A little over a year ago, SpinWatch introduced evidence indicating that, supposedly, London-based Réalité-EU had links to The Israel Project, a pro-Israel organization based in Washington, DC, and Jerusalem. Now we have further evidence to suggest that the two organizations are deeply intertwined.
Réalité-EU is a group which claims to be “a website and e-newsletter for journalists, leaders and key analysts that focus on developments in and around the Middle East which pose a threat to Europe and beyond,” and “is supported by individuals concerned with the growing threat of Iran and extremism in Europe and the Middle East.” The group gained prominence in 2007 when it compiled a “backgrounder” of radical and inflammatory statements made by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The compilation found an audience on a number of right-wing and anti-Islam websites.
Réalité-EU’s website serves a clearinghouse, of sorts, providing information for journalists about sanctions and Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Réalité appears to have a European management and target audience, judging from its list of “expert sources” who are primarily based in the EU.
But a closer examination of their website raises questions about whose interests the organization is representing.
First, the domain name “realite-eu.org” has the following registration details:
Registrant Name:Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Registrant Organization:The Israel Project
TIP often presents right-wing and neoconservative views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, in recent years, has spearheaded a push for escalating measures against Iran.
A 2007 TIP press conference on the “Iranian threat” included a number of neoconservatives including Frank Gaffney—who was recently deemed too Islamophobic for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a venue with a history of tolerating bigotry against Muslims.
I asked Mizrahi for an explanation of why she had registered Réalité-EU’s domain name.
She contacted her webmaster who told her:
Realite isn’t registered to TIP. Both Realite-eu.org and theisraelproject.org are registered under an account with register.com (a company that millions of organizations and corporations use to register thier domains). They are not connected, but are listed as separate domains under an umbrella account.
When asked if her webmaster could explain why Register.com chose to attach her and TIP’s name to the Réalité domain, she responded:
I asked him. He has no idea.
Btw – I know and like Realite and a whole host of other groups that support sanctions on Iran. It is all important lifesaving/war-avoiding work. Sanctions are a true path to peace.
During the 2009 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, Réalité staff handed out thumb drives to journalists entering the summit’s security checkpoint while TIP blanketed the local CNN broadcasts with this commercial.
After a bit more research, I found that the domain name wasn’t the only piece of Réalité’s website tied to TIP. Réalité hosted conference calls (promoted on Réalité’s homepage) which are recorded as MP3 files and can be streamed to anyone accessing the Réalité website.
I contacted Mizrahi for an explanation for why recordings of Réalité-EU conference calls were stored on a TIP website but I have yet to receive a response. (This post will be updated if and when I receive an answer.)
Back in 2009, SpinWatch identified that Réalité, which claimed to be based out of offices in London, was sending out emails using a mail server registered to the Washington, DC, offices of B’nai B’rith International. B’nai B’rith denied any connection with Réalité when called for comment by SpinWatch.
When pressed about the use of a B’nai B’rith server, Réalité acknowledged that the organization rents “services and space on their server for cost saving reasons.” Réalité did not respond to a call for comment when SpinWatch asked them why their London phone number forwarded to a voicemail box of The Israel Project in Washington. (B’nai B’rith and The Israel Project appear to share office space.)
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Réalité-EU is directly tied to TIP and, as Mizrahi’s name is listed on Réalité’s domain name registration and TIP hosts recordings of Réalité conference calls, there would appear to be far more than just a coincidental sharing of server space for “cost saving reasons.” But there is strikingly little evidence to suggest that Réalité has much of a connection to London or Europe, where it seeks to inform European policymakers and journalists about “developments in and around the Middle East which pose a threat to Europe and beyond.”
A search of the UK’s Companies House and Charity Commission show no record of Réalité ever being registered as a legal entity in the UK. Réalité was reported to be a project of International Media Intelligence Analysis (IMIA) which was a registered entity in the U.K. But as of April 14, 2009, IMIA was dissolved.
Mizrahi, in email correspondence with me, did not respond to questions regarding the relationship or institutional link between TIP and Réalité.
The mounting evidence would appear to suggest that Réalité is either in close partnership with TIP or a project of the organization. Why would TIP be listed on the domain name registration and host MP3 files of conference calls for an organization seeking to promote hawkish Iran policy to European policymakers and journalists? More importantly, if Réalité is indeed a TIP project, why is there no public acknowledgment of the relationship?