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  • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies and has a stronghold on the U.S. policies.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies and has a stronghold on the U.S. policies. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 November 2018

The documentary was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and completed in 2017 but censored after Qatar came under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby to not air the film.

The Electronic Intifada, a Chicago based pro-Palestinian organization had obtained the complete copy of The Lobby-USA which is a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel’s meddling in the United States.

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The documentary was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and completed in 2017 but censored after Qatar came under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby to not air the film.

Al-Jazeera previously did a similar film in the United Kingdom where one of its reporters infiltrated an Israeli lobby and revealed that an Israeli diplomat was plotting to “take down” British officials. After the release of the film, the said diplomat had to resign from his or her post.

Electronic Intifada finally got hold of the entire film on the U.S. and published it on its site. The film follows an undercover journalist using the pseudonym “Tony” who posed as a pro-Israel volunteer in Washington.

The film shows Julia Reifkind – then an Israeli embassy employee – describing her typical workday as “mainly gathering intel, reporting back to Israel … to report back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.” She admits to using fake Facebook profiles to infiltrate the Palestinian solidarity circles.

The documentary exposes efforts of Israeli lobbyist to smear, intimidate, spy on and wage a psychological warfare on U.S. citizens who support the pro-Palestine boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The lobbyists coordinate their efforts with the Israeli government, especially Ministry of Strategic Affairs which is in charge of Israel’s global campaign of covert sabotage targeting the BDS movement.

Sima Vaknin Gil, an ex-military intelligence officer in charge of the ministry claimed, according to a footage in the film, to have mapped Palestinian rights activism “globally. Not just the United States, not just campuses, but campuses and intersectionality and labor unions and churches.” The data will be used for “offensive activity” against pro-Palestine activists.

The lobbyists also use psychological warfare. Jacob Baime, the executive director of Israel on Campus Coalition said that the organization uses “corporate level, enterprise-grade social media intelligence software” to gather lists of Palestine-related student events on campus, “generally within about 30 seconds or less” of them being posted online.

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“With the anti-Israel people, what’s most effective, what we’ve found at least in the last year, is you do the opposition research, put up some anonymous website, and then put up targeted Facebook ads,” Baime explained in part three of the film.

“Canary Mission is a good example,” he states. “It’s psychological warfare.”

Canary Mission is a website that seeks to expose pro-Palestine students, teachers and activists in university campuses in the U.S. According to the film, a convicted tax evader Adam Milstein is the multimillionaire donor and mastermind behind Canary Mission.

Milstein also funds The Israel Project, according to Eric Gallagher, the then fundraising director of The Israel Project.

The pro-Israel groups had been forcing the U.S. to recognize Al Jazeera as a ‘foreign agent’ according to the counter-espionage act of the 1930s since the news of the documentary came out earlier this year.  

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