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Pressure Groups

Dirty Tricks on Campus
How Pro-Israel Groups Use Deceit to Prevent Honest Debate

Brian Hennessey
If Americans Knew
March 22, 2007

sheet of questions distributed by Rob Fishman
Questions given to students by Rob Fishman, the executive director of George Washington University's Hillel. (Click picture to enlarge.)

I attended the appearance of President Carter at George Washington University two weeks ago.

The "question-and-answer" period was a sham, hijacked by zealots who had no intention of debating but also with an agenda to prevent others from debating and questioning. They were hell-bent on embarrassing the President and GW University in the process while preventing any kind of open dialogue with students who had real questions.

Over half of the eight "student questions" the President was asked were, in fact, not from students (the only eligible questioners) but from Rob Fishman (who is exec dir of GW's Hillel), who had given these 'students' a cheat sheet of questions (see attached) that they then read VERBATIM into the microphone, as if they were their own. A remarkably dishonest act at any seat of learning.

These questions weren't even Fishman's. They were written by hypercritc Deborah Lipstadt and have been widely circulating on the web among groups who call President Carter an anti-Semite and even a Nazi.

One of the questioners and a member of Fishman's group was David Ceasar who asked a question as a journalist with the Hatchet even though he'd been briefed by Fishman to ask his question. That can be seen at minute 41:35 of the video (see below).

GW's media management and event organizers (including microphone managers) were meeting with Fishman's group, too, though I can't prove that they were in on the organizing and the exclusion of other students from asking questions. They definitely all knew each other and the microphone managers saw the students all had the same type-written script for the questions.

Of the eight questioners, at least seven were from this organized group that met before Carter's arrival. They were instructed to "rush and overflow" the line in front of the microphones to prevent legitimate questions from ordinary and particularly Arab students. You'll've noticed that not one Arab (despite many in the audience) got to ask a question.

An American president and a university audience were exposed to a vitriolic propaganda campaign and not true questions nor debate from honest students. A disservice to President Carter, the university and the cause of peace.

You can watch the appearance here:

You can read along with video, if you fast forward to these segments, and you'll see that they directly correspond with the paper Fishman handed out to the students beforehand:

Minute 39:30 – Paraphrase of beginning of Q#2 and then direct quote: “in the last 18 months, the Palestinians have had complete autonomy in the Gaza strip, and still terrorist acts coming from that area have escalated dramatically.”Aviva Berman

Minute 44:50 – Q#3: “President Carter, you stated on your interview with Larry King on CNN in November that Israel never accepted the Clinton peace plant that was drafted at Camp David. If you stand by that comment how can you explain that the Israeli cabinet, led by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, accepted the Camp David proposal on December 27 2000, and that President Clinton and Ambassador Dennis Ross both concur.” “Can you please defend your statement in light of these facts?”Jonathan MillerMinute 46:45 – Q#4 “Currently the Carter Center has no human rights activities in Saudi Arabia, where women don’t even have the right to drive and non-Muslim cannot worship publicly. Some critics have suggested your lack of condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s is influence by the large contributions the Carter Center receives from the Saudi Royal family. How com you openly criticize” . . . “Israel for what you call it human rights violations but fail to criticize Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian government, and surrounding Middle Eastern nations for their human rights violations.”Eric Gallagher

Minute 53:50 – Q#1: “You indicated that your book was written to stimulate debate, yet you have refused to debate people who disagree with your book including Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz. If you are willing to stand by your statement that you are an honest broker for peace, would you be willing to come back for a formal debate?”David Chaise

(Chaise's word-by-word reading of a question written for him that asks for honest debate probably takes the prize for hypocrisy and deceit).

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Additional Resources

Book – Against Our Better Judgment

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Book – They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby

Book – Stealth Pacs: Lobbying Congress for Control of U.S. Middle East Policy

Book – The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement With Israel, 1947 to the Present

Book – The Lobby: Jewish political power and American foreign policy

Book – Fifty Years of Israel

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