Notebook, 8 January 2013: How the Israel lobby operates

As I said in my New Year’s post I do hereby resolve, I’m always up for getting in the faces of enemies. In the political climate we witness today, it amounts to one’s duty to stand right up to those who oppress. Otherwise, you award them the field by default. It is not something I’m used to doing, though I find I am better prepared than most.

That being said, yesterday’s events deserve some airing, and should be recorded where the data will not be lost.

It begins with ex-AIPAC spokesman, Josh Block* (@JoshBlockDC) who went after The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a supporter of Islamic terrorism. This charge has been booted about by the right wing for years by the crazies who watch Fox News and WND (formerly World Net Daily), and nothing has ever come of any of these allegations. Indeed, up until a massive push by American Islamophobes in the GOP, the FBI worked with CAIR as outreach to the American Muslim community. Now, CAIR staffers appear to be under surveillance.

Far be it from me to let a supporter of Israel call anyone a terrorist with impunity, so, in a series of tweets, I gave Block a taste of what the truth looks like:

What appeared in my timeline:

joshblockdc Josh Block
. @JoshBlockDC goes full racist derp in panic over Hagel, now says CAIR is teh terrorists https://t.co/7N6LifiV

Josh Block ‏@JoshBlockDC
CAIR (which FBI won’t touch b/c of terror ties):”’08 Pres candidates’ falling all over themselves 2 support Israel.Only #Hagel is exception”

Tired old stuff, which seems to be all the Block has to offer, as I just noted his tweet again pushing the old news that Log Cabin Republicans have come out against Obama’s pick for defense secretary. Again, former Log Cabin Republican national chair Chris Barron tweets:

The RNC website uses the Hagel is anti-gay smear, anyone told them to take a look at the GOP platform recently? #Hypocrisy

Everyone is wondering how the Log Cabin Republicans scrapped together enough money to pay for the two ads they’ve placed. Apparently, a full page ad in the New York Times costs something like $100,000. We need not imagine they got a discount for the similar ad placed in the Washington Post.

At any rate, the CAIR allegations are tired and unproven. One suspects that after all these years, with the closeness of surveillance these days something untoward would have cropped up by now were there anything to those allegations. So I got in Block’s face in the exact same way I schooled Ambassador Michael Oren and Deputy Foreign Minister for Israel, Danny Ayalon. Reactions to this previously have been a series of unsolicited tweets coming my way as Israel’s supporters ganged up on me. Some I blocked, others, like Becky Johnson, I had extensive interaction with. Facilitating this is what Twitter does best, and without it, one might only be relegated to tweeting among mutual followers. Google Circles.

My 32 tweet barrage (taken mostly from my fact-checking timeline page, and not in order):

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Today, Israel forbade Greek Orthodox patriarch to open bank account in Israel while seizing church account http://t.co/8c4sR9Ov @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
What was sick abt Deir Yassin was that it was a FRIENDLY VILLAGE which had FOUGHT TO KEEP FIGHTERS OUT: http://t.co/Dkms1LR8 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Crowd at Jaffa Gate bombed by these brave zionists, killing 15 Arabs (civilians, btw): http://t.co/XJzCGDwe @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Haganah takes Greek Orthodox St Simeon monestary, drives out monks & vandalize it http://t.co/FgOqqUGV @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
American hero like Ben Hecht: Letter to the TERRORISTS of Palestine http://t.co/7W0FE51j “We are out to raise millions for you” @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Stern Gang, at height of the Battle of Jaffa/Tel Aviv, take time out to rob a cool million from Barclays http://t.co/cg0rXum8 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
This is what those zionist heroes left: http://t.co/VaK380Io Take a good, hard look, @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Another example of zionist heroes helping themselves, robbing bank of $24,000: http://t.co/VZNq6orH @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
22 July 1946: King David Hotel blown up. The 9/11 of its time http://t.co/XSePyoEb Death toll rises to 91 http://t.co/UuaIhAPX @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
So where did these zionist heroes get their explosives? FROM THE ZIONIST VERSION OF CAIR: http://t.co/9y5qDloF @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
@JoshBlockDC At least one of those who murdered Lord Moyne were given burial with full military honors, btw: http://t.co

