Saturday, November 7

AIPAC Pressured Democratic Think Tank to Host Netanyahu, Leaked Emails Reveal

Emails obtained by The Intercept reveal major efforts were made to placate pro-Israel lobby and quash anti-Israel sentiment within pro-Clinton organization.


Leaked internal emails reveal that a major Democratic think tank caved in to pressure from AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby, to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the United States next week, according to investigative website The Intercept.

The Intercept, citing the emails it obtained from the Center for American Progress (CAP), a group it identified as supportive of Hillary Clinton, reveal concerted efforts made to placate AIPAC and quash any anti-Israel sentiments among its staff. The website asserts the emails were provided “by a source authorized to receive them.”

The Center for American Progress announced it is planning “to host a moderated conversation” with Netanyahu and its president, Neera Tanden, on November 10, billing the evening “A conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The center reportedly agreed to host the evening in the wake of intense pressure from AIPAC, the emails allege. Moreover, a former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential run, Ann Lewis, had complained that the center was allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel,” according to the report.

Leaked emails show former Clinton aide Ann Lewis complain Center for American Progress was allowing writers to be ‘anti-Israel’Screengrab / The Intercept

The emails show Tanden, a former White House official, and key aides going to great lengths to accede to pressure by AIPAC to host Netanyahu as well as to accommodate Lewis. The decision to invite Netanyahu angered some Democratic supporters, given the tensions between Israel and the White House that they hold the prime minister accountable for.

The Intercept cited a Huffington Post article that described the core objective of Netanyahu’s upcoming to trip to Washington as being to “reestablish credibility among progressives in the post-Obama era,” leading to the decision to push for the evening with the center. Netanyahu “sacrificed much of his popularity with the Democratic Party by crusading against the Iran nuclear deal,” The Huffington Post noted.

“That a liberal institution feels the need to kowtow to AIPAC in a climate like this speaks volumes about either how out of touch or how craven it can be,” commented former Center for American Progress staffer, Ali Gharib, in The Nation.

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