Thursday, January 12, 2023

Sunjeev Bery is the Executive Director at an NGO called Freedom Forward. He was advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Amnesty International USA from 2011-2017. he's been interviewed on TV as some sort of expert.

For the past few days, Bery has been tirelessly tweeting his support for Ken Roth in the Kennedy School story - and going after Roth's critics.

Including me.

Which makes for some very entertaining reading.

Roth tweeted, "Harvard's Kennedy School says it 'welcomes new ideas—even unpopular and controversial ones." Its curriculum "encourages students and faculty to talk openly and effectively about difficult and highly charged issues.' Except for Israel, Dean Elmendorf?"

I responded to Roth, "Perhaps @Harvard @Kennedy_School has a policy against hiring obsessive liars? In 2014 I compiled a list of Ken Roth's Twitter lies over just a few months, and documented why they were wrong. He of course never corrected [any of] them. See for yourself," linking to a list of dozens of lies and distortions that Roth tweeted during and after the 2014 Gaza war.

Sunjeev Bery was very upset, apparently, at the tone of my list. "I started reading your "document" @elderofziyon, and it became clear within 10 seconds that it's a flimsy prop that enables you to just claim that people are liars. You are selling something that is far less than it actually is and using it for propaganda purposes."

Not knowing (or caring) who he was, I answered, "You are invited to tell me where I am wrong."

Instead of doing that, Bery wrote, "Many of the statements you make in your documents are simply claims and represent your beliefs. You seem to be adopting the posture that your claims are The Truth, and that those you disagree with are The Liars. Your intent is propagandistic."

Ah, so it isn't my facts - but my intent - that offends him. Good to know that human rights professionals are as little interested in the truth on Twitter as they are when they write their reports.

Then he hit me with what he considered his real zinger - which he used on other critics of Roth on the thread. "But here's the real question that tests your intentions: What are YOUR human rights criticisms of israel?"

It was already clear now that he was playing a game and had no interest in any semblance of truth, so I said I was done with the conversation: "So you cannot find a single example where Roth was correct and I was wrong.  Out of several dozen.  And then you want to accuse me of being disingenuous? Bye."

But this human rights professional brought out his inner teenage troll and kept trying to goad me. "Nice try buddy. Again @elderofziyon, what are YOUR criticisms of Israel?." I ignored him. 

Another tweeter answered him, "He asked you a question in direct response to your criticism and you still didn’t answer.  You should answer his question before you move on."

Bery answered him or her, "Wrong, buddy. If he can't say anything critical of Israel then he is ultimately a propagandist and a pro-government partisan arguing in bad faith."

I gave in and finally responded:
I'm not here for your amusement.  I don't pretend to be anything but a pro-Israel site; I provide a tiny bit of counterweight to the tsunami of anti-Israel information out there. I am not a newspaper that pretends to be balanced. That being said, I strive to be 100% truthful.

To me, "bad faith" is accusing me of something and not being able to back it up, and instead changing the subject. THAT is a propaganda technique that the anti-Israel crowd does all the time; reframing the conversation instead of admitting mistakes. 
I don't play those games.
After repeating himself for some reason, he gave me his one example of where my criticism of Roth was off-base to him with this screenshot:

By your own admission, you say that Ken Roth uses "the best available data" but because he doesn't include the caveats, you claim he is lying.

This is a totally bad faith argument on your part, and it is one of many many such examples in the document.

And so your overall document @elderofziyon lacks the substantive content necessary to justify your overall claim. 

My reaction to the content of your document is that it serves the purpose of creating a propagandistic and misleading headline.

 That is why I ask if you have any criticisms of Israel's policies that you are willing to state here publicly?

This is the test for differentiating an honest critic from a propagandist. A propagandist promotes a government and avoids mentioning any criticism whatsoever.

OK, at least he said something specific, even if it made no sense. I responded:

My 2014 article says "dozens of them were flat-out false, and others were knowingly deceptive." Your example is one of the deceptive ones - Roth stated the statistics AS FACT without saying "reportedly" or any other word newspapers would use.

Of course, he never corrected.

To defend that, and to cherry pick that out of all my examples that show how Roth DID lie multiple times, shows that YOU are the one who is being a propagandist. Is this the standard you accept for a human rights leader you have defended so energetically?  That's pretty sad.
No, I pointed out one example of many lies within your document in response to your request. There are many more examples of similar exaggerations.

