National Security

Koch and Soros-Backed Think Tank Honors Former Black Panther for ‘Responsible Statecraft’

Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee / Getty Images

The Quincy Institute, a think tank funded by billionaires George Soros and Charles Koch, handed its first-ever "responsible statecraft" award to a far-left former Black Panther who has called for defunding the Pentagon and preventing U.S. military forces from defending themselves against terrorist attacks.

The Quincy Institute, known for its isolationist advocacy, awarded Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) last week for "her advancement of ideas and actions that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace," according to a press release from the think tank.

Quincy's selection of Lee, who has called for defunding the Pentagon and voted against measures to condemn the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, further positions the organization as one of Washington's loudest isolationist voices. While pushing for what it calls a more restrained foreign policy approach, Quincy has been engulfed in controversy since its launch in late 2019 for hiring anti-Israel voices who have attacked American Jews as warmongers.

Lee, a former Black Panther whom the FBI investigated for her ties to the militant group known for its violent tactics, was the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization for use of military force in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.

"I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States," Lee said of her vote on Sept. 14, 2001, just days after the attacks by al Qaeda.

Lee has also called for defunding the Pentagon and has repeatedly pushed to defund American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has further advocated for the creation of a "U.S. Department of Peacebuilding" dedicated to "the study and advancement of peace."

Lee served as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where she has made common cause with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.).

In January, Lee joined Ocasio-Cortez and Omar to push a new war powers resolution that would have significantly impeded the United States' ability to counter Iranian terror groups operating in the Middle East. The effort aligns her with Quincy's own advocacy, which has centered around downplaying the threat posed by Tehran. Quincy Institute officials have parroted talking points forwarded by Iran and are central to the push by isolationist foreign policy voices to lessen economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Lee also has opposed congressional efforts to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel by boycotting Jewish-made goods. She was one of 16 Democrats—including Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez—who voted against a 2019 measure condemning the BDS movement. Additionally, Lee appeared earlier this year alongside speakers at a gala for the American Muslims for Palestine, a prominent anti-Israel advocacy group that promotes BDS and works with individuals who have been linked to terrorism.

While Quincy has not taken a public stance on the BDS movement, it has been critical of recent Middle East peace deals that are widely seen to have greatly increased Israel's security.