Daily Israel Report

Are You Funding Bigotry and Anti-Israel Extremism?

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) campaigns against two left leaning anti-Israel, and often anti-Semitic, think tanks.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/4/2012, 2:34 AM

Israeli and American flags
Israeli and American flags
israelnewsphoto

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) placed a full-page ad in Thursday’s New York Times in an effort to discourage Jewish organizations and philanthropies from funding the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters, two left leaning American think tanks that have been widely accused of anti-Israel and often, anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“The Center for American Progress and Media Matters claim to be in the liberal mainstream. But is being anti-Israel a liberal value?,” the ad reads.

Media Matters’ MJ Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staff member who is now intensely critical of the pro-Israel lobby, came under fire for using the term “Israel firsters” to describe American Jews who allegedly put the interests of Israel before those of the United States. Likewise, CAP, which has close ties to J Street funder, billionaire George Soros, and the Obama administration, has been accused of similar anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propensities.

“Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values,” wrote Matt Duss, a CAP policy analyst and the director of Middle East Progress, last year.

“[T]he Center for American Progress and Media Matters have made the case that both Iran’s belligerence and its level of nuclear sophistication have been overstated – in some cases attacking hawkish hyperbole or Republican rhetoric, in others going after claims by the administration,” POLITICO.com reported.

CAP’s Eric Alterman has also accused AIPAC of campaigning for war on Iran and doing everything they can “to drag America into this catastrophic war.”

“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,” said Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC and current fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute.

“Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.”

Recently, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz committed to waging a personal war against Media Matters and claimed that it “will be singlehandedly responsible for (Obama) losing this election. They (the Democrats) cannot win the election and keep this affiliation with them.”

The ECI ad features statements by prominent Jewish individuals and organizations, including a statement by Dershowitz saying, “Media Matters and Center for American Progress are two extremely left-bigoted groups that are so virulently anti-Israel and anti-supporters of Israel that they’ve gone over the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism… When I started reading their stuff it sounded like the kind of stuff you see on neo-Nazi websites… Or on Hezbollah-supporter websites. It is so extremist.”

Referring to CAP, the Simon Wiesenthal Center stated, “… dangerous political libels resonating with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices… the gutter of individual and group defamation.”

The ad lists the numerous Jewish organizations funding these think tanks and concludes urging readers to “Call these foundations and ask them: Why are you funding bigotry and anti-Israel extremism?”