A Christian preacher who propagates borderline anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and advises several groups that have stigmatized the Israeli government has made at least four trips to the Obama White House for several high-level powwows with top administration officials, records show.
That preacher is Serge Duss, a divisive social justice advocate who splits his time between several organizations that have been highly critical of the Jewish state and its government.
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Duss’ controversial comments and his associations with the radical left did not prevent the White House from arranging a series of high-level sit-downs with the Obama administration’s liaison to Arab Americans, as well as with two of the president’s most trusted foreign policy advisers, according to White House visitor logs.
Fellow religious leaders expressed shock to learn the White House is soliciting advice from Duss on highly sensitive foreign policy matters.
"If the Obama Administration is serious about supporting Israel in its quest for peace, why are they taking advice from someone who parrots the worst rhetoric of those who oppose accommodation with Israel?" asked David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, one of the nation’s largest and most influential pro-Israel groups.
"Serge Duss is associated with the most extreme aspects of Arab rejectionism," he added. "Duss has denied the connection between the modern Jewish people and those of the Bible."
Much of Duss’ anti-Israel advocacy has taken place under the umbrella of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a far-left Christian group that is partially funded by the Tides Foundation and the Open Society Institute.
Both of those organizations are financed by the controversial billionaire George Soros.
The New Evangelical Partnership has also received money from the Ploughshares Fund, a dovish non-profit that has doled out millions to influence the debate over Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
As a member of the New Evangelical Partnership’s Board of Advisors, Duss has been tasked with touting the group’s far left agenda.
During one such speech before a mostly Jewish crowd at the fringe group J Street’s 2011 conference, Duss asked attendees to help him dispel the idea that Israelis are related to ancient Jews.
"You, only you—I can’t, but only you can disabuse Evangelicals of that mythology. How many rabbis I’ve heard say in settings, ‘We are not the Hebrews, the Children of Israel of the Old Testament’?" Duss said. "And unless conservative Evangelicals particularly hear that message from Jews in America today and Israelis in Israel, minds will not be changed."
Meanwhile, Duss’ New Evangelical Partnership gained notoriety for releasing an openly hostile letter to "America’s Christian Zionists."
The missive, among other things, denounces "Jewish Zionism" as "destructive" and harshly attacks the Israeli government.
"Israel has created the conditions for a civil war if they try to dismantle settlements, and for a Palestinian revolt or a wider Middle East war if they never end their occupation," the letter states, citing the "destructive effects" of "Jewish Zionism" on Israeli policy.
The missive goes on to dub "Christian Zionism" a "sin" and adopt the negotiating stance of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which is currently pressuring Israel to make unsafe concessions.
"The prevailing version of American Christian Zionism—that is, your belief system—underwrites theft of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinian people, helps create the conditions for an explosion of violence, and pushes U.S. policy in a destructive direction that violates our nation’s commitment to universal human rights," the letter states. "In all of these, American Christian Zionism as it currently stands is sinful and produces sin."
Such a statement is false and "highly offensive," CUFI’s Brog said.
"Not once does this letter mention Palestinian terror," Brog said. "Not once does the letter mention the repeated Palestinian rejections of Israeli peace offers; and to the extent the letter mentions the threat of an Iranian nuclear attack, it appears to justify it."
"Duss's associates at the New Evangelical Partnership have reduced the complex Arab-Israeli conflict to a one-sided fairytale featuring evil Israelis and noble Arabs," Brog added.
Outside of the partnership, Duss serves as associate director for public policy and government relations for World Vision, an organization that the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America has branded as anti-Israel. He is also a member of the Evangelical Advisory Council at the Center for American Progress.
Despite these associations, Duss met twice on September 9, 2010, with Paul Monteiro, associate director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. The duo discussed Iraq during a meeting in the West Wing of the White House, and then met on the same issue in a session held the Executive Office Building one hour later.
In November of the same year, Duss took a meeting with Gayle Smith, a senior director of the National Security Council who advises Obama on humanitarian issues.
One pro-Israel activist said these meetings were disturbing.
"This man is a Jew-hater, plain and simple, and the President needs to come clean on the nature of their relationship," said the activist. "This White House opens the front door to Jew-haters and shows the back door to the Prime Minister of Israel—and people wonder why Jews don't trust Obama."