By Jeff Gates | February 7, 2010
During the 1960 Christmas season, Americans flocked to the theaters to see Exodus, a 3-1/2 hour epic film featuring handsome freedom fighters and a riveting romance amidst the heroic triumph of Jewish Destiny over Arab Evil Doers. Set against a Yuletide backdrop of Biblical prophecy, moviegoers marveled as exiled Jews returned to their fabled promised land, a staple of popular culture to which Americans are first exposed as children in “Sunday school.”
Many moviegoers failed to realize that Exodus was not fact but fiction. Even now, few Americans realize the storyline was adapted for the screen from a 1958 novel by Leon Uris. The biggest bestseller since Gone with the Wind-a novel set during the Civil War of the 1860s-the filmadaptation was directed by Hollywood icon Otto Preminger. The blockbuster’s stars included a young Paul Newman with his leading lady a blond Eva Marie Saint.
The cast included character actor Lee J. Cobb and Peter Lawford, married to Pat Kennedy, a sister of John F. Kennedy who was elected president the same year. By then, Lawford was a famous member of pop culture’s high profile “Rat Pack” that included singer Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop. Italian crooner Sal Mineo, then a teen heartthrob, received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a Jewish émigré.
An Oscar should have been awarded to Israel and its supporters for portraying this extremist enclave as a legitimate nation-state when, in reality, its founding traces to an alluring storyline. Forty-five years after the release of Exodus, American naiveté was again targeted by Jewish storytellers to induce the U.S. to war in the Middle East-only this time for real.
Then as now, Americans are easily swayed by sympathetic portrayals of an enclave granted nation-state recognition by President Harry Truman, a Christian-Zionist. The Missouri Democrat had famously read the Bible cover-to-cover five times by age 15. Truman was a True Believer in the same way that fundamentalist Christians believe-truly believe-that their Messiah will not return until the “Israelites” recover their ancestral home.
Preying on similar beliefs, Republican George W. Bush, another Christian-Zionist president, was induced with phony intelligence to wage war in Iraq. The false intelligence was traceable to Israelis, pro-Israelis or assets developed for that purpose. That invasion had long been a priority goal of those who believe-truly believe-in their right to an expansionist Greater Israel.
Yet as Shlomo Sand chronicles in The Invention of the Jewish People (2009), the historical evidence is scant either for an exile or an “exodus.” As with the movie, the return of a “Jewish People” to a Jewish homeland is “a conscious ideological composition” meant “to claim a higher cultural lineage” than what can be supported by the facts.
In lieu of the novel-writing skills of Leon Uris, the Zionist narrative featured Biblical archeologists such as William F. Albright who, in the 1920s, traveled to the Holy Land to excavate artifacts that would, as Sand puts it: “reaffirm the Old Testament and thereby the New.”
By interpreting his finds in Christian-Zionist terms, Albright and his colleagues not only unearthed Biblical “facts” that shaped the Sunday school curriculum, they also helped pre-stage the perceived legitimacy of a Jewish people returning from exile to a Jewish homeland. As Sand points out, if there was no exodus, how can there be a return? If there is no “Jewish People,” how can there be a homeland?
Yet these widely held beliefs remain the premise underlying Israel’s expansionist agenda and its rationale for heaping six decades of abuse on Palestinians who have lived there for centuries.
Political Expedience or Biblical Prophecy?
White House counsel Clark Clifford cautioned Truman that his reelection was unlikely absent the funding that Jewish-Americans-with Israel’s recognition-were eager to provide. In early May 1948, General George C. Marshall, Truman’s Secretary of State, argued vigorously against recognition. Strong objections were also heard from the diplomatic corps, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Marshall, the top-ranked U.S. military officer in WWII, was outraged that Clifford put domestic political expedience ahead of U.S. foreign policy interests. Marshall told Truman that he would vote against him if he extended sovereign status to an enclave of Zionist terrorists, religious fanatics and what Albert Einstein and Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt called “Jewish fascists.” Marshall insisted that State Department personnel never again speak to Clifford.
In March 1948, a Joint Chiefs paper titled “Force Requirements for Palestine” predicted the “Zionist strategy will seek to involve [the U.S.] in a continuously widening and deepening series of operations intended to secure maximum Jewish objectives.” Those objectives included an expansionist agenda for Greater Israel that envisioned the taking of Arab land, ensuring armed clashes in which the U.S. was destined to become embroiled.
The Joint Chiefs listed Zionist objectives as:
- Initial Jewish sovereignty over a portion of Palestine,
– Acceptance by the great powers of the right to unlimited immigration,
– The extension of Jewish sovereignty over all of Palestine,
– The expansion of “Eretz (Greater) Israel” into Transjordan and portions of Lebanon and Syria, and
– The establishment of Jewish military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.
