It’s not just Israel that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. American Jewish neocons have been proliferating so many hysterically-Islamophobic campaign outfits in the run-up to the midterm elections, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. There is of course the granddaddy/zaideh of smearmesiters, the Republican Jewish Coalition. In the 2008 election, the RJC and Aish HaTorah mated (in spirit if not in body) and produced the Clarion Fund, which flacked for John McCain. Lately it is touting its new hate-Iran film, the third in an anti-Muslim trilogy. We can expect it to continue the same type of dirty tricks it exploited in the last election, where it spent upwards of $20-million distributing another of its Muslim-hate films to 28-million voters in swing states.
Eli Clifton and I have written about some other anti-Muslim campaign front groups which have proliferated like weeds after a Negev spring flood: Keep Israel Safe was founded by Gary Bauer and Tom Rose, who deserves credit as the Jerusalem Post editor who first moved it to the hard-right political stance it adopted after decades of centrist mediocrity; and Stop Iran Now, an ideologically wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens United (yes THAT Citizen’s United, whom the Supreme Court offered a green light to spend countless millions smearing Democratic candidates). The chief champion of all these groups is William Kristol and his Weekly Standard, election central for the Likudist neocon movement.
Now we have yet another mushroom sprouting after a spring rain: the Emergency Committee for Israel. The parentage of this cuddly little package is also interesting. Eli Clifton notes that the group was first promoted during a Campbell Brown CNN interview with Noah Pollak, the group’s executive director. Brown is married to Dan Senor, a senior Bush apparatchik and likely major player in 2012 Republican election campaigns.
Pollak is a former assistant editor of the Shalem Center’s publication, Azure. The Center is heavily funded by Las Vegas gambling tycoon, Shelly Adelson, Bibi Netanyahu’s moneyman and funder of the new Israeli daily, Yisrael HaYom (also known unflatteringly as Bibi-ton). Pollak also contributes regularly to Commentary Magazine, the true zaideh of the Jewish neocon movement.
The Committee’s domain, emergencycommitteeforisrael.com, is registered to Margaret Hoover, granddaughter of Depression-era Pres. Herbert Hoover, and a former high-level Bush operative. One hopes she will bring better luck to this enterprise than her grandfather brought to the U.S. economy in 1929 & thereafter. As a consultant for the Republican Israel lobby, she could try a Hoover-era slogan rebutting charges of Israeli starvation of Gaza: “a chicken in every pot.” Maybe she’ll recommend resolving the Palestinian refugee crisis by creating a series of Hoovervilles. No wait, that’s how most Palestinians currently live. She also participated in Rudy Giuliani’s failed presidential campaign, in which Norm Podhoretz was also an advisor who warned Iran was intent on fomenting a world war or something to that effect. The new group’s board includes…you guessed it…Gary Bauer, William Kristol and Rachel Abrams-Dechter-Podhoretz.
If I were Pollak, I’d keep in mind what happens to mushrooms after the rains dry up: they wither and die just as these pro-Israel hate groups will do after November, and after their donors will have thrown good money after bad in funding these useless vanity campaigns which have absolutely no effect on the Jewish vote, which remains solidly Democratic. As a test, we’ll watch the Joe Sestak PA. senate race for which the Committee has produced the hysterical campaign ad featured above.
Ben Smith’s reporting on this story for Politico features this incredible quotation from Kristol in which he actually claims that Aipac’s politics are too liberal (a view shared by the way with Shelly Adelson, if you’ve read his devestating New Yorker profile):
“Then there’s AIPAC, which is a wonderful organization, but one that’s very committed to working with the administration, so they pull some punches publicly.”
Kristol also has the chutzpah to claim he’s modeling his effort as a conservative mirror to J Street. There is of course one major difference between the two: J Street has grassroots support, with tens of thousands of donors and over 100,000 who’ve signed up for its alerts. The Committee has a bunch of cigar-chomping rich Jewish guys pursuing their political vanity project.
Another curious factoid about Pollak: he’s a moderator of a Porsche car forum (and a member for at least ten years). That must be where all the lucre Pollak’s earning from Shelly Adelson and his other Jewish neocon fat cat donors is going: into his Porsche collection. He should keep this concealed from all of his Burlington, VT. neighbors. That, of course is Bernie Saunders country. I don’t imagine there are too many Porsches tooling around Burlington’s streets especially not in those harsh New England winters. I guess it won’t disturb too many of his fellow Jewish neocons that he drives a German car since so many of them are driving Mercedes, BMWs, Audis and the like.
There are additional anti-Iran front groups created by the Jewish community, which seem designed to do Israel’s bidding rather than the Republican Party’s. Among them is Stand for Freedom in Iran, purportedly a grassroots community coalition which was in truth incorporated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Remember too the 2008 campaign fiasco when the President’s Conference booked Sarah Palin to keynote a UN anti-Iran rally when Ahmadinejad was scheduled to address the world body. That didn’t go over too well with the Obama campaign and most New York Jews, who detested Palin.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.