Israel” lobby. We put “pro-Israel” in quotation marks because we believe the lobby does not act in the best interests of the Israeli people. Our objective in these advertising campaigns is to change public opinion so that an open discussion can be held about whether carte blanche American support for Israel is in our country’s national interest.
Q: Tell us about your new ad campaign and how it differs from previous ones.
A: Our new ad campaign features an American flag. We wanted to emphasize that our message is indeed a patriotic one in that domestic needs are being short-changed by sending billions of dollars per year to support the Israeli war machine. This message seems to be resonating even more during this current economic down-turn. We also feel that more and more Americans want politicians to focus greater attention on infrastructure, education, and healthcare needs at home.
Q: There seems to be a feeling among Israel supporters that ads that refer to Israeli war crimes, or to the deaths of children in Gaza, constitute “incitement” or “hate speech”, while those focusing solely on the economic argument (America should spend its tax dollars at home, etc.) fall within acceptable boundaries. In the Intermountain Jewish News, an ADL official, speaking of the Seattle bus ads, is quoted as saying, “The ads that were on those buses were truly inciteful speech with regard to making allegations of Israel committing war crimes and other atrocities.” However, he says the new ads-presumably he means the ones in Denver-don’t appear to “cross the same lines.” Would you care to comment on that?
A: Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza, as documented in the UN Goldstone Report. After our billboards were taken down prematurely, however, we purposefully tried to find less provocative phrasing that would have a better chance of not being suppressed by opposition pressure.
Q: Your ads seem to have caused considerable consternation within the ranks of pro-Israel groups, but of course the real question is how much of an impact are they having with the public? Do you have any sense of public opinion about the ads and to what degree they may be influencing the way people think about the Middle East?
A: Combined with other communities’ campaigns, we feel that our messaging has created a safer space within which to criticize Israeli policy without being called “anti-Semitic.” In addition to being seen directly by tens of thousands of passers-by, the billboards led to media coverage both in Denver’s local Jewish community newspaper and on Denver channel 7.
Q: If people want to make donations to your coming ad campaign, how do they do so? Also anything else you’d care to add?
A: People can mail a check to Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, P.O. Box 10856, Albuquerque, NM 87184-0856, or they can donate using PayPal on our website www.stop30billion.org. We urge everyone who cares about human rights for Israelis as well as Palestinians to join us in our work. America’s unconditional support for Israel in spite of its grave human rights record isolates us in the world and mocks our calls for freedom and democracy. Donations are tax-deductible and encouraged. Join our growing movement to end American military aid to Israel now.