Part I: Sudan 'Anti-slavery' campaign is outgrowth of pro-Israel lobby
Part II: Christian 'slave redeemers' linked to pro-apartheid militants
Part III: American Muslims in false dilemma over Sudan war
Charles Jacobs says he was a simple management consultant before founding the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) in 1993. He is now credited with being the driving force behind the campaign against slavery in Sudan.
One of the main public relations techniques used in this campaign is the controversial practice of "slave redemption;" that is, paying purported Sudanese slave traders cash for the release of captive civilians. The language of the anti-slavery campaign is packed with emotional, hot-button phrases like "slaving Arab regimes," "Arab slave masters," and "Jihad (Holy War) to Arabize and Islamize the black South."
Jacobs has been defensive about his background and the practices of his organization. "Wait a minute, we're not doing a whole dossier on Jacobs," he told an inquiring Philadelphia Tribune reporter. He divulges only that his firm "sends me around the world to confer with senior management staff1."
But an iviews.com investigation has revealed that Jacobs and other leading figures in the anti-slavery movement have a strong political agenda and a history of activism in support of the state of Israel.
Promoting "pro-Likud" positions
Jacobs has acted as key advisor, spokesman, and speechwriter for the National Unity Coalition for Israel (NUCI), an umbrella group of evangelical Christian organizations and far right Jewish groups. NUCI's web site says the group was convened by Voices United for Israel. But the two groups are essentially identical -- they share a web site and president.
The coalition's stance is so hard-line that several board members have resigned. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said he resigned because of the group's "anti-Rabin, pro-Likud" positions2.
NUCI has hosted rallies and news conferences for Likud officials, including Benjamin Netanyahu, on their trips to the United States. 3
Esther Levens, NUCI president, told iviews.com that Jacobs "has been extremely helpful. We had very large events. Oh, he's been just extremely helpful and extremely supportive."
"He's probably one of our key advisors, and he has done a good deal of speech writing for me," Levens added. "I mean, I never worry about it. I can think about other things and know that my speech would come off pretty well if I just delivered it well. He's an excellent writer, such a talented fellow."
Jacobs, speaking as an NUCI representative and using the name "Chuck Jacobs," told the New York Times that his group is "'giving voice' to evangelical Christians who are ardent Zionists.'"4
In September, NUCI posted on their web site an article by Gary M. Cooperberg, a former official of Kach, the outlawed Israeli terrorist organization. Cooperberg also served as the spokesman for Rabbi Meir Kahane, an extremist American Jewish leader who advocated the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel. In the article, Cooperberg attacked the peace process, writing:
The first step to real peace will be 'negotiate' with Arafat on his terms and relentlessly destroy both him and his followers. All lands under his present control must be taken back and the PLO must be completely driven out from our homeland with no exceptions.
In 1994, Cooperberg issued a press release praising the massacre by Baruch Goldstein, fellow follower of Kahane, of 29 Muslims in a mosque in Hebron. Cooperberg called the massacre a "desperate act of love for his people" that "will someday be recognized by all Jews as the turning point which brought redemption upon us." 5
After NUCI posted the Cooperberg article on their web site, the moderate Jewish group Americans for Peace Now issued a statement calling on the group to "stop facilitating incitement to violence." 6
NUCI members range from the familiar, like Pat Robertson and the Zionist Organization of America, to the obscure, like the International Christian Embassy (ICE). ICE's members are evangelical Christians who moved to Jerusalem to support Israel in the belief that the country's establishment will usher in Judgment Day.
ICE's U.S. office lobbies on behalf of Israel's rightist Likud Party and in support of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The Boston Globe reported that the group "embraces militant belief" and is "a fierce critic of the underlying premise of the Mideast peace process." "Their rhetoric is often apocalyptic, and many speakers at a series of seminars in Jerusalem demonized the Arab population," said the Globe7.
Israel must "annex unilaterally" Arab land
Jacobs' tough position towards Arabs is reflected in his writings on the Middle East. He and a former top Israeli military official wrote in an op-ed that "Israel has the right and the obligation, after decades of Arab enmity and after having fought several defensive wars, to annex unilaterally those sparsely populated areas that are vital to her security...The areas to be annexed contain approximately 30,000 Arabs." 8
Jacobs has repeatedly expressed similar views writing as chairman of The American Friends of the Israeli Double Column Plan. The group promotes an alternative to the current peace process that would see further Israeli annexations of Arab land and the creation of a Palestinian Bantustan. In Jacobs' vision, "The Palestinians will have to accept something less than full sovereignty. Their polity must be demilitarized...The Israelis must control air and water rights." 9
Journalist: Group uses "power and money...to get whatever Israel wants"
Jacobs also neglects to mention that he served in the late 1980s as deputy director of the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) 10, a pro-Israel media watchdog group.
