The two men “emerged at the forefront of a scandal involving several Think Progress bloggers who accused pro-Israel Jews and members of Congress of being ‘Israel firsters.'”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has two top advisers, foreign policy adviser Matt Duss and campaign manager Faiz Shakir, known for their anti-Israel views, who were also linked to an anti-Semitism scandal from 2012 when they worked for the Center for American Progress. From The Washington Free Beacon:
Sanders’s dependence on Duss and Shakir has been making waves in the pro-Israel and Jewish community in recent months, given the duo’s prominent role in CAP’s 2012 anti-Semitism row, which saw several staffers at the organization’s Think Progress blog rebuked for invoking age-old canards about Jewish control of money and politics. Duss has faced additional scrutiny in the subsequent years for publishing Nazi-era propaganda posters and steadfastly standing against the U.S.-Israel alliance
As the matter of anti-Jewish bias in prominent D.C. political circles makes its way back into the news following a series of anti-Semitic comments by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), many in the pro-Israel community are beginning to raise questions about Sanders’ choice to fill his ranks with individuals closely tied to some of the most prominent anti-Israel causes.
In 2012, Duss was CAP’s Middle East director, while Shakir served as editor-in-chief of the group’s Think Progress blog, which has since become regarded as a hotbed for anti-Israel activism.
During their tenure at CAP, Duss and Shakir emerged at the forefront of a scandal involving several Think Progress bloggers who accused pro-Israel Jews and members of Congress of being “Israel firsters,” a term implying that those who support the Jewish state have dual loyalties.
The scandal rocked CAP for several months and drew condemnation across the board, including from the Obama administration ,which distanced itself from Duss, Shakir, and the rest of Think Progress’s former staff.
Shakir—who initially remained silent as controversy swirled around Think Progress’s use of anti-Semitic language—later said in a leaked internal email that his employees used “terrible, anti-Semitic language” when invoking the “Israel firster” term.
Duss also stood on the sidelines at the time, declining to condemn the anti-Semitic language. Numerous articles penned by Duss and other CAP Action Fund bloggers were said “to be infected with Jew-hatred and discriminatory policy positions toward Israel,” according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism.
Duss, who was recently hailed as the “progressive” foreign policy mind behind Sanders, has for the better part of the last decade been a driving force behind the far left’s anti-Israel activism. Oftentimes, this criticism waded into anti-Semitic waters.
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