Right-wing listserv targets Israel’s critics

Ex-AIPAC official urges conservative journalists to echo charges of "anti-Semitism"

Topics: Israel-Palestine, Israel, Anti-Semitism, ,

Right-wing listserv targets Israel's criticsJosh Block (Credit: Reuters/Fox/Salon)

The former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is shopping a 3,000-word trove of opposition research against bloggers critical of Israel to friendly neoconservative journalists.

I’ve obtained an email sent by Josh Block to a private listserv called the Freedom Community, in which he throws around accusations of anti-Semitism against liberal bloggers and calls on other list members to “echo” and “amplify” his assault and “use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.”

The Freedom Community list includes many neoconservative journalists, according to a person familiar with the matter. As of last night, the icon for the listserv was Margaret Thatcher:


I sent an inquiry to Block late Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, the listserv had been scrubbed:

(The phrase “the freedom community” has also appeared in a post by Weekly Standard editor Daniel Halper hailing a neoconservative speech by the president of Mongolia. And Ben Smith reported last year on a similar sounding endeavor called “Freedom Mail.”)

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. I’ve posted the full text below. (I’m not vouching for the accuracy of the material, and CAP has responded to the Politico article here.)

Asked for comment about the email, Block sent me this statement:

Those who accuse pro-Israel advocates and American Jews of having “dual loyalties” and being “Israel Firsters” are engaged in anti-Semetic hate speech. Period. These are age-old canards and anti-Semetic smears that go back centuries, suggesting that Jews are disloyal, alien and cannot be trusted. This kind of rhetoric has no place in civil dialogue and anyone’s politics, but especially among progressives.

The organizations who pay the salaries of those using such hate speech, (see below for specific examples), and who have clearly had it brought to their attention, must either confront it and end it, or take full responsibility for it. In this case, that choice belongs to both CAP and Media Matters. This is a free country and people can say what they want, but the question for those organizations is whether they are an appropriate home for such discourse

The Block Freedom Community email is interesting for a few reasons.

First, it’s worth noting that Block is continuing to do AIPAC-style press work even though he left the powerful lobbying group last fall. (AIPAC’s current spokesman has, at least publicly, stayed above the fray, declining to comment for the Politico story.)

Block frequently offers hard-line quotes in Israel-Palestine stories identified as the group’s former spokesman, or occasionally as “a former Clinton administration official who is now a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.” (He was a spokesman for USAID during the Clinton years.)

In February, for example, months after he left AIPAC, Block sent out an email to reporters and editors proposing “questions to ask the Muslim Brotherhood & Their Allies,” the New York Times reported. In August, he was calling the Obama administration’s approach to Syria “tragically naïve.” In September he was quoted by Eli Lake in Newsweek accusing the Obama administration of encouraging “Israel’s adversaries to pursue their hostile aims against the Jewish state.” And in October, Block was quoted attacking the wording of a poll that came up with unfavorable results for AIPAC.

His gig at the Progressive Policy Institute is in line with that organization’s Lieberman-style Democratic politics. Block is also a partner with Salon favorite Lanny Davis in a lobbying and P.R. firm, Davis-Block.

Block tells me he was shopping the opposition trove on progressive bloggers not as part of work for a client, but rather “just for me … just for what’s right.”

Davis-Block counts among its clients the group Friends of Israel, which is associated with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar. (Though the group’s website appears to have been defunct since September.)

The existence of the Freedom Community – a private list for the ideologically like-minded that includes proposals for coordination — prompts memories of the JournoList affair of 2010. That involved a listserv of left-leaning journalists and policy wonks whose leaked emails were the subject of (many said dishonest) reporting by the Daily Caller, which was subsequently blown up into a national story by Fox News and Co.

Now, Block’s email is explicitly calling for coordination among conservative writers.

I personally don’t see anything wrong with like-minded journalists and policy folks having private discussions on email lists. Individual journalists could take or leave Block’s pitch. But it’s certainly interesting to see how the sausage gets made.

And next time Block’s name appears in print, it’s worth remembering he has something of a vendetta against anyone who doesn’t fall into line with the status quo view on U.S. policy toward Israel.

UPDATE: This story originally said Block did not respond to a request for comment. He in fact sent the above statement to me Wednesday night, but I didn’t get it because of an email snafu.


Here’s the complete text of Block’s email to the Freedom Community

[Subject:] Important piece to echo and the research to do it….

Ben Smith is a good reporter and his story is important in exposing what these people are doing.  It is not a good story for CAP and Media Matters. READ the story carefully and see below that some good, but not exhaustive, examples of CAP and MEDIA MATTERS outrageous vilification of pro-Israel Americans, Jews, Members of Congress, and pretty much anyone who thinks Iran with nuke is a problem, or supports a strong US-Israe relationship.