But once again, you have failed to answer my question:

What are YOUR criticisms of Israeli policies?

The answer seems to be none.
Obviously he did not point out a single mistake or lie of mine. But I decided to answer his main question:
I defend my family publicly. I criticize them privately.

Everyone has biases. Every media outlet does, too.  I admit mine -and the goal of my writings - upfront. Call it propaganda if you want, but I insist on honesty and transparency - which is much more than most media.
To Bery, this was the smoking gun! After a rehash of earlier arguments, he wrote, "Here's the reality, @elderofziyon.  You are self-admittedly engaging in pro-Israel propaganda. You clearly state that you avoid making any public criticism of Israel, and that your only public comments on Israel are to defend its policies. "

Uh, yeah. 

Yes. It is no secret. Wikipedia calls me a pro-Israel blogger. Not sure why that bothers you. 

Ken Roth is also a propagandist, as I proved. But he insists there is no bias, which I have comprehensively shown he has. 

And you are cool with that.
Bery's response to this graphic is priceless:

I bet many of Ken Roth's tweets regarding Israel are because he feels pressure to respond to propaganda accounts like yours constantly flooding Twitter with false claims.
So the only reason Roth treats Israel like the worst violator of war crimes is because people like me bother him!

Only then did I look Sunjeev up - and propaganda is his middle name. 

Pot, meet kettle.

Sunjeev worked at Amnesty USA during the 2014 Gaza war. AI-USA said that Amnesty would correct any errors in their "Gaza Platform." I pointed out SCORES of them, calling terrorists "civilian." They ignored it.

Who is a propagandist?
His hilarious response was to paste my tweet where I admitted that I am a pro-Israel blogger. So damning!

Then I noticed that this "human rights professional" "Liked" a tweet that was pretty much at his maturity level: is propaganda when I defend one side, but it is perfectly OK to pretend to be an objective head of an NGO while "Like"ing tweets that say  "Zionists love smelling their own farts"?
Bery then fell apart - yet defended it!

1. Zionists and Jews are not the same thing. It is anti-Semitic to conflate the two.

2. There are Christian and Hindu zionists. There are Jewish anti-zionists.

3. You are part of an organized troll strategy of amplifying your propaganda tweets, which I do liken to flatulence.

The guy who was trolling me for hours says I'm the troll!

I responded with my own numbered list:

1. Your Like proves that you are not the least bit objective. Just like your hero Roth.

2. If you don't know what objectivity means, then your defending Roth as objective is far funnier than a fart joke.

3. I wrote a book describing how today's anti-Zionism is a modern form of antisemitism.

4. This thread has proven to any observer that you have zero intellectual honesty.

He then said that I didn't answer him, presumably his non-sequitur that Zionists and Jews aren't the same: "Once again, you didn't respond to anything that I said. But that's cool. Keep up the propaganda! 👍 Your audiences are getting smaller and smaller 😊"

So I finished him and the thread off:

I never once claimed that Jews and Zionists are the same.  Your reading comprehension is about the same level as your objectivity. 

This thread will make a great post, though. Making a fool of a supposed human rights expert to the entire world is always fun!

His final response after bring proven a hypocrite with not the slightest interest in truth?

 The troll couldn't handle being made a fool of.

But the most bizarre part is that while it is obvious that he said nothing at all to contradict a single one of my facts, ... he thinks he won!

Bery's entire argument is that to have any credibility, every Zionist must criticize Israel publicly and constantly. Obviously, he has no similar criteria insisting on "balance"  for the anti-Israel zealots he admires and quotes.

I'm actually complimented that he keeps calling my writings "propaganda." Here is his response to the 2009 NYT op-ed by Robert Bernstein decrying how the organization he founded, Human Rights Watch, had gone off the rails by going after democracies like Israel that have checks and balances and downplaying the evil of the real human rights violators of the world:

I'll gladly share the insult with a true human rights giant.

The NGO Bery currently heads, "Freedom Forward," says it "seeks a world in which all people have the benefit of living in societies that are anchored in democracy and respect for human rights."  It doesn't appear to actually do anything besides create "campaigns" against Israel and US Arab allies.

I wonder who funds it. The site is not very transparent about that. 

Bery himself seems to have a soft spot for that bastion of democracy and human rights, Turkey

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