Right-wing Listserv Coordinates Smears of Anti-Semitism Against Israel’s Critics in the Blogosphere

Salon’s Justin Eliot has uncovered a right-wing listserv called “The Freedom Community” that targets bloggers and journalists who are critical of Israel.  According to Elliot, the private listserv is made up many neoconservative journalists and at least one former Spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Josh Block. Elliot got his hands on an email Block recently sent to the Freedom Community where he charges liberal bloggers with anti-semitism and urges his fellow Freedom Community members to “echo” and “amplify” his smear and “use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.”  Elliot gives and detailed and telling description of the email:

Block sent out his email following publication of an article by Politico’s Ben Smith Wednesday about writers at the Democratic-affiliated Center for American Progress and Media Matters who enunciate a more progressive take on the Israel-Palestine conflict than is usually found in Washington. Block was quoted in the story accusing CAP columnist Eric Alterman of writing “borderline anti-Semitic stuff,” a charge Alterman (who is himself Jewish) dismissed as “ludicrous.”

Block’s email to the Freedom Community list arrived under the subject line “Important piece to echo and the research to do it….” – a reference to the Politico story. He wasted no time throwing around more accusations of anti-Semitism.

“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal – clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ – to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,” Block writes. “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”

The email continues by encouraging journalists on the Freedom Community list to ask Democratic members of Congress about the story.

“I wonder if Steny Hoyer or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer or Dick Durban or James Clyburn agree with CAP?” Block asks. “I wonder if they will say they disagree and condemn this stuff and expect better.    You know how I feel – look at the below — and ask them how they feel about this discourse from CAP and Media Matters.”

He goes on: “YOU SHOULD AMPLIFY this.  And use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.”

What follows is thousands of words of opposition research focusing on CAP writers Eli Clifton, Matt Duss and Ali Gharib and Media Matters’ M.J. Rosenberg.

Elliot published the complete text of Block's email, which includes lists of bloggers from the Center for American Progress and Media Matters alongside links to their posts and even tweets that Block finds insufficiently pro-Israel.  Here's an exerpt of the email:

[B] Israeli/Palestinian conflict – even when they’re not smearing supporters of the US/Israel alliance for dual-loyalty, CAP’s position still puts them way outside the mainstream. And so they end up attacking the mainstream, including Democrats, the State Department’s stance on the Gaza blockade, etc. Their opposition to Israel’s Gaza blockade, a position that is overwhelmingly seen as legitimate in Congress, has also led them to attack sitting members.

Yglesias - //thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2010/06/11/197528/senator-chuck-schumer-wants-to-strangle-gaza-residents-economically-as-collective-punishment/ - Senator Chuck Schumer Wants to “Strangle” Gaza Residents “Economically” as Collective Punishment … “I find these sentiments disgusting”

Duss – //twitter.com/#%21/mattduss/status/102072268649275392 - @mattduss: Read @Lara_APN: U.S. (non)-Recognition of Sovereignty in Jerusalem: A Consistent Policy, pre-1948 -Present bit.ly/nqfsnZ

Gharib - //thinkprogress.org/security/2011/06/22/251355/state-travel-warning-israel/ “State Department Travel Warning: If You Try To Sail To Gaza, Israel May Kill You”

Gharib - //thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/12/294357/state-department-memri-neocon/ - “State Department Grants $200K To Discredited Neocon-Aligned Middle East Media Watchdog” … “a Middle East media watchdog closely aligned with U.S. neoconservatives and Israel’s hawkish security establishment and rightist Likud Party” [MEMRI]

Gharib - //thinkprogress.org/security/2011/06/30/258319/perry-gaza-flotilla/ - “American Gaza Flotilla Participant Calls Rick Perry’s DOJ Letter ‘The Worst Kind Of Pandering’”… “There is no evidence that any participants in the flotilla plan ‘to commit hostilities’ against anyone” … “The notion — echoing the call of two staunch Israel supporters in Congress — that flotilla participants can be prosecuted for material terror is flimsy at best and made in bad faith at worst.”

Duss – //thinkprogress.org/security/2010/05/31/99927/israeli-commandos-raid-gaza-aid-flotilla-netanyahu-cancels-meeting-with-obama/ - “Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values”

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/113637438978658304 - Everything Amb Rice says here about what UN bid won’t do for Palestinians could be said about admin’s peace efforts//yhoo.it/qTWLJT

Duss – //twitter.com/mattduss/status/124488310436540417 - mattduss: @Ali_Gharib Maybe Iran should occupy Iraq and start building settlements there. Then Congress would oppose pressuring them.

Duss RT’ing Tony Karon - https://twitter.com/#!/TonyKaron/status/113776561567698944 - US blather about Palestinians needing to return to talks misses the point: Israel rejects the international consensus on peace terms

You can find the rest of the email at Salon

AlterNet / By Rania Khalek

Posted at December 8, 2011, 9:47am

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