By Franklin Lamb – Beirut
"The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth." — Charles Freeman 3/10/09 announcing his withdrawal.
"I care for the concept of justice. This is an attack and an aggression against me based on things that I never said. People are being misled and I want to clear my name." — Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi 3/10/09.
“To ban five-times elected British MP from addressing public events or keeping appointments with television and radio programs is a serious matter. Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney’s "spokesman" told the Sun, "Galloway’s not coming in … end of story." Alas for him, it’s not. Canada remains a free country governed by laws”. — British MP George Galloway 3/21/09
When Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat slated to become the top U.S. intelligence analyst, withdrew from consideration on March 9, 2009 he released a statement denouncing the Israel Lobby for "character assassination."
"I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth".
Today the Israel Lobby rejoices and AIPAC has sent the Obama administration a clear message: ‘No White House Middle East appointments without vetting them with us or you will be hammered’.
Three Bridge Builders Too Many for Israel
The Israel lobby has been targeting Charles Freeman, George Galloway and Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi for character assassination for several years with the Mousawi and Freeman campaigns substantially orchestrated by the Atlantic Monthly’s Aipac legman Jeffrey Goldberg. With their Freeman victory earlier this month, the Lobby intensified it slander and libel against Mousawi decided to go after Galloway.
Freeman the diplomat, Mousawi the scholar and journalist, and Galloway the Stateman, have a fair bit in common. All are quintessentially moderate, interested in the Question of Palestine and each has a long history of thoughtful bridge building and believe in dialogue and the fair and open exchanges of ideas and views. All are highly intelligent, informed, articulate, effective and unafraid to criticize Israel’s brutal occupation of Arab lands. The latter quality delivers to the three a common curse from Zionist circles and the trio was targeted for vilification, defamation and removal from the growing public debate on Palestine/Israel.
What’s the common denominator?
Those who know them agree that Mousawi, Freeman, and Galloway, all popular speakers are, dialogue proponents who care deeply about human rights for all people.
MP George Gallaway
A Few days after Freeman was forced to withdraw his nomination, and Mousawi’s Visa to the UK was summarily revoked, the Government of Canada on March 20, 2009 barred British MP George Galloway from entering Canada to speak.
On what grounds did the Canadian government ban Galloway, from speaking where he has spoken several times before?
A government spokesman told the UK Guardian that it was “in accordance with section 34(1) of the Canadian Immigration Act”.
But was it? If so it would mean that Galloway, by speaking at a Canadian University, would be violating one or more of the following:
(a) Engaging in an act of espionage or an act of subversion against a democratic government, institution or process as they are understood in Canada;
(b) Engaging in or instigating the subversion by force of any government;
(c) Engaging in terrorism;
(d) Being a danger to the security of Canada;
(e) Engaging in acts of violence that would or might endanger the lives or safety of persons in Canada; or
(f) Being a member of an organization that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in acts referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c)."
Since few, even in Ottawa, thought any of these provisions apply to MP Galloway, a truth dig revealed that the Jewish Defense League of Canada waged a major campaign against allowing Galloway to speak. Now made public is a letter to the country’s government urging it to do "everything possible to keep this hater away". The success of the letter may have may have been the motivating factor is Meir Weinstein, National Director Jewish Defense League of Canada threatening on March 21, 2009 that all Canadians who listen to Galloway will be monitored.
7 Years of Witch Hunting against Mousawi
Mousawi’s case warrants a bit more consideration because in many ways he represents the Quick Revolution unfolding among the new generation in the Middle East.
The latest scurrilous Zionist campaign focused on yet another invitation for Ibrahim Mousawi to speak in England where he earned his PhD last year. Targeting him yet again with an anti-free speech campaign is remarkable, not so much because it is another attack by Zionist supporters of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian land, but because the new attacks drudged up the previously exposed and well refuted lies about what Dr. Mousawi stands for and what his public pronouncements have actually been as recorded in sound and video.
Back in 2002 AIPAC member and advisor Jeffrey Goldberg slipped into Beirut and ‘interviewed’ Mousawi among others. Cloaking his extreme Zionism and Islamophobia, Goldberg oiled his way around Beirut as a ‘journalist’ and wrote a substantially false and defamatory article for the New Yorker issue of October 14, 2002, implying that Mousawi was anti-Semitic. He later authored the defamation that Mousawi had confided to him that “Jews are a lesion on the forehead of history.”
The statement was never made by Mousawi and Goldberg has never offered any proof that it was such as a recording of their interview. As Obama nominee Charles Freeman pointed on 3/10/09 as he threw in the towel, the truth does not matter to the defamers. It’s the destructive process that they relish at the expense of truth.
Goldberg, was caught red handed in his lies, and was unable to back up his defamation as the record was set straight and Mousawi vindicated. But the New Yorker never did bring itself apologize or retract Goldberg’s allegations. Meanwhile, Goldberg continues his sinecure with the backing of Abe Foxman, Daniel Pipes, and the Zionist Organization of America, and his Alma Mater, AIPAC.
