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Invite to Netanyahu brought a big donor to Dem thinktank– and ‘we’ll never be called anti-Semitic again’

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The latest emails from the Clinton campaign released by Wikileaks are radioactive. Two emails last year to campaign chairman John Podesta from Neera Tanden, head of the Clintonite thinktank Center for American Progress, lay bare the influence of Zionist money on the political process as nothing else has.

“Netanyahu was worth it….” “the far left hates me.”

The emails relate to Tanden’s controversial invitation to rightwing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to the thinktank, months after he had tried to destroy President Obama’s Iran deal– for a fawningly-positive “interview” in which Tanden barely touched on the prime minister’s racist appeals to win reelection in Israel earlier that year.

On November 11, the morning of the Netanyahu lovefest, Podesta asked Tanden for a bottom line on the event: “what has been gained and what has been lost?”

Tanden wrote back to him that afternoon that it was awful, but it was worth it, because CAP scored a big donor, and we won’t be called anti-Semitic again.

Nothing we have done has pitted being a think tank and being ideologically action oriented against each other more harshly. At the end of the day, we had to choose.

So answer is complicated. If I could have the whole thing not happen, would definitely have it not happen. But it happened to us.

Things gained: We will never be called anti-Semitic again. No matter what anyone writes. Mainstream press and people think we handled it just right- tough questions. I think for any dismissers, not that i think there were a lot, but we have definitely proven we’re a think tank. And it may have sealed the deal with a new board member.

Things lost: Staff is riven. On both sides. We are holding a lot of meetings on that. Worse thing – someone leaked staff statement. That kind of thing really changes the culture. How to keep that culture with that kind of leaking is going to be hard, but need to navigate. And far left hates me.

We do have a broader issue of expectations in the organization. I had an intern tell me that she was upset we did not tell her ahead of time…


Neera Tanden and Netanyahu at Center for American Progress

Neera Tanden and Netanyahu at Center for American Progress

Tanden followed up with this jubilant email to Podesta on December 23:

Jonathan Lavine… Is joining the board. So Netanyahu was worth it :)…

Merry Christmas to you and Mary! Neera

We noted how much Jonathan Lavine, of Bain Capital, and his wife Jeannie, Boston Jews, are committed to Israel in this earlier post, also based on a Tanden email.

As to CAP’s fears re a reputation for anti-Semitism, that is because a bunch of neoconservative Israel lobbyists bird-dogged it in 2011-2012 for staffers who were writing posts critical of Israel and the Israel lobby on Think Progress. All those staffers were in essence purged/walked out the front door in the end.

But the thinktank is riven. And our site played a role, because we ran a leaked email about staff dissension over Netanyahu, back when.

This is precisely what Jeffrey Goldberg talked about at Temple Emanu-El in New York last week: the Democratic Party is divided between the progressive rank-and-file, who have had it with Israel, and “what I would delicately call the donor class of the Democratic Party, which is disproportionately Jewish, and has been so for many years.” It is precisely what Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List said last spring at a J Street event in D.C. where she described Congressional candidates around the country having to get an AIPAC line on Israel in order to get Jewish donors, whose role she said was gigantic inside the Democratic Party. J.J. Goldberg said the same thing at that event: “You ask a Democratic fundraiser, where do you get the money from? ‘Well from trial lawyers, from toys, from generic drugs, from Hollywood. From Jews.’ Those are all essentially Jewish industries… When you are raising  money, you need to find rich people who are not right wing, and there are not– pardon me for saying this, there are not many rich goyim who are not right wing. Forgive me for saying that.”

So the dead hand of the past inside Jewish life– rich old donors– are controlling ME policy in liberal institutions. This is why progressive activism including by countless Jews saying “not in my name” is so necessary. And P.S. this battle threatens the Democratic Party in much the way that Trump broke up the Republican Party. The divide will only get more pronounced; and candidates will at last run openly against the special relationship with Israel.

The emails also expose issues of racism inside the Democratic Party. False accusations of anti-Semitism are poison to the thinktank; and meantime, Netanyahu’s explicit racism in his last campaign — “Arabs are coming out in droves” — doesn’t move the dial.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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8 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on November 1, 2016, 12:03 am

    RE: “Invite to Netanyahu brought a big donor to Dem thinktank– and ‘we’ll never be called anti-Semitic again’

    MY COMMENT: I guess that means CAP is finally “in good (albeit antiSemitic) company”.* One can never have too many “good Republican cloth coats”.


    [EXCERPT] . . . When the Republicans nominated Nixon as their vice-presidential candidate in 1952, some opponents accused him of anti-Semitism. Nixon had Murray Chotiner, his (Jewish) campaign manager, secure the ADL’s stamp of approval. Still, into the summer voters inundated campaign headquarters with letters asking about Nixon’s feelings toward Jews. The candidate sometimes responded himself, with his characteristic earnestness. “I want to thank you for … your courtesy in calling my attention to the false rumor that I am anti-Semetic [sic],” he wrote in one reply. “I am enclosing a copy of a letter which Murray Chotiner has sent to these people which, I believe, is self-explanatory.” . . .

