Dear Friend of CNI:
As a supporter of CNI, the headline of “Palestine Issues Censored” would not seem unusual. After all, fighting bias by the media—intentional or out of ignorance—has long been part of our agenda.
But this time it comes from a source that, at first glance, you may not expect to be within the orbit of the Israel lobby.
In an article I just wrote, I tell the story of a publishing company—whose magazines include American History, Aviation History, Armchair General, and Civil War Times—which rejected a small ad promoting a book by CNI’s founder, former Congressman Paul Findley.
I investigated why Congressman Findley’s fascinating memoir, “Speaking Out: A Congressman’s Lifelong Fight Against Bigotry, Famine, and War,” was not acceptable to the publishers of American History. I found out that the magazine is part of a massive and lucrative empire—the Weider History Group—based on bodybuilding and related products: an empire that has been investigated and convicted for using false claims to sell potentially dangerous “nutritional supplements” and for publishing “obscene” magazines.
The Weider History Group is run by powerful people with powerful friends in high places who’ve opposed the regulation of such supplements. It is said to be worth $1 billion.
The chain’s CEO and publisher, Eric Weider, who personally made the decision to refuse our advertisement.
The reason? Your Council for the National Interest is allegedly “anti-Israel.”
You and I know, the real facts, of course. CNI is a nonpartisan organization founded 20 years ago by highly principled former U.S. Congressmen and diplomats. We oppose failed national policies that prolong the tragic violence in the Middle East, that place perceived Israeli interests over American ones, and that drain billions of dollars from the U.S. economy.
In contrast, the Weider family foundations have been intimately involved with—and promoting—Israel and its American loyalists. The Ben Weider Foundation (Ben is Eric’s father) supported two Lubavitch institutions, a charismatic and sometimes controversial branch of Orthodox Judaism. He was an admirer of Lubavitch head Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, a religious leader who was a major force in Israel; Israeli leaders—including Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu—would often visit him when they were in the U.S. to seek his advice. A widely revered but controversial leader, Schneerson was held by some followers to be the Messiah. Less widely known is the fact that he made statements that Jews are a different and superior species to non-Jews.
There is also a Joe Weider Foundation. Joe Weider (Eric’s uncle) is CEO and Eric Weider has been CFO and is currently President. This has given several large grants to a Los Angeles-based organization called American Friends Of Aish HaTorah. Aish HaTorah is an Israeli organization that opposes Jewish assimilation and promotes Israel in the United States. Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, a strong Israel proponent himself, calls Aish “just about the most fundamentalist movement in Judaism today. Its operatives flourish in the radical belt of Jewish settlements just south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, and their outposts across the world propagandize on behalf of a particularly sterile, sexist and revanchist brand of Judaism.”
Among its multitude of activities, Aish has a program to create and equip advocates for Israel on American campuses. These “Hasbara Fellows” as they’re termed, operate on over 120 campuses.
Joe Weider is one of six North American chairmen of The Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah. This focuses on bringing political leaders, corporate executives, investors, and entertainment personages on private trips to Israel to increase their support for Israel.
There is plenty more about the Weider History Group and their publications in my article, “The Empire Behind World’s Largest History Magazine Chain: How American History Magazine Censored Palestine.” I encourage you to read it—and distribute it to friends and allies. In particular, I hope you’ll send it to history buffs, professors, and teachers.
I also must encourage you to keep supporting CNI as well. Your investments in our work are the lifeblood of CNI. A gift of $20 or $200, $25 or $250—any amount— is especially needed right now because the holiday season is, rightfully, a time when the focus is on family and friends. Please remember that our work continues in season and out.
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Dear Friend of CNI: