Update: The Almanartv application was removed from Apple’s iTunes over the weekend. However, it is still available for other platforms, such as Android.
In the latest example of terrorist organizations exploiting current technology to spread their violent messages, an application was made available on Wednesday through Apple’s iTunes service providing mobile access to content from Hezbollah’s satellite television station, al-Manar.
Al-Manar's iTunes App
The new free application, advertised on air by al Manar, directs users to various station content, including speeches by Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Al-Manar broadcasts the terrorist group’s messages of hate and violence, disseminates anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda and glorifies suicide bombings to millions of viewers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hezbollah is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and al-Manar was included on the State Department’s Terrorism Exclusion List in December 2004.
Al-Manar has a presence on other internet platforms as well, including a Twitter account with over 17,000 followers and 51,000 messages. Other terrorist organizations use the microblogging service, including Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization in Somalia which formally merged with Al Qaeda earlier this year. There are also numerous terrorist support pages on Facebook and other social media platforms.
On August 10-11, 2012, an anti-immigrant conference will take place in Wilmington, North Carolina titled, “IIImpact – illegal immigration and the cost to YOU!” The list of conference speakers was announced on July 23 and brings together many of the main anti-immigrant voices in the state as well as some speakers known for their anti-Muslim statements and associations.
The conference is the latest example of an increase in activity by the anti-immigrant players in North Carolina. In 2011, the NC House created the House Select Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy. The Committee has had numerous hearings throughout 2012 and has provided a platform for anti-immigrant and immigrant rights activists to voice their opinions. On June 13, 2012, for example, anti-immigrant leaders including William Gheen, James Johnson and Ron Woodard met with Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-District 98) to discuss immigration issues. It is unclear at this time what the attendance of the conference will be but anti-immigrant groups in North Carolina have been encouraging people to go to the event for a number of weeks.
Scheduled speakers at the August event include:
William Gheen – Founder/head of the anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC). Gheen has a long history of hateful rhetoric towards immigrants. ADL has a lengthy profile on Gheen which can be read here.
James Johnson – Founder/head of the anti-immigrant group North Carolinians for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (NCIFRE). On his Facebook page, Johnson has circulated material from the racist Web site, VDARE.com and the white supremacist group, American Renaissance. Johnson has also attended FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in the past.
Ron Woodard – president of the anti-immigrant group, NC Listen. NC Listen is listed on the Web site of the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) as a local affiliate for North Carolina. NC Listen’s mission statement says that it “partners” with FAIR. Woodard has also attended FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in the past.
Sheriff Sam Page (R-Rockingham) will also be speaking. Page spoke to Congressional Leaders at an event put together by FAIR in May 2012. In October 2011, Page participated in a panel titled, “Crime Challenges from Illegal Immigration” which was sponsored and moderated by the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
Ilario Pantano – A former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and 2012, Pantano has promoted anti-Muslim sentiment. Pantano spoke at both the 2010 and 2011 9/11 rallies in New York City put on by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller. He has also written the following about the Islamic center close to ground zero: “It is about marking religious, ideological and territorial conquest.” He continued by stating, “This mosque is a martyr-marker honoring the terrorists who less than a decade ago killed thousands of us just two blocks away, and it must be stopped.”
Sue Myrick – retiring NC Congresswoman (R-District 9) who also has a history of anti-Muslim sentiment – she has spoken at the national conference of ACT! for America, one of the largest anti-Muslim groups in the country. She also wrote a forward for the book, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.
Opponents of Israel have been engaged in efforts to wage economic warfare against the Jewish State via Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns for several years now. The latest such initiative, which failed this week, was a campaign to pressure Sonoma County in Northern California to stop working with Veolia, a French transportation company that is allegedly guilty of “servicing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”
A resolution to consider not renewing the county’s contract with Veolia, which provides transit services worth $7 million, was considered on Tuesday by the county’s Human Rights Commission.The commission voted 5-4 against the resolution. It will “hear the issue further” at its August meeting, according to news reports.
In the seven years since the formal launch of an international campaign to boycott Israel, no American college campus in the United States has divested from Israel or companies that work with Israel. No church. No retirement fund. Israeli merchandise, including beauty products, hummus, and couscous, continues to be readily available on store shelves around the country.
Despite the obvious lack of mainstream appeal, many domestic anti-Israel groups – including the “North Coast Coalition for Palestine,” which was responsible for the recent campaign in Sonoma County – seem to be unwilling to recognize defeat. Even a petition circulated by the group, which was posted to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s Web site, garnered less than 300 signatures.
While these campaigns are used by anti-Israel activists as a delegitimization tactic, they have never had much chance of success. In this case, even if the Human Rights Commission would have voted in favor, it has no power to enact policy and would only have been able to present a recommendation to the county’s Board of Supervisors. Many divestment resolutions that are considered on college campuses are similarly non-binding.
The conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic publication, American Free Press (AFP) interviewed Glenn Spencer, who heads the anti-Hispanic hate group, American Border Patrol(ABP), in an article published on July 16, 2012. ABP regularly does video surveillance of the Mexican-American border.
The article, “Obama Executive Order Means Open Door Amnesty,” was written by regular AFP contributor and conspiracy theorist Victor Thorn. It focuses on Spencer’s views about President Obama’s executive order allowing many young undocumented immigrants to legally remain in the United States. In the article, Spencer promotes anti-Hispanic conspiracy theories about Mexicans taking over the Southwest and accuses President Obama of trying to create a one-world government under the banner of “globalism.”
