Ben Smith, in a must-read piece, blows the cover off the anti-Israel left and the Democrats’ favorite think tank, the Center for American Progress, which harbors many of its shrillest voices. He begins: “The daily battle is waged in Media Matters’ emails, on CAP’s blogs, Middle East Progress and ThinkProgress and most of all on Twitter, where a Media Matters official, MJ Rosenberg, regularly heaps vitriol on those who disagree as ‘Iraq war neocon liar’ (the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg) or having ‘dual loyalties’ to the U.S. and Israel (the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin). And while the Center for American Progress tends to walk a more careful line, warm words for Israel can be hard to find on its blogs.” So let us be clear: These views are not merely anti-Israel, they are anti-Semitic.
But the scandal here is that CAP houses and provides a blog for such sentiments. Smith writes that this manifests itself in blatant propaganda and simply fake analysis. He explains, “Another recent column on the CAP website, one of several to prompt behind-the-scenes outrage from the powerful pro-Israel group AIPAC, featured Eric Alterman accusing AIPAC of campaigning for war in Iran, which Alterman described as its ‘big prize.’. . . .ThinkProgress also scrambled to call into question an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi diplomats in the United States, though the charges were leveled by Attorney General Eric Holder, a longtime Democratic Party stalwart.” This is not journalism, nor is this think-tank analysis. It’s fiction for Israel haters.
But the real story is not the anti-Semitic left. (Having been on the receiving end of its pathetic and thinly disguised propaganda efforts, this is old hat for anyone who write accurately or offers a positive view of the U.S.-Israel relationship.) It is that CAP is promoting this and is responsible for the venomous output on its blogs.
The excuse that these voices don’t represent CAP’s views and aren’t attributable to CAP is ludicrous. Smith quotes longtime Democrat and pro-Israel advocate Josh Block: “‘There’s two explanations here – either the inmates are running the asylum or the Center for American Progress has made a decision to be anti-Israel. Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff’ – a reference to what he described as conspiracy theorizing in the Alterman column – ‘and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.’” As for its excuse that it’s not CAP’s doing, Block tells Smith: “To suggest that the organization is not responsible for people who are ‘just bloggers’ is ludicrous and insulting to people’s intelligence.”
Imagine if the bloggers were writing about the inferiority of a racial group. They’d be gone in a nanosecond. In fact, those who fancy themselves as respectable think tankers and loyal Democrats are enablers of the scourge of anti-Semitic filth that flows through the hard left. CAP has a choice: Clean out the sewer or be prepared to take the approbation that goes with the association with Israel haters and those who peddle in anti-Semitic tripe.
UPDATE (9:15 a.m.): The head of communications for CAP Jennifer Palmieri is now going over to the White House. Interesting that the anti-Israel claptrap coming out of CAP’s blog was of no concern to Palmieri and that she is now welcomed with open arms at the White House. Do I think she or the White House share the vile views reflected on ThinkProgress? No. But neither does it much concern them. All in the name of “diverse” viewpoints, the CAP flunkies insisted.