Friday, August 20, 2010

Explosive (not really): Israeli propaganda campaign in the US

"Declassified files from a Senate investigation into Israeli-funded covert public relations and lobbying activity in the United States were released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on July 23rd, 2010.  The subpoenaed documents reveal Israel's clandestine programs for "cultivation of editors," the "stimulation and placement of suitable articles in the major consumer magazines" as well as U.S. reporting about sensitive subjects such as the Dimona nuclear weapons facility.

Documents are now available for download from include:
Dimona (excerpt): "The nuclear reactor story inspired comment from many sources; editorial writers, columnists, science writers and cartoonists.  Most of the press seemed finally to accept the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs."
Content placement and promotion (excerpt): "The Atlantic Monthly in its October issue carried the outstanding Martha Gellhorn piece on the Arab refugees, which made quite an impact around the country.  We arranged for the distribution of 10,000 reprints to public opinion molders in all categories… Interested friends are making arrangements with the Atlantic for another reprint of the Gellhorn article to be sent to all 53,000 persons whose names appear in Who's Who in America…Our Committee is now planning articles for the women's magazines for the trade and business publications."
Pressure campaigns (excerpt): "It can be said that the press of the nation…has by and large shown sympathy and understanding of Israel's position.  There are, of course, exceptions, notably the Scripps-Howard chain where we still need to achieve a 'break-through,' the Pulliam chain (where some progress has been made) and some locally-owned papers."
Magazine Committee achievements (excerpt): "We cannot pinpoint all that has already been accomplished by this Committee except to say that it has been responsible for the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America's leading magazines...."
According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, "It is frightening how easily some in the American news media surrendered to a foreign public relations campaign that spent the 2010 equivalent of $36 million over two years. Time has proven most of the planted content to be misleading, if not dangerous.  These historical documents hold many important lessons for Americans who have long needed—but rarely received—straight reporting on key Middle East issues."