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May 13, 2012 9:00 pm

Obama’s New Anti-Israel Advisory Crew

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Peter Beinart speaking for J Street. Photo: J Street.

Recently, President Obama consulted a group of nine journalists on Mid-East policy – some among this crew are downright Anti-Israel, and thus unrepresentative of overall American views towards Israel. At least one member has called for a boycott of Israel, and another calls the country an “apartheid” state. Would the President welcome advisers who had called for the boycott of any other democratic nation? or described any one of America’s other close strategic allies in such egregious terms?

Invitees to this off-the-record meeting last week included The New Yorker’s David Remnick and Jane Mayer, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein, Newsweek’s Peter Beinart, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times’ Carla Robbins, The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib, The Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post. This group consists of some radical fringe extremists whose journalistic activism is dangerous to Israel.

Some examples:

  • Remnick says: “A new generation of Jews is growing up in the US. Their relationship with Israel is becoming less patient and more problematic. They see what has happened with the Rabbinical Letter [proscribing rental and sale of property to Arabs — DR], for example. How long can you expect that they’ll love unconditionally the place called Israel [sic]? You’ve got a problem. You have the status of an occupier since 1967. It’s been happening for so long that even people like me, who understand that not only one side is responsible for the conflict and that the Palestinians missed an historic opportunity for peace in 2000, can’t take it anymore.” Remnick has also repeatedly described Israel as undemocratic.
  • Peter Beinart is an extremist – who has called for parts of Israel to be boycotted – and day after day publishes rants against Israel. (Despite responding to other articles I have written, he has yet to respond to my simple challenge – offering him $100k to deliver the identical talks he gives in front of Jewish audiences to Arab forums in Muslim countries. I wonder why?)
  • Klein has defended Iranian nuclear ambitions, saying that Iran’s purpose in perusing nuclear armament is “just to deter Israel and Pakistan.”

How can President Obama even pretend to support Israel when inviting people like this to his side? Remnick, Beinart and Klein are unceasing critics of Israel.  Last week a broad unity government was formed in Israel, led by a pragmatic Prime Minister, and Peter Beinart, who now has the President’s ear, has written statements like, “saving liberal Zionism in the U.S. – so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel – is the great American Jewish challenge of our age.” These viewpoints that Obama surely is hearing have nearly no voice in Israel – and hardly any supporters amongst American Jewry.

A few months ago, the Obama campaign released a video entitled, “America and Israel – an Unbreakable Bond” – what is becoming increasingly clear is that his view of this bond may be even further to the left on the political spectrum than that of J Street, and is far from the positions of national consensus on the matter.

At my PR Agency, we in the business of shaping minds and telling stories – and we know that media advisers are key to positioning stories. If the Democratic President’s has chosen advisers on Israel that believe in boycotting the Jewish state and that the only democracy in the Middle East practices apartheid policies, then voting for Obama means a vote for Peter Beinart and other Anti- Israel members of this crew.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder of 5WPR, a leading PR Firm and author of PR Book “For Immediate Release”.

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