The State Department is reportedly set to hire a top aide for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who has a lengthy history of anti-Israel activism, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday.
Matt Duss, Sanders’ top foreign policy hand, is expected to move to the State Department, though it is not clear yet what his role will be, the report said.
Duss’ writings have been described by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as "infected with Jew-hatred," according to The Free Beacon. His criticisms of Israel were too much even for the Obama White House, which said it was "troubled" by blog posts penned by Duss and his colleagues at the now-defunct ThinkProgress, the report said.
The Free Beacon said that Duss drew scrutiny last year for describing the targeted killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist, which has been attributed to Israel, as an act of terrorism.
"Responding to the [Mohsen] Fakhrizadeh assassination by reaffirming the commitment to rejoin the JCPOA would be a good way to send the message that terrorism doesn't work," Duss tweeted, in a reference to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The Sanders ally gained notoriety in 2011 when he and several other writers at the Center for American Progress’s now-defunct ThinkProgress leveled charges of dual loyalty against Israel’s American supporters, calling them "Israel firsters," a term that was widely condemned at the time as anti-Semitic.
In one 2010 posting on Israel’s deadly confrontation with a violent mob seeking to break its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, Duss claimed the country’s policies are like "segregation in the American South" and a "moral abomination", according to the Free Beacon.
The report also said that Duss is a defender of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and said in 2019 that congressional efforts to counter the anti-Israel crowd are a "con and Democrats need to stop playing along."
Several Republican foreign policy leaders criticized the move.
"Hiring someone who praises Fidel Castro and defames Israel’s prime minister is another indication that the only unity in Biden’s foreign policy is between the far left and the extreme left," Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the United Nations, told The Free Beacon.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), a freshman lawmaker who was tapped to serve on the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, told The Free Beacon that Biden should shun a figure who "has spewed anti-Semitic hate for years."
The State Department told The Free Beacon it has no personnel announcements when asked about Duss.