Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Earlier this year, Marcel H. Van Herpen, director of the Cicero Foundation, a think tank with branches in both Maastricht and Paris, published a comprehensive study entitled Putin’s Propaganda Machine: Soft Power and Russian Foreign Policy. It’s a timely work, well researched, well written, and comprehensive. And it certainly added greater context to Russia Today (RT), Russia’s flagship English-language network. He writes:

From 2009 onward, the focus of Russia Today began to change. From a defensive soft-power weapon, RT began to develop as an offensive weapon…. Anchors of RT programs (such as Peter Lavelle) did not hide their explicit anti-American views. RT also started inviting representatives of marginal, often extreme right antigovernment groups, who were presented as ‘experts.’ One of these groups was the so-called 9/11 truthers, people who believe that the 9/11 attacks were not the work of al-Qaeda terrorists but a US government conspiracy… Another group was the ‘birthers,’ people who doubted—against all evidence—that President Obama was born in the United States and denied that he was eligible to be US president… RT ‘experts’ also included Malik Zulu Shabazz, the leader of the New Black Panther Party, a hate group. Another invited pundit was Daniel Estulin, who considered the European Union to be the realization of a secret plan invented by the Bilderberg Group…. The same penchant for conspiracy theories was revealed in the RT program The Truth-seeker, which suggested the US government was behind the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon in April 2013, in which two ethnic Chechen killed three people. Manuel Ochsenreiter, a guest speaker about German affairs on RT’s English-language channel, is actually the editor of the neo-Nazi magazine Zuerst!, a monthly radical-right magazine that…speaks out against ‘de-nazification.’

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Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism

Fear for the future.

When conservatives and conscience-addled liberals fret about the rising influence of censorious students on college campuses, the overwhelming response they get from skeptics is “who cares?” Those who do not outright defend creeping radicalism on campus are prone to minimize the threat of violence and fanaticism. While obtuse, this approach does have some immediate political utility. Dismissing events on campus as the antics of a few misguided kids casts those who care about such affairs as obsessive cranks who fixate on matters of no objective consequences. It goes without saying that not everyone is sincere who wonders aloud about the relevance of maximalist rhetoric, racial intolerance, and even violence on campus, but some are. They deserve an answer. Why should we care about rigidly enforced intellectual cloistering on campuses?

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Now, More than Ever, Holocaust Memory Matters

Memory and Judaism are inseparable.

Yes. That’s the answer to a question posed by the headline of Shmuel Rosner’s latest piece in the New York Times. Yes: Israeli students need to visit Auschwitz. All Jewish students should. Plenty of non-Jews, too.

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Mr. Ellison Goes to Dinner

Collusion of a different sort.

My former colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently unearthed what should be a major political scandal. It involves an anti-American government, a prominent member of Congress, and a far-right group that traffics in anti-Semitism, homophobia, and conspiracy theories. In the current climate of anxiety about “collusion” and the alt-right, you would think the liberal media would give this story top billing.

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Trump Can Do No Right: Human Rights Edition

Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

In a New York Times op-ed, Princeton University Professor Gary Bass recently contended that Donald Trump’s record on human rights is a disaster. In the effort to craft a comprehensive denunciation, Bass claimed that Trump is a menace not only when he “ignores” the issue of human rights but also “when he speaks up” about it. That surely covers all the bases.

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Music From Another World

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 1969-2018.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was found dead at his apartment in Berlin over the weekend, and police are still investigating the cause. He was 48. Jóhannsson’s richly textured soundscapes and his tremendous contributions to film will long endure.

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