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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

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Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, is a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a former U.S. citizen who is closely tied to the Republican Party establishment. Dermer recently received attention for his role in organizing a controversial speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress. The surprise announcement of Netanyahu’s speech by House Speaker John Boehner shortly after President Obama’s State of the Union address spurred widespread criticism, with the White House calling it a “breach of protocol” because it had not been notified of the invitation in advance. Said one observer: “In almost any other case, such bad faith and duplicity would lead a host country to ask that an ambassador be withdrawn.”


The Republican Jewish Coalition, the hardline “pro-Israel” lobbying outfit supported by Sheldon Adelson, has vocally promoted efforts by Congress to derail U.S.-led negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. With a view to the next presidential election, RJC’s executive director Matthew Brooks recently attacked Hillary Clinton’s stance on Iran: “For four years Hillary Clinton proved to the world that her foreign policy judgment and skills are clearly lacking. Now, former Secretary Clinton fails to realize that after exhaustive negotiations with Iran, rewarding them with more time is a catalyst to empower and embolden the Iranian regime further.”


Michael Gerson, the conservative op-ed columnist for the Washington Post and former Bush speechwriter, has pushed for a more aggressive stance from President Obama on foreign policy, lambasting Obama’s purported “lead from behind” doctrine in a recent op-ed. “Recent history yields one interpretation,” wrote Gerson. “If the United States does not lead the global war on terrorism, the war will not be led. But still [Obama] refuses to broaden his conception of the U.S. role in the Middle East.”




Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, has a record of promoting hawkish U.S. defense policies and has been described as having a “near-neocon position on foreign policy.” Not surprisingly, the Washington Post editorial page recently come out in support of efforts by the newly sworn in Republican Senate to impose additional sanctions on Iran. In a rebuttal to the Post editorial, one journalist stated: “[T]he editorial board ought to come out and say it if they don’t think the Iranians’ threat to back out of talks is serious—and then lay out all the attendant risks of calling their bluff.”


A controversial activist group closely connected to anti-Islamic and “pro-Israel” political factions, the Clarion Project has released numerous films and publications that attack “radical Islam” and call into question the trustworthiness of Muslims. Clarion’s latest film, Honor Diaries, purports to depict the “issues facing women in Muslim-majority societies.” The film has been denounced by Muslim organizations, with one commentator describing it as a “reminder that the age of pre-packaged, documentary-style propaganda, meant to influence behavior and opinion against ‘them’, is far from over.”


Ryan Mauro is a national security analyst with the controversial “pro-Israel” propaganda outfit the Clarion Project. Mauro has become a frequent guest on Fox News, where he pushes sensationalist stories about Muslim groups in the United States. According to Media Matters, Mauro has claimed that “Muslim patrols” are a “growing security concern for the United States,” that refugees from Somalia are “becoming ‘homegrown’ terrorists,” and that Islamist groups are creating “Muslim enclaves” in the United States. Mauro has even argued that the evidence of “Islamist Muslim Brotherhood influence at the highest ranks of the Republican Party’s apparatus is overwhelming.” 


Steven Emerson, a self-proclaimed terrorism “expert,” has a history of making sensationalist warnings about terrorist threats. Often criticized for his distinctly anti-Islamic agenda, Emerson recently was widely ridiculed for claiming that Birmingham, England, had become a “Muslim-only city” where non-Muslims “don’t go.” A member of Parliament described the comments as “stupid” and British Prime Minister David Cameron labeled Emerson a “complete idiot.” Wrote journalist Dan Murphy: “If Emerson knows this little about Britain, what can he possibly know about Egypt and Iraq and Syria and all the other nations he regularly opines on?” 

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From the Wires

January 26, 2015

In order to reach a deal that significantly scales back Iran’s nuclear program, nuclear sanctions on the country should be lifted, not suspended.

January 25, 2015

The latest twist in the Iran nuclear talks is the deal killers' efforts to paint recent turmoil in the region a result of Iran's "evil doings."

January 23, 2015

The White House has earned support from world leaders and even Israeli intelligence in its warnings against Congress passing additional Iran sanctions.

January 22, 2015

President Obama’s State of the Union address highlighted some defensible goals in regards to foreign policy, but left out some crucial context.

January 21, 2015

As he meets with members of the anti-ISIS coalition in London, Secretary of State John Kerry should act to ensure the spotlight remains on greater action against ISIS by US allies.

January 21, 2015

A new report by the Center for New American Security, a think tank close to the Obama White House, emphasizes any change in the United States’ relationship with Iran will be gradual.

January 21, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner has announced that he has invited Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress, in a move the White House has called “departure from protocol.”

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