No diversity: NPR’s ‘National Conversation’ on US-Israel future includes 5 Zionists, no Palestinians

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Is this really the “discourse the nation deserves”? The NPR moderator of this completely-unbalanced January 30 event at the Wilson Center has yet to be announced, but the forum offers itself as “The National Conversation, Discourse the Nation Deserves.” The five panelists and introducer include no Palestinians; I believe all are Zionists (and at least four out of five are Jewish). “Concern for Israel’s well-being had become part of me, like some sort of ethnic DNA,” writes Aaron David Miller. Samuel W. Lewis, who has advised Israel Policy Forum and J Street and worked at the Hebrew University, might also be characterized as liberal Zionist (though maybe he has at last fallen off the turnip truck). Horovitz and Harman are famously well to the right on Israel. Sachs is also on the right (see below). 

Here’s the unbalanced event:

Allies at Odds: Obama, Netanyahu, and The State of US – Israeli Relations

Four years in, the relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu remains a troubled one. What’s behind the tension, can it be alleviated and how will regional challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program or the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affect US-Israeli relations?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:30 – 2:00 pm Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor, Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium

Intro: The Honorable Jane Harman Director, President and CEO, Wilson Center


David Horovitz Founding Editor of The Times of Israel, a current affairs website based in Jerusalem and former Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post

Ambassador Samuel Lewis Career diplomat, former Ambassador to Israel and former President and CEO, US Institute of Peace

Aaron David Miller Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center and former US Middle East negotiator Natan Sachs Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution

Moderator: NPR Host TBD

The National Conversation, a joint production of The Wilson Center and NPR, provides a nonpartisan forum for deep dialogue and informed discussion of the most significant problems facing the nation and the world.

Israel-centric: Here is panelist Natan Sachs telling Obama to love Israel to make it change (and show sympathy to Palestinians). And here he is saying that Hamas was trying to “open the gates of hell on Israel” last November, and justifying Cast Lead as a successful war of deterrence against Hamas, and explaining the Israeli public’s view of Gaza rocket attacks without a word about the Palestinian experience of occupation.

And yes this has something to do with funding, in my view, from an older Jewish generation for whom Israel was sacrosanct. Per this obit of the woman for whom the Wilson Center hall is named: “In 2006, according to federal records, the Joseph and Claire Flom Foundation gave $150,000 to the Jewish Communal Fund and $100,000 to the Hebrew Free Loan Society in New York. Other Jewish causes to which Flom donated included the American Jewish Committtee and Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago.” Spertus censored Palestinian art, and the American Jewish Committee is a proud member of the Israel lobby.

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