The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Buyer Beware: Veterans Today and its Anti-Israel Agenda

By Evelyn Schlatter on January 6, 2011 - 4:46 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Extremist Propaganda

Veterans Today (VT) is a website that bills itself as a “military veterans and foreign affairs journal.” And, indeed, many of its contributors are military veterans or veterans’ advocates from across the political spectrum. VT also offers some information about veterans’ benefits (lifted from the Veterans’ Administration) and links to home and other loans for vets.

But start reading the posts, and you’ll find something else entirely: myriad claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel), that the Holocaust never happened or was greatly exaggerated (Jews made it up to manipulate non-Jews), and, most recently, that Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, is a pawn (of Israel).

Notice a theme?

Gordon Duff, the senior editor and chairman of the board at VT, is a prolific proponent of these anti-Israel conspiracy theories, including the Wikileaks claims. Though he does occasionally write on issues and policies that directly affect American veterans (he claims to be a Marine Vietnam veteran), most of his ammo is reserved for churning out articles that claim 9/11 was a U.S./Israel conspiracy and that Israel controls the U.S. government. According to Duff and VT contributors like author and attorney Jeff Gates, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a civil rights watchdog group, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group, are Zionist-controlled fronts for Israeli intelligence operations.

In December, Duff claimed that “insiders at the ADL” admitted that Israel was behind Wikileaks, perhaps a slam at an ADL piece a few days earlier. In that article, the ADL pointed out that many of the conspiracy theories about Israel and Wikileaks “are being promulgated by … anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist” Gordon Duff. Marilyn Mayo, a director at the ADL Center on Extremism, told Hatewatch that Duff did not speak to anyone at the ADL and, like other conspiracy theorists, he “makes information up and presents it as the truth.” Indeed, Duff claimed that the ADL website was “loading up with warnings and attacks” defending Wikileaks and Assange. But the ADL’s website claims nothing of the sort and Duff provides no evidence that the “ADL source” he says he is quoting actually exists.

Duff’s anti-Israel articles get a lot of play, and are often quoted or linked to on other conspiracy sites as well as on white nationalist sites like Stormfront and White News Now. Indeed, the anti-Israel bent on VT can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism. J.B. Campbell, a self-proclaimed founder of the militia movement, wrote this past November on VT: “Since Jews control every important aspect of our lives through banking, finance, law, war, food & drugs and entertainment, we are literally floating on a reservoir of truth blocked by a dam of lies… . The Jews have poisoned our minds for a long time, certainly for all the time that we’ve been alive.” Campbell also claims that Jews control the Federal Reserve and the US Army.

VT has its supporters — check the comments (some virulently anti-Semitic) on any of its articles — but also detractors. A contributor at Burn Pit, a discussion list maintained by American Legion members, refuses to comment or answer questions about articles at VT. In early 2010, the blogger said that, according to VT, “9-11, just like everything else that has happened in the past 50 years to the detriment of the US and the world, is nothing short of the fauilt [sic] of an international cabal of Jews, which is my second reason for never replying to VT nonsense.”

American military veterans looking for information about veterans’ issues and a more balanced take on foreign affairs — as opposed to what looks like an endless stream of Israel-bashing mixed in with some bona fide anti-Semitism — would be better-served looking elsewhere.

  • Ted Gorsline

    I like Gordon Duff. He is a Jew but seems a loyal America rather than being a typical Israeli boot licker.

    He is always ahead of the curve when it comes to explaining what is going on in the middle east. I wish they would assign someone else to write about flying saucers etc as that kind fo stuff is the turd in his punch bowl.

  • Moishe Pippick

    I have to admit I’m a little surprised that the splc would allow hate speech in the comments section of their website, but I guess if there’s one thing you guys stand for it’s tolerance. Of course this website is probably one of the single best resources for debunking the claims of racists, Jew-haters, and others so the site itself is an antidote to the madness expressed in some of these comments.

