[lg policy] ‘Center for American Progress, Group Tied to Obama, Accused of Anti-Semitic Language’

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 20 17:13:58 UTC 2012

Washington Post: ‘Center for American Progress, Group Tied to Obama,
Accused of Anti-Semitic Language’
by Joel B. Pollak

John Podesta, Center for American Progress

The Washington Post has just published an article reporting that the
Center for American Progress, the left-wing think tank whose policies
and personnel have close ties to the Obama White House, has been
“accused of anti-Semitic language.”
The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank closely aligned
with the White House, is embroiled in a dispute with several major
Jewish organizations over statements on Israel and charges that some
center staffers have used anti-Semitic language to attack pro-Israel

    The controversy reflects growing divisions among important allies
of President Obama over Middle East policy that could complicate the
president’s reelection outreach to some Jewish voters, just as he is
seeking to assure them of his commitment to Israel’s security amid
fears of an Iran nuclear threat.

    Among the points of contention are several Twitter posts by one
CAP writer referring to “Israel-firsters.” Some experts say the phrase
has its roots in the anti-Semitic charge that American Jews are more
loyal to a foreign country. In another case, a second staffer
described a U.S. senator [Mark Kirk of Illinois] as showing more
fealty to Israel and the prime U.S. pro-Israel lobby, the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee, than to his own constituents,
replacing a standard identifier of party affiliation and state with
“R-AIPAC” on Twitter….

    Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League,
said some of the statements from CAP staffers “are anti-Semitic and
borderline anti-Semitic.”

    “We’re concerned about it because this is a serious think tank,
and it does influence the administration,” Foxman added. CAP is run by
“serious people who need to take control of their entities.”

    Jason Isaacson, an official with the American Jewish Committee,
which often collaborates on policy issues with CAP, pointed to “very
troubling things that have been written on a pretty regular basis by
certain people associated with the organization.”

    “For any serious policy center there are certain lines of fairness
and objectivity and good sense that should not be crossed, and yet,
disturbingly, those lines have regularly been crossed,” Isaacson

Reached for comment this morning, Josh Block, a Democrat who has
criticized the language used by CAP and its ally, Media Matters for
America, called for the organization to make immediate changes:

    If CAP wants to continue having people writing the organization’s
day-to-day views on national security and Middle East policy who truck
in language and theories more at home on White Power and anti-Jewish
conspiracy websites than in the mainstream of the Democratic party,
that is their choice, but the organization and their work will be
judged accordingly, and CAP will continue eroding their credibility to

    It’s not too late. I don’t think this is who CAP, its new
leadership, or it’s allies want the organization to be, in the short
or long term. This kind of demagoguery, anti-Israel invective, and in
some cases actual hate speech, is absolutely wrong whether it comes
from the extreme Right or Left, and like cancer, it has to be cut out
before it metastasizes and destroys the whole body.

One CAP staffer who used the offensive language to describe Israel and
pro-Israel Americans is no longer at CAP; others who have used the
same language are still at CAP and Media Matters.

The radical group J Street, which enjoys the favor of the Obama
administration and lobbies Congress to oppose Israeli policies, has
defended some of the antisemitic language that is the source of the


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