The Emergency Committee for Israel ad, and Noah Pollak’s tweets-UPDATED


Much buzz today about a new ad by the Emergency Committee for Israel, the group founded by William Kristol and Gary Bauer, and which targeted candidates in the last election it deemed unfriendly to the Jewish state.

The ad lauds Democrats who ostensibly attacked President Obama’s call in his Middle East policy speech for negotiations to be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.

Here’s the ad:

It’s a partisan ad, as in partisan against Obama, and takes liberties typical of such ads. I’m not sure that the Palestinians would characterize a speech that committed them to a demilitarized state as "taking their side", for one thing. 

And while comments by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, at last week’s AIPAC conference could fairly be characterized as breaking with Obama’s new policy, Greg Sargent at the Washington Post has made a persuasive case that speeches such as the one delivered by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House minority whip, bore the sound and fury of someone disagreeing with … someone else, but not substantively with Obama.

But all that aside, Matt Duss at Think Progress has pointed out the same anomaly that struck me as soon as I saw the ad: Noah Pollak, an ECI officer, liked Obama’s speech in real time, or Twitter-time as it were.

Here are Pollak’s tweets, saved by Duss:

And lest we conclude Noah deferred to other ECI officers on this one and is maintaining radio silence, he defended the ad today to Adam Kredo  at the Washington Jewish Week, and even got digs in at J Street:

Recent events demonstrate "that if you want to pursue a get tough approach to Israel, you’re going to be on your own," said Pollak, referring to Obama’s peace approach. "You’re not going to have the support of the Democrats or Republicans, you’re going to be on your on."

Bringing ECI’s old nemesis into the mix, Pollak added: "Wasn’t J Street supposed to be Obama’s ‘blocking back’ on Israel, and wasn’t J Street supposed to make it safe for members of Congress to be anti-Israel?"

Lawmakers, he said, simply don’t want to criticize, pressure or get tough with the Jewish state.

Duss and friends have been tweeting Pollak all morning, asking for an explainer. So far, nothing.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post elicits an explanation of sorts from Kristol, in response to a statement from the National Jewish Democratic Council that also noted the anomaly:

I asked Kristol about the reference to Pollak’s tweets (sent under Pollak’s personal Twitter account). Kristol seemed amused. “Even the best tweeters can be wrong in their first impressions. In any case, it’s pathetic when the left won’t defend President Obama, and has to attack a few of Noah’s tweets!” (Kristol graciously avoided pointing out that while Pollak has the executive director title, the group is firmly under the control of Kristol and his two co-founders.)

She then glides into a statement from the Republican Jewish Coalition. My emphasis:

At any rate, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s executive director (who actually does run that group) responded to my request for reaction.



Jennifer blogged for Commentary before moving to the Post.

And Noah still blogs at Commentary.

And I’ve heard the Commentary patriarchs have hosted legendary seders.

Commentary Gods, please invite me to the next one, as long as Noah and Jennifer are seated next to one another, and I get the place directly across.

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