    The one that really gets me, made me almost laugh out loud, is where someone asks for proof of a Jewish conspiracy on 9/11 and “Jeff Blankford” responds with:

    “The March 15, 2002 edition of the NY Jewish Weekly Forward gave their names and identified them as Mossad agents who were working for a moving company that was also a Mossad front… The mainstream press, shall we say the Zionist dominated media, ignored the story”

    Okay, never mind the fact there there is no paper called “the NY Jewish Weekly Forward”. Obviously he’s referring to the Forwards, but can’t be bothered to get the name correct in his statement which indicts an entire religious group in genocide. What kills me (not literally, however much Jeff and his ilk wish it were so) is that in the very next sentence he blames ‘the Zionist dominated media’ for not reporting the story, A STORY WHICH JEFF JUST STATED WAS REPORTED IN A JEWISH NEWSPAPER!

    You really must will yourself to be ignorant to believe any of this stuff.

  • joop

    hi, its great to see a site that targets hate. i would like to help. can i also point out the hate sites that go under false names such as david horowtiz so called ‘freedom center’ and other organisations run by the likes of Caroline Glick and Pamela Geller? all those who spout hate against, christians, muslims, jews, and hindus must be wiped out.
    thank you again for raising this.

  • student of 911

    SPLC claims to stand against hate, but what has SPLC done/said regarding the widespread blaming(/hating) of purported “Muslim hijackers” for damages at “”Ground Zero”” which could not possibly have been caused by airliners (not even 100 of ‘them’!)?

    Meanwhile, while the rogue renegade U.S. government (and media and academia) permit sheeple to go on blaming(/hating) “those towel-heads” for 9/11, we have the VT crowd to help incite blame(/hate) against “Zionists” (whatever that means to you…) including/especially “those yamulka-heads”). (Note that VTers leap to the conclusion that if/since Israelis knew of 9/11 in advance, that 9/11 was Israel’s doing, while VTers typically ignore evidence of other nations — including the USA itself! — having had prior knowledge… That trait is not compatible with the behavior of unbiased truth-seekers…!)

    Either way, attention/blame(/hate) is diverted from the enemies within — within Our government, within Our media, within Our academia. And focusing attention(/blame/hate) on shadowy enemies halfway around the world is the absolutely best way of diverting attention(/blame) from the internal enemies — the most dangerous enemy of all!

    VT blames “Zionists”, SPLC blames VTers. And so it goes…

    Meanwhile, who is asking the question, “Is it honest to go on blaming purported hijackers for damages at Ground Zero which could not possibly have been caused by airliners?”

    Not VT! Not SPLC either!!

    But getting people to take sides in false arguments is the most effective way of keeping them from ever seeing through such fallacies.

    911 University attempts to help people to understand WHAT 9/11 was (and was not). VT prefers to tell people whom to blame(/hate) for 9/11 (whatever it was). VT (including the likes of Dr.s Fetzer and Barrett), same as the rest of the disinformative “911truth movement” [sic], never ever links to ANY of the most incisive hijacker-exculpatory 9/11 evidence (see, for example, ) and also ignores the best evidence of prior knowledge of 9/11, whatever it was, at the highest level of the U.S. govt — — just as does the SPLC and the mainstream media, all of whom are more interested in telling people “who dunnit” (and hence whom to blame/hate/attack) than what “it” actually was… :(

    FURTHER, 911 University recognizes that the same high-tech energy paradigm, of which “”Ground Zero”” was evidently a working example, has the potential of solving virtually all of Our civilization’s energy, economic, AND ecological problems — see !!!

    Informing/empowering We The People like that is a concept that eludes VTers, SPLCers, and all other facets of the corrupt/disinfo establishment.

  • Dick

    VT just tells it how it is Israelis are evil and are going down the same route as the National socialist party..If the Jewish nation/state continues to hide behind the past atrocities while perpetrating the same..well people are going to find out..Israel is an illegal state based upon the plan of destabilising the middle east in order to steal resources..that’s it religion is just the front this is just about money…when you invade a country and kill their children they will resist and kill your children.The Israeli prime minister is imbalanced and risks dragging the west into a nuclear war.Oh that’s right I oppose Israel therefore I must be a racist…I believe that how your reasoning works..

