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Lee Kaplan, Dafka Exposed

Santa Cruz Community Television is offering up more than the usual community dish. Recently, Club Cruz, a locally produced television show, has been used as a platform for virtual infomercials for an extremist group with a record of harassing peace advocates.

The show, produced by Santa Cruz resident Becky Johnson, has featured on several occasions a man named Lee Kaplan, self-proclaimed founder and director of the extreme Zionist group, Dafka.
lee kaplan, dafka exposed
lee kaplan, dafka exposed



Lee Kaplan, Dafka Exposed

By Will Wallace


Santa Cruz Community Television is offering up more than the usual community dish. Recently, Club Cruz, a locally produced television show, has been used as a platform for virtual infomercials for an extremist group with a record of harassing peace advocates.

The show, produced by Santa Cruz resident Becky Johnson, has featured on several occasions a man named Lee Kaplan, self-proclaimed founder and director of the extreme Zionist group, Dafka. During the episodes, Kaplan dominated the half-hour shows with inaccuracies about the Palestinian peace movement, negative stereotypes about Arabs and Islam, and potentially slanderous statements about widely respected groups such as Santa Cruz's Resource Center for Nonviolence and Berkely's MidEast Children's Alliance and individuals involved with them. Intermittently throughout the show, addresses of Kaplan's websites appeared across the screen and Kaplan invited viewers to visit the websites; he also promoted a book that was for sale on one of the websites. Each episode also featured a disgruntled Arab guest who shared negative opinions about Palestinians and Arabs from a presumed "insider's" perspective. (One questions the authenticity of such guests, however, since Kaplan brags on his website about disguising himself and passing himself off as an Arab at various peaceful gatherings.)

Ron Holman, Programming Director at Community Television, said that even though some people may disagree with statements Kaplan makes, he is able to appear on their channels via their rules which set up the community stations as resource centers for the public as opposed to a television network model. Holman noted that an individual's speech could be limited if he was inciting violence.

Though Kaplan didn't directly call for violence in the episodes, a little fact checking showed that groups he is associated with have been busy hijacking and illegally intruding on peaceful meetings, harassing peace activists and making at least one death threat.

- October 5, 2003. After participating in a debate at UC Berkeley on Middle East relations, activist Allison Weir received a death threat from an individual identifying himself with Dafka.

-December 3, 2003. DAFKA follows and harasses traveling peace exhibition, Wheels of Justice
; coordinates harassment campaign via internet site.


-June 5, 2004. Progressive Jewish Bay Area Peace Demonstration Harassed by Anti-Palestinian Groups.


-November 19, 2004. Code Pink Hayward meeting at local church hijacked by hate groups Dafka and Protest Warrior
; verbal abuse and physical intimidation used against female peace activists.

In his website, www.dafka.org, Kaplan describes himself as chief editor, "investigative journalist, news bureau head, businessman and political activist." In other media, however, he is listed with other titles, including "Contributing Editor" for David Horowitz's www.frontpagemag.com website and West Coast Coordinator" of Students for Academic Freedom. A post by someone identifying himself as Lee Kaplan on santacruzindymedia.org stated "I do make a living doing research about the Middle East and am a professional journalist. People do drop a dime to read me....I have appeared internationally on radio as a commentator." However, an extensive and exhaustive search yielded no information that could confirm Kaplan's location, background, education, research and type of business. In addition, there no evidence was found that he had been published in print, as he insinuated.

Kaplan appears to be involved in a network of pro-militancy, pro-Israeli international public relations agents who advocate, among other things, for Israel to seize all lands held 2000 years ago and mandatory military or civil service for all residents of Israel . He's also busy generating propaganda for a consortium of conservative websites with the aim of discrediting peace groups, activists, librarians and academics; recruiting college students in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz for his anti-Palestinian Peace Movement and academic censorship groups; and shaping U.S. policy on education through SAF and its associated groups.


What Does All of This Mean?


On a website found in Dafka's Links section, Bernard Shapiro, head of the "Freeman Center for Strategic Studies," describes a scheme for a worldwide public relations campaign with the ultimate aim of protecting the over six billion dollars Israel annually receives from the United States.

"I think it is time to take a second look at my concept but expand it to include radio, magazines, cable television (cable will accept this type of commercial) and newspapers. The ads should range from the very soft evocative travel type to some hard hitting but subtle political messages. Pretend that Israel is a corporation with a vast market in the United States. Receipts from that market top $6 Billion Dollars ( including US economic and military aid, UJA, Israel Bonds, JNF, plus all the other campaigns from Yeshivas to the Technion). What would you spend to protect a market of that magnitude? One half of one percent would equal $30 million. You can run for president with thirty million dollars. In a wild fantasy, lets say we have that much money. And let's say we hire a talented creative ad man to develop a multi-faceted, multi-media, and multi-year campaign to win the hearts and minds of the American people."