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Still, in contravention of US law, American zionists are STILL smuggling explosives to terrorists: http://t.co/3F6qnkny @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
19 Jan 1946: Zionist heroes bomb a power station & central prison in Jerusalem: http://t.co/0wWigu1N @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Irgun goes on a terror rampage, blowing up rail lines in “scores” of places: http://t.co/aN24MyCW @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
17 July 1947: Irgun just begins laying IED’s everywhere: http://t.co/GMZx4xjN @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
29 Dec 1947: Irgun plants bomb in crowd at Damascus Gate, killing 11 http://t.co/qyyZ2Zae @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
26 July 1947: Zionist heroes blow up oil pipeline (which fought back bravely, I suppose): http://t.co/vIxtiu2Y @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Hiding behind civilians? Zionists hide counterfeit operation & ARMS in the Jerusalem’s largest synagogue http://t.co/5mVwePXC @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
13 Jan 1945 Taking a lesson from Lawrence, zionists bomb & derail a train, then loot $140,000 from it http://t.co/qml63dGo @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
30 Dec 1947: That worked so well those heroes tossed bombs from speeding cars into a crowd THE NEXT DAY: http://t.co/RAAX44nC @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
11 August 1947: Rail travel was hazardous, thx to those zionist heroes. Train from Lydda to Hadera bombed: http://t.co/vPoKjVUz @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Haganah used Deir Yassin to drive out peacefull Palestinians. Trucks w/ loudspeakers: “You’re Next!” http://t.co/214vI9fj @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
It wasn’t all “extremeist groups” I mean terrorists. Haganah promises reprisal attacks as well: http://t.co/DPQxK6F9 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Here’s real terrorism. 9 April 1948: The Deir Yassin massacre: http://t.co/VakOXXtu @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
22 April 1947: Zionist heroes mine a train, then snipers shoot at survivors: http://t.co/bvPmOmNK Firsthand account @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
15 Aug 1946: Irgun issues a fatwa, declaring “war” on Britain: http://t.co/dOmlWJW4 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
19 July 1947: Zionist “lawlessness” claims 70 lives since 1940: http://t.co/j3uV02wY Under reported. King David bombing was 91 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
24 June 1946: Irgun takes 3 British hostages as 2 Irgun members face execution: http://t.co/3aXnoDI8 @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
3 July 1946: Haganah issues “last warning” to Irgun over extortion: http://t.co/2h5eP810 I guess it was a widepread problem @JoshBlockDC

procesverbaux ProcèsVerbaux
Irgun opens up second front against the US forces in Germany: http://t.co/zorpi8tD @JoshBlockDC

Job well done, I’d say. However, not everyone felt the same. When I logged onto Twitter last night, I found the following message:

Your account (@ProcesVerbaux) is currently suspended. For more information, please visit Suspended Accounts.

::

Your account has been suspended

This account, @ProcesVerbaux, was suspended for sending multiple unsolicited mentions to other users.

The mention and @reply features are intended to make communication between people on Twitter easier, and posting messages to several users in an unsolicited or egregious manner is considered an abuse of its use. Plus, it bothers other users! For more information about these features and proper use, please visit our @Replies and Mentions help page.

You will need to change your behavior to continue using Twitter. Repeat violations of the Twitter Rules may result in the permanent suspension of your account.

Supposedly, the applicable rules of the road are these. I read them all three times to be absolutely certain I hadn’t abused them:

  • If you send large numbers of duplicate @replies or mentions;
  • If you send large numbers of unsolicited @replies or mentions in an attempt to spam a service or link;

Since, there’s no way you can call what I did spam, I decided to write Twitter support and find out what was going on. Like Scofield’s Thomas More, I kept the form-email because it helps to keep one’s affairs in order:

Subject: I require clarification on my account suspension . . .

Description of problem: I’m certain I know who flagged my account (@JoshBlockDC) for “unsolicited replies” for he is the only Tweep @ProcesVerbaux have barraged in this manner. If you will examine those tweets, you will find historical examples of activity one might call “terrorism” with links to contemporary news reporting. Those are what historians call primary source material, btw. Not filled with metaphysical certainty, but important nonetheless. We work with the best information we have.