Spencer has been warning of a plan by Mexicans to “invade” and “conquer” the Southwestern U.S. for more than a decade. He has claimed that the Mexican government is “sponsoring the invasion of the United States with hostile intent.” Spencer has also attended white supremacist events and had a letter published on the racist website, VDARE.com.
Thorn, who interviews Spencer for AFP, is also very problematic. In addition to writing conspiratorial articles for AFP, he has published books promoting anti-government and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. His latest book, The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking the 20th Century’s Biggest Lie, clearly promotes Holocaust denial. AFP itself focuses on anti-Semitic themes, from anti-Israel conspiracy theories to Holocaust denial. AFP is published by long-time anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Willis Carto.
US Immigration Reform PAC, a political action committee whose purpose is to “reduce immigration” and “secure our nation's borders,” has seen a sharp increase in contributions for the 2012 election cycle. The PAC’s president is Mary Lou Tanton, the spouse of John Tanton, the architect of the modern day anti-immigrant movement in the United States.
According to the website Open Secrets, which tracks federal campaign contributions, US Immigration Reform PAC’s total receipts for 2012 to date are over $14,500 with almost four months to go before Election Day. While this figure is relatively low, it is up almost ten-fold from the last election cycle, where the PAC only received a little over $1500 in total receipts. In the 2012 cycle, US Immigration Reform PAC has donated $2500 to congressional candidates, so far.
Open Secrets also lists individual donors who have given $200 or more to the PAC. Among the donors for 2012 is Sharon Barnes, a longtime board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an extreme anti-immigration group that was founded by John Tanton in 1979. Barnes, who has donated $300 to date, formerly sat on the editorial advisory board of Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal, The Social Contract. Another contributor of over $200 is John Rohe, who, along with his wife, donated a combined $500 to the PAC for the 2012 election cycle. Rohe is a good friend of John and Mary Lou Tanton, even penning the couple’s biography, which was published in 2002. Rohe is also the Vice President of Philanthropy at the Colcom Foundation, an organization that donates millions of dollars to anti-immigrant groups each year.
It is no surprise that US Immigration Reform PAC’s contributions are up since immigration is a hot-button issue in the 2012 election cycle. The four congressional candidates that the PAC has donated to thus far in 2012 are Lou Barletta (R-PA), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve King (R-IA) and Allen West (R-FL).
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, ADL does not endorse or oppose any candidates for political office.
Several misleading billboards featuring maps of Palestine/Israel from 1946-2010 sponsored by a local anti-Israel group are currently on display in Metro-North train stations in Westchester.
The billboard at a Metro-North train station
The billboards attempt to showcase that all of Israel was owned by Palestinians pre-1948 when, in reality, much of the land was owned by non-Palestinian absentee landlords who lived in Cairo, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut. They also try to convey that Israel is rapidly taking control of land that would comprise an eventual Palestinian state.
ADL issued a statement on the billboards, describing them as "deliberately misleading and biased."
The group that placed the ad, the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine (COPIP), and its chairman, Henry Clifford, have a record of advocating against Israel. The group, for example, recently endorsed the Jewish Voice for Peace-led divestment campaign targeting TIAA-CREF for investing in companies that allegedly help Israel maintain the occupation. In the past, Clifford has inflammatorily alleged that Israeli leaders have “always planned to take over all or most Palestine and to expel as many Arabs as would be necessary.”
What is perhaps most troubling is the group’s attempt to explain Palestinian terrorism as a result of Israeli policy or U.S. aid to Israel. A post on COPIP’s blog from May 2011 includes a flier that reads, “Mothers do not raise their children to be terrorists. Only when all hope is lost for a decent, secure life is a terrorist created.” It later asks, “Could it be that billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Israel is actually helping to create terrorists?”
Update: The Presbyterian Church voted against divestment late Thursday evening, July 5. While ADL welcomed the decision, we are troubled that the issue was decided on such a narrow vote (333-331 with 2 abstentions) and that the debate was biased from start to finish with vehement anti-Israel sentiment.
Jewish Voice for Peace has been a highly visible and vocal advocate in the General Assembly in favor of the Presbyterian Church’s consideration of a virulently anti-Israel divestment resolution. The resolution, which calls for the church to divest from three companies that allegedly profit from Israel’s occupation (Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard), will be voted on later today by the full plenary after it was passed in committee earlier this week.
There is much to criticize about the problematic nature of the resolution itself, but one of the more disturbing elements of this campaign has been Jewish Voice for Peace’s aggressive lobbying for it.
The group invested significant time and resources to send a delegation of activists to the General Assembly who reportedly testified on the committee floor in favor of divestment and are live-tweeting the conference. A large portion of Twitter chatter about the resolution has been generated by JVP using the hashtag “#churchdivest” to provide updates on the resolution. Of tweets using that hashtag in the last 36 hours, approximately 25% have been generated by JVP and two of its staff people.
JVP activists have also created and distributed a flier called “Divest from Violence. Invest in Peace” which contains several statements from Christians who support divestment, and is circulating a petition that calls on Presbyterians to support divestment. The petition claims that the international community has failed in its efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is clear that BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is now the only option left. The petition ends with, “Can you tell Presbyterians we’ve got their back?”
It is clear that JVP believes it has a very critical role to play in the domestic anti-Israel agenda: JVP promotes itself as representing the views of American Jews and can be seen as trying to provide cover against claims that the Presbyterian divestment initiatives are anti-Semitic. Nobody should be fooled. JVP is a fringe organization with its own anti-Israel agenda.