Conflating Anti-Semitism and 911 Truth

Posted: September 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Last week, Winnipeg journalist and ex-Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes was viciously smeared as antisemitic. The Canadian Jewish Congress has promoted this allegation. The Tories maliciously distorted Hughes’ 2002 article, “Get the Truth,” and Dion’s gang hopes to use the 911 Truth Movement as a club to beat the NDP.

It is worth restating what she actually wrote in 2002:

“German Intelligence (BND) claims to have warned the U.S. last June, the Israeli Mossad and Russian Intelligence in August. Israeli businesses, which had offices in the Towers, vacated the premises a week before the attacks, breaking their lease to do it.”

So, what do we know about Hughes’ statements?

Did the Israeli Mossad warn the Americans? There are conflicting reports. According to Project Censored:

“At some point, between August 8-15, 2001, two high ranking agents from the Mossad came to Washington and warned the FBI and the CIA that an al-Qaeda attack on the United States was imminent. [Fox News, 5/17/02] On September 20, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mossad officials stated that indications point to a “large scale target” and that Americans would be “very vulnerable.” [Telegraph, 9/16/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01; Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01] The Los Angeles Times retracted this story on September 21, 2001, because a CIA spokesman stated, “there was no such warning” and that the allegations were “complete and utter nonsense.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] Israel denied that there was ever a meeting between agents of the Mossad and the CIA. [Ha’aretz, 10/03/02] The United States has denied knowing about Mohamed Atta prior to the 9/11 attacks. []”

Did “Israeli businesses” break their lease to escape the carnage a week before? Not according to Project Censored:

“On September 4, 2001, an Israeli-owned shipping company entitled Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co., moved their North American headquarters from inside the World Trade Center, to Norfolk, Virginia— one week before the 9/11 attacks. [Virginian-Pilot, 9/04/01] Zim had announced its move 6 months before the attacks, [Virginian-Pilot, 4/03/01] yet 10 employees were still in the building on Sept. 11, taking care of the final moving arrangements. They were able to escape, unharmed. [Jerusalem Post, 9/13/01; Journal of Commerce, 10/18/01]”

Did Leslie Hughes accuse Israel of responsibility for the 911 attacks? Not at all. In fact, she credits them with warning the Americans, a notion that was supported by some news reports and denied by others.

Did Leslie Hughes get it right on the lease breaking, Israeli businesses? Nope.

Does this make Leslie Hughes an antisemite? No. At the worst, she is guilty of getting part of the story wrong. It is a big story and there are a lot of places where a reporter could go wrong. Leslie Hughes is hardly unique in this, but that only makes her human.

Dismissing the Truthers

You would have to have been living in a cave on the dark side of the moon to have missed out on the growing mountain of research that casts doubt on the official version of 911. Some of that research is undoubtedly halfbaked nonsense (and some of it disgustingly antisemitic), but there is enough substance for sensible, open minded people to pause and reflect and demand serious answers.

Instead, what we get are arrogant, dismissive statements designed to marginalize folks who ask legitimate questions.

In this case, false allegations of antisemitism are being used as a tool to discredit a journalist who has asked for answers about 911. Reminiscent of the tactic used by apologists for Israeli foreign policy who brand every criticism as evidence of antisemitism, this kind of smear campaign is a step in the direction of conflating the 911 Truth Movement and antisemitism.

Let us be very clear: antisemitism, like all other forms of rascist bigotry, is completely unacceptable. Similarly, smear campaigns are incompatible with getting to the truth about a terrorist attack which served as the springboard for an orgy of imperialist violence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Further reading

Professor Anthony Hall, who teaches Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge, has written an interesting reflection on the Hughes affair entitled A Clash of Conspiracy Theories. And here are some other 911 Truth sources that are worth your time:

9/11 Truth
Scholars for 9/11 Truth
Canada Wants the Truth
Complete 9/11 Timeline

  1. Beijing York says:

    I agree that conflating the 9-11 truth seekers with antisemitism is wrong. Unfortunately, some pretty disgraceful and antisemitic have joined the movement, basically tainting any valuable journalism in that direction.

    I am sure that Lesley Hughes and US Green candidate Cynthia McKinnon are not antisemitic, and both have suffered by that allegation in their professional careers. Similar smear campaigns have occurred to discredit anti-globalization and more recently, anti-SPP groups. Unfortunately, these movements tend to attract different groups and individuals who have conflicting agendas for pursuing their goals.

  2. Thank you for writing an article on conflating antisemitism. It unfortunately starting to look bad for Hughes in the sense that she did legitimately exaggerate the exodus (pun intended) from the WTC prior to the attack. This means she’s not going to get much sympathy from many people as a whole despite the 73 percent that believe Dion was over-zealous (pun intended) in firing her ass!

    What bothers me about this story is simply that the growing trend of using the idea of antisemitism as a way to discredit causes or movements is dangerous three-fold: It is often used to discredit valid political activities for the public good; it reduces the credibility of legitimate allegation of antisemtism; it can credit antisemitic sentiments among though falsely accused (self-fulling accusations).