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.  These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.

This kind of hate speech has no place in the political discourse, let alone one FUNDED, SPONSORED AND DEFENDED by a group claiming the mantle of the Democratic party.

I wonder if Steny Hoyer or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer or Dick Durban or James Clyburn agree with CAP?  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.

After you read the story, see below for more examples of CAP’s and Media Matter’s work and statements along these lines….

YOU SHOULD AMPLIFY this.  And use the below to attack the bad guys.



Israel rift roils Dem ranks

Two of the party’s core institutions emerge as critics of its pro-Israel congressional leaders.

By Ben Smith



The below record is divided into two broad categories:

(1) CAP’s substantive positions against Israel and on the side of anti-US, anti-Israel, and anti-Western forces

(2) CAP’s rhetoric and tactics of personal attacks against political opponents.

Obviously the two categories interact. The CAP writers are not above smearing Democratic politicians and mainstream journalists for being Israel-firsters, for carrying AIPAC’s water, etc. But the personal attacks speak to personal unprofessionalism and borderline libel, while the substantive stuff exposes how far out of the mainstream CAP’s work has actually gotten.

Across everything, there’s a weird combination of sneering recklessness and smug childishness that underlies a lot of their rhetoric. On the recklessness side, there’s a degree to which they really don’t know how shrill they sound and how far off the reservation they’ve strayed. It’s almost as if, in talking to each other, it’s now just natural to talk about Jewish money in politics, about treasonous politicians, etc. On the childishness side, people are “stupid” or “douchebags” or (sarcastically) “super-geniuses” or the like, and there’s this kind of petulant foot-stamping on certain central dogmas because those debates are settled (e.g. Petraeus). Much of that is covered in the unprofessional rhetoric section, but it’s a thread that goes through much of what CAP produces on the Middle East.

(1)   CAP’s substantive positions: Each of these expose the degree to which CAP’s Middle East policy analysis/prescriptions are far out of the mainstream of Democratic and center-left politics.

(a)   Geopolitics – on the micro level, on issue after issue, CAP’s Middle East people can always be relied on dismiss concerns over anti-Israel and Islamic radicalism, on one hand, and attack Israel on the other. The analysis becomes especially absurd on Iran and Turkey.

(b)   Israeli/Palestinian issues – CAP is far out of the mainstream on American support for Israel, which leads them to – among other things – attack Democratic members of Congress for being too pro-Israel

(c)    Israeli/Palestinian issues – linkage – CAP’s Middle East people are committed to the idea that Israel is at the core of Middle East instability.

(d)   Israeli/Palestinian issues – Israeli intransigence is the reason  - the setup for the idea that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is at the core of Middle East instability, this is the argument that Israeli intransigence is at the core of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

(e)   The US/Israeli alliance hurts America’s national interest – these arguments range across the spectrum, from the soft power argument that Arabs don’t like us because of Israel to the super-charged Petraeus argument that Israel gets American troops killed.

(2)   CAP’s tactics of personal attacks:

(a)   Dual-loyalty/”Israel-firsters”/Likudniks – a longstanding and by now glib practice of deploying dual-loyalty smears against their political opponents, from accusing them of being “Israel-firsters”/Likudniks to accusing them of propagandizing for The Lobby.

(b)   Duss’s unprofessional rhetoric – Duss engages in ad homs, snideness, and mockery that’s not only unprofessional but is starkly at odds with what might be called his own personal and analytical failings.

Substantive Positions/Ideology 

[A] Geopolitics – on almost every specific issue, even outside the Israeli/Palestinian context CAP can be relied upon to provide “analysis” that runs counter to mainstream consensus – and that always ends up explaining why concerns about anti-American and anti-Western currents are overblown.

Iran… CAP authors have long sought to both debunk and sneer at suggestions of Iranian nuclearization, right through this morning. This flies in the face of overwhelming Congressional and center-left conviction that Iran is nuclearizing and that a robust sanctions regime is necessary to counter their efforts. It turns out that even the assassination plot is proof that Iran isn’t a threat.

