Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Jacobs, Charles

  • Americans for Peace and Tolerance: Cofounder, director

  • American Anti-Slavery Group: Cofounder, president

  • The David Project: Cofounder, former president

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Charles Jacobs is a Boston-based writer and political activist who has founded a number of groups devoted to policing criticism of Israel and warning about the dangers of "radical Islam."

He is the co-founder and current director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), an activist group well known in Boston for opposing the construction of a local Islamic center[1] and for raising alarm about "Islamic extremism" in schools and universities. APT's website claims that "the Muslim American leadership is mostly radical and has been spreading Islamic extremist ideology within the community for several decades,"[2] warning additionally that "American universities have become hotbeds of Islamic extremism and hostile environments for Jewish students who support Israel."[3] Like Elizabeth Cheney's now-defunct advocacy group, Keep America Safe, APT has also organized efforts to oppose the transfer of Guantanamo detainees—even those cleared for release—to American soil.[4]

Since visiting Argentina in 2009, Jacobs has put APT at the forefront of U.S. efforts to link the government of Iran to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed over 80 people. Although critics have pointed out that this claim relies solely on testimony from Iranian dissidents linked to the MEK,[5] an anti-regime Iranian exile organization that has been tied to terrorist attacks, APT has republished in full a 675-page indictment prepared by a Jewish Argentine prosecutor accusing Iran of orchestrating the attack and the Argentinian government of covering up Iran's involvement.[6]

Jacobs also directs the American Anti-Slavery Group, a nonprofit he founded in 1994 that has organized advocacy efforts, fact-finding trips, and "slave redemption" missions aimed at eradicating slavery in Sudan and Mauritania. Although the group's humanitarian work has earned some praise, some observers have accused it of misrepresenting prisoners of war as slaves[7] and criticized it for purchasing enslaved persons with the intention of releasing them. "We welcome them for exposing the agony of our people to the world," said Manase Lomole Waya, who heads the group Humanitarian Assistance for South Sudan. "But giving the money to the slave traders only encourages the trade. It is wrong and must stop. Where does the money go? It goes to the raiders to buy more guns, raid more villages, put more shillings in their pockets. It is a vicious circle."[8]

Jacobs has also used the American Anti-Slavery Group as a platform for his complaints about the broader human rights community. "The vast majority of slave-owners are non-white," Jacobs wrote on the organization's "about" page. "If human rights organizations are embarrassed to point out, much less fight hard against awful behavior by non-whites, they cannot be counted upon to be an important force in a movement to abolish slaves around the world."[9] Alongside news items about slavery and human trafficking, the group's website also warns about "jihad" in Sudan[10] and condemns anti-Semitic remarks purportedly made by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.[11]

Prior to founding APT, Jacobs co-founded and directed the David Project, a confrontational "pro-Israel" advocacy group that presaged much of APT's alarmist messaging about anti-Semitism and Islamist extremism. Among its many campaigns under Jacobs' leadership, the David Project railed against critics of Israel on college campuses[12] and opposed the broadcast of Arab news programs on a cable access channel in suburban Boston.[13] The group's confrontational approach earned it many critics even within the Jewish community, with Leonard Fein, founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, once calling it "an ongoing disservice to the Jewish community. Where bridges might be built, it prefers confrontation; where sober analysis is called for, it opts for polemic; worst of all, wherever there is reason for hope, it insists on fear."[14]

After Jacobs' departure from the David Project in 2008, its leadership attempted to take the group's rhetoric in a more mainstream direction, which prompted Jacobs to pen an angry letter to the Jewish Telegraph Agency in protest. "It was precisely the failure of Jewish mainstream organizations on America’s campuses that inspired the David Project’s birth," he wrote, calling them "feckless" outfits that "shy away from debating or … discussing the Middle East conflict.” He added, “It is amazing to think that the 'mainstream' approach that has failed for the past 30 years continues to be favored by the Jewish establishment."[15]

Central to Jacobs' activism is his contention that progressives, public officials, and mainstream interfaith leaders have abetted Islamic extremism—wittingly or unwittingly—by their overwhelming deference to "political correctness." On his personal website, Jacobs said he founded APT in September 2008 "in response to the threat of Islamic Radicalism’s rapid penetration of American society, and the failure of civic and political leaders to deal with the threat."[16] In other writings, Davis has singled out the Anti-Defamation League for particular ridicule, accusing it of adopting "a policy, consistent with the progressive agenda, not to speak up much about the global tsunami of Muslim anti-Semitism, but instead to campaign against 'Islamophobia'" and "to stand with people and organizations whose mission it is to defame and harm Jews."[17]

