‘Huffpo’ shames pro-war Democrats, blames AIPAC (and gets lectured by Foxman)

Israel/Palestine
on 40 Comments
Foxman and the vice president at ADL centennial gala last week

Foxman and the vice president at ADL centennial gala last month

Huffington Post has called out the 15 Democratic Senators who are pushing a bill to kneecap the Iran deal and enable Israel to tangle us up in another Middle Eastern war. Check out the roll of dishonor at that post, and the lead:

As the United States finally puts a decade of war behind it, a group of senators, including 15 Democrats, is defying the White House and threatening to push the country into a fresh war with Iran.

Harry Hjalmarson notes that Huffington Post’s coverage has included criticism of Israel and its lobby. “I think the HP has decided to invest political capital in a push-back that started already. In my simple reasoning, the motivation here is anti-war, but the end result will be another attack on Zionism.”

He notes that the Huffpo commenters are not shy about Israel. “The majority of the 240 comments are negative about the AIPAC/Menendez/ADL point of view. Many are thoughtful and carefully written.”

I checked out the comments today and saw a mix of anti-war comments and ones critical of Israel.

The headline should be AIPAC sell outs…very disappointed to see Booker but not surprised because of his close proximity with Rabbi Boteach who is a war monger…

This one, from Clifton B, is very thoughtful and makes the important point that many of these Senators were given their jobs by the antiwar Democratic base:

A self-described “Zionist Babe” offering any opinion relating to the US and the Middle East….how completely unsurprising. The Anti-War movement is a central element of the Democratic party. It has helped launch the career of many of these men and women. The majority of Americans wanted an end to the constant bloodshed in the Middle East. We have an opportunity to prevent another war. There’s absolutely no legitimate reason for passing this sort of legislation at this moment.



Hjalmarson says, “I think the Huffington Post flipped to the anti-Zionist camp. One reason is the Zionist linkage to undesirables: war, Saudi Arabia and non-American motivations.”

Like this comment: “Israel has long grown well beyond being merely tiresome and annoying.”

That was a response to an earlier Huffpo article on the Iran-sanctions bill, initially titled “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push.” Huffpo changed the headline to “Iran Sanctions Bill From Sens. Bob Menendez And Mark Kirk Could Endanger U.S. Negotiations,” but the piece was more explicit than the latest piece about the role of AIPAC–

[T]he argument that the [legislation] is aimed to benefit the White House is undermined by the White House’s own vehement opposition to it. It is further undercut by the lead supporter of the Menendez bill, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has pushed hard to derail the talks and encouraged Congress to undermine the president’s effort. Schumer and Menendez are close allies of AIPAC.

That piece led to an Abe Foxman letter to Huffpo that says Huffpo is trading in anti-Semitic tropes.

We were deeply disturbed by the Huffington Post’s front-page handling on December 19 of the bipartisan introduction in the Senate of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.

The initial headline, “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push,” by itself was outrageous and inappropriate. While legitimate arguments can be made in support of and against the legislation, your headline impugned Senator Menendez’s loyalty, insinuating that he is not acting in the best interest of the United States as he sees it. Running a photo of Sen. Robert Menendez speaking at the podium of an AIPAC event further implies that he was trying to “sabotage” the administration’s efforts on Iran for reasons related to Israel under pressure from American Jews. We are shocked that a version of the anti-Semitic theme that “Jews manipulate the U.S. Government” was boldly featured on your site.

Whether done intentionally or not, it is deeply troubling to see how easily even a well-respected mainstream media outlet like the Huffington Post can fail to see the ugly stereotype projected when the language of “sabotage” is combined with the image of an identifiably American Jewish organization known for its effectiveness in promoting U.S. political support for Israel. The charge of dual loyalty leveled against Jews has, for centuries, been a catalyst for scapegoating and vilifying Jews. It has no legitimate place in our society.

I agree with Hjalmarson that anti-war messaging blurs quickly into criticism of Israel and the lobby. It is great to see this consciousness-raising occurring in the left American grassroots. And cheering to imagine that a shaming on Huffpo could cause Senators to rethink their betrayal of the Obama administration.

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