Anti-Israel Activists Defend Biden State Dept. Nominee

Uzra Zeya contributed to book on influence of 'Israel Lobby'

Internet Archive and
February 24, 2021

An anti-Israel publishing group is defending its former employee, a current top Biden nominee, for contributing to its book on the nefarious influence of "Jewish Power" over U.S. Middle East policy, following a report by the Washington Free Beacon last week.

As a staffer at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Uzra Zeya compiled research for the a book that argues "the Israel lobby has subverted the American political process to take control of U.S. Middle East policy" by establishing a secret network of "dirty money" PACs that bribe and extort congressional candidates into taking pro-Israel positions.

Zeya, who worked for the Washington Report and its publishing group, the American Educational Trust, in 1989 and 1990, is President Joe Biden's choice for undersecretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights.

The executive editor of the Washington Report defended Zeya’s work on the organization’s book, Stealth PACs: How Israel's American Lobby Took Control of U.S. Middle East Policy, in an email to the Free Beacon on Monday.

"That book thoroughly documents attempts by foreign lobbying groups to influence our legislature," wrote executive editor Delinda Curtiss Hanley, who is the daughter of the Washington Report's late founder Richard Curtiss. "It is a 'must read' for American citizens who are interested in understanding how the interests of a foreign entity can sometimes compromise the values of the American Constitution."

"Seventeen years later, Professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt published another book, The Israel Lobby, which also disturbed Israel and its U.S. supporters," added Hanley. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, published in 2007, has been criticized by Jewish groups for promoting anti-Semitic tropes.

Hanley said Zeya, who was in her early 20s when she worked at the Washington Report, was encouraged by its founders to get a job in U.S. diplomacy.

"In fact, those founders used to urge every intern or employee to seek public service or join the U.S. foreign service—which is just what Zeya and many others went on to do," wrote Hanley.

Hanley also slammed the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a pro-Israel media watchdog group, which criticized the Washington Report for "publish[ing] content with anti-Semitic themes" in last week's Free Beacon article.

"It is amusing that an analyst from the self-described 'pro-Israel media-monitoring' organization, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), a hard-line fringe organization, is suggesting Zeya is not sufficiently pro-Israel for the job," wrote Hanley. "I hope that CAMERA's attempt to smear a distinguished diplomat will backfire and, instead, shine a light on an organization that twists truths and delights in producing fake news."

Sean Durns, senior research analyst for CAMERA, told the Free Beacon that the Washington Report "clearly wants to distract from its own lamentable record by resorting to name calling."

"But the facts are simple: The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has, in fact, published items that imply that the Mossad was connected to the JFK assassination," said Durns. "They have published pieces that connect the Mossad to the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. Those are fringe conspiracy theories. And the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs propagates them."

The Washington Report has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as a "vociferously anti-Israel magazine" and has published articles questioning the national loyalty of American Jews and opposing taxpayer funding for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Zeya is listed in the acknowledgments section of Stealth PACs as one of the staffers who helped compile research for the book. She also served as co-director of the Washington Report's speakers' bureau in 1989.

According to the book, pro-Israel lobbyists have created "an armada of deceptively named PACs to evade legal limitations on campaign donations and thereby persuade Congress to hand over direction of foreign policy in an area of the world vital to the United States to a tiny special interest group representing, at most, less than three percent of the electorate."

In a section titled "Jewish Power in the Formulation of U.S. Middle East Policy," the book claims that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gives American Jews secret marching orders on how to vote and which candidates to support financially.

The book also claims the "Israel lobby" and "Jewish donors" strong-arm members of Congress to support Israel through illegal pressure tactics and financial payoffs.

"Congressmen must assume that individual Jewish donors will be informed in advance as to exactly where each local and national candidate stands on Israel, and that on Election Day Jewish voters will be willing to cast their own votes on that issue alone," says the book, adding that "Jewish contributions may provide 50 percent of total contributions to Democratic candidates."

The book argues that "non-Jewish Americans increasingly perceive their Jewish fellow citizens as members of a single-issue voting bloc which, at best, divides its loyalties between an increasingly exploitative Israel, and an increasingly exploited United States."

"[T]he more strident lobbyists for Israel must also accept a major share of the blame for whatever changes have taken place in American public perceptions of the loyalties of America's Jews," says the book. "The inevitable public perception is that such ardent supporters of Israel have no real interest in making the United States a better place for all of its citizens, but only in making Israel a more secure and prosperous place for Jews."

The book ends with an appeal to readers to pressure members of Congress to stop accepting donations from pro-Israel PACs.

"When that happens, the people of the United States will regain control of their own Middle East policy," the book concludes. "For better or for worse, in the Middle East as in other parts of the world, American foreign policy will, at last, be truly American."

During Zeya's time at the Washington Report, the organization published multiple screeds against the "Jewish Lobby" and accused American Jews of controlling the media.

"Many Jewish Americans would unhesitatingly declare they are not Zionists," wrote Alfred Lilienthal in an August 1989 column in the Washington Report. "But they conduct themselves, nonetheless, as if they were part of that nation and thus in possession of two national identities."

"Through their tremendous outpouring of financial and political support and their inordinate influence over the media, so many Jewish Americans indicate that they are moved, if not compelled, by this almost involuntary duality," Lilienthal wrote.