Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) dinner in New York in 2007. (Dima Gavrysh / AP)

Leaked emails from the Center for American Progress, a major think tank that strongly favors Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, reveal that the group has gone to great lengths to please the right-wing pro-Israel lobbying group known as AIPAC, including censoring its own writers.

Glenn Greenwald reports at The Intercept:

The emails, provided to The Intercept by a source authorized to receive them, are particularly illuminating about the actions of Tanden […], a stalwart Clinton loyalist as well as a former Obama White House official. They show Tanden and key aides engaging in extensive efforts of accommodation in response to AIPAC’s and Lewis’ vehement complaints that CAP is allowing its writers to be “anti-Israel.” Other emails show Tanden arguing that Libyans should be forced to turn over large portions of their oil revenues to repay the U.S. for the costs incurred in bombing Libya, on the grounds that Americans will support future wars only if they see that the countries attacked by the U.S. pay for the invasions.

For years, CAP has exerted massive influence in Washington through its ties to the Democratic Party and its founder, John Podesta, one of Washington’s most powerful political operatives. The group is likely to become even more influential due to its deep and countless ties to the Clintons. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent put it earlier this year: CAP “is poised to exert outsized influence over the 2016 president race and — should Hillary Clinton win it — the policies and agenda of the 45th President of the United States. CAP founder John Podesta is set to run Clinton’s presidential campaign, and current CAP president Neera Tanden is a longtime Clinton confidante and adviser.” […]

In 2012, a former AIPAC spokesman, Josh Block, launched a campaign to brand several young, liberal writers at CAP’s blog, ThinkProgress, as anti-Semites due to their writings on Israel, Palestine and Iran. CAP and its writers were widely vilified for what Ben Smith, then of Politico, called deviations from “the bipartisan consensus on Israel,” and for voicing “a heretical and often critical stance on Israel heretofore confined to the political margins.” Among other crimes, these CAP writers stood accused of failing to sufficiently praise the Netanyahu government: “Warm words for Israel can be hard to find on [CAP’s] blogs,” Smith noted.

Rather than stand behind its writers, top CAP officials, led by Tanden, applied constant coercion to stifle content upsetting to AIPAC. As Gharib, one of the vilified CAP writers, recounted last week, “CAP’s positions moving forward from the attacks — including but not limited to virtually banishing criticisms of Israel and Netanyahu from our writings and, in at least one case, needlessly censoring a piece after publication — were guided by how to return to AIPAC’s good graces, often in coordination with AIPAC itself.” Most of the CAP writers accused of Israel heresy were gone from the organization within a short time thereafter, and several have publicly revealed that they had been censored on matters pertaining to Israel.

Continue reading here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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