Akin to the fictional portrayal in Exodus, those Zionists lobbying Truman assured him they would remain within the initial boundaries. We now know that was a lie. They also promised that the Zionist state would not become what it quickly became: a theocratic and racist enclave-albeit widely marketed by pro-Israeli media as the “only democracy in the Middle East.”
To remove all doubt as to the extremist goals of the Zionist project, the Joint Chiefs assessment added ominously:
“All stages of this program are equally sacred to the fanatical concepts of the Jewish leaders. The program is openly admitted by some leaders, and has been privately admitted to United States officials by responsible leaders of the presently dominant Jewish group–the Jewish Agency.”
Deceit from the Outset
A beguiling combination of Hollywood fiction, manipulated beliefs and outright lies remain at the core of this entangled alliance and the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship.” The deceit deployed to advance the hegemonic goals of the Zionist project remains obscured by an undisclosed media bias reinforced by a widespread pro-Israeli influence in popular culture. As with the 1960 film, the ongoing manipulation of thought and emotion lies at the core of this duplicity a half-century later.
In The Persuasion Explosion (1985), author Art Stevens reports that Exodus was a public relations ploy launched by Edward Gottlieb who sought a novelist to improve Israel’s image in the U.S. The name Uris originates with Yerushalmi, meaning “man of Jerusalem.” The film rights to Exodus were sold in advance of the book’s publication. Translated into dozens of languages, this masterpiece of mental and emotional manipulation quickly became a global phenomenon as its created favorable impressions of Israel.
The rewards are real for those who offer aid and comfort to this trans-generational deceit. When Truman’s campaign train traversed the nation as part of a 1948 whistle-stop tour, grateful Jewish nationalists refueled his campaign coffers with a reported $400,000 in cash ($3.6 million in 2010 dollars). Those funds helped transform his anticipated loss into a victory with support from pro-Israeli editorial boards that-after recognition-boosted Truman’s sagging popularity.
The Creation of Reliable Assets
Clark Clifford was rewarded with his career goal when he emerged as a top-paid Washington lawyer. After proving himself a pliable personality, he remained a reliable asset. During the G.H.W. Bush presidency, his combination of political prominence and perceived credibility provided cover for a massive bank fraud involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International aided by Roger Altman, his Ashkenazi law partner.
In 2009, Hollywood released an action thriller (The International) starring Clive Owen and a similar storyline involving the International Bank of Business and Credit. Neither Clifford nor Altman had experience in banking when their law firm enabled what prosecutors charged was a global criminal operation.
Media reports described the BCCI scheme as the largest bank fraud in history. This $20 billion transnational operation even featured the requisite Hollywood component: Clifford’s protégé was married to Lynda Carter, the star of Wonder Woman, a 1970s fantasy-adventure television series.
The real fantasy in this long-running geopolitical fraud lies in why U.S. lawmakers continue to befriend and defend a “nation” that has for so long-and so consistently-deceived and betrayed its most loyal ally. As a badly miscast Eva Marie Saint asked in her most memorable line in Exodus: “When will it ever end?”
The greatest wonder will be if, based on facts confirming the depth and duration of this duplicity, those lawmakers urging continued support for Israel are not charged with treason. [See: "How the Israel Lobby Took Control of U.S. Foreign Policy"]
To restore its national security, the U.S. must shake off its entangled alliance with this extremist enclave. “Shaking off” is the literal translation of “intifada.” Those who know the true facts behind this trans-generational deception are quickly reaching the conclusion that the recognition of this enclave as a legitimate state was key to this ongoing fraud. Others may be waiting for the movie, American Intifada.
Ann Clwyd’s false claims that Saddam used a people shredder was as dangerous a justification for war as Blair’s dodgy dossier
By Brendan O’Neill | guardian.co.uk | 4 February 2010
Why did Ann Clwyd get such an easy ride during her appearance at the Chilcot inquiry this week, from both m’luds and the media? Clwyd is at least as complicit as her former boss Tony Blair in the dissemination of tall tales designed to justify the attack on Iraq.
Clwyd is Labour MP for Cynon Valley and head of Indict, a group that campaigned for many years for the arrest and punishment of Saddam Hussein and his cronies under international law. On the eve of the Iraq War – 18 March 2003 to be precise – Clwyd wrote an article for the Times in which she claimed that Saddam had a people-shredding machine.
Apparently the Ba’athists would dump their opponents into a machine “designed for shredding plastic”, and later put their minced remains into “plastic bags” so they could eventually be used as “fish food”.
It gets worse: apparently these unfortunate men were put into the shredder feet first so that they could briefly behold their own mutilation before death.
Not surprisingly, Clwyd’s shocking claims spread around the world like a virus. The then prime minister of Australia, John Howard, talked of Saddam’s “human-shredding machine” in a speech justifying his decision to send troops to Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush administration’s hawkish deputy defence secretary, expressed his admiration for Clwyd’s article and a link to it was posted on the US state department’s website. Numerous pro-war journalists repeated Clwyd’s claims.
