AIPAC underwrote Islamophobia in both parties
Philip Weiss, MondoWeiss, Mar 17 2017
Here are a few facts in pursuit of a pattern. Frank Gaffney is an Islam-bashing neocon who as much as anyone contributed to the thinking behind Donald Trump’s ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries. Gaffney was exposed in 2011, when Eli Clifton and several other writers at the Demagog-Party-linked think-tank, the Center for Pindosi Progress (CAP), published a report called Fear Inc that said there was a network of groups spreading Islamophobia. One of them was Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP). Gaffney also showed up when Clifton and Ali Gharib published a report for CAP on the donors behind the Islamophobic film ‘Third Jihad.’ Gaffney was one of the leading voices in that film, and the two writers said that some of the donors behind the film also supported Israel and the settler movement. A successful pressure campaign was launched by the Israel lobby against the presence of Clifton and Gharib and others at the CAP. The writers were called anti-Israel by a bunch of pro-Israel hacks. Clifton and Gharib both left CAP after they were repeatedly humiliated by the organization. In the process, some writings were scrubbed of criticisms of Israel. For instance, that article about the ‘Third Jihad’ movie. It lost all its references to Israel.
Two years ago, Netanyahu tried to submarine Obama’s Iran Deal, and CAP President Neera Tanden rewarded him by inviting the Israeli PM to her Demagog-Party-linked think-tank for a public lovefest. The invitation caused an uproar among the enlightened, and somebody (I have no idea who!) leaked Glenn Greenwald CAP emails about the earlier Israel lobby pressure campaign that showed that after CAP published that report by Gharib and Clifton about donors to the Gaffney ‘Third Jihad’ movie, Demagog Party consultant/boss Howard Wolfson sent Neera Tanden an email linking the article and saying simply: “For the love of God!” Tanden then passed along Wolfson’s benediction to others, translating it for the hard of hearing: “Is it wise to throw around the Israel issue in this?” AIPAC had also taken part in the effort to fire the staffers. Greenwald related a choice moment from a 2012 email by CAP chief of staff Ken Gude:
Gude wrote an excited email to top CAP officials, including Tanden. The subject was Gude’s meeting with AIPAC’s deputy director of policy and government affairs, Jeff Colman, which Gude gushed was “very positive.” Gude said that in light of “the steps we have taken” (the public apologies, the censorship, the denouncing of CAP’s own writers), AIPAC deemed that CAP “now was moving in the right direction.” The AIPAC official singled out several CAP staffers for praise, saying AIPAC now believes “CAP/AF (Action Fund) is in good hands.
On Wednesday, Eli Clifton reported at Lobelog that in 2015, AIPAC gave $60k to Frank Gaffney’s CSP. The $60k is embarrassing because AIPAC claims that it fights Islamophobia and bigotry. Clifton turned the gift up in a tax document. On Wednesday, Eli Clifton called out his former boss Neera Tanden, linking his new disclosure to AIPAC’s role years ago:
Let me throw in a couple of other data points here. Right after she invited Netanyahu to her Demagog-Party-linked thinktank, after his charm offensive to submarine the signature foreign policy achievement of a Demagog president, Neera Tanden crowed (in an email released by wikileaks) that by doing so she had landed a big new donor to CAP, Jonathan Lavine, who loves Israel, even if she had divided the staff in the process. As Greenwald wrote in 2015, this is about money:
Under Tanden, [CAP] has repeatedly demonstrated it will go to almost any length to keep AIPAC and its pro-Israel donors happy, regardless of how such behavior subverts its pretense of independent advocacy.
And it’s about war in the Middle East. As Eli Clifton reported, AIPAC quietly pushed the Iraq war and later claimed that it had not done so. According to Clifton’s latest report, the $60k went to a New Orleans address associated with the neocon JINSA, which Colin Powell said was the “crowd” that convinced Donald Rumsfeld of the urgent need to invade Iraq. Lots of people are talking about the Deep State these days, whether or not it exists. This is my candidate for the Deep State, or a portion of it anyway. The Israel lobby: which claimed scalps of honest journalists at a Demagog-Party thinktank because those individuals were allegedly anti-Israel, which censored their writings, which brings a rightwing prime minister to speak at a supposedly progressive American thinktank, which funds Islamophobic policy in a Republican administration. And the lobby is impervious to elections, it has other bases for its power; which is why Obama couldn’t do anything to all those Dems who sandbagged him on the Iran deal. Which is why, per Edward Snowden’s definition of the Deep State, anti-Iran Treasury officials Stuart Levey and Adam Szubin miraculously survive fundamental changes in administration (Obama kept Levey on from Bush; Trump is keeping Szubin on). Today T’ruah, the liberal Zionist group, is calling on AIPAC to apologize for the Gaffney gift:
… renounce all ties with this dangerous group; and make an equivalent gift to an organization working to protect Muslims, immigrants and/or refugees.
But let’s be clear: this behavior is utterly consistent with AIPAC’s opposition to the Iran deal, its support for the Iraq war, its support for Israeli settlers and rightwingers. AIPAC doesn’t care. T’ruah should be telling its good friend Pindosis for Peace Now to leave the AIPAC board. That’s where liberal Zionists have agency. Peace Now always ducks my challenge here, but how will Peace Now feel when the young Jews of the Jewish Resistance put these facts together, and realize that Pindosi for Peace Now is a member in good standing of the CPMAJO and therefore a constituent of AIPAC, and a party to the Gaffney gift? The next #IfNotNow demonstration against the “Jewish establishment” could be outside the Peace Now offices, demanding that it cut its ties with these right-wing organizations that fund Islamophobia. These may be ties that Peace Now formed out of a once-understandable need for Jewish solidarity in the face of the goyim, but IMHO those conditions no longer apply.