The Truman National Security Project expels Josh Block after he attacked progressive writers as anti-Semitic
Politico’s Ben Smith reports today that the Truman National Security Project has severed ties with one of its fellows, former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block, following a multi-week flap in which Block attacked several progressives because of their writings on Israel-Palestine.
The decision to expel Block appears, first hinted at by Greg Sargent, aimed at sending a message of solidarity with the other progressive groups, which have been infuriated by the attacks, and at defending allies from being criticized as anti-Israel at a moment of intense and often partisan debate on the issue.
“This has nothing to do with your policy views, and is a decision solely made on the basis of the need for this community to privilege the ability to debate difficult topics freely, without fear of mischaracterization or character attacks,” [Truman founder Rachel Kleinfeld] said in the email [to Block].
Truman is a Washington-based “leadership institute” which cultivates a network of young fellows who “advance strong progressive national security policy.” Block’s position was unpaid; he says he attended one Truman meeting per year. (Also worth noting: Center for American Progress chairman John Podesta is on Truman’s advisory board.)
Now Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is expressing outrage at Truman’s move:
The Truman Project says that it seeks to advance a ”strong progressive national security policy,” and claims to represent mainstream liberal and Democratic foreign policy thinking. Doesn’t the expulsion of Block suggest that it is now impossible to be unapologetically pro-Israel—and publicly hostile to those who are anti-Israel—and remain a member in good standing of the liberal and Democratic foreign policy establishment?
But missing here is any mention of what really got the Truman folks upset at Block. As I reported earlier this month, Block had sent out an email to a neoconservative listserv in which he said, referring to writers at the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.” That was further than Block had gone publicly and it was a particularly serious charge; he also urged journalists on the listerv to “amplify” the attacks.
Truman spokesman David Solimini told me that the anti-Semitism charges from Block were particularly troubling.
“Josh was removed from our community because he’s unable to differentiate between an honest debate and a personal attack,” Solimini said. “There is real anti-semitism in the world and we can’t debase the term by using it for everyone who disagrees with us on Israel policy.”
Solimini added: “There is a clear pattern here. Over time many of our community members had come to realize Josh isn’t interested in an honest debate.”
Block, in an email to Salon, responded:
As the Simon Wiesenthal Center made clear, the ideas and words used and promoted by people at CAP and Media Matters included “dangerous political libels and toxic anti-Jewish prejudice.” If there is no room in their organization for those who would raise alarms about that and similar language, that is their choice, and says far more about them than me.
But misrepresenting my comments and suggesting that my pointing to such speech constituted a ‘personal attack’ is laughable and the height of hypocrisy. Apparently Simon Wiesenthal wouldn’t be welcome there either.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11