Kaplan is a regular contributor to the Freeman website.

Like the "frontpagemag" operation, Students for Academic Freedom is one of several organizations under the leadership umbrella of David Horowitz . SAF doesn't actually promote "freedom" as much as encouraging students to turn in their teachers for saying things they don't like or giving them grades they don't want. If this seems eerily similar to approaches used by fascist campaigns throughout the world, that's because it is. This website includes organizing tools, blank complaint forms for students to pass out and an "Academic Bill of Rights," which amounts to a plan for academic censorship. It also has a "National and State Legislation" section (on the left scroll-down menu) and files on teachers nationwide they deem to be "too liberal." The homepage even includes an insult aimed the target audience --- a graphic of the "hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil" monkeys, traditionally a representation of people who want to ignore reality.

Kaplan has not been content to simply recruit for members in our community; he has also used his platform to attack local politicians and activists who advocate for peace. Scott Kennedy, outgoing Santa Cruz mayor who signed the trailblazing City of Santa Cruz's proclamation against the Iraq War, is one person Kaplan targeted for attacks on his website. Referring to the Resource Center for Nonviolence and Kennedy, Kaplan writes,

"..the ultimate in gall is that Scott likes to invoke the teachings of non-violence and tolerance of Martin Luther King. Would that Dr. King was still alive, he'd probably abandon non-violence for a moment and chuck ol' Scott upside the head. ....It is high time the Santa Cruz community recognize the hypocrisy of a center that is really a mouthpiece for Arab anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in the Middle East. Scott is an elected City Councilman there. When his term is up, I'm sure the majority of people who reside in Santa Cruz will turn him out. Perhaps this commentary can inform enough of them to do so."

With this veiled threat by Kaplan, one is left to wonder whether or not his remarks about Kennedy had any influence on his recent defeat in the City Council race.

The Dafka website, which roughly translated means, "In your face!" in Hebrew, has an editorial voice much like Kaplan's and Horowitz's other projects. They vociferously attack any organization or individual that dares question the United States' and Israel's policies. Kaplan and Horowitz prefer to use semantic attacks against those they seek to silence with meaningless phrases meant to squelch all forms of discussion. An example of such a phrase is "stand with Israel." Although the phrase conjures up a strong images of loyalty, what does it really mean? It insinuates, much like the phrase "support our troops," that if someone doesn't go along with what the author is advocating, then he somehow does not "stand with Israel," or does not "support our troops." Whenever someone challenges something Kaplan or Horowitz says, their stock reply is "Anti-Semitism!" This couldn't be more ridiculous since they save their most vicious attacks for other Jews involved in the peace process and for Arabs, who are also by definition a Semitic people.

Lee Kaplan, like anyone else, has his right to free speech. What seems to be less clear, especially in the way Community Television is run, is how people are accountable for what they broadcast. As it stands now, only a producer can allow people access to past episodes of Club Cruz. One has to question if that makes an entity responsible for the content of their broadcasts, especially when, in the case of former mayor Scott Kennedy, Club Cruz broadcasts occur during City Council meetings.

Clearly, Lee Kaplan and his associates have an agenda: attack and discredit any entity that might lead to a slowing of money flowing into Israel. Judging by their slick websites and the many public relations experts employed, it is also a well-funded one. When community budgets are being slashed and local resources are drying up, how fair is it to allow a non-Santa Cruz County resident to broadcast his infomercials for free at the community's expense? Under the current structure of Community T.V., Becky Johnson, producer of Club Cruz, is the only person accountable to the public for the content of the show. She is listed under Dafka's website as a member and UCSC coordinator for Dafka; her email is listed as becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net. An alternative email address she listed on the Santa Cruz Indymedia site is becky_johnson222@hotmail.com.

In many of the websites associated with Kaplan, supporters are urged to inundate public officials, regulatory agencies and the media with their messages. Perhaps all those people Kaplan has been attacking really do have something to learn from him.


For Further Reading:

Background Information:

Distorting U.S. Foreign Policy: The Israel Lobby and American Power

The Men From JINSA and CSP


The Pro-Israel Lobby

The Israel Lobby and The Left: Uneasy Questions

A Selection of Chomsky Posts

Pro-Israel Lobby Has Strong Voice

Subpeonas issued for officials of pro-Israeli lobby group


Mainline Protestants Challenge Israel Lobby

A Strange Freedom: Jewish and Christian Fundamentalism



fixing a busted link 23.Dec.2004 20:21

mirror


Thanks Exposing Lee Kaplan and Becky Johnson 24.Dec.2004 10:32

Steven Argue

In his pro-war and anti-Arab diatribes Agent Lee Kaplan claims, "And as for the guy [Steven Argue] suggesting America is just in Iraq for profit, get a life. We can buy the oil cheaper than the cost of waging war."

