New US Pro-Israel Group Takes Aim at Obama
A new American group calling itself the "pro-Israel wing of the pro-Israel community” has set its sights on the Obama administration’s Middle East polices. Its first target is Joe Sestak, a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania who polls show is tied with former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey.
The “Emergency Committee for Israel” includes the hawkish wing of the Republican party, evangelical Christians as well as Jews who are tired of "political correctness" and polite criticism of the Obama administration. Its board of directors includes Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, American Values leader Gary Bauer and conservative writer and activist Rachel Abrams.
Indicative of the committee’s approach are Kristol’s doubts about American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), traditionally a strong pro-Israel lobby but which has been less nationalist in its views since U.S. President Barack Obama was elected.
Kristol told the Politico web site that AIPAC “is a wonderful organization but one that’s very committed to working with the administration, so they pull some punches publicly.”
Noah Pollak, the committee’s executive director, said, “We want to be hard-hitting. We want to get into a debate and shake things up and make some points in a firm way.” Bauer labeled the Obama government “the most anti-Israel administration in the history of the United States” and cited its support for a building freeze against building for Jews in Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
Part of the inspiration for forming a new pro-Israel lobby came from the left-wing J Street lobby, according to Kristol, which he said shows how a small group can wield power by loud and frequent criticism of Israel. "There are some people who say they are pro-Israel, but aren’t really,” he explained.
The new committee has raised enough money for a commercial on Fox News and CNN during a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, according to Politico.
It has singled out Rep. Sestak for signing a letter criticizing Israel’s partial embargo on Gaza, declining to sign a letter supporting defending Israeli policies and for attending a fundraiser for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has labeled it a “front group” for Hamas. No charges have been filed, and CAIR has rejected the accusation.
Rep. Sestak’s spokesman insists that “Joe is a strong supporter of the State of Israel” and that opponents are trying to distort his record.