Jacobs sketched out this critique in a May 2013 essay he wrote in praise of Pamela Geller, the virulently anti-Islamic blogger who organized much of the opposition to the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" in New York. "Geller is one of the most courageous Jewish women of our time," Jacobs wrote, because "she says the plain truth about things that so many want so much not to hear that they have made the plain truth a taboo. … She is hated by the left because her work powerfully overturns its PC memes—'it’s all our fault' or 'we must have done something to get them mad'—intended to explain away Islamist violence." Jacobs specifically praised Geller's campaign to place "support Israel" ads in the transit systems of several major cities. The ads referred to Israel's foes—presumably Arabs or Muslims—as "savages." Calling the ads "brilliant," Jacobs spent much of the piece listing various terrorist attacks as evidence of the "savagery" of these groups.[18]

Jacobs’ experience also includes serving as a speaker for the now-defunct neoconservative public relations firm Benador Associates, as a board member of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and as the deputy director of the Boston chapter of CAMERA, another "pro-Israel" media watchdog group. His writings have appeared frequently in right-wing outlets like David Horowitz's Front Page Mag, the late Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace, the American Thinker, and Family Security Matters.

 

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Sources


[1] APT, "A Moderating Mosque," http://peaceandtolerance.org/index.php/2012-07-26-13-33-42/a-moderating-mosque.



[2] APT, "Extremism & Terror," http://peaceandtolerance.org/index.php/2012-07-26-13-33-42.



[3] APT, "Campus," http://peaceandtolerance.org/index.php/2012-07-26-13-33-03.



[4] APT, "Guantanamo Bay State," http://peaceandtolerance.org/index.php/2012-07-26-13-33-42/98-guantanamo-bay-state.



[5] Gareth Porter, "Indictment of Iran for ’94 Terror Bombing Relied on MEK," Inter Press Service, August 7, 2013, http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/indictment-of-iran-for-94-terror-bombing-relied-on-mek/.



[6] Charles Jacobs, "Cover-up in Argentina," The Jewish Advocate, December 2, 2009, available at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=143509339045414&story_fbid=538074656255545.



[7] See David Hecht, "Virtual Slavery," The New Republic, May 12, 1997, Vol. 216, http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/9704272857/virtual-slavery.



[8] Richard Miniter, "Encouraging the Slave Trade," The Atlantic, July 1999, http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/99jul/9907sudanslaves2.htm.



[9] Charles Jacobs, "About Us," American Anti-Slavery Group, http://www.iabolish.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188&Itemid=29.



[10] Charles Jacobs and Sasha Giller. "Jihad in Sudan Redux," American Anti-Slavery Group, July 6, 2011, http://www.iabolish.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=262:jihad-in-sudan-redux&catid=32:commentary&Itemid=34.



[11] American Anti-Slavery Group, "Farrakhan's Secret Relationship," http://www.iabolish.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=268:farrakhans-secret-relationship&catid=27:featured.



[12] See The David Project, "Columbia Unbecoming," http://web.archive.org/web/20050305100705/http://www.columbiaunbecoming.com/default.htm.



[13] Sarah Andrews, "Arab news program sparks outcry," Newton Tab, January 20, 2004, http://web.archive.org/web/20041021205641/http://www.freepress.net/news/2342.



[14] Leonard Fein, letter on Charles Jacobs, 2007, Berman Jewish Policy Archive, http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/downloadPublication.cfm?PublicationID=15769.



[15] Charles Jacobs, " Why the David Project should not turn ‘mainstream,’" JTA, July 22, 2010, http://www.jta.org/2010/07/22/news-opinion/letters/why-the-david-project-should-not-turn-mainstream#ixzz2g160jqdp.



[16] Charles Jacobs, "About," http://charlesjacobs.org.



[17] Charles Jacobs and Ilya Feoktistov," The ADL Must Be Stopped," American Thinker, April 27, 2012, http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/04/the_adl_must_be_stopped.html#ixzz2fyFt9y9j.



[18] Charles Jacobs, "Pamela Geller: Jewish Heroine," Jewish Advocate, May 10, 2013, available at http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2013/05/charles-jacobs-pamela-geller-jewish-heroine.html


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Jacobs, Charles Résumé


Affiliations

  • Americans for Peace and Tolerance: Cofounder, director

  • American Anti-Slavery Group: Cofounder, president

  • The Sudan Campaign: Co-chair

  • The David Project: Cofounder, former president

  • Benador Associates: Former speaker

  • Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Former board member

  • National Unity Coalition for Israel: Former member

  • Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA): Former deputy director, Boston chapter

     


Education

  • Harvard: Ed.D

  • Rutgers: BA

     

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