ECI, Bill Kristol and the “Anti-Israel” Obama Smear Campaign

– Rhoda Averbach, June 4, 2011

I would not have paid attention to this YouTube video were it only published online.
But when I saw it yesterday, twice within one hour, broadcast on MSNBC cable
television, I was sickened. Meet the Emergency Committee For Israel (ECI).

(Typical ECI RW M.O. is to pose as Left.)


      VOICE: When President Obama sided with the Palestinians, members of congress from both
      parties stood with Israel.

      SEN. REID: No one should set premature parameters about borders.

      REP. HOYER: Israel’s borders must be defensible.

      SEN. CASEY: Jerusalem, the undivided, eternal capital of Israel.

      P.M. NETENYAHU: And I see a lot of new friends of Israel here, Democrats
      and Republicans alike.

      VOICE: The Emergency Committee for Israel thanks Israel’s true friends, Democrats
      and Republicans alike.

In his May 19, 2011 speech, President Obama said:

    “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” These are the same positions taken by former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Transcript of President Obama’s Speech

ECI’s video was uploaded to YouTube on June 1st, and I’ve read it intends to ramp up this campaign in New York State and Washington, D.C. With Bill Kristol on its Board, ECI is also the organization which savaged Joe Sestak in television ads during his Pennsylvania Senate run, insinuating that he sided with terrorists.

I called the three congressmen “used” in the ad — Sens. Harry Reid, Robert Casey and Rep. Steny Hoyer. Casey’s and Hoyer’s offices expressed exceptional concern. Also, in the YouTube comment section of the video, I posted a short explanation of its distortions, and that the congressmen depicted had been notified; within minutes, all posts were deleted and commenting was disabled.

Who is the Emergency Committee for Israel

From Haaretz Service: U.S. conservatives form new pro-Israel lobby group:

The Emergency Committee for Israel presents a potent combination of Republican Party neoconservatives and Evangelical Christians. The new group’s board includes Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol and Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate who leads the group American Values, as well as Rachel Abrams, a conservative writer and activist … Under U.S. law the group does not have to disclose the sources of its funding but has already raised enough to finance its first television advertisement, which launched a savage attack on Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania … This is just the opening shot in what the Emergency Committee for Israel intends to be a series of ads to sway congressional races across the U.S.

This is what ThinkProgress wrote on June 1st after the ad about President Obama’s May 19th speech was released:

… ECI’s own executive director Noah Pollak tweeted about the speech as it was happening: “Obama’s line on Israel Palestinian borders is basically identical to Bush admin. Nothing new there.”

ThinkProgress, in a July 16, 2010 article entitled, ‘Emergency Committee for Israel’ Based Out Of ‘Committee for the Liberation of Iraq’ Offices, also wrote:

In a nice catch, Eli Clifton reports that the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), the latest neocon astroturf pro-war outfit, is based out of the same office as a previous neocon astroturf pro-war outfit, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI).

The article explains that the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq had the same office address as Orion Strategies whose adviser, Michael Goldfarb, was a former Weekly Standard web editor and served as an adviser to the Emergency Committee for Israel. Also, “In addition to his work with ECI, Goldfarb also advised the Liz Cheney/Bill Kristol-led Keep America Safe, and was a research associate at the Project for the New American Century, which served as the mothership for various neocon enterprises in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s, most notably the invasion of Iraq.”

Most telling of all, however, is this article published by the website Right Web: Tracking Militarists’ Efforts to Influence U.S. Foreign Policy. Here is an excerpt:

The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) is a pressure group launched in July 2010 to promote a militarist, “pro-Israel” U.S. agenda. ECI has run attack ads that target politicians deemed “soft” on terrorism and who criticize Israel-centric U.S. policies … The group’s first act was to run a controversial attack ad in July 2010 targeting the track record of U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), which insinuated that he supported terrorists … ECI board members include William Kristol, editor and founder of the Weekly Standard and cofounder of the Foreign Policy Initiative … “We’re the pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community.” — William Kristol

I’ve read that ECI plans to run this ad on CNN, MSNBC and Fox. Here are some
Contacts for MSNBC Personnel

Emergency Committee for Israel

P.O. Box 117

1718 M St. NW

Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-600-6220
11 Dupont Circle NW # 325
Washington, DC 20036

ECI Website

Billionaire Israeli donor: Obama is not anti-Israel by Greg Sargent
POLL: U.S. Jews still support Obama, ’67 border speech had no impact

Is Bibi Anti-Israel by Adam Serwer
August 2, 2011

“Forgive me for asking the question. You see, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just agreed to negotiate with the Palestinians using the 1967 borders as a framework:

    Israel will resume peace talks based on its 1967 borders if the Palestinian Authority stops seeking U.N. Palestinian state recognition, Israel’s leader said. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said his organization would abandon its efforts for a statehood vote if Israel agrees to the 1967 borders and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the new Palestinian state. Israel will agree to both of these terms, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said late Monday.

Several months ago, President Barack Obama declared that the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should take place along the lines of the 1967 borders with “agreed upon land swaps.” Netanyahu responded with fury, calling the 1967 borders “indefensible,” even though by definition “land swaps” meant not returning to the exact 1967 borders. Republicans and Democrats piled on, accusing Obama of abandoning Israel …”  Continue



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