Israel’s new Iron Dome: “J-Ventures”

by Haydar Oruc

It has long been said that Israel is very influential in the West in general and in the US in particular, thanks to its powerful lobby. In continuation of this claim, it is also said that Israel is not even allowed to create anything against Israel on any issue in these geographies and that possible developments are detected and somehow terminated before they are even realized.

However, the mechanism by which all this was planned and executed could not be clearly defined.

It is estimated that many Jewish lobbying organizations that are legally integrated into the US system, such as AIPAC, ADL, and AJC, are coordinating with the state of Israel.

Through these lobby organizations, the US Congress is penetrated, and thanks to the senators and members of the House of Representatives controlled by the lobby, as well as local politicians such as governors and mayors, US support for Israel is maintained and huge sums are spent to avoid any road accidents.

But after October 7th incidents we have witnessed made us think that we were dealing with something different, more effective, and more effective than the usual mechanism. Because we saw that people who criticized Israel for its war crimes in Gaza, or who said that Hamas was right, were subjected to great pressure, isolated, and lost their jobs. We have also witnessed that companies, associations, organizations, or other legal entities with a similar stance have been subjected to both economic pressure and judicial investigations.

But how was this mechanism so well organized and how was it able to find and elicit anti-Israel reactions from millions of people, leading to the imposition of sanctions?

We learned the answer to this question last week.

On December 8, two US journalists, Jack Poulson and Lee Fang, whose names are familiar from their Twitter documents, published an article on the news portal Substack titled “Inside the pro-Israel information war” (https://www.leefang.com/p/inside-the-pro-israel-information), exposing this mechanism.

According to the report, these journalists infiltrated the Whatsapp group “J-Ventures Global Kibbutz Group”, whose members are mostly Jewish investors, financiers, businessmen, media executives, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, academics and Israeli foreign affairs and military officials, and deciphered their correspondence.

So who were the members of the group of about 300 people?

We should start with Oded Hermoni, a former technology journalist, recently entrepreneur, and venture capitalist, who founded the group and named the venture project J-Ventures, of which he is the managing director. Then there’s Jeff Epstein, former CFO of Oracle and now one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists, and Andy David, a diplomat and entrepreneur who also serves as head of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology at the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In addition, investor David Wagonfeld, who is said to be AIPAC’s Silicon Valley leader, Adam Tartakovsky, who is also considered AIPAC’s political chairman, Adam Milstein, one of AIPAC’s major donors, and activists Kathy Fields and Garry Rayant are also influential members of the group. Kenneth Baer, a senior advisor to the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration and a communications advisor to the ADL, is also an active member of the group. The identities of the other members of the group and a list of the organizations with which they are associated and from which they receive aid can be found at the link above.

Thanks to the deciphered correspondence, it is understood that a wide range of people were followed. Who are the people from criticize Israel on different social media platforms, people who work for Jewish-owned organizations and support Palestine and from those who criticize Israel or support Palestine in the media and universities, to politicians and bureaucrats who make anti-Israel statements in congress or in the government.

Identified individuals are brought to the attention of the relevant group members, who are asked to take appropriate action and are punished.

The most concrete example of this practice is that after Courtney Carey, who worked at Wix’s Dublin headquarters, posted “Freedom for Palestine” on her LinkedIn account, Jewish investor Alon Ozer, a member of the group, shared a screenshot of the post in question in the group and demanded that action be taken, and Carey’s employment was terminated after Batsheva Moshe, Vix’s general manager in Israel, stated that action would be taken.

Immediately after October 7, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Israel’s military spokesperson, held a meeting via Zoom with executives of some technology companies and prominent capitalists, including some of the group’s members, and asked them to support Israel’s position in universities, media, think tanks and elite circles in order to prevent the negative effects of the ongoing attacks.

In addition, it is understood that the work of this group was also effective in the recent incidents in the media in which some university rectors were called to testify at the congress and then forced to resign. It was also revealed that a task force was set up within the group to ensure that some university professors were fired for alleged extremist statements and to prevent students who participated in anti-Israel activities from being hired in the future.

Not content with this, the group has also paid special attention to silencing Palestinian Member of the House of Representatives Rashida Tlaib. In this context, one of the activities of the group was to cancel Tlaib’s speeches at some universities and to launch a petition for her resignation.

It is understood that the group organizes trainings on how to use Israel’s public diplomacy, called “Hasbara”, as counter-propaganda, and as such, it has become a part of Israel’s propaganda apparatus.

It is also seen in the correspondence that advertisements prepared within the scope of these propaganda activities are financed, content is produced and disseminated to legitimize Israel’s attacks and massacres in Gaza, anti-Israel posters are tried to be discredited, and finally, all kinds of aid is collected to support Israel’s attacks.

Under normal circumstances, Poulson and Fang’s work would be considered a great journalistic achievement and would be frequently covered in the mainstream media, but unfortunately, it is understood that this news did not receive the attention it deserved, or rather, it was deprived of this attention. Nevertheless, a few newspapers in Turkey, notably the Anadolu Agency, gave extensive coverage to this issue and this twisted web of relations, which the Western media insistently ignored, was brought to the attention of the whole world.

As it can be seen, Israel has established the Iron Dome system to prevent threats from the air, as well as the Whatsapp group named “J-Ventures Global Kibbutz Group” to prevent international reactions to the ongoing massacre in Gaza. But, it is unclear how long Israel can remain under the protection of this shield which thinks that it has provided itself with a new protective shield.

Despite the brutal attacks since October 7, Hamas has not been able to inflict any tangible casualties. On the other hand, due to the killing of around 20,000 civilians, including 8,000 children, and the wounding of more than 50,000 people, and despite all these efforts, Israel has drawn a great reaction from the international community.

Just as on October 7, we saw that the Iron Dome does not fully protect Israel, we have to say that Israel’s new virtual Iron Dome will not provide it with the protection that it was meant to. Because a worse end awaits those who oppress to innocents.

This article was originally published in Diriliş Postası on December 19, 2023 in Turkish.

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