The ongoing drama at the heart of the controversy over former AIPAC staffer Josh Block's attack on the Center for American Progress (CAP) for harboring critics of Israel is that Block's own business partner, Lanny Davis, has twice distanced himself from Block-- apparently so that Davis can perform the more important political balancing act of staying on good terms with CAP.
Look at it from Davis's perspective. He is a longtime Democratic Party loyalist. And CAP is a Democratic Party-linked shop, headed by fellow Clintonista John Podesta. Lanny Davis doesn't want to alienate the Democratic Party.
So when Josh Block, Davis's partner at the p.r. consulting firm called Block-Davis, teed off on CAP, Lanny Davis stood by CAP.
Well here's another wrinkle in the affair. At least, Josh Block can say he's a Democrat. He worked for Teddy Kennedy. But what about Omri Ceren? Ceren also works at Block-Davis. He's a Vice President!
Omri Ceren is Vice President at Davis-Block LLC. Ceren is a media specialist and academic who has been involved in politics and journalism for almost a decade.
Ceren writes at Commentary a lot. His main target is... Barack Obama. He's mentioned Obama 55 times, and never nicely. Here: Obama abandons decades of US-Israeli diplomacy. Here, he says that Obama turns all statements into a "platitudinous mess." Here he says that Obama is subordinating the U.S. to Lilliputian countries at the UN and trying to buy global popularity with "deference." Here he says that Obama is folding to the Chinese. Here he attacks Obama's repeated assaults on Israel and mocks former Florida Democratic congressman Robert Wexler too. Here he attacks "those who make it their business to rationalize White House hostility toward Israel" and says Obama is rewriting history. Here he stands up for George Bush and attacks Democrats and liberals.
From his writings on Commentary, it sure looks like Ceren is a partisan Republican. I wonder how Block-Davis client Whole Foods would feel about Ceren bashing Obama?
What kind of Democrats are these Block-Davis guys anyway?
The answer is that the Democratic Party has long been able to reconcile neoconservative support for Israel with liberal Zionism, but the fork in the road is now approaching. We are seeing a quiet battle in the establishment for the Democratic Party-- in essence between Democrats who are for Greater Israel and Democrats who want to end the settlement project.
Josh Block ran his smear campaign against CAP through a neocon list serve. These are NOT democrats. This is the Commentary crowd. That listserv was filled, no doubt, by partisan GOP figures like Jen Rubin and Noah Pollak, people who smear liberal Democrats as anti-Semites to keep them out of the Israel discussion, especially as it relates to attacking Iran. They ridicule and harass even the likes of Jeff Goldberg for being too much a liberal and being too open-minded about Obama.
Neocons have worn Democratic Party mufti for years. Josh Block. But can they still get away with this act? I doubt it. A similar neoconservative-Democrat campaign against Chas Freeman kept him from getting the directorship of the National Intelligence Council at the beginning of the Obama administration 3 years ago. But that alliance has not worked against a couple of bloggers at CAP. The tide is turning.