Investigative journalist Robert Friedman reported in The Nation that CAMERA was "created specifically to keep the U.S. press in line...At least in one case, it has assigned freelance reporters to dig into the personal lives of liberal journalists whose views deviate from the narrowest spectrum of pro-Israeli opinion. CAMERA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the rest of the lobby don't want fairness, but bias in their favor. And they are prepared to use McCarthyite tactics, as well as the power and money of pro-Israel PACs, to get whatever Israel wants." 11
At one point, CAMERA's letterhead listed Dr. William Perl, the former head of the militant Jewish Defense League (JDL) in Washington. 12
In his writings, Jacobs has taunted former anti-Apartheid activists who have not joined his campaign. 13 Yet CAMERA published ads in Israeli newspapers attacking Nobel Prize winning anti-Apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu. CAMERA objected to Tutu's criticism of Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians. 14
A "propaganda war" with "Arab-Americans and their friends"
The Mosaic Group, Inc. is yet another pro-Israel group headed by Jacobs. Public records on file with the State of Massachusetts indicate that Jacobs is the group's current president. The Jewish Advocate described Mosaic as "an activist group which countered anti-Israel propaganda in community organizations." 15
Seth Corey, who served as Mosaic's president and as a board member, called in 1994 for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's removal from power and trial for treason. 16 Corey is also president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America, and was active with CAMERA and th,e Anti-Defamation League. 17
Another Mosaic board member, Richard Fraiman, served in Israel's Ministry of Justice and the Israeli Defense Forces. 18 Mosaic's treasurer is Shuneet Talpioth, an Israeli who also served as the group's executive director. 19
Jacobs, speaking at Yeshiva Academy in Newton, Mass., described Mosaic as a group of Jews and Christians focused on "the media and the propaganda war" against Israel that is "run by Arab-Americans and their friends." 20
The right-wing pro-Israel activist community in which Jacobs is rooted is tightly knit and remarkable for its close coordination and cooperation.
"We work closely with CAMERA, with [CAMERA president] Andrea Levin, who's just an outstanding person," said NUCI president Levens. "We work closely with different people, from various think tanks, such as American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Security Policy [of Frank Gaffney]. We've got so many groups, and everybody sort of enhances everybody else."
Levens makes it clear that the anti-slavery campaign is an outgrowth of the pro-Israel lobby.
"I guess you know Michael Horowitz with the Hudson Institute," said Levens, referring to one of the most outspoken Jewish activists who alleges anti-Christian slavery in Sudan. "Michael has worked with us. I mean we just have such marvelous people, I have to brag, and we all pretty much share the same perspective on the Middle East." 21
Asked about Mosaic, Levens said, "Well, it's not the name that he (Jacobs) goes under anymore. I think that sort of fell by the wayside when he renamed it the American Anti-Slavery Group."
Sudanese rebels: "African defense force" or "armed gang"?
In the course of his anti-Khartoum campaign, Jacobs has embraced controversial figures whose record on human rights is suspect. One of the co-founders of AASG is David De Chand, who was an official of the rebel South Sudan Independence Army (SSIA). In 1994 the SSIA massacred more than 100 residents in the southern Sudanese town of Akot, many of whom were killed in their hospital beds. 22
In its newsletter and on its web site, AASG reprints statements of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the main rebel group fighting the Khartoum government. Jacobs calls the SPLA an "African defense force." The renown British periodical The Economist has called them "little more than an armed gang of Dinkas...killing, looting and raping." 23 The New York Times has called SPLA commander John Garang "one of Sudan's pre-eminent war criminals." 24
There is an ideological context for Jacobs' support for Garang and the SPLA. Israel gave military aid to the Anya Nya ("snake venom") militia, forerunners of the SPLA, as part of a policy to destabilize Arab governments. 25 More recently, Israel has given weapons to the SPLA. 26 And according to Defense & Foreign Affairs, Garang himself reportedly received guerilla training in Israel. 27
Dominic Mohamed, a member of AASG's advisory board, is a former representative of the Anya Nya. 28
Jacobs: Prophet Muhammad "pulled a swindle"
Jacobs himself has written negatively about Islam. In an effort to cast doubt on Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat's credibility, Jacobs referred to what he called "a swindle Mohammed pulled" in the Prophet's dealings with hostile tribes. 29
Jacobs' use of hot-button words in reference to Islam, Muslims, and Arabs led an official at one human rights group to describe his rhetoric as "Muslim-baiting."
"This is a failed attempt of propaganda in America to divide the African American community between those who are Muslims and those who have not accepted Islam yet," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Musli,m chaplain at Howard University and founder of the Muslim Advocacy Commission of Washington, DC.
"The race-baiting and Muslim-baiting is the same thing that was done in the African American community to divide the light-skinned blacks from the dark-skinned blacks," added Abdul-Malik.
Jacobs did not return repeated calls seeking comment for this story.
Ismail Royer is the iviews.com Washington Bureau Chief
1 The Philadelphia Tribune, 4/30/96
2 The New York Times, January 21, 1998
3 The Washington Times, May 20, 1998 and May 29, 1998
4 The New York Times, January 21, 1998
5 The New Republic April 18, 1994, pg. 21
7 The Boston Globe, October 2, 1999, pg. A5