  • Joel

    Klara has posted old, worn-out talking points that even AIPAC no longer uses. They are clearly based on Joan Peters’ fraud, “From Time Immemorial,” which even the preeminent anti-Muslim bigot, Daniel Pipes, had to admit was the result of terrible scholarship.

    I doubt that Klara has ever bothered to read Mark Twain’s remarkable “Innocents Abroad.” I recommend that she do so in its entirety, rather than relying on the few sentences that Peters lifted out of context. Were she do to so, she would get a rather different picture of the Palestine through which Twain travelled.

    Klara does make one comment that almost borders on the truth. Many Palestinians are directly descended from Jews who never left Palestine, but who converted to Christianity and Islam over the years…either by choice or at the point of a sword.

    On the other hand, her claim that Palestinians are Arabs who “wandered into Israel” after Jewish refugees began to arrive after WWII is just silly and counter-factual. I suggest she read Jabotinsky’s “The Iron Wall: We and the Arabs,” which he wrote in 1923, long before the rise of fascism in Europe.

    Or perhaps she should learn about Israel Zangwill, a leading American Zionist who, in the early part of the last century, returned from a trip to Palestine. He lectured that Zionists had to deal with the uncomfortable fact that the land was filled with people, almost none of whom were Jewish.

    On a more serious note, I think that the SPLC would do well to understand that Israel is the last colonial project in the world. Its conduct towards the indigenous Arab population is both illegal and immoral.

    That being said, one needs to avoid the anti-Semitism that is the foundation for all the Israel/Jewish conspiracy theories. They all echo “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which is an even more dangerous fraud than Peters’.

    Finally, let us remember that there is a difference between Israel and Jews. Despite claims to the contrary, Israel does not act in the name of world Jewry. They only say that they do.

  • Klara

    For those who want to now the truth,
    The original “palestinians”were and are the jews. The so called “palestinians” are the arabs, who wandered into Israel
    when the jews came after WW2 and the Holocaust, mostly
    the pitiful survivors of Hitlers deathcamps and started to work the land, that was mostly barren. Read Mark Twain’s travels,
    The Innocents Abroad”.
    The arabs attacked the little Israel many times, after the
    six day war, Nasser of Egypt told the arabs to call themselves
    “palestinians” to make their claim to the israeli land more legitimate.

  • Paul Tenenbaum

    The killer of 26 human beings had a brain defect. It takes a crazy individual to kill children.
    You, Gordon Duff, besides having studied under Josef Goebbels, have a deranged brain. You come up with stories that do not hold water.
    What have the Jewish people ever done to you?
    You claim to be a veteran? Maybe so.Then you are entitled to have the VA take a scan of your brain and we WILL know the truth.
    At this point you do not know what TRUTH is.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    To answer Peter, the only people arrested on 9/11 were five Israelis who were across the river in New Jersey filming the WTC as it burned and, according to a woman who called the police, were celebrating and jumping around. The March 15, 2002 edition of the NY Jewish Weekly Forward gave their names and identified them as Mossad agents who were working for a moving company that was also a Mossad front.

    The mainstream press, shall we say the Zionist dominated media, ignored the story as did the joke of a commission appointed by Bush and headed by Philip Zelikow who acknowledged publicly before the invasion of Iraq that it would be a war for Israel but that the public wouldn’t support a war on that basis.

    The “Dancing Israelis” as they came to be known on the net,were kept in jail for 2 1/2 months and thanks to some influence in Washington, were freed without there being any record of their interrogation or why a Mossad moving company was working in New Jersey, so very, very close to Manhattan and the WTC. When they were interviewed back in Israel and asked what they were doing filming the burning towers, one of the Mossadniks replied. “We wanted to document it.”

