Friday, September 16, 2016

Pathetic Fail #3: Sam Kestenbaum, Naomi Dann, and the Forward

Sam Kestenbaum,
Accessory after the Fact
[source: The Forward]
Number 3 : Sam Kestenbaum, Naomi Dann, and the Forward, for "Progressive Brooklyn Space Won’t Dump ‘Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Nut’," "9/11 Anniversary Sparks New Wave of Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories," "The Jewish Left Needs To Call Out Real Anti-Semites Like Christopher Bollyn," and "9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Chris Bollyn Blames Terror Attack on ‘Zionist War Agenda’ in Brooklyn Speech"

In the three previous installments, we have seen examples of accessories after the fact trying to attack 9/11 Truth by addition, so to speak. They have been adding their voices (and their nonsense) to the public arena, using different tactical approaches:

Robert Bridge wrote as if the official story of 9/11 were obviously true and had never been seriously challenged, for readers who know better, and got called on it, repeatedly.

Jack Holmes attacked 9/11 Truth on the evidence, claiming to "disprove" the "conspiracy theories," but proving only that he had nothing credible to offer.

Matt Kwong tried to explain why so many people are still concerned about 9/11 Truth without even considering the possibility that the official story might be false. Since this required him to ignore significant and relevant evidence, including some which he himself presented, the result was unconvincing, to put it mildly.

Now we turn to accessories after the fact using a different strategy, attacking 9/11 Truth by subtraction. Rather than adding their voices to the discussion, they're using their voices to try and prevent other voices from speaking. Or: they can't compete with 9/11 Truth, so they're trying to suppress it.

In this installment, we will consider an attack which was intended to prevent an independent researcher from speaking in a public space, by inciting so much opposition that the space hosting the event would be forced to cancel it.

The space is called Brooklyn Commons, the researcher is Christopher Bollyn, and the accessories after the fact were connected with the Jewish newspaper, "The Forward."

On September 7, Sam Kestenbaum wrote:
A progressive gathering space in Brooklyn is sticking by its decision, despite widespread condemnation, to host a talk by a conspiracy theorist who has blamed Israel and Jews for the 9-11 attacks on their 15th anniversary.

Melissa Ennen, founder of Brooklyn Commons, wrote in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that the Commons was not “designed to be a cozy cocoon for intramural debate among leftists. From the beginning my goal has been to foster discussion among disparate groups across a wide political spectrum.”

Ennen noted that since launching in 2010, the Commons has rented space to Tea Partiers, anti-union corporations and elected officials who supported wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While “progressive organizations dominate the calendar,” Ennen wrote, “the Commons is available for rental by other groups.”
In case you're not aware, Christopher Bollyn is not only "a conspiracy theorist who has blamed Israel and Jews for the 9-11 attacks." He's also been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a "prominent voice in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories," and described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "a raging anti-Semite."

Poster advertising Bollyn in NYC, 2016
[source: Twitter via Noah Shachtman]
Why are Bollyn and his conspiracy theories anti-Semitic? Because he alleges
a “Zionist Jewish” plot to induce America into the War on Terror so that their “cabal” can expand its global power
according to Daniel Sieradsky of

On what evidence does Bollyn base his allegations? That's what all these people were trying to prevent him from talking about!

The first attempt didn't produce the desired result, so Sam Kestenbaum tried again the next day with "9/11 Anniversary Sparks New Wave of Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories," which follows the pattern of ad-hominem attack established in the previous article, but packages it in a more concise way.

Meanwhile, Naomi Dann chipped in with "The Jewish Left Needs To Call Out Real Anti-Semites Like Christopher Bollyn," in which she writes
It’s heartening that there have been so many calls from progressive organizations and leaders calling for the cancellation of the event, and extremely disappointing to see that the Commons has refused to cancel it.
Having said this, she goes on to explain how we can tell the difference between "anti-Zionism," which the Jewish Left allegedly tolerates, and "real anti-Semitism," which Jews of all political leanings are urged to fight at every turn.

The distinction, according to Naomi Dann, can be understood this way:
There should be a clear line between criticizing the policies, actions and even ideology of the state of Israel, and criticizing the Jewish people or religion.
Thus: One may criticize Israel's policies, the actions that flow from those policies, and the ideology that gives rise to both, because such criticism is merely "anti-Zionism."

But no one may criticize the people who promote that ideology, establish those policies, or carry out those actions; nor may anyone criticize the religion that gives rise to the ideology behind the policies, because such criticism is "real anti-Semitism."

If this is not immediately clear to you, then you're probably reading it correctly. I think it means I can say the Palestinians are being viciously abused, provided that I don't identify the abusers or mention the grounds on which the abusers attempt to justify their vicious behavior.