Goldberg’s phony ‘research’ was bandied about this month in England in a yet another attempt to bar Mousawi from speaking. The School of Oriental and African Studies at Russell Square WC 1 in London had invited him to speak at a seminar on Political Islam. Senior British civil servants and police officials were believed to be paying up to $2,600 to attend the event. They want to hear Mousawi’s analyses. The rub is that the Israel lobby has ruled that Mousawi’s views are unacceptable for the delicate ears of the British and Europeans.
Despite the intense campaign Mousawi did not follow Freeman’s decision and did not cancel his visa application nor is he without free speech supporters in his corner. The American University of Beirut’s Chair of Political Science, Professor Hilal Khashan, has written to the UK government to say that Mousawi should be allowed into the country. "I have known Mr. Mousawi as a pacifist and a humane individual. This man has an unfailing moral character that was polished by his deep faith," the letter said. "I have always held in great esteem the transparent institutions of the UK. I have every confidence that the finest democratic system will not succumb to witch-hunting."
Mousawi vs. the Israel Lobby
Answering the Lobby charges of anti-Semitism, Mousawi categorically denies the accusation that he has even thought of promoting "anti-Semitic" views. "I would challenge anyone to provide evidence of any word that I have ever said that is hateful or anti-Semitic," he says, adding that he himself has been a victim of discrimination and has therefore made a special effort to eschew any form of prejudice.
Dr. Mousawi’s Zionist opponents, including Goldberg, have been comparing Mousawi to the cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi who was granted a visa to visit the UK in 2005. Al-Qaradawi was publicly praised by the then London Mayor Ken Livingstone at City Hall. The Cleric had been criticized for allegedly condoning suicide bombings under certain circumstances and for likely harboring anti-Semitic views, although he himself is a Semite.
The Zionist Assault: Knightsbride Suite
Campaigners from a right-wing ‘think tank’ in Britain have threatened the British government that they would seek an arrest warrant for Mousawi and cause a diplomat incident if he was allowed into the country.
The “Center for Social Cohesion” funded partly by the Israel Embassy in England has written to the British Home Secretary, Jaqui Smith, promising to begin “the necessary legal proceedings” ( read unleash the Israel lobby in England”) to arrest Mousawi if he is granted a visa to speak.
"We remain deeply concerned that the United Kingdom government finds it acceptable that an individual who incites hatred against the Jewish people and of Israelis should be permitted to enter," the letter said. Douglas Murray, claimed, without documentation or specification, that the organization had "prima facie" evidence that Moussawi was in breach of genocide conventions and would be eligible for arrest in Britain under international law. What the ‘prima fascia evidence’ is will likely not come to light absent Defamation litigation no doubt being contemplated by friends of Dr. Mousawi.
Supporters of allowing Dr. Mousawi to speak and engage in dialogue in Britain and elsewhere note that he regularly points out that Islam is premised on an acceptance of both Judaism and Christianity, and insists accusations that he referred to Jews as "a lesion on the forehead of history" are false.
Some recent Mousawi items from Media accounts:
"I’m only involved in academia and media," Mousawi avers, adding that the only "crime" he has ever committed is to openly express his political views, which he insists remain within the boundaries of legitimate intellectual discourse.
"We should allow for open debate," Mousawi told the Daily Star. Last year "After all, I come and I only say words. If my words are worth hearing, people should give me the opportunity to speak. If my words are rubbish, it’s worth the opportunity to refute what I say, and to undermine my logic if what I say is not logical."
"I’m a staunch defender of political freedoms and freedom of speech," he adds.
"I have nothing against Jews. I have nothing against any human being, whether because of religion, gender or political affiliation," he explains. "I’m a human being who believes in dignity, independence and freedom. I’m a bridge-builder and I’ve always been an advocate of dialogue and discussion."
In February 2005, just one week after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Mousawi invited five Rabbis to a conference in Beirut and hosted them as guests on his political talk show.
"I believe governments and politicians have failed to address the problems of the people," he explains. "I believe there is another role that we have to play at the grassroots level, as NGOs and as members of civil society. There is a lot of diplomacy that could go on at this level. We don’t have to wait for officials to take the lead; we have seen what they have brought: nothing but disasters. So I want to highlight the need to interact at this level."
During a recent public discussion in Birmingham, Dr. Mousawi was verbally attacked in a manner that his audience found to be very offensive by an ardent supporter of Israel. Instead of ignoring his critic, Mousawi was willing to yield his own time and invited his attacker to the podium to use the microphone.
Mousawi rejects the notion that there is a ‘clash of civilization’. "I believe that all over the world, people want the same things. We all want to be with our families; we all want to come back to our kids at the end of the day and bring bread to their tables and give them a good education, to live in harmony and peace."
Addressing the World against War Conference in England last Fall, Mousawi stated: "I would say that we are in the midst of a war of terminology, it is a war of definitions that we should pay attention to."
The British Government, after issuing Dr. Mousawi a Visa two weeks ago revoked it the next day. It remains to be seen if the UK will continue to follow the Obama administration and scuttle fundamental principles of freedom of speech in the face of the Israel lobby’s scurrilous campaign against those who seek a justice solution to the Question of Palestine.
– Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.