    Quite apart from saying “Who did it,” over 1500 professional structural engineers and high rise architects have put their reputations on the line by declaring that Bldg 7 and the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition requiring prepositioned explosives (hey, does anyone have a moving van?) and not by the jet fuel from the two planes that the buildings and are demanding an independent investigation. That might demand calling back the Israeli Mossad agents and their boss who was able to skip back to Israel before he could be arrested.

    That being said, from my experience with Gordon Duff, direct, but mostly indirect, I consider him to be a disinformation agent for one or more intelligence services and what he writes and what he says in interviews have roughly the same rate of accuracy as a broken clock which is right twice a day.

    That’s not too dissimilar from what you find on this site and in the general work of the SPLC which is part of the ADL’s propaganda network and, I suspect, it’s national spying operation which I helped to expose and successfully sue back in 1992. Duff admited on the Kevin Barrett program to having been a US military contractor in Afghanistan, a strange occupation for someone running a site like his, is it not?

    Duff’s response to catching him in one lie after another, including the charge that Julian Assange and Bradley Manning had a gay relationship (they’ve never met), and that Rupert Murdoch is not an Israeli or Orthodox Jew, was to call me an “Israeli spokesman.” Seriously.

    Which takes me back to the original article which attacks Veterans Day for carrying articles with “myriad claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel)”

    Well, that 9/11 theory has more legs than the one peddled by George W Bush and grabbed like a spear to defend the realm by Noam Chomsky and if Washington is not a puppet of Israel when it comes to dealing with the I-P conflict,how does one explain (1) why in 2011, three days after dressing down Obama like an errant schoolboy, a joint session of the US Congress gave Netanyahu 29 standing ovations, (2) 3/4 of the members of Congress attended this year’s AIPAC convention in DC, up from the usual 50%; (3) why the US stands virtually alone among the nations of the world in defending Israel in the UN, no matter how heinous its actions; (4) that since the death of Robert Byrd, every “pro-Israel,” AIPAC-drafted resolution has passed the Senate by a 100-0 vote and the House by something like 406-6; and (5) that the current attacks on former Sen, Chuck Hagel because he’s admits to being loyal only to the US and not to Israel and four years ago described the Jewish Lobby by what it is and what is called in Israel, “the Jewish Lobby,” will result in the spineless Obama appointing an Israeli bootlicker to be “Defense” Secretary instead of Hagel.? The fact of the matter is that Washington is Israel’s most important occupied territory.

  • Peter

    I would like VT or any of the anti semites on here to provide just one verifiable fact that the jews or Israel committed 9/11.

  • BmB

    Seems to me this article is in fact jewish propaganda.

    Good job affirming everything claims.

  • Sara

    VT is more trustworthy than the mainstream media. It publishes articles from both side of the spectrum, I can choose which is right and which is wrong. So no amount of badmouthing VT is going to stop me from reading it’s articles.The mainstream media is owned by coporates that gave agendad they.want to push on the mass population.VT does NOT. So I trust VT with providing me with facts and analysis then I can makeup my own mind on what’s more logical and factual.

  • Rick

    Here’s a tipoff. If you want to find a Hate Group. Check out the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are among the greatest hate mongers and dis-info artists on the internet

  • Rich

    Why is it any time someone criticizes Israel they are automatically anti-Semite? I never see any real facts as to why they are incorrect, only the labeling with a broad stroke of a paint brush? Sometimes the truth is just the truth and not anti-Semite just because it hurts.

  • pr manchester

    Thanks you for printing this, VT is a nest of lies and hate, but we need to tackle it much more than we do and that also includes similar titles


  • Sky Raider

    As a veteran of more than 30 years service, I find the vast majority of what I read on VT to be pure poppycock; bigoted, racist, antisemitic, conspiratorial … bordering on mental.

    These are the kind of folks who keep large amounts of ammo and stash of weapons buried in the backwoods. No doubt many of them are just a short hop, skip and jump away from those folks who blow up things and kill people because of their radical political bent.

    I really am ashamed to bear the same moniker … veteran … with those who really despise their Country. They will claim otherwise, but no one who truly loves America and what it stands for would publish such hatred. No one.

