Hatewatch

Buyer Beware: Veterans Today and its Anti-Israel Agenda

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.