The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Pro-Israel support for Syrian protests exposed on RT’s Crosstalk

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With Barada TV, the anti-Assad satellite channel referred to by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, all roads lead to Israel.

According to an April 18 Washington Post report, the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) has funneled up to $6 million to Syrian opposition groups such as Barada TV since 2006. MEPI is supervised by Tamara Wittes, a longtime pro-Israel advocate of democratic reform in the Middle East and author of Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), where she coordinates democracy and human rights policy for the NEA Bureau, is a former director of the Saban Center’s Middle East Democracy and Development (MEDD) Project. As to the nature of MEDD’s concern for the Middle East, a New Yorker profile of Haim Saban is revealing:

His greatest concern, [Saban] says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula. His ‘three ways to be influential in American politics,’ he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”

Asked to comment on the Post’s allegations, Wittes responded:

“There are a lot of organizations in Syria and other countries that are seeking changes from their government. That’s an agenda that we believe in and we’re going to support.”

According to the Post, the money was funneled through an LA-based non-profit, the Democracy Council. Jim Prince, the founder and president of the Democracy Council, is also an advisor to, which was launched in 2008 by the Jerusalem-based Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies “to research and focus attention on the online activities of democracy advocates and dissidents in the Middle East, in the hope of empowering them at home and raising awareness of their plight abroad.”

Dissidents who put their faith in such improbable champions of their freedom would do well to remember the words of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino mogul whose $4.5 million grant set up the institute in 2007. Referring to a conversation he had with Iranian dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar at a neoconservative 2007 Prague conference on “Democracy and Security,” the Likudnik casino magnate reportedly said, “I like Fakhravar because he says that, if we attack, the Iranian people will be ecstatic.” But when another Iranian pro-democracy activist disputed that assumption, Adelson candidly responded:

“I really don’t care what happens to Iran. I am for Israel.”


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

May 14, 2011 at 3:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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