  • Johnny Punish

    VT is an American Veterans Journal NOT an Israeli Veteran Journal.

    I think you are confusing critic of a foreign country and its policies with being anti-USA or even worse, anti-Semite! Non-cents!

    Which begs the question “Who is the writer or this SPL web site beholden to?”.

    Signed, A Loyal American and Semite

  • Nick


    Definition of SEMITE

    a : a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs b : a descendant of these peoples
    : a member of a modern people speaking a Semitic language
    See Semite defined for English-language learners »
    See Semite defined for kids »
    Origin of SEMITE
    French sémite, from Sem Shem, from Late Latin, from Greek S?m, from Hebrew Sh?m
    First Known Use: 1848

  • Cember

    Peter: The term antisemitism was invented by a German named Wilhelm Marr in the 1870s. Marr was the founder of the Antisemiten-Liga, or League of Antisemites. He had written a book in which he used the word Semitismus interchangeably with the word Judentum, or Jewishness. The term was used to give a sort of pseudoscientific patina to what until then had simply been called Judenhass, or Jew hatred. There are Semitic languages, but as an anthropological term, there is no such thing as a Semite.

    As to Zionism, it is the ideology of Jewish national self-determination, and the ‘in-gathering of the exiles to Zion, or Israel. As such, it is very much analagous to Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement.

  • peter

    folks ,

    i have a couple of questions….

    being anti semitic today means what?
    because most jewish people are not semitic people
    at all…they are east europeans in majority right?
    so why jewish people are called semitic? get your definiton straight…

    and what about being anti zionist? this also is another question….what is a zionist to start with?
    a political party….ideology party?
    what are they advocating? , what is their agenda?
    do they exist at all? who are they?

    i would appreciate a feedback…
    i think many people are confused , myself included…

  • Damon F.

    Veteran’s Today has come to the conclusion Israeli intelligence was behind 9/11. Israel is clearly committing heinous crimes against the Palestinians, can that even be debated? Of course when you reach those conclusions you will be anti-Israeli! How about debating specific points before branding them anti-Semite.

  • Rich

    Veterans Today is owned by John Allen. John Allen has written that his mother is from Palestine. That makes it easier to understand why the anti-Israel style.

  • Lawrence A Dickerson

    I have been a adversy towards Veterans Today and many of it’s contributers to the point that Mr. Duff has seen fit to ban me permanently.One of the most distasteful aspects of any media source is to allow only that which furthers their own agenda and rhetoric.Occassionally they do allow a point to be made that is outlandish in nature.

    For the longest Mr.Duff sported his being a 100% PTSD Marine veteran of the Viet Nam War until I reminded him that this is a mental illness and how could so many countries and organizations dote on his every word when it is based on possible insanity at times.He since has removed that personal aspect on his resume.

    I have also spoken about the anti-semitic leanings and favor in white supremacy circles.Of course those comments were deleted before the ban.That this web site is mostly a subtrafuge for all that is decent is evident;however,there are many fine contributors as well.

  • Maria

    Clearly, Veterans Today is not just “anti israel, anti-zionists” but openly anti-JUDAISM.

  • Shelley

    Veterans Today is not a far right site. It reproduces articles from thinkprogress, a far left org with links to the White House. It is anti-war and anti-American, not to mention anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-semitic. It may attract some far right authors and commentators, but it’s staff and board members are not far right. It claims that is a partner, hardly a far right outfit.

    I tracked Veterans Today to a media company called Peapolz then to a company called Medbillz in California, where the trail ends.

  • JM

    this is the only article on this blog that I could find that addresses anti-Israel propagandists.

    A point of note to the anti-israel people on this thread. You are missing some fundamental points:

    Regardless of Israel’s origins, it is there now and to “do anything about it” is ethnic cleansing. That addresses removal of them, as well as what the Palestinians are quite open about wanting to do to them, which is extermination. Hamas states that their goal is to kill all Jews, and though Fatah isn’t as open about it in their mainstream PR, take a look at the TV they show to Palestinian citizens. Also consider that if it is wrong for Israeli forces to attack Palestinian and Lebanese and any other civilians, it is doubly wrong for the Palestinians to do it because a) it destroys any moral high ground they might have, b) their main target is Israeli civilians, and c) if you’re telling me Israel should quit its “aggression,” you’re basically telling me in veiled terms that they should all get killed.