Gharib and Clifton – today - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/11/08/364519/white-house-iaea-report-iran/ - “U.S. Official: IAEA Report ‘Does Not Assert That Iran Has Resumed A Full Scale Nuclear Weapons Program’”

Gharib – http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/01/08/ali-gharib-4/ - Scott Horton Interviews Ali Gharib … no hard evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, general sneering about evidence… “just a lie”

Duss - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2009/12/08/72834/iran-sanctions-bill/ - Congress Rushing To Pass Iran Sanctions That No One Thinks Will Work

Duss - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/01/11/176451/iaea-chief-we-cannot-say/ - IAEA Chief: ‘We Cannot Say That Iran Is Pursuing A Nuclear Weapons Program’

Clifton - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/06/07/238238/rand-report-iran/ - RAND Report Discredits Iran Hawks, Advocates Containment And Deterrence

Clifton - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/08/290977/hawks-push-for-iraq-style-sanctions-on-iran/ - Hawks Push For Iraq-Style Sanctions On Iran

Clifton - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/10/292724/aipac-iran-iraq/ - AIPAC’s Iran Strategy On Sanctions Mirrors Run-Up To Iraq War Tactics

Gharib - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/12/341482/iran-plot-act-of-war/ - Republicans Call Alleged Iranian-Backed Plot An ‘Act Of War’

Gharib - http://twitter.com/Ali_Gharib/status/125977984342556672 - Ali_Gharib: How the alleged Iran plot undermines neocon talking point about Iran’s ties & influence in Latin America.http://t.co/YbpmdPHX

Turkey … despite constantly attacking religious hardliners in Israel and evangelicals in the United States, CAP’s authors go the ramparts for the AKP and Erdogan. They also attack Democrats for siding with Israel in the context of Israeli/Turkish tensions

Gharib - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/11/07/363028/house-democrats-turkey-israel/ - House Democrats Call For ‘Urgent Review Of Our Relations With Turkey’ After ‘Confrontation’ With Israel

Yglesias - http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2009/02/11/191708/martin_pertez_on_avigdor_lieberman/- on Erdogan and the AKP: “That’s how politics works. I’m not personally a fan of religious-inflected politics, but it’s very common and not something to freak out over”

Gharib - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/09/30/332632/islamophobes-spike-u-s-alliance-with-islamist-turkey/ - Islamophobes Coordinate Campaign To Paint ‘Islamist’ Turkey As U.S.’s ‘Enemy Camp’ 

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/99140876168732672 - You’re smart enough to know this isn’t true RT @EliLake: @drfarls breakdown in Israeli-Turkey ties is the fault of Turkey & its ruling party

Lebanon… eight days after the beginning of Lebanon II in 2006 Congress passed a resolution supporting Israel’s military action 410-8. CAP was on the other side, doing what they could to defend Hezbollah and channeling the idea that Israeli self-defense was inspiring attacks on US troops:

Shakir - http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2006/08/19/7002/solidarity-in-middle-east/ - U.S. Commander: Lebanon Conflict May Have Fueled Attacks On U.S. Troops

“ThinkProgress” - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2006/07/26/6518/mccain-hezbullah/ - McCain Falsely Claims the Iraqi Prime Minister Has ‘Condemned Hezbollah’

“ThinkProgress” - http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2006/07/25/6501/us-approves-two-more-weeks-of-fighting/ - U.S. approves two more weeks of fighting.

[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 - http://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 – http://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 - http://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 - http://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 - http://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 – http://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 effortshttp://yhoo.it/qTWLJT

Duss – http://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

[C] Israeli/Palestinian conflict – linkage – CAP constantly pushes the talking point that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the cause rather than the symptom of Middle East pathologies.

Duss - http://twitter.com/mattduss/status/41912781733236737 - mattduss Eltahaway: arab hatred for israel will not end until the occupation ends. #jstconf #linkage

Duss - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-duss/j-street-soros-and-us-lea_b_743119.html - “…Israel’s refusal to extend its settlement moratorium… the centrality of this conflict to a number of other U.S. challenges in the region”

Duss - http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/16/linkage_and_its_discontents_what_wikileaks_reveals_about_israel_palestine - this post takes Wikileaks, which was all but universally taken as a debunking of linkage, and says that it proves the opposite.

Gharib – http://www.lobelog.com/apns-friedman-on-ajcs-harris-linkage-denial/ - “APN’s Friedman on AJC’s Harris Linkage-denial – This has been a neoconservative effort of late, which has been mostly absurd, and sometimes from Israel itself, on the dime of a pretty far right-wing Israel lobby group.”

