7331Emails show pro-Israel anti-Mosque Campaign in Boston
- May 8, 2007The David Project conspired with real estate agents, lawyers and
politicians to organize a campaign to deny the Boston Muslim community
their 1st amendment rights to worship freely.
Emails show pro-Israel anti-Mosque Campaign in Boston
World View News Service
May 8, 2007
Read the original emails at: http://tinyurl.com/23adhf
This week, Jessica Masse, interfaith coordinator of the Islamic
Society of Boston, publicly released recent discovery materials
obtained as part of the ISB's conspiracy lawsuit, which reveal that an
Israel advocacy organization met with real estate investors,
attorneys, and Republican activists at their office at 210 South
Street in Boston to discuss an action plan "to present a legal
challenge" to the Roxbury Mosque project.
On May 28, 2004, Anna Kolodner, executive director of the David
Project, sent an email congratulating the group for their successful
"Discussion of issues and individuals involved in the Mosque led to
some preliminary steps as we continue to gather information and
develop an action plan."
Three days later, Kolodner circulated an idea.
"Given that they may not have parking, Josh [Katzen] suggested we
might thwart them through the building permit process for the intended
Joshua Katzen is a member of the team of aggressive real estate
developers that wanted to unravel the land deal between the City of
Boston and the ISB. Another anti-ISB activist, Jonathan Leffell, who
is a principal of Rosemont Trust Real Estate Development Corporation,
is chairman of the New England "Friends of the Israel Defense Forces"
while William Sapers, who instigated the anti-Mosque campaign and who
owns an insurance agency in Cambridge, has invested in real estate
under the corporate name Hemisphere Inc. Sapers is a director of the
Combined Jewish Philanthropies, which is an umbrella organization for
mainstream Jewish communal organizations in Greater Boston. Steve
Cohen, owner of CEA Group, another Boston area real estate agency,
took the operational lead in the conspiracy against the ISB.
Steve Cohen suggested to Anna Kolodner that the group recruit a
"Jewish" law student from Harvard to assist their attorneys, Evan
Slavitt, who is also a Massachusetts Republican Party leader, and Jack
Fainberg, who is a business litigator.
Other participants in this on-going private discussion were Avi
Goldwasser, a hi-tech financier and movie producer, Larry DiCara, who
is a Republican politician, and Harvard undergrad Mickey Segal, who is
a David Project intern, and Monty Gold, who is Anna Kolodner's
husband. Steve Cohen, who is originally from New York, also consulted
with Rabbi Melman, a New York-based Israel advocate, who opposes
ceding an inch of land to the Palestinians.
The team's initial attempts received lukewarm reactions. Reporter
Jonathan Wells had complained that he was "pissed that none of the
other local media had picked up his story."
"Filing the lawsuit would be the initial lead/newsworthy component of
the media angles," Anna Kolodner advised him. This would give the
David Project a soapbox.
Anna Kolodner put David Project co-founder Charles Jacobs in charge of
"enlisting support of the Black Church community in the suit as a
possible plaintiff," but no one in the Black community was willing to
The David Project had to make do with an Italian American who lives in
Mission Hill, nowhere near the Roxbury Mosque.
Policastro's suit was dismissed in 2007 by a judge as being "without
merit," but the team was not worried about winning the frivolous
lawsuit. It had been a ploy to create negative publicity. Real estate
investor Steve Cohen gloated over "the fact that a governmental action
was taken in Boston may make this mosque more vulnerable to legal,
political or media attack."
In this same email, entitled "Conversation with Jon Wells," Cohen
mentioned reporter Jonathan Well's divorce and estrangement from his
children like a weakness to exploit.
"After I come up with something to report, he and I will have lunch,"
He also reported more of what he had learned from Wells.
"[T]he ADL is much more concerned and knowledgeable about this matter
than their public statements would indicate. But, being associated
with various ecumenical [read: interfaith] efforts, they are reluctant
to be the lightning rod on this issue. Jon speculates that they would
welcome the assistance and initiative of a bunch of independent guys
(like us) who are not afraid of getting some bad press."
Steve Cohen described how he had specifically instructed the Fox TV
news reporter Jonathan Wells to use language associating the mosque
According to his May 20, 2004 email, Cohen wanted to seek out
information about the ISB's source of donations in the Middle East.
Depending on the country of origin, the group would create a
sensational news story saying the mosque was financed either by "the
Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia or by the Moslem Brotherhood," which,
they would claim "advocate the violent victory of Islam over the west
Cohen went on about his conversation with Wells. "We both agreed that
it would be very powerful if it could be proven that this is the
source of the funding for the Mosque."
Cohen repeatedly contacted the executive producer of the Investigative
Reporting unit at Fox25 News in Boston to pressure him and in one
conversation instructed Jonathan Wells how to use the Freedom of
Information act to obtain records from the Boston Redevelopment
Authority about the City's sale of land to the Muslim community.
Cohen further explained his strategy to Anna Kolodner of the David
"Aside from our 1st Amendment claims and the various other strategies
to attack the mosque, ultimately our interest is based on the premise
that some of the senior people in the ISB are supporters of terrorism
and sworn enemies of America and Jews, and that the construction of
the mosque may be funded by Wahhabis If we are going to convince
others to support our cause, especially in the media, we will need
reasonably well-supported allegations."
The David Project collaborated with Robert Leikind, the executive
director of the ADL; Steve Emerson, a discredited self-styled
"terrorism expert," who founded the Investigative Project, Rita Katz,
a discredited former FBI informant, who co-founded of the SITE
Institute; and Ilana Freedman, a Republican politician, who is a
managing partner of Gerard Group of "counter-terrorism experts" in
Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, to create a "comprehensive document
regarding the individuals/organizations/history etc. of the Mosque,
which will be the backbone of the media campaign."
The email discussion shows that the team wanted to enlist Boston Globe
columnist Jeff Jacoby in the anti-ISB campaign.
In 2004, the David Project, a 501c3 charitable organization, appears
to have received half a million dollars in tax-payer funded government
grants while organizing the campaign against the Roxbury Mosque.
Karin Friedemann is editor of World View News Service, focusing on the
Islamic World. Please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns//
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