Right Web

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

Keep Israel Safe

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Keep Israel Safe is a conservative astroturf group launched in April 2010 by Christian Right leader Gary Bauer and Tom Rose, the former publisher of the right-wing Jerusalem  Post.[1] The group, which as of 2013 no longer appeared to be operating, disseminated petitions and produced web videos attacking the Barack Obama administration and Democratic Party officials for their policies on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian situation, promoting views largely in line with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party and U.S. neoconservatives.[2]

Said Bauer in a press release about the group, "President Obama's failure to deal with the growing threat of a nuclear Iran while he makes unreasonable and hostile demands on our stalwart ally Israel is unacceptable. President Obama's policies are making America and Israel less safe and making a Middle Eastern war more likely."[3]

Keep Israel Safe appears to have been part of a larger, coordinated effort by hawkish “pro-Israel” groups in the United States to provoke anger among right-wing sectors in the United States regarding the policies of the Obama administration and its supporters.

The organization was part of a wave of new neoconservative pressure groups that were launched in the years immediately following President Obama’s first election in 2008. These other groups included the Foreign Policy Initiative, launched in 2009 as an apparent successor group to the Project for the New American Century; Elizabeth Cheney’s Keep America Safe; Stop Iran Now, a project of Citizens United, the controversial conservative group that was the subject of the Supreme Court’s controversial January 2010 ruling that the First Amendment permits corporations to fund independent political broadcasts in federal elections; and the Emergency Committee for Israel, a group founded by neoconservatives and Christian Right figures, including Bauer, Noah Pollak, and Rachel Abrams

Like Keep Israel Safe, many of these groups have produced web videos attacking Democratic Party politicians and the Obama administration for their Middle East policies, offering alarmist messages about Iran and the security of Israel and the United States. Additionally, the Weekly Standard has played a role in publicizing these groups’ work, with Standard founder and editor William Kristol serving as a principal in several of them (the Emergency Committee for Israel, Keep America Safe, and the Foreign Policy Initiative).

Wrote Right Web contributors Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib: “Bauer launched his own letterhead/attack-ad organization, Keep Israel Safe, with Weekly Standard contributing editor Tom Rose. They modeled the group on Cheney’s Keep America Safe (right down to the name) and, as one might expect, the Weekly Standard was instrumental in the group’s launch, getting an exclusive by ‘obtain[ing] an advance copy’ of the first attack ad on Obama even before the group’s website was up.”[4]

According to Clifton and Gharib, Keep Israel Safe and its apparently related attack groups reflect a shift in strategy adopted by neoconservatives and other hardline factions in the United States after the election of President Obama. Shut out of major policy-making circles and with many liberal Zionists in the United States increasingly alienated by the policies of the Israel’s Likud-led government, argued the two writers, these hawkish factions shifted to using the internet and YouTube to generate a populist right-wing backlash against the generally realist-driven and dialogue-oriented policies of the Obama administration.[5]

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Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources


[1] Eli Clifton, “The People Behind ‘Keep Israel Safe’ and ‘Stop Iran Now’,”  Inter Press Service, Lobelog.com, July 7, 2010, http://www.lobelog.com/the-people-behind-keep-israel-safe-and-stop-iran-now/.



[2] Keep Israel Safe, http://www.keepisraelsafe.com/.



[3] PRNewswire, "Bauer and Rose Launch 'KeepIsraelSafe.com' With New Advertisement and Nationwide Petition,” April 30, 2010,http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bauer-and-rose-launch-keepisraelsafecom-with-new-advertisement-and-nationwide-petition-92536844.html.



[4] John McCormack, “New Group, Keep Israel Safe, Launches with Hard-Hitting Ad,” The Weekly Standard, April 29, 2010, http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/exclusive-keep-israel-safe-launch-hard-hitting-ad.



[5] Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, “The Neoconservative Echo Chamber 2.0,” Right Web, September 1, 2010. 


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