Think tank charged with anti-Semitism

Jan. 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The left-leaning, Obama-aligned Center for American Progress think tank in Washington is in hot water over alleged anti-Semitic comments, a critic says.

At the center of the controversy are one CAP writer's Twitter posts criticizing "Israel-firsters," a reference to the charge some American Jews put loyalty to Israel above their commitment to the United States, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Another writer who has since left CAP identified one U.S. senator's affiliation as "R-AIPAC," indicating more loyalty to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee than to his own constituents, the Post said.

The CAP Web site also has displayed writings critical of the pro-Israel lobby, saying it wants to push the United States into a war with Iran.

The tension could cause problems for President Obama's re-election with Jewish voters, the newspaper said. The think tank was founded by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and is an "idea generator" and staffing source for the Obama administration, the Post said. Podesta is a part-time adviser to the U.S. State Department.

"The language is corrosive and unacceptable," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, adding the blog posts and tweets in question "are the responsibility of the adults who run the place, not only the kids who play."

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or any form of discrimination," Ken Gude, chief of staff and vice president for CAP, told the Post.

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