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Saban created Middle East thinktank at Brookings after ‘cold call’ to former AIPAC official

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I’m still catching up to Hillary Clinton and Shimon Peres’s appearance at Brookings the other day. “Shimon,” as Clinton repeatedly called the Israeli president.

The event was notable because Saban surfaced: Haim Saban, the ardent Zionist who funds the Saban Center on Middle East Policy at Brookings– the man who paid for that Israeli flag you can see behind him as he speaks in the video. He comes out at 1:10 or so and after a joke about them wanting more money from him, it’s on to “Hillary my dear friend” and a Hebrew endearment to Shimon Peres. Then Saban said he started the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings after calling “Martin [Indyk] cold” 12 years ago to ask him for his advice.

“What could I do to kind of help things along in the Middle East? They’re taking too long to get there…. [Indyk then had dinner with Saban and Saban’s wife Cheryl] I had no idea what I was looking for, and he said, why don’t you set up a center for Middle East studies at Brookings. To which I said, I think it’s a great idea, what is Brookings.”

Indyk is a former AIPAC official who had a big job under Clinton and has always supported the peace process, but as a supporter of Israel. The Saban Center was not his first pro-Israel thinktank. He also helped start a second important thinktank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as a spinoff of AIPAC in 1985. He knows how to direct money, alright. 

Saban said Brookings has had “real world impact.” What does he have to show for the last 12 years besides cement overshoes for the peace process? Oh and Indyk is director of Foreign Policy at Brookings.

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Saban Surfaces
Saban Surfaces

This picture was tweeted by Brookings, and the gang’s all here: Saban, Peres, Clinton, Martin Indyk, and Strobe Talbott of Brookings. (Thanks to Max Blumenthal)

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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3 Responses

  1. radii on June 15, 2012, 12:23 pm

    The Mind of Hillary Clinton Speaks from the above picture:
    I must sit her and smile and endure and say many things I do not believe. You’d think I’d be used to it by now

  2. DICKERSON3870 on June 15, 2012, 2:59 pm

    RE: “Saban said he started the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings after calling ‘Martin [Indyk] cold’ 12 years ago to ask him for his advice.” ~ Weiss

    ALSO SEE: “Haim Saban”, by Matthew Yglesias, The Atlantic, June 10, 2007

    (excerpt) If you’re interested in the foreign policy views of major Hillary Clinton financial backer Haim Saban, there’s no need to follow the Atrios path of attempting guilt by association with Kenneth Pollack*. He discussed his views on the Middle East and Persian Gulf region in great detail in a reasonably recent interview with ‘Haaretz’:

    When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It’s truly an existential danger…”…

    SOURCE –

    * FROM WIKIPEDIA [Kenneth Pollack, 5/29/12]:

    (excerpts) Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD (born 1966), is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst. . .
    . . . Outside of government, he worked for the Brookings Institution as the director of research at its Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He previously worked for the Council of Foreign Relations as their director of national security studies. . .
    . . . Pollack is credited with persuading liberals of the case for the Iraq war. “New York Times” columnist Bill Keller, in supporting the Iraq war in 2003, wrote “Kenneth Pollack, the Clinton National Security Council expert whose argument for invading Iraq is surely the most influential book of this season, has provided intellectual cover for every liberal who finds himself inclining toward war but uneasy about Mr. Bush.”[2] . . .
    . . . A U.S. government indictment alleges that Pollack provided information to former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employees Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman during the AIPAC espionage scandal.[8] . . .

    SOURCE –

    P.S. ALSO SEE: Thinktank [Foundation for Defense of Democracies] that promoted war w/ Iraq (& now Iran) was funded by Steinhardt, Saban, Bronfman, Feith and Marcus (of Home Depot)

  3. mudder on June 15, 2012, 11:39 pm

    I think the Red Power Ranger needs to give him a punch in the gut.

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