Anyways. There were no solicitations in any way, though I’m certain Josh didn’t like the content. he wasn’t meant to. I don’t like the content either! But it was all real and shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored. There was no personal attack. There was no threat. There was nothing, I feel, especially untoward, though I admit I used language strong enough to make my opinion known, though in a snarky way.

Why didn’t Block simply block me? Problem solved, right? (There’s a brilliant hashtag in there somewhere.) Or is it he simply wants to live in his own bubble? He’s entitled. Blocking would have accomplished that however.

We hear so much these days about “media control”, “defining the terms of debate” and censorship that I cannot but feel that this is an attempt on his part to silence a dissenting opinion.

In fairness and for full disclosure, I am also the one who did exactly the same to @AmbassadorOren and a few other official twitter accounts who are eager to apply the name “terrorist” on Palestinians when the granular view of the history (read Benny Morris, don’t take my word for it) shows that this coming from these people is #ironic to say the least. My account then, which I discontinues even though I had over 1000 followers was @papicek. You can check that history too. I’m pushing back on a hateful and not entirely truthful meme, and this should be valid.

I feel strongly that your rule is being abused here in a rather tawdry attempt to silence someone with whom he disagrees vehemently. You may disagree that the rule is being abused, but at least tell me looked at my tweets and why you disagree, and then please tell me why you feel this user shouldn’t simply take care of himself by blocking me . If you feel my point is valid, then please lift the suspension on your end.

Thank you in advance. It has been fun :D

Brett @ProcesVerbaux Blake

PS: the term ‘Proces Verbal’ (pl: verbaux) has two meanings. In French courts, it is a reading of the charges against the accused. In diplomacy, it is an informal process in which minor details of treaties are agreed to after the heavyweights have gone home to crack open the champagne. Either way, it’s a pretty good handle for social media : I just thought I’d share that. :D

In reply, Twitter reiterated its previous claim:

Hello,

This account was suspended for sending multiple unsolicited messages using the @reply and/or mention feature. These features are intended to make communication between people on Twitter easier. Twitter monitors the use of these features to make sure they are used as intended and not for abuse. Using either feature to post messages to a bunch of users in an unsolicited or egregious manner is considered an abuse of its use, which results in account suspension.

For more information about these features, please visit our @Replies and Mentions help page:

http://support.twitter.com/articles/14023

Your account will be unsuspended within 24 hours. Please note that it may take an hour or so for your follower and following numbers to return to normal.

Be sure to review the Twitter Rules, as repeat violations may result in permanent suspension:

http://twitter.com/rules

Thank you,

Twitter Support
support.twitter.com
@support

And with that, the matter was closed. Because the suspension comes with an automated time limit or because they have decided to lift the suspension, I should be back later today. However, some questions are raised: did the suspension trigger automatically, though mistakenly, through the workings of an algorithm seeking spammers? Was the suspension triggered due to a complaint by Block? Was I placed in the hands of some Twitter support staffer who happens to be a proud supporter of Israel? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that the Israel Lobby isn’t to be believed, because they hired Frank Luntz, of all people, to draw up a series of talking points and a communication strategy complete with the Luntz hallmark, “Words That Work”:

[docstoc docId=”8303274″ mId=”-10″ width=”630″ height=”550″ slideMode=”true” showRelatedDocs=”false” showOtherDocs=”false” allowdownload=”true” url=”http://www.docstoc.com/docs/8303274/The Israel Project's 2009 Global Language Dictionary”]The Israel Project's 2009 Global Language Dictionary[/docstoc]

UPDATE: @ProcesVerbaux has been hit with a suspension for a second time. This time, after several tweets to @IsraelinUSA. This is definitely beginning to smell like an attempt at silencing me. I must have struck a nerve and it is instructive to note how Israel’s supporters respond.

I must be doing something right.


*Josh Block is a professional political operative and lobbyist for Israel in the United states. He held positions in the Clinton administration, AIPAC, the Progressive Policy Institute (from which he was expelled, and now runs The Israel Project, with offices in Washington DC and Jerusalem.

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