Subject: Israelites gird their loins for Al Jazeera hidden-camera exposé
Pro-Israel lobby groups brace for Al Jazeera hidden-camera exposé
by Eddie Scarry | Feb 6, 2018
Pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington, D.C., are preparing themselves for the release of a hidden
camera-style exposé produced by the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera news network.
In an email obtained Tuesday by the Washington Examiner, Al Jazeera asked firms featured in the film
if they wanted to comment for it ahead of its release.
The letter accused the lobbying groups of being "drawn into Israel's covert campaign to defeat BDS."
BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, is a pro-Palestinian project that aims to turn
international public opinion against the Israeli government's expansion into what Palestinians
believe is their territory.
"Al Jazeera is in the final stages of preparing a documentary concerning the role of pro-Israel
advocacy groups in the United States," the network said in the email dated Feb. 2. "The documentary
will investigate how such groups secure support for Israel in Congress and how they have been drawn
into Israel's covert campaign to defeat BDS, the movement to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on
The news outlet said in the letter it had "uncovered evidence, which suggests that this campaign may
well involve these groups working with Israel to collect intelligence on and discredit U.S. citizens
who support BDS, as well as others who are perceived as challenging Israel."
The letter told the groups that received it that if they would like to comment for the documentary,
they should send replies back by Feb. 22.
"Let’s not mince words about what this was — a well-funded, professional espionage operation
carried out by Qatar on American soil," Noah Pollak, executive director of the Committee for Israel,
said Tuesday in a statement. "Its purpose is to cast American Jews engaged in perfectly normal
political activity as secret conspirators with the Israeli government, an old anti-Semitic trope.
Infiltrating American political organizations using fake names and hidden cameras may sound
legitimate in Doha, but I suspect Americans, and the current administration, will take a very
different view of this disgraceful behavior.”
Among the pro-Israel groups targeted for the documentary were the Israeli Embassy, the Israel
Project, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, according to a Jan. 20 report in the
Jewish magazine Tablet.
The Tablet article said the activist James Anthony Kleinfeld, using the name Antoine Kleinfeld, made
inroads into Washington's pro-Israel community by passing himself off as a pro-Israel activist,
"throwing parties in his lavish apartment and ingratiating himself by sending thoughtful notes and
text messages to everyone he met."
“Everything looks bad when it’s secretly recorded through a cellphone,” Tablet quoted one
"official in an organization Kleinfeld targeted" in the article. “All Americans have the right to
lobby the government, to write down what they think should be done, and to talk to journalists about
the things they believe in. That’s true, even when these American citizens are Jewish.”
Pollak told the Examiner through a spokesman that Kleinfeld repeatedly contacted him in 2017 but
that he did not engage in any substantial way. Pollak said that Al Jazeera sent him the request for
comment because Kleinfeld had video recorded him speaking on a panel at George Mason University in
A spokesperson for Al Jazeera did not return a request for comment from the Washington Examiner.