Naomi Dann,
Accessory after the Fact
[Source: Jewish Voice of Peace]
If I have that wrong, perhaps the Jewish Left needs to work harder to change the narrative being imposed from above, as it were. Naomi Dann explains:
For us to expect others to understand that distinction, our communal leaders also have to stop acting as if any criticism of the state is an attack on our people.
It does not help us fight truly dangerous anti-Semitic narratives when the state of Israel claims to represent all of us Jews, nor when American Jewish organizations use the power that they have to silence criticism of the state.
I am impressed by the depth to which Naomi Dann seems unaware of the contradiction: she's complaining about what happens "when American Jewish organizations use the power that they have to silence criticism of the state" of Israel, while urging American Jewish organizations to use their power for that very purpose. So in effect Naomi Dann is saying, "It doesn't help us when we do what we're trying to do, but it's essential that we do it anyway."

Perhaps I could help Naomi Dann to find a way out of her self-imposed maze, by suggesting that when "the state of Israel claims to represent all Jews," it may not be especially motivated by a desire to "help" the American Jewish Left "fight truly dangerous anti-Semitic narratives."

To me it seems more likely that the state of Israel claims to represent all Jews because in this way it can coerce the American Jewish Left into fighting against anti-Zionist narratives.

In other words, as I see it, many Jews who claim to oppose Israel's policies and actions are nonetheless pressed into service as human shields, and active shields at that, trying to stifle anything -- a news report, a opinion piece, a public speaking engagement, or whatever -- that might reflect badly on Israel, for fear that the anger that might be generated by widespread knowledge of Israel's policies and actions might fuel a wave of general anti-Semitism. I believe this because they keep saying it. And I think this coercion comes about precisely because "the state of Israel claims to represent all Jews."

To make a long, pathetic story short: They didn't manage to get the event in Brooklyn canceled, although similar pressure did result in the cancellation of Bollyn's invitation to speak at Busboys and Poets Café in Washington, according to Daniel Sieradsky.

As it turned out, Bollyn's presentation at Brooklyn Commons was attended by only about two dozen people, some of whom came to disrupt the event, as Sam Kestenbaum was pleased to report from the scene.

So one must ask: How many people did the Forward and its friends scare away? Any? And what would they have accomplished had they managed to get the event canceled, other than depriving two dozen people of the opportunity to listen to Bollyn for a couple of hours?

Instead, Sam Kestenbaum and the Forward gave Bollyn publicity he could not have bought, linked to an online PDF of his book, "Solving 9/11: The Deception That Changed The World," and provided a platform for his assertion that
“The ‘false flag’ terrorism of 9–11 is a monstrous Jewish-Zionist crime of our time [...] The true culprits of this heinous crime are clearly being protected by a gang of like-minded Jewish Zionists in the highest positions of the U.S. government.”
As far as I can tell, nobody is trying to refute Bollyn's allegations, though many are trying to prevent his voice from being heard. And it's clear that refuting his allegations would be more convincing than trying to prevent him from speaking. So we can infer that they would refute him if they could, and they're trying to prevent him from telling us what he knows because they can't dispute what he has to say.

It's a logical conclusion, and easy to reach, so I wouldn't be surprised if at least two dozen readers, finding the Forward's coverage on the Internet and intrigued by the hallmarks of a coverup, did a bit of exploring, downloaded Bollyn's book, and did some reading at his website, to which Naomi Dann linked.

So what is the net gain to the Forward? to Sam Kestenbaum? To Naomi Dann?

On one hand, they've demonstrated to their "communal leaders" that they can be trusted to stand and fight on command.

On the other hand, they've demonstrated to the rest of us that (1) they're highly motivated by fear of a hypothetical future in which some of the consequences of 9/11 might be borne by innocent people who happen to share the same religion as the perpetrators, but (2) they have no problem with a real present in which the horrible actual consequences of 9/11 are borne by innocent people who happen to share the same religion as the scapegoats!

Christopher Bollyn [source: The Forward]
I recall a presentation several years ago in which Christopher Bollyn said he never had a problem with Israel, even lived there for a while; and never had a problem with Jews either, until he started investigating explosions in the WTC, at which point he started getting pressure from Jewish groups. At first he wondered why Jewish groups, in particular, would try to keep him from looking into the destruction of the towers. But the more he dug, the more Israeli connections he found, and the less he wondered.

That's Bollyn's story, as I remember it, and you may choose to believe it or not. It sounds loopy, but I had a similar experience. I never had any problem with Jews either, until I started blogging about evidence of explosions in the WTC, at which point I started getting pressure from other bloggers and readers who identified themselves as Jewish. It was this pressure which prompted me to entertain, for the first time, the possibility that the people who were talking about Israeli complicity in 9/11 might know what they were talking about.

So it seems to me that if they're trying to suppress the facts, drawing attention to the people who are trying to disseminate those facts is a losing strategy. On the other hand, they can't very well anger their "communal leaders" by not trying it.

In any case, it was a total fail. They didn't get the event canceled, they gave a "raging anti-Semite" a moment in the anti-Semitic sun, and they revealed themselves and their followers to be transparent hypocrites.

Sorry, Sam! You lose! Your pathetic attack failed, and you wound up using your platform to publicize the very allegations you were trying to suppress.

Sorry, Naomi! You lose, too! You're trapped behind the imaginary line you're trying to draw, but so caught up in your own contradictions that you don't even realize it.

And sorry, Forward! You're the biggest loser in the story, and the most hypocritical, too. As an alert reader pointed out in a comment:
The Dancing Israeli stories is a curious side bar to 911, turns out they were Mossad agents working for a Mossad front, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, N.J. The details of which can be found in a Forward article dated March 15 2002 written by Marc Perelman
There's boundless irony here, as the paper is busted on the strength of its own reporting. Shockingly, the piece referred to in the comment is no longer available at the Forward website, but the Wayback Machine hasn't forgotten that Marc Perelman wrote, and the Forward published, the following:
Spy Rumors Fly on Gusts of Truth
Americans Probing Reports of Israeli Espionage


Despite angry denials by Israel and its American supporters, reports that Israel was conducting spying activities in the United States may have a grain of truth, the Forward has learned. [...]

In particular, a group of five Israelis arrested in New Jersey shortly after the September 11 attacks and held for more than two months was subjected to an unusual number of polygraph tests and interrogated by a series of government agencies including the FBI's counterintelligence division, which by some reports remains convinced that Israel was conducting an intelligence operation. The five Israelis worked for a moving company with few discernable assets that closed up shop immediately afterward and whose owner fled to Israel. [...]

According to one former high-ranking American intelligence official, who asked not to be named, the FBI came to the conclusion at the end of its investigation that the five Israelis arrested in New Jersey last September were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, N.J., served as a front.

After their arrest, the men were held in detention for two-and-a-half months and were deported at the end of November, officially for visa violations.

However, a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI concluded that at least two of them were in fact Mossad operatives, according to the former American official, who said he was regularly briefed on the investigation by two separate law enforcement officials.

"The assessment was that Urban Moving Systems was a front for the Mossad and operatives employed by it," he said. "The conclusion of the FBI was that they were spying on local Arabs but that they could leave because they did not know anything about 9/11." [...]

Spokesmen for the FBI, the Justice Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to discuss the case. Israeli officials flatly dismissed the allegations as untrue.

However, the former American official said that after American authorities confronted Jerusalem on the issue at the end of last year, the Israeli government acknowledged the operation and apologized for not coordinating it with Washington.

The five men — Sivan and Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari and Yaron Shmuel — were arrested eight hours after the attacks by the Bergen County, N.J., police while driving in an Urban Moving Systems van. The police acted on an FBI alert after the men allegedly were seen acting strangely while watching the events from the roof of their warehouse and the roof of their van.

In addition to their strange behavior and their Middle Eastern looks, the suspicions were compounded when a box cutter and $4,000 in cash were found in the van. Moreover, one man carried two passports and another had fresh pictures of the men standing with the smoldering wreckage of the World Trade Center in the background.
And so on. I've omitted Marc Perelman's most obvious attempts to spin the story in an innocent direction, just as Marc Perelman described the men as "acting strangely" rather than admitting that they attracted attention to themselves by dancing, exchanging high-fives, flicking their lighters, and photographing one another against the backdrop of the burning towers.

Marc Perelman's story hints that the behavior of these five men was probably innocent and misinterpreted, and he repeated the same claim in a subsequent interview. But if that were true, they would never have been noticed, let alone arrested. Plenty of people were acting strangely that day. But the others weren't dancing, high-fiving, flicking their lighters, or taking souvenir photos.

Another reader remembered that after being released on the pretense that they knew nothing about the 9/11 attacks,
Your freaking Mossad agents went on Israel live TV and said "our purpose was to document the event" wtf is everyone suppose to think of that?
wtf indeed! If you think he's kidding, watch this short video.

Here's what I think of it:
The story of the five dancing Israelis is the tip of the iceberg called "Israeli complicity."
You can click here to read about that iceberg. But I can't tell you any more about it myself -- because, as I've been saying:
The facts must be suppressed, and the people who are trying to gather and disseminate those facts must be suppressed, and that is the one and only thing that matters to these people. And why? Why would you hide the crime unless you were trying to protect the criminals?