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Film: The Lobby: USA
March 1, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Busboys & Poets and the Institute for Policy Studies invite you to a film and panel discussion, showing excerpts of the 2018 al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby: USA” which never aired due to extraordinary political pressure. James Kleinfeld, who went undercover working on this film, will participate as well.The panel will look at the influence of groups that are working with the government of Israel to stifle critics of Israel in the U.S., but have not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The event is part of a broader investigation by the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative of the Center for International Policy and others, of how foreign governments skew U.S. policymaking towards the Middle East. That work includes a just-released report on foreign government funding of U.S. think-tanks, forthcoming updates on Saudi and UAE lobbying, and new reports on Washington lobbying by Qatar and Israel.
Panelists following the film excerpts:
- James Kleinfeld is a journalist in Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. In the Summer of 2016, he spent five months undercover as a pro-Israel advocate for the Lobby USA documentary series that was due to be released in November 2018. He has also covered the far-right in France, and corruption in Namibia and Iceland.
- Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and Director of their New Internationalism Project. She was a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and now serves on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East issues and was twice short-listed to become the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Before & After: US Foreign Policy and the War on Terror and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy U.S. Power.
- Eli Clifton is the research director of Quincy Institute’s Democratizing Foreign Policy Program and an investigative journalist who focuses on money in politics and U.S. foreign policy. He previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service. Clifton is co-author of the Center for American Progress’s report Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America. Eli has been a fellow at The Nation Institute and the Type Media Center. His work has appeared on PBS/Frontline’s Tehran bureau, The Intercept, the South China Morning Post, Right Web, LobeLog, Salon, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, Slate, Gawker, Responsible Statecraft and ForeignPolicy.com.
- Ben Freeman is the Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, where he works to expose how foreign governments are influencing U.S. public policy and elections. This work builds upon his book, The Foreign Policy Auction, which systematically analyzed the foreign influence industry in the U.S. Before launching FITI, Dr. Freeman was the Deputy Director of the National Security program at Third Way. Prior to joining Third Way, he served as the National Security Fellow at the Project on Government Oversight from 2011 to 2013, where he spear-headed creation of the “Foreign Influence Database,” a repository of propaganda distributed by foreign agents previously unavailable online.