    I offer no denial of Israel’s expansionism, but if Israel is successful in these aims, the Palestinians will be pushed out again. Again, if the palestinians are successful, all of the Israelis will be dead, and there will be another Muslim-only dictatorship in its place; you may have noticed that Fatah and Hamas don’t exactly tolerate political competition well, that it is illegal to be non-muslim in the West Bank and Gaza, that women don’t have the same rights as men there, that it is a capital offense to be homosexual there too. Where is your outrage about that?

    Hezbollah aims are the same as those of the Palestinian factions and leadership. If their aims were military, their targets would be military. If their aim was the liberation of the Palestinians, Hezbollah wouldn’t have started hailing Israel with indescribably rockets like it did.

    Anyone who denies the existential threat Israel exists under is either ignorant or is trying to legitimize Israel’s right to defend itself and by extension, exist. anyone who call’s the security measures put in place in the West Bank and Gaza “collective punishment,” is failing to address the reason why those things are there: they are there to keep out the suicide bombers, to keep them out of daycares, restaurants, hospitals, kibbutzim, buses, homes, everywhere really. What, are you going to try and tell me the second Intifada was a myth? Maybe you’ll try and tell me it’s “understandable,” i.e. that killing of some civilians is now acceptable, not worth the same weight as when Israel kills a Palestinian.

    Look, you can tell when any information source is trying to lie to you when they simplify an issue like this and give only one side. Think about that the next time you listen to coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Heck, think about it the next time you listen to any news on any topic. Think about what I’ve written above, sloppy as it may be in execution. If you can’t acknowledge what I’m talking about, if you refuse to give it the weight it deserves, if you refuse to make the call on which kind of ethnic cleansing is worse, displacement or extermination, then how can you judge the relative severity of any other offense? Maybe you should just give everyone the death penalty, from parking violators to those that deserve it.

    Oh and I bet some of you guys are anti-death penalty too, so long as its within your own boarders.

    SPLC: post more articles on the anti-Israel crowd and please see their agenda for what it is. enough of this anti-Right Wing racist bias. Take on every hate group, every racist platform or lose any moral high ground
    you may have once had.

  • jgt2598

    I’ve got a better idea. Instead of being either anti-islamic or anti-semetic why not try being neither. I don’t doubt that our country is biased towards Isreal, but pulling out serious Neo-Nazi sayings like “zionist media” (which harkens back to the days of Adolph) is not any better. Instead, try reading news from both sides and find some middle ground. If you do, you’ll find that no side in any conflict is totally good or totally evil and sometimes there isn’t even a ‘better’ side (which would usually be the less oppressive one, and there might not be a less oppressive one).

  • chris

    I read VT everyday and love their articles. It is a forum that is not controlled by the main stream media, therefore, it is a different perspective than the Zionist, State run media in our “free” press. Gordon Duff just tells the truth which is a refreshing thought in this Pro-Israel, Anti-Palestinian country. If I wanted to get my hate-on toward Muslims, I could just turn on any TV or radio. The sooner we realize that our country is being run and misrun by Israel the better off we will be.Peace to all

  • Rayne

    @Ruslan: I would suggest clarifying that Israel is partly a creation of a privilege-drunk imperialism which wanted Jews put out – by force or by persuasion – of predominately-Christian Europe….anywhere else in the world but Europe. In that case, at great bodily and mortal cost to their own “more-native” peoples, I think Europe mostly, pyrrhically succeeded.

