AJC, Dershowitz distance themselves from ad

Jewish organizations and leaders in the US criticize (ECI) for anti-CAP advertisement.

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
March 9, 2012 00:26
2 minute read.
Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz 311. (photo credit: (Courtesy of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East)

 
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BERLIN – Jewish organizations and leaders in the US including the American Jewish Committee, the Anti- Defamation League and Alan Dershowitz have criticized the conservative Washington-based Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) for using quotes from them without permission in a full-page New York Times advertisement published last week. The advertisement accuses charities of funding the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic Party affiliated think tank, and Media Matters (MM), a liberal watchdog organization.

ECI asked readers and donors in the ad to contact the charities and ask why funds are being used to support “bigotry” and “anti-Israel extremism” in connection with work of CAP and Media Matters.

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The AJC, which was quoted in the ad talking about perceived bias against Israel in several specific CAP media products, issued a statement saying, “No one from the sponsoring group [ECI], an ideologically-driven organization to judge from its ads and other public activities, sought AJC’s consent to include reference to us in today’s ad.”

CAP officials have “acknowledged the inappropriateness of such bias” and they have implemented personnel and policy changes, the AJC noted.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told JTA that the ADL quote slamming CAP in the ad for anti- Semitism was issued before CAP dealt with prejudices against Israel in its publications.

“After we raised concerns, initially we felt that the Center for American Progress took the matter seriously and understood the anti-Semitic nature of raising dual-loyalty canards and made sure terms like ‘Israel-firster’ were deleted from the Twitter accounts of CAP staffers where they appeared,” Foxman wrote in an email to The Jerusalem Post.

Harvard law Prof. Alan Dershowitz told The Boston Globe that he did not authorize the use of his quote for the ECI ad. “MM is doubling down. MJ [Rosenberg] is seeking support from left. CAP is trying hard to undo damage. Very different responses from them requires different responses from their critics,” Dershowitz said in an email to the Post on Thursday.

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Critics accuse MJ Rosenberg of using anti-Semitic language to denigrate supporters of Israel.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), an umbrella US Jewish philanthropy organization, wrote that the ad “unjustly attacked” the charity.

Barry Shrage, CJP’s president, described the ad as “misguided attacks on CJP,” in an email to the Post on Tuesday. “We also made clear the guidelines that we follow when authorizing grants that are recommended by donors participating in our Donor Advised Fund Program.”

According to the CJP, “Donations cannot be made to any organization that opposes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state or advocates for boycotts, divestments and sanctions [BDS].”

Jason Edelstein, the communications director for the Jerusalem-based organization NGO Monitor, told the Post, “This is another example in which donors don’t really know how their funding is being used. It again shows the need for transparency, independent analysis and careful monitoring regarding the activities of NGOs. Basically, the funding in this instance occurred year after year without any critical questions being asked.”

ECI executive director Noah Pollak told the Globe, “Every quote in ECI’s ad was accurate, in proper context, correctly attributed to its source, and taken from widely read publications.”

CAP spokeswoman Andrea Purse and MM spokeswoman Jess Levin did not respond to multiple Post queries.

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