Americans for Victory Over Terrorism

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Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT) is a group of well-connected Republicans that attempts to equate opposition to the Bush administration with terrorism. AVOT is a "project" of Empower.org,[1] the "education and research arm" of the right-wing think tank Empower America.

Following the July 2004 merger of Citizens for a Sound Economy and Empower America to form FreedomWorks, the website became a project of the Claremont Institute.

In an AVOT open letter published in a full-page New York Times ad, former Secretary of Education and drug czar William J. Bennett wrote: "The threats we face today are both external and internal: external in that there are groups and states that want to attack the United States; internal in that there are those who are attempting to use this opportunity to promulgate their agenda of 'blame America first.' Both threats stem from either a hatred for the American ideals of freedom and equality or a misunderstanding of those ideals and their practice. Our goal is to address the present threats so as to eradicate future terrorism and defeat ideologies that support it."

The March 12, 2002, press announcement states "AVOT's objective is to sustain and strengthen American public opinion as the war on terrorism moves forward. AVOT will promote the democratic ideals of freedom, liberty, equality, and human rights-the very virtues terrorist groups and terrorist states wish to eradicate-and answer those who seek to erode our nation's resolve and commitment to fight and defeat the evil of terrorism." (As stated:)

  1. strengthen (pressure) public opionion
  2. promote democratic ideals and human rights
  3. commitment to fight

Bennett further states in his March 12, 2002 Open Letter:

"Our committee will model itself on organizations such as the former Committee on the Present Danger and the Committee for a Free World."
NB: The Committee on the Present Danger is not a former organization.

The AVOT website[2] opens with a quote of Roosevelt's "four essential human freedoms"[3] and a quote from the 2002 State of the Union Address of George Walker Bush.

An open inspection of this organization will readily reveal that their purpose is to falsely paint all dissenters against individuals within current U.S. Administration (i.e. all democracy) as "hatred toward this country and its ideals".[4][5]

Funding and background

Prof Joel Beinin writes:[6]

The hysterical tone and political character of the effort to muzzle criticism of the Bush administration’s foreign policy are exemplified by the inflated rhetoric of Americans for Victory over Terrorism (AVOT), founded in March 2002 by former secretary of education, former drug czar and moralist to the nation William Bennett. AVOT is a subsidiary of the Project for a New American Century [sic], the think-tank distinguished by its energetic efforts to promote a US war on Iraq since 1998. Its principal funder is Lawrence Kadish, a chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which seeks to bring Jews into the Republican Party. AVOT aims to ‘take to task those who blame America fist and who do not understand – or who are unwilling to defend – our fundamental principles’.

Related organizations

Comment: Prof. Beinin finds[6] that these organizations work for the same aims, and some of the principals overlap in several of these organizations.

Resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Empower.org.
  2. AVOT Website.
  3. "four essential human freedoms" at AmericanPolitics.info.
  4. AVOT page in section "Stories" is no longer active.
  5. Dorothy Korber, "Peace activists seek new idiom. Taking a page from the right, they're wrapping protests in patriotism," Sacremento Bee, March 11, 2003.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Joel Beinin, "The New American McCarthyism: policing thought about the Middle East," Race & Class, Vol. 46(1): 101-115; (NB: loads very slow).

External articles

External resources

Abstract: September 11 ushered in a sustained campaign by the American Right and the Bush administration to deligitimise critical thought abut the Middle East, Islam and the Arab world. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has borne much of the brunt of this campaign, some of it conducted by think-tanks with close links to Israel’s ruling circles. Such attacks on MESA date back to 1967 and the Arab-Israeli war. The role of organisations such as ADL, AIPAC, AVOT and ACTA is examined, as is Campus-Watch and the attempt to introduce legislation in 2003 to place university-level Middle East studies under much closer government control (via HR 3077).