    Also, if you want to state that NO nation-state has the right to exist, does that mean that their residency in a land is also potentially forfeit? That may be the case given historical migratory precedent, but it is a prospect that would see every person treated as less than a guest, never a citizen or an individual native inhabitant. Integration will never occur at a fundamental level, and we will all be made to suffer the consequences of such alienation, no matter who we are or what ancestry we claim. I’m not entirely sure that we can totally discard the claims to rights of sovereignty until our structure of international governance improves to accommodate the diasporas and exiles of the world with as much capacity of input as nation-states currently have in most intergovernmental organizations like the UN and EU.

    My opinion is that the settlement of the West Bank can only continue with much stronger rates of Hebrew demographic growth, and that it is in the best long term interest of Israel to integrate the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and allow them to achieve parity in quality of life and civil participation as Israeli citizens, but only when Israel’s Hebrew majority is demographically ready and mentally secure to perform such integration (thinking Sinhala vis-a-vis Tamil in Sri Lanka). Gaza might as well remain independent.

    @DH: Let’s bring your own concerns over ethnocentrism and Ruslan’s concerns over sovereign personal rights together. What do you think about diasporas and exile communities who engage in political activity concerning their perceived homelands (i.e., the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora that long supported the Tamil Tigers during the civil war, the Cuban-American exiles in Florida who have engaged in questionable and violent actions against both the Castro government as well as against alleged communist sympathizers who dare to stray within the vicinity of their neighborhoods, the Armenian diaspora which engages in international activism regarding the Armenian Genocide and constantly irks Turkey and the Turkish diaspora, the African-Americans who were encouraged to migrate out of the United States to Liberia before 1865)?

    These diaspora/exile communities are all ethnocentric in a way, and they engage in political activity which fits their critical ethnoreligious orientations. Their detractors see them as “criminals” and “troublemakers” and utilize their own favorable elements in diaspora to protest the presences of the opposition in such-and-such country.

    What’s interesting is how both groups make friends and allies in perceived “non-homelands”, such as the Armenians winning the support of the French government and the Turkish government/diaspora winning the support of some American dude named Samuel Weems who wrote a conspiracy-mongering screed on the Armenian people before he died in 2003.

    But human and civil rights, I presume, belong just as much to the migrant exile as they do to the settled native. They are created just as equally as myself and yourself. And they still want to be able to politically operate either outside of the borders of the oppressive or nonoppressive government so that they can support and improve the lives of their relatives and friends in the homeland.

    So are their concerns about their perceived homelands just as legitimate as my concerns for this country in which I was born and raised? If the events of the last century are any indicator, YES, EMPHATICALLY YES.

    I am a citizen of the world, just like they also are. I am concerned about the world in which I live, I am concerned about the quality of life of other people, and I am willing to hear about their anxieties. The actions of diasporas, settler and exile communities have global and biological implications, and their anxieties drive alot about their own existences; if their anxieties are partly driven by preconceptions and past experiences of their ancestors’ residency in such and such country, then I want to at least make sure that the country in which I live is not involved as an active agent in their psychological alienation.

    I can’t control migration patterns or settlements of diasporas, as they are a natural means of movement anywhere in the world (for example, I’m not too keen on the idea of “land rights”, be it for “indigenous” or “imperialist” persons. People are people, murder is murder). But I think I can help control those elements of our culture which may drive them away from this land.

    If we are making overtures to forcibly discard “ethnocentrism”, then it will alienate those whose concerns may be tied or solved by a bit of ethnocentrist interjection. It cannot be entirely discarded from the multi-ethnocentrist American experience, no matter what tripe Roosevelt or Wilson or other such bigots may have said about the veracities of “hyphenated” Americans’ loyalties in the 20th century.

  • Ruslan Amrikhanov

    I’m sorry Steven but the “under siege” argument is never tolerated when applied to many historical countries, so it can’t excuse Israel’s behavior. Israel is a creation of European imperialism.

    And no country has a “right” to exist.

  • chad

    Somebody needs to put Israel in perspective. They are a violent and oppressive people. Israel does not deserve out unquestioned support.

  • BDave

    Asking the question “How many permutations of anti-Semitism are there?” is kind of like asking “How many licks does it take to get to a Tootsie Roll center?” Too many to count.