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2010/04/26/176025/making-the-perfect-the-enemy-of-the-good-in-the-middle-east/ - “Resolving the issue wouldn’t end Al Qaeda terrorism, but it would blunt Al Qaeda’s appeal (just as Haass acknowledges it would Iran’s)”

Duss - http://twitter.com/mattduss/status/41915554663116800 - mattduss Eltahaway: nothing will be solved until the palestinian issue is solved. #jstconf #linkage

[D] Israeli/Palestinian conflict – Israeli intransigence – The punchline to linkage, where the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the cause of Middle East instability, this talking point is that Israeli intransigence is the cause of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/02/18/176503/neocons-vs-reality-again/ - “…but let’s be clear on where the fault lies: It is Israel that is violating international law by colonizing territory it has militarily occupied”

Duss – http://twitter.com/mattduss/status/124847397875630080 - mattduss: @absurdlyari Point of analogy is that settlements are an obvious impediment to peace now. Very few don’t grasp this.

Duss – http://twitter.com/mattduss/status/28102535461998592 - mattduss Hanan Ashrawi: “This is not rocket science. Settlements are built on occupied Palestinian land” http://nyti.ms/h0Rmel

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2010/09/15/176271/do-israelis-want-peace/ - “Do Israelis Want Peace?”

Duss – http://twitter.com/#%21/mattduss/status/37899802784178176 - mattduss Israeli arson RT @Ibishblog: I agree. It’s “only a matter of time until a conflagration erupts” in occupied E Jerusalemhttp://9p5n.sl.pt

Duss - http://twitter.com/#%21/mattduss/status/29290921518432256 - mattduss Freedland: #PalestinePapers “show that the Israelis were intransigent in public – and intransigent in private.”http://bit.ly/gZr8wx

[E] “Israel damages US interests” – This has for years, going back at least to Lebanon II, been a constant talking point for CAP. More recently it has revolved around the Petraeus testimony, where it’s tacked on as kind of an extension to linkage. The goal is not exactly a secret. Per Mearsheimer talking about Petraeus, it includes both the substantive goal of eroding support for the US/Israeli relationship and the more specific goal of setting up dual loyalty smears: “If that message begins to resonate with the American public, unconditional support for the Jewish state is likely to evaporate… raises legitimate questions about whether it has the best interests of the United States at heart.” It’s also something of a convergence of CAP’s ideology, rhetoric, and worst rhetorical tics. When pushed on it Duss tweeted<em>.@mere_rhetoric Tell it to Petraeus. I remember when this debate was actually interesting(https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/84678029456060416). They seem ideologically and personally committed to mainstreaming the idea that Israel is a strategic drag on the United States, even as the Arab Spring means that the US has lost all but Israel as reliable Near East allies.

It’s worth noting, of course, that Petraeus publicly walked back the CAP interpretation of his testimony (http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2010/03/video-petraeus-i-never-said-israel.html).It’s also worth noting, as a matter of substance, that Duss’s self-professed skepticism about the US getting valuable intelligence and technological help from the Israelis calls into question his ability – simply as an analyst – to evaluate what’s going on in the Middle East.

Duss - http://middleeastprogress.org/2011/09/obamas-disappointing-un-speech/ - “the president’s speech today, appeared as little more than an effort to preserve that status quo, at significant diplomatic expense and at considerable cost to America’s global standing. It was, in other words, probably the best demonstration possible for why the Palestinians decided to go to the UN in the first place.”

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2010/06/03/176100/dagan-cordesman-on-israels-strategic-value-to-u-s/ - “Dagan, Cordesman On Israel’s Strategic Value To U.S.”… o          Like Cordesman (for whom, full disclosure, I interned years ago) I’ve always been skeptical of claims about the strategic benefits of the U.S.-Israel partnership. As Cordesman writes, “At the best of times,” Israel “provides some intelligence, some minor advances in military technology, and a potential source of stabilizing military power.”…

Yglesias – http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=friends_without_benefits – “But it shouldn’t be America’s place to do what Congress did on Monday and simply stand and cheer while a foreign prime minister offers absurd lies about who America’s friends are in the world. Israeli politics has taken an aggressively hawkish and nationalistic turn over the past decade, and whether or not that’s good for Israel, it’s certainly not good for the United States.”

Clifton – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/10/11/340653/huntsman-incoherent-middle-east-policy/ - “Huntsman’s deference to “what leadership in Israel has to say about the timing issue” could come at the expense of U.S. national security interests and further tarnish the respect for U.S. leadership which Huntsman aims to restore.”

Gharib - http://twitter.com/Ali_Gharib/status/131724614383579136 - Ali_Gharib: In which Graham admits US gov acting for Israel’s interests against US interests…. http://t.co/4BcLxDtF

Duss – http://twitter.com/#%21/mattduss/status/101993399061721088 - @mattduss: Paul Pillar: Israel Slaps U.S. in the Face Again http://bit.ly/n92SlH

Duss – http://twitter.com/#%21/mattduss/status/42228883281547264 - @mattduss Ross talking about all Obama admin has done for Israel. Maybe later he’ll talk about all Bibi has done for US. Oh wait… #jstconf

Clifton - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/09/06/311989/petraeus-gates-linkage/ - Do Robert Gates And David Petraeus Agree On ‘Linkage?’

