Piggybacking on a report from the left-wing rag Mother Jones on Wednesday, NBC News revealed the generous charitable donations to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee from a family foundation linked to one of President Joe Biden’s new deputy national security advisers, Anne Neuberger.
The donations, NBC News investigative reporter Ken Dilanian wrote, risked "creating the possible appearance of bias in favor of Israel by a top American official." In case the implication wasn’t clear, Dilanian added that Israel "operates in its own interest," not that of the United States, and asserted incorrectly that AIPAC "represents the interests of the Israeli government."
NBC News retracted the story shortly after its publication, offering some weasel words to the effect that it did not meet their basement-level "reporting standards." The critics of Neuberger’s generosity should have been forced to sully her on the record rather than take pot shots behind a veil of anonymity, the network said.
It is worth noting the new national security officials who have escaped scrutiny from the eagle-eyed reporters at NBC News. Take Neuberger’s colleague Maher Bitar, now the top intelligence official on the National Security Council.
Bitar’s activism for the Palestinian cause is longstanding. As a college student, he was a leader of Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization dedicated to fighting against "Zionism" and "all other institutions that continue to oppress marginalized folks."
The organization is a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that seeks the destruction of Israel through economic isolation. In case there was any confusion about where Bitar stands, he was photographed as a college student dancing with a raised fist in front of a banner that reads, "Divest From Israel Apartheid."
Dilanian’s piece gave oxygen to those wringing their hands over the "appearance problem" created by Neuberger’s charity.
Precisely zero mainstream media outlets have raised questions about whether Bitar’s explicit embrace of a movement that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state might risk creating the "possible appearance of bias in favor of" a Judenrein Palestine.
Such egregious double standards explain the precipitous loss of trust in the news media, which during the Trump era dropped the last remaining pretense of objectivity.
As for the Biden administration, the National Security Council decried attacks on Bitar and Neuberger alike, saying that there is "no justification for false and ad hominem attacks based on ethnic, racial, or religious identity."
But the two are not equivalent. Neuberger’s family foundation donated to a pro-Israel group whose views are consistent with longstanding U.S. policy in the region—and the views of the president. Bitar has aligned himself with a fringe political cause that undercuts those views and seeks the destruction of a U.S. ally. Her generosity, unlike his radicalism, should raise no concerns.
Dilanian, meanwhile, stands by his reporting. Calling NBC’s bluff, he told our Matthew Foldi that the story went through the "normal editing and vetting process, which includes review by our legal and standards departments."
We await his exposé on Bitar.