The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Briefing VP Ryan

with 3 comments

By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 12, 2012

Last month, New York Times columnist Maureen Down aroused the ire of sensitive Israel partisans when she had the temerity to note the formative influence a neoconservative adviser has over Paul Ryan’s statements on foreign policy. Describing a recent speech by the Republican vice presidential candidate, Dowd wrote: “Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor.” Central to the “ominously familiar” script Senor is writing for the “foreign affairs neophyte,” Dowd observed, is “a duty to invade and bomb Israel’s neighbors.”

More recently, another mainstream U.S. media outlet revealed that the former AIPAC intern has some reliable help in shaping Ryan’s foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. In an October 4 article entitled “Romney’s Foreign Policy Advisers,” ABC News reported:

Senor led a foreign policy briefing for Ryan on the plane yesterday from Seattle along with Jamie Fly, executive director, Foreign Policy Initiative and Reuel Marc Gerecht from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

As I pointed out in a piece outlining the key role played by FPI and FDD in pushing for regime change in Syria, both Washington-based think tanks have impeccable pro-Israel credentials:

Founded in 2009, the Foreign Policy Initiative is the successor organisation to the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative advocacy group that relentlessly pushed for war with Iraq from its inception in 1997. FPI’s board of directors consists of PNAC co-founders, Robert Kagan and William Kristol; Dan Senor, a former intern at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; and Eric Edelman, a Paul Wolfowitz protégé at the Pentagon who, thanks to support from Richard Perle, succeeded the scandal-ridden Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith in 2005. In a 2004 article entitled “Serving Two Flags,” Stephen Green named Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith as “the principals” in a pro-Israel neocon network who had “demonstrated, in their previous government service, a willingness to sacrifice U.S. national security interests for those of another country.”

Established shortly after the 9/11 attacks to advocate for an aggressive “war on terror,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has also demonstrated a preeminent concern for Israel’s security interests. Among its more notable funders are Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress from 1979 to 2007; Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt, co-founders of Taglit Birthright which offers free trips to Israel for young Jewish adults as an inducement to go on its pro-Israel indoctrination programme; media mogul Haim Saban, who pledged $13 million to the Brookings Institution in 2002 to found the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in order to influence U.S. politics in a pro-Israel direction; Jennifer Mizrahi, director of The Israel Project; and Dalck Feith, father of the aforementioned “security risk” Douglas Feith. “With the disclosure of its donor rolls,” Eli Clifton wrote in a July 19 report, “it becomes increasingly apparent that FDD’s advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy is consistent with its donors’ interests in ‘pro-Israel’ advocacy.”

Considering the belligerent Israel partisanship of those briefing Paul Ryan, a Romney victory on November 6 is likely to result in real-life war scenes far gorier than the Spielberg epic referred to in the title.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship.


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 12, 2012 at 9:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. It is obvious that he’s being coached. During yesterday’s debate, he was repeating all the favorite lines about Iran.

    Speaking about the debates, I came across an interesting analysis of why Obama did so poorly in his debate with Romney:

    saur ben zvi

    October 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

  2. Considering the belligerent Israel partisanship of those briefing Barry Obama an Obama victory on November 6 is likely to result in the very same thing.

    That’s democracy, American style. Love it or leave it.


    October 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  3. I’d say it’s more a case of the lesser of two Israeli-briefed administrations.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail

    October 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

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