Duss - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2010/03/25/175950/gen-petraeus-on-the-reality-of-linkage/ - Petraeus Explains The Reality Of Middle East ‘Linkage’

Jilani - http://thinkprogress.org/security/2010/03/16/86903/conservatives-petraeus-listen-now/ - “Biden recently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel’s intention to build thousands of new settlements was undermining U.S. interest…”

Personal Attacks/Smears

[A] “Israel-Firster” / “Likudnik” rhetoric, and accusations that politicians and journalists are unpatriotic – In the context of Jewish Americans it’s an accusation of dual loyalty; otherwise it’s merely an accusation of treason against journalists (who value their objectivity) and politicians (who have taken an oath)

Clifton - http://twitter.com/EliClifton/status/124884109863555072 - EliClifton: RT @MJayRosenberg: Ben Smith is something. Publishes full #AIPAC memo to senators incl defense of Koch Brothers. Cool. http://t.co/snem3 …?

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2009/07/15/175545/goldberg-talking-about-israel-with-arabs-is-hate-speech/ -  “Goldberg: Talking About Israel With Arabs Is Hate Speech” … “it’s reprehensible, but it’s also typical of Goldberg’s general method on the issue of Israel, which involves presenting himself as a moderate… before invariably delivering bog-standard neoconservative verdicts.”

Duss - http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/77987/obama-and-israel-matt-duss/ - “Over the past couple decades, we’ve been seeing a relationship, Likudniks building bridges with these very right-wing evangelical groups.”

Gharib – http://twitter.com/#!/Ali_Gharib/status/96432318167793664 - Ali_Gharib: In which @InkSptsgulliver seems to mistakenly think Mark Kirk (R-AIPAC) should care about *anyone* other than Israel. http://tachesdhuile.blogspot.com/2011/07/mark-kirk-gets-his-feelings-hurt-says.html

Clifton and Gharib - http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/articles/display/the_neoconservative_echo_chamber_20 - The Neoconservative Echo Chamber 2.0

Rosenberg - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/the-fake-outrage-israel_b_864952.html - “The Fake Outrage of the Israel Firsters”

Rosenberg - https://twitter.com/#!/MJayRosenberg/status/78873595278934016 - Israel Firster Cliff May says 2006 Pal elections were neither free nor fair. It was deemed both by US, UN, EU, etc.http://bit.ly/km7KXR

Gharib – http://twitter.com/Ali_Gharib/status/132869683979362305 - Ali_Gharib: Is there a distinction anymore between US-Israeli military blustering and election campaigning? http://t.co/VJ1Q4QZ4

Duss – http://thinkprogress.org/security/2009/08/06/175579/gop-delegation-criticizes-us-backs-israeli-evictions/ - GOP delegation criticizes U.S., backs Israeli evictions

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/108576773234634753 - Ros-Lehtinen’s bill should be called “The Choosing US Decline and Isolation Act of 2011″ http://bit.ly/qN2OZd

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/91125796667789312 - Ed Koch owes Walt and Mearsheimer an apology. http://nyp.st/oiJrZ

[B] Apropos of nothing, for someone as bad at argument and debate as is Duss, he’s just out of control:

Duss - http://twitter.com/mattduss/status/29621835880472576 - [about J. Rubin] This woman is a fucking joke: Palestine Papers show “Israel has been generous in its offers of Palestinian statehood”http://wapo.st/h2HjQp

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/124151663266238464 - Pincus: So what’s the goal of our being in Iraq again? http://wapo.st/ndET0V Serves as a good response to Diehl’s pro-war clownery

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/126684105856389121 - Keep your Abramses straight: Elliott’s the pro-death squad convicted liar http://bit.ly/ruffS2 Rachel’s the crazy one http://bit.ly/qkB5YA

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/123507539148156929 - Noon: Columbus “was properly regarded as a towering douchebag by the people who knew him best.” http://bit.ly/qDgK36

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/114468279774486528 - @NoahPollak @cerenomri You mean the one I linked to and criticized in my post today, super-geniuses? http://bit.ly/psdwr7

Duss - https://twitter.com/#!/mattduss/status/99142380934021121 - @EliLake It’s also a convenient mechanism for refusing to acknowledge Israel’s mishandling of the relationship. But I know this is complex.

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

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    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

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    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

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    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

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    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
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    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
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    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

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    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
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