Desperate Lies From So-Called “Emergency Committee for Israel”

— Sari Weintraub

Earlier this week, the so-called Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) released a robocall featuring a “debate” that never occurred between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In reality, it was a mash-up of speeches and phrases from different times during the last three years.

ECI’s robocall was quickly debunked by JTA’s Ron Kampeas, and then it received “Four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post — in addition to a scathing review from Tablet.

We at NJDC thought that it would be fun to follow ECI’s absurd lead and create our own recording featuring ECI Board member Bill Kristol, but using an extended excerpt from a recent speech noting how he really feels about the President’s policies. Click here or on the audio player below to listen. Note: unlike ECI, we’re not subjecting unsuspecting Jewish households to this recording while they’re trying to eat dinner. And unlike ECI’s recording, Kristol said these things during the same speech. Go figure.    

Details after the jump
This week, The Washington Post fact-checked a robocall message sponsored by the so-called Emergency Committee for Israel and rated it “Four Pinocchios” for its blatantly misleading messaging. The content of the call is portrayed as a “debate” between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, using snippets of dialogue from several different speeches over the last three years. The result was a call which the Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler called “one of the most ridiculous attacks” of this campaign:

In sum, the Emergency Committee has twisted the meaning of Obama’s and Netanyahu’s words. An Obama statement condemning Iran’s government is rendered into weak-kneed ‘respect’ for Iran, while a Netanyahu expression of U.S.-Israel solidarity on Iran is turned into a point of disagreement…

There is no excuse for such an Orwellian descent into falsehoods and misrepresentation.

Ron Kampeas at JTA first noted the deceiving robocall, saying that “the deceptions in this one are a little stunning,” and Tablet’s Adam Chandler agreed, calling ECI’s latest attempt to smear the President on Israel “sad” (emphasis added):

The first deception came when with the robocall’s ID, which led callers to think they were being personally phoned by ECI Founder Bill Kristol — the veritable dream scenario for maybe 14% of American Jews. But when callers actually answered there were treated to recordings of a fake ‘debate’ that never actually took place between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, using spliced quotes and half-uttered sentences…

The desired effect is to create hysteria among voters who may not exactly know what’s going on and mislead them into thinking that President Obama’s positions are not what nearly four years of his policy have reflected. The result is kind of sad.

It’s this season for cheap and dirty politics, yes, but this is actually a metaphor for what’s wrong with the conversation happening about Israel in American politics right now. It is a triumph that the issues surrounding Israel’s strength and security enjoy such widespread support among American leaders. But with efforts like these robocalls in mind, the farther away that Americans are from understanding what’s really driving the discourse on crucial issues like Jerusalem and Iran’s nuclear program, the greater the difficulty there will be in forging the necessary bipartisan support required to honestly confront these issues in the future, no matter who wins on Tuesday…

But rather than make substantive points, the ECI seems to prefer to act as if Americans are stupid. It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that provoking this hysteria hurts Israel in the long run.

ECI Supports Romney Not Israel

— by David A. Harris

The motivation behind the so-called Emergency Committee for Israel’s newest ad can be summed up by its last line’s inclusion of ‘President Mitt Romney.’ If their previous behavior — including one of their founders appearing at a Romney fundraising retreat — wasn’t enough to show that their focus is only about electing a Republican president, then their cover is certainly blown today. ECI is not concerned with supporting Israel or adhering to the long-standing norms of the pro-Israel community. The Emergency Committee for Israel is a fraud — plain and simple.

What’s more, ECI’s top leader William Kristol publicly said recently, ‘I’m happy to sit here and agree with President Obama to a considerable degree’ about Israel — further evidence of the cynicism of their campaign to elect a Republican. And when it comes to Jerusalem, the position they’re criticizing is one carried out of course by the Bush Administration, and administrations before it as well. Given their long history of lying, ECI’s ads should be rejected by networks and ignored by voters.

Emergency Committee for Israel: The Emperor Has No Clothes

— by David A. Harris

Republicans are spending a great deal of cash this election cycle attacking President Barack Obama in the Jewish community by fibbing about his powerful support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and smearing his unprecedented efforts to stop Iran’s drive towards a nuclear weapon.

Why? Because they know that venturing into domestic issues is a non-starter for the vast majority of Jews, even if what they’re saying regarding the Middle East isn’t true. Republican Jewish groups and the so-called “Emergency Committee for Israel” (ECI) have been at the vanguard of this effort, with ECI even forming a Super PAC related to their non-profit organization.

All along, observers might have assumed that the leaders of these efforts at least believed what they were selling, facts be damned. But now we know better. Now we know that they’re just trying to get their guy elected, and they don’t even believe their own arguments; we know this based on their own public statements.

A co-leader of ECI, the well-known conservative William Kristol, recently spoke in New   York at a debate in front of a Jewish crowd. Given ECI’s history up to the present day of unfairly lambasting the president’s strong Israel policy, Kristol surely came out swinging at the president, right? Hardly. The Israeli paper Haaretz reported that Kristol said Obama’s “policies today resemble those of his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.” What? “I am happy to agree with Obama to a considerable degree,” Kristol added. And his take on the Israel policy differences between Obama and Romney? “Not that great.”

Did Kristol try to walk-back his hour-long moment of truth? Of course. But I don’t know how you unring that bell. My question is, given his confession, will ECI stop viciously and falsely attacking the president as being somehow virulently anti-Israel — attacks which have been condemned by the nonpartisan mainstream of the American Jewish community?

At long last, we can see that this emperor — Bill Kristol, and ECI — have no clothes.

Originally published in Politico.

Jewish Leaders Denounce Right-Wing Smear of Occupy Wall Street

We are publicly engaged American Jews who support both Israel and the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street and who also strongly oppose right-wing attempts to smear that movement with false charges of anti-Semitism.

It’s an old, discredited tactic: find a couple of unrepresentative people in a large movement and then conflate the oddity with the cause. One black swan means that all swans are black.

One particularly vile example was a television ad during Sunday talk shows paid for by something called the Emergency Committee for Israel that is organized by William Kristol and Gary Bauer.

It is disingenuous to raise the canard about Jews and Wall Street in order to denounce it.

Occupy Wall Street is a mass protest against rising inequality in America, a fact documented last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Anyone who visits Zuccotti Park understands that it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do “with liberty and justice for all.”

All of us irrespective of party or position should expose and denounce anti-Semitism where ever it occurs, but not tar hundreds of thousands of protestors nationwide because a handful of hateful people show up with offensive signs that can’t be taken down in a public park open to all.

We are pleased that the Anti-Defamation League agrees that some random signs “are not representative of the larger views of the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

List of co-signers follows after the jump.
 
Cosigners

  • Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU*
  • Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder and President, J Street
  • Richard Brodsky, former Assemblyman, New York
  • Richard Cohen, Washington Post
  • Danny Goldberg, President, Goldve Entertainment
  • Mark Green, former Public Advocate for New York City
  • Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman and District Attorney (Brooklyn)
  • Rabbi Steven Jacobs, founder, Progressive Faith Foundation
  • Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • Madeleine Kunin, former Governor, Vermont
  • Jo-ann Mort, CEO, ChangeCommunicaitons
  • Eliot Spitzer, former Governor, New York State
  • Andy Stern, President Emeritus, Service Employees International Union
  • Hadar Susskind, Vice President, Tides Foundation
  • Margery Tabankin, President, Margery Tabankin Assoc.
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

*Institutions for identification purposes only.