There was only one problem: there was no strong evidence, and there still isn’t, that Saddam had anything like a people-shredding machine.
It seems Clwyd based her story on the uncorroborated claims of one individual from northern Iraq. Neither Amnesty International nor Human Rights Watch, in their numerous investigations into human rights abuses in Iraq, had ever heard anyone talk of a human-shredding machine.
Worst of all for Clwyd, I interviewed one of the Iraqi doctors whose grisly job was to examine the bodies of executed prisoners at Abu Ghraib, where the shredder was allegedly based, and he said no prisoner was ever killed by being shredded. And for the record, he really hated the Ba’athist regime.
It’s worth remembering the role that Clwyd’s claims played back in mid-March 2003. There was widespread opposition to the war, as evidenced by the million-strong march in Hyde Park in February 2003.
People were already asking questions about the “dodgy dossier” and Blair’s claims about WMD. The story of the shredder seemed designed to jolt us all out of our stupidity and convince us to back the government’s war against evil. As the headline on Clwyd’s article in the Times put it: “See men shredded, then say you don’t back war.”
The shredder story was used in a last-ditch effort to change people’s minds. As Trevor Kavanagh at the Sun rather wishfully argued: “British resistance to war changed when we learned how sadist Saddam … fed dissidents feet first into industrial shredders.” If Blair’s dodgy dossier was cynically used to drum up support in the run-up to the invasion, then Clwyd’s shredder story was cynically used to batter the last bit of war-scepticism out of the British public.
And yet Clwyd has not been subjected to anything like the same level of media criticism as Blair has been. This points to a problem with the way we remember the Iraq war. In the mythical version of events that is being promoted by the media off the back of the Chilcot inquiry, Blair, and his evil sidekick Alastair Campbell, single-handedly duped the cabinet, parliament, the media and some of the public into supporting the war.
The truth is that it wasn’t only Blair who was spreading tall tales, and much of the media wasn’t nearly as critical as it should have been of the Bush/Blair drive to war. Clwyd’s appearance at the Chilcot inquiry was an opportunity to remind ourselves that Blair was not a superhuman warper of rational-mindedness and that the Iraq-related hysteria spread far beyond his coterie of advisers. Unfortunately, we’ve wasted this opportunity.
Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor | The Sunday Times | February 7, 2010
A LEADING British government scientist has warned the United Nations’ climate panel to tackle its blunders or lose all credibility.
Robert Watson, chief scientist at Defra, the environment ministry, who chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1997 to 2002, was speaking after more potential inaccuracies emerged in the IPCC’s 2007 benchmark report on global warming.
The most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. The claim has been quoted in speeches by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, and by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.
This weekend Professor Chris Field, the new lead author of the IPCC’s climate impacts team, told The Sunday Times that he could find nothing in the report to support the claim. The revelation follows the IPCC’s retraction of a claim that the Himalayan glaciers might all melt by 2035.
The African claims could be even more embarrassing for the IPCC because they appear not only in its report on climate change impacts but, unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report.
This report is the IPCC’s most politically sensitive publication, distilling its most important science into a form accessible to politicians and policy makers. Its lead authors include Pachauri himself.
In it he wrote: “By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised.” The same claims have since been cited in speeches to world leaders by Pachauri and Ban.
Speaking at the 2008 global climate talks in Poznan, Poland, Pachauri said: “In some countries of Africa, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by 50% by 2020.” In a speech last July, Ban said: “Yields from rain-fed agriculture could fall by half in some African countries over the next 10 years.”
Speaking this weekend, Field said: “I was not an author on the Synthesis Report but on reading it I cannot find support for the statement about African crop yield declines.”
Watson said such claims should be based on hard evidence. “Any such projection should be based on peer-reviewed literature from computer modelling of how agricultural yields would respond to climate change. I can see no such data supporting the IPCC report,” he said.
The claims in the Synthesis Report go back to the IPCC’s report on the global impacts of climate change. It warns that all Africa faces a long-term threat from farmland turning to desert and then says of north Africa, “additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-20 period, and reductions in crop growth period (Agoumi, 2003)”.
“Agoumi” refers to a 2003 policy paper written for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian think tank. The paper was not peer-reviewed.
Its author was Professor Ali Agoumi, a Moroccan climate expert who looked at the potential impacts of climate change on Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. His report refers to the risk of “deficient yields from rain-based agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000–20 period”.
These claims refer to other reports prepared by civil servants in each of the three countries as submissions to the UN. These do not appear to have been peer-reviewed either.
The IPCC is also facing criticism over its reports on how sea level rise might affect Holland. Dutch ministers have demanded that it correct a claim that more than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level when, in reality, it is about a quarter.
The errors seem likely to bring about change at the IPCC. Field said: “The IPCC needs to investigate a more sophisticated approach for dealing with emerging errors.”