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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

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21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

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11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

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19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

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28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

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Comments in 2012 and 2011



ZOA protects its status with some weird friends

Steven Bannon delivers an address at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual awards dinner in New York on November 12, 2017. Photo by Shachar Peled

Zionist Organization of America Embraces ‘Alt-right’ Stars – Even Those Too Fringe for Trump

From ex-Trump aides to conspiracy theorists, figures like the man behind ‘Pizzagate’ and Jewish provocateur Laura Loomer have found a home at the Zionist Organization of America

By Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz premium
November 14, 2017

Stephen Bannon was at the red-hot centre of power a year ago when the announcement that he would attend the Zionist Organization of America’s 2016 gala banquet sparked intense controversy among American Jews.

Bannon sat at the right hand of Donald Trump, who with Bannon as campaign chief, had been elected president of the United States and had just been named Trump’s future top aide and head strategist, after he was widely credited with shaping the populist message that won Trump the election.

In the end, Bannon never showed up. Presumably, he was put off by the 500 young leftist protesters outside geared up to angrily chant at the former head of Breitbart News, for what they and many other American Jews saw as Breitbart’s encouragement of racism, antisemitism, white nationalism and hate-mongering against immigrant communities. And so he stayed away, even though the organization’s head, Morton Klein, and top patron, Sheldon Adelson, were ready to serve as Bannon’s character witnesses against charges that, as the head of Breitbart News, Bannon had been a godfather of the burgeoning antisemitic alt-right, and Adelson had been a key Trump supporter.

Yet Bannon, despite his powerful position, was still a fringe figure a year ago, and it was shocking to many that a Zionist organization would welcome him with open arms. The ZOA was “flooded” with calls protesting Bannon’s presence at its event. The pressure proved to be so strong that Klein even made a point of telling the Jewish media that the Trump aide hadn’t been officially invited, but requested to attend the dinner on his own initiative.

At the 2017  ZOA gala on Sunday night, the stars were realigned. Bannon is no longer at Trump’s side. After only seven months in the White House, he resigned last August and returned to Breitbart. He announced he was done with his short stint as part of the political power structure. Now, he said, he would be “at war” with it, publicly using the kind of angry, charged language he couldn’t use in the West Wing, and nuclear-charging his website to aggressively go after those who challenged Trump or politicians that he and, by extension, Breitbart, supports. The website’s latest move was to dispatch Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein as part of a team to discredit the women accusing Breitbart-backed Alabama candidate Judge Roy Moore of making sexual advances on them as teenage minors.

And yet, after he proved to be too hot for the White House to handle, Bannon was no longer just officially invited, but “proudly” welcomed by Morton Klein and cheered by the crowd, many of whom stood up as they applauded, as he took the podium as a featured speaker in the hotel ballroom.

Spicer surfaces

Bannon was just one of a group of Trump White House refugees who had a checkered relationship with the Jewish community. Also on hand was Sean Spicer, who famously mangled Holocaust history by saying that Hitler never gassed his own people like Bashar Assad did (Spicer later apologized for it) and Sebastian Gorka, who left after being tied to antisemitic political groups in Hungary (but remains unapologetic). Judging by social media, the Trump team was in high demand for selfies by their fans in the crowd.

Far-right of American Jewry gives ‘muscular support’ to Israel and untempered hostility to Muslims

The gala demonstrated once again that for the far-right edge of American Jewry, muscular support for Israel and enmity towards Islam trumps misgivings about xenophobia, anti-immigrant hostility and even ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi sympathizers.

Bannon certainly supplied that support, declaring, “I am proud to stand with the State of Israel, that’s why I’m proud to be a Christian Zionist, that’s why I’m proud to be a partner of one of the greatest nations on earth and the foundation of the Judeo-Christian West!” to great cheers.

Before he was president: Donald Trump, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, on July 20, 2016 at the RNC. Photo by Andy Abboud/

It was no surprise that his speech highlighted what he saw as Trump and Israel’s common enemies: radical Islamic terrorists abroad and the “radical left that is trying to nullify the 2016 election.”

Sheldon Adelson, active role as a ‘Trump whisperer’

Less expected was the precise nature of his praise for Adelson, lauding him not as a donor and supplier of “resources” but as a Trump whisperer – a friend, almost a therapist. Victory in 2016, Bannon said, “would not have come without one other person besides Donald Trump – Sheldon Adelson. It’s not about resources. It’s about counsel, guidance and wisdom.” When what Bannon called “Billy Bush weekend” arrived (his euphemism for Trump being caught on an Access Hollywood tape bragging about grabbing women’s genitals), he said,

“Most of the establishment Republicans [did] what they do when things get tough. They cut and they run. Sheldon Adelson didn’t cut and run. Sheldon Adelson had Donald Trump’s back. Sheldon Adelson offered guidance and counsel and wisdom of how to get through it. He was there for Donald Trump about how to comport oneself and how to dig down deep. And it was his guidance and his wisdom that helped get us through.”

The crowd’s approval of Bannon’s red-meat rhetoric on support for Israel, the fight against Palestinian Authority funding for terrorists with the “blood of innocent Jewish civilians on their hands,” and the Iran deal – which he said needed to be “torn up” – seemed to negate any discomfort they might have with his other messages. The crowd seemed forgiving, if not enthusiastic, over his bashing of the “Republican establishment,” “permanent globalist class” and the “opposition party” media – references seen by many as anti-Semitic dog-whistles which encourage the racist elements of the Trump base. (Over the weekend, Bannon reportedly called Paul Singer, a Jewish mega-donor, a “scumbag.”)

