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author biography
Richard Silverstein runs Tikun Olam, (Kabbalistic term meaning “repair [or mend] the world”) a popular peace blog dedicated to a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. A progressive Zionist, Silverstein has been a proponent of Israeli-Arab peace since 1968, supporting a two state solution to the conflict.
He also maintains Israel Palestine Blogs, an aggregator of 50 peace blogs written by Israelis, Palestinians, American Jews, Arab Americans and Lebanese and the progressive discussion forum, Israel Palestine Forum.
He earned an MA in Hebrew Literature at UCLA and has served as a communal fundraiser at Jewish federations in New York and California, and Brandeis University.
His work is published by the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog, American Conservative Magazine and he has been featured in The NY Times, Jewish Forward, Jewish Week and Seattle Post Intelligencer.

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Is Republican Jewish Coalition `Obsessed?`
Filed under Israeli politics, Islam, Opinion Editorials, Media objectivity, Jewish organisations worldwide, Islamophobia, USA foreign policy, Islamic fundamentalism, Lobby Groups, USA news, Neo-Cons – on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 – By: Silverstein, Richard

I think we may be zeroing in on the secret funder behind the distribution of 28 million copies of the virulently anti-Muslim “documentary,” Obsession. The evidence is circumstantial. I haven’t been able to ask the source for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.
But consider the following:
1. The Republican Jewish Coalition admits it funded at least 750 push poll calls to Jewish voters in swing states testing out which lies and smears would be most effective against Barack Obama. I’ve already reported the types of “questions” asked. But The Forward yesterday came up with a few new, and even more infamous ones. One caller asked how the voter would feel about Obama if he knew Mahmoud Ahmadinejad endorsed him; or if Obama’s advisors were “pro-Palestinian.”
Republican Jewish Coalition Anti-Obama Smear Ads
2. The RJC is flooding Jewish media like Haaretz and The Forward with sleazy ads equating Obama with Pat Buchanan and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (see accompanying image).
3. Haim Dov Beliak of Jews on First reports he has received a copy of Obsession mailed to him as part of a rabbinic mailing list by…you guessed it–the RJC.
Considering the other dirty tricks the RJC has ADMITTED to being involved with lately it seems only a small step from that to circulating 28 million copies of Obsession. But even if the RJC admits to its participation, it’s not really the RJC that’s funding it since the group receives its funding from a rather narrow group of arch right-wing Jewish donors like Sheldon Adelson.
What becomes interesting about this is I’ve never heard of a non-profit like the Clarion Fund, which funded the film and the DVD distribution, accepting funds as part of a partisan political operation. Clarion may be hiding its sugar daddy because if it IS the RJC, then Raphael Shore’s claim that the DVD distribution has no political overtone will be blown out of the water. Not to mention that Clarion’s 501 c3 status may be in deep jeopardy.
I wrote to the attorney who secured the Clarion Fund’s non-profit status asking why they hadn’t filed the IRS mandated 990 form which reports the names of the organization’s top leaders and funders. Instead of replying himself, he passed my message on to Gregory Ross, the film’s publicist. I received this e mail from Ross:
I am the Director of Communications for Clarion Fund and I received an email stating that you would like information about our organization. If you are from the press then please call me at 310-804-xxxx…thanks.

Gregory Ross
This evening I took up Ross’ invitation and called him. When he answered, I reminded him of his e mail and asked if I could talk to him about the film. He asked whether I was a “private individual” or “from the press.” I told him I was a blogger. He replied: “Oh, so you’re from the press.” To which I said: “I guess.”
He then said he wouldn’t answer any questions but would have to take my name and call me back. I said: “We’re on the phone right now. Can’t I just ask you five minutes worth of questions and be done with it?” He demurred. I asked why he couldn’t talk to me now. He rather lamely and unconvincingly said: “I can’t tell you how backed up I am by deadlines.” I said: “You’ll have to forgive the impression you’re giving that you’ll have to first Google my name and find out whether I’m friendly before you call me back.”
I added that since he invited me to call him with questions and was now refusing to answer questions it was awfully unprofessional behavior on his part. He answered: “That’s the way it’s going to be. Either you give me your name and I call you back or if not I hang up on you right now.”
At that point I told him the rules weren’t satisfactory and hung up. It reminds me a bit of Sarah Palin responding to Charlie Gibson’s question as to whether she’ll be cooperating with the Troopergate investigation with a bold: “Yes, bring it on.” Only to be followed a few days later with the announcement that her entire staff and husband were refusing to respond to a subpoena to testify.
You may want to call Ross (e-mail me and I’ll give you his number) and ask him why he won’t answer questions about Obsession. If you do, ask him whether the RJC or its individual donors funded the film and its distribution.
Republican Dirty Tricks: New ‘Comment is Free’ Piece
(Sep 22nd, 2008)  Comment is Free has published a piece of mine which summarizes the posts I’ve been writing about the Obsession-push poll stories over the past week or so: GOP Dirty Tricks in the Swing States.
The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News. | Digg | Newsvine | NowPublic | reddit | Tailrank | Technorati |

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Excercie in futility, The Rep Jewish Coalition,
  zaynab – London-United Kingdom – 9/23/2008- 8:33:07 PM GMT

They’re threatned by Hussein’s popularity,,
zaynab – London-United Kingdom – 9/23/2008- 8:35:26 PM GMT

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