“Captain Israel” comic series acts to combat BDS, win support for Israel 16Feb11 February 17, 2011

The Alternative Information Centre -  16 February 2011

The new comic series Captain Israel is being distributed in Europe and the United States, on street corners and in newspapers, with the aim of winning fans for Israel.


Captain Israel is the creation of StandWithUs, a non-profit pro-Israel education and advocacy organization based in Los Angeles, that works at fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and sponsors its own Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel.

“For almost two thousand years, no other state or unique national group developed in Palestine; instead, different empires and peoples came, colonized, rules, and disappeared—but Jewish communities remained throughout the ages…” Captain Israel declares in the first edition of the comic.

StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said the character was introduced because “as Israel’s Jewish connection to Israel and the land is always being challenged, we wanted to reestablish our Jewish roots and make sure that everyone understood the history, stuff we know and take for granted and that others try to chip away at.”

The comic is devoted to “establishing a hero, establishing roots, [and] countering the venomous BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement. We’re in the business of branding the movement so that it’s clear that the players that promote boycotting Israel are not well-intentioned,” Rothstein told the Jerusalem Post.

StandWithUs describes itself as “an international education organization that ensures that Israel’s side of the story is told in communities, campuses, libraries, the media and churches through brochures, speakers, conferences, missions to Israel, and thousands of pages of Internet resources.” Captain Israel is just the newest addition to their long list of pro-Israel pieces available for distribution.

The group was founded in the wake of the Second Intifada, and has offices and chapters in Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Michigan, Chicago, Seattle, Orange County, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the UK, Australia, and Israel. The organization also includes StandWithUsCampus: “Education on behalf of Israel and the pro-Israel student community worldwide.”

According to a report published in October 2009 by Inter Press Service, StandWithUs has received funds from a “web of funders who support organizations that have been accused of anti-Muslim propaganda and encouraging a militant Israeli and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.”

In November, 2010 StandWithUs supporters disrupted a Jewish Voice for Peace heckling speakers and preventing the meeting from proceeding as planned. One pro-Israel activist admitted to using pepper spray during the commotion.

Captain Israel, who looks very much like Marvel Comic’s Captain America, was created by Arlen Schumer, who has produced superhero illustrations for publications such as Wired and The Wall Street Journal.

According to the cover of the first edition of the comic, Captain Israel is “Endowed with the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon, Captain Israel’s spirit and determination fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, protecting the way of life of Jews, Israel and all their allies worldwide.”

The next issue of the Israeli super hero comic will talk about fighting the BDS movement and those calling for imposing sanctions on Israel.

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