The Daily Beast website headlined their report on the event as the ex-Trump aides’ “return to glory” and that they “got to be rock stars again.”

Weirdos and provocateurs

Jack Posobiec, a prominent alt-right activist and promoter of right-wing conspiracy theories with alt-right radio personality Joe Biggs (right) in the atrium of Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Photo by Eric Cortellessa/ Times of Israel

But it wasn’t just dubious former White House figures enjoying the ZOA’s embrace. Less-famous figures on the alt-right were also on hand, notably Laura Loomer, a far-right figure who recently made headlines when she was banned from ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft after posting a day-long tweetstorm blaming Islam for the recent terror attack in New York City. She tweeted extensively from the gala, showing off selfies with Bannon, Spicer, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and tweeted defiantly that the media “is desperate to portray these people as Nazis, but they are all here tonight to celebrate Israel and Zionism.”

Another guest at the ZOA gala: Jack Posobiec, a Trump supporter and right-wing provocateur with a quarter of a million Twitter followers, known for promulgating the bizarre Pizzagate and Seth Rich conspiracy theories.

Most recently, Posobiec attacked media accounts of a Polish Independence Day march in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal as “fake news,” disputing accounts that up to 60,000 protesters from across Europe disrupted Poland’s celebration with a torch-lit flag-waving march in Warsaw.

He also tweeted a photograph and the place of employment of the Judge Roy Moore accuser and told his Twitter followers that they should target her, later deleting the tweet after being attacked for “doxxing”* a victim of alleged sexual abuse.

As in 2016, the left-wing group IfNotNow took to the streets at the entrance to the ZOA event, protesting Bannon’s appearance.

In countering the action on Twitter, ZOA policy adviser Arthur Schwartz took one out of the conspiratorial playbook of his alt-right guests, discrediting the demonstrators by charging that they were protesting for profit.

*dox (short for documents, or docs,  to publish private,personal information (of another person) without the consent of that individual.

Many protested against the presence of Bannon at the ZOA gala dinner

Bannon Addresses ZOA, Urges Jews to Join   ‘Insurgency’ Against anti-Trump Republicans

Addressing the Zionist Organization of America, Bannon explains: ‘We’re a nation at war, Trump needs our back’

Shachar Peled, Haaretz
November 13, 2017

President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist on Sunday called on American Jews to join his war on the Republican establishment.

Steve Bannon appealed to the Zionist Organization of America to “work as partners” in his crusade against GOP leaders he blames for blocking Trump’s agenda. Bannon delivered the fiery address at the organization’s annual awards dinner in New York at what ZOA President Morton Klein dubbed “the Academy Awards of the Jewish World” with several current and former Trump staffers in attendance.

Bannon seized the opportunity to punch back at the GOP. “We’re leading an insurgency movement against the Republican establishment,” Bannon charged, blaming his adversaries in the establishment for playing games.

He blamed the Republicans for “playing games” and lowering the bar, which resulted in what he considers a bad nuclear deal with Iran. “That’s how you get the Iran deal,” he continued. “That’s how we still allow the American government to finance people that have blood on their hands of innocent Jewish civilians.”

Bannon’s participation in the event has raised criticism from many Jewish leaders, some seeing the political figure as tacitly encouraging alt-right and neo-Nazi supporters. The outlet he heads, Breitbart News, is popular among some white supremacists, anti-Semites and others who identify with the so-called alt-right movement.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs of human rights group T’ruah told Haaretz that Bannon had “brought white supremacy to the White house, and promoting that agenda even though he is no longer there, which is dangerous to Israel and Jews.”

The Zionist Organization of America has largely embraced Bannon. In attendance at the group’s gala of over 1,000 participants was former press secretary Sean Spicer and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka. Other controversial figures were present in the audience including pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec and alt-light provocateur Laura Loomer.

Retired Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman was presented with an award, as was serving American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. “We came into office on the heels of perhaps the greatest betrayal of Israel by a sitting president in American history,” Friedman said to applause from the crowd.

Outside the event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, some 200 activists of the left-wing American Jewish group IfNotNow held a loud protest. “ZOA has decided to abandon the Jewish people in favor of Steve Bannon,” protestor Eliana Fishman said.

“We’re not going to let the Jewish community be the launching platform for Steven Bannon’s second career,” protestor Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff added. “In a post Charlottesville world, it shows that Jews forming alliances with the alt-right is not good for us and is horrible to our moral core of standing up for all targeted people, including Palestinians.”

ZOA President Morton Klein insisted that such accusations serve as “a horrific character assassination of a good man,” citing Bannon’s inability to control his more extreme supporters. “Reagan had Nazis supporting him, so what?” Klein said.

Bannon was expected in last year’s ZOA gala, and some had attributed the then-large demonstration to his no-show. But this time, Klein told reporters, Bannon himself requested an invitation with a wish to introduce business magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson was expected but did not attend the gala.

Bannon nonetheless praised the billionaire in his speech, for his “guidance, counsel and wisdom” that helped the Trump team “get through.”

Bannon, who left the White House in August, is now trying to raise money to defeat several sitting Republican senators he says are blocking Trump’s agenda in Washington.

“President Trump needs our back,” he declared. “We’re a nation at war. This war is only going to be won if we bind together and work as partners.”

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, in his own speech, called for centrism and warned of extremism, particularly pointing to the far-left. “I think today the hard left is far more dangerous to Israel’s existence and to the safety of the Jewish community,” Dershowitz told Haaretz. “The right has no influence today on college campuses, which are the future leaders of America.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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