    The area of society where the conflation of antisemitism is the most concerning to me is not 9/11, but an entirely different social question that has affected me personally. I am one of a small but growing number of Canadian that questions the ethic of neonatal male circumcision, a procedure currently not recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Association and others. I believe that it is a human rights abuse and cannot be justified as a religious practice.

    Furthermore, I am one of the few people that have questioned how the religious importance of circumcision in Western culture via Judaism, Islam and Christianity has influenced its history of medicalization and general cultural acceptability!

    Many people, including myself and medical professions have been accused falsely of antisemitism for having this view. Some have even been attacked physically. I of course question how anyone can take any claims of circumcision’s alleged benefits seriously knowing that experts can spout them with impunity while people critical of the procedure are under so much political pressure to be silent. Its amazing that even despite this culture that so many medical professionals have come out recently against it!

    So whether its with the lives of our boys in the Afghanistan, or with our boy’s foreskins, we pay the price dearly whenever anyone makes a statement of antisemitism inappropriately.

  3. Valerie Gaffray says:

    I don’t think the recent very unfair election incident involving Lesley Hughes is about her getting something wrong in a 9/11 article she wrote several years ago. I think it is about it being unacceptable to even dispute the official 9/11 conspiracy theory. That has to change, if we want to keep certain rights, such as freedom of speech and debate to get Canada out of Afghanistan, for example, or solve any other problem.
    I read a Clash of Conspiracies by professor Anthony Hall. I thought his article was extremely well reasoned and helpful.
    Hall believes it is appropriate at this moment to pose a simple question of those who made the decision to disqualify Lesley Hughes from running as a Liberal candidate in Canada’s current election. He says: “Now that a line has been drawn in the sand on conspiracy theories and 911, I think it is fair to ask if there is any public space remaining for serious political debate on this matter.”
    I think its about time our politicians be made to justify why they support the official 9/11 conspiracy theory, which is just an unproved theory after all. (There has not been an official independent investigation of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission was hardly independent or effective.) Yet this official 9/11 conspiracy theory is the basis for two hot wars–in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased militarism on land and in space, etc.
    I would like someone to fashion an effective question that can be posed to candidates about this issue. One they can’t wiggle out of. If I get a chance, I intend to give it a try myself on October 6th. It would be better if there were more than one willing to do this though. Any takers?

  4. raprockprof says:

    Thanks Paul S. Graham for addressing the serious issues you raise in this article. Dr. Gabrielle Brenner of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, an institution affiliated with the University of Montreal, attacked me with the allegation of “anti-Semitism” for the short article I wrote in the National Post on the Lesley Hughes affair. Nor did she did not end her attacks and criticisms there.

    Dr. Brenner’s intervention led to a spirited exchange of communication involving the administration of both our schools and several key figures prominent in the quest for 911. One of the letters from this exchange is published on the web site of Montreal 911 Truth, a very significant source of alternative news during this era when the mainstream media is dominated by so many PR flaks.

    I have recently seen a TV piece done by Paula Zahn at CNN where she conflated any questioning of the 911 Cover Up Scam with “anti-Semitism.” In my view the indiscriminate use of this powerful word to advance anti-Muslim war propaganda does a terrible injustice to all of us, but especially to liberal Jews and to the memory of the terrible crimes committed by right-wing regimes in the Holocaust.

    A brief survey of the press releases put out by the Harper Conservatives on the Hughes affair reveals truly astonishing examples of hate speech aimed at preempting legitimate political debate in the course of a Canadian election. Where do our mainstream political pundits stand on this gross violation of civility at such a crucial juncture in our life as a nation? To resort to a cliche, their silence has been deafening.

    Harper and his henchmen belong way out on the political margins with the likes of the white supremacists and anti-Quebec zealots here in Alberta that started the xenophobic political movement this Calgarian currently leads. The so-called “Conservative Party” was founded in a breach of contract with David Orchard. The Fraudulent Merger Party has remained a sketchy bunch ever since. From the timing of this election to the Cadman affair to their myriad involvements with the organized criminals swirling around Julie Couillard, the so-called Conservatives have played fast and loose with the rule of law in spite of Can West Global’s effort to spruce up and market this radical bunch.

    In all my years of watching Canadian politics I don’t remember seeing anything like the so-called Conservative Party’s unrelenting character assassination aimed month after month at savaging Stephane Dion. Unfortunately Dion gave into the rhetorical blackmail to which he was subjected with plenty of help from the Winnipeg-based war propagandists at Can West Global.

    The effect of all the cowardice, negligence, opportunism and strategic silence in high places has been to make the extremists around Harper appear as if they are at the centre-right of Canada’s political culture. On the other hand those who actually do represent the kinder, more gentle face of Canadian politics have been assigned to martyrdom or commentary as reported in excellent, though little read venues like Paul S. Graham’s blog.

    Let’s try to hold Can West Global, the CBC, the robotic Globe and Mail, and the next Parliament of Canada accountable for their tragic or maybe even treasonable ineptitude. These institutions and others have failed to safeguard and live up to even the minimal standards of civility and honesty necessary for meaningful debate in the degraded and debased Canadian election campaign of 2008.

    Keep up the good work.

    Anthony J. Hall

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