Emergency Committee for Israel board member Bill Kristol told an Upper West Side audience last night that President Obama has “moved back to the center” on Israel.
The statement, one of a number of kind words Kristol had for Obama, came just two months after ECI released a video calling the president’s Israel policy “dangerous.”
“Barack Obama promised to be an unwavering friend and defender of Israel,” the ECI said. “It is deeply unfortunate and dangerous that he has failed to keep this promise.”
Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and a board member of a number of right-wing advocacy groups, including the hawkish Emergency Committee for Israel, praised the president during a debate with Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director of the dovish pro-Israel group J Street. Forward editor Jane Eisner moderated the discussion.
Kristol’s group ECI is known for its bombastic criticism of the president. The group raised $700,000 during its 2011 fiscal year, and has spent heavily on high-profile newspaper and billboard advertisements condemning Obama’s Israel policy.
But Kristol repeatedly praised the president during the Upper West Side debate.
“I am happy to agree with Obama to a considerable degree,” Kristol said, according to Chemi Shalev in Haaretz.
I opened my New York Times this morning over breakfast to read one of those most virulent anti-Jewish advertisements I’ve ever seen. And it came from other Jews.
Paid for by the Emergency Committee for Israel, the ad goes after two liberal organizations with the verbal equivalent of a firing squad. The Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank which generally writes about issues such as tax policy and immigration reform, and Media Matters, an unabashedly liberal group, are labeled anti-Israel extremists and bigots in the ad, which took up an entire page of the front section of the Times.
What’s more, the ad lists foundations that apparently fund CAP and Media Matters, and urges readers to call and complain. Just to be helpful, phone numbers are included. And it uses quotes from two Jewish leaders, Alan Dershowitz and Spencer Ackerman, who were not consulted and disapprove of the ad.
And what are the crimes committed by CAP and Media Matters that deserve this public punishment?