The obvious point that Kaplan doesn't want us to see here is that the billions spent on war and occupation do not come out of the pockets of those that profit off of it. The war is being paid for by us taxpayers, not Halliburton and the others. As such it is not just those American capitalists that are looting and privatizing the Iraqi economy that are gaining big profits, but also those who sell the hardware to the U.S. military.

Agent Kaplan claims, "Israel is a Jewish state, yes, but also a secular democracy ranked as democratic as the US and the UK."

Who gives such rankings? The United States with its violations of the 1965 voting rights act, rigged elections, and political prisoners is far from democratic. Israel is much worse.

Palestinians do not have the right to freely travel. Reminiscent of chattel slavery, Palestinian families are often separated by Israeli officials who commonly do not grant necessary permits for
Palestinians to enter neighborhoods or towns where wives, husbands, or children live. In contrast the Hebrew population has full rights to travel.

Palestinians often do not have the right to keep their own homes, which are often confiscated or bulldozed. The bulldozing of houses is a common punishment of families whose children are accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Recently in Jenin houses were bulldozed
with people inside, an act that besides killing people also made an estimated 4,000 people homeless.

Palestinians do not have the right to freedom of speech and regularly face arrest, torture, and execution for their political views. Even Hebrew speakers who support rights for Palestinians or an end to Israeli wars have, at times, had their press shut down by the Israeli government or had their demonstrations attacked and beaten by Israeli soldiers.

Although the Israeli government claims that Palestinians have the right to own property, this is a lie. Ever since 1948 Palestinians in Israel do not have the right to own land, because their land is often confiscated by force for Hebrew settlement and agriculture. Water rights have been systematically cut off and diverted away from Palestinian lands and given to stolen Hebrew owned lands. Palestinian laborers are then denied by law the right to work the Hebrew owned
agricultural lands, although they are sometimes illegally employed as cheap labor with no labor rights.

The humiliating conditions of the Palestinian people were recently observed by former anti-Apartheid fighter Archbishop Desmond Tutu who wrote: "I have been very deeply distressed by my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in
South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young police officers prevented us from moving about.

"On my visit to the Holy Land I drove to a church with the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. I could hear tears in his voice as he pointed to Jewish settlements. I thought of the desire of Israelis for security. But what of the Palestinians who have lost their land and homes?

"I have experienced Palestinians pointing to what were their homes, now occupied by Jewish Israelis. I was walking with Canon Naim Ateek (the head of the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre) in Jerusalem. He pointed and said: 'Our home was over there. We were driven out of our home;
it is now occupied by Israeli Jews.'

"My heart aches. I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment

In the 1940s Jews were only one third of the population of Palestine. The Arab majority had not yet been driven from their land. After independence from the Britain in 1948 the Zionist state began a massive expropriation of Palestinian land that has not ended. Becky Johnson's claim that, "the Arabs and Muslims who did not flee in 1948, but stayed in Israel have full citizenship, have freedom to practice their religion, own property, vote, have representation in the Knesset, and compose 18% of the population" is so utterly untrue as to defy common sense. Besides defying all facts, I ask why most of an entire people would voluntarily flee the land in which they had built flourishing towns, a rich agriculture, and a vibrant cultural life with nowhere else to go? The short answer is that they did not flee voluntarily. They had met the "Jewish bayonets" of Zionist Jabotinsky's "Iron Wall". To deny this fact comes in on the same level as those who deny the Holocaust of Europe.

on ending US aid to Israel 31.Dec.2004 14:19

W. G. Scott

It is against the US law and the nuclear nonproliferation treaty for the US to provide military aid to a nuclear armed Israel. Hence the convenient fiction, and the need to imprison Mordechai Vanunu. Cutting off military aid to Israel is simply a matter of applying the laws that are already on the books. Those who advocate US military aid to Israel advocate breaking US law. That simple truth appears to be utterly unpronouncible within the US political and academic culture.

Please go easy on Lee Kaplan 01.Jan.2005 11:40

Friend

Please don't be too hard on Lee Kaplan.

As anyone who has seen the guy's TV broadcasts, or spoken with him for a few minutes will release, he simply isn't playing with a full deck.

Don't make fun of people who are mentally ill! And shame on those who encourage his many delusions!

Lee Kaplan - Foreign Agent? 06.Mar.2005 14:12

required

This guy is going to get himself a FISA "sneak and Peak" warrant o nhis tired ass when the Feds decide to find out which part of the Israeli government is paying him and which part he sends his little photo albums to.

Website Dedicated To Following Lee Kaplan's Fascist Actions... 30.May.2006 22:42

Kaplan's Victim

Came across this website dedicated to Lee Kaplan today... apparently he's still up to the same shenanigans as always. This site seems to have great potential, the irony is hilarious that they're using his same fascist tactics against him himself. It's aptly called "Lee Kaplan Watch".