    Thanks for this blog. It is critical that Americans keep informed of today’s anti-Semitism in all of it’s (poorly) disguised forms.

  • Steven


    You have to see the Israel-Palestine conflict in a historical context as well as looking at the present situation. The Israelis are fighting for their survival; they are surrounded by hostile neighbors who want to push them into the sea.

    Israel was attacked by Arab nations immediately after declaring independence in 1948. This was only about 60 years ago, and the Holocaust (one of the greatest atrocities in history) happened a few years before that. This is the kind of anxiety and stress that Israelis still remember.

    Can you imagine a similar situation in America: if America was attacked by her Canada or Mexico in the last 60 years and is surrounded by hostile regimes today, what would the reaction of US citizens be? If you look at the history of American foreign policy, the CIA staged coup d’états in Latin America, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, etc. just to put pro-American regimes in power.

    If you think about what Americans would’ve done if they were faced with suicide bombers across the nation, imagine the outcry or indignation if going to the mall, movie theater, or riding a bus was no longer safe in the United States. Americans would quickly clamp down on this type of terrorist violence. Israel has shown a lot of restraint dealing with the Palestinians. Regarding the settler movement, I think a good case can be made to keep the West Bank under Israeli control for national security. The shortest distance from the ocean to the right border of Israel is ~30 miles, as wide as the city Los Angeles, CA.

    I support Israel’s right to self-defense, just like Americans would for the USA. There’s no ethnocentrism in that.

  • DH

    I should also point out that for a group which is ostensibly on the left (this blog aims at the right, for example), the fact that you bring up AIPAC in such neutral terms (“a lobbying group”) is rather interesting. AIPAC has had problems with its members spying for Israel–that’s a fact. Many on the left despise AIPAC because they recognize the damage that AIPAC has done to the Palestinian cause.

    Is the SPLC left or is it “Jewish-first-left-second”–left only to the point that it advances “what’s good for the Jews?” Given your mission statement, you should be equal opportunity critics. NO ethnocentrism allowed. You need to criticize all groups the same–including those groups who belong to the dominant ethnic group among upper-level AIPAC staffers. (And, no, don’t just limit your criticism to the JDL, please. Go for movements which have more support among Jews but which nevertheless are ethnocentric–like the settler movement.)

  • DH

    I certainly don’t approve of Veterans Today–in fact, I’ve never heard of it until now. But this blog post sparked an association I’ve had: I’ve never seen the SPLC write critically about American Jews who fund or support the settler movement on occupied land in Israel.

    My simple question to you is (and I wonder whether you’re principled enough to answer it): Why not?

  • william henry harrison

    Ok, I see two viewpoints. Perhaps, I can be quite literal and ask you to have one article proclaiming Palestinians as ” human-beings “, then go-on to tell me about that which Ye spake. And this goes for the ADL and the VT. Both, I ask so I can “pick-a-side”. I literally believe they are to be “proclaimed as Human-beings before I can move to a side! Common decency.

    This goes for the SPLC also – I’ve seen your rep MB and have not confidence. I used to ride my bike past your HDQRT. I knew Morris Dees. So to the SPLC and Morris Dees this question is from one that grew-up in Cloverdale/Montgomery. I truthfully and literally want your condidence. So are Palestinians human-beings? If you proclaim this, I am your friend!

    In other words (lower intellect verion), I merely ASK [emphasis mine] each of you tp prove life’s value before I expend all of my energy on yesterday.

    I want today to be better! Anything wrong with that?

    Now, what do I assume – ‘that I am a hateful person for saying this?’. O Ye Of Little Faith! I am not a hater of anything but the lie and the deception. It serves not my foundational piers.

    Now let us see if you remove this post that’s done with good heart. And heart it is IMHO. THX Y’all!

    Copy4Paste WAH

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Good point Ian. You might enjoy this:

  • Ian

    “[W]e are literally floating on a reservoir of truth blocked by a dam [sic] of lies”

    Writers need to remember what the term “literally” means, least they cause the reader to conjure up some pretty far out images.