Liberal thinktank sacks Block, saying ‘Your actions cause many to fear’ criticizing Israel

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josh block

The continuing drama of Democratic Party institutions making room for criticism of Israel….

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reported last week that the Progressive Policy Institute and Truman National Security project would likely bounce former AIPAC aide Josh Block for smearing critics of Israel at the Dem-Party-aligned Center for American Progress as anti-Semites. Ben Smith confirms that this has happened today:

A progressive group that is working to remake the Democratic Party’s approach to national security has drawn a line around the heated Israel policy debate, expelling a member who criticized the Center for American Progress for breaking with Clinton Democrats’ traditional staunch support for Israel.

Truman National Security Project founder Rachel Kleinfeld emailed the critic, Josh Block, to inform him this morning, Block said.

“This has nothing to do with your policy views, and is a decision solely made on the basis of the need for this community to privilege the ability to debate difficult topics freely, without fear of mischaracterization or character attacks,” she said in the email. “Your actions outside the community have caused too many to fear conversation within the community.  That fear is not baseless, given your own actions.  As the point of the Truman Fellowship is to help the next generation of leaders think about hard topics together, we need people to feel that they can debate with security.”

Kleinfeld’s concern about open debate comes after decades of  heated and sometimes personal debate inside the Democratic Party on questions of the Middle East. That argument has long run in both directions, and Truman is choosing a side here.

Update: Bill Kristol has a long face. He understands the significance of this move. Expulsion, good word:

Doesn’t the expulsion of Block suggest that it is now impossible to be unapologetically pro-Israel—and publicly hostile to those who are anti-Israel—and remain a member in good standing of the liberal and Democratic foreign policy establishment?

Come on, Bill, why did your father urge Jews to leave the Democratic Party 40 years ago? :

“Senator McGovern is very sincere when he says that he will try to cut the military budget by 30%. And this is to drive a knife in the heart of Israel… Jews don’t like big military budgets. But it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States… American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel.”

Note that your late father cited a Jewish interest, which I believe he said Jews should be willing to embrace publicly, but which I don’t see you embracing forthrightly.

UPDATE: Earlier version of this post said that Block had been dropped by the Progressive Policy Insitute, not the Truman project. Apologies to all.

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Betcha Block has a job with 24 hours–my money is on him working for Bibi directly.

About time this standard was applied across the board, and open debate on the topic was the norm. However, there are cracks in the the separation wall Israel has attempted to build around itself and threaten anybody who dares breach it. It seems they just can’t help making more enemies through their hostility and black ops.

“…a decision solely made on the basis of the need for this community to privilege the ability to debate difficult topics freely, without fear of mischaracterization or character attacks,” she said in the email. “Your actions outside the community have caused too many to fear conversation within the community. That fear is not baseless, given your own actions. sweeeet! thanks Kleinfeld. kristol: Doesn’t the expulsion of Block suggest that it is now impossible to be… Read more »

“it is now impossible to be unapologetically pro-Israel—and publicly hostile to those who are anti-Israel and remain in good standing w/the dems ….” Bill can be as unapologetically pro-Israel as he pleases. He can still be as publicaly hostile to Americans who are Israel critics as he wants, but he’s going to get hostility right back. Firing Block in a way that makes an example of him was a good first step. Next step is… Read more »

This story is changing so quickly — I think this is another big development. I have been very active inside the Democratic Party for many years. Quite frankly, I usually avoided the subject of Israel in that environment — you know party unity and all of that good stuff. Given my public identity as a Democrat I also avoided saying anything in public on the question. After 911 I erred and mentioned that this was… Read more »