Bill Kristol's hawkish, pro-Israel group, which has been running ads blasting Dems as anti-Israel, is now making it explicit: It is targeting Dems with paid media for the express purpose of making it politically toxic for them to criticize Israel.What Sargent doesn't say is that it already is toxic to criticize Israel in any way for a Washington politician or any politician in America for that matter. The given reasons from the ECFI are a smokescreen. But Greg does get to the heart of the matter eventually.
That's what Kristol and a spokesman for his group, the Emergency Committee for Israel, suggested to me today, in statements accompanying a new ad it's set to release attacking Dem Rep Jim Himes of Connecticut.
Kristol's group has already aired other versions of this ad attacking Joe Sestak, Mary Joe Kilroy, and Glenn Nye.Ding ding ding! Understand that there's only room for one Israel lobby in the US with one position to take, and J Street's exercises in reasonable diplomacy and pointing out that there are members of the American Jewish community that see more war as unnecessary if not outright detrimental to Israel cannot be tolerated. It's not Dems here that are the main target. It's specifically the fact that the ECFI is going after anyone who dares to associate themselves with J Street or its moderate positions.
The group insists it's putting real money into these buys, and the above ad attacking Rep. Himes will run during NBC Nightly News, a spokesman for the group, Michael Goldfarb, says.
The spot blasts Himes for signing a recent letter sponsored by the left-leaning pro-Israel group J-Street that has emerged as the nemesis of neoconservative pro-Israel groups like Kristol's outfit.
The letter doesn't accuse Israel directly of "collective punishment," as the ad says. Rather, the letter asks Obama to pressure Israel to relieve the blockade. It recognizes that the Gaza restrictions are born of "legitimate" fear on the part of Israel, but warns against allowing the blockade to result in "the de facto collective punishment" of Palestinians.And the ECFI can't have that. The goal here is to eliminate J Street as a lobbying presence by brutally attacking any member of Congress who dares to accept anything less than Israel's right to total war against the Muslim world. The message here is if you back J Street, you are putting a big bullseye on your back come election time from the ECFI. The goal here is to drive J Street -- and the idea that moderates on Israel even exist in the United States -- out of Washington's power circles.
After all, what good is a lobbying group if no politician will deal with you?