Anti-Israel Groups Mobilize to Install Allies in Biden Admin

Top Sanders staffer tied to anti-Semitism scandal at center of push

Joe Biden
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December 3, 2020

Anti-Israel organizations have launched a coordinated effort to pressure the incoming Biden administration into selecting people who will champion their causes, a push that reportedly includes opposing mainstream nominees supported by leading Democrats and Republicans.

In a bid to agree on strategy and maximize pressure on Joe Biden's transition team, more than 100 far-left organizations, including Code Pink and Win Without War, held a Wednesday conference call "to try to get on the same page and make a more coherent pitch to the Biden team," according to Politico. The organizations are preparing to recommend some 200 staffers who share these organizations' foreign policy ideology, which includes rolling back sanctions on Iran and challenging American aid to Israel.

Included on the call was Matt Duss, a top adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) who has made a name on the foreign policy stage for his hardline anti-Israel views. Duss faced charges of promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during his time as a blogger at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and was ultimately pushed out of the organization by Biden nominee Neera Tanden. His role in pressuring the Biden transition team is likely to worry pro-Israel Democrats who prefer the incoming administration sideline the most radical voices in the party, such as Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). The House progressives have been working to mainstream anti-Israel voices and push policies such as conditioning military assistance to Israel until it bows to far-left demands.

Last week, Duss responded to the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear weapons program official by accusing the perpetrator, assumed to be Israel, of "terrorism"—a claim that was roundly criticized by regional experts.

Also on the call were Common Defense, an anti-Trump veterans' group, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a left-wing advocacy group aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), according to Politico.

"We'd like to bring everyone together to formulate a more coordinated and organized strategy to ensure we advance progressives in key foreign policy positions," the groups wrote in an invitation to the call that was obtained by Politico.

Many of the organizations who participated have been pressuring Biden to reconsider his more mainstream foreign policy picks, especially Michele Flournoy, a veteran defense official who is in line to lead the Pentagon.

Code Pink, for instance, is known for its aggressive opposition to Israel and the U.S. security relationship with the country. It has backed anti-Semitic statements from lawmakers such as Omar, who accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—the nation's top pro-Israel group—of exerting financial control over Congress and the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

Code Pink and others on the left also are pressuring the Biden administration to undo the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran, which includes crippling sanctions on the country's economy, nuclear program, and terrorism enterprise.

Published under: Israel , Joe Biden