    SOURCE ~

    • JLewisDickerson on November 1, 2016, 11:34 am


      [EXCERPTS] New revelations about the circumstances under which Israel and the United States reached a secret understanding on the Israeli nuclear program, and the Richard Nixon administration came to recognize Israel’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” appear in an article published this weekend in Washington. . .

      . . . Cohen and Burr reveal internal documents of the Nixon administration about contacts with Israel over the nuclear issue, including Israel’s official notification to the U.S. that it would not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The “nuclear understanding” reached in 1969 between then-prime minister Golda Meir and Richard Nixon ended a decade of American pressure on Israel to stop its nuclear program. In the ’60s the Americans sent inspectors to the Dimona nuclear reactor, and officials in the Johnson administration sought to condition the supply of F-4 Phantom fighter planes to Israel on its signing the NPT. Israel refused and adhered to its vague pledge “not to be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.”

      Nixon’s entry to the White House in January 1969 heralded a change in U.S. policy. Cohen and Burr reveal that the administration worked up documents on the ramifications of a nuclear-armed Israel, the contents of which remain classified. According to documents that have been declassified, the administration was of the opinion before Meir’s first Washington visit, in September 1969, that Israel was already in the possession of nuclear weapons and was capable of deploying and launching Jericho ground-to-ground missiles. Based on that assessment, the U.S. State Department recommended that Nixon pressure Meir to pledge that “Israel would not possess nuclear weapons, would sign the NPT, and would not deploy missiles.” Cohen and Burr say it is not known whether Nixon tried to do this, but that “subsequent actions indicate that he did not.”

      Meir and Nixon met in private at the White House on September 26, 1969. The precise contents of their conversation remains a blank, but it is known that it led to an understanding between the two countries. According to internal memoranda by Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, Nixon had made clear to Meir that it was in America’s interest that “Israel make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program.” . . .

      SOURCE –

  2. echinococcus on November 1, 2016, 3:08 am

    Thank you, Phil. Very sharp.


    This is why progressive activism including by countless Jews saying “not in my name” is so necessary.

    comes there without any evidence in support of the tribe being uniquely qualified –“my name”not a sine qua non.. Countless Buddhists, Wiccans, Protestants; countless South Asians and Horn-of-Africans, can do it just as well. Perhaps more reliably.

    Also, you may be right in saying

    this battle threatens the Democratic Party in much the way that Trump broke up the Republican Party

    a demise we should try to accelerate by all means; salvaging this corpse necessarily reinforces the Zionists.

  3. annie on November 1, 2016, 3:38 pm

    and candidates will at last run openly against the special relationship with Israel.

    faster please!

  4. JWalters on November 1, 2016, 7:07 pm

    How hard the politicians work to conceal from the public their slave-master relationship with Israel’s money! While they get ready for Israel’s next war.

    • Jasonius Maximus on November 2, 2016, 4:18 pm

      The nearly constant primary, election and re-election cycle here in the U.S. has our politicians literally chained to the will of their mega-donor masters. The window of opportunity for any one of them to resist their slavery, should they even want to, and retain their seat, and keep their (and their party’s) respective campaign coffers well stocked in time for the next brutal wave of campaigning and fundraising without also hurting fellow party members is so minuscule that it practically doesn’t even exist anymore.

      Even a successful two-term President has barely a two month window at the end of his 96 month long term to accomplish anything even remotely sovereign and unbeholded to said donors without causing too much political damage to his own party! Senators and House Representatives even less so once you factor into the equation their abysmal attendance records and their requirement to be fundraising for nearly two thirds of each year to maintain their politcal life.

      Campaign finance reform is only part of the solution to this disease that has plagued our political system for too long now. Election reform is the second and equally important (yet almost completely overlooked) aspect to breaking the hold that the donor-class has on this rigged system of political power that works for them and them alone. However, this can come only from Congress itself and a Congress that is unanimously willing to change itself, which is highly unlikely considering it would be contrary to both their own personal self interests and that of their slave masters.

      Until then AIPAC and pro-Israel mega-donors alike will continue to set, write and dictate U.S. foreign policy and action in the Middle East to everyone’s, especially the American people’s detriment and expense. They may even, from time-to-time, allow a few “harsh” statements and “strong” condemnations to come from the White House. Just so it lets our leaders feel like they are putting up a bit of a fight. Don’t let that fool you, those neck shackles have our politicians on both sides of the aisle firmly chained together and in check with absolutely no risk of harm to the status quo. They know all too well that if even one of them rocks the slave boat, they’re all going for a swim in the ocean.

  5. Mooser on November 4, 2016, 3:44 pm

    “Oh we’re going to the think-tank,
    And we’re gonna get married
    Oh we’re going to the think-tank
    And Obama gets harried.
    And we’ll never be anti-semitic any more!

  6. Kathleen on November 5, 2016, 10:29 am

    How soon will Israeli firster Dennis Ross be appointed a position in the Clinton administration?

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