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Kristol group's game plan: Make it politically toxic for Dems to criticize Israel

Bill Kristol's hawkish, pro-Israel group, which has been running ads blasting Dems as anti-Israel, is now making it explicit: It is targeting Dems with paid media for the express purpose of making it politically toxic for them to criticize Israel.

That's what Kristol and a spokesman for his group, the Emergency Committee for Israel, suggested to me today, in statements accompanying a new ad it's set to release attacking Dem Rep Jim Himes of Connecticut.

"You can't just say you're pro-Israel, you have to be pro-Israel," Kristol said. The ad blasts Himes for signing a recent letter that allegedly accused Israel of "collective punishment" for enforcing the Gaza blockade:

Kristol's group has already aired other versions of this ad attacking Joe Sestak, Mary Joe Kilroy, and Glenn Nye.

The group insists it's putting real money into these buys, and the above ad attacking Rep. Himes will run during NBC Nightly News, a spokesman for the group, Michael Goldfarb, says.

The spot blasts Himes for signing a recent letter sponsored by the left-leaning pro-Israel group J-Street that has emerged as the nemesis of neoconservative pro-Israel groups like Kristol's outfit.

The letter doesn't accuse Israel directly of "collective punishment," as the ad says. Rather, the letter asks Obama to pressure Israel to relieve the blockade. It recognizes that the Gaza restrictions are born of "legitimate" fear on the part of Israel, but warns against allowing the blockade to result in "the de facto collective punishment" of Palestinians.

Asked what the purpose of the ads was, Goldfarb said:

Members of Congress should know that voters will hold them accountable for signing anti-Israel letters or doing anything else to undermine the US-Israel relationship. It is our job to make sure the voters have all the information.

That couldn't be clearer. Kristol's group is broadening efforts to go after Dems in ads, and there's been some debate about its real strategic goals. Clearly, the game plan is to put more Dems on notice that if they criticize Israel, they can expect to be targeted, too.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 12, 2010; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Comments

So...will the media stop treating Kristol like a legitamate political columnist now?

Thought not.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 12, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Greg... OT...but check out this graph over at Benen's showing the generic ballot by region. :o)

"ONE OF THESE REGIONS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHERS...."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_08/025179.php

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 12, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Right wing blogger Pamela Geller, who heads the anti-mosque American Freedom Defense Initiative, has been trying to run an ad on buses that is a truly nasty piece of work. You can look at it right here. It shows the World Trade Center, with flames bursting from one tower and a plane moments away from striking the other.

Directly across from that picture is a rendering of what the ad calls the "September 11, 2011 WTC Mega Mosque." The ad asks: "Why there?"

........................

I think that this Pamela Geller should be looked into. She is starting to look like she might be in league with Islamic extremists.

Look at what she is doing. Putting pictures of a mosque on some buses that will pass within a block of ground zero.

Buses that pass so close to such a sacred site, should also be considered sacred.

I call on Pamela Geller to show more sympathy, and understanding, and move her picture of a mosque, away from New York, and put them on buses outside the city, so that New York residents are not traumatized by the sight of such bus pictures.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 12, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Still wondering why nobody is weighing in on Cordoba House?

The weird thing is these ads and attacks rarely actually work. But pols are still deathly afraid of them

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | August 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big suporter of Israel.

I'm not, however, a big fan of using Israel as a political football here in the US.

And isn't Kristol the Neo-con clown who helped sell us the Iraq war and Sarah Palin? You would think Kristol has said enough to no longer be listened to.

Posted by: nisleib | August 12, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Why should elected American officials be pro a foreign nation? Don't they owe their fealty to America, and not to any foreign nation?

I want America's elected government to represent America. They were not elected by citizens of Israel.

Bill Kristol is acting like he is the agent of a foreign government. Why else would he keep pushing our American elected Representatives, to violate their oaths of office, and put the cause of a foreign land, ahead of what is right for America.

Is Bill Kristol a foreign agent? That should be looked into, because he is behaving like one.

America's leaders should be Pro-America, and not Pro some foreign land, be it Israel or Palestine.

We owe no foreign nation anything, except impartial diplomatic relations.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Shecky Kristol should lobby the Knesset to give Israel's American colonists the same universal "socialist" health care it gives the rest of its citizens.

Taxation without representation!

Posted by: areyousaying | August 12, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi & Himes: Costly Redistribution At Home, Risky Appeasement Abroad

Himes hopes that voters will ignore his record of uncritical allegiance to this congressional leadership. This is a record of radical redistribution at home – punishing success while subsidizing failure. Himes cares little that his district has made out poorly under his command-and-control policies. This is a record of appeasement abroad – a friend to America’s enemies and an enemy to America’s friends. Himes cares little that his district is vulnerable when our allies are abandoned and enemies emboldened.

It is a tough time to be an American taxpayer or ally. While Himes’ policies have been risky and wasteful, there is a certain perverse logic to the incumbent’s designs – underlying redistribution and appeasement is Himes faith in unlimited government, the concept that Himes can do whatever he wants and that there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Himes believes that confiscatory tax rates do not crush economic growth. Himes believes that subsidizing failure does not buy us more failure. Himes believes that selling out allies does not leave us with weaker alliances. Himes believes that coddling enemies does not embolden those enemies. The Pelosi/Himes experiment is based on the hope that we can change human nature to conform to their public policy goals. Their good intentions will outweigh rational self-interest of participants in the marketplace and the explicit goals of our friends and enemies abroad. They clearly believe in themselves, despite history, logic, and growing evidence that their experiment is failing.

Pelosi and Himes will spend any amount of your money to prove that they can defeat human nature. The 20th century is littered with the carnage of such attempts. We have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them. On November 2nd, we can vote Himes out of office and put Washington on a new path, one that respects the values of common sense, free enterprise, and individual liberty.

Posted by: ccdemuth | August 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Bush cut taxes and then lost millions of jobs.

If cutting taxes actually created jobs, then Bush should have left us with full employment, instead of the worst economic collapse since The Great Depression.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 12, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Priceless:

"Everybody knows America's built on the rights of free expression, the rights to practice your faith, but come on." ~ Eric Cantor (Idiot-VA)

Well, it certainly isn't easy to argue with logic like that.

[...]

Eric Cantor continues to be a classic example of a post turtle -- you know he didn't get up there by himself; he obviously doesn't belong up there; he can't get anything done while he's there; and you just want to help the poor, dumb thing down.

Some Republicans may disagree with this assessment, but I mean, come on.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_08/025178.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad commentary on the attention span of the American public if guys like Smirking Willie Kristol have a single shred of credibility left with anyone.

Posted by: CalD | August 12, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Shecky Kristol should lobby the Knesset to give Israel's American colonists the same universal "socialist" health care it gives the rest of its citizens.

Taxation without representation!

Posted by: areyousaying

Oy if only! Actually Israel ranks 16th when it comes to it's health care system. America is 37th. It's a hybrid system where all businesses pay into an insurance fund. Also a Medicare and Medicaid like plan for individuals. Kind of like Nixon care from 1971.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | August 12, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Why is Israel our ultimate ally? I certainly want their people to be safe, but what does blind support for settlement expansion and oppression of Palestinians do for us?

Meanwhile in the runup to the Iraq War, neocons such as Kristol continuously disrespected France and even suggested attacking THEM. That's France, perhaps our longest standing ally(who helped us defeat the British in the Revolution).

Posted by: SDJeff | August 12, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love it. The right has learned the left's tactics and is now using them.

What is also very funny is the fact that most of the response here is just ad hom against Kristol. Wow, if that is the best the left has, they are in trouble come November.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 12, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"You can't just say you're pro-Israel, you have to be pro-Israel," Kristol said.

................

That says it all. Kristol is demanding that our elected representatives take a loyalty oath to a foreign nation.

That is treason, and Bill Kristol should be charged with it. Of course; he could flee to Israel, to avoid being prosecuted, or we could use him in a spy swap.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 12, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

ccdemuth@4:01.

You are an ugly piece of work aren't you. You can't comment on the article at hand so you troll about Democrats.

Hey, guess what? I think Madame Pelosi has been the best Speaker of the House since Tip O'Neil. As far as 'failures' go, look at your post, then look in the mirror. Major Fail!

Posted by: kindness1 | August 12, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/happy_hour_roundup_71.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 12, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what Kristol says? Israel does plenty to be criticized for--A LOT!

Posted by: ShirleyHall | August 12, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what Kristol says? Israel does plenty to be criticized for--A LOT!

Posted by: ShirleyHall | August 12, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I prefer my politico's to be pro-American....
which would make a great come back ad, btw

Posted by: newagent99 | August 12, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"What is also very funny is the fact that most of the response here is just ad hom against Kristol."

Actually, no. Much of the commentary merely suggests (correctly) that Kristol's primary loyalty is to a country other than United States.

I personally don't have anything against Israel but it's another country and it isn't always right, so why the blind unquestioned loyalty to it? It doesn't come without a cost, since we make Israel's enemies our enemies.

Posted by: RealChoices | August 12, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Bill Kristol is a scumbag.

Posted by: jzap | August 13, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

American Generals, led by Gen.Petraeus, warned few months ago that the Israeli policies are threat to American national security. Bill Kristol group and other fifth column Israelis in DC should be investigated by the appropriate US authorities(FBI) to determine whether their foreign ties to "Israel" are hurting American national security!

Posted by: editor4tonio | August 13, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

American Generals, led by Gen.Petraeus, warned few months ago that the Israeli policies are threat to American national security. Bill Kristol group and other fifth column Israelis in DC should be investigated by the appropriate US authorities(FBI) to determine whether their foreign ties to "Israel" are hurting American national security!

Posted by: editor4tonio | August 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have gone off the deep end.
Hacks like Krystal, Palin and Gingrich have nothing better to do than act like foreign agents to get us to support Israel.Threatening American politicians to put Israels well being above ours is insane. What is more insane are any Americans that are crazy enough to listen to this self serving crap. What are these people getting out of this. Sound suspicious. Wake up Americans and take care of AMERICA, not foreigners like Israel.

Posted by: wardnod | August 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Who decides whether or not to put a Recommend button on comments? This blog should certainly have one.

Posted by: stevel1 | August 14, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Well done, Mr. Hines. Any American politician with the guts to cross the Israel lobby deserves credit.

Posted by: CharlesMcKay1 | August 15